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Tag: elections

Yadav vs Yadav: Mulayam issues showcause notice to CM Akhilesh for anti-party activity

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday issued a showcause notice to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and his son Akhilesh Yadav for issuing a candidate list separately for the upcoming state assembly polls.This move comes after Akhilesh, earlier on Thursday, released a list of 235 candidates out of the total 403 seats for upcoming state assembly elections, a day after party supremo had released the official list.Akhilesh met Mulayam Singh, but as per sources, the party chief refused to make any change in the list of 325 candidates issued by him on Thursday.
ALSO READ SP’s feud out in the open again, Akhilesh conveys displeasure to Mulayam over candidates list”We have declared list of 325 candidates for the 2017 assembly polls; 78 seats still remain. Name of candidates for rest of the 78 seats will be announced soon,” Mulayam said on Wednesday while announcing the list.The Samajwadi Party supremo announced the first list in the absence of his son, who is at loggerheads with his uncle Shivpal Yadav over distribution of tickets. Mulayam announced the name of his brother Shivpal from Jaswant Nagar Assembly seat.
ALSO READ UP Elections 2017: SP headed for virtual split, Akhilesh Yadav releases own list of candidates for 235 seats Akhilesh’s name did not figure in the first list. Mulayam, however, said that his son, being the Chief Minister, can contest from any assembly seat he wishes to.

Goa Elections 2017: Church to issue guidelines for members to help them decide ‘right candidates’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Goa Church will issue guidelines to Christians to help them decide “the right candidate” to vote for in the next year’s Assembly elections.The Church, however, clarified that it will not canvass for any candidate or the party. “Elections to the legislative Assembly are approaching and Church leadership in Goa will take up this duty bound task once again.”We do issue guidelines to our faithful on how to exercise their franchise and thus fulfill one of their sacred civic duties,” Archbishop of Goa and Daman Rev Fr Filipe Neri Ferrao said today here while addressing a customary reception on Christmas.He said though the guidelines are read out in churches, they never mention name of any candidate or any political party. The function was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Goa Governor Mridula Sinha and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar among others. However, the archbishop said the faithfuls are requested to vote as per their conscience. He lamented that “certain elements today accuse the church in India of being involved in conversions.” “Our institutions have been attacked, robbed, burnt down and the perpetrators of this crime often goes scot free.It is almost as if the tiny three percent is posing a serious threat for the disintegration of the whole nation,” Ferrao said. Referring to the illegal mining issue, the archbishop said the church is the trustee of this land.”It is our solemn duty to ensure that the value of the land is passed on to our future generation. All generation and all within a generation would benefit equally.”But what we see is extensive environmental and social damage to Goa which has generated rampant corruption and even weakened governance. It has been an assault on our community and our natural wealth, more distressingly it has been a loss to our children and our future generation,” he said.

Modi’s cash crackdown supporter Chandrababu Naidu shows unease as anger grows among citizens

A leading political ally of Narendra Modi has abruptly distanced himself from the Indian prime minister’s move to scrap high-value banknotes, as broad initial support for the radical monetary reform showed signs of crumbling.

The shift by N. Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, came six weeks after Modi announced to a stunned nation that he would scrap 86 percent of the cash in circulation.

While Modi remains by far India’s most popular politician, any crack in his authority could have negative implications in state elections next year that will set the tone for his expected bid for a second term in 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Naidu’s regional party is allied to Modi’s nationalists and he heads a central committee set up to find ways to soften the impact on ordinary people of the crackdown against tax evaders, racketeers and bribe takers who rely on so-called “black cash”.

“I am breaking my head daily but we are unable to find a solution to this problem,” Naidu told party workers on Tuesday in the city of Vijayawada.

Modi, announcing the reform on 8 November, cautioned that people would face temporary hardship. He promised to restore normalcy by the end of the year, when a deadline to deposit old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes expires.

His announcement enjoyed popular support at first, with many people prepared to endure hardship as long as others are forced to give up their ill-gotten wealth or pay tax.

But continuing shortages of new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes have caused tempers to rise as millions queue at banks and ATMs to draw money. With new Rs 500 notes, worth $7.50, in very short supply it is hard for people to buy necessities because of a shortage of change.

“Modi is now a one-man army, every political ally will blame him if the cash crisis does not come to an end in the next 10 days,” said P. Raja Rao, a political science professor in Hyderabad.

Furious over the lack of cash, mobs attacked six bank branches in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, forcing police to rescue bank staff.

The northern state, home to one in six Indians, is due to hold an election in early 2017 that is increasingly being viewed as a referendum on Modi’s demonetisation drive.

In the last 20 days, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won several local elections in western and northern states. Party officials said the wins were a clear endorsement of the new cash policy.

“Each and every Indian understands the genuine intention behind the bold move. They trust the prime minister and we hope our political allies put an end to their doubts,” said BJP spokesman Siddharth Nath Singh.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 18:24 IST

Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls: Results out on Tuesday after record voting percentage

The results of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections will be announced on Tuesday at seven counting centres in the city. Elections to 26 civic wards of Chandigarh were held on Sunday with both BJP and Congress making demonetisation a major poll issue. 122 candidates, including 67 Independents, are in the fray for the civic polls. The polling was conducted at 460 booths from 8 am to 5 pm.

Both Congress and BJP contested from all 26 wards, while BSP has also put up candidates in the fray from 17 wards. The Municipal Corporation has 36 members, of which 26 are elected councillors, nine are nominated councillors and one is an MP (ex-officio member of the House). At present, BJP has 15 councillors, Congress has nine, BSP has one and one is independent candidate.

While the BJP is trying to cash in on demonetisation, Congress has made it a major issue with its city unit leaders saying the move was implemented without any “application of mind” as it has put the public to “great hardships”.

Around 51 percent voters exercised their franchise for 26 wards of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation the polling to which passed off peacefully.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“Around 51 percent voters have exercised their franchise. The polling was peaceful,” Tarseem Lal, an election office spokesman said here after conclusion of polls quoting initial estimates of polling percentage. The total number of voters recorded were 5,07,627, including 2,37,374 female voters. 800 EVMs were used at 445 polling booths and over 4000 cops were deployed for smooth conduct of polling process.

The overall polling percentage in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation election jumped to a record 59.54 percent, following a re-polling in a ward of the civic body after officials noticed some discrepancies.

The re-polling in ward seven registered 71.48 polling, Tarseem Lal, an election office spokesman said here, adding that the overall poll percentage for the 26 wards was 59.54. It was ordered after electoral officials noticed that the number of votes polled yesterday had exceeded the number of voters in a booth of the ward. Since it’s inception, the polling in the civic body election had remained below 50 per cent. In 2011, the polling percentage to the MC was 59.37.

Post demonetisation, the election to 26 wards of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is a litmus test for both BJP and Congress. Prominent among those included three-time councillor and former Mayor Subash Chawala (Cong), BJP’s leader Saurabh Joshi                                                                                                          and Congress stalwart Devinder Singh Babla and present mayor Arun Sood of BJP.

The results will be test of prestige of key political faces MP Kirron Kher (BJP), former Chandigarh MPs Pawan Kumar Bansal (Cong), Harmohan Dhawan (BJP), Satya Pal Jain (BJP) and Chandigarh BJP president Sanjay Tandon. All these political bigwigs have a key identity in Chandigarh, the results will somehow set their political future too, besides their current role in local politics.

All political bigwigs from Chandigarh intensively campaigned for their party candidates in the polls.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 11:51 IST

Do not announce exam dates without consulting us: Election Commission to 5 states

Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa were asked not to announce examination schedules without consulting Election Commission. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Assembly elections due early next year in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, the Election Commission on Thursday asked the poll-bound states not to announce examination schedules without consulting it. “The Commission is aware that the annual examination at various levels of educational institutions in the states are generally due in the first half of the next year.”The Commission wants that there is no clash between the programme of the elections…and the examination schedule that may be framed by various state education boards,” the Commission told the states.The poll body pointed out that it is a Constitutional mandate to hold the elections well before the expiry of the term of the Legislative Assembly and it is in the “advance stages” of considering a schedule for holding the elections. While, the term of the Legislative Assemblies of Goa, Manipur and Punjab are coming to an end on March 18, that of Uttarakhand will expire on March 26. The term of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly will expire on May 27. The EC is likely to announce the poll schedule for these states sometime later this month or early January.

Demonetisation: Voters in poll-bound states may reap a rich bonanza of scrapped notes

“The fact is that she (Mayawati) had collected crores by selling BSP tickets and all that has become garbage now,” BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said six days after demonetisation of high-value notes.

Even if it’s true that Mayawati has amassed “crores”, she is not about to toss the whole lot of it into a garbage bin or make a bonfire of it. She wasn’t born yesterday. And clever thinking is not the absolute monopoly of the BJP.

Politicians in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa, which are going to polls in next three or four months, know how to use at least some of their black money in the old Rs1000/500 notes. And the BJP, which can’t truthfully claim to use only lilywhite cash in elections, knows it too well.

Former Chief Election Commissioner of India SY Quraishi agrees that politicians will use different routes to spend their unaccounted money in the upcoming elections.

“The demonetisation will substantially limit the misuse of black money but not entirely stop it in the coming round of elections,” he told Firstpost. “And by the time the next round of elections are held after this one, politicians would think up new avenues of using money.” Elections are due in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh later in 2017.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Quraishi, who was the CEC during 2011-12, knows what he’s talking about. His 2014 book, An Undocumented Wonder – The Making of the Great Indian Election lists 40 different ways in which election candidates hide their illegal expenditure and six ways in which corrupt political financing is done.

All that the parties and candidates in the five states that will go to polls before March 2017 need to do is to split their “payments” into smaller amounts in old notes and make them earlier than planned. There is time till the year-end to exchange the old notes for new ones.

This is not to suggest that demonetisation will have zero impact on elections in these five states. Without doubt, it will hugely disrupt the many ways in which cash usually plays its part in the poll process. And in Punjab and UP, it has already led to redrawing of campaign schedules and delaying of the candidate selection process. But it would be too optimistic to expect the coming round of elections to put a sudden end to the menace in one fell sweep.

As Quraishi points out, candidates in the five states may even jack up the cash they pay voters but dispense it in scrapped notes before the December 30 deadline for exchanging them at banks. “They may give away, say, Rs 1,500 or more per vote instead of smaller amounts like Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 they paid up earlier,” he says.

In fact, that’s something which already appears to be happening in the local self-government elections currently underway in Maharashtra. This report says that voters are getting more than the Rs 500 that they got in the previous elections but in scrapped notes, which they are only too happy to exchange for legal tender.

But in the case of the assembly elections, there is a problem. Candidates go in for cash dole-outs usually during the 48 hours before voting begins. And if they choose to fob off their demonetised notes on voters, they need to do it long before the polling day. “Party leaders can also distribute to cadres black money in abolished notes in small amounts so that they can exchange it for legal money and spend on sundry things,” says Aazhi Senthilnathan, noted Tamil writer and election-watcher.

Besides cash-for-votes, there are indeed a plenty of other things which parties and candidates splurge their black money on:

Goodies like saris, dhotis and liquor for voters
Setting up temporary election offices
Wages for temporary party ‘workers’
Posters, banners, buntings and sound systems
Hiring taxis
Transporting audiences to rallies and supplying them food
Fielding dummy candidates with similar names to confuse voters
Hiring musclemen to browbeat rivals and voters

At least some of this expenditure can be split into amounts of less than Rs 2.5 lakh and distributed among party workers in a way that the long arm of the Income Tax official won’t reach them.

This decentralisation is not a new innovation that the demonetisation has kicked in. It has been going on. Parties and candidates have been distributing expenditure among well-wishers and businessmen for long. But in the immediate aftermath of demonetisation, decentralised spending will go on with new fervour and in new innovative ways.

“The means will change but the concept will not,” says Senthilnathan. He says black money hoarders are finding ingenious ways to subvert the law. He cites the instance of Tamil Nadu’s capitation fee colleges — notorious havens of unaccounted and untaxed money — which are offering to pay their faculty 10 months of salary in advance in scrapped notes.

While the implementation of demonetisation has left a lot to be desired, its very efficacy as a tool to ferret out black money is yet to be proved. But even if scrapping of high-value currency proves to be effective, it will take a while to have a significant impact on election spending. And it needs a great many other steps as well by the government and parties to completely clean up the election process.

And it’s not just the money we are talking about. While Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka have become notorious for huge seizures of illegal cash during elections, Punjab tops the list in poll-time distribution of drugs.

During the 2012 Punjab assembly polls, such huge quantities of drugs — 2,700 kg of poppy husk and 53.5 kg of heroin — were seized that Quraishi took the unusual step of writing a letter to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh telling him: “…every conceivable drug is being abused in the State”.

Author tweets @sprasadindia

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 14:30 IST

Demonetisation: Centre’s refusal to empower EC to clamp down on notebank politics raises eyebrows

Corruption generates black money. Black money in turn funds elections. The elected makes good on the expense by being corrupt, thereby corrupting others in the process. There’s no disputing this infallible vicious cycle, that has now become part of the folklore in our country.

As former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), SY Quraishi, had said, “Money power in elections is one of the biggest sources of corruption in the country and although there is a legal limit to expenditure, we know anecdotally that much above the limit is often spent.”

His views are reflected by most other CECs as well. But despite recognising the problem, as Quraishi said, the politicians and candidates continue to fudge the accounts, hence sustaining the scourge.

So when the Narendra Modi government declared a war on black money with their demonetisation drive, why was the Election Commission (EC) not empowered to clamp down on corruption and black money employed during elections? Does it not fall into the ambit of the stated purpose? Why was demonetisation limited to destroying the chests of counterfeit currency that fund terror, when it could’ve also been used as an opportunity to cleanse the system?

The Election Commission was not empowered by the Centre to clamp down on corruption and black money as part of the demonetisation wave. PTIThe Election Commission was not empowered by the Centre to clamp down on corruption and black money as part of the demonetisation wave. PTI

The Election Commission was not empowered by the Centre to clamp down on corruption and black money as part of the demonetisation wave. PTI

As reported by The The Indian Express, the Law Ministry shot down a proposal from the EC on Monday that permanently empowered it to cancel elections in case there was credible evidence of voters being bribed.

The refusal, though reported post-demonetisation, had been conveyed well before the step was taken – the letter to the EC was dated 28 September. But it is not the chronology but the intent that is relevant here.

It’s not as if the EC cannot cancel elections presently. It had cancelled elections in two Tamil Nadu Assembly constituencies, Aravakurichi and Thanjavur, in May this year following a seizure of large sums of money. But the move was unprecedented, and was postponed twice before the notification for those constituencies was eventually rescinded.

The EC does not possess permanent legal power to cancel such elections as the government has to approve its proposals. That it refused to grant the EC its requirement raised eyebrows, especially if you see it in the context of the current demonetisation wave. If the EC was empowered, in tandem with the demonetisation, then the scare among the corrupt would have been wider and much deeper.

The Deccan Chronicle reported that, “the Commission usually takes such a harsh step when there are evidences that muscle power has been used to influence voters. But cancelling polls following use of money to induce voters is so far unheard of.” The Law Ministry has now told the EC that, “It may not be advisable to compare booth capturing with allegations of bribery of voters since the circumstances are incomparable.”

The perspectives of the Law Ministry and the EC clearly differ. The former has said that it would “be desirable to maintain status quo”, for “allegations of bribery are a matter of investigation and proof”, and that it cannot be compared with booth capturing – that currently warrants the cancellation of polls. But, as asked by an unnamed EC source quoted in The Indian Express report, “Is booth capturing not a matter of investigation and proof?”

