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Congress manifesto for Delhi civic polls focuses on urban poor

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New Delhi, April 17: The Delhi Congress on Monday released the first of its three-part election manifesto for the upcoming civic polls, announcing a slew of measures for the upliftment of the urban poor, including setting up of a Department of Urban Poverty Alleviation.

“The party would also introduce health and accident insurance for daily-wage labourers in Delhi if it comes to power in the civic polls,” Delhi Congress Chief Ajay Maken told reporters here.

Maken said it was only the first phase of the party’s election manifesto and that it would announce the rest of its “plans and roadmap” for Delhi’s development in two more phases on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Tomorrow (Tuesday), we would release our manifesto on urban infrastructure, which would talk about house tax, parking issues and other matters of developed areas of Delhi.

It would be followed by our ‘youth manifesto’, which would be launched day after tomorrow (Wednesday) near the Delhi University,” Maken said.

Municipal polls for 272 wards would be held on April 23 and the results would be declared on April 26.

Dismissing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as a minor player, Maken said it would be a straight contest between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Talking about his party’s proposed schemes for urban poor, especially daily-wage labourers, Maken said the municipal corporations under the Congress rule would ensure three months’ salaries for them in case they did not find work.

“For domestic workers, which are one of the most neglected sections, we would create a helpline number. We would also establish a comprehensive system for their formal registration, their verification and ensure their welfare,” he said.

Maken also promised to issue five lakh licences for street vendors, so “they don’t have to pay bribes every day to set up their stalls”.

For unauthorised colonies, we would set up a separate development fund worth Rs 2,000 crore,” he said.

The Congress leader said all this would be accomplished by boosting the revenue inflow of the three — East, North and South Delhi — municipal corporations.

“We have done elaborate analysis and made concrete plans to boost revenue of the three civic bodies by an additional Rs 5,200 crore every year,” he said.

In the run-up to the April 23 civic polls, the Delhi Congress has earlier released its roadmaps for sanitation, public health and education.

It promised to transfer all municipal hospitals to the Delhi government in exchange for primary healthcare centres, saving Rs 652 crore every year.

It also promised improving education standards and infrastructure as well as filling vacancies of teachers in municipal schools.

IANS

Election

AAP leader joins SAD ahead of Shahkot bypoll

Welcoming Walia into the party fold, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the youth leader had made a name for himself in a short period of time and would be an asset for the SAD in Jalandhar district.

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Jalandhar, May 20 : In a jolt to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), its leader from Doaba region H S Walia today joined the Shiromani Akali Dal along with his supporters ahead of the Shahkot bypoll scheduled to be held on May 28.

Walia said he was joining the SAD due to its “pro-people” policies as well as the party’s desire to take all sections of society with it.

“I earlier joined AAP because it professed idealism. However I slowly realised that the party had become thoroughly corrupt and was not concerned about Punjabis and their problems. Moreover, AAP is being run from Delhi by Arvind Kejriwal who does not give any weightage to the local leadership,” Walia alleged.

Welcoming Walia into the party fold, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the youth leader had made a name for himself in a short period of time and would be an asset for the SAD in Jalandhar district.

Walia would be duly adjusted in the party organisation and would be given important duties, he was quoted as saying in a release.

The SAD president said the manner in which both the Congress and the AAP leaders were joining the SAD was indicative of the functioning of the Congress government as well as complete disillusionment with the Aam Aadmi Party.

Badal said political leaders usually changed parties towards the fag end of any government’s tenure, but presently leaders were “leaving the Congress in droves” because the party had “lost all appeal among the masses” after reneging on promises made to the people.

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Kumaraswamy to be sworn in as chief minister on Wednesday

HD Kumaraswamy, the JD(S) CM candidate will be sworn in as next chief minister of Karnataka on Monday morning. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi have been invited.

