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Maharashtra crisis: Congress accuses BJP of ‘horse-trading’

“At least half a dozen of our MLAs have received calls from some people claiming to be from the BJP. They are being lured with starting offers of Rs 25 crore each to switch loyalties,”

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Vijay N Wadettiwar

Mumbai, Nov 8 : The Maharashtra Congress on Friday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of allegedly attempting ‘horse-trading’ of its legislators, 24 hours before the tenure of the state Assembly expires on November 9.

“At least half a dozen of our MLAs have received calls from some people claiming to be from the BJP. They are being lured with starting offers of Rs 25 crore each to switch loyalties,” Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly, Vijay N. Wadettiwar told IANS.

However, he declined to name the legislators who had got such offers or from whom, though Igatpuri MLA Hiraman B. Khoskar confirmed the development.

“Yes, I have been approached by some persons with offers to change my loyalties. However, I told them that I would not betray my party or my voters,” Khoskar told mediapersons.

Alarmed by the possibilities of poaching, the state Congress convened an emergency meeting of all its 44 legislators and instructed them to beware of any such tactics that the ruling party may resort to.

“As a further precaution, we have advised them to record all such mega-offer calls or conversations and send them to the leadership. We shall then expose them before the people,” Wadettiwar said.

To a question, he said though the party has not yet decided to herd all its legislators at any particular location, by evening a decision may be taken on this.

According to some other office-bearers, the susceptible legislators are likely to be shifted to Jaipur (Rajasthan) or Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) or even Delhi, though the final call is likely to be taken only later on Friday.

The Shiv Sena has already secured all its 56 legislators in Hotel Rangsharda, a modest hotel in southern Bandra and party activists are maintaining a 24×7 watch there.

Stung by the ‘poaching’ allegations, the BJP on Thursday said it never indulges in such activities and was pained by such statements.

Election

Not Raghubar Das, Modi-Shah will lead Jharkhand campaign

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Modi-and-Amit-Shah

New Delhi, Nov 14 : With the formal divorce between the AJSU and BJP in Jharkhand, the saffron party has its strategy ready: Don’t make Raghubar Das the party face; let PM Modi and Amit Shah take the lead and harp more on national issues than focus on achievements of the state government.

After November 13, the last day of nomination for Jharkhand, the split between the two warring allies in Jharkhand became official. Even the JD-U and LJP — two NDA constituents — decided to go solo. Hence, the BJP has decided to mount an aggressive campaign, confident of an advantage in a 3-way fight.

But the biggest roadblock for the party remains its chief ministerial face: Raghubar Das whose unpopularity even within the state BJP has reached the ears of both BJP working president J.P. Nadda and President Amit Shah.

Sources say a conscious decision has been taken to keep the BJP’s CM face not in the foreground. “We know there is disenchantment with him. But accepting that before election will be suicidal. He is our ‘Ram Chandra'”, joked a senior BJP leader.

But there are enough hints to suggest that, in spite of having a CM face, it’s the Prime Minister Narednra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah who will take the lead in Jharkhand campaign. When asked how many rallies the PM will address, a BJP leaders told IANS, “All I can say at this point is that from booth presidents to the Prime Minister, all will be active in the campaign”.

But sources say, the PM will hold more rallies in Jharkhand than he held in either Maharashtra or Haryana.

The BJP will make abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir and development of the two Union territories as the main issues which may find frequent mention in Modis’ campaign speeches in the state, sources said.

A BJP insider said the party has evaluated that it is more likely to benefit in the eastern state from national muscular issues than by talking about local concerns. The abrogation of the contentious Article also found mention in Maharashtra and Haryana elections. But this time, both PM and Shah are likely to talk about J&K’s economic rejuvenation, growing apple trade and growing connect with the mainland, which may find emotional resonance in Jharkhand.

“Our findings say people of Jharkhand feel “connected” with the issue of abrogation of Article 370″, said a BJP general secretary requesting anonymity.

The other issue that Prime Minister Modi, Shah and top Central and state leaders would talk about will be how the BJP has been able to deliver a “stable government” in the state, said a BJP source.

