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National issues dominate University polls in Delhi

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Voting underway for JNUSU elections

New Delhi, Sep 13 These may have been elections just to elect the students union of a university but the issues that dominated the campaigning were of national level.

Abolition of special status of Jammu and Kashmir, mob lynching and alleged “saffronisation”, along with the “tukde tukde” episode, took the centre stage this time in the high profile elections to the Jawaharlal Nehru Univeristy Students Union (JNUSU).

Voting for JNUSU elections, which are seen as proxy polls for the national parties, was held on September 6. The results were expected to be out by September 8 but a dispute erupted and reached the Delhi High Court, which ordered a stay on declaration of results till September 17.

The HC stay came after two students from the university approached it alleging that the Lyngdoh Committee Rules were being flouted in the conduct of the polls. Hence, the counting of votes was halted midway.

During the campaign, BJP-affiliated Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) raked up the issue of nationalism.

It focussed on telling students that ‘tukde-tukde’ episode of 2016 on the campus was the worst in JNU history and only ABVP can help the varsity to get rid of the ‘anti-national’ tag.

In 2016, it was alleged that a group of students gathered in JNU and raised anti-national slogans. Delhi police booked Left-backed students union president Kanhaiya Kumar and office bearer Umar Khalid, alleging that they had organised the programme and actively participated in it.

Kumar contested the last Lok Sabha elections in Bihar’s Begusarai, where he was defeated by BJP’s Giriraj Singh.

“The Left parties and their leader (Kumar) played major part in giving JNU anti-national tag. Only ABVP can help them get rid of it,” said Siddharth Yadav, state secretary of ABVP.

Students from Left-oriented political groups raked up the issue of abolition of special status of J&K granted under Article 370 and the communication blackout in valley.

Left-affiliated candidates also tried to use cases of mob lynching to garner votes in their favour. Most of them contended that such cases increased in the country since 2015.

“The central government has failed to safeguard minorities and if ABVP wins, then the same will be repeated in varsity,” leaders of left alliance were seen saying during campaign.

Congress-affiliated National Students Union of India (NSUI) raised the issue of communication blackout in J&K, while maintaining that it will always remain a part of India.
In Delhi University, where the students union elections will take place on Thursday, the issues ranged from Kashmir to “saffronisation”.

Student leaders spoke about issues like removal of ‘Gujarat riot’ chapter from syllabus and installation of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s bust, which was later blackened by NSUI.

The ABVP here tried to replicate BJP’s model of election campaigning and appointed “Panna Pramukhs” to increase influence among voters. The RSS’ student wing focused more on the work done by the outgoing DUSU, which was dominated by ABVP.

NSUI raised issues like economic slowdown, communication blackout in valley and referred to last year’s forged degree debacle, which had left ABVP embarrassed.

ABVP’s presidential candidate Ankiv Baisoya was found to have submitted forged degree for admission in DU. Though he won the elections, he had to step down from the post of president, after NSUI aggressively fought for his disqualification.

Baisoya’s admission in Delhi University was cancelled upon which had to resign from the post of DUSU president.

Election

PM Modi doesn’t understand economy: Rahul in Haryana

Citing the lack of jobs and the rising farmers distress, he said: “The fate of country is known to you… unemployment is highest in the country in last 45 years.

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Rahul Gandhi

Mahendergarh (Haryana), Oct 18 : Hitting out the BJP-led Central government over the slowdown, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “does not know anything about economics”.

Addressing his second rally in Haryana, in the Ahirwal region – seen as a BJP citadel, ahead of the October 21 Assembly elections, the former Congress President warned that the economic situation will become worse and “big corporates will run away like Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi”.

Citing the lack of jobs and the rising farmers distress, he said: “The fate of country is known to you… unemployment is highest in the country in last 45 years.

If you ask business men, either small or medium, everybody will say that demonetisation and GST has ruined them.”

“If Nyay (the Congress proposal for a universal basic income in the 2019 polls) had been implemented, then the things would have been better, but Haryana has a chance to vote for the Congress,” Gandhi added.

He said that Modi had assured that farmers’ loans would be written off but it has not happened, but the government has “written off loans of corporates to tune of Rs 5.5 lakh crore”.

