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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.

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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BJP and Congress Flag Poster

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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Election

Bengal: Left, Congress leaders hold talks; to finalise candidates by Jan end

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Congress

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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