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Election

PSOE may win, fall short of majority in Spain

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

Madrid, April 28 (IANS) Voters in Spain on Sunday headed to the polls for the third time in four years. The ruling Spanish Socialist Workers party (PSOE) expected to win the general elections but fall short of a majority.

The election is marked by rise of the far-right movement Vox, which opposes multiculturalism and has threatened to end self-rule for regions like Catalonia. Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has presented himself as a bulwark against the advance of the hard right.

Polls suggest Sanchez’s party will lead the vote, but no single group will win an overall majority, the BBC reported.

The opinion poll in El Pais newspaper put the PSOE at about 30 per cent, the conservative People’s Party (PP) at around 20 per cent, the centre-right Ciudadanos and left-leaning Podemos both near 14 per cent and the far right Vox party at about 11 per cent. However, it also showed up to four in 10 voters were yet to make up their mind.

Voting began at 9 a.m. and will end at 8 p.m. on the mainland.

Speaking after casting vote at a polling station near Madrid, Sanchez said he hoped for stability. “After many years of instability and uncertainty, it’s important that today we send a clear, defined message about the Spain we want. And from there a broad parliamentary majority must be built that can support a stable government,” he said.

An exit poll will be published after the end of voting, but in the previous two elections it failed to give an accurate picture of the outcome.

Almost all votes are expected to be counted by midnight.

The highly polarised campaign was dominated by issues like, national identity, gender equality and the future of Catalonia. The semi-autonomous region of Catalonia held an independence referendum in October 2017 and declared its independence from Spain weeks later.

A dozen of its leaders have since gone on trial in Madrid, facing charges, including rebellion and sedition.

Analysts say support for Vox has been boosted by widespread anger at the independence drive. The party opposes any concessions to secessionists.

Women’s rights have also been a key poll topic. Gender-based violence has provoked debate and street protests across Spain for years and more politicians than ever are courting women’s votes. Vox, however, has spoken out against what it calls “radical feminism” that it claims “criminalises” men.

With polls suggesting no clear mandate, observers say the vote could plunge Spain into a prolonged period of political uncertainty. This also means chances of a repeat election are high.

Particularly notable within the split vote is the rise in support for Vox who are set to become the first far-right party to sit in Parliament since 1982.

Election

Adarsh Shastri joins Cong after denied ticket by AAP

Speaking to the media, Shastri accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of flouting all democratic norms to “sell” tickets for the February 8 Assembly polls for Rs 10-20 crore.

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Adarsh Shastri

New Delhi, Jan 18 : Three days after being dropped by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) from the Delhi Assembly candidates’ list, sitting Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri, grandson of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, joined the Congress here on Saturday.

He along with a large number of followers joined the party in the presence Delhi Congress chief Subhash Chopra and Delhi party in-charge P.C. Chacko. Welcoming him into the party-fold, Chopra said it was home-coming for Shastri whose roots were in the Congress.

Speaking to the media, Shastri accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of flouting all democratic norms to “sell” tickets for the February 8 Assembly polls for Rs 10-20 crore.

Slamming Kejriwal for belittling the AAP legislators, Shastri said, “When I left a high-paying job with Apple Inc to join the AAP I thought a honest man would herald clean politics. But my experiences in the five years have taught me otherwise.”

The Dwarka MLA alleged “huge corruption” in the AAP ticket distribution for the municipal corporation elections and added, Kejriwal would be best remembered for spreading corruption in politics.

He said Kejriwal always refrained from commenting on important issues and his “stony silence” on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), violence against students at the Jamia Millia Islamia and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was baffling.

Charging Kejriwal with playing ‘vote-bank politics’, Shastri said he was an irresponsible Chief Minister and was least concerned about the plight of the people. Shastri was also unhappy for being replaced by an “outsider”.

Shastri, who had won the Dwarka seat with 59.08 per cent votes in 2015, was replaced by Vinay Kumar Mishra, son of former Congress MP Mahabal Mishra. Vinay joined the AAP on Monday and was given the ticket on Tuesday.

The MLA claimed to have worked hard and transformed the constituency in the last five years.

While the AAP has named all 70 candidates, the Congress is yet to do so.

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Congress declares 54 candidates for Delhi polls

Former Delhi minister Ashok Kumar Walia will contest from Krishna Nagar constituency, Haroon Yusuf from Ballimaran, Mateen Ahamad from Seelampur, the party announced.

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Congress

EW DELHI: The Congress on Saturday evening released its first list of 54 candidates for the February 8 Delhi Assembly elections, fielding former Union minister Krishna Tirath from Patel Nagar and former Delhi minister Arvinder Lovely from Gandhi Nagar.

Former AAP leader Alka Lamba, who switched over to the Congress, has been fielded from Chandni Chowk constituency, while election campaign committee chairman Kirti Azad’s wife Poonam Azad will contest from Sangam Vihar.

Former Delhi minister Ashok Kumar Walia will contest from Krishna Nagar constituency, Haroon Yusuf from Ballimaran, Mateen Ahamad from Seelampur, the party announced.

The Congress has not decided its candidate against Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal from the New Delhi seat.

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Denied ticket, AAP MLAs start quitting party

According to sources, AAP MLA from Delhi Cantonment Surinder Singh is also planning to switch.

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Jagdeep Singh

New Delhi, Jan 18 : Days after the Aam Aadmi Party announced the list of its candidates for the February 8 Delhi Assembly elections and dropped 15 sitting MLAs, legislators have started quitting the party with Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri and Hari Nagar MLA Jagdeep Singh the latest in the list.

While Shastri, the grandson of late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri who won the seat with 59.08 per cent votes in 2015, quit the AAP and joined the Congress on Saturday, Singh also announced that he has resigned from the party.

However, Singh has not revealed his next move.

Speaking to IANS, Singh said he will reveal the details soon.

Singh was using Kejriwal’s image as his profile picture on his official Twitter profile and changed it on Saturday.

Sitting AAP MLA from Badarpur N. D. Sharma on Tuesday had said that he has resigned from the party and accused party chief Arvind Kejriwal and senior leader Manish Sisodia of taking Rs 20 crore for giving the election ticket to a ‘land mafia’, after he was denied the ticket.

Sharma has joined the Bahujan Samaj Party and will be contesting on its ticket, he confirmed to IANS.

Ram Singh Netaji, a former Congressman and a two-time MLA from Badarpur who joined the AAP on Monday, has replaced Sharma, who got 59.3 per cent votes in 2015.

According to sources, AAP MLA from Delhi Cantonment Surinder Singh is also planning to switch.

However, the ex-serviceman has said he is still with the AAP.

“I haven’t quit the AAP yet. I am yet to take any decision,” he told IANS.

Haji Ishraq, MLA from Seelampur, who was replaced by Abdul Rehman, MCD winner from East Delhi, accused party chief Arvind Kejriwal of being “unhappy” as he asked him to support the Muslims protesting against the NRC and the CAA.

He too said he is taking his time and consulting people before taking any decision.

“I am still considering my options,” Ishraq, who won in 2015 with 51.26 per cent votes, told IANS.

After the ruling Aam Aadmi Party released the list of its candidates on Tuesday for the 70 assembly seats in Delhi and dropped 15 sitting MLAs, the legislators had said the list came to them as a “surprise” and the party did not inform them about this in advance.

The sitting MLAs denied tickets also include Pankaj Pushkar (Timarpur), Ram Chander (Bawana), Sukhbir Dalal (Mundka), Hazari Lal Chauhan (Patel Nagar), Vijender Garg (Rajendra Nagar), Avtar Singh (Kalkaji), Raju Dhingan (Trilokpuri), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Choudhary Fateh Singh (Gokulpur) and Asim Ahmed Khan (Matia Mahal).

Delhi is going to the polls on February 8 as the tenure of the Assembly is ending next month.

Candidates can file their nominations till January 21.

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