All Charter Planes For Poll Campaign Booked By BJP, Says Congress


The Congress party said it is struggling to find charter planes for the poll campaign. (Representational)

New Delhi: 

As parties gear up for Lok Sabha poll campaign, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma Tuesday said the BJP has booked all charter planes, leaving his party struggling to get some.

The senior Congress leader alleged that there was an “unequal competition” between the BJP and other parties, as all the resources were with the ruling party.

“The BJP has booked all the chartered planes for their Lok Sabha poll campaign. We are not getting any and we are struggling to get some planes,” he told reporters.

Mr Sharma said the ruling party has spent over Rs 4,000 crore on publicity and advertisements, which he said was more than that spent by multinational companies like Netflix, Amazon and Unilever.

He said that such spending on government’s publicity was also being done through public sector undertakings.

“But still we would defeat them (BJP) with the love and support of people of the country,” he claimed.

Mr Sharma heads the party’s publicity committee for the Lok Sabha elections.

Sources said the grand old party would launch its poll campaign by the second half of February. It will reach out to voters through both the conventional and new media.





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Madras High Court Asks Tamil Nadu Poll Body


The disqualification of the MLAs was upheld by the Madras High Court in October last

Madurai: 

The Madras High Court Tuesday issued a notice to Tamil Nadu’s chief election commissioner and chief electoral officer asking why elections for 18 constituencies, whose representatives were disqualified by the state assembly speaker, had not been held.

A bench of Justices K K Sasidharan and P D Audikesavalu issued the notice based on a public interest litigation filed by Damodaran stating that about 27 lakh voters in the 18 constituencies were without representatives and unable to air their grievances to their MLAs.

The 18 AIADMK MLAs had been disqualified on September 18 last year by Speaker P Dhanapal under the anti-defection law after they met the governor and expressed loss of confidence in Chief Minister K Palaniswami.

The disqualification of the MLAs was upheld by the Madras High Court in October last.

Justice Sathyanarayanan had said the petitioners had failed to substantiate the allegation of malafide against the speaker.

The judge had also vacated the interim orders passed by the court granting a stay on floor test and a direction to the Election Commission not to declare the seats of disqualified lawmakers vacant.





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BJP Spent More Than Rs 122 Crore For Karnataka Poll Campaigning Last Year


The BJP spent around Rs 14 crore in three Northeast states. (File)

New Delhi: 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has spent more than Rs 122 crore to contest assembly elections in Karnataka and another Rs 14 crore in three Northeast states, according to expenditure details submitted by the party to the Election Commission.

The party recently submitted election expenditure statements for polls in four states and said it has spent Rs 122.68 crore during the Karnataka polls that took place in May last year. JDS-Congress coalition formed government in the state after the polls.

The party also sent in a similar report of expenses, made by its central office and state units, to the Commission for contesting polls in Northeast states of Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland.

The report filed by the BJP said it has spent more than Rs 14.18 crore to contest polls in these states, where elections took place last year.

In Meghalaya, the party spent Rs 3.8 crore. It spent Rs 6.96 crore in Tripura and Rs 3.36 crore in Nagaland.

The expenses include cost incurred by the party on its star campaigners, media, publicity, processions, helicopter sorties, election paraphernalia and road travel of its leaders and candidates.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Day After Poll Tie-Up, Akhilesh Yadav’s “Survival” Dig At BJP Leaders


Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav at a press conference in Lucknow on Saturday.

New Delhi: 

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav today said that his party’s alliance with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party has already started giving sleepless nights to the state BJP leaders. They were now making attempts to join them to save their political careers, he said.

“Not just the top BJP leadership, but also the grassroot workers have given up hope after the BSP-SP alliance. The booth workers of the BJP are now saying ‘humara booth, hua chaknachoor’. These disgruntled BJP leaders and workers now want to join BSP-SP for their survival,” Mr Yadav said in a tweet.

Once arch rivals, the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party on Saturday announced their long-anticipated alliance to take on the BJP in the national election due this year. The alliance would “rob Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah of their sleep”, they said.

Both the parties will contest 38 seats each. As expected, the two parties have kept the Congress out of the alliance, but spared Amethi, which is Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s constituency, and Sonia Gandhi’s seat Raebareli. 

