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‘Done deal’: Congress hints at understanding with Pilot camp

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

New Delhi: Amid speculation of a meeting between rebel Rajasthan leader Sachin Pilot and Rahul Gandhi, top sources in the Congress have claimed that a deal has been struck between the two sides and a formal meeting may take place on Monday itself.

The development comes after party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi met Rahul Gandhi at his residence to work out the deal. However, there is still no official word yet while all eyes are on 10 Janpath, the official residence of interim party chief Sonia Gandhi.

The Congress sources say that there were no preconditions from both the sides and they hope for a happy ending to the crisis that has threatened its government in the state.

The Congress sources said that veteran party leader Ahmed Patel had pitched in to resolve the issue that had threatened the survival of the Ashok Gehlot government after the Pilot camp raised the banner of revolt against it.

The Congress had sacked Pilot as Deputy Chief Minister and the state party chief. So far, Gehlot has stayed put as Chief Minister amid claims and counter-claims on attempts to poach MLAs.

On Sunday night, a Congress Legislature Party meeting was held in a Jaisalmer hotel, where MLAs from the Gehlot camp are lodged, and there were mixed views on welcoming back the rebels into the party fold.

While a few MLAs suggested that the rebels should be accepted in view of the “wafer-thin margin” of the Gehlot government in the Assembly, others were not in such a forgiving mood.

Meanwhile, the Gehlot camp in Jaisalmer is keeping a wary eye on any development in Delhi vis-a-vis the proposed meeting.

A senior Congress worker confirmed to IANS that a few Ministers from Rajasthan had been intimated about the meeting and the views of party lawmakers had been sought over the move to end the rebellion.

India

“India Feels Absence…”: Rahul Gandhi’s Birthday Wish For Manmohan Singh

Rahul Gandhi, in his birthday wishes, praised Dr Singh’s “honesty, decency and dedication”, which he said was an inspiration to others.

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Manmohan Singh

New Delhi: India feels the absence of a prime minister with the “depth” of Dr Manmohan Singh, said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as he wished the former Prime Minister on his 88th birthday today.

Rahul Gandhi, who was one of the first to wish Dr Singh, also praised him for his “honesty, decency and dedication”, which, he said, was an inspiration to others.

“India feels the absence of a PM with the depth of Dr Manmohan Singh. His honesty, decency and dedication are a source of inspiration for us all. Wishing him a very happy birthday and a lovely year ahead,” Mr Gandhi tweeted, using hashtag HappyBirthdayDrMMSingh.

India feels the absence of a PM with the depth of Dr Manmohan Singh. His honesty, decency and dedication are a source of inspiration for us all.

The Congress praised Dr Singh as a dedicated leader who was always committed towards the overall well-being of each Indian. “A dedicated leader’s primary aim is always to eradicate the worst evils that plague the society in the soonest & surest possible way. Today, we celebrate former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s commitment towards the overall well-being of each Indian,” it tweeted.

The party also released a short video listing out the senior Congress leader’s achievements.

Gujarat Congress leader Hardik Patel, meanwhile, credited Dr Singh for good governance and strengthening the Indian economy during his tenure as prime minister of the country.

“Happy birthday to the great economist, former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. May God keep you healthy and provide longevity. Due to Dr. Saheb, the country was strengthened financially, today the public remembers the strong good governance of Manmohan Singh. Jai Ho,” he tweeted in Hindi.

Born in Gag, now in Pakistan, on September 26, 1932, Dr Singh is credited with bringing in sweeping reforms in the 1990. He was Prime Minister for 10 years until the Congress was decimated by the BJP in 2014 and PM Modi took power for the first time.

Manmohan Singh, who was the first Sikh in office, was also the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term. Mr Singh’s political career began in 1991 when he was appointed as the country’s Finance Minister under the leadership of late prime minister PV Narasimha Rao. It was the same year during which he helped usher in “liberalisation and privatisation” to the Indian economy.

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Election

Bihar Polls: Grand Alliance to decide on CM face after talks with allies, says Congress

The Congress, RJD, RLSP, VIP and Left parties are set to challenge the NDA in Bihar if things go on track.

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Shaktisinh Gohil

New Delhi, Sep 25 : After the Election Commission announced dates for the three-phase elections in Bihar, the Congress has claimed that talks with allies are on the right track on the seat-sharing deal which has not yet finalised.

Congress Bihar in-charge Shakti Singh Gohil said,”There is no harm in any party propagating its leader’s name for Chief Minister but we will sit and decide on the issue that which way we will go with CM face or no face.”

The comments come after the RJD pushing Tejashwi Yadav as the CM face ahead of elections which is not going well with the allies, specially the RLSP.

Alliance partner RLSP is upset over the delay in the seat-sharing agreement and has conveyed it to the Congress leadership. Gohil said that there is no problem within the alliance and everything is going on smoothly.