Despite Jharkhand being the country’s hub for coal mining and minerals, the state’s governance in the past was held to ransom because of frequent political instability.

Till 2013, Jharkahnd saw eight governments and four chief ministers — Babulal Marandi (Nov 2000 to March 2003), Arjun Munda (2003/2005/2010), Shibu Soren (2005/2008/2009) and Madhu Koda (2006) from November 15, 2000 when it came to existence. Small parties and independents who would switch sides and bring down government hampered growth of one of India’s most mineral-rich states.

When PM Modi will deliver his speeches, he is likely to stress the contrast a BJP government has provided where it ran a full term without any glitches. It is the ‘stability vs instability’ card that both Modi and Shah are likely to play throughout their campaign, say sources.

However, many BJP leaders accept that winning Jharkhand would not be as easy as it was in 2014. But the party also knows that there is a growing young population inclined towards it and also a generation tired of witnessing governments falling easily. To exploit that advantage, the BJP is keen to put its most trusted man forward: Narendra Modi.

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Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir soon: Lt Guv Murmu

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Girish Chandra Murmu

Jammu, Nov 14 : Newly-appointed Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Girish Chandra Murmu on Thursday said that assembly elections in the Union Territory would be held soon.

He was speaking at the Attestation-cum-Passing out Parade of the 14th BRTC batch of Constables held in Reasi district.

The statement by Murmu, who took over on October 31 as the first Lt Governor of the Union Territory, will come as a relief to political parties.

Assembly polls in Kashmir were delayed due to the law and order situation.

On August 5, the government revoked the special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two UTs — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

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Supreme Court decision has exposed ‘Operation Kamal: Congress

The ball is now in Modi’s court to enquire into the role of Yediyurappa and Modi in the controversy.

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karnataka rebel mla

New Delhi, Nov 13 : Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala on Wednesday said the Supreme Court’s decision on the disqualification of 17 MLAs in Karnataka has burst the bubble of BJP’s ‘Operation Kamal.’

Taking to Twitter, Surjewala demanded the Yediyurappa-led BJP government in Karnataka should now be dismissed for “brazenly and illegally” bringing down the Congress-Janata Dal(S) alliance government in the state.

“The SC’s decision upholding the disqualification of “defector MLAs” has burst the bubble of BJP’s ‘Operation Kamal’. It’s now proved that BJP brazenly and illegally brought down an elected JD(S)-Congress govt in Karnataka. Yedurappa govt is an illegitimate govt & should be dismissed,” Surjewala said in his tweet.

Fourteen rebel MLAs of the Congress and three of the JD(S) had been disqualified under the anti-defection law by the Karnataka Speaker in July that led to toppling of the Congress-JD(S) government in the state and brought in a BJP government led by Yediyurappa.

“Democratic mandate and constitutional principles demand that not only the ‘illegitimate’ Yediyurappa govt should be dismissed but a full inquiry be also held into the sinister conspiracy of BJP to bring down an elected govt by misusing money power”, he tweeted.

While the Supreme Court has disqualified the rebel Independent MLAs, it has also allowed them to contest elections, putting BJP in a peculiar situation.

The Congress spokesperson has also demanded an independent inquiry into alleged horse-trading.

“Democratic mandate & constitutional principles warrant that an independent inquiry be held to ascertain: the ugly truth of ‘Yediyurappa Tapes’; where did the ‘black money’ come from; and what was the role of ‘BJP leadership’ in this sordid saga?” tweeted Surjewala.

He has further said that the ball is now in Modi’s court to enquire into the role of Yediyurappa and Modi in the controversy.

“Will Modiji show the courage of conviction to dismiss Yediyurappa govt? Will PM order an investigation into ‘Operation Kamal’? Will you now give BJP ticket to the ‘defector MLAs’, who have been ‘disqualified’ by the Supreme Court? If PM doesn’t take these steps, the onus of soiling the ‘Ganga of Democracy’ would lie at his doorstep,” he said in a series of tweets.

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