It’s possible that this is not the last we hear on the matter as the EC, regardless of who heads it and who its members are, has a tendency to quietly push on issues it considers important to cleanse the system. Though it is also true that bribery is and has been an inherent problem of the elections, as money is used to overcome the ideological resistance of voters or to persuade those not inclined to vote.

During its crackdown on bribe money in Tamil Nadu this year, the EC had seized Rs 7.12 crore in cash, 429 litres of liquor, 33.256 kg of silver from Aravakurichi and Rs 75.20 lakh in cash, 2,145 litres of liquor from Tanjavur, apart from one lakh saris and dhotis. That apart, Rs 200 crore was seized in the state overall by the EC making it, as had been reported then, the largest haul of money purported for influencing an Assembly poll.

These numbers would make anyone gasp, but then again, we as a country are used to taking it all in our stride for use of money to influence elections is routine. Ask any voter, and any politician who is willing to admit it, and they will reveal the same.

The difficulty is that despite the near universal use of money as a major influencer in elections, the EC has not been able to do much about it on the scale it ought to have. In lieu of the current demonetisation wave, the Centre’s reluctance, nay refusal, to empower the EC to clamp down on black money in politics does raise eyebrows.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 16:10 IST

Demonetisation: Kudos to Modi but the clean-up drive, like charity, should start at home

A senior politician in Telangana was a relieved man on the evening of 8 November, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared 500 and 1000 rupee notes were no longer legal tender. He was to receive Rs 2 crore that morning in cash but the person had delivered only Rs 30 lakh. The neta ji immediately called up the person and asked him to give the rest in new currency notes only.

Another phone call and the process of converting Rs 30 lakh given in 1000 rupee notes into 100 rupee notes also was taken care of.
“It is only the common man who is troubled by having to spend hours just to withdraw Rs 4500 from a bank. Politicians know how to deal with big amounts,” said a politician. “Modi is wrong. The rich are sleeping peacefully while the poor are queuing up in front of ATMs from 5 am, with their quilts,” said another.

Another neta is mulling over whether to get his Rs 2 crore cash converted with a 30 percent commission or use the hawala route to send it out and get it back sometime next year.

These are voices from different ends of the political spectrum — BJP, Congress and regional parties. Some of them may take a minor hit, some of their money will come into the banking system. But anyone telling you that India will be ‘Swachh Bharat’ post 30 December, is only pulling wool over your eyes.

“Ba ba black sheep, have you any wool?

Yes sir, Yes sir, three bags full.”

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Frankly, anyone who understands how political parties operate in India knows that distributing money among say, 200 cadre is not a big deal for a politician. Political parties are most organised when it comes to distribution of money, with loyalty an obvious corollary of the caste factor, and greed because of personal gain.

A survey conducted by In Shorts among 2.69 lakh app users reveals that 82 percent of Indians support Modi’s demonetisation move. But Narendra Modi cannot become ‘Robinhood’ Modi unless he cleans up the political system. Because the black buck stops at the political party table.

Remember a comment made by former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, a month before the assembly elections this summer? He red-flagged a massive surge in cash circulation during the elections in Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry. Rajan said money in people’s hands had gone up by over Rs 60000 crore. He noted that this is “not normal” and needs to be probed.

Let us not forget that in a dubious first for Indian elections, assembly elections to two constituencies in Tamil Nadu were cancelled by the Election Commission because of rampant use of money power to bribe votes.

Jayaprakash Narayan of the Loksatta Party who espouses clean politics says the election system is to blame for the black economy that thrives in India. “A Lok Sabha election costs close to Rs 20000 crore. An assembly election costs double the amount and the same goes for local bodies. And a bulk of that amount is towards buying of votes,” says Narayan.

So while Modi talks of serving a kadak (strong) chai, he should serve it to his brethren first. The political ecosystem of which he is a part, is no Surf Excel washed. Funding to political parties is most opaque. Every MP and MLA starts with a lie about the crores he or she has spent to win the election. And the Modi government, filed an affidavit in August 2015 in the Supreme court opposing bringing political parties under RTI.

But I am turned into a pauper of sorts, made to run from bank to ATM, for Rs 4500 producing my PAN and Aadhaar cards and told, “Bhai, tum line me khade hoge ya nahi?

In a couple of months from now, the election campaign in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab will be in full swing. Does the BJP want the people of India to believe that every penny spent on its choppers, advertisements, rallies, food is accounted for, given by cheque and not sourced with black money? If so, put it out in the public domain.

I am all for Modi ensuring a more clean India. But the clean-up drive, like charity, should start at home.

Today the small trader indulges in petty sales tax corruption because the system encourages him to do so. He has to ensure he has unaccounted for cash because when a candidate at the local ward level or an assembly election comes knocking at his door soliciting election funds, he has to shell out the moolah. It is this compromised system, blessed by the seedy political culture that encourages black money.

It would have been far more effective an assault on black money if the prime minister had started with going after the benami land deals. That is where most of Modi’s political brethren, cutting across party lines, have parked their ill-gotten wealth. The advance warning would only help them find a way out of the mess.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 14:25 IST

DNA Morning Must Reads: Live updates on US elections; War on black money; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. LIVE| Trump-Hillary locked in tight race, republican leading in key statesDonald Trump or Hillary Clinton- Who will become next US President? Read more.2. US Elections: Didn’t have full support of GoP infrastructure: Trump Campaign managerTrump Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said, “The things that would worry me, I guess just that we didn’t have the full support of the Republican infrastructure.” Read more.3. PM Modi does a Vajpayee, launches ‘N-strike’ on Black MoneyThe announcement sent the rumour mills into a frenzy. Even minutes before PM’s address, the speculations in the corridors of power was that it would be something about giving a tough message or announcing some punitive action against Pakistan. Read more.4. India v/s England: We have the vision of winning Tests, series: Virat KohliKohli said the 3-0 win against New Zealand has boosted the confidence of his players going into this five-Test series. Read more.5. War on Black Money: All you need to know about PM Modi’s big decision to scrap Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes.All your questions answered. Read more.

Uncertainty over polls to 11 seats of Maharashtra Legislative Council

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uncertainty hangs over the elections to 11 seats of Maharashtra Legislative Council which would fall vacant on December 5 as sitting members’ term would end. Elections to Aurangabad Teachers constituency, Nagpur Teachers constituency, Konkan Teachers constituency, Nashik Graduates constituency and Amravati Graduates constituency would certainly be delayed due to the Supreme Court order of January 12 seeking fresh registration of voters.Election Commission of India (ECI) has fixed December 31 as the date for publication of the new voters list. But this has put a question mark on elections to six `local authority’ constituencies: Sangli-Satara, Bhandara-Gondia, Yavatmal, Pune, Nanded and Jalgaon.The SC order pertains to only the Graduates and Teachers constituencies in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar and Karnataka. ECI sources said the elections to the five Graduates and Teachers constituencies would be held in all probability next year, but they pleaded ignorance about the fate of the elections to other six seats.An ECI source said there was a school of thought that civic corporators who have barely three months of tenure left should not be voting in coming MLC elections. Decision on holding elections to six Council seats from local authority constituencies rests with the Chief Election Commissioner.”Elections would be held in early 2017 in civic bodies under the electoral boundary of Legislative Council seat of Pune local authorities,” an ECI source said. These civic bodies are corporations of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.The ECI has extended the deadline for registration of new voters for the civic polls from October 14 to October 21. The 11 MLCs whose terms would end on December 5 are Vikram Kale, Prabhakar Gharge, Rajendra Jain, Sandip Bajoria, Anil Bhosale (all NCP); Dr Sudhir Tambe and Amarnath Rajurkar (both Congress); Gurmukh Das Jagwani, Minister of State for Home Dr Ranjeet Patil (both BJP), Nago Ganar and Ramnath Mote.

Tamil Nadu: Filing of nominations for local body polls ends

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Filing of nominations for two-phase October 17 and 19 local body polls to over 1.31 lakh posts ended on Monday with the State Election Commission directing 35 poll observers to report at their districts of posting. SEC, in an official release, said it has directed poll observers–27 IAS officials and eight District Revenue Officers– to be stationed at their respective districts by Friday.Meanwhile, the SEC has convened a meeting of all recognised political parties over the civic polls in Chennai on Tuesday. The details relating to the total number of nominations received across Tamil Nadu is awaited. Elections will be held to over 1.31 lakh civic body posts, including 1,18,974 posts in rural and 12,820 posts in urban local bodies.Counting of votes will be taken up on October 21. Scrutiny of nominations will be taken up on Tuesday. In the first phase, 10 municipal corporations, 64 municipalities, 255 town panchayats, 332 district panchayats, 3,250 village panchayat unions and 50,640 village panchayats, would go to the polls on October 17.In the second phase on October 19, Chennai and Dindigul Municipal Corporations, 60 municipalities, 273 town panchayats, 323 district panchayats, 3,221 panchayat unions, 48,684 village panchayats would go to the polls. Corporation mayors, deputy mayors, chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of municipalities, town panchayats, district panchayats, panchayat unions, and vice-presidents of village panchayats are elected by councillors and ward members.Councillors of Corporations, municipalities and town panchayats are elected directly by the people. Similarly, village panchayat presidents, ward members of village panchayats, district panchayats and panchayat unions are elected by people.

34% polling in Anantnag despite boycott calls

Defying separatists’ boycott calls and militant threats, around 34 per cent of voters cast their ballots in the prestigious Anantnag constituency on Wednesday.The voting percentage was five per cent less than the 2014 assembly polls when the late chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed won the seat by 6,000 votes. The byelections in the constituency were necessitated with the demise of Mufti on January 7.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This time around Mufti’s daughter and Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti is locked in a triangular battle with Congress and National Conference from this prestigious seat.Voter turnout in Wednesday’s by polls was recorded at 33.84 per cent compared to 39 per cent in 2014 in the Anantnag constituency. In 2008, the voter turnout in the constituency was recorded at 41 per cent.Traces of boycott were also visible in certain areas with some polling booths recording negligible polling percentage. Particularly the urban areas in the Anantnag town were oblivious to the polling. In Lal Chowk polling booth only 40 out of 275 votes were cast by 3 pm. There were other polling booths including Qazibagh which witnessed very less polling.”Elections are not going to solve any issue. We need to look for bigger issues that confront people,” said Sameer Ahmad in Anantnag town.Enthusiasm marked the elections in rural belts of the Anantnag constituency. Long queues of people were witnessed outside the polling booths. People particularly the first timers were thrilled to cast their ballot.”I have been studying in Jammu. Since there are vacations I came to Kashmir. I am casting my ballot for the first time and I am very much thrilled to exercise my right to franchise,” said Gurleen Kour, a BDS student.The polling was conducted in the backdrop of threats by militants and call for poll boycott by various separatists groups including hard-line Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Hizbul Mujhadeen militant group had put up posters asking voters to stay away from the polls in Anantnag constituency.Chief electoral officer of Jammu and Kashmir Shantmanu said the polling was peaceful and incident free in the Anantnag constituency. “It was an incident free poll. There was no major untoward incident. There was no major complaint. There were few complaints about the violation of model of conduct. But all of them have addressed, examined and disposed off,” he said.Shantmanu said 117 polling booths were set up including 15 for migrants in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi.

dna Morning Must Reads: Updates on Orlando shooting, GST bill, Euro 2016, and more

1. Orlando shooting: Omar Mateen’s wife knew of attack, could soon be chargedThe wife of the gunman who killed 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub knew of his plans for the attack and could soon be charged in connection with the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Tension in Jammu after temple desecration; protesters clash with police, set vehicles on fireAn ancient temple in Jammu was Tuesday allegedly vandalised by a “mentally-disturbed” man, triggering protests in which a mob attacked a police station and set some vehicles on fire. Read more here3. GST inching towards reality, Jaitley claims states’ supportGovt pushes tax reforms back on agenda, releases draft laws in public domain. Read more here4. US Elections 2016: Hillary Clinton wins DC primary ahead of meeting with SandersDemocrat Hillary Clinton won the District of Columbia primary on Tuesday, capturing the party’s last presidential nominating contest as Democrats turn their focus to the Nov. 8 election against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. Read more here5. Euro 2016: Newcomers Iceland steal the show on Ronaldo’s record-equalling nightBattling outsiders Iceland enjoyed a memorable big-stage debut as they clinched a shock 1-1 draw against Euro 2016 Group F favourites Portugal in a captivating match on Tuesday. Read more here

Many big leaders in Goa wanted to join AAP: Ashutosh

Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday claimed that many big leaders from Goa wanted to join the party but it has said no to them as they did not qualify. “There are many big leaders in Goa who want to join AAP but the party has shut doors for them. I will not take the names of the leaders and parties but there are many who are big enough knocking the doors of AAP. We have said no to them. We believe they don’t qualify,” AAP national spokesperson Ashutosh told PTI in an interview here. The party’s claim comes days after it held a massive rally in Panaji addressed by its national convenor Arvind Kejriwal. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP has already announced to contest all 40 seats in the forthcoming state Assembly polls next year. “I can only say that anybody and everybody who is honest and believes in AAP philosophy, our doors are open. Anybody who is a criminal, communal, corrupt or does not have good moral character cannot join AAP,” he said The journalist-turned-politician is currently camping in the tourist state and has been holding several constituency level meetings. Elucidating on their plans for the 2017 elections, Ashutosh said the process to identify candidates has begun. “We have declared campaign committee. Very soon we will declare selection and search committees. The search committee will select few names in a particular constituency. These names will be given to the selection committee which will short list the names. And then the campaign committee will finally decide the candidates,” he said. The party has also decided to start ‘Goa Dialogues’ wherein it will interact with a cross section of people who will help in drafting the manifesto for Goa Assembly Elections 2017. “Identification of issues in a particular state and finding their solutions is not the domain of few individuals but of the people. We will be identifying the issues and we will have an expert of that particular issue,” he said. Ashutosh said Kejriwal will visit Goa at least once a month and later more frequently as the election approaches. “Now, he is planning to devote his time to Punjab and Goa both. He will be spending a lot of time in Goa. He will be meeting different sections of the society,” he said. To a query if Goans will accept AAP’s trademark cap, Ashutosh said if anybody felt the “topi” did not fit or suit him, one could create their own topi. “One can have a Goan topi,” he added.

Where are the women? Political power is still a male domain in India

Gender inequality leading to deprivation of power among women continues to be a political reality in India today. Women are perpetually excluded from decision-making at every step of the ladder, starting from the household to the top layer of policy making. Although the Constitution of India attempts to remove gender inequalities by interdicting discrimination based on sex and class, and enshrining fundamental rights for all citizens, women still have only de jure rather than de facto access to these rights.

There is no denying the fact that greater participation of women in the political process would be a pre-condition for their economic and social emancipation. However, even though a significantly large number of women vote in the country, yet only a few of them assume the reins of power. Paradoxically, though women have held the posts of President and Prime Minister as well as Chief Ministers of various states in India, the country ranks 20th from the bottom in terms of representation of women in Parliament, as per the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2012.

To remedy the low participation of women electors, India in 1994 established quotas (reservations) vide the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments to reserve 33 per cent of the seats in local governments for women. The Women’s Reservation Bill (108th amendment) has also been introduced in the national Parliament to reserve 33 per cent of the Lok Sabha seats for women, but the bill is yet to be passed. It is believed that though increasing the number of women in national government may not guarantee an impact on governance, a critical mass of women in power can bring about transformation in leadership.