“More than Rs 1 lakh crore have been given as tax rebate to corporates. But he (Modi) will not give money to the poor,” he added.

Gandhi said that under the Congress-led UPA, India was competing with the US and China, but “now India’s image has been dented due to the BJP’s policies”.

“Their sole aim is to divide people and fight each other,” he said, stressing that a “divided India can’t march ahead”.

Gandhi also criticised the media, saying that they “do not give the real picture to the people”.

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Election

Despite Article 370, Local Unemployment and Business remains topmost issues in ensuing Haryana, Maha polls

Significantly, the BJP’s main poll plank of abolition of special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under Article 370 did not figure among the biggest issues for the voters.

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BJP Election Flag

New Delhi, Oct 18 : Notwithstanding the BJP’s high-decibel pitch for Article 370, local employment and business is the topmost issue for the electorate of Maharashtra and Haryana in the October 21 Assembly elections, according to a IANS-CVoter poll survey.

At the same time, there is a big chunk of voters in the “Others/Can’t say” category, as reflected in the survey conducted between September 16 and October 16.

Both Haryana and Maharashtra are currently ruled by the BJP.

In Haryana, 28 per cent of those asked about the “Biggest issue for you at the moment” opted for the “Status of local employment/business”.

In Maharashtra, 23.1 per cent identified this as the biggest issue for them.

The status of water supply was second biggest issue for the voters in both the states. While in Haryana, 12.4 per cent of those surveyed said so, 18.4 per cent stated this in Maharashtra.

Condition of local roads stood third in the sample survey in these states, with 8.6 per cent identifying it as one of the biggest issues in Haryana and 14.1 per cent doing so in Maharashtra.

The issue of “condition of social/caste/religious harmony” figured very poorly in the survey, with only 0.9 per cent identifying it as one of the biggest issues in Haryana and a similar number doing so in Maharashtra.

In Haryana, only 0.4 per cent saw women security as one of the biggest issues while in Maharashtra, the issue had only 0.3 per cent votaries.

Status of law and order was found to be a big issue only by 0.9 per cent in Haryana and 0.3 per cent in Maharashtra.

Control on corruption in government was one of the biggest issues only for 3.1 per cent in Haryana and merely 1.4 per cent in Maharashtra.

The status of economy, which is the main poll plank of Opposition Congress in both the states, was a big issue only for 0.3 per cent in Haryana and 0.2 per cent in Maharashtra.

Control on price rise was a major issue for 4.3 per cent in Haryana and 4.1 in Maharashtra.

Significantly, the BJP’s main poll plank of abolition of special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under Article 370 did not figure among the biggest issues for the voters.

The BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been making a big pitch about the issue, saying that such a “bold” step could be taken only by a strong and decisive government.

The Congress, which is on a defensive on this issue, has been raking up the status of economy, which has been slowing down lately, to counter the BJP. The Congress has been particularly highlighting the job losses witnessed over the last several months.

In the survey, 30.3 per cent in Haryana and 19.1 per cent in Maharashtra opted for “Others/Can’t Say”.

Among other issues, status of electricity supply was big for 5.7 per cent in Haryana and 2.7 per cent Maharashtra.

The sample size of the survey in Haryana was 10,061 and 19,489 in Maharashtra.

Haryana has 90-member Assembly while the strength of the Maharashtra Assembly is 288.

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Election

Election Commission notice to Mumbai BJP chief on communal speech

He apparently referred to the Dongri and Nagpada areas, inhabited mostly by minorities, while referring to “lanes”.

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Mangal Prabhat Lodha

Mumbai, Oct 18 : The Election Commission on Thursday issued a show-cause notice to Mumbai chief of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party Mangal Prabhat Lodha for his alleged communal remarks during the ongoing poll campaign.

Lodha had recenly at an election rally in Mumbadevi constituency, which has a sizeable Muslim population, hinted that the explosives used for blasts in the early nineties in Mumbai were “manufactured in the lanes within 5 km.”

He apparently referred to the Dongri and Nagpada areas, inhabited mostly by minorities, while referring to “lanes”.

The EC has taken cognizance of his speech and asked him to explain. According to a report, an EC team present at the meeting had recorded his speech.

Mumbai goes to the polls on October 21.

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