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Election

Donald Trump accepts defeat to Joe Biden, but alleges ‘fraud’

After a series of legal setbacks in Pennsylvania and Michigan, Trump appointed former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to run his cases on alleged election irregularities.

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Donald Trump

New York: United States President Donald Trump made a low-key concession in a tweet on Sunday conceding the election to Joe Biden but maintaining the Democrat’s victory was a fraud.

In a passive-aggressive concession tweet, Trump said: “He won because the Election was Rigged.”

Trump had refused to accept the media declaration that Biden was the winner based on their projections of the November 3 election’s outcome, even though the counting was still continuing and there have been no official announcements.

On Friday, the media gave 306 electoral college votes to Biden and 232 to Trump. To win, 270 electoral college votes are needed.

The media declaration of the election results has been acknowledged by many US politicians, including a few Repiublicans, and international leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has congratulated Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris.

On Friday, Biden declared: “I am the President-elect,” while giving a warning about the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The immediate future of the transition is still uncertain because Trump’s administration has so far refused to give Biden’s transition team facilities or share information.

Trump has not yet given an indication if he would cooperate with Biden’s transition or if he will be dropping the cases filed by his campaign around the country.

Thousands of his supporters marched in Washington on Saturday in a rally they called, “Stop the Steal” – a reference to the allegations of fraud.

Trump drove by the rally but did not stop or speak to them.

Later in the evening, anti-Trump demonstrators clashed with Trump supporters and about 20 people were arrested, but there was no widespread violence or looting.

Continuing with his allegations of voter fraud, Trump added in his tweet: “NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn’t even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more!”

Dominion is a company that provides software for conducting elections and Trump supporters have asserted that it switched thousands of Trump’s votes to Biden.

In Michigan, where inaccuracies in reporting the votes were discovered, officials said that they were due to human error and were not committed by the software.

Officials in Georgia said that Dominion software problems delayed the reporting of vote counts but did not affect the numbers.

In another tweet Trump said: “All of the mechanical ‘glitches’ that took place on Election Night were really THEM getting caught trying to steal votes. They succeeded plenty, however, without getting caught. Mail-in elections are a sick joke!”

At a White House briefing on Friday on the progress of his Covid-19 vaccination programme, Operation Warp Speed, Trump gave an indication that he was reconciled to a defeat.

While discussing the possibility of a coronavirus-induced lockdown he said: “Whatever happens in the future, who knows, which administration will be, I guess time will tell.”

Jen Psaki, a Biden transition official, said on Friday they did not have access “to the ongoing work on COVID, so that we can prepare to govern” or to national intelligence briefings and other important information.

Legally a president-elect has to be given official facilities for transitioning into the office and access to briefings.

The Trump administration official in charge of giving the Biden team access to information and facilities has said that they were waiting for an official announcement of the result.

A formal acknowledgement even before the official announcements by Trump that Biden has won would allow Bident transition team access to the federal facilities and information.

After a series of legal setbacks in Pennsylvania and Michigan, Trump appointed former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to run his cases on alleged election irregularities.

At least one law firm withdrew from representing Trump.

Election

Congress forms 5-party Mahagathbandhan to take on BJP in Assam

AIUDF General Secretary Aminul Islam said the Mahagathbandhan is good for Assam as it would fulfil the expectations of the people of the state and throw the BJP out of power.

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BJP and Congress Flag Poster

Guwahati, Jan 20: The opposition Congress on Tuesday announced a five-party ‘Mahagathbandhan’ to take on the ruling BJP-led coalition in Assam in the upcoming Assembly elections expected to be held in April-May.

Announcing the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance), Assam Congress President Ripun Bora said that his party would contest the elections in alliance with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the three Left parties – Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) – and the Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM).

He said that regional parties are welcome to join the Mahagathbandhan to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party from power in the state.

“The Congress is always keen to oust all communal forces for the best interest of the country. People are ready to vote out the BJP as its misgovernance caused a lot of distress to the people, who have become fed up with the BJP,” he said.

AIUDF General Secretary Aminul Islam said the Mahagathbandhan is good for Assam as it would fulfil the expectations of the people of the state and throw the BJP out of power.

AGM President Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, also a Rajya Sabha member, termed the formation of the grand alliance as a historic moment. He sounded optimistic that the grand alliance would defeat the BJP in the forthcoming elections.

