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War of caps: State which flaunts political loyalty on its head

If your cap is maroon in front, then you must be a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporter. And if it’s green, then you are with the Congress.

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Virbhadra Singh and Prem Kumar Dhumal

By Vishal Gulati 

Shimla, Oct 29: The electorate in Himachal Pradesh wear their loyalties not on their sleeves but on their heads. In other states, voters may prefer to maintain silence about their affiliation to a political party during the polls. But in this hill state, they pronounce their loyalty and support through their headgear.

If your cap is maroon in front, then you must be a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporter. And if it’s green, then you are with the Congress.

The round Bushehri cap — named after an erstwhile princely state in the state — has a green front flap.

The concepts of “green” and “maroon” stem from upper and lower areas of the state. The green symbolises descendants of upper Himachal, while the maroon one represents lower Himachal.

It started with six-time Congress Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who loves to don a green flap headgear almost throughout the year. His supporters too prefer to wear this colour of cap to express their political solidarity with him.

Likewise, BJP leader and two-time Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has made the maroon flap his trademark.

“Donning caps has been a round-the-year tradition in the interiors of Himachal Pradesh where the winter spell is too long,” Roshan Lal Manta, 75, a former state government employee, told IANS.

But now people, including government employees, are wearing it to extend their affiliation to a particular political party.

He said since ‘Raja Saab’, as Virbhadra Singh is popularly known due to his roots in the erstwhile princely state of Bushahr, started wearing the green flap cap, the BJP’s Dhumal promoted the maroon one.

Manta, a former employee leader, said if the Congress is at the helm most of the employees start donning the green cap and if there is the BJP the maroon will be their first choice.

The BJP is garnering support on the social media through photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi wearing the traditional Himachali ‘topi’.

The photo of Modi wearing the maroon cap during the remembrance ceremony for the Holocaust victims in Israel in July is taking a political hue in this election.

“Prime Minister Modi made the Himachali cap the crown in Israel. Thank you, tweeted Anurag Thakur, the BJP Member of Parliament from Hamirpur and former BCCI president — and Dhumal’s son.

Of course, there is a war over the colour of caps.

In the run-up to the polls, a cap reflecting the other’s political ideology infuriated Virbhadra Singh at an official function, but Prime Minister Modi maintained calm at another public function.

At a function in the state capital last month where Union Minister J.P. Nadda was also present, state Health Minister Kaul Singh welcomed Virbhadra Singh by donning a Himachali maroon flap cap and presenting a shawl, a common practice at all official functions.

Seeing the BJP’s trademark colour, the infuriated Chief Minister removed it immediately and wore his own green flap cap that he was holding.

Contrary to this, Modi didn’t lose his patience when he was offered a Congress ‘ideology’ cap by Virbhadra Singh at the foundation laying ceremony of a Rs 1,350 crore 750-bed hospital in Bilaspur town.

From the colour of passion maroon to the shade of envy green, Modi immediately changed the colour of his cap while addressing a public meeting just after the official function.

But it had more to do with political ideology than changing moods, remarked a political observer.

Elections to the 68-member Himachal Pradesh assembly will be held on November 9.

The votes would be counted on December 18, the day that will decide which “riot of colour” — green or maroon — will flutter again in the secretariat.

IANS

Election

130 candidates facing criminal cases in fray for Chhattisgarh polls

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New Delhi, Nov 13 : As many as 130 candidates facing declared criminal cases, 90 of them involving serious charges like attempt to murder, are among the 1,079 candidates in the fray for the second phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly polls in 72 constituencies.

A total of 239 crorepati (multi-millionaire) candidates are contesting the second phase of polls to be held on Nov 20 in 19 districts.

According to an analysis by election watchdog the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the Congress with 18 such candidates leads the list of those with criminal antecedents followed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with 17 and the Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J) with 15. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 6 such candidates.

Of the 90 candidates facing serious criminal charges, 11 are from the Congress, 13 from the AAP and 14 from the Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J).