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This paved the way for JD (S)’ H D Kumaraswamy to be sworn in as chief minister and for the hastily-formed Congress-JDS alliance to form the government. Kumaraswamy’s oath ceremony was initially slated for Monday (between 12 noon and 1.05pm, apparently on the advice of his father Deve Gowda’s astrologer). However, he later deferred it to Wednesday as May 21 is the death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi.

Earlier, Yeddyurappa resigns as the chief minister of Karnataka. Congress president Rahul Gandhi says BJP MLAs disrespected the National Anthem and walked out of the Assembly after Yeddyurappa stepped back. JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy will meet with the Governor of Karnakata Vajubhai Vala at 7.30 pm. The duo will meet to stake claim for forming the government. Ahead of Karnataka floor test on Saturday, Congress had accused the newly-elected Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa of bribing one of its MLAs.

The grand old party shared an audio clip of the alleged conversation between the two leaders on Twitter. This was followed by the allegation that two of its missing MLAs – Anand Singh and Pratap Gouda have been kept at the Goldfinch Hotel which is just 1 km away from the state Assembly.

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Trinamool’s all-conquering run in Bengal Panchayat polls

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Kolkata, May 17: The ruling Trinamool Congress looked set for a resounding win bulldozing all political rivals in rural West Bengal on Thursday in the vote count for the three-tier state Panchayat election, with the BJP emerging a distant second in almost all the districts.

The Left Front, which ruled the state for 34 years till 2011, lay decimated in the third position, while the Congress was virtually wiped out in Monday’s polls, which were marred by widespread violence and allegations of strong-arm tactics and irregularities against the Trinamool.

As per latest reports, the state’s ruling party has won 20,277 Gram Panchayat (lowest tier) seats of 31,814 that were contested, while it was leading in 382 seats. The party has won 2,605 out of 6,125 contested Panchayat Samiti (middle tier) seats and were comfortably ahead in another 431.

The Trinamool Congress also seemed on track to win all 20 Zila Parishads.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee congratulated the party workers for the massive win and dedicated the victory to the people.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which managed to bag 5,416 Gram Panchayat and 282 Panchayat Samiti seats, gave a tough fight to the Trinamool in two western districts — Purulia and Jhargram. The saffron outfit also led in 34 and 43 seats, respectively, in the two tiers of the rural body.

Another interesting development was the performance of the Independents, who have bagged more seats than the Left Front.

In South 24 Parganas district’s Bhangar that has been on the boil over the construction of a power grid sub-station by the state government in the last one year, Independent candidates backed by Jomi-Jibika-Bastutantra O Poribesh Rokkha Committee (committee for protecting life, livelihood, ecology and environment) won five out of the eight Gram Panchayat seats, where they had filed their nominations via WhatsApp.

The Panchayat Samiti was, however, won by ruling party strongman Arabul Islam who was arrested a day before the election for his alleged involvement in the murder of a local youth.

BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said his party was moving on the right track. “We have done reasonably well. Had the polls been free and fair, we would have done better.”

Sporadic incidents of unrest over the election results were reported from districts like Nadia where a group of miscreants allegedly ran away with ballot boxes. The counting of votes was halted for almost three hours in Nadia’s Majhdia after allegations of tampering with the ballot papers were received.

“There are some reports of unrest in the districts but the administrations concerned have already taken action. There are no reports of major violence from anywhere,” State Election Commission (SEC) Secretary Nilanjan Shandilya told IANS.

In Birbhum district, BJP and Trinamool Congress activists clashed with each other outside a counting station. Police had to resort to baton charge to disperse the mob.

According to the state administration, 12 persons lost their lives on the polling day, out which six were confirmed have died in poll violence.

Statistics reveal that of the total 58,692 seats in the three tiers of the rural local bodies, 20,076 seats, or 34.2 per cent, have been decided uncontested, with the Trinamool bagging a whopping proportion of these seats.

These include 16,814 of the total 48,650 Gram Panchayats seats, 3,059 of the 9,217 Panchayat Samiti seats and 203 of the 825 Zila Parishad seats.

The Supreme Court has now asked the SEC not to issue winning certificates in these seats.

IANS

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