Besides the AIUDF, a Muslim-dominated party in Assam, and the Left parties, state Congress leaders had held several meetings in the past few months with the ‘like minded parties’.

AIUDF President and Lok Sabha member Maulana Badruddin Ajmal has been stating that the two parties (Congress and AIUDF) have decided to contest the Assembly polls together since their tie-up for the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) polls held last month.

Recently, interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi had appointed three central leaders — Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh Chief Minister), Mukul Wasnik (AICC General Secretary) and Shakeel Ahmed Khan (Bihar MLA) — to oversee the election campaign in Assam in close coordination with the AICC general secretaries and the party in-charge for the state.

Baghel and other central leaders held meetings with the state party leaders in Guwahati before Assam Congress chief announced the Mahagathbandhan.

The Congress had suffered a setback in the recent elections to the BTC and the Tiwa Autonomous Council. Two of its MLAs – Ajanta Neog and Rajdeep Goala – had joined the BJP last month, delivering another blow to the party.

In the 2016 Assam assembly elections, the Congress had contested on its own without an electoral alliance with any party, securing 24 seats.

After the last Assembly polls, the BJP formed the government in Assam for the first time after winning 60 seats following the formation of an alliance with the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which won 14 and 12 seats, respectively. The ruling alliance also has the support of an Independent MLA.

The 126-member Assam Assembly is likely to go to the polls in April-May along with West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

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Election

Sonia forms 10-member election panel for Kerala chaired by Chandy

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Sonia Gandhi in Cong meeting

New Delhi, Jan 20: Eyeing the assembly polls in Kerala, the Congress on Tuesday announced a 10-member Election Management and Strategy Committee under the leadership of former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy as its chairperson along with senior party members like Shashi Tharoor and K. C. Venugopal.

Venugopal, who is the party’s General Secretary (Organisations) in a statement said that party chief Sonia Gandhi has approved the appointment of Election Management and Strategy Committee of Kerala Congress for the upcoming assembly elections with immediate effect.

He further said that the Committee shall meet frequently to discuss matters related to electioneering, co-ordination and formulation of election strategies.

Besides Chandy, Tharoor and Venugopal, the party has also named Mullapallay Ramachandran, Ramesh Chennithala, Tariq Anwar, K. Muraleedharan, V.M. Sudheeran, K. Sudhakaran and Kodikkunnil Suresh as the panel members.

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Bengal: Left, Congress leaders hold talks; to finalise candidates by Jan end

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Kolkata, Jan 18: Top leaders of the CPI(M)-led Left Front and the Congress conducted a meeting here on Sunday to discuss the seat-sharing and other election-related strategies, leaders of both the parties said, adding that their candidates would be finalised by the end of this month.

However, both the Congress and Left leaders said that they would hold more such meetings this month to finalise the candidates’ list for the upcoming Assembly elections, expected to be held in April-May.

Both the party leaders would meet again on January 25 and 28 to settle the seat-sharing issue and other poll-related preparedness.

In 2016 West Bengal Assembly polls, the two parties had forged an alliance and won 76 seats in the 294-member Assembly.

Post meeting, Left Front Chairman and CPI-M politburo member Biman Bose said that their discussion with the Congress was cordial and fruitful.

“To defeat the communal force BJP and the fascist TMC (Trinamool Congress), the Congress-Left parties’ alliance is must. The alliance would definitely thrash the binary rule in Bengal,” the veteran Left leader told the media.

Bose said that leaders and workers of Left parties and Congress should fight against the BJP and the TMC with shoulder to shoulder.

Party sources said that the Congress wanted to contest in 130 seats but the Left leaders did not concede the demand.

Bengal Congress chief and the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Chowdhury said that the seat sharing with the Left parties would not be completed in a single meeting, however, the seat sharing process would be concluded within this month.

CPI-M state secretary Suryakanta Mishra, Congress leaders Abdul Mannan and Pradip Bhattacharjee were present at the meeting.The Left and Congress parties are likely to hold a mega joint rally in Kolkata soon to kick start their election campaign.

The all important elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are likely to be held in April-May along with Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.In the 2016 West Bengal polls,

Trinamool had retained its majority and won 211 seats while the Bharatiya Janata Party won three seats.

However, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Left and Congress had fought separately with the Congress won two seats, the Left Front dominated by the CPI-M, which ruled Bengal for 34 years (1977-2011), drew a blank.

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