Table1_SohiniTable1_Sohini

A heartening outcome of the reservation bill is the subsequent rise in political participation by women, which went up from 4-5 per cent to 25-40 per cent among women, and gave millions of women the opportunity to serve as leaders in local government. A few states like Odisha established reservations even before the 73rd amendment and they had 28,069 women elected in 1992 and 28,595 women in 1997.

The robust health of India’s democracy is also reflected in the increasingly large turnouts of women voters in progressive elections at both the national and state levels in the country. In the 2012 elections to Legislative Assemblies, for instance, Uttar Pradesh reported a turnout of 58.82 to 60.29 per cent of the female voters. The states of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, and the Union Territories of Daman and Diu, and Puducherry also reported higher turnouts among women than men in the 2013 Vidhan Sabha elections (Election Commission, 2013). The turnout of women during India’s 2014 parliamentary general elections was 65.63 per cent, only marginally less than the male turnout of 67.09 per cent. In 16 out of 29 states of India, more women voted than men. This increased female participation was observed in both the rich and poor states in the country.

However, this enthusiastic participation in elections does not ostensibly translate into proportionate electoral power for women. In contrast to the encouraging figures pertaining to women voters, the statistics on women’s participation in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies, on the other hand, present a grim picture. The recent Assembly elections in four states and one Union Territory bear witness to this fact more resoundingly than even in the past. Despite the remarkable showing by the two women Chief Ministers in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu in these elections, Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalitha, respectively, there was no significant rise in the number of women MLAs in any of the five Assemblies, which now have a female strength of merely 81 out of the total number of 823 MLAs, representing less than 10 per cent of the total legislators. This includes 8 women out of 126 MLAs in Assam, 21 out of 234 in Tamil Nadu, 40 out of 293 in West Bengal, 8 out of 140 in Kerala, and 4 out of 30 in Puducherry.

The figures at the national level are equally dismal. Table 1 depicts an overview of participation of women in the Lok Sabha (lower house) and in the Rajya Sabha (upper house). The participation of women in the Lok Sabha has, in fact, never exceeded 12 per cent since Independence. The proportion of women Members of Parliament (MPs) in the Lok Sabha has increased by only 6 percentage points over the past six decades. In the Rajya Sabha, it has been almost constant at 7 percent of the total seats, with the exception of the 1991 election where it rose to 15.5 per cent. In the 2009 election, only 59 women MPs were elected for a total of 543 seats, and this figure went up by merely 2 to touch 61 in the 2014 elections.

Table2_SohiniTable2_Sohini

Comparisons at the international level reiterate the abysmally low levels of women’s participation in political decision-making in India (see Table 2). Rwanda, which exhibits the highest participation by women in the latest elections to its lower house, was the first nation to cross the halfway mark for women in Parliament, 7 percentage points ahead of Cuba, which occupies the second position. Alarmingly, women’s representation in Parliament in India is lower than even that of much smaller nations like Nepal and Afghanistan.

Paradoxically, political representation does not have any direct correlation with literacy or other related parameters. This is indicated by a comparison of female political participation in Kerala and Rajasthan, which lie at two opposite ends of the literacy bandwagon, with the female literacy rates being 92 per cent and 53 per cent in Kerala and Rajasthan, respectively, as per the 2011 Census. Although the women in Kerala enjoy greater freedom of movement along with cultural and educational advantages, this has not been converted into political participation. Even the proportion of women in the state assembly is only marginally higher at 11 percent in the present Assembly in Kerala as compared to 7 per cent in Rajasthan.

One of the key challenges faced by women is lack of education which hinders their political involvement. We recommend bridging this gap by providing quality education to women in the country. Awareness about their rights and privileges as mentioned in the Constitution can only be ensured once women are appropriately educated. The issue of gender-based violence and provision of safety and security of women should also be addressed on a priority basis to promote gender equality in the social and political arenas. Although the Government of India has initiated the National Mission of Empowerment of Women in 2014 with the broad objective of gender empowerment, the progress of this project is not up to the mark. It is thus imperative to strengthen its functioning and implementation. In addition, there is need for capacity building of prospective women leaders by imparting leadership training to the female members of political parties.

DMDK leaders advise Vijaykanth to not take on any allies for civic polls

After drawing a blank in the recently concluded assembly elections, the DMDK senior functionaries have reportedly informed their senior leader Vijayakanth to go alone in the municipal polls in October.According to a report in the Hindu, in a recent meeting that was held by Vijayakanth for the district secretaries, it is reported that some of the senior functionaries urged their leader to cut off ties with People Welfare Front.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The functionaries believe that the party rout in the elections was due to the alliance. A complete lack of coordination with the party members of the alliance is alleged to have been the reason behind failure of DMDK’s poor performance in the elections.The report also said that some of the leaders have complained to Vijayakanth that the situation was bad during the elections as there were not enough members from other alliance parties to man the voting booths.The campaign style of MDMK leader Vaiko was also attributed for the failure in the elections. DMDK supporters are anti-AIADMK majority. Vaiko’s focus was more on DMK. Therefore according to the party members, it resulted in several DMDK supporters voting for the DMKA former MLA had also said that an alliance with DMK would have ensured a victory for the party in the elections. The assembly polls have hit each of the district functionaries financially and supporting the alliance in the municipal polls is difficult, he added.

Tamil Nadu elections: Governor recommends polls in Aravakiruchi, Thanjavur before June 1

Keeping in view the coming Rajya Sabha elections from the state, Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah on Thursday wrote to the Election Commission recommending holding of elections in two assembly constituencies, where polls had been deferred, preferably before June 1.The Governor made the recommendation acting on petitions by ruling AIADMK candidates in Aravakiruchi and Thanjavur constituencies where the EC had deferred polling days before the May 16 assembly elections citing electoral malpractices, a Raj Bhavan release said tonight.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It said the candidates V Senthil Balaji (Aravakurichi) and M Rengasamy (Thanjavur) in their May 22 representation stated that the EC had deferred the polls in the constituencies “without any authority of law and without the consent of the Governor.”
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu elections 2016: After Aravakurichi, polling in Thanjavur constituency deferred to 23They also contended that the alleged corrupt practices relied upon by the EC to defer the elections can be tested before a court of law and the postponement of the polls would also shorten the tenure of the member who may be elected.The release said that based on the petitions, the Governor convened a meeting with the state Chief Electoral Officer who submitted a report of the EC on May 24 on the matter.The Governor considered the petitions and the detailed report of the EC in the light of relevant provisions contained in the Representation of People Act and the Constitution as well the observations in the Supreme Court’s 1996 judgement in Bhim Singh vs Election Commission case and the 1984 judgement of a Constitution bench in the EC vs Haryana case.Also, considering the fact that postponement of elections in the two constituencies would deprive the statutory rights of the members elected from them to vote in the coming Rajya Sabha elections, the Governor on Thursday sent a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner.In the letter, he recommended for the conduct of the elections to Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies “as early as possible, preferably before June 1, 2016 in public interest and in the interest of all the concerned parties,” the Raj Bhavan release said.Citing evidence that large-scale money changed hands to influence voters in the two constituencies, the EC had first deferred the elections to May 23. On May 21, the Commission further put off the elections to June 13 to allow its teams to ascertain whether polls can be allowed in the “vitiated atmosphere”.Main opposition DMK has demanded immediate holding of the elections in the two constituencies.

In 2011 Left Front lost, in 2016 Left ideology was defeated: RSP slams hasty alliance

With CPI(M)-led Left Front decimated in the Assembly polls in the erstwhile red citadel of West Bengal, a politburo member has acknowledged that its alliance with the Congress went against the party which faces serious questions over its existences if it fails to check the erosion of vote bank.Once invincible CPI(M) led Left Front, which had kept aside its “ideological convictions” to align with its one time foe Congress to oust the Trinamool Congress regime in Bengal, is the “biggest loser” in the polls as its tally dropped from 62 seats in 2011 to just 32 seats in the recently ended Assembly elections. “If we can’t check the further erosion of our vote bank and support base then we are ought to face serious questions over the very existence of CPI(M) and Left in Bengal. We have not only failed to gauge the mood and pulse of the people but also to regain our lost strength in last five years,” CPI(M) politburo member and former MP Hanan Mollah told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mollah further said the alliance with the Congress was not accepted by the masses. “We tried to forge an alliance with Congress in order to stop the division of anti-TMC votes. It has rather gone against us. The people didn’t accept this alliance. We cannot deny that people have voted for Mamata Banerjee and the TMC in large numbers, irrespective of the fact that there has been issues of unemployment, corruption and lack of industrialisation.”
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections 2016: 5 blunders by Left-Congress that helped Mamata win”We need to asses what went wrong whether it was our electoral line or alienation with the masses,” Mollah said.Mollah’s comments can be gauged from the fact that the Left’s vote share has dipped by near about 19 per cent since 2009. The CPI(M) led Left Front which has received 43.6 per cent in 2009 Lok Sabha polls received 41 per cent votes in 2011 Assembly polls, when it was ousted from power after 34 years of uninterrupted rule. In 2014 Lok Sabha polls Left Front had received 29 percent votes which was reduced to all time low of 24 percent in 2016.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections 2016: Didi’s land to have 40 women MLAs Although lacunae on the part of leaders to feel the public pulse, alienation from the masses, organisational glitches, compromising on the ideological line of anti-Congress posture and a hasty electoral alliance with Congress seems to be the main reasons behind the rout, the Left leadership seems to be at its wits end to revive its base in the once impregnable fort. Mollah’s colleague in CPI(M)’s politburo, Brinda Karat told PTI that the party leadership will examine the reasons for the poor performance of the CPI(M) and the electoral line adopted by the Bengal unit to draw proper lessons and revival strategy.”The results indicate that several steps, from change in leadership to infusing fresh blood at various levels, that we had taken in last five years have failed to help us in reaching out to the masses. We really don’t know what needs to be done to regain our lost glory as we have also compromised our ideological line,” a senior CPI(M) state committee leader told PTI on condition of anonymity. CPI(M) politburo member Mohammed Salim, one of the main architects of Congress-CPI(M) alliance on the day of results on May 19, had pointed fingers at Congress.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections 2016: TMC won because of Mamata Banerjee’s ‘clean image’, says BJP “The Left voters extended their wholehearted support to the Congress, but I feel there remains a question mark over Congress votes coming to us,” Salim had said. The Congress seems to have benefited from the alliance and bettered its vote percentage this time to 12.3, compared to 9.09 per cent in 2011, when it had contested in alliance with TMC. The Congress bagged 44 seats and will be the main opposition party in the assembly pushing the Left to the third spot.The Left Front allies Forward Bloc and RSP, who were against formation of alliance with Congress, blamed the CPI(M) and its “big brotherly” attitude for the rout. “There was a myth created by one of our Left Front partner that it is the people’s demand to forge an alliance with the Congress. But actually it was not the people’s demand. It was the demand of some of the leaders who just wanted to get back to power at any cost, even at the cost of ideology and principle. If you compromise with your ideology you will face crisis over your very existence,” Forward Bloc general secretary Debabrata Biswas told PTI.”In 2011, the Left Front had lost the polls but in 2016 the Left ideology has lost even before the results were announced. Those who don’t have any mass base have been the biggest proponents of Congress-CPI(M) alliance,” RSP state secretary Khsiti Goswami said.Both Goswami and Biswas said the contradiction in electoral and ideological line adopted in Bengal, will have an adverse impact in the days to come.

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Chief Election Officer Rajesh Lakhoni speaks on voter turnout, cash seized and polls deferred

The elections in Tamil Nadu may have to come end but the state’s Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni still does not sound satisfied, finding room for improvements. He is currently preparing for polls in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies where polls have been deferred by another three weeks. Despite allegations and criticisms from various parties that the EC was functioning in favour of the ruling party, it was all Income Tax and Information Technology-driven, leaving no place for manipulation. The Chief Electoral Officer has set the bar high in the conduct of elections in Tamil Nadu with record number of seizures. Lakhoni says he has now developed a prototype for conducting these elections, which can be further developed. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an interview with dna, he touches upon all this and speaks about the controversy surrounding the Rs 570 crore cash seized in Tirupur on Friday, May 13, which the SBI claims was their money.With parties complaining about the deferment of elections at Aravakurichi and Thanjavur, which they think, will cause undue advantage for the winner— what’s your take?Elections were deferred after cash was found by the Enforcement Directorate, election officials and the decision to postpone them was taken by the Chief Election Commissioner after discussions. A probe was also ordered by the election officials to carry out investigations in the wake of the rampant money distribution. Elections are a process and cannot be just struck down by the stroke of a sign just because parties want them to. Elections were due and were conducted as per rules.How far do you think you curbed the money power in elections?In a positive note, the CEO says we searched each and every candidates’ homes and booked cadres for bribing voters. At least 250 of them were booked. I don’t think this has ever happened in any of the elections and seizing Rs 105 crore cash in this elections is the maximum. All these years there were seizures in which most of them were returned, however, this year it was only at Rs 47 crore. A candidate from Thiruchendur , Mr. Sarath Kumar’s car was stopped and cash was seized by the election officials. All our officials worked swiftly and were constantly on the field to monitor cash for votes and other illegalities.Don’t you think spending by parties and candidates needs to still be tightened by the EC? Do you think there is a need for electoral reforms?Ever since the schedule was put up, each of the processes that were involved for the candidates to obtain permissions for campaigning — the chairs, the posters and the other sums involved — were all digitised with the special software that can be checked with the click of a button. There is no place for manipulation as everything has gone online, is digital and can be audited whenever required by the election officials concerned. The parties can never blame the EC for anything. I don’t think electoral reforms can be decided by the CEO as I am just a facilitator and decision has to be taken at the top level. Even when ads were made, I insisted they not lay emphasis on the CM candidate.There were a lot of criticisms from parties that you were acting in favour of the ruling government? How did you tackle it?Parties complained and brought me complaints. However, the Election Commission officials were all in the field and were doing their best to stop candidates from bribing the voters. The Election officials were acting on complaints that were provided to them by the voters as well as the candidates. Whenever candidates complained, the EC always did its best. I guess this was the first time when the Election officials, revenue, Income Tax, Information technology and central government were in the field to act on complaints.You took various initiatives to improve the voter turnout. However, it was still less when compared to the previous years and Chennai’s turnout was poor. Where do you think the problem was?Each and every initiative was taken up, such as roping in actors, (putting up) posters and short films, screening them everywhere, however the percentage has dipped. But it could also probably be duplication, as it was found some voters tend to be always having votes on two places— in their native town and place of work, and also the rains. This is actually a place where the EC needs to learn and measures are being taken up to study on how the voting dipped. The dip can also be attributed to three days holidays when several urban voters went to their native place to record their votes. A study will be conducted and there is always place for improvement, which the EC will take.Why aren’t elections conducted in a multi-phase manner in the state? Do you think it can help control money power?Election if held in a multi-phase manner will only increase the burden. Logistically and strategically, for long Tamil Nadu has not been a place where elections can be held in multi-phase. In other places, such as Bihar and West Bengal, elections are held in different phases, which are due to administrative and security reasons, whereas in TN a single phase is perfect. While carrying out single phase, the EC was able to seize Rs 105 crore whereas when you go for multi-phase it can prove as an advantage for parties who can study the entire approach in the first phase and possibly implement in the next.What’s the status on the Rs 570 crore that was seized by the EC at Coimbatore? Why is it still not released?The EC found the money being transported from Coimbatore to Vijayawada and the officials detained it near Tiruppur. When the EC tried to stop it at a distance, the vehicles did not stop. The EC was not in a position to handle such an amount and the Income Tax officials were brought in. The IT department investigation is pending and is currently at the top level of the finance department since the money was being transferred as per the orders of the RBI, the bank officials claimed. However, the documents had some discrepancies that led the EC to detain the money.Was it the EC that sent notices to parties on the funding for freebies? Was it satisfied with the replies given by the parties?The questions were raised after a Supreme Court judgment in 2013 directed the Election Commission to frame guidelines with regard to the contents of election manifestos, in consultation with all the recognised political parties. The order was passed on July 5, 2013, SLP(C) No 21455 of 2008. The (parties’) replies were sent to the CEC in Delhi and its pending with them.

