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EC refutes RJD’s allegation on poll fraud, says it doesn’t work under anybody’s pressure

RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha said he wants to urge Chief Minister Nitish Kumar not to disrespect the people’s mandate.

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New Delhi, Nov 10 : The Election Commission on Tuesday said it has never worked under anybody’s pressure and refuted the RJD’s allegations about not giving winning certificates to candidates of the Grand Alliance.

The RJD in a tweet had put out a list of 119 seats where the Grand Alliance candidates had won after completion of counting, and returning officers had allegedly congratulated them for the victory, but they are not given certificates.

Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan in a press conference said the poll body has learnt about this tweet and cited the results and trends are available on the Election Commission website constituency wise. “At 10 pm, we are here. The results of 146 seats have been declared. In 97 cases trends are available. So this is the factual situation available in the public domain for everybody to see and witness.”

The poll body said the last few phases of counting are remaining in Bihar polls, and it may hold another press conference at midnight, if required, with the final update on the polls. It was not clear whether the counting of ballots will continue throughout the night.

However, when asked about the list of 119 candidates put out by the RJD, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner, Umesh Sinha, clarified that whatever information is it with the Election Commission is authentic information, as it reaches the poll body after data is authenticated. “The returning officers complete the task assigned and the observers supervise the process. They follow the due procedure and then that information is submitted. There can be some gaps in the information: the information with them and the official information”, he added.

A bitter battle is going on for the 243-seat Bihar Assembly between the two alliances. In the midst of this, the RJD has alleged that the JD-U is trying to slow down the pace of counting. It has also alleged that successful candidates are not being given winning certificates.

The RJD said in a tweet, “This is a list of 119 seats where the grand alliance candidates have won after the completion of counting. The returning officers congratulated them for the victory, but now they are not giving the certificate saying that you have lost. They [Grand Alliance candidates] were also shown winning on the ECI website. Such loot will not work in a democracy.”

RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha said he wants to urge Chief Minister Nitish Kumar not to disrespect the people’s mandate.

“The Mahagathbandhan will emerge victorious. The people of Bihar won’t tolerate such actions. I request the outgoing CM not to call up returning officers and put pressure on them,” Jha said.

Chitranjan Gagan, state spokesperson of the RJD, also alleged that CM Nitish Kumar was misusing his power to affect the electoral process in more than a dozen constituencies. Hence, his party is going to file complaints before the Election Commission of India.

But the ruling JD-U has refuted all such allegations, calling them a sign of frustration. Sanjay Singh, spokesperson of JD-U, said: “The people of Bihar have defeated the Mahagathbandhan and now its leaders are levelling false allegations against us. The NDA has contested these elections with Nitish Kumar as the CM face and he will remain the Chief Minister of Bihar.”

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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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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Election

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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