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Election

Khattar govt betrayed people, unemployment at all time high: Selja

The 90 Assembly seats in Haryana will go to the polls on October 21, while the results will be declared on October 24.

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Kumari Selja

New Delhi, Sep 22 : Eyeing a comeback in the Haryana Assembly polls, the Congress is all geared up to highlight the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government’s “betrayal” of the people, as unemployment rate is at an all time high in the state at 28 per cent.

The 90 Assembly seats in Haryana will go to the polls on October 21, while the results will be declared on October 24.

The Congress, which will soon announce its list of candidates, has also asked its leaders to mention about them being “teetotallers” and “using khaadi” in their membership forms for getting tickets to contest the Assembly polls.

In a candid interview with IANS, former Union Minister and Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja said, “Every election brings challenges and this one is no different. The BJP government in the state made over 154 promises in its manifesto in 2014 but it has not been able to fulfil any of them.”

“They bring in extraneous issues and do not even look at how the people of Haryana are suffering,” she added.

Accusing the state government of using diversionary tactics, Selja said, “They just want to white wash the real issues and raise different kind of matters, hoping that people will believe them and give BJP the mandate.

“But I am 100 per cent sure that people have seen through this veil of lies unleashed by the BJP and they will teach the ruling party a lesson in the Assembly polls.”

The Congress, which was in power in Haryana from 2004 to 2014, lost to the BJP in the last Assembly polls held in 2014, when the saffron party won 47 seats while the Congress managed only 15.

Describing unemployment as the biggest issue in the state, Selja said, “I am very sorry to say that under the Khattar-led government, Haryana achieved the dubious distinction of having an unemployment rate of 28 per cent, the highest in the country.”

Selja, who was appointed Haryana Congress chief on September 4 by interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, also slammed the BJP government for indulging in vendetta politics, saying the saffron party is afraid of Congress leaders as they are the voice of the common people.

“You can see how selective they are,” she said, referring to former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and senior party leader and MLA Kuldeep Singh Bishnoi being on the radar of investigating agencies.

“They are targeting our leaders because they fear the Congress,” she said, adding, “Congress has stood by the common people and now the BJP is targeting our leaders.”

Slamming the BJP for misusing agencies like the Income Tax Department, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Selja said, “They may misuse the agencies, but I am sure that ultimately the law of the land will prevail, not just through the judiciary, but also during the elections.”

The Congress leader said that the people will see through the vendetta politics of the BJP during the elections and realise that it is not delivering on its promises, rather it is simply targeting political people to take away the attention from the real issues.

To a question on aspiring candidates mentioning being “teetotallers” and “using khaadi” in ther forms, Selja said, “This has been there in the party’s membership form since earlier days. We are all disciple of (Mahatma) Gandhiji,” she said.

When asked by when the party will release its candidates’ list for the upcoming Assembly polls, Selja said, “It will be released shortly. The schedule is out and the time is short, so we will release the list as soon as possible.”

Stressing that Congress has always delivered on its poll promises, Selja said, “For this year’s Assembly polls, the manifesto committee is going to have its first meeting today.”

She also said that the party has asked for suggestions from the people. “Everyone is free to give their suggestions and we will try to incoperate what is workable in the interest of the people of Haryana.

“We deliver what we promise, that is the record of the Congress party,” she said.

On the campaign plans of Sonia Gandhi, former party chief Rahul Gandhi and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, Selja said the party is finalising their schedule.

When pointed out that there was infighting in the state unit of the Congress, she said, “All these are part of politics. But it doesn’t take anything away from the ultimate aim, which is to topple the corrupt BJP government.

“Everyone is working on the ground under the Congress flag. Some people may have different views, but that is part of politics.”

When told about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah highlighting the abrogation of Article 370 and the passing of the Triple Talaq Bill in the Parliament during their poll campaign in the state, Selja said the issues have no relevance in Haryana.

“We have seen how Chief Minister Khattar reacted to the revocation of Article 370, saying ‘we will now bring girls from Kashmir to marry our boys’. This is their mindset.

“Look at his narrow vision. He believes that boys from Haryana will now be able to go Kashmir and get Kashmiri girls for marriage, as if they are properties or commodities. This is what they are trying to teach the people of Haryana,” she said.

“Khattar has a lot to answer to the people of the state,” she added.

Khattar stirred a controversy last month when a video of his speech went viral on social media in which he was heard saying, “Some people are now saying as Kashmir is open, brides will be brought from there.”

Khattar was expressing concern over the low sex ratio in Haryana at an event in Fatehabad when he made the remark in an apparent reference to the scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

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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