West Bengal Elections 2016: 5 strategy blunders by Left-Congress that helped Mamata win

The elections are over and Didi has stormed back to power with an even bigger mandate than before. Even after 24 hours, the opposition is in a collective state of shock, reeling under the sudden and one-sided nature of the verdict. That they would get their calculations so wrong was beyond the comprehension of many top Left leaders who, just a couple of days ago, where advising workers ‘to keep calm after victory’.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Congress managed to marginally increase their tally, the Left has slumped even farther than its 2011 catastrophe. The leaders are trying to wrap their heads around the ‘unexpected’ verdict, but let’s figure out some of the blunders in strategy that caused this painful defeat for Surja Kanta Mishra and co.Running a negative campaignIt was only about attacking Mamata Banerjee for what she had failed to do in the last five years. At no point did the voters get to know what the Congress-Left alliance hoped to achieve themselves. No effort was made by either of the parties to impress upon the voters why they needed to abandon their ideologies and support the alliance. No common vision statement was issued. It was only about stopping Mamata without giving a positive agenda or message for change in return. Thus, they made the election Presidential-style, playing to the strength of Mamta Banerjee.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections 2016: Mamata charisma turned out to be the game changer Image courtesy PTILeft showed no remorseAfter 34 years of rule, the Left was booted out of power in 2011. All it did as course correction was give tickets to some young turks. The Left was under the notion that promoting the youth would make people forget their deep resentment towards the Communist party.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections 2016: Why Mamata’s TMC won and Congress-CPI (M) alliance lost In a largely rural Bengal, Left failed to give clarity on whether they will acquire fertile land for agriculture, an issue which cost them dearly in the past. In a way, they remained smug and in their own cocoon, thinking 2011 was an aberration and that people would just vote them back to power after getting frustrated with Mamata. Before trying to usher in change, the Left should have modified themselves to changing times, a message that largely remained unheeded.Personal attackIn Saradha scam, Narada sting or any other scams, the Left had often gone for the jugular and directly attacked the Chief Minister. Even though there was no tangible case or allegation against her, the opposition tried to prove her guilty by association. But this backfired on them spectacularly .
ALSO READ From Madan Mitra to Surjya Kanta Mishra – the biggest losers in West BengalThe people of Bengal still largely believe that Mamata Banerjee, for all her faults, is an honest person who has worked her way to the top.Thus, Didi could play a martyr as the Left tried to defame her.Congress voters rejected the allianceMamata Banerjee, after close to 20 years in the Congress, left the party feeling it was not the right vehicle to remove the Left from the state. Didi’s anti-Left credentials are rock-solid and is her greatest calling card. Even traditional Congress voters, especially in North Bengal, who didn’t vote for her in the past possessed a grudging respect for Didi owing to her dogged anti-Left rhetoric. She was never deemed as a ‘compromise’. The hatred the traditional Congress voters feel towards the Left is much more than that towards TMC. For most of the Congress voters, anti-Left ideology is their defining political overtone. Hence, it was difficult for them to reconcile a Congress-Left alliance one month before the elections just because the leaders have agreed to it. Going by how the results have unfolded, an overwhelming number of Congress voters chose the ‘lesser devil’ and opted for TMC.Alliance actually believed the ‘media hype’Seated in their ‘liberal echo-chamber’ and reading all the anti-Mamata propaganda written in the largest vernacular newspaper of the state, the alliance leaders probably thought that it was a matter of time before they came back to power. For them, this Frank Underwood quote is apt:“There’s no way to overpower a trickle of doubt than with a flood of naked truth’.The Congress- Left leaders lost their ground connect, missed vital cues about how electorate is behaving and finally ended up making a fool of themselves with outlandish comments ahead of elections.Democracy is a great leveller. Their time will also come one day. Till then, it is time for them to go back to the basics and start the grind all over again.

Mamata’s quotes unquoted: Here’s a guide to what she said and what she meant after winning

Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress led a thumping victory in the 2016 West Bengal Assembly election. The party supremo held a press conference around noon, answering several questions in several languages. She cut a very sober figure (surprised, much?), spoke about relevant topics and even handled the situation as a seasoned, mature politician.Not to take away the good work done by the government in the rural areas, in development and infrastructure, which translated into this landmark win, it was still a tad hard for me follow her accomplishments on TV. I was so distracted by her liberal mixing of Bengali, Hindi and English, that it somehow reduced the seriousness of the situation into something absolutely comical.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here are some quotable quotes from the lady:​’Ghatala-ka ghatala-ka thakurdada’Yes, she said it. When talking about the her rival party, she meant CPM was the baap of all chaos. Or in this case, the grandfather of all ‘ghotala’. Something on those lines. Believe you me, she integrated the line very seamlessly.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections: CPI(M) decision to align with Congress’ greatest blunder, says Mamata BanerjeeUsage: Read it, forget it, don’t try to use.’Chhakka maar diya’Before you get violent, Didi meant a six. Hitting it out of the park. The citizens voting for a winning sixer in answer to all the opportunistic tie-ups between ideologically opposing parties, like CPM and Congress.
ALSO READ dna Explains: Assembly Elections 2016- Why West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Kerala voted in this way Usage: Not in front of National TV please.’Others are VIPs, but I am a LIP’Less Important Person. This in response to her future ambitions, if any, of running for the Prime Minister’s post. That’s a new one, but quite apt, specially coming from a woman dressed in a white saree, and hawai chappals.Usage: I tried it with a hashtag, but out popped Aishwariya in smurf-kissed purple #LIP’Bengal has a corruption-free government’Nothing wrong with the language here. Just the naive, child-like, Utopian, self-deluded assumption had me in splits. I will not name the scams, or lego-like bridges falling apart, except Madan Mitra hit the true chhakka, uhhh sixer, in jail for over a year, invisible from his constituency but finally losing by a slim margin. Usage: Error free, logic free. Use it at your discretion.’Amitabhji sent a video to congratulate me’Her ‘friend, philosopher, guide’, as Mamata had announced during this current IPL season, sure is becoming a buddy of hers, though I’m yet to figure out how it is relevant. And who can blame her, the senior Bachchan definitely knows how to charm.Usage: Well, wouldn’t we all like to use this line? That too in a press meet.It was a very unique press meet. Usually, politicians stick to the language they know well because communication is a very important part. Yet Mamata Banerjee, in utter aplomb, breaks all language barriers over and over again. All she needs to do now is a mic drop.Over and out.

PM Modi calls BJP’s win in Assam ‘historic’, says the party will ‘fulfill dreams and aspirations of people’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday dubbed the BJP’s win in Assam as historic and said the saffron party will do everything possible to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of the people.”Heartiest congratulations to Assam BJP Karyakartas and leaders for the exceptional win. This win is historic by all standards. Phenomenal! BJP will do everything possible to fulfil dreams & aspirations of the people of Assam & take the state’s development journey to new heights,” Prime Minister Modi said in a series of tweets.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I spoke to Sarbananda Sonowal & congratulated him for the performance of the party & the efforts through the campaign. Across India, people are placing their faith in BJP & see it as the party that can usher in all-round & inclusive development,” he tweeted.
ALSO READ Assam Elections 2016: 7 reasons why BJP swept the stateAccording to the latest Election Commission data, the BJP is leading in 56, Congress in 25 and Asom Gana Parishad in 15 seats respectively.
ALSO READ Assam Elections 2016: Here’s all you need to know about Sarbanada Sonowal’s steady rise to the topMeanwhile in West Bengal, the TMC is leading in 212 seats, Left 25, Congress in 41, BJP in seven and others in seven seats.

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: In a first, more women than men cast votes; 738 from third gender

Voting for the Assembly Elections took place in Tamil Nadu on May 16 for 232 constituencies. There were no untoward incidents reported, except for the fact that the rain played spoilsport across the state. The Election Commission has now released data pertaining to the polls which reveal that more women than men voted this time in the state. According to the EC data, 2,16,28,807 voters were women and 2,12,44,129 were men while 738 were from the third gender.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Interestingly, this is the first time in the history of the state that as many as 327 women filed their nomination papers. The total voting percentage in the state was 74.26%.The highest voter turnout was in Dharmapuri district while the lowest was in Chennai.
ALSO READ Exit polls: Only Mamata to stay; ruling fronts in Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala to be oustedDistrict-wise Voter Turnout (%)Dharmapuri – 85.03
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu elections 2016: Is Amma on her way out? Exit polls predict soAriyalur – 83.77Karur – 83.09Tiruvannamalai – 82.99Namakkal – 82.1Salem – 80.09Dindigul – 79.62Perambalur – 79.54Villupuram – 79.44Erode – 79.39Cuddalore – 78.64Krishnagiri – 78.38Tiruvarur – 78.04Thanjavur – 77.44Vellore – 77.24Pudukkottai – 77.07Virudhunagar – 76.36Nagappattinam – 76.05Tiruchi – 75.77Theni – 75.29Tirupur – 72.68Tiruvallur – 71.2Tirunelveli – 71.94Thoothukkudi – 71.17Madurai – 71.09Nilgris – 70.53Sivaganga – 69.8Kancheepuram – 68.77Coimbatore – 68.13Ramanathapuram – 67.78Kanniyakumari – 66.32Chennai – 60.99Source: Election CommissionThe result of the polls will be declared on May 19. The two constituencies where voting was deferred to May 23 – Aravakurichi and Thanjavur – will see the results out on May 25.

16 May 2014: Watch Narendra Modi’s historic speech after winning 2014 Elections

Two years ago on this day, Narendra Modi led the BJP to its biggest win ever in the General Elections when the saffron party won 282 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats to become the first party with a clear majority since 1984. It was also the first time a non-Congress party won clear majority. The Congress on the other hand won just 44 seats, its worst performance in history.After the victory, Modi gave a speech in Vadodara in his home state in front of an enchanted crowd. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Watch the speech below:

Assam elections 2016: Tarun Gogoi not deterred by exit polls projection

Brushing aside the early exit polls predictions of a big win for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Assam, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday evening expressed confidence over his victory, saying people are aware of the work done by the Congress Government in the state.”I have a full trust and confidence in our own people of Assam. People of Assam have seen how much change we have brought in. Everyone has seen the performance of the government,” Gogoi told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The BJP took u turn to all the promises which they made to Assam. The way BJP saffronises education as well; it is dangerous for the country,” he added.Also read – Assam Elections 2016: Exit polls suggest BJP’s Sarbananda Sonowal to be next CMWith the elections across five states finally coming to an end, most of the exit polls gave an edge to BJP in Assam and predicted an outright win for Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal.According to the poll survey by ABP news, BJP is expected to bag 81 seats while Congress is likely to get 33 seats. Assam’s regional party AIUDF is expected to bag 10 seats. Axis-My India’s survey on the other hand predicts BJP to bag anywhere between 79-93 seats in the 126 seats Assam assembly, while the Congress is likely to get anywhere between 26-33 seats. News Nation survey pegs BJP at 63-67 seats, Congress at 47-50 seats and AIUDF is expected to bag 7-11 seats in Assam.The first phase of the Assam Assembly polls registered a record 82.2 % voter turnout, only to be outdone by the 84.72 % turnout in the second phase.

Tamil Nadu elections 2016: Is Amma on her way out? Exit polls predict so

After a month-long hectic campaign, Tamil Nadu voted today, barring Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies which will go to polls on May 23. All the exit polls for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections 2016 project a win for the DMK-Congress alliance, barring CVoter. Today’s Chanakya, Axis My India show that Jayalalithaa has failed to re-create her magic this time. However, AIADMK and DMK were in close contention during the campaigning days. Both made similar poll promises. Prohibition of liquor featured prominently in both their manifestos. Several freebies were also promised for the voters, which even invited Election Commission’s ire. (Read: Tamil Nadu elections 2016: EC issues show cause notices to Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi)<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP was seeking to make inroads in Tamil Nadu but failed to create a mark, according to the exit poll predictions. The fight has always been between DMK and AIADMK, and looks like it will continue to stay so. The only glimmer of hope Congress has in this round of assembly elections is in Tamil Nadu, where the alliance with 92-year-old wheelchair-bound Karunanidhi led DMK seems to have worked. AGENCY AIADMK DMK-CONGRESS OTHERS TODAY’S CHANAKYA 90 (+/- 9) 140 (+/- 11) 4 (+/- 2) CVOTER 139 78 17 AXIS MY INDIA 89-101 124-140 4-8 NEWS NATION 95-99 114-118 18 REASONS FOR AMMA’S PROJECTED LOSSDid the Chennai floods and criticism over its handling by the state administration have an impact on Jaya’s dedicated voters?​Amma, who went to jail in connection to the disproportionate assests case, but returned to power in May 2015 after acquittal, has failed to convince the voters in the last one year. People, who struggled in the week-long floods, seem to have not forgiven Amma for what she did (or for what she didn’t do.)Another reason for Amma lagging behind in the race this time could be her lack of campaigning. Karunanidhi’s son MK Stalin, started the party’s ‘Nammakku Naame’ (We for ourselves) as long ago as September 2015. The party reached out to all the 234 constituencies, and ended the campaign in February 2016. However, due to Amma’s reported ill-health, she wasn’t able to make many public appearances. The exit polls also suggest that DMDK, PMK etc may have failed to create an impression among voters about being a credible alternative to the DMK and AIADMK. Also read: Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Why DMK holds the edge over AIADMKAXIS MY INDIA PROJECTIONS:DMK, in alliance with Congress, will get anywhere between 124-140 seats, while AIADMK will see between 89 and 101. BJP however, fails to make a mark and only 0-3 seats are predicted for the PM Modi-led party. TODAY’S CHANAKYA PROJECTIONS:DMK-Congress alliance gets anywhere close 140 seats; Amma gets 90. C-VOTER PROJECTIONS:CVoter is the only pollster to have suggested that the Amma-led party is leading the race with 139 seats. DMK-Congress alliance will get 78 seats, predicted CVoter.

