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EVM issue: Mayawati to move court, Kejriwal cries conspiracy

Kejriwal also said that before 2014 Lok Sabha polls even some BJP leaders like L K Advani were not in favour of the EVMs.

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Lucknow/New Delhi, Mar 15 : BSP chief Mayawati today decided to move court over alleged tampering of EVMs in the recent Assembly polls, an issue which led Delhi chief minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal to cry conspiracy.

Kejriwal also said that before 2014 Lok Sabha polls even some BJP leaders like L K Advani were not in favour of the EVMs.

The move by Mayawati and the comments by Kejriwal evoked derision from the BJP and its ally SAD.

As the leaders of BSP and AAP raised their pitch in questioning the reliability of the EVMs, BJP said there are “some defects” in Mayawati and not in the Electronic Voting Machines(EVM).

Kejriwal faced flak from BJP ally Akali Dal whose leader and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal advised the AAP chief to go for ‘vipassana’, a style of meditation, instead of casting aspersions on the reliability of the voting machines.

BSP was decimated in the recent Assembly polls in UP where it finished a distant third winning 19 seats in the 403 -member House while the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) making a debut in Punjab bagged 20 seats in the 117-member Assembly. The ruling SAD-BJP combine was trounced in Punjab.

Mayawati said the BSP has decided to observe a ‘black day’ every month against the “murder of democracy” by the BJP and charged that the saffron victory in UP smacked of “dishonesty” and “fraud”.

“After we did not get a proper reply from the Election Commission on our complaint lodged with them soon after the results were announced on March 11, the party has decided to go to court in this matter so as to save (the country) from such a fraud in the future and save democracy,” she said.

The BSP leader was speaking to mediapersons in Lucknow ahead of addressing partymen at a review meeting on the party’s debacle. BSP had 80 MLAs in the outgoing Assembly.

“Our party has also decided to launch an agitation in Uttar Pradesh and other states to expose this fraud…the party will observe ‘black day’ at all the district headquarters in UP and state headquarters in other states on the 11th of every month, the date on which they murdered democracy, and the first demonstration will be on April 11,” she said.

The BSP leader, who had alleged largescale tampering in the EVMs soon after results were announced on March 11, said that in order to hide its “dishonest victory”, BJP has now taken refuge in saying had that been the case they would have done the same in Punjab, Goa and Manipur.

Kejirwal said EVM tampering may have led to AAP’s poor showing in Punjab, alleging it could be part of a conspiracy to keep the party out of power in the state.

The AAP chief, whose party won 20 seats in the 117-member Assembly with a vote share of 24.9 per cent, claimed that around 20 to 25 per cent of its votes may have been “transferred” to the SAD-BJP coalition.

The poll result is “beyond understanding” and raises a “big question mark” on the reliability of electronic voting machines (EVMs) as political pundits across the spectrum had “predicted a landslide” for AAP, he told a press conference in Delhi.

Kejriwal claimed that tampering with EVMs could have been done “selectively” in significant states like Punjab, where plans were to “keep AAP out of power”. At the same time, the AAP supremo said he takes the “whole responsibility” of party’s performance in the state.

The BJP ridiculed Mayawati’s allegations of EVM tampering and asked her to “gracefully accept the people’s mandate”.

“When you win, EVMs are right. When you lose, EVMs are wrong. This shows that there are some defects in you (Mayawati),” Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters.

Harsimrat advised Kejriwal to go for ‘vipassana’ instead of casting aspersions on the reliability of EVMs.

Harsimrat, the wife of SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal, also said the Delhi chief minister may have “lost” his mental balance following AAP’s poor show in Punjab.

“He (Kejriwal) has lost his mental balance so he is saying things like this. He did not say anything when AAP had won 67 seats in Delhi,” she told reporters in Delhi.

She said the people of Punjab have thrown out the AAP and it would be better if Kejriwal focuses his energy to manage the party’s affairs in Delhi. “He should do vipassana.

India

Wrong to prevent farmers from holding peaceful demonstrations: Kejriwal

Thousands of farmers have been marching to Delhi from Punjab and Haryana protesting against the laws that liberalise the agriculture sector

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Farmers Protest

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday showed his support to the farmers who are protesting against the three farm laws passed in the Parliament in September, and said that they should be allowed to stage a peaceful protest.

“The three farm bills of the central government are anti-farmer. Instead of rolling back these bills, farmers are being stopped from staging peaceful protests. Water cannons are being used against them. This is injustice to the farmers. Peaceful protest is their constitutional right,” said Kejriwal in a tweet on Thursday.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had voted against the Bills in both Lok Sabha (where it has one MP) and Rajya Sabha (where it has three MPs).

Thousands of farmers have been marching to Delhi from Punjab and Haryana protesting against the laws that liberalise the agriculture sector. While some groups were stopped in Haryana on Wednesday and water cannons used against them, several others continue to approach Delhi to stage a protest. The Delhi Police has issued a notice prohibiting any gathering in the Capital, citing Covid-19 regulations and the Delhi Metro has temporarily closed operation on certain routes.

The three laws that have led to widespread protests are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

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Politics

I have lost a comrade, colleague and friend: Sonia on Ahmed Patel’s death

Congress has lost one of its greatest son. I am at loss of words at his death. May his soul rest in peace. May god give strength to his family to cope up with this terrible loss.”

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Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday while condoling the death of Ahmed Patel said she has lost a dedicated Congress colleague.

“In Sh. Ahmed Patel, I have lost a colleague, whose entire life was dedicated to the Congress Party.” she said

She said, “His faithfulness and dedication, his commitment to his duty, his always being there to help, his generosity were rare qualities that distinguished him from others.”

“I have lost an irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend. I mourn his passing and I feel deeply for his bereaved family to whom I offer my sincere feelings of empathy and support,” she added

Scores of Congress leaders condoled Ahmed Patel’s death, “It is very hard to come to terms with Ahmed patel Ji’s passing. He was a political troubleshooter par excellence & will be sorely missed by all. “Ahmedbhai” was also a close friend of my late father’s & a mentor to me,” tweeted Milind Deora.

B.K. Hariprasad said in a tweet, “Its very saddening to know about the demise of Shri Ahmad patel ji. Congress has lost one of its greatest son. I am at loss of words at his death. May his soul rest in peace. May god give strength to his family to cope up with this terrible loss.”

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India

Ahmed Patel’s role in strengthening Congress will always be remembered: PM Modi

A top strategist of the Congress and a most-trusted ally of its president Sonia Gandhi, Patel (71) died in the early hours of Wednesday.

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Narendra Modi

Condoling the death of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said his role in strengthening the opposition party will always be remembered.

Patel spent years in public life, serving the society, Modi noted.

A top strategist of the Congress and a most-trusted ally of its president Sonia Gandhi, Patel (71) died in the early hours of Wednesday.

He was admitted to the Medanta hospital in Gurugram and had been critical for a few days. He had contracted COVID-19 and subsequently, developed complications.

“Saddened by the demise of Ahmed Patel Ji. He spent years in public life, serving society. Known for his sharp mind, his role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered. Spoke to his son Faisal and expressed condolences. May Ahmed Bhai’s soul rest in peace,” the prime minister said in a tweet.

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