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Polling underway for local body elections in Telangana

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Hyderabad : Polling is underway in the municipal elections in Telangana on Wednesday amid elaborate security arrangements, officials said.

The polling began at 7 a.m. in 120 municipalities and nine municipal corporations across the state and it will continue till 5 p.m.

As many as 53.37 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes to elect 325 corporators for municipal corporations and 2,727 councillors for municipalities.

While the notification was issued for elections in 3,052 municipal wards, polling will not be held in 81 wards, where the candidates were elected unanimously.

A total of 1,746 candidates are in fray in the municipal corporations polls while 11,099 candidates are testing their political fortunes in municipalities.

State Election Commissioner V. Nagi Reddy said 1,438 polling stations in nine municipal corporations and 6,325 polling stations in 120 municipalities have been opened. About 45,000 polling personnel are manning the polling centres.

Authorities have deployed 50,000 policemen as part of elaborate arrangements to ensure free and fair polling.

The government has declared a holiday in the areas where elections are being held on Wednesday.

State Election Commission (SEC) officials were monitoring polling through web-casting in 2,406 polling centres while poll process is being videographed in 2,072 centres.

For the first time in the country, SEC is using ‘Face Recognition App’ to prevent fake voting. Ten polling stations under Kompally municipality in Medchal-Malkajgiri district were selected for the pilot project of ‘Face Recognition App’.

Out of 73 new municipalities created in the state last year, 68 are facing elections for the first time. Women will have 50 per cent reservation in all civic bodies.

Elections are not being held in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and 10 other urban local bodies as their tenure is not yet over.

Polling for Karimnagar municipal corporation will be held on January 24.

Ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has fielded candidates in all municipal wards. It faces rebel problem in some places. Main opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are also contesting the polls in majority of the wards. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has fielded candidates in 276 wards.

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Election

Manoj Tiwari offers to quit as Delhi BJP chief

Manoj Tiwari, who was a key campaigner for the BJP in the run-up to Delhi elections, conceded defeat on Tuesday and said the party will evaluate reasons behind the loss.

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Manoj Tiwari

New Delhi, Feb 12: BJP’s Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari offered to resign from his post on Wednesday, just a day after the BJP faced a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi Assembly polls. The party, however, has refused to accept his resignation.

While it may be a reprieve for Tiwari, whose removal was being talked about ever since Tuesday’s election debacle, the BJP leadership is believed to be not in favour of a change of guard at the moment.

Informed sources told IANS that while refusing to accept Tiwari’s resignation, which was addressed to BJP President J.P. Nadda, the party leadership is said to have told Tiwari that a change of guard in Delhi will take place as and when “structural changes” are made in BJP’s Delhi unit.

The Delhi BJP unit has often been a problematic one because of the internal strife. While Vijay Goel has one set of followers, Tiwari has another set and so does Harsh Vardhan.

There have been demands within the party to remove Tiwari from the top post in Delhi for more than a year now. But then BJP President Amit Shah refused to entertain such demands with Delhi elections in mind, where Purvanchalis constitute a sizeable number. Tiwari often flaunts his Purvanchali origin as his political USP.

But after BJP managed to win just eight seats as against AAP’s 62 on Tuesday, the saffron party may seriously think of a complete rejig of the Delhi unit.

In fact, BJP President Nadda has convened a meeting on Wednesday evening to review Delhi poll results and to fix accountability.

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Election

Chacko quits as Delhi Congress in-charge after poll debacle

This is not the first time that Chacko has offered his resignation from the Delhi in-charge post. Last year also he had put in his papers, but was asked to stay on till the elections.

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PC Chacko

New Delhi, Feb 12 : Congress Delhi in-charge P. C. Chacko tendered his resignation from his post on Wednesday to party interim President Sonia Gandhi. The resignation comes a day after the party’s dismal performance in the Delhi Assembly polls in which it scored a zero.

This is the second resignation in the party following its complete rout in the Assembly poll.

On Tuesday evening, party State chief Subhash Chopra quit after owning the defeat. He said that he could not do much for the party, and hence was leaving the post.

This is not the first time that Chacko has offered his resignation from the Delhi in-charge post. Last year also he had put in his papers, but was asked to stay on till the elections.

After Tuesday’s poor showing, the rift within the party is now out in the open with the first salvo coming from Sharmistha Mukherji on Twitter, who said “we should shut shop” while attacking former union minister P. Chidambaram after he expressed happiness about the BJP’s dismal show in the Delhi Assembly elections.

The Congress, which ruled the state for 15 years, could not perform well in the elections, and the local leaders were quick to put the blame on the central leaders.

Congress leaders from former chief minister late Sheila Dikshit’s camp attacked Chacko over leaking a letter written by her son Sandeep Dikshit, a two-time MP, in which he had alleged that “Chacko was responsible for the death of the former Chief Minister, who was under immense pressure from the Delhi in-charge”.

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Digvijay Singh raises EVM issue

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Digvijay Singh

New Delhi, Feb 11 Congress leader Digvijay Singh has raised the EVM issue as vote counting began in Delhi. Early trends showed AAP leading, BJP in second spot with Congress a distant third.

The former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh said that EVMs are not tamper-proof and no developed country uses them.

Singh tweeted: “No Machine which has a Chip is Tamper-Proof. Also please do for a moment think, why no Developed Country uses EVM?

He has urged the Supreme Court and the Election Commission to look into the issue of EVM.

“Would CEC and Honourable Supreme Court please have a fresh look on EVM voting in India? We are the largest Democracy in the World, we can’t allow some Unscrupulous People to Hack Results and steal the Mandate of 1.3 Billion People.”

Digvijay Singh has emphasised that postal ballots should also be counted “If they match the Votes in the Counting Unit. Declare the result. If they don’t match then count the Ballots of all Polling Booths in the Assembly. It would convince every one and save time also as this has been the consistent argument of CEC in favour of EVM”.

The Congress which ruled the state for 15 years under Shiela Dikshit has been struggling to open an account in Delhi.

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