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Rajinikanth urges people to vote, evades query on money row

South Indian superstar Rajinikanth on Monday urged people to vote, saying it is the duty of all citizens to exercise their franchise.He, however, declined to comment on allegations of distribution of money by candidates in Tamil Nadu.”Everybody should vote and that is our duty,” he told reporters after voting at Stella Maris College premises.Asked about allegations of distribution of money and postponement of elections, he merely said, “No comments”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Live Updates: Amid rains, over 25 % voting in Tamil Nadu; M Karunanidhi says ‘our winning prospects are bright’EC has postponed polls in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur seats following allegations of distribution of money.Another veteran actor Kamal Haasan said, “Higher the polling percentage, it is good for democracy and my feeling too is that it should be higher.”Asked who should come to power, he said “good people”.He voted at a polling station in Teynampet along with actress Gowthami.Actor Ajith Kumar, hailed as “Thala” (leader), cast his vote along with wife Shalini.LIVE | Kerala Elections 2016: 30% polling till 11am, Modi’s Somalia comment to prove costly, says ChandyActor turned politician Kushboo and her actor-director husband Sundar C also cast their votes.Comedian Vivek, actors Prabhu, Sivakarthikevyan, Jeeva, Meena, lyricist Vairamuthu too exercised their franchise.Actor-turned politician and chief of Nam Tamizhar Katchi, Seeman, said those who distributed money were “sinners,” and asked all the people to exercise their franchise.

Rs 570 core cash seized in Tamil Nadu, EC says investigations are on

With only two days left for the Tamil Nadu polls, election officials in the textile town of Perumanallur in Tirupur district seized three containers carrying Rs 570 crore cash on Saturday morning. The seized vehicles have been now kept in the custody of the Tirupur Election officials at the Collectorate Complex. The static surveillance team under Vijaykumar along with two other paramilitary forces stopped the vehicle at Perumanallur and carried out questioning. The personnel accompanying the vehicles, who claimed to be policemen from Andhra Pradesh but were not in uniform, told the EC officials that they were transferring Rs 570 crore from the State Bank of India in Coimbatore to Vishakhapatnam branches. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the men accompanying the containers could not produce proper documents to substantiate their claims, following which the vehicles were taken to the District Collectorate in Tirupur. Asked why they had sped away without stopping, they told the police they feared it was a robbery attempt and that they were unaware that the officials were from the election department. Bank officials from Coimbatore and Vishakhapatnam are rushing to the spot now.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Rs 100 crore unaccounted cash seized so farThe containers carrying the Rs 570 crore cash have not yet been opened. The election officials at Tirupur have conducted preliminary enquiries with the drivers and have intimated the Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni at Chennai who is currently carrying out an investigation. The Tirupur District Election Officer S Jayanthi addressing media on Saturday morning said, “A separate team will be formed to carry out the investigation based on which the cash seized will be handed over after obtaining the necessary documents.”
ALSO READ Puducherry elections 2016: More than Rs 1 crore unaccounted cash seizedState EC Rajesh Lakhoni told the media,”Documents show that Rs 570 crore in Tirupur containers was for RBI transfer from SBI Bank. We are still investigating.” The election officials have already seized over Rs 100 crore in this elections. Tamil Nadu goes to the polls on May 16.(With agency inputs)

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: BJP hits out at DMK, AIADMK for ‘freebie culture’

Senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and Prakash Javadekar on Friday hit out at the DMK and AIADMK, which have alternately ruled Tamil Nadu, for introducing “freebie culture” in the state and said what the people wanted was employment and not freebies.”In the last 10 years, by giving freebies to the public, government has spent Rs 11,500 crore. Both DMK and AIADMK want to rule the state by giving away freebies,” Singh said at an election meeting in Salem.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Both the Dravidian parties had ‘brainwashed’ the people by giving away freebies, he alleged.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Meet the independent candidate who has met nearly all his constituentsThe Union Home Minister said during the 10 years Congress- led UPA rule at the Centre, there were several scams, including the Rs 1.76 lakh crore 2G scam. However, since the BJP-led NDA assumed power and adopted a transparent policy, coal auction had netted a profit of Rs two lakhs crore.He also referred to the December 2015 floods in Chennai and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had rushed to Tamil Nadu to take stock of the situation and sanctioned Rs 2,000 crore to the state.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Smriti Irani terms Congress-DMK alliance as unholy, brings up 2G scamIn Virudhunagar, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said there was no use in implementing the freebie scheme when what people wanted was not freebies, but jobs.Citing the example of giving 20 kg rice free of cost, he said the Centre was bearing Rs 32 as cost and the state government was spending only Rs three.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Highlight govt’s work, expose DMK-Cong alliance- Jayalalithaa asks cadres He criticised DMK and AIADMK for promising to bring in prohibition and said though they had assured it in their manifestos, neither party would do so. He claimed that only BJP was capable of it and would implement it if voted to power.

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Alagiri says DMK will not win a single seat in Madurai

DMK leader Stalin was in Madurai to address a rally on May 7, but his elder brother MK Alagiri was not seen anywhere close. The party’s chief M Karunanidhi has stated that Stalin will be chief minister if the party wins and has also declared that if something happens to him, it will be Stalin who takes over the leadership. A report in The Indian Express states that MK Alagiri will not be voting for any party in the upcoming elections in Tamil Nadu. Alagiri told the daily that it has been two-and-half years since he spoke to his brother Stalin and nearly three years since he spoke to his half-sister Kanimozhi. He added that DMK will not win a single seat in Madurai and that he was not interested in the kind of politics that is going on now. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the election of 2011, it was MK Alagiri who was spearheading the campaign in Madurai for the DMK. But he was under the scanner for numerous issues at the time and was held responsible for the ‘self-styled’ rule in the city and the rise of mafia leaders like ‘Pottu’ Suresh, ‘Attack’ Pandi and ‘Karate’ Pandian.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: MK Alagiri loyalists send out warning to DMKMK Alagiri is now a shadow of his former self where politics is concerned. A close aide told the daily that they could not be seen openly supporting Alagiri due to the issues in the family. The report adds that Alagiri is definitely planning something as his loyalists have told the daily that they plan to defeat the candidates close to Stalin in Madurai.

dna Morning Must Reads: Uttarakhand floor test; Saina Nehwal on Rio 2016; Salman Khan on godfathers; and more

1. Uttarakhand floor test: Harish Rawat may have the last laugh; SC to declare result todayIt looks like Advantage Congress in Uttarakhand. After the Supreme Court (SC)-monitored crucial floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly, the exultation expressed by Congress members and despair on BJP faces said it all. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Delhi University authenticates PM Modi’s degree, leaves AAP confused, angryUniversity’s registrar Tarun Das said that they checked the records and the degree is authenticated. Read more here3. IAS topper from Delhi wants to bring gender equality to Haryana”I have been preparing for a long time. When I was in the eleventh standard, I decided I wanted to crack the civics,” says the 22-year-old. She speaks of her dedication, and of the focus she cultivated over the years. Read more here4. US Elections 2016: Hillary Clinton loses to Bernie Sanders in coal state of West VirginiaAs Clinton closes in on the nomination, Sanders is still attracting thousands to rallies and his campaign has grown harder. Read more here5. Old world charm fades as Darjeeling tea heads to e-auctionDarjeeling tea, whose first pluck often fetches over Rs 1 lakh/kg, is joining its lesser value brethren into the staid world of e-auctions that offer better price discovery, but no personal touch of bidding while savouring a hot cuppa. Read more here6. Rio 2016: Saina Nehwal confident of India’s chancesSaina Nehwal says India sending largest ever badminton contingent to Rio shows fast increase in graph of sport in country. Read more here7. Humara kaun sa godfather tha, yaar? asks Salman KhanWith Salman Khan, it’s direct dil se. There’s no façade or mask to peel away. That’s probably why his honesty sometimes puts him in controversial spots. Read more here

Assam Elections 2016: Ajmal pitches for third Front to stop BJP, wants Prafulla Mahanta as CM

Widely perceived as a possible ‘kingmaker’ in case of a hung verdict in the Assam elections, AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal favours a secular front of parties comprising Congress, AGP, BPF and his own with a few others to prevent BJP from forming the next government.’Mahanta can be the CM’He even goes on to suggest that Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, whose party AGP is in alliance with BJP, be the next chief minister. “All these parties must come together to form the Third Front Alliance as this is the only way to keep the communal BJP out of power and save Assam and its people,” Ajmal told PTI in an interview. He claims his party is expected to win over 30 seats and will have a major say in the formation of the next government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Claiming to be the ‘kingmaker’ in the next government, Ajmal said, “Without us, no party can form the government in the state. It is the party we support that can form the government and AIUDF’s importance cannot be denied.” Asked whether he aspires to be the next chief minister of the state, he said, “I am not dreaming to be the chief minister. My ideal choice for the post is former two-time AGP Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.
ALSO READ Assam Elections 2016: Why BJP is confident of coming to power “The ideal chief ministerial candidate of the alliance will be Mahanta as we have worked with him for 10 years. He is the right choice. We have good experience with him and he had given adequate representation to the minority community.” Referring to AGP-BPF pre-poll alliance with BJP, the Dhubri MP said, “As per my knowledge, AGP has a covert understanding with Congress and an overt alliance with BJP which I think is due to financial reasons. “AGP will be the maximum gainer in this election. If they had fought the elections on their own, they would not have got more than five or six seats but with BJP’s financial support, they are expected to win 10 to 12 seats.”AIUDF, the largest Opposition party with 18 seats in the outgoing assembly, has formed an alliance with JD(U) and RJD although these two parties do not have any significant presence in the state. AIUDF also invited Congress and AGP into the alliance in its attempt to create a “mahagathbandhan” on the lines of Bihar elections to defeat BJP, but it did not succeed.
ALSO READ Assam Elections 2016: It won’t be a smooth sail for BJP; Cong & AIUDF have an edge in final phaseAccording to Ajmal, BPF leader Hagrama Mohilary has time and again said he will go with whichever party forms the government in Assam. He also expressed confidence that Congress with the intervention of the party’s central leadership will also join the Third Front and bring its ally United Peoples’ Party (UPP) within the alliance. Result of the election to the 126-member Assam Assembly will be declared on May 19. ‘Congress can be part of third front government’Asked about Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi dismissing the idea of a Third Front government in Assam with Congress as a constituent, Ajmal said he was confident the “party High Command will intervene as it stands to gain a lot from this”. “The Congress has no chance of coming to power in any of the states where elections are being held but in Assam it can be a part of the government, if the Third Front comes to power. Therefore, we are sure their Delhi leadership will intervene to ensure it becomes an alliance partner,” he said.
ALSO READ Assam Elections 2016: Could the high turnout be a boon for the Congress?’There shouldn’t be any ego-clash’Ajmal was, however, critical of the last 15 years of Congress rule under Gogoi alleging that not much development had taken place leading to Assam lagging far behind other states. “The major problem of flood and erosion has not been tackled while there has not been much progress in the industrial sector and road and connectivity. Even the law order situation is far from satisfactory though the Chief Minister himself holds the Home portfolio,” he adds.”There should, however, be no ego clash and all secular parties should come to an understanding to stop the BJP from coming to power in the greater interest of Assam,” he says. Asked whether such an alliance can give a stable government, Ajmal says, “All the constituent partners have to make some sacrifices and keep aside their ego in the greater interest of secularism and Assam.”On whether the AIUDF will be a part of the ministry, he said it will be decided by the party’s core committee only after the results are announced on May 19. Asked about Congress allegations that AIUDF has a secret understanding with BJP and had put up candidates in certain seats where they had no chances of winning, Ajmal says his party will never go with BJP as they have basic ideological differences.’Will never ally with BJP'”Our ideological differences are like East and West and they indulge in anti-Muslim activities which we cannot support at any cost.” “In no way shall we support the BJP. Look at Kashmir where Peoples Democratic Party has an alliance with BJP. When Mufti Mohammed Sayeed died only 2,000 people attended his funeral whereas at least two lakh people should have attended a chief minister’s last rites. If we have an alliance with the BJP, our party AIUDF will be finished in five years,” he claims.On AIUDF’s role if BJP along with its pre-poll allies come to power, Ajmal says, “We will play the role of the good opposition.” He, however, says the BJP-AGP-BPF alliance is a “very temporary” partnership and will not last too long. “They will not be able to complete the full term in office. All parties in the alliance are disparate with not much in common.”

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: AIADMK offers a freebie fest; read the full manifesto here

As soon as Jayalalithaa announced her manifesto for the AIADMK, many people were rejoicing because it was filled with freebies. Right from free electricity and mobiles to free laptops and Internet, the AIADMK manifesto reads like a dream for the have-nots.On May 5, AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa revealed what she planned to do for the people of Tamil Nadu this time round if she is voted back into power. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even in 2011, the AIADMK offered various freebies to the people. Jayalalithaa had then announced four grams of gold, in addition to Rs 25,000 as marriage assistance (Rs 50,000 and four grams of gold for beneficiaries with a diploma or degree), six months of maternity leave plus Rs12,000 assistance and bank loan to a maximum of Rs10 lakh linked with 25 per cent subsidy component for self-help groups. She had also promised three cents of land for the landless poor so they can build houses. A school student was given four sets of uniforms and a pair of shoes free of cost while those in college got a free laptop. She also announced scholarships ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 from higher secondary school students. 20 kg rice was promised free of cost to all family cardholders and 20 litres of purified drinking water a month to all below poverty line families.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Phones, electricity, loans, wi-fi and other freebies galore in AIADMK manifestoIn 2016, Jayalalithaa has gone a step further and included more freebies especially for farmers’ and women. Read the full AIADMK manifesto for Tamil Nadu here.

dna Morning Must Reads: West Bengal elections phase 6; TATA group doubles published patents; IPL 2016; and more

1. West Bengal Elections 2016 Phase 6: Tight security to ensure peaceful last phase of polling, 25 constituencies in fray25 seats are in fray. Thousands of security personnel have been stationed in East Midnapore and CoochBehar districts which are polling today. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Collegium recommends four names for Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court Collegium has recommended elevation of three High Court Chief Justices and a senior lawyer to the apex court, the first since a new law on appointment of judges to higher judiciary was struck down by the top court. Read more here3. Hillary Clinton calls Donald Trump a ‘loose cannon,’ risky choice for presidentUS Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton took quick aim at presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying the United States should not take a risk on an unreliable candidate. Read more here4. Tata Group’s published patents double to 7,000 in two yearsTata group on Wednesday said it has doubled its published patents in two years to about 7,000 at the end of 2015. Read more here5. Google hints at cyborg eye implant in the pipelineGoogle has filed a patent for a vision-correcting electronic device that would see the human eye’s natural lens replaced with an electronic lens implant. Read more here6. IPL 2016: Can Dhoni’s Pune Supergiants upset Delhi DaredevilsEver since Rahul Dravid has taken over the role of a mentor in the Delhi Daredevils, the fortunes have reversed for a team which was getting used of lying low on tables for last couple of years. Read more here

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: AIADMK protests transfers of IAS, IPS officers by EC

