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Gross interference in EC’s working over poll dates, BJP looking at defeat in Gujarat: Congress

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New Delhi, Oct 13: The Congress on Friday accused the BJP of “grossest interference” in the working of the Election Commission, saying the decision not to declare the dates for the Gujarat elections cuts at the root of constitutional principles and was a “shameless tactic” to save itself from a thrashing at the hustings.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told media persons here that the BJP was trying to convert the “Election Commission into Election Omission” and its “shameless tactics” were “a last-ditch effort to save itself from the thrashing in Gujarat in the forthcoming elections”.

He said the decision was a “fundamental assault on the level-playing field concept”.

“It is not a small matter. It cuts at the root of several constitutional fundamental principles. It is grossest interference in a shameless manner. It violates the basic structure of the Indian Constitution as holding free, fair elections is part of the basic structure,” Singhvi said.

“It has denigrated the authority and power of the Election Commission. A drowning man is desperately clutching at a straw,” he added.

The Election Commission on Thursday declared assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh but not for Gujarat even as the term of assemblies in both states ends in January. However, it said the elections in the state will be held by December 18.

Singhvi claimed that the poll panel appeared to have handed a rope to the BJP to “somehow climb the cliff at a time when it is down and out and is looking to somehow lure the electorate with sops”.

He said the announcement had also cast “a serious shadow of suspicion on the working of the Election Commission”.

Singhvi said dates of the Gujarat polls should be announced immediately and the Model Code of Conduct be immediately enforced.

The Congress leader said the “BJP had forced this change” so as to enable Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce various sops “like a false Santa Claus” in Gujarat on October 16.

Singhvi said that within 10 minutes of the poll panel’s presser, the BJP government in Gujarat announced sops worth hundreds of crores.

“The sops were aimed at wooing agitating Patidars, the Valmiki community, lakhs of government employees and the powerful builder lobby. Why was it in such a tiring hurry. Is it not an example of corruption. This is an attempt at collective bribery?” he said.

He said the BJP-ruled Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) advanced its standing committee meeting by an hour and a half to clear proposals worth Rs 530 crore in just 10 minutes.

The Congress leader said that Modi has repeatedly talked of simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and assembly and the BJP too has been talking about it.

“But these were not conducted in two states simultaneously,” he said.

Singhvi said past practices, conventions and precedents were being “set aside to help the BJP”.

He said Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have gone to elections together since 1998 except in 2002-03 when Gujarat was hit by riots.

Singhvi said earlier this year, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand went to polls together and the poll schedule, spread over a month from February 4 to March 8, was all announced on January 4.

Referring to the Election Commission stating that it is supposed to conduct elections in a state within 46 days, Singhvi said this time limit has been broken in the past on numerous occasions including in elections in Delhi, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Arunachal and Andhra Pradesh.

He said people of Himachal Pradesh have been made to wait for results for over a month “just because PM has to announce sops”.

He said another reason being cited is of flood relief and said floods occurred in some parts of Gujarat in July 2017 but this reflected poorly on the state government which has not been able to complete the work in more than three months.

Singhvi also alleged that the Election Commission had not held a meeting with the Home Ministry to discuss security issues prior to its announcement.

IANS

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Prime Minister spoke with arrogance, says Chandrababu Naidu

Naidu alleged that the prime minister also spoke alightly’ and acheaply’. “By stating that I took u-turn he launched a political counter attack,”

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Chandrababu Naidu

Amaravati, July 21 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with arrogance during the debate on no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha.

Naidu, whose party had moved the no-confidence motion against the NDA government, said that Modi spoke as if Andhra Pradesh was not part of India.

“His arrogance was because he had the numbers,” said Naidu while terming the no-confidence motion as a fight between majority and morality.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief was talking to reporters after the defeat of the motion in the Parliament.

Naidu alleged that the prime minister also spoke alightly’ and acheaply’. “By stating that I took u-turn he launched a political counter attack,” said Naidu.

On Modi’s comments that he had warned him that he was falling in the trap of YSR Congress, the TDP leader said the Prime Minister was doing injustice to the state for political mileage and resorting to blackmail. “It is unbecoming of a person holding the position of the Prime Minister to say such things,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the Prime Minister’s reply disappointed five crore people of the state and the entire country as they had hoped that he will show some repentance over no fulfilling the promises made to the state and correct his mistakes.

Naidu also took strong exception to Modi’s remark that he was picking up fight with Telangana and recalled that even before bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh he had been calling for an amicable solution through talks.

Stating that Andhra Pradesh has been cheated again, Naidu appealed to people to stage protest demonstrations on Saturday.

He claimed that for the first time a no-confidence motion moved by a regional party received support from several parties. He will be leaving for New Delhi on Saturday to thank the parties which supported the motion. Naidu said he would also tell the nation as to how the state was betrayed.

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Modi mocks at Rahul, says he’s power hungry

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Rahul Modi

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday mocked at Rahul Gandhi for hugging him in the Lok Sabha, saying the Congress President was actually dreaming to be the next Prime Minister and had asked him to get up from his seat in the Lok Sabha.

“In the morning, the voting was not over, the debate was also not over, one member came runnig to me saying – Utho Utho Utho… What is his hurry to come to power,” Modi said, gesturing with hands and recalling how Gandhi came to hug him after his speech.

“Let me tell this member it is the people who elected us. That is how we have come here.”

He said the opposition was enacting a drama and coming together “to remove one Modi”.

“See who all they are trying to bring together. But they should know we are here because we have the blessings of 125 crore Indians. We are not here for selfish interests.”

The Prime Minister said the no confidence motion has exposed how the opposition is hungry for power.

“What we saw among members of the Opposition was sheer arrogance. The only thing they have to say – remove Modi. Today the nation has seen the negativity expressed by some members. They are playing negative politics. India saw how some people are so deeply opposed to development.”

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Not a naamdar, can’t see eye to eye with you: Modi taunts Rahul

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Modi

New Delhi, July 20 : Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that he indeed could not see eye to eye with the Congress leadership as he was not a “naamdar” (from a privileged background) like the Congress chief.

He said that there was long list of people who tried to see eye to eye with the “first family” and were “humiliated” as a result, including former President Pranab Mukherjee.

“He (Rahul) says I cannot see eye to eye with him. Yes, I cannot do so because I am not a naamdar. I come from a poor background, I am not privileged like you,” Modi said while replying to the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition.

“It is widely known what happened to those who tried to see eye to eye with you. What happened to Chadhary Charan Singh, to Chandra Shekhar, Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujaral. What happened to Sharad Pawar and even to Pranab Mukherjee?

“In the past too, those who tried to see eye to eye with you their fate was no different be it Sardar Patel or Subhash Chandra Bose. They were all thrown out, they were humiliated. I cannot see eye to eye with you,” Modi said.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi had said that Modi could not see eye to eye with him (for his alleged failure to fulfil his promises made to the public).

“And it was seen by the people what your eyes said today,” Modi said, blinking his fingers to portray Gandhi’s winking gesture.

At the end of his around 40-minute speech, Gandhi walked across to the treasury benches and hugged Modi who was surprised. Gandhi then returned to his seat amid applause from Congress MPs, and then winked at fellow Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia who was sitting next to him.

Modi said that the Congress was so power hungry that it had pulled the rug off the feet of any non-Congress government whenever any attempt to form such a government was made.

“What did the Congress do with governments of Charan Singh, of Chandra Shekhar and of I.K. Gujral? It pushed the country into phases of instability again and again for greed of power (by pulling out support from coalition governments),” he said.

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