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Election

64.44% votes cast in Ist phase of Jharkhand polls

Several constituencies in the first phase fall in Naxal-affected areas such as Latehar, Lohardaga, Chatra, Gumla, Manika, Panki and Daltonganj.

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Assembly elections Voter

Ranchi, Nov 30 : Jharkhand witnessed 64.44 per cent polling in the first phase of the vote in the 13 Assembly constituencies on Saturday, which is one per cent more than 63.29 per cent recorded in these seats in the 2014 elections.

Defying the Maoist boycott call, voters queued up in large numbers at polling stations since morning to caste their votes.

According to Election Commission final data, the polling per cent was 64.44. The highest polling 71.47 per cent was recorded at Lohardagga and the lowest 56.59 per cent at the Chatra seat.

There was no major incident reported in the first phase. Maoist rebels tried to create fear among people by triggering four landmine blast in Gumla and blew up a bridge.

Minor clashes were reported between workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress in the Daltanganj Assembly seat. Congress candidate K.N. Triptahy waved his licenced revolver in the air after he was stopped from entering a polling booth.

The Election Commission has sought report on the incident and has cancelled his licence.

The 13 seats that went to polls are: Chatra, Latehar and Chattarpur (reserved for SC), Gumla, Bishunpur, Lohardaga, Manika (all ST seats), Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawnathpur.

Of the 37,78,963 voters in this phase, 19,79,991 were men, 17,98,966 women and five belonged to the third gender. 189 candidates are in the race, including 15 women. A maximum of 28 candidates were in Bhawnathpur, and a minimum of nine in the Chatra seat.

According to Election Commission, of the 4,892 booths in the first phase, 4,585 were located in rural areas and 307 in urban areas. Of this, 121 were Sakhi booths and 417 model booths. In the first phase, webcasting facility was provided at 1,262 booths.

Heavy security arrangements had been made and helicopters were used for airlifting and dropping of the poll officials in difficult terrain and Maoist-hit areas.

The leading candidates, whose fate had been sealed in the first phase, included Jharkhand Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi, Congress state chief Rameshwar Oraon and former Minister and BJP candidate Bhanu Pratap Shahi.

The BJP is fighting 12 seats and supporting Independent on one seat. The Jharkahnd Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Congress, the RJD fighting poll in alliance have fielded candidates in four, six and three seats, respectively.

On nine seats, it was direct contest between the BJP and the JMM-Congress-RJD alliance.

Of the triangular on three seats, the contest in Lohardagga where between Congress state president Rameshwar Oraon, former state Congress chief, sitting MLA and now BJP candidate Sukhdeo Bhagat, and the All Jharkhand Students Union candidate Niru Bhagat.

In Hussainabad seat, the fight is four-cornered. Here former Minister and NCP candidate Kamlesh is drawing attention of voters. He was Minister in the Madhu Koda government and have spent time in jail in different cases.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Raghubar Das appealed voters to vote in large number.

Election

Congress ropes in Prashant Kishor for Madhya Pradesh bypolls

By-elections are due in 24 seats following the demise of two MLAs and rebellion by 22 MLAs from the Congress.

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Prashant-Kishor

Gwalior, May 22 : The Congress has roped in political strategist Prashant Kishor to lend edge to its by-election campaign in Madhya Pradesh. The state will witness by-polls to 24 seats in the next four months due to the rebellion by former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia who bolted with 22 MLAs into the BJP.

The unprecedented situation has put doubts in the minds of both Congress and BJP supporters

It took the Kamal Nath-led government just 15 months to spill the power it earned through 15 years’ struggle. Prashant Kishor played a crucial role even during 2018 assembly elections to help the party return to power. The Congress is weighing the proposal from three advertising and image-building firms to take charge of its campaign.

First thing, the party plans to take the battle to the Scindia stronghold of Gwalior-Chambal region by setting up the war-room in Gwalior. This is to overcome logistic issues during the lockdown. Some former close associates of the Gwalior scion like Ramniwas Rawat and Anil Singh who have stayed back in the Congress will lead the charge. They believe Scindia’s desertion has not gone down well with his constituents and he is no longer invincible given his miserable failure to retain the Guna Lok Sabha seat in May 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Former Leader of Opposition, Ajay Singh, is likely to be fielded in Surkhi against Govind Singh Rajput whom Shivraj Singh Chouhan had included in the first lot of ministers.