The ruling AIADMK on “strongly protested” the manner in which transfers of many IAS and IPS officials were effected by the Election Commission in poll-bound Tamil Nadu, describing it as “an apparent knee jerk response to motivated petitions and representations” from DMK and Congress.An AIADMK team led by M Thambidurai MP, also Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, on Monday submitted a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi in Thiruvananthapuram, seeking ECI to revoke “the transfer orders, given that such a short period is left before the date of polling.” “We strongly protest the manner in which such large-scale transfers have been ordered by the Election Commission of India in an apparent knee jerk response to motivated petitions and representations from vested interests.” “We strongly urge the Election Commission of India to revoke the transfer orders, given that such a short period is left before the date of polling,” it said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Referring to the transfers and appointments of senior officials, including a DGP (Elections), it said that though there were no complaints on arrangements for conduct of polls in the state, the DGP who was in overall charge of the Police force, had been “divested” of all responsibilities relating to conduct of elections.Such large-scale transfers ordered by EC in the run up to the polls were “unprecedented in Tamil Nadu,” it said.”It is shocking to note that such a large number of officers have been transferred, based only on the motivated petitions and representations received from DMK and Congress and without due enquiry into the basis of these allegations or a background check of the officers concerned,” the party said. The petition said it was “deplorable” that such transfers had been effected by the EC based on “motivated and false petitions submitted by persons who had occupied high positions as Cabinet Ministers in the previous UPA Government headed by the Congress, of which DMK was also a part.” “We wish to categorically point out that such large scale transfers in a state like Tamil Nadu, which is known for its strong and good governance, is counter productive to the peaceful and efficient conduct of polls,” it said. With barely two weeks left for polling, the newly posted officers would “hardly” have the time to effectively deal with poll-related activities and arrangements, especially on the law and order front, which, the party said, required detailed local knowledge and a grasp of recent developments in the area.”Hence, the large-scale transfers ordered by the Election Commission solely based on the malicious petitions of opposition parties is administratively ill advised, disruptive of the smooth conduct of the election process, besides having an adverse impact on the morale of the official machinery,” it said. The state government was adhering to all EC guidelines on posting of officers to ensure free and fair polls, the party insisted, even as it objected to the “unprecedented” transfer of “non-poll” related official, MD of Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV), J Kumaragurubaran.”The sole purpose of the DMK and Congress seems to be to malign the AIADMK and give an impression that the officialdom is with the ruling party, while this is not so. Except throwing the names of officers, they have not cited a single instance where the officers have acted in a partisan manner,” it said. AIADMK recalled that DMK leaders had in the past too levelled allegations against EC and are doing so now also.”The DMK-Congress combine has always adopted such pressure tactics. If officers are transferred on frivolous grounds merely to appease the DMK Congress combine, it is tantamount to yielding to their pressure tactics and gives a false impression amongst the voters regarding the AIADMK party and the Government headed by it,” the petition said.This was “blatantly unfair” and did not allow for “a free and fair play in the polls,” the ruling party contended. Many IAS and IPS officers in Tamil Nadu have been transferred on the EC’s directives.

dna morning Must Reads: From fifth phase of West Bengal Elections to Gujarat Lions’ win over Rising Pune Supergiants

LIVE | West Bengal Elections 2016 Phase 5: Polling in 53 seats, Mamata Banerjee among top TMC leaders in frayAhead of the polls, a 90,000 strong contingent of central and state police forces was deployed and prohibitory orders under 144 CrPc be in force in all the poll-bound constituencies. Read more<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan won’t get subsidy for F-16s, will have to pay 2.5 times of the discounted costThe United States has asked Pakistan to shell out the full price – US$700 million – if wants to purchase eight F-16 fighter aircrafts. This is two-and-a-half times the earlier cost. Read MoreIPL 2016: Formidable Gujarat Lions’ batting line-up nullify Smith’s ton to clinch thrilling win versus PuneSteven Smith’s brilliant century went in vain as Gujarat Lions rode on a blazing opening stand between Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum to beat Rising Pune Supergiants by three wickets in a thrilling last ball finish in their IPL match in Pune on Friday. Read more Does AgustaWestland still owe money to India for three choppers?2013 CAG report pointed to critical lapses in the deal. Read more hereMy role in ‘Raman Raghav 2.0’ was difficult and disturbing: Nawazuddin SiddiquiNawazuddin Siddiqui talks about playing a serial killer in his next and the effect it had on him. Read More

West Bengal Elections 2016 | Fight me if you can – Mamata Banerjee’s fiery response to opponents

Facing Opposition heat on the Saradha scam and Naradha sting, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday hit back at the Congress by raking up 2G and coal scams which surfaced during the UPA regime and accused the Modi government of undermining the federal structure.”They are talking about corruption and Saradha scam. But what about the extent of corruption during their time (UPA government)? Of Coal gate scam and 2G scam? They should not talk much,” Banerjee said at election meetings in Hooghly and South 24-Paraganas districts. “Such smear campaigns, false propaganda and narrow politics I have never encountered in an election,” the Trinamool Congress supremo bemoaned and asserted that “Saradha and Narada are the conspiracies hatched by the Congress, CPI-M and BJP.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”TMC is a thief and you all are sages? Congress, CPI-M and BJP have huge chunks of money which has no source”, she charged.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections 2016: Amit Shah says BJP will stop infiltration from Bangladesh if its winsAccusing Modi government of interfering with the federal structure of the Constitution, Banerjee said, “BJP government at the Centre is unleashing torture and atrocity against us. They are doing whatever they like”. “By sending central forces they are scaring the voters,” she said. The TMC supremo said, “Let the 2016 (assembly) election be over. In 2019, we will show Modi what is what. We will go to Delhi taking others”.Noting that the Congress, CPI-M and BJP have forged alliance, she said, “Otherwise, why Delhi is sending central forces to scare the voters?” “From morning to night, Congress, CPI-M and BJP are lodging same complaints against me. I have accepted their challenge. Fight me if they can,” she thundered. The TMC chief urged the voters to give a befitting reply to the Opposition’s smear campaign through ballots.”For the entire five years, you won’t find them when you need them (Congress). They will come only during elections They are (migratory) birds who come only during elections,” she said.The Congress-Left alliance is making inflated claims due to pampering from some quarters, Banerjee alleged and said “some are saying they will get 200 seats. But when the election results get announced you will see they have received not more than 20 seats.” The TMC will form the next government with two-thirds majority,” she claimed.

CM Parsekar not in favour of early Goa polls, wishes to continue MGP alliance

Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar is not in favour of early state Assembly polls, and wishes to continue the alliance with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) during the elections.

“Our tenure ends in March (2017), so we want elections in the beginning of that month (March),” Parsekar told PTI on Tuesday, after arriving from New Delhi where he had a meeting with BJP chief Amit Shah.

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.

“We don’t want elections before that. We have informed the party president about our stand,” the chief minister said.

The five-year-long tenure of the BJP-led state government ends in March 2017. The party had rode to majority in the 2012 elections, which they fought in an alliance with MGP.

“We always wanted to maintain and continue our alliance with MGP. Few MGP members were expressing their reluctance towards this. BJP never said about breaking their ties with MGP,” Parsekar said.

Last month, MGP had expressed discomfort in giving an assurance for a tie-up for the 2017 elections. Its president Dipak Dhavalikar had said his party workers were not happy with BJP’s attitude towards them.

MGP was an ally of Congress in the Digambar Kamat government from 2005 to 2012, but later joined hands with BJP.

Narada sting: SC to hear plea on TMC leaders taking ‘bribes’ on April 29

The Supreme Court on Monday set April 29 as the day for hearing a plea seeking the expulsion of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders who were allegedly seen taking bribes in a Narada News-organised video sting operation.Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan earlier last month referred the alleged bribery case involving the TMC leaders to the Ethics Committee for investigation and report. The Committee has sought individual responses from the five Lok Sabha members.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ethics Committee will submit its report after examining all the facts. The five TMC parliamentarians are Saugata Roy, Sultan Ahmad, Suvendu Adhikari, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Prasun Banerjee.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections 2016: Decoding Mamata’s changed approach towards the Narada stingThe video footage released by the Narada news portal during the budget session of parliament had shown these five MPs and party’s Rajya Sabha member Mukul Roy, a known confidant of party supremo Mamata Banerjee, taking currency notes in return of favour and lobbying for a fictitious firm.The allegations of phone tapping came after TMC floor leader in Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien raised the bogie of influence of black money against the portal. O’Brien had claimed in the upper house of the Parliament that the day the first video footage was released, telephone calls were made to the news portal from Dubai.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections 2016: Will Narada sting Mamata Banerjee and TMC’s fortunes?A sting operation by a news portal allegedly showed several Trinamool Congress leaders accepting money in return for lobbying for a private firm.

Watch: Kolkata cop slaps famous sweetshop owner for keeping his store open during elections

A senior IPS officer of the Kolkata Police was seen in a video slapping a sweet shop owner in North Kolkata on Thursday while polls were on in the city. The officer, identified as the Deputy Commissioner of the Detective Department (II) of Kolkata Police, Nagendra Tripathi was on duty at the Jorasanko and Shyampukur assembly constituency to maintain the law and order situation in these two areas amidst the polling process was on. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When Tripathi was on a round, he asked Partha Nandy, the owner of the famous sweet shop – ‘Nakur’ in Shyampukur of North Kolkata to bring down shutters as his shop fell within the 100 metres periphery of a polling booth. It was when, Tripathi was on a round for the second time in the same place, and he saw the shop open and several people outside the shop. He barged inside the shop and slapped the owner for not obeying his orders. The senior IPS officers ‘act’ was caught on a CCTV footage. While senior officers of Kolkata Police remained tight-lipped on the matter, sources in the force revealed that Tripathi is unlikely to face any action in connection with the matter.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections 2016: Post poll violence in Burdwan district continues, two deadMeanwhile, the owner of the shop, Partha has filed a complaint with the Girish Park Police Station. However, earlier in the day, Tripathi, who was in charge of two constituencies in Kolkata, witnessed peaceful polling the entire day. The cop was seen entering narrow lanes and bylanes, dispersing crowds and trouble mongers. The officer, led a huge convoy comprising the Central Forces and city police. With repeated rounds of the troubled areas and thorough checks, he ensured peaceful voting in the two constituencies.

West Bengal elections 2016: One lakh security personnel for third phase polls today

With the third phase of polling in 62 seats in West Bengal, including seven in the capital city slated for on Thursday, a tight security ring of one lakh security personnel, including 75,000 central paramilitary forces, has been deployed in election-bound areas.Election Commission officials said 714 companies of central armed police force, comprising around 75,000 personnel, have taken their positions. As per instruction, central forces are doing route marches as part of area domination exercise to instill confidence among voters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Some of the personnel who were posted for the fourth phase have also been shifted to the areas going to the polls on Thursday. Sixty one companies of central forces have been deployed in Kolkata north, 261 in Murshidabad, 198 in Burdwan and 194 in Nadia, the officials said.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections 2016 Phase 3: Cong-Left alliance likely to dominate, rural vote bank may redeem TMC Keeping the sensitivity of Murshidabad district in mind, two additional police observers have been given the charge, they said. Normally each district has one IPS officer as police observer.Assisting the 75,000 paramilitary personnel, who are not conversant with the local language or geography, is a contingent of 25,000-strong state police personnel. All polling premises will be guarded by central forces while stick-wielding state personnel, who understand local language, will facilitate queue management.
ALSO READ West Bengal elections 2016: EC transfers 2 police officers in poll-bound Murshidabad, NadiaOfficials said state police will be allowed to enter the booth only in extreme cases when the presiding officer seeks so. Similarly, for every mobile unit of central forces, one state police person will be assisting them in travel.Officials said increased availability of security forces has been made possible as jawans, who were deployed in Assam where voting has ended, have now been shifted to West Bengal.To increase the visibility of paramilitary personnel, a flex has been put on the vehicles clearly stating ‘Central Forces’. Additionally a hooter or siren has also been placed on their vehicles. Another outer ring of security has been formed comprising quick response teams, flying squads, sector forces, mobile high radio flying squads, etc.In the third phase of polling for 62 seats spread across Murshidabad, Nadia, Burdwan districts and north Kolkata tomorrow, additional confidence building measures are being implemented in 3,401 vulnerable hamlets. In this phase there are 1,283 sectoral force teams, 194 mobile response teams, 190 flying squads and 197 static surveillance teams, the officials said. ‘Nakabandi’ points have been also created at 220 places.Besides this, webcasting, videography and digital cameras are being used in many critical polling stations to monitor the occurrence of any undesirable activity. Armed with cameras and GPS systems, more than 20 vehicles will do surveillance of critical areas as part of a live monitoring system (LMS) exercise.In the run up to the third phase of polls, authorities have so far seized 5.5 lakh of illicit liquor and fake currency of Rs 9 lakh face value. Over 450 illegal arms, 529 pieces of ammunition, 2,624 bombs and around 350 kg of explosives have also been seized. More than 5,800 licensed arms have been deposited with the police, as it is mandatory to do so after elections are announced.During election expenditure monitoring exercise, Rs 2.2 crore have been seized by flying squads, static surveillance teams and police. Over 2000 non bailable warrants are pending to be executed while over 28,000 have been executed since the poll process began, the officials added.

West Bengal Elections 2016: No takers for PM Modi’s speeches here, says Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was making occasional whistlestop visits to the state in aircraft and making irrelevant statements.Asserting that Saradha or Narada will not help Modi to defeat the TMC government, Banerjee said, “I challenge, you won’t be able to harm my government, my party, by any tactic, as we think about the poor people and they are with us and not you.” “What he is doing? He is making short trips to the state in plane. Making irrelevant comments and then leaving. There are no takers of his speeches here in Bengal,” the TMC supremo said about Modi’s back-to-back poll rallies in Sehrabazar and Bhatar in Burdwan district.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Attacking the CPI(M), Banerjee said the left parties had only harmed the cause of farmers. Banerjee, who addressed a meeting of TMC-supported AIUDF candidate Siddiqullah Chowdhury in Mangalkot earlier, called upon the electorate to vote in her name and make her candidate the winner.Claiming that two lakh unemployed youth got job under her regime in past five years, she said: “After we come to power for the second term on May 19, we will complete the unfinished task.” Elections will be held in remaining parts of Burdwan district on April 21. In some parts of the district polling took place on April 11.

West Bengal Polls | Mamata Banerjee has conceded defeat, fighting EC instead of political parties: PM Modi

PM Narendra Modi on Sunday made his first address at Nadia district’s Krishnanagar in West Bengal. The address began at around 3.30 p.m.He lashed out at Mamata Banerjee over the Kolkata flyover tragedy, the sting operation against TMC leaders and the TMC chief’s tiff with the Election Commission (EC). Taking a jibe at her recent fight with the EC Modi said, “Mamata Banerjeeji has conceded defeat, hence instead of against rival political parties in the elections she fighting against the Election Commission.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>’Didi, elections will come and go, but if institutions break down then the country won’t run,” Modi said. Banerjee got a notice by the EC after she announced a new district in the state ahead of polls.Modi also took a potshot at the CM over the fact that her reply to the EC over the notice was sent by her chief secretary and not from herself. “The Election Commission sent a notice to Mamata Banerjee based on her conduct and speech. The notice is given to Mamataji as a candidate and not as the Chief Minister of Bengal. I’ve heard that Chief Secretary of West Bengal replied to Election Commission’s notice issued to Mamata Banerjeeji. If this has happened then you have misused government power. The EC was doing their job.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections 2016 : Watch PM Modi’s address at Krishnanagar”It was your duty, Didi, to reply to the Commission’s notice. But instead to you said, ‘I will look into the matter post 19th of April,'” said Modi. “If she had looked after the welfare of the people for five years, she wouldn’t have gotten into this situation with the EC,” he added.He also spoke about the violence in state between rival party workers where many times crude bombs were used, “The land of poets has turned into land of bomb factories,” he said.
ALSO READ PM Modi meets ailing Swami Atmasthananda MaharajModi also brought in the issue of the recent sting operation where TMC party workers were caught being offered a bribe less than a month before the elections. “The entire nation had seen how some people who were caught planning to sell the future of Bengal. If this is proved, then this is misuse of government and violation of norms of the Election Commission,” said Modi.”Communist parties are fighting Congress in Kerala but are joining hands with Congress in West Bengal claiming it is for the wellbeing of state. Do they believe the public is foolish? ” Modi hit out at both the parties.”Be Congress or Trinamool Congress, both have led the destruction of Bengal,” he said.He also brought up the Kolkata flyover tragedy. “Mamata Didi is also a part of syndicate culture. Vivekananda flyover case is a result of this culture.””If Eastern part of India does not develop, development of India will not be completed. Until now, there was no government which thought about the welfare of this state or saw the potential in it to develop it.,” said Modi.Modi is expected to give a speech in Kolkata too.

