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Hung in Hryana, BJP-Sena set to retain power in Maharashtra

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New Delhi, Oct 24 : Haryana was set for a hung Assembly on Thursday with no party appearing in a position to cross the halfway mark in the 90-member House, but in Maharashtra, the BJP-Shiv Sena was well placed to retain power.

According to the latest trends available with the Election Commission, the ruling BJP won 15 seats and was leading in 23 other constituencies in Haryana, still 8 short of the majority figures.

Close on the heels was Congress, winning 12 seats and leading in 21.

Newcomer Jannayak Janata Dal (JJP) was victorious in 5 constituencies and was ahead in 5 others, making it a possible kingmaker, along with 6 Independents, one of whom won and 5 were leading.

Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which ruled the state for four times in nthe past, was leading in merely 1 seat.

The outcome of the Assembly polls held on October 21 is a setback for the BJP, which had won 47 seats in the last state elections in 2014. The party had been expressing confidence about raising its tally beyond 75 this time, using the nationalist pitch of abolition of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the Balakot air strike.

The results and the trends come as a shocker for the saffron party, particularly since it had won all the 10 seats in the Lok Sabha elections held just five months back.

The BJP had formed the government in Haryana for the first time in 2014, when it improved its tally from 4 in the previous elections.

The Congress, on the other hand, improved its performance substantially in this Assembly elections as it had managed only 15 seats the last time and had failed to open its account in the April-May Lok Sabha elections.

The INLD, which ruled the state the last time from 2000 to 2004, stood second with 19 seats in the last Assembly elections and was the main Opposition party in the outgoing House.

JJP was formed in December last year after Dushyant Chautala, the grandson of four-time Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, split from INLD following a bitter fight in the family.

The Congress has already begun efforts to woo JJP leader Dushyant Chautala but he has refused to spell out his future course of action, saying it will be decided after the party’s meeting on Friday.

In Maharashtra, where 288 seats are at stake, the BJP won 35 seats and was leading in 66 while its ally Shiv Sena bagged 24 seats and was ahead in 34 constituencies, taking their combined lead tally to 159, 15 more than the half way mark.

From the Opposition camp, the Congress won 16 seats and was leading in 29 while its alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won 18 seats and was leading in 35 seats.

Going by the results and trends in Maharashtra, the BJP’s tally is lesser by 22 seats compared to its performance in the last Assembly elections held in 2014. Shiv Sena had won 63 seats last time.

The NCP appears to have improved its performance significantly as it had got 41 seats in the last Assembly elections, while the Congress had managed 42 seats.

Election

‘Moon expects Trump to meet Kim Jong-un before Nov polls’

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south-korea moon

Seoul, July 1 : South Korean President Moon Jae-in believes that his US counterpart President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un need to meet again ahead of the American presidential election in November in order to reactivate the Korea peace process, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The South Korean presidential office has already conveyed Moon”s idea to the White House in their “close communication” especially following the North”s demolition of an inter-Korean liaison office in its border city of Kaesong last month, Yonhap News Agency quoted the official as saying.

“The US side understands (Moon”s position), and it”s making efforts (for that), as far as I know,” he told reporter.

In a virtual summit with EU Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday, Moon reaffirmed his resolve to strive “with patience” to maintain the momentum of dialogue involving the US and the two Koreas, the official added.

Moon stressed that the two Koreas should not revert from hard-won “progress and accomplishments” in their relations.

It remains unclear whether Trump and Kim will be able to hold another round of summit talks within the coming months, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Earlier this week, Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun, Washington”s point man on Pyongyang, expressed doubt about the possibility.

“I think it”s probably unlikely between now and the US election,” Biegun told a forum, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic would make such an in-person summit more unlikely.

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ECI’s ‘tearing hurry’ to change rules due to Bihar poll: CPI-M

But now, with the Bihar election on the horizon, Yechury feels the “tearing hurry” in which the age bar was brought down was “unilateral”.

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Sitaram Yechury

New Delhi, June 30 : The CPI-M has shot off an angry letter to the Election Commission over the poll panel “altering” electoral procedures, which the party claims is being done without political consultations.

Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, in his letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, has said how he is “greatly disturbed” by the news.

“We are greatly disturbed by the media reports that the Election Commission of India, bypassing the established practice of consulting political parties, is unilaterally initiating measures to provide voters, aged over 64 years, the use of postal ballots,” he said.

The age limit for voters to can opt for postal ballot in Lok Sabha and assembly polls has been reduced to 65. Earlier, that age bar was 80. This decision was taken in view of the coronavirus outbreak as the Centre has repeatedly asked those above 65 to stay indoors since they are vulnerable to the disease.

But now, with the Bihar election on the horizon, Yechury feels the “tearing hurry” in which the age bar was brought down was “unilateral”.

“In the past, the ECI, despite the wide ranging and comprehensive powers under Article 324 for ”control and superintendence” of elections mandated by the Constitution, has always insisted that they will not exercise this power unilaterally. This had created an extremely healthy precedent of recognising the political parties, representing the people, as principal stakeholders,” he noted.

He said that the “current changes in the Rules, both in October 2019 and that on June 19, 2020 have not been preceded by any consultation with the political parties whatsoever”.

“From the media reports, we are constrained to infer that the tearing hurry that the ECI displays is on account of the impending Bihar Assembly elections scheduled to be held in November 2020,” he alleged.

Highlighting how the move may help the ruling BJP-JD-U alliance, Yechury wrote: “A consensus among political parties and ECI is necessary for introducing new voting practices which will adversely affect the verifiability of a large number of voters, thus, transparency and integrity of the process; not to mention, the leverage available to the incumbent administration in organising the postal ballots.”

The CPI-M demanded that the poll panel should not “unilaterally proceed further” in implementing these changes without “proper and transparent consultation” so that a “level playing field” is ensured.

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Congress leader files petition against Scindia’s Rajya Sabha Election

In September 2017 in the Vyapam scam, Shyamala Hills police had registered a case against Scindia, then in the Congress, as well as his then party colleagues Digvijaya Singh, and Kamal Nath, and IT expert Prashant Pandey on the orders of Bhopal Special Judge Suresh Singh.

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Jyotiraditya Scindia

Gwalior, June 28 : A pro-Digvijaya Singh Congress leader on Saturday filed a petition against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, alleging that the nomination papers filed for the recent Rajya Sabha election concealed a criminal case pending against him.

The petition was filed before Gwalior district court by Gopi Lal Bhartiya through his counsel Kuber Bouddh.

Judicial Magistrate first class Pawan Patel, however, asked the petitioner to move special court at Bhopal designated to hear cases against public representatives.

In September 2017 in the Vyapam scam, Shyamala Hills police had registered a case against Scindia, then in the Congress, as well as his then party colleagues Digvijaya Singh, and Kamal Nath, and IT expert Prashant Pandey on the orders of Bhopal Special Judge Suresh Singh.

They were all booked under various sections including production of fraudulent documents, but Scindia has not mentioned the case, said Bouddh.

The petitioners will now take the matter to a Bhopal court.

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