Nearly 25 years ago, the Samajwadi Party, then led by Akhilesh Yadav’s father Mulayam Singh, and the BSP fell out after their coalition government in Uttar Pradesh crashed. It happened after Samajwadi workers barged into a guest house in Lucknow on June 2, 1995 and roughed up Mayawati for pulling out of their coalition government.

“For the sake of the nation, we decided to rise above the Lucknow guest house incident and again come together,” Mayawati stressed, a clarification aimed at PM Modi, who had at a recent rally in Agra scorned her for “forgetting” that episode while allying with the Samajwadi Party.

Last year, the two parties teamed up for the first time after the incident for important bypolls that were prestige battles for the BJP. The alliance managed to win three seats, including UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s Gorakhpur.

In 2014, the BJP and its ally Apna Dal managed to win a whopping 73 of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 parliamentary seats, while the Samajwadi party managed five seats. The BSP drew a blank.





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BJP Appoints JP Nadda Poll In-Charge For UP, Nirmala Sitharaman For Delhi


The BJP today appointed Union Health Minister JP Nadda as the poll in-charge of Uttar Pradesh

New Delhi: 

The BJP today appointed Lok Sabha poll in-charge in five states, giving the charge of Uttar Pradesh to Union Health Minister JP Nadda and of Delhi to Defence Minister Niramala Sitharaman.

Besides, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the party appointed poll in-charge in Karnataka, Haryana, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar and Puducherry.

BJP general secretary Muralidhar Rao was appointed poll in-charge of Karnataka and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal of Tamil Nadu and Union Territories of Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar.

Party’s veteran leader Kalraj Mishra has been given charge of Haryana and former leader Avinash Rai Khanna was appointed poll in charge of Jammu and Kashmir and Tripura.

The appointments were made by party President Amit Shah.

The party appointed CT Ravi as the co-incharge of Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar and Puducherry, and BJP leader Kiran Maheshwari for Karnataka.

Jayaram Singh Pawada and lawmaker Vishwas Sarang have been appointed co-incharge of Delhi and Haryana respectively.

Uttar Pradesh is crucial for the BJP, as the party had won 71 seats on its own in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, while its ally Apna Dal won two seats out of 80 seats in the state.

The party had also won all seven seats from Delhi and had also performed well in Karnataka and Haryana. In Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP had won three of six seats in the previous elections.

However, the party could win only one seat in Tamil Nadu and is expecting to improve its performance in the coming Lok Sabha elections.





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Prime Minister Narendra Modi To Launch BJP Poll Campaign In Northeast Amid Protests, Boycott Call


PM Narendra Modi will kickstart BJP’s poll campaign in the Northeast from Assam’s Silchar. (File)

Guwahati: 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kickstart BJP’s poll campaign in the Northeast from Assam’s Silchar, its oldest bastion in the region, on Friday. He will also inaugurate a dozen projects in Manipur, and address a public rally.

The 25 Lok Sabha seats in the Northeastern region are key to the BJP’s political prospects in the upcoming parliamentary polls.

However, resentment may be building in Silchar. A majority of the people in this region — the hub of Assam’s Barak Valley — are Bengali-speaking people, and a number of Bengali Hindus who voted for the BJP in the last elections were left out of the National Register of Citizens draft.

Many of the people in the region had supported the BJP in the 2016 assembly election because of its unfulfilled promise to bring the Citizenship Amendment Bill. The legislation — which aims to change the definition of illegal migrants of certain communities — has been termed “anti-Assam” by many regional parties.

Meanwhile, workers of the Hindustan Paper Corporation plan to hold a demonstration at PM Modi’s rally to protest the BJP’s unfulfilled promise of reopening the Nagaon and Panchgram mills. Terrorist groups in Manipur have called for a boycott of PM Modi’s rally and organised a general strike as a mark of protest.

Despite Silchar being its stronghold, the BJP could not win a single Lok Sabha seat in Barak Valley, Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong region in 2014.





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8 New Projects In Manipur As Part Of PM Modi’s Poll Campaign In Northeast


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Manipur on Friday. (File)

Imphal: 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate eight projects and lay the foundation stone for four other schemes during his visