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Sachin Pilot leaves for Delhi amid resort politics of Rajasthan

Since the BJP has 24 extra seats, the Congress leaders apprehend that the saffron party would try to disturb the existing equation to grab the remaining votes.

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Sachin Pilot

Jaipur, June 13 : Even as Congress MLAs remain under “lockup” in a private resort fearing poaching by the BJP in the Rajya Sabha elections, Deputy Chief Minister and PCC chief Sachin Pilot on Saturday left for Delhi, leaving the Congress workshop midway, triggering speculation in Congress circles.

Party sources said Pilot received a call from Delhi and he left the hotel where all party MLAs have been camping.

Pilot will brief the party leadership about the latest political scenario in the state, sources added.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has been camping in the private resort since Friday, keeping the MLAs (including Independents) together.

The MLAs have been asked to stay in the resort till June 19, the day of Rajya Sabha voting.

For three seats vacant in Rajasthan, the Congress has fielded two candidates, K.C. Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi, while the BJP has also fielded an equal number of candidates, Rajendra Gehlot and Omkar Singh Lakhawat, making the contest interesting.

The CM has accused the BJP of horse-trading and luring its MLAs to topple the state government. “The BJP is trying to repeat the MP story in Rajasthan”, Gehlot said.

A complaint has also been lodged with the Anti-Corruption Bureau and a special agency under the state government, alleging that a huge amount of unaccounted money has entered Rajasthan, and that it could have hawala trade links.

Strict action has been demanded against the accused trying to flout constitutional norms by luring the MLAs.

Meanwhile, Ramesh Meena, an MLA said to be close to the Pilot camp, has distanced himself from Congress meetings for “unknown reasons,” a matter which is being discussed in party circles along with Pilot’s Delhi visit.

Congress Observor T.S. Singh Dev said Meena, being a state minister, should have attended the Congress MLAs’ meetings.

What has set off alarm bells in Congress is BJP’s fielding of a second candidate.

In the 200-member Assembly, the ruling Congress has 107 MLAs, plus it has the support of 13 independents. The CPI (M) and BTP with 2 seats each have extended their conditional support to the Gehlot government.

The BJP has 72 MLAs with 3 RLD MLAs supporting the saffron party. Each Rajya Sabha seat needs 51 votes, going by which Congress can easily get two seats while BJP can get one.

Since the BJP has 24 extra seats, the Congress leaders apprehend that the saffron party would try to disturb the existing equation to grab the remaining votes.

Election

Facebook plans drastic measures if US polls descend into chaos: Report

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San Francisco, Sep 22 : Facebook is bracing for tough measures to restrict content in case the November elections in the US descend into chaos or violent protests, according to a report in the Financial Times on Tuesday.

The plans were revealed by Facebook’s head of global affairs, Nick Clegg, in an interview to the newspaper.

“There are some break-glass options available to us if there really is an extremely chaotic and, worse still, violent set of circumstances,” Clegg was quoted as saying.

Facebook is under pressure to help maintain the integrity of the elections as it has faced criticism for failing to contain the spread of disinformation and hate speech on the platform.

It was even accused of failing to prevent attempts to create divisions in American society through disinformation campaigns by foreign players during the 2016 presidential election.

The stakes appear to be even higher this time with reports of similar attempts to influence the US presidential elections by groups operating from Russia, China and Iran.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this month announced additional steps it is taking to help secure the integrity of the US elections by encouraging voting, connecting people to authoritative information, and reducing the risks of post-election confusion.

These include measures to attach an informational label to content that seeks to delegitimise the outcome of the election or discuss the legitimacy of voting methods, for example, by claiming that lawful methods of voting will lead to fraud.

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Wrong policies led to failure of Cong-RJD govts in Bihar: Owaisi

People of the country are facing the consequences due to the wrong moves of the Congress party,” the AIMIM chief said.

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asaduddin owaisi

Patna, Sep 19 — All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday claimed that wrong policies led to the failure of the Congress and RJD governments in Bihar.

Owaisi was in Patna as the AIMIM entered into an alliance with the Samajwadi Janata Dal Democratic (SJDD) ahead of the Bihar polls.

“We will fight the election under the leadership of Devendra Prasad Yadav, the president of SJDD. We welcome all those parties who want to fight against communalism and communal parties,” the AIMIM chief said.

“We are not scared of any political party. Our party had contested the election in 2015 from Kishanganj, but the Congress won. Today the BJP is riding high in Bihar due to the failure of the RJD. I have defeated the BJP and the Shiv Sena in Hyderabad,” Owaisi said.

“In Maharashtra, the Congress party is sitting on the Shiv Sena’s lap. The former is presented as a secular party in the country but I would believe that its thinking promotes feudalism. People of the country are facing the consequences due to the wrong moves of the Congress party,” the AIMIM chief said.

The AIMIM has already declared it will contest on 50 seats in the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar.

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Election

Bihar Assembly Polls : Separate queue for Covid patients at polling booths

An ECI officer said that different political parties have urged that the expenditure limit be raised to Rs 2 lakh owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.

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Patna, Sep 18 : The Election Commission of India (ECI) has has asked authorities to prepare a separate voters list for Corona-positive patients.

The decision was taken on Friday amid campaigning for the Bihar elections, expected to be held in October or November this year.

The idea is to prevent the transmission and spread of the virus, while allowing patients to exercise their right to vote.

As per the Commission’s strategy, there would be separate queues for Covid patients at polling stations.

The ECI has also made it mandatory for polling officers, presiding officers and polling agents of different political parties to be equipped with proper safety gear.

In another development, the ECI is expected to raise the limit for expenses which can be incurred by individual candidates on the election campaign.

An ECI officer said that different political parties have urged that the expenditure limit be raised to Rs 2 lakh owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The earlier limit was set at Rs 26 lakh.

The officer said that ECI may consult the law ministry on the issue.

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