Congress is also seriously considering pitting former MP Premchand Guddu against another minister Tulsi Silavat. Guddu has been an MLA in the past, from the Sanwer seat reserved for the Scheduled Castes. He had joined the BJP in the last elections, but claims to have left it in February while the party served a notice on him for anti-party activities.

Congress leaders are also persuading former MP Meenakshi Natarajan to contest the by-elections from Suwasra against her former supporter Hardeep Singh Dung, who left the Congress to join the BJP.

The Congress is also considering former minister Ramnivas Rawat, Ashok Singh or a Brahmin leader from Badnawar against Pradyuman Singh Tomar in Gwalior.

The Congress has made strategic organisational changes to take on the twin challenge of Scindia supporting ex-members of Congress as also the BJP rivals. It appointed 11 district Presidents on Wednesday. The party hopes to harness the anger among the people over the way the BJP has handled the recent Corona crisis and its aftermath among the workers.

By-elections are due in 24 seats following the demise of two MLAs and rebellion by 22 MLAs from the Congress.

Of these, 16 seats are Gwalior-Chambal division. These by-elections will decide the political future of the Chouhan government and Congress.

In Gwalior Rural, Congress has appointed Ashok Singh as district President. Ashok Singh, once an ardent supporter of Scindias, believes the royalty lost much of its influence by submitting before the BJP. The party has also appointed a new district President in Guna district, a stronghold of Scindia.

Chief Minister Chouhan has the unenviable task of balancing the aspirations of old BJP hands who will have to make sacrifices for the recent arrivals from the Congress. They would also have to seek support for the former adversaries.

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Election

Governor’s rule in Tripura autonomous tribal body

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Ramesh Bais

Agartala/Guwahati, May 18 : After the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in Assam, Governor’s rule was imposed in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) on Monday as the polls have been postponed indefinitely due to the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of novel coronavirus, officials said.

Chief Executive Officer of the TTAADC Balin Debbarma said that G.K. Rao, former Tripura Chief Secretary and a retired IAS officer, has been appointed as the Administrator of the autonomous body. Tripura Governor Ramesh Bais appointed Rao, who of late was the member of the Tripura Police Accountability Commission, to run the politically important tribal autonomous body on his behalf.

The 30-member TTAADC, until Sunday, was governed by the opposition CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) and its five-year term expired on May 17. An official of the TTAADC said that within the next six months, the elections to the council would have to be conducted as per the mandate of the Constitution.

Opposition CPI-M state Secretary Gautam Das and Tripura Pradesh Congress President Pijush Biswas separately asked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government to conduct the elections of the TTAADC within the stipulated period. The politically important TTAADC, which was constituted under the sixth Schedule of the Constitution in June, 1985, has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,491 sq km are, home to over 12,16,000 people, mostly tribals.

In Assam, on the recommendations of the state government, the State Election Commission recently put off the 40-member BTC polls for an indefinite period. Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi, who is the constitutional head of the Sixth Schedule areas like that of BTC, had also earlier suggested postponement of the council polls.

Mukhi on April 27 appointed Rajesh Prasad, a 1995-batch IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, as the administrator of the BTC following the promulgation of Governor’s Rule.

The politically important BTC, which started functioning in December 2003, comprises four districts of western Assam — Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri and is home to over 31,00,000 people, the majority of whom are tribals. Before the Governor’s rule in BTC, since 2003 it was governed by the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), a local party and an ally of the BJP-led Assam government.

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Election

Supreme Court’s relief for Gujarat minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, High Court order stayed

Supreme Court issues notice in the matter. Justice Shantanagoudar says that the Gujarat High Court order has to be stayed.

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Bhupendrasinh Chudasama

New Delhi: Supreme Court stays Gujarat High Court order which had nullified the election of BJP leader Bhupendrasinh Chudasama on the grounds of malpractice and manipulation.

Supreme Court issues notice in the matter. Justice Shantanagoudar says that the Gujarat High Court order has to be stayed.

Senior Lawyer Kapil Sibal, “When have your Lordships stayed matter’s like this which are based on corrupt practices?”

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