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Mamata blasts EC after it show-causes her for poll code violation

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Mamata-Banerjee

Kolkata, April 14 : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday went all guns blazing against the Election Commission which show-caused her for violation of the model code of conduct and also announced initiating legal action against controversial Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal.

Barely minutes after Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi informed the media about show-causing Banerjee over her announcement of making Asansol a district and other utterances, the Trinamool supremo thundered “people will show-cause the commission” on May 19 when results of the assembly polls will be declared.

“It was brought to the knowledge of the commission that a statement was made in Asansol that Asansol district will be set up, and (there were) certain other utterances which are contained in our notice,” Zaidi told the media in Kolkata.

On threats by Birbhum district Trinamool president Anubrata Mondal that the opposition would “vanish” on the day of the polls there (April 17), Zaidi said the poll panel was taking action.

“Barring one, all political parties have brought to our attention the alleged incident in the district and the commission is initiating urgent legal action against any such person. You will come to know soon,” he said.

The full bench of the EC held day-long meetings with police and administration officials and also met delegations from various political parties ahead of the next phase of the state assembly polls scheduled for April 17.

Appearing unmoved, Banerjee said she stood by whatever she had said and lashed out against the poll panel while addressing a rally in Murarai of Birbhum district.

“They (the opposition) have complained to the EC against me. Whatever I have said I stand by my point. I still stand by my point.

“The CPI-M, Congress and the BJP have their men in the EC. You can’t rob me of my democratic rights. Whatever I have said, I have done the right thing. I will say the same thing thousands of times,” she said.

She also warned her political opponents of seeking “inch by inch” replies from them for the canards and disinformation spread against her.

“I will take replies inch by inch for the canards… for the injustice done to me, the character assassination they have indulged in.”

Lashing out at the poll panel for threatening legal action against Mondal, a fuming Banerjee asked why shouldn’t leaders of other parties like the CPI-M’s Mohammed Salim or state Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury be arrested.

“Why shouldn’t (CPI-M leader) Sujon (Chakraborty), Biman (Bose) and Buddahdeb (Bhattacharjee) be arrested?” she asked.

Pointing to the removal of Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar and the changing of “300-350 officers-in-charge” of police stations, Banerjee accused the EC of “doing whatever the Congress, BJP and the CPI-M asks you to do”.

“Are we not human beings also? Why should everything be done unilaterally?” she asked.

The opposition dubbed Banerjee’s outbursts against the EC as an attempt to distract the masses from the issues plaguing the Trinamool.

“The way the Saradha scam and the Narada sting operation have tarnished her image, the chief minster’s attack on the EC is nothing but a ploy to distract the masses from these issues,” said Congress MP Chowdhury.

He also accused the Trinamool of trying to influence the lower rung of the poll panel through inducements.

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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