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Election

Congress heads for big win in Punjab, AAP ends as opposition

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Chandigarh, March 11 : The Congress was on Saturday headed for a two-third majority in the 117-seat Punjab assembly, with veteran Amarinder Singh set to return as Chief Minister of the border state.

The Congress, which had been out of power in Punjab for a decade, had won 57 seats and was leading on 20 others, paving the way for the next Congress government in Punjab.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Amarinder Singh and congratulated him.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which claimed it could win up to 100 seats, got only 18 and was leading on another three. Its ally, Lok Insaf Party, won two seats.

The saving grace for the AAP is that it will be the main opposition in the new assembly.

The Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance, which ruled Punjab since 2007, was set to finish a poor third with 17 seats. The Akalis won 12 seats and led on two. The BJP won three seats.

Ten ministers, including all four from the BJP, were defeated.

Congress candidate Gurjeet Singh Aujla led on the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat by over 1.70 lakh votes. A by-election was held along with the assembly polls.

Having won Punjab for his party on his 75th birthday, Amarinder Singh said his first priority would be to eradicate drugs from the state.

“The people of Punjab have given us a big mandate. Our first priority will be to eradicate drugs from Punjab. I have vowed to finish drugs within four weeks,” a visibly happy Amarinder Singh told the media.

A former Chief Minister (2002-07), Amarinder Singh turned 75 years old on Saturday.

He was non-committal on having cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu as Deputy Chief Minister in the next government.

“That will be decided by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. All ministers will be decided by the party leadership.”

In Chandigarh, security was enhanced outside the private bungalow of Amarinder Singh in the upscale Sector 10. A metal detector and more security personnel were deployed as the number of visitors increased.

Outgoing Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal accepted defeat and said he will resign on Sunday.

Badal, 89, the oldest Chief Minister in the country, said: “I am grateful to the people of Punjab for giving me an opportunity to serve them. I am fully satisfied with all the things I was able to do. I seek forgiveness for any mistakes.”

On the Lambi assembly seat, where Amarinder Singh had challenged Badal on his (Badal’s) home turf, Badal won by 22,770 votes. But Amarinder Singh won his traditional Patiala Urban seat by over 52,400 votes.

The Chief Minister’s son Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Akali Dal President, led in Jalalabad over AAP’s Bhagwant Singh Mann.

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu dubbed the Congress victory as its “revival” and blamed the Akali rout on its leadership’s “arrogance and turning the treasury into personal property”.

Sidhu, who left the BJP to join the Congress last year, also attacked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. “Kejriwal had wrong intentions. It is a huge defeat for him.”

Prominent AAP winners included Sukhpal Singh Khaira, H.S. Phoolka and Kanwar Sandhu. The AAP also finished second in 26 constituencies.

Election

Karnataka Polls: BJP releases fourth list of 7 candidates

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New Delhi, April 23: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday released the fourth list of candidates for the upcoming crucial Karnataka Elections.

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Election

ECI announces election date for Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh

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New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday announced the date for the biennial elections in Maharashtra and a by-poll in Andhra Pradesh.

The two elections will be held on May 21 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Maharashtra election was necessitated as the term of six Legislative Council members will end on May 31 and June 21.

Anil Dattatrey Tatkare’s term from the Raigarh-cum-Ratnagiri-cum-Sindhudurg seat will end on May 31, while the terms of Jadhav Jaywantrao Pundlikrao from Nashik, Bhangdiya Mitesh Gotulal from Wardha-cum-Chandrapur-cum-Gadhchiroli, Abdullah Khan A. Latif Khan Durrani from Prabhani-cum-Hingoli, Pravin Ramchandraji Pote from Amravati and Deshmukh Dileeprao Dagdojirao from Osmanabad-cum-Latur-cum-Beed will expire on June 21, according to the ECI.

The by-election in Andhra Pradesh is being held as Gali Muddukrishnama Naidu from the Chittoor local authorities’ constituency died on February 7.

As per the ECI schedule, the date of issuance of notifications will be April 26 while the last date of nomination will be May 3.

The scrutiny of nominations will be on May 4 while the last date for withdrawal of candidature is May 7.

The ECI also said the elections will be completed by May 29.

IANS

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Karnataka BJP MP Sreeramulu contesting assembly polls

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Bengaluru, April 22 (IANS) BJP’s Lok Sabha lawmaker from Karnataka’s Ballari, B. Sreeramulu on Saturday filed nomination to contest in the May 12 assembly elections from Molakamuru (reserved) seat in Chitradurga district.

Sreeramulu, 47, filed the nomination in the presence of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Molakamuru constituency is reserved for Scheduled Tribes (STs).

As per his poll affidavit, Sreeramulu declared his income and assets, including that of his wife Bhagyalakshmi, to be valued at Rs 18.17 crore.

He has disclosed cash and bank deposits valued at over Rs 4.5 crore and other immovable assets including property and buildings worth over Rs 12 crore.

Sreeramulu was the Health and Family Welfare and Tourism Minister from 2008-2011 in the state’s first Bharatiya Janata Party government, but stepped down from the post and resigned from the party to protest the alleged ill-treatment by the party to then cabinet minister and Ballari mining baron G. Janardhan Reddy.

He had rejoined and contested the Lok Sabha election in 2014 as a BJP candidate from the rich mining district of Ballari.

After quitting the BJP in 2011, Sreeramulu floated a regional outfit Badava Shramika Raitha Congress (BSR Congress) and won four seats in the 2013 assembly polls, after which he quit his own party to rejoin BJP. However, his BSR Congress remains and is identified as a BJP ally in the state.

Sreeramulu is also one of the two MPs among the candidates announced so far by the BJP to contest the assembly elections, with the other being Yeddyurappa, A Lok Sabha member from Shivamogga.

In a related development, the opposition BJP’s sitting MLA from Molakamuru, S. Thippeswamy, has decided to contest from the constituency as an Independent after he was not re-nominated by the party and in protest against the selection of Sreeramulu, an outsider, from Ballari district.

Till Friday, the BJP has announced 213 candidates to contest the 224-member Karnataka assembly polls. The party had, in its second list of 82 candidates released on April 16, fielded G. Somashekar Reddy, younger brother of Janardhan Reddy, from Ballari City segment.

The third list released on Friday had includedAKarunakar Reddy, another of Reddy’s brothers, from Harapanahalli in Ballari.

OANS

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