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Delhi polls: Seats not only crucial but game-changers for AAP

Voting will be done in Delhi on February 8 and the results will be out on February 11.

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Modi kejriwal

New Delhi, Feb 4 : The February 8 Delhi Assembly election is not going to be a cake walk for the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in some constituencies. While on one hand, the AAP would like to retain seats held by crucial MLAs like Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia, on the other, new AAP candidates will have to face sitting MLAs who changed sides.

In the run-up to the Assembly election, the party had dropped 15 of its sitting MLAs, and some of them are now fighting against the ruling party’s new faces.

While seats including New Delhi, Patparganj, Babarpur, Greater Kailash and Najafgarh are important as AAP has again fielded its major contestants — Kejriwal, Sisodia, Gopal Rai, Saurabh Bharadwaj, and Kailash Gahlot respectively — from these, constituencies like Chandni Chowk, Dwarka, Delhi Cantt, Badarpur and Model Town are important as they are being contested by former AAP leaders who are likely to sway the votes in their favour.

The New Delhi and the Patparganj seat are crucial as Chief Minister Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia are contesting from these seats respectively.

Kejriwal is facing Congress’s Romesh Sabharwal and BJP’s Sunil Yadav. The New Delhi Assembly seat had a record of giving the Chief Minister of Delhi and so the seat became crucial for all the three parties.

However, the two names against Kejriwal does not have the same mass appeal like him, although they have played a crucial role in their parties.

A former NSUI head of Delhi, Sabharwal has been away from elections for the past several years. On the other hand,AYadav is a young face is President of the Delhi unit of BJP’s youth wing, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha.

Kejriwal has bagged the seat twice in 2013 and 2015.

Similarly, Sisodia is being challenged by BJP’s Ravinder Singh Negi and Congress’ Laxman Rawat. While Sisodia has been a household name in Delhi for his reforms in the education sector, the two leaders are new to the constituency.

Babarpur seat is also important for AAP as Cabinet Minister Rai, who is also the AAP Delhi unit chief, is contesting from there.

While Sisodia and Kejriwal are aiming for hat-tricks from their respective seats, Rai is aiming for his second term from the seat. He is facing four time BJP MLA, Naresh Gaur and Congress’ Anveeksha Tripathi Jain. The fight with the four-time MLA is going to be tough as Rai was defeated by Gaur in 2013, when the AAP formed the government for the first time.

The next crucial seat for AAP is the high-profile Greater Kailash constituency from where Bhardwaj seeks a third term. He is up against Shikha Roy of BJP and Sukhbir Singh Pawar of Congress. Bjhardwaj is not just party’s national spokesperson but was also a Cabinet Minister in the 2013 government.

The Najafgarh Assembly constituency, having a population of farmers and traders mainly, has never elected an MLA twice, but the Aam Aadmi Party is betting on its sitting legislator and Cabinet Minister Gahlot for the second term.

Gahlot is facing BJP’s Ajit Kharkhari and Sahib Singh Yadav from the Congress.

While retaining important seats is important for AAP, fighting against its own former MLAs is also a crucial and game changer task for the party.

Alka Lamba had won from Chandni Chowk in 2015 as an AAP candidate. She switched to the Congress in 2019 and was later disqualified from the Delhi Assembly. The Congress has named her from the seat while the AAP is betting upon Parlad Singh Sawhney, who was elected from the seat in the 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013 elections as a Congress MLA but switched over to the AAP last year.

Apart from Lamba, AAP MLA Kapil Mishra became a rebel and joined the BJP. While he was elected from the Karawal Nagar seat in 2015, the BJP has fielded him from the Model Town seat in 2020.

A former AAP Minister, Mishra will take on two-time sitting AAP MLA Akhilesh Pati Tripathi. While much of Delhi seems to be cheering for the AAP, according to poll trackers, Tripathi is facing anti-incumbency in this seat and his public profile has taken a beating.

He has been accused of taking bribes for getting government jobs. Last year, he was taken into custody for failing to comply with court summons and warrants in a 2013 rioting case.

Similarly, sitting AAP MLAs from Dwarka (Adarsh Shastri), Delhi Cantt (Surinder Singh) and Badarpur (N.D Sharma) are now fighting against the AAP after the party dropped them for the 2020 polls.

While Shastri has switched to the Congress, Singh is now an NCP candidate and Sharma is contesting from the BSP.

Voting will be done in Delhi on February 8 and the results will be out on February 11.

(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

Election

Congress, BJP intensity preparations for Madhya Pradesh bypolls

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Kamal Nath

Bhopal, July 6 : The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh are gearing up for the upcoming bypolls in the state even as the dates are yet to be announced. While the BJP is trying to send out the message of “writing a new chapter of development”, the Congress is going through a phase of discussions and brainstorming on the probable candidates.