But the RLSP, in its resolution on Thursday, said that there are differences over the leadership in the alliance and the delay in seat sharing is not good for the health of the alliance.

The party has authorised Upendra Kushwaha to take decisions on the alliance.

But sources say that there are major hiccups within the alliance as the RJD is claiming all the seats which could be won by the alliance leaving seats which are tough-to-win for its partners.

The RJD is keen to contest 145 out of the 243 seats leaving the burden on the Congress to adjust the RLSP, Left parties,JMMA and other smaller parties.

The Congress is likely to contest 70 seats and the RLSP is claiming more than 40 seats. But the bone of contention is not the number of seats but the quality of seats which are considered a stronghold of the alliance.

The fate of the alliance depends on how fast the final agreement is reached on both the issues since HAM leader Jitan Ram Manjhi has already joined the NDA citing differences.

The Congress, RJD, RLSP, VIP and Left parties are set to challenge the NDA in Bihar if things go on track.

Elections for the 243 Assembly seats in Bihar will take place in three phases between October 28 and November 7. The counting of votes will be on November 10, the Election Commission said on Friday.

The term of the Bihar Assembly comes to an end on November 29. According to the poll panel, there are 7.29 crore voters in the state, including 3.85 crore male and 3.4 crore female voters and 1.6 lakh service voters.

In the 2015 Bihar Assembly elections, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) emerged as the largest party by winning 80 seats while the ruling Janata Dal-United won 71 seats, the Congress 27. The BJP managed to win 53 seats, followed by two seats by the LJP and one seat by Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular, even as other candidates emerged victorious on 10 seats.

The BJP, despite winning only 53 seats, got the maximum percentage of vote share with 24 per cent, followed by the RJD with 18 per cent and JD-U 17 per cent. The Congress managed to get seven per cent vote share and the LJP around 4.8 per cent.

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Election

Longer polling time, online nominations: How COVID is affecting Bihar polls!

The term of the Bihar Assembly ends on November 29. According to the poll panel, there are 7.29 crore voters in the state, including 3.85 crore male and 3.4 crore female voters and 1.6 lakh service voters.

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bihar election

New Delhi, Sep 25 : In what will be India’s first full fledged election ever since the deadly COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, polling for the 243 Assembly seats in Bihar will take place in 3 phases between October 28 and November 7 this year. The Election Commission of India made the announcement in Delhi on Friday, adding that the votes will be counted on November 10.

But given this is a COVID-era election, polling time has been increased by one hour. “Now the polling time will be between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.” the EC said. This, the poll body believes, will help avoid queues. But it will not be applicable to the Left-Wing affected areas.

While the election could have been held in more phases, this was avoided considering the pandmeic and its possible effect on the security forces on duty. “Elections entail large scale deployment of security forces. We have tried to minimise their movement over long distances,” Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said.

The CEC also announced a number of new measures in view of the pandemic. Arora said, “Now nominations can be done online and offline also. And quarantined patients can vote at the end.”

Also, keeping the containment guidelines in view, the Commission has limited the number of persons, including candidates for door to door campaigning to five. Public meetings and road shows will be allowed subject to containment instructions issued by the Union Home Ministry/State.

“Face masks, sanitizer, thermal scanners, gloves, face shield and PPE kits shall be used during the electoral process ensuring social distancing norms. Hand gloves shall be provided to all the electors for signing on the voter registers and pressing buttons of EVM for voting,” it said.

“Covid-19 patients, who are quarantined will be able to cast their vote in the last hour of polling, at their respective polling stations, under the supervision of health authorities. This is beside the option of postal facility already extended to them,” the poll panel said.

The CEC said the poll panel has also revised norms for the number of persons accompanying the candidate and the number of vehicles at the time of nomination. “It has also created an optional facility to fill the nomination form and the affidavit online and submission of the same, after taking a print, before the Returning Officer concerned. For the first time, the candidates will have the option to deposit the security amount for contesting the elections online,” the poll panel said.

India has reported 86,052 new Covid-19 cases and 1,141 deaths in the last 24 hours taking its tally to 58,18,570, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday morning. This is why so many precautions are being taken for the Bihar election.

“The Bihar elections will be held in three phases. Elections for the 1st phase will take place on October 28 on 71 Assembly constituencies, elections for 2nd phase on 94 seats will take place on November 3 and 3rd phase poll on 78 Assembly seats on November 7,” the CEC announced.

With this the model code of conduct has also come into play.

The last date of nomination for phase 1 will be October 8 and the last date of withdrawal of candidature is October 12. For phase 2, the last date of nomination has been fixed as October 16, while the last date of withdrawal of nomination is October 19. For phase 3, the last date of nomination is October 20 and the last date of withdrawal of candidature October 23.

The term of the Bihar Assembly ends on November 29. According to the poll panel, there are 7.29 crore voters in the state, including 3.85 crore male and 3.4 crore female voters and 1.6 lakh service voters.

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