West Bengal Elections 2016: Sonia Gandhi to address rally in Malda today

In an endeavour to woo electorates of poll bound West Bengal, Congress president Sonia Gandhi will on Wednesday address a rally in Malda district of the state.Gandhi who will be in Bengal for her first rally, will address the voters of the state at Sujapur in Malda. The grand old party is leaving no stone unturned to win the trust of voters, promising better road connectivity and employment opportunities.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The main issues coming to the fore are illegal immigration, corruption, recognition of tribals, and river bank erosion. Voting for the second part of the first phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal was done on Monday. Elections are scheduled to be held in 56 Assembly segments on April 17 in the second of the six-phase polls in the state.Campaigning for these seats spread over six districts of the state was on in full swing despite the scorching heat. Candidates along with supporters are holding roadshows, rallies and meetings under the blazing sun as they can hardly afford to be slack in the eleventh hour.

Watch | West Bengal Elections: Bombs recovered near polling booth in Jamuria

A CPI(M) agent was allegedly beaten up by Trinamool Congress workers and obstructed from entering a polling booth, while bombs were found in two bags near another booth in Jamuria Assembly constituency in Burdwan district where polling is underway on Monday. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A police official said two CPI(M) agents were obstructed from entering booth numbers 76 and 77 of Jamuria seat, just as polling began at 7 AM. One of the agents sustained head injury after he was beaten up allegedly by Trinamool Congress workers.The injured person was taken to the nearest Primary Health Centre. A Trinamool Congress worker, Sheikh Shamser, was arrested in this connection, the official said.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections: Sporadic violence reported, CPI(M) polling agent attacked in JamuriaIn another incident, two bags containing bombs were found near booth number 35 under Jamuria seat.Police personnel were making arrangements to defuse the bombs. Polling is being held in 31 Assembly seats of Burdwan, Bankura and West Midnapore districts during the second part of phase one of elections on Monday.So far aroubd 60% polling has happened till 1 PM. Reports of violence are coming from all the three districts where polling is taking place. CEC has called up state election commission to be briefed about the latest development. Opposition has alleged that EC has been totally inefficient to curb TMC’s ‘reign of terror’.With agency inputs

West Bengal needs an alternative and only BJP can provide that: Arun Jaitley

With just a few hours for the second part of the first phase of Bengal assembly polls scheduled to begin, the BJP announced itself as the only alternative in the state. “Bengal is yearning for an alternative. We are going to contest polls with more strength this time. Our strength has doubled to what it was earlier,” said BJP leader Arun Jaitley, adding, “The future of Bengal now stands at a crossroad. When the people of Bengal woke up from the nightmare of the Left Front, the Trinamool Congress further added to their woes by associating themselves with some chit fund scandals, sting operations and the flyover collapse. BJP will bring a new phase in Bengal.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley said this while addressing the media at the Calcutta Press Club. He is to address a public meeting later in the day.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections Phase 2: Will TMC prevail against Left-Cong alliance? Besides highlighting that the BJP is the only viable option in the state, Jaitley launched a blistering attack on the erstwhile Left Front government and Trinamool Congress-led present government in the state. “If the Left Front destroyed the state, the Trinamool Congress did not meet the expectations of the people. In the last 34 years, during the Left Front’s rule, the state remained backwards in terms of development and economy. People gave Trinamool Congress a chance, they could change a lot of things and revive the state in the last five years, but they did not do anything to bring in development,” added Jaitley.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections: Speeches by Modi, Mamata under EC scannerJaitley went further to term the ruling party as a party associated with syndicate raj and widespread corruption. “The state has witnessed the syndicate raj, law and order collapse, vindictiveness and widespread corruption during the present rule under the Trinamool Congress,” he said.

Water scarcity leads to ‘watery eyes’ in Karnataka

With Karnataka facing a major dry spell for the last two years, local residents in the drought-hit state are battling hard for their survival as women and children are being forced to risk their lives in search of precious water.Things have reached an extreme that even students are being forced to miss their exams and move around searching water with their family. The situation is so grim that people are forced to walk many a miles to fetch water for daily household chores, which includes drinking water as well.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>What can be perceived as shocking is that little children are now reduced to risk their lives and climb down almost dried up-wells to fetch the remaining water. It has become really difficult, especially for women, to look after their families as they too have to walk two to three kilometres every day to bring water. It has become a common sight to see long queues near the bore-wells and water tankers and in such apathy, sometimes fights and quarrels often break out between the locals.One of the local children, while talking to ANI, said that she has been forced to miss her exams as she has been forced to join her family’s quest to find water.”Parents are telling us not go to schools and colleges and fetch water instead. We are forced to miss our exams,” she said.Another local with watery eyes said that the administration is doing nothing to address to their grievances.”We have been forced to walk miles to bring water to fulfill our basic needs. The government is doing nothing. We are under a lot of pain. No one even cares if we are even dead or alive,” he said.”When the elections are round the corner, they come to our houses, join their hands and beg for votes. But as soon as the elections are over, they just run away. Nobody cares about our sufferings,” he added.Another local, with a lot of anger in her voice, accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being insensitive to the sufferings of the poor.”We have problems of food, drinking water, job, money, etc but no one is paying heed to them,” she said.Karnataka has been facing major dry spell for the last two years, leading to drought and crop loss. This has in turn burdened the farmers with debt as they struggle to make both ends meet.The impact of unseasonal rains and two straight years of drought on agriculture that sustains over two-thirds of India’s 1.25 billion people has severely dented Prime Minister Modi’s popularity in the countryside, contributing to a humiliating loss for the premier in elections last year in the largely rural state of Bihar.

Assam elections 2016: Only 8.6 percent women candidates in fray

They may have pipped men in the turnout for the first phase of the Assembly elections in Assam, but women make up an abysmal 8.6 per cent of the total candidates in the fray with all the major parties having given fewer tickets to them this time as compared to the 2011 polls.The number of women in the electoral arena in these polls is only six more than that in 2011, when 85 of them had entered as contestants and 14 — all from Congress — made it to the state legislature.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All the major parties — Congress, BJP and its allies AGP and BPF, and the AIUDF have given fewer tickets to women candidates this time than in the last elections.
ALSO READ Assam Elections 2016: Illegal immigration comes to the fore in Phase 2The ruling Congress has fielded 16 women candidates, including 12 sitting MLAs, as against 19 in the last polls.Two sitting Congress MLAs — Mandira Roy from Algapur and Amiya Gogoi from Duliajan — were denied tickets while four new faces — Bobbeeta Sharma from Gauhati (East), Dr Jury Sarma Bordoloi from Gauhati (West), Angkita Dutta from Amguri and Pallabi Saikia Gogoi from Teok have earned nominations for the polls this year.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu elections: How many women will you nominate? BJP, which is contesting in 89 seats, too, has given fewer tickets to female candidates, fielding only six of them as against nine in 2011.Similar is the case with AGP, which has put up only two women candidates as against eight in the last polls. The other BJP ally, BPF, which had fielded three women contestants in 2011 has given tickets to only two of them this time.
ALSO READ Assam Assembly Elections: Slight decline in number of candidates with criminal recordsAIUDF, the principal opposition party in the Assembly, is contesting 74 Assembly seats and has given tickets to five women candidates.There is only one woman candidate each fielded by CPI(M), CPI(ML), Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress and the United Peoples Party, while SUCI has fielded three women candidates.Women voters registered a higher polling percentage than men in the first phase of elections for 65 Assembly seats in Assam on April 4.Election data said the turnout of women was 82.58 per cent while that of men was 81.84 per cent.In the last assembly polls, 77.02 per cent male voted as against 75 per cent of women.The Assam legislature has 126 seats. With four contestants, Kokrajhar (West) is the seat with the highest number of women in the fray followed by three each in Dispur, Hajo, Goalpara (West), Panery and Duliajan and two each in Silchar, Borkhola, Sorbhog, Jalukbari, Batadraba, Nowgong, Jamunamukh, Dergaon, Kokrajhar (East), Teok, Amguri, Mahmara and Morigaon.The Congress in its manifesto has promised reservations in government jobs and financial, social and job security to the people. It has also pledged to remove gender disparity in the workplace, 50 per cent reservation for women in panchayati raj and autonomous council bodies and government aid and easy loans for women entrepreneurs and self-help groups.The ruling party has also promised special housing schemes for women, working women and girls’ hostel and special financial schemes for elderly, neglected and unemployed women, among others.The BJP, in its vision document, has given similar assurances, including of job reservation and 50 per cent quota in elected bodies and has also promised to revamp the State Commission for women and introduce strict laws to punish traffickers.The saffron outfit, which has launched a massive campaign to wrest power from the ruling Congress, has also cited the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign launched by its government at the Centre to pitch for votes. It has said it would bring strict laws against female foeticide.The various parties and their candidates, however, have not made too much mention of women’s issues barring a few passing remarks on the need to ensure the safety and security of women.Out of a total of 1,064 candidates in the fray for the 2016 Assembly polls in Assam, there were 43 women contestants in the first phase with 48 more featuring in the second.

Assembly elections: Campaigning for second phase polls in Bengal, Assam ends today

High-voltage campaigning for the second and last phase of assembly elections in 61 constituencies on April 11 will end on Saturday in Assam.
ALSO READ Why aren’t floods a poll issue in Assam?In West Bengal, canvassing for the second-day voting for 31 seats on April 11 will also end on Saturday.The first phase of elections in Assam and Bengal was conducted on April 4.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections: Mamata Banerjee declares net worth, doesn’t own any vehicle or property The first phase in Assam recorded 78.06 percent voter turnout, while the Bengal saw an impressive turnout of 80 percent, it was less than the turnout recorded in the 2011 assembly elections.

Fight is to decide the future of Assam, says PM Modi

“This is not an election to elect a particular candidate of a particular political party or person. This is a fight to decide the future of Assam,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a packed Maligaon Sports Stadium in Guwahati.Modi who was on his second leg of electioneering for the party began his day by paying a visit to Maa Kamakhya temple as this was the first day of Navratri. After the visit to the Temple where hundreds of people gathered to meet him, Modi was off schedule to attend his meetings. After a slew of rallies across the state, his main rally was held at Maligaon Railway Stadium which was full to the brim. It falls under the Jalukbari constituency of the BJP’s star campaigner Himanta Biswa Sarma. The meeting at Maligaon was attended by Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang and Arunachal CM Kaliko Pul. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi said in the rally, “Our government has sent money for different Centrally-sponsored schemes but the Gogoi government has failed to submit any accounts. Central funds are lying in the banks unutilized. We have to change this. Elect the BJP and u will have a new year and a new government and new beginning”.
ALSO READ Assam Assembly Elections : PM Modi warns voters against hung Assembly Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said some divisive forces were trying for a hung Assembly in Assam and appealed to the people not to allow it to happen. “Desh ko todne wali takat bharpur koshis kar rahi hain ki Assam mein bahumat na aaye (divisive forces are trying to ensure that there is no absolute majority in Assam) and I appeal to the people to ensure there was no possibility of a hung Assembly in the state,” Modi told an election rally here.”In Assam, you have to form a government with absolute majority and now with only three days left for second phase polls, there will be attempts to spread lies and rumours but it is your duty to go to every house and foil such designs,” he said.
ALSO READ Assam Elections 2016: The fall and rise of Himanta Biswa SarmaModi accused the Congress of running a Maa-Beta organization at the Centre and Baap-Beta organization in Assam. “They have no love for the maas, betas or betis of the nation or Assam. My Government is focused on the 125 crore population of India. And the mothers, daughters and sons of Assam are also mine,” said Modi amidst thunderous applause.Silencing his critics on his foreign trips, Modi told the audience that if India’s prestige is on the rise at international level, it is because of the 125 crore people of India who have elected a stable government at the Centre.
ALSO READ Assam Elections 2016: PM Modi attacks Congress; says country suffered due to ‘remote control’, Assam should notRidiculing AIUDF leader Badruddin Ajmal’s claim that he will be the king maker after the Assembly elections, Modi without taking Ajmal’s name told the voters to be cautious about such people “who think of controlling Dispur through remote. Don’t allow this. It will be disastrous for Assam. So elect a government with full majority,” Modi exhorted the people. With Agency inputs

Assam Assembly Elections : PM Modi warns voters against hung Assembly

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said some divisive forces were trying for a hung Assembly in Assam and appealed to the people not to allow it to happen.”Desh ko todne wali takat bharpur koshis kar rahi hain ki Assam mein bahumat na aaye (divisive forces are trying to ensure that there is no absolute majority in Assam) and I appeal to the people to ensure there was no possibility of a hung Assembly in the state,” Modi told an election rally here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In Assam, you have to form a government with absolute majority and now with only three days left for second phase polls, there will be attempts to spread lies and rumours but it is your duty to go to every house and foil such designs,” he said.
ALSO READ Assam Elections 2016: Illegal immigration comes to the fore in Phase 2There should be no “back-seat driving and please ensure that the new government is not remote-controlled,” he said. “There is no force that can stop the BJP-AGP-BPF alliance from forming the new government in the state. I’ll come again to attend the swearing-in ceremony and to thank the people of Assam,” he said.It was for the first time in the last 30 years that the people of the country gave an absolute majority to party to form a government at the Centre and the result was for all to see.”The entire world is singing the country’s praise and some are very disturbed that even countries like Saudi Arabia have become our strategic partner while Modi is being given the highest civilian award by country where Mecca stands,” he said in his 45-minute speech.”The award is not for Modi, but it is an honour for each Indian. The reason for our global appreciation is that the people gave a government of absolute majority to a party which believes in ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’.”He said in all BJP-ruled state the level of poverty was low, but in Assam it was very high and the Congress government which ruled here for 15 years was responsible for it.The Centre has earmarked Rs 200 crore and Rs 375 crore for the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council and the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council respectively and already given Rs 40 crore and Rs 16 crore for each, but the government was yet to submit schemes or utilise the funds, Modi said.

Watch: PM Modi addressing rally in Sarbhog, Assam

Campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday addressed election rally at Raha in the state, where polling will be held on Monday in the second and final phase of Assembly elections. PM Modi is currently addressing rally at Sarbhog. On Friday, Modi offered prayers to Goddess Ma Kamakhya Devi at her historic temple atop Nilachal Hill before resuming his poll campaign in Assam.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Coming out of the shrine, Modi, who visited the temple for the first time, went towards the waiting people and shook hands with them and left for his campaign for the second and final phase of elections on April 11 in 61 constituencies in middle and lower Assam.
ALSO READ Assam Elections 2016: PM Modi attacks Congress; says country suffered due to ‘remote control’, Assam should not

West Bengal Elections 2016: Can BJP or Cong-Left alliance challenge Mamata’s TMC?

