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Georgia election official says ‘truth’ needs to be told, even if it hurts Trump’s chances

Raffensperger in subsequent media interviews said he was not aware the call was recorded; however, he did not confirm whether he approved of the leak to the news outlets.

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Brad Raffensperger
  • Georgia’s chief election official denied that a leak of a phone call with President Donald Trump was harmful to national security.
  • “I don’t understand how truth would ever jeopardize the country,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday. “We’re standing on the facts, we’re standing on the truth. And so we have the numbers here.”

Georgia’s chief election official denied that a leak of a phone call with President Donald Trump was harmful to national security and said that Trump’s claims throughout the election season had sewed chaos for the state’s voters.

“I don’t understand how truth would ever jeopardize the country,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday. “We’re standing on the facts, we’re standing on the truth. And so we have the numbers here.”

Raffensperger’s remarks come after an hour-long phone call between President Trump and Raffensperger on Saturday was been leaked to The Washington Post and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. During the phone call, Trump urged the election official to “find” over 11,000 votes in order to deny President-elect Joe Biden his victory and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election process.

Raffensperger in subsequent media interviews said he was not aware the call was recorded; however, he did not confirm whether he approved of the leak to the news outlets.

Following the leak, the president’s supporters and conservative activists accused Raffensperger of leaking the call and said that it set a worrisome precedent for future conversations with a sitting president. In his interview on Fox News, anchor Sandra Smith suggested to Raffensperger “it would sound to the casual observer that you’re getting very political in nature” and that some people would interpret it as an “attack on the president.”

Raffensperger contended the call “wasn’t a confidential conversation” that had there were no agreements between the two parties beforehand. The official also noted that Trump himself had tweeted about the call and “divulged that we did have the conversation,” also noting that the president’s claims about that call “weren’t factually supported.”

In his tweet on Sunday, Trump claimed Raffensperger was “unwilling, or unable” to accept the scrupulous theories about voter fraud and “ballot destruction.”

“He wanted to make it public,” Raffensperger said to Fox News. “He has 80 million Twitter followers and I understand the power that he has behind him. We have 40,000. I get all that. But he’s continued to be misled or doesn’t want to believe the facts. And we have the facts on our side.”

“I corrected him on the phone call on Saturday,” Raffensperger added.

Polls just closed in a crucial Georgia Senate runoff race on Tuesday. Two elections will determine whether Democrats will gain an additional two seats in the US Senate. If Democrats are able to secure the seats, the party would control of both the Senate and House.

Raffensperger, who is a Republican, said the president’s claims about the validity of the state’s runoff hard hurt voter confidence.

“There’s been so many … false ruminations and disinformation that’s been going on that it really hurt voter confidence and selection,” Raffensperger said. “That’s why President Trump had to come down here and undo the damage that he already had started. “

“We need people to come out to vote,” he added. “It’s really important.”

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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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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