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In Uttarakhand, Trivendra Rawat, Satpal Maharaj front runners for CM post




New Delhi, March 11 : Former state BJP chief Trivendra Singh Rawat and party National Executive member Satpal Maharaj have emerged front runners for the Chief Minister’s post in Uttarakhand following the BJP’s landslide win, informed sources said on Saturday.

Rawat, an organisational man of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttarakhand and party in-charge in Jharkhand, won his traditional Doiwala seat by defeating Congress’ Hira Singh Bisht with a margin of over 24,000 votes.

Rawat, a swayamsewak of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), is considered close to BJP President Amit Shah. He was in close touch with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the latter was a General Secretary (Organisation) of the BJP and in charge of Uttarakhand.

During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Rawat was given responsibility of regional election in-charge in Uttar Pradesh under Shah where the BJP emerged victorious. He is also credited for the BJP’s win in Jharkhand.

“Rawat is a man of the organisation and has a clean image. He is close to RSS, PM Modi and Shah too,” a senior BJP leader from Uttarakhand told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Asked about Satpal Maharaj’s prospects, the BJP leader said: “Maharajji is very popular and has lakhs of followers. But one factor working against him is that he came into the BJP fold after leaving Congress.”

Maharaj, the head of the Manav Utthan Sewa Samiti, teaches meditation techniques called “Knowledge” and has a huge following across the state and other parts of the country.

He is considered a good administrator and has served as Union Minister of State for Railways.

In February 2014, Satpal Majaraj openly criticised Harish Rawat’s elevation as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and a month later quit the Indian National Congress and joined the BJP.

Maharaj won Chaubattakhal constituency by defeating Congress’ Rajpal Singh Bisht with a margin of over 5,000 votes.

Besides these two leaders, state BJP chief Ajay Bhatt is also a likely contender, but he lost his own election from Ranikhet assembly seat.

He was defeated by Karan Mahara of Congress by a margin of 4,981 votes.

Sources in the BJP say that if Bhatt had won, he would have been a strong contender for the post.

Other senior leaders, including former Chief Ministers B.C. Khanduri, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Vijay Bahuguna, Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank are also lobbying to become Chief Minister of the state.

According to BJP sources, none of these are likely to be considered for Chief Minister.

“Khanduri is almost unlikely because of his age (82). Bahuguna switched to BJP after a long career in Congress. Nishank is a Brahmin face but he is an MP and is likely to work in national politics. Koshyari has also very little chance,” another BJP leader said.

BJP President Amit Shah said on Saturday that the Chief Minister candidate will be “decided on the basis of merit. We will elect the best”.

The BJP has convened its Parliamentary Board, the highest decision making body of the party, on Sunday to decide the name of the Chief Ministerial candidates of the states where it has emerged victorious.

The BJP is headed for a landslide in Uttarakhand, leading on 57 seats against the Congress’ 11 in the 70-member assembly.


Looking into Congress complaint against PM: EC



Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha
Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha

New Delhi : The Election Commission on Thursday said it is looking into the Congress’ complaint of violation of the Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad, and also clarified that it has not filed an FIR against Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress has accused the Prime Minister of breaking the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by taking out a ‘road show’ after casting his vote on Thursday.

“We have received this complaint in the afternoon, this is being examined and we will let you know,” Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said in response to a question.

After coming out of the polling booth at Ranip, in Ahmedabad, the Prime Minister stood on the steps of the vehicle in which he was travelling and waved to the crowd on the road and showed his inked finger. He continued to do so for 10 to 15 minutes.

Sinha also clarified that the poll panel did not register any FIR against Rahul Gandhi for his TV interviews, and has only sent him a notice, seeking his response in five days.

“I would like to inform that yesterday morning a complaint had come about the interview being shown repeatedly on some channels. Due diligence was done. First of all no FIR has been filed against Rahul Gandhi,” Sinha said.

He said other complaints made by the Congress are also being examined.

He said the poll panel gave representatives of the Congress party time for a meeting, and heard the allegations that they had to make.

“Till about midnight, the Commission deliberated and even in the thick of elections, we immediately sought a report from the Chief Electoral Officer,” he said.

Sinha said the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat sent a report by around mid-day on Thursday on “all points and allegations made by the delegation of Congress”.

“Based on that the matter is under examination. Commission will soon brief on that,” he said.

“Commission has to put in due diligence before taking a decision. The report had been received at mid-day, the entire Election Commission has been busy. The Commission is still doing deliberation on the report received from the Chief Electoral Officer. We will let you know as the Commission takes a decision on it,” he said.


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Exit polls done under BJP pressure, totally wrong: Congresss



Bharatsinh Solanki, File Photo

New Delhi : Rubbishing the exit polls which predicted a clean sweep for the BJP in both the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, the Congress on Thursday said they were done under pressure from the BJP and were “absolutely wrong”.

“Exit poll came in Bihar, Goa, Punjab and Delhi as well. This is the same kind of exit poll, which has been shown under pressure from the BJP,” Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki told IANS.

“As the elections were conducted under pressure from the BJP government in Gujarat, likewise the exit poll was also done under pressure,” he added.

Solanki said the Bharatiya Janata Party will be washed out in Gujarat. “The exit polls are absolutely wrong. We will win 120-125 seats.”


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Congress workers protest outside EC office, detained



congress workers protest-min

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.”


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