From a seemingly mundane election that had Mamata Banerjee firmly in pole position, the West Bengal Assembly Election has taken a dramatic turn. The Left and the Congress have buried their hatchet to come together with the aim of ousting the Mamata government. The Narada sting scandal, which hit the entire top echelon of TMC just before the elections, has further taken the wind out of Mamata’s sail.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The collapse of an under-construction bridge in Girish Park area of North Kolkata on Thursday, which resulted in the death of 26 people at the time of writing, became a major national event with the army called in for rescue operations. Though the construction of the bridge started during the Left era, questions are still being asked about why the Mamata administration didn’t take cognizance earlier. The Congress and BJP have hit out at the state government.The events have set up an intriguing clash in the state election which will pan out over the next one and half months. Back storyIn 2006, when the Left Front under the leadership of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee won a decisive mandate, many believed that Left was destined to be in power for several years. But in politics, 5 years can be an eternity and a series of movements, like in Singur and Nandigram, led to the erosion of the Left’s impenetrable rural vote bank. Mamata Banerjee virtually became the face of the anti-Left movement in the state. After an admirable performance in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the edifice of the Left rule looked particularly brittle and Mamata gave it a telling blow by stitching up an alliance with the Congress and building up an organisation, which could match the famous (or infamous) Left cadre force.In the 2011 state assembly election, she finally broke the Left juggernaut after 34 years, with the TMC-Congress alliance winning a 3/4th mandate. Congress though soon broke away from TMC. In all the subsequent elections, TMC has virtually swept the field. It nearly obliterated the Left in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Now, when it looked like game-set-match for TMC, the Congress-Left alliance has suddenly come up as a big spanner in the works of Didi’s well-set plan.Burning IssuesThe West Bengal government will look to highlight its achievements, especially in rural empowerment. Some of the major calling cards of the Mamata government have been the establishment of relative peace and tranquillity in the Jangalmahal and hilly areas of the state. The once volatile Gorkhaland movement has now significantly subsided and the Maoist stranglehold in the tribal belt has been loosened. Schemes like Kanyashree (for women empowerment) have had some positive impact. The GDP growth rate of the state is also impressive, surpassing the national average.PTIOn the downside, due to Mamata Banerjee’s rigid land acquisition policies, industry hasn’t really gotten any filip. It has been a difficult phase for the state and even Finance Minister Amit Mitra, who was once part of the corporate echelon, hasn’t managed to do a course correction. The opposition is always eager to point out this lacuna, alongside their allegations of a reign of terror unleashed by the Mamata Banerjee where the police act as a silent or, in some cases, a willing accomplice. The Saradha scam, in which the names of several top TMC leaders surfaced, was also touted to be a big electoral issue. But sadly for the Opposition, it has had very little impact so far.However, the Opposition is hopeful that the Narada sting video will puncture a hole in Didi’s credibility. TMC, for its part, has rejected the sting where several of its leaders were seen taking bribes. Whether this tactic of brazen denial will prove costly, we’ll only know on May 19.Phases of Assembly pollsWest Bengal Elections will be held in six phases. Polling for the first phase will kickstart on April 4, which will continue till April 11. The subsequent phases are on April 17, 21, 25 and 30, with the last phase to be held on May 5.Major political partiesTrinamool Congress (TMC)The party is fighting in all 294 seats. Mamata has mainly kept the same batch of people who contested the last elections. To beat any anti-incumbency, Didi is campaigning from place to place, stating that she is the de-facto candidate in all seats and that people should look at the positive work done by her government. TMC is expected to perform impressively in South Bengal. Some of the prominent leaders fighting are Subrata Mukherjee, Bobby Hakim, Partha Chatterjee and Shovan Chatterjee, among others. How recent incidents, such as the flyover collapse, affect the party is something we will have to wait and see.Left FrontThe Left will be fighting in 209 seats in total. It has looked to inject new blood by fielding fresh faces in many constituencies. The effort is to project to voters that the Left has learnt from its mistakes and that they have a new batch of leaders eager to rebuild the party. The charge will be lead by Surja Kanta Mishra. Some of the prominent leaders also contesting are Ashok Bhattacharya, Manash Mukherjee, Sujan Mukherjee, among others.AFPCongressThe Congress has essentially shrunk to a party with influence in just three districts of West Bengal. With the Left looking for a comeback, Congress will try to get some of its mojo back in South Bengal, where its entire vote share has been usurped by the TMC. It has effectively rolled a dice by pitting firebrand leader Deepa Dasmunshi against Mamata Banerjee. Deepa may lose but the goal is to bring that momentum to other winnable seats where Congress has a fighting chance. BJPThe BJP got 17% of the votes in the 2014 general elections and there was a possibility of the saffron party emerging as a potent alternative in the state. But with alliances shaping up, BJP has been effectively squeezed out. Factionalism within the party and the presence of a new state chief just months before the elections haven’t really helped their cause. It is likely that BJP will remain a footnote in this election.Who will have the last laugh? All surveys so far have predicted that TMC is slated to win the elections. But the gap in vote share between the ruling party and Cong-CPI(M) alliance is extremely thin. If the alliance can properly work on ground and if there is an effective transference of vote (Left voters supporting Congress and vice-versa), an upset cannot be completely ruled out. In the Lok Sabha elections. TMC got 39% votes, Congress 9% and CPI(M) got 30%. But the fact that CPI(M) and Congress fought separately led to a landslide for TMC. That scenario may change completely this time. The Election Commission has greatly heightened security in Bengal, where allegations of vote loot have been rampant. Overall, Mamata starts as the favourite but the alliance is breathing down her neck. It might well turn out to be a photo-finish.

Like Tamil Nadu, will BJP oppose slapping of sedition charges on JNU? asks JNUSU VC

JNU Students’ Union Vice-President Shehla Rashid on Saturday asked BJP if it would come out against slapping of sedition charges on JNU students just like it had condemned its invocation against anti-liquor protesters in Tamil Nadu.”In Tamil Nadu, BJP has condemned slapping of sedition charges against anti-liquor protestors. I would like to know if they would also condemn the same charges being slapped on JNU students,” she told reporters here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Unlike BJP, she said, JNUSU was out and out against the age-old provision in the Indian Penal Code.Yesterday in Madurai, BJP’s Tamil Nadu election in-charge Prakash Javadekar had criticised the state government for slapping sedition charges against six anti-liquor protestors.They were charged with sedition for alleged inflammatory speeches in a conference in Tiruchirappalli. “We condemn slapping of sedition charge against anyone, on any issue including the Kudankulam (anti-nuke agitators),” said Rashid, who is also leader of All India Students’ Association leader, a CPI(ML) affiliated outfit.The student leader said TN should enact a legislation to protect those who perform inter-caste marriages against the background of “honour” killings. She also pressed for bringing “Rohith Vemula Act” to end caste-based discrimination on the campuses.Stating that a campaign by students had already started “to expose the BJP government targeting students everywhere”, she said “We want these issues to be part of election agenda. Elections should be on real social issues and not on who is eating beef.” Rashid was here as part of a national campaign against the BJP and its politics. Replying to another question, she said politically they were building pressure on governments to do away with sedition provision.

Assam Polls: LDP chief opts ‘Kejriwal style’ for election campaign

Nearing the date of assembly election in Assam, different political parties have launched aggressive campaigns to reach out to maximum voters. Newspaper, TV, Radio and poster banners are flooded with campaign advertisements as they are conventional method of election campaign.However, a unique idea of campaign has been opted by former BJP national executive member Pradyut Bora who has now formed his own party in Assam namely Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Inspired by the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party unique campaign during the Assembly election in 2015, Pradyut Bora has formed a dance troop doing flash dance on streets of Jorhat.The LDP chief said, “I was very surprised when I saw Kejriwal’s AAM Aadmi party workers branded a dance troop called ‘dance for democracy’ during the Delhi Assembly Elections last year. I liked it and hence in this election we are also using the same.”When asked as to what had forced him to opt this idea, Bora said that his party is a new party and can’t afford the conventional method of campaign and hence he wants to use the guerrilla tactics.”We are a new party. We don’t have money like the Congress and the BJP. So this is guerrilla warfare. What BJP, Congress is doing is conventional warfare. They are bombarding everywhere with advertisement. We are ambushing their bombarding by the Guerilla warfare,” he added.

TMC hits back at PM Modi, reminds him of Tehelka expose

Trinamool Congress on Sunday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his comments on Narada sting operation and reminded him of the Tehelka expose of 2001 which saw the exit of the then BJP president Bangaru Laxman.The Narada sting is nothing but a conspiracy against TMC, its leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhya said. “He (Modi) is talking about corruption and sting operation. Probably he has forgotten about Tehelka sting, where his then party president Bangaru Laxman was caught on camera accepting bribes. And most important thing is that he too had accepted that he had taken bribes,” Bandopadhyay told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>But in the Narada sting none of the TMC MPs have accepted that they have taken any money. “Rather we have said what we believe – that it is a conspiracy to malign TMC,” he said. Modi, who kickstarted his poll campaign in Bengal at Kharagpur during the day, had attacked TMC and the state government over Narada sting operation in which several party MPs were purportedly captured on camera accepting money.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections: PM Modi attacks TMC over corruption charges, mocks Cong- Left alliance Bandopadhyay also lashed out at Modi for his comment on lack of industries in the state. “He is not at all aware of the developmental work that has taken place in Bengal, including industries. We (TMC) are not in favour of industries by snatching the livelihood and kicking in the stomach of farmers. “We are not in favour of bypassing the interests of the farmers. Industry can always be done on barren lands. We have created a land bank for industries,” he said.

dna Afternoon Must Reads: From RSS replacing traditional khaki shorts to Shahid Afridi’s love for India

RSS replaces traditional khaki shorts with brown pants; says it’s ‘changing with time’Describing it as a “major change”, Suresh Bhayyaji Joshi said, “Pants are a regular feature in today’s social life, so we took our decision accordingly.” Read More Hyderabad court issues non-bailable warrant against Vijay Mallya; directs cops to produce him before April 13 <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision in this regard was pronounced by 14th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate GS Ramesh Kumar. Read MoreHope to pass GST, bankruptcy bill in 2nd budget session: Arun Jaitley The GST bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending ratification by the Upper House, where the ruling NDA does not have a majority. Read MoreGot more love in India than Pakistan: Shahid AfridiHe also added the Pakistan cricket team was physically and mentally prepared to go to India. Read More US Elections: Donald Trump loses badly in Wyoming, Washington DC; race tightensIn the process, Cruz added nine delegates to his kitty and Rubio 10 as they now set their sights on the crucial Republican party’s presidential primaries in the key states of Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina on March 15. Read More

West Bengal Elections: Congress announces 75 constituencies, candidates to be announced later

The Congress on Tuesday announced the names of 75 constituencies from which it will fight in the coming Assembly election in West Bengal as per an initial seat-sharing arrangement with the Left Front.ICC World Twenty20 2016: Afghanistan vs Scotland, Group B 2nd T20 Match Live Cricket Scores & Ball by Ball commentaryThe party, however, said that it was bargaining for at least 25 more seats. “We have finalised 75 seats, which are free from any dispute or controversy. Discussions are on with the Left parties on more seats,” West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president Adhir Chowdhury told newspersons here. “We have expressed our desire to fight in 100-plus seats, as and when there is further development on this, we will announce that,” Chowdhury said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The names of Congress candidates for the 75 seats would be announced after receiving green signal from the party high command in Delhi, Chowdhury said. The Left Front in West Bengal yesterday announced names of candidates for 116 seats, out of a total of 294 Assembly constituencies, which would go to poll from April 4. Reacting to LF chairman Biman Bose’s comment that the Left parties would not share the platform with the Congress for campaigning, Chowdhury said, “It would have been good if there was joint campaigning.”
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections: Won’t have any understanding with Congress, says CPI”It is up to them if they have any problem in sharing the platform with us, but we don’t have any problem,” the WBPCC president declared. “Whether we hold joint meetings or not, the issues are identical,” he said adding “we should not play any hide and seek game, the people know what is happening”. He was referring to the arrangement between the LF and the Congress.The Congress, which had fought the 2011 Assembly polls in alliance with the Trinamool Congress to overthrow the 34-year-old Left Front regime, has entered into a seat adjustment agreement with the Left to fight against the ruling party. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had walked out of the UPA II government in September, 2012 following differences over several issues including FDI in retail sector.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections: Mamata Banerjee starts TMC poll campaignAsked about the reason that the Congress chose to ally with the Left Front this time, Chowdhury said, “Violence and lawlessness have invaded the state. When water reaches above the nose, all come together to fight against the evil.” “They (TMC) have an unwritten alliance with the communal party,” he claimed.Chowdhury, a known Mamata baiter, had been vocal against her even during the Congress-TMC alliance and was keen to forge a seat-sharing arrangement with the LF to take on the ruling party. “It is the wish of the lower level workers and supporters whose wishes have to be respected. If these people on both sides want, there may be joint campaign also,” he said.

West Bengal Elections: Ahead of polls, 200 companies of central forces deployed

Two hundred companies of central security forces have been deployed in West Bengal ahead of the upcoming Assembly polls in the state.Apart from identifying vulnerable areas which required special attention, the units were engaged in area domination and law and order duties. “200 companies of security forces have arrived in the state as part of an area domination and confidence building measure. Every district has adequate central forces,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dibyendu Sarkar told reporters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The presence of the Election Commission is not limited to only the voting days, but we will make our presence felt through the forces till the election process is completed,” Sarkar said. He denied that the EC had received any written complaint about violation of the model code of conduct from any political party so far.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections: ‘Understanding’ with Congress reached, says Left after releasing first list of candidates Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena will hold a video conference with the Additional Director General of Police, commissioners of police, district superintendents of police and district election officers tomorrow.

West Bengal Elections: State Congress hails CPI(M)’s decision

The West Bengal Congress on Thursday hailed the decision of CPI(M) seeking cooperation from all democratic forces by stating that every secular parties in the state should respect the aspirations of the masses.”It is not about what we decide or what CPI(M) decides.The people and the grassroots level workers of CPI(M) and Congress have decided to forge an alliance in order to oust TMC and alienate BJP. So it is our prime duty to respect the aspirations of the masses and workers,” state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury told PTI. When asked when would the Congress high command take a call regarding the alliance, Chowdhury said “We have placed our views and aspirations of the masses before the high command. Now it is for the high command to take a final call.” The CPI(M) Central Committee, after its two day meeting in a statement said “In West Bengal, the main task is to restore democracy and foil the aggressive efforts by the communal forces to polarise the people in the state by ousting the present Trinamool Congress government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”CPI(M) will seek the cooperation of all democratic forces in the state to strengthen people’s unity in West Bengal to defeat the Trinamool Congress, isolate the BJP and their machinations,” it said. State Congress general secretary Om Prakash Mishra, who has been pitching for the alliance, welcomed the decision. “We welcome the decision by CPI(M). The alliance of the masses have already in making. The decision by CPI(M) will pave way for seat sharing in West Bengal. We have also requested our high command to take a final call and we hope to hear from them soon,” Mishra told PTI. On the other hand, state Congress leader Manas Bhuniya, an advocate of fighting the elections alone, declined to comment on the matter.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections: CPI(M) central committee gives green signal for alliance with Congress CPI(M) central committee member Shyamal Chakraborty, while reacting on the decision by his party’s central committee, said “We have called for cooperation of all democratic forces and except BJP and TMC, everybody is welcome to cooperate with us.” The Trinamool Congress leadership, however, mocked the call of alliance between CPI(M) and Congress.”A political alliance happens on the basis of ideology and principles. We are yet to understand what is their ideology and principle? “We have fought panchayat elections in 2013 alone, Lok Sabha elections in 2014 alone, municipal elections in 2015 alone, we didn’t face any problem,” TMC vice president Mukul Roy said.

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