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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

Congress workers protest outside EC office, detained

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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.”

IANS

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

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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.

IANS

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Gujarat battle ends amid Congress-BJP war of words

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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.

IANS

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