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Five in fray for four RS seats from Karnataka

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Rajya Sabha

Bengaluru, June 3 : Five candidates, including three from the ruling Congress and one each from the BJP and JD-S, are in fray for four seats in the biennial election to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka on June 11.

“As all five candidates, whose nominations were found valid during scrutiny on June 1, are contesting for the four RS seats from the state, election will be held on June 11 as scheduled,” Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer A.K. Jha told.

After the State Election Commission rejected the nomination of independent candidate K.A. Mohan in the absence of required supporters on June 1, none of the five nominees of the mainstream political parties withdrew from the contest on Friday, which was the last day for withdrawal.

“As there is no directive from the Chief Election Commission so far on postponing or cancelling the election, polling will be held as scheduled on next Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and counting will be from 5 p.m., at the Vidhana Soudha in the city,” Jha said.

The candidates are Oscar Fernandes, Jairam Ramesh and K.C. Ramamurthy from Congress, Nirmala Sitharaman from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and B.M. Farook from Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).

Each candidate requires 45 votes to be elected to the upper house of Parliament from the southern state.

In the 225-member legislative assembly, which is the electoral college for the RS election, the ruling party (Congress) has 123 members, BJP 44, JD-S 40, independents 9, BSR-C 3, KJP 2, SKP 1, KMP 1, speaker 1 and nominated 1.

As Congress has 123 lawmakers, election of the two former central ministers (Fernandes and Ramesh) is certain, while its third nominee (Ramamurthy) will need 12 more votes, as the party will have only 33 surplus votes for him.

Similarly, with BJP’s 44 votes, Sitharaman is expected to sail through with one more vote from any one lawmaker of its regional allies BSR-C and KJP, which have five members in the lower house.

Farook, however, needs five more votes to win as his party (JD-S) has only 40 lawmakers in the house.

With more than five JD-S ‘rebel’ lawmakers, including Zameer Ahmed and N. Cheluvaraswamy threatening to vote for the Congress’ third candidate (Ramamurthy), Farook will find the going tough to reach the magical 45 figure.

Though all the three parties will be issuing a whip to its lawmakers to vote for their respective candidates, there are fears of cross-voting in the secret ballot exercise by some lawmakers of Congress and JD-S.

Jha also declined to comment on speculation in the local media that the election could be postponed or cancelled in light of sting operations by two national news channels on Thursday, showing the Congress and JD-S luring the independents to vote for Ramamurthy or Farook, promising them ‘crores of rupees’ for the development of their constituencies or with plum posts.

Election

Hyderabadis give fractured mandate, TRS single largest party

Union Ministers Amit Shah, Prakash Javadekar and Smriti Irani, BJP President J.P. Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath campaigned for the BJP.

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Telangana CM KC Rao

Elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) threw up a hung house as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made big inroads to deny the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) a clear majority.

TRS emerged as the single largest party with 55 seats in the 150-member municipal body while the BJP won 48 seats, signalling its emergence as a dominant political force in the state.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), which retained 44 seats, has emerged as the kingmaker. TRS and MIM are likely to enter into a power sharing arrangement to rule the municipal body.

The Congress could win just two seats. Owning the responsibility for the party’s disastrous performance, state Congress chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy announced his resignation from the poston Friday evening.

The results came as a big shock to the TRS, which had won landslide majority in 2016 with 99 seats. With just four seats in the previous elections, the BJP improved its performance manifold.

Result in one division (Neredmet) was withheld as the number of ballots with ‘distinguished mark’ other than ‘swastik’ was more than the majority of TRS. The ruling party was leading by 505 seats but ballots with ‘distinguished mark’ other than ‘swastik’ was 544. The result will be subject to High Court order in the matter.

The counting day saw several twists and turns in the fortunes of the parties. Though TRS appeared set to retain power with lead in 70 divisions at around 4 p.m., the scene changed subsequently with the BJP racing ahead in divisions where it was locked in neck-and-neck battle with the TRS.



The newly elected corporators and 52 ex-officio members will elect the Mayor. Since TRS has majority ex-officio members, it required 65 corporators to have its Mayor. The party may now have to negotiate power sharing agreement with the MIM if the latter doesn’t extend unconditional support. In 2009, when GHMC polls had thrown a similar verdict, the Congress had shared power with the MIM, leaving the post of Mayor to MIM for two years.

The post of Mayor this time has been reserved for woman.

Terming the results not to the expectations of the party, TRS working President K.T. Rama Rao said the party fell short by 20-25 seats. When asked about the possibility of an alliance with the MIM, he said the party would discuss all the issues and then take a decision.

Performing beyond its own expectations and making big inroads in the state capital, the BJP replaced MIM as the second largest party.

The saffron party fought the polls with all the might with top Central leaders and Union ministers campaigning for its candidates.

The party’s state chief Bandi Sanjay said that people have taught a lesson to Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao for his arrogance and corruption. He said despite all the unfair means adopted by the TRS, people gave their mandate to the BJP and they see it as the sole alternative to TRS.

Counting of votes cast in all 150 divisions began at 8 a.m. at 30 places in the city with Telangana State Election Commission deploying over 8,000 personnel.