Under the leadership of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the BJP government was formed after the Kamal Nath-led Congress government collapsed. A total of 22 legislators resigned from the membership of the assembly as well as the Congress party. Besides, two seats fell vacant following the demise of two legislators. In all, by-elections are scheduled to be held in 24 assembly constituencies.

The bypolls are being seen as quite crucial from the political viewpoint as the ruling BJP does not currently have an absolute majority, and the party must win at least nine seats to attain the majority.

Madhya Pradesh has 230 assembly seats of which the BJP has 107 in its kitty. It is mandatory to have 116 MLAs for an absolute majority. Therefore, it becomes necessary for the BJP to win nine seats to enjoy an absolute majority in the assembly.

The BJP has started preparations for the by-elections on two fronts. On one hand, while the party is conducting virtual rallies to encourage its workers, on the other hand, it is trying to implement many development projects.

The work towards Chambal Expressway project in the Gwalior-Chambal area has been finalised, and with by-elections scheduled to take place in 16 assembly constituencies in the region, the BJP wants to convey the message that the project has the potential of opening the doors of development in the Chambal region.

Video conferencing has also been held between Union Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, and Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia regarding the project.

Apart from this, the BJP has also stepped up the exercise to establish Sainik School in either Morena or Bhind. CM Chouhan has also met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on this issue.

The Chief Minister says that Morena-Bhind is the district from where almost every household has sent a member in the army and they want officers to come out from here in the coming time and for this, a Sainik School is necessary.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh unit BJP president Vishnu Dutt Sharma held a virtual rally in Gwalior region on Sunday and mentioned the development work of the party, and also the work that was carried out during the BJP rule from 2003 to 2018. He also alleged that the area did not witness any significant progress under the previous Kamal Nath regime.

Sharma asked the workers to be prepared for the upcoming elections as the development of the region, as well as the state is possible only under the BJP government.

The Opposition Congress has also been holding hectic discussions on fielding the potential candidates.

A meeting of party leaders was also held on Sunday in the presence of state in-charge Mukul Wasnik. In the meeting, the names of candidates capable of winning the elections were discussed.

According to political observers, the upcoming by-elections are important for both parties. No party can claim that its victory is certain. They believe no party is willing to take any risk and that”s why, both parties have intensified efforts to communicate with the workers and encourage them.

(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at [email protected])

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Lalu seeks bail ahead of Bihar Assembly elections

Lalu Prasad has applied for bail in the Jharkhand High Court. Earlier, he had been granted bail in three fodder scam cases.

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Lalu Yadav

Ranchi, July 4 : Jailed former Bihar Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad has applied for bail in the Chaibasa treasury fraudulent withdrawal case in the run-up to the Bihar Assembly polls.

On Saturday the RJD chief met political leaders at the paying ward of Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) where he is undergoing treatment.

Lalu Prasad has applied for bail in the Jharkhand High Court. Earlier, he had been granted bail in three fodder scam cases.

According to Lalu”s lawyer, he has applied for bail on the ground that he has spent half of the prison term in jail. Lalu has been in custody since December 23, 2017, after his conviction in three different cases related to the fodder scam. He was granted provisional bail for treatment in May 2018 which was later cancelled by the Jharkhand High court. He has been undergoing treatment in RIMS since August 2018.

“The Bihar Assembly polls are crucial for the RJD”s survival. Lalu cannot bank on his two sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi Yadav for the elections. The RJD did not manage to secure a single seat in Bihar in the Lok Sabha polls which was humiliating for the party,” said a RJD leader to IANS.

In 2015 Nitish Kumar, currently Chief Minister of Bihar, and Lalu Prasad had joined hands for the Assembly polls and won more than 150 of the 240 seats. Nitish Kumar, however, parted ways from the RJD after one and a half years in 2017.

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‘Moon expects Trump to meet Kim Jong-un before Nov polls’

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Seoul, July 1 : South Korean President Moon Jae-in believes that his US counterpart President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un need to meet again ahead of the American presidential election in November in order to reactivate the Korea peace process, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The South Korean presidential office has already conveyed Moon”s idea to the White House in their “close communication” especially following the North”s demolition of an inter-Korean liaison office in its border city of Kaesong last month, Yonhap News Agency quoted the official as saying.

“The US side understands (Moon”s position), and it”s making efforts (for that), as far as I know,” he told reporter.

In a virtual summit with EU Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday, Moon reaffirmed his resolve to strive “with patience” to maintain the momentum of dialogue involving the US and the two Koreas, the official added.

Moon stressed that the two Koreas should not revert from hard-won “progress and accomplishments” in their relations.

It remains unclear whether Trump and Kim will be able to hold another round of summit talks within the coming months, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Earlier this week, Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun, Washington”s point man on Pyongyang, expressed doubt about the possibility.

“I think it”s probably unlikely between now and the US election,” Biegun told a forum, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic would make such an in-person summit more unlikely.

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