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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.


Karnataka Polls: BJP releases fourth list of 7 candidates



New Delhi, April 23: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday released the fourth list of candidates for the upcoming crucial Karnataka Elections.


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ECI announces election date for Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh




New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday announced the date for the biennial elections in Maharashtra and a by-poll in Andhra Pradesh.

The two elections will be held on May 21 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Maharashtra election was necessitated as the term of six Legislative Council members will end on May 31 and June 21.

Anil Dattatrey Tatkare’s term from the Raigarh-cum-Ratnagiri-cum-Sindhudurg seat will end on May 31, while the terms of Jadhav Jaywantrao Pundlikrao from Nashik, Bhangdiya Mitesh Gotulal from Wardha-cum-Chandrapur-cum-Gadhchiroli, Abdullah Khan A. Latif Khan Durrani from Prabhani-cum-Hingoli, Pravin Ramchandraji Pote from Amravati and Deshmukh Dileeprao Dagdojirao from Osmanabad-cum-Latur-cum-Beed will expire on June 21, according to the ECI.

The by-election in Andhra Pradesh is being held as Gali Muddukrishnama Naidu from the Chittoor local authorities’ constituency died on February 7.

As per the ECI schedule, the date of issuance of notifications will be April 26 while the last date of nomination will be May 3.

The scrutiny of nominations will be on May 4 while the last date for withdrawal of candidature is May 7.

The ECI also said the elections will be completed by May 29.


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Karnataka BJP MP Sreeramulu contesting assembly polls



Bengaluru, April 22 (IANS) BJP’s Lok Sabha lawmaker from Karnataka’s Ballari, B. Sreeramulu on Saturday filed nomination to contest in the May 12 assembly elections from Molakamuru (reserved) seat in Chitradurga district.

Sreeramulu, 47, filed the nomination in the presence of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Molakamuru constituency is reserved for Scheduled Tribes (STs).

As per his poll affidavit, Sreeramulu declared his income and assets, including that of his wife Bhagyalakshmi, to be valued at Rs 18.17 crore.

He has disclosed cash and bank deposits valued at over Rs 4.5 crore and other immovable assets including property and buildings worth over Rs 12 crore.

Sreeramulu was the Health and Family Welfare and Tourism Minister from 2008-2011 in the state’s first Bharatiya Janata Party government, but stepped down from the post and resigned from the party to protest the alleged ill-treatment by the party to then cabinet minister and Ballari mining baron G. Janardhan Reddy.

He had rejoined and contested the Lok Sabha election in 2014 as a BJP candidate from the rich mining district of Ballari.

After quitting the BJP in 2011, Sreeramulu floated a regional outfit Badava Shramika Raitha Congress (BSR Congress) and won four seats in the 2013 assembly polls, after which he quit his own party to rejoin BJP. However, his BSR Congress remains and is identified as a BJP ally in the state.

Sreeramulu is also one of the two MPs among the candidates announced so far by the BJP to contest the assembly elections, with the other being Yeddyurappa, A Lok Sabha member from Shivamogga.

In a related development, the opposition BJP’s sitting MLA from Molakamuru, S. Thippeswamy, has decided to contest from the constituency as an Independent after he was not re-nominated by the party and in protest against the selection of Sreeramulu, an outsider, from Ballari district.

Till Friday, the BJP has announced 213 candidates to contest the 224-member Karnataka assembly polls. The party had, in its second list of 82 candidates released on April 16, fielded G. Somashekar Reddy, younger brother of Janardhan Reddy, from Ballari City segment.

The third list released on Friday had includedAKarunakar Reddy, another of Reddy’s brothers, from Harapanahalli in Ballari.


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