The police made elaborate security arrangements in the city in view of the counting. Prohibitory orders and traffic restrictions were imposed around the counting centres.

The police in Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda have imposed ban on victory rallies for the next 48 hours.

Out of the total 74.67 lakh voters, 46.55 per cent had cast their votes in 149 divisions on Tuesday. There were 1,925 postal ballots.

Polling in one division was stopped due to discrepancy in ballot paper and re-poll was held on Thursday.

A total of 1,122 candidates tested their political fortunes. The bitterly contested elections saw a high-decibel campaign with the participation of several central ministers and top national leaders of the BJP.

Union Ministers Amit Shah, Prakash Javadekar and Smriti Irani, BJP President J.P. Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath campaigned for the BJP.

The campaign also saw no holds barred attack by political opponents. The promise by BJP leaders to change the name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar if the party was voted to power also sparked a row.

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Election

Recount of presidential votes in Wisconsin ends, reaffirms Biden’s win

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Joe Biden

Washington: US President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Wisconsin has been reaffirmed after two of the state’s largest counties completed the recount of the ballots cast in the November 3 presidential election, with just a little change in the tally.

The Democratic former Vice President’s lead over incumbent President Donald Trump in the key swing state grew by 87 votes, after the latter gained 45 votes in the Dane County recount and Biden got a 132-vote net gain in the Milwaukee county recount, Xinhua news agency reported.

The statewide tally showed Biden won Wisconsin by over 20,000 votes.

The Trump campaign has, as required by state law, paid $3 million for the recount, only to see his defeat more apparent.

A day before the recount results, Trump had tweeted on Saturday that he would file a lawsuit “Monday or Tuesday” to continue challenging the results.

“The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally,” he said.

“We have found many illegal votes.”

Wisconsin is set to certify the results on Tuesday.

Wisconsin Voters Alliance, a conservative voter group, has filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission, asking the state’s Supreme Court to prevent the certification.

But Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ attorneys filed a response to the lawsuit on November 27, calling the group’s effort a “brazen attack on democracy itself” and asked the state Supreme Court to dismiss it.

The Democratic Governor said the lawsuit was a “mishmash of legal distortions” that attempted to disenfranchise millions of Wisconsin residents.

He said failing to certify the election results would alter other election results across the state, throwing the government into chaos.

Trump also suffered consecutive legal defeats in Pennsylvania, as the state’s Supreme Court on Saturday ruled against a Republican-filed case alleging voting irregularities, after a federal appeals court denied his re-election campaign’s effort to appeal its own case that was rejected by a lower court.

Trump told Fox News on Sunday that he “would like to file one nice big beautiful lawsuit” in the US Supreme Court, complaining that “it’s hard to get into the Supreme Court”.

He said the high court needs to be “willing to make a real big decision”, adding he’s got “the best Supreme Court advocates, lawyers that want to argue the case if it gets there”.

Last week, US District Judge Matthew Brann rejected the Trump campaign’s lawsuit accusing Pennsylvania of allowing voters to fix errors in the mail-in ballots and seeking to prevent the state from certifying the results.

The judge also refused the campaign to file an amended complaint.

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Election

Around 52% Polling recorded in 1st phase of DDC Polls in Jammu and Kashmir

The SEC said that the DDC elections will play a decisive role for development at the grass-roots level.

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Election

Jammu: State Election Commissioner (SEC) K.K. Sharma said on Saturday that the first phase of District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir has been conducted successfully with a voter turnout of 51.76%.

The polling was by and large peaceful in the 43 constituencies of DDC that went to the polls on Saturday in which 3,62,766 voters, including 1,93,375 males and 1,69,391 females, out of 7,00,842 voters, exercised their franchise to choose their representatives in their respective councils, the SEC said in a press conference.

Sharma said that Reasi district recorded the highest polling at 74.62 per cent, followed by Rajouri (70.52 per cent), Poonch (68.69 per cent), Samba (68.61 per cent), Doda (64.49 per cent), Kathua (62.82 per cent), Jammu (61.49 per cent), Ramban (64.21 per cent), Udhampur (57.13 per cent) and Kishtwar (55.16 per cent) — all in Jammu division.

In the Kashmir division, Budgam district recorded the highest polling at 56.96 per cent, followed by Kupwara (50.74 per cent), Ganderbal (48.62 per cent), Bandipora (43.57 per cent), Anantnag 43.32 (per cent), Shopian (42.58 per cent), Kulgam (34.35 per cent), Srinagar (33.76 per cent) and Baramulla (32.51 per cent).

The SEC further said that large number of people came out to cast their votes in the first phase of DDC polls and panch/sarpanch bypolls. Long queues could be seen despite severe cold conditions in the Kashmir division and the hilly areas of the Jammu division, Sharma added.

The SEC said that the DDC elections will play a decisive role for development at the grass-roots level.

He also appreciated all the stakeholders for their tireless efforts for the successful conduct of the polling process. Adequate security personnel were deployed at all the polling stations to ensure the smooth conduct of the polls, he said.

The SEC further informed that arrangements for the second phase of polling — to be held in 43 constituencies, 25 in Kashmir division and 18 in Jammu division — have been put in place.

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