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Sonia okays poll, campaign panels for Haryana elections

The presidents of the Youth Congress, the NSUI and the Seva Dal have also been included in the election panel.



Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, Sep 10 : Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday approved a 28-member election committee and 50-member campaign committee for the party’s Haryana unit, ahead of the state assembly polls due later this year.

The election panel has top Congress leaders — former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former state unit chief Ashok Tanwar, party’s national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala — as members.

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Kiran Chaudhary, Kuldeep Bishnoi, Captain Ajay Yadav, H.S. Chatta, Phoolchand Mallana and Mahendra Pratap Singh are also part of the committee, AICC general secretary K. C. Venugopal said.

The Congress is looking for a comeback in Haryana elections and seeks to oust the ruling BJP which has been in power for the last five years.

The presidents of the Youth Congress, the NSUI and the Seva Dal have also been included in the election panel.

Meanwhile, the campaign committee will be headed by Captain Ajay Yadav with Dilu Ram Bazigar as its convenor. The committee includes former Union minister and state unit chief Kumari Selja, Hooda, Chaudhary, Tanwar, Surjewala, Bishnoi, former MP Deepender Singh Hooda and many others.

In 2014, the BJP improved its 2009 tally from 4 to 47, followed by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) with 19 legislators and the Congress, which came third with 15 seats. Two seats went to the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), and one each to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Five Independents were also elected.

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Remove hoardings with PM’s photo from petrol pumps: Congress



Mumbai, Sep 23 : The Maharashtra Congress on Monday demanded that the Election Commission (EC) should immediately remove all the hoardings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from petrol pumps as the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) has been enforced in the state, which will go to the polls on October 21.

“After the MCC was implemented last Saturday, the Election Commission has promptly removed all hoardings and advertisements of various political parties, including those of the Opposition.

“However, hoardings and advertisements bearing images of the Prime Minister and government ads are still untouched at various petrol pumps in the state,” said Congress General Secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant.

In a letter to the EC, Sawant said that while no political party has objected to the removal of their publicity materials, the EC is also expected to eject the huge hoardings with Modi’s pictures which are installed in most petrol stations in the state.

“It is surprising that the EC and the state administration are reluctant to implement the MCC when the rule applies uniformly to all the parties. As per the MCC, the EC and the government must immediately take out all such material displaying pictures of the ruling and opposition politicians, but the PM’s ads are still visible,” Sawant pointed out.

Besides petrol pumps, he said that departments like the Maharashtra State Transport Corporation, buses and bus stations, railways and vehicles of various municipal transport bodies also display official government ads and photos of politicians.

Since the rules are common for all, he called upon the Chief Electoral Officer of Maharashtra to instruct the concerned officials and get all such publicity materials removed forthwith.

In Mumbai and other cities, such publicity hoardings which could give an undue advantage to the ruling and opposition parties or their candidates, are either being removed or have already been knocked off, and on permanent hoardings, white or black paint has been applied to cover the names or photographs or party symbols.

The MCC was implemented in the state last Saturday for the Assembly elections in Maharashtra scheduled for October 21. The results will be declared on October 24.

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Arab list presents demands to Gantz to back him as PM

The leaders of the Arab alliance are yet to make a final decision on which candidate they will ultimately support



Jerusalem, Sep 23 : The United Arab List, the third most powerful political group in Israel, having won 13 seats in the recent elections presented a series of demands to centrist leader Benny Gantz in exchange for backing his candidacy for Prime Minister.

Consultations to form a new government will be ongoing on Sunday with the sponsorship of the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, Efe news reported.

The leaders of the Arab alliance are yet to make a final decision on which candidate they will ultimately support, as they are pending a reply on their coalition request from Gantz’s Blue and White alliance.

Depending on what Gantz’s side says, the Arab list is to consider its final stance in a last-minute meeting which will take place just before the consultation with Rivlin, Aida Touma-Suleiman, an Arab list parliamentarian, told Efe.

The Arab alliance represents the Arab minority in Israel, which is estimated to make up around 20 per cent of the total Israeli population.

Among their demands, Arab list leaders demanded a freeze to home demolitions in the so-called “unrecognized Arab villages” and to form an investigation team to inspect the conflicts and issues of those villages, according to the Times of Israel’s digital edition.

The list also requested effective governmental measures to battle violence within the Arab sector, re-initiating the peace process with the Palestinian National Authority.

They also called for revoking the controversial nation-state law that defines Israel as a Jewish state, as that law treats Arabs as second-class citizens and only recognizes the capacity of self-determination to the Jews.

If the United Arab List eventually supports Gantz, the group will break with their traditional stance and abstain from taking sides in Israeli politics and this will be the first time since 1992 that they would back an Israeli candidate as prime minister.

The last time the United Arab List recommended a candidate was more than 25 years ago when they supported Labour leader Isaac Rabin.

The Israel political scene remains marred by uncertainty after the 17 September election in which the Blue and White alliance won 33 seats, outdoing the right-wing party of Likud, presided by the current acting PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, who had to settle for 31 seats.

However, neither Gantz nor Netanyahu managed to form a majority government, which has led to complications and the Israeli President Rivlin having to be involved in deciding who will be Prime Minister.

This situation might continue, as neither of the political alliances has enough seats to reach the magic 61 seat threshold.

The coalition between right-wing parties and their religious allies, which is led by Netanyahu, currently has 55 seats in the Knesset, while Gantz’s alliance is set to reach a maximum of 57 seats if Arab Israeli parties support him.

Rivlin, who has called on all parties to create a national unity government, will attempt to clear the situation through the two-day consultations he will carry out over Sunday and Monday.

The President will announce the chosen candidate next Wednesday, after receiving the official and final results of Tuesday’s elections.

The key factor in this puzzle will be Avigdor Lieberman’s right-wing party, Yisrael Beiteinu, which means “Israel Our Home,” as its eight seats could shift the balance towards Gantz or Netanyahu.

On Thursday, Netanyahu has invited his rival Gantz to form a unity government to end the political deadlock that emerged from repeat elections.

Yisrael Beiteinu is yet to decide who will be its candidate for the PM office, and they will be discussing the matter this afternoon in a party meeting before party leaders gather with Rivlin, a spokesperson told Efe.

Local media report that Lieberman, who is considered to be a force for secularism in Israel, will support neither Gantz nor Netanyahu, which will extend the political deadlock even further.

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‘Abki bar Trump Sarkar’: PM Modi heaps praise on friend Trump

“The words of President Trump, ‘Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar’, rang loud and clear,” said PM Modi, pausing strategically, after saying “Abki Baar Trump Sarkar”.




Houston, Sep 22 : “Abki bar, Trump sarkar”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made a tacit backing for US President Donald Trump who is seeking re-election, and said his presence on the stage with him signaled the close partnership between the two nations.

“This morning we have a very special person with us, he needs no introduction. His name is familiar to every person on the planet. His name comes up in almost every conversation on global politics, his every word is followed by tens of millions,” said Modi, with President Trump listening and smiling.

“He was a household name and very popular even before he went to occupy the highest office in this great country

“From CEO, to commander-in-chief, from board rooms to the Oval Office, from studios to the global stage, from politics to the economy and security, he has left a deep and lasting impact everywhere. Today he is here with us, and it is my honour and privilege to welcome him here in this magnificent stadium and magnificent gathering.

“And I can say I had a chance to meet him often and everytime I found the friendliness, warmth and energy of the President of the USA, Donald Trump. This is extraordinary, this is unprecedented… Friends, as I told you we have met a few times and every time he has been the same warm, friendly accessible, energetic and full of wit.

“I admire him, for something more, his sense of leadership, a passion for America, a concern for every American, a belief in the American future, and a strong resolve to make America great again.

“And he has already made the American economy strong again. He has achieved much for the US and for the world. Friends, we in India have connected well with America.

“The words of President Trump, ‘Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar’, rang loud and clear,” said PM Modi, pausing strategically, after saying “Abki Baar Trump Sarkar”.

He said the US President’s presence on the stage was a testimony to the strong friendship between their two countries.

“This morning in Houston, you can hear the heartbeat of this great partnership in the celebration of the two largest democracies. You can feel the strength and depth of the human bonds, between our two great nations.

“People are at the heart of the relations, from Houston to Hyderabad, from Boston to Bengaluru, from Chicago to Shimla, from Los Angele to Ludhiana, from New Jersey to New Delhi, hundreds of millions are glued to their TV, even though it is rather late on a Sunday night in India.

“Millions around the world in different time zones are with us today, they are witnessing history in the making.

“Mr President, you had introduced me to your family in 2017, and today I have the honour to introduce you to my family,” Modi said to loud cheers.

“Over a billion Indians and people of Indian heritage around the globe, ladies and gentlemen I present to you my friend, a friend of India, a great American President Mr Donald Trump.”

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