Congress’ Jaisingh Agrawal, vying for Korba seat, is among the candidates with the most number of criminal charges that include forgery, criminal conspiracy and obscene act. Another Congress nominee, Ashish Kumar Chhabra for the Bemetara seat is among those facing charges of attempt to murder.

Among the multimillionaires, 53 are from the Congress, 61 from the BJP and 35 from Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J).

Congress veteran T.S. Singh Deo, contesting from Ambikapur, is the richest nominee with assets in excess of Rs 500 crore. While 19 candidates have declared nil assets, independent nominee Rubeena Anjum from the Raipur City South possesses “assets” of just Rs 104.

599 candidates are school dropouts while 9 are illiterate. Only 111 female candidates are contesting in the second phase.

The first phase of polling in 18 constituencies spread across eight Maoist-affected district was held on Monday.

The results of the election to the 90-member Chhattisgarh assembly will be declared on December 11.

IANS

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Telangana Assembly Elections: Congress-TDP candidates list out

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Hyderabad, Nov 13: After keeping all waiting, the main opposition Congress and its TDP ally in Telangana have finally released their first lists of candidates for the December 7 assembly elections.

Both constituents of ‘Mahakutami’ or the grand alliance announced their candidates late on Monday.

While Congress released a list of 65 candidates, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) named nine.

The process of filing of nominations for the elections to 119-seat assembly that began on Monday, will continue till November 18.

The Congress, which is leading the four-party ‘Mahakutami’, plans to contest 95 seats, leaving the remaining for TDP, Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and Communist Party of India (CPI).

However, a formal agreement over seat sharing was yet to be reached.

Former union ministers, former state ministers, former MPs, sitting legislators and those who crossed over to the Congress from other parties have been included in the list of 65 candidates.

State Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy would be seeking re-election from Huzurnagar constituency, while his wife Padmavati Reddy would again contest from Kodad.

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader K. Jana Reddy (Nagarjunasagar) while its campaign committee chairman and working president Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka (Madhira), working presidents Ponnam Prabhakar and A. Revanth Reddy would be in the fray from Karimnagar and Kodangal seats.

Among former union ministers Sarve Satyanarayana (Secunderabad Cantonment), while P. Balram Naik (Mahabubabad). Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council, Mohammed Ali Shabbir is Congress candidate from Kamareddy.

Former Deputy Chief Minister and chairman of manifesto committee C. Damodar Rajanarasimha has been fielded from Andole.

Congress has named V. Pratap Reddy as its candidate against Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K. Chandrashekhar Rao in Gajwel.

Pratap Reddy who had contested on a TDP ticket against Rao and finished runners up in 2014. He has just joined the Congress.

The TDP has also announced its first list of candidates. Prominent among them are former MP and senior leader Nama Nageswara Rao (Khammam), R. Prakash Reddy (Warangal West) and S. Venkat Verraiah (Sattupalli).

Former minister T. Devender Goud’s son Virender Goud will contest from Uppal constituency. The lone Muslim candidate in the list is Muzaffar Ali, who will contest from Malakpet constituency in Hyderabad.

IANS

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Locals threaten to boycott Madhya Pradesh elections

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Bhopal, Nov 13: As Madhya Pradesh assembly elections are nearing, the residents of seven unauthorised colonies in Neemuch’s Baghana have threatened to boycott the polls.

They have pasted posters outside their houses stating they will boycott the forthcoming elections.

The locals are also opposing the entry of any political leader in the area, saying that till the time their colonies are not declared authorized and they are not provided with basic facilities, they would neither allow anyone to campaign in the area nor will exercise their franchise, news agency ANI reported.

” Five years back they promised us they’ll declare our colony authorised. But nothing happened. It’s been 30 years since the colony was established.  Won’t let any political leader come here. We won’t cast votes”, Mukesh Rao a resident told media.

The black flag was also seen outside their house as a sign of protest.

Madhya Pradesh will go to polls on November 28 and counting of votes will take place on December 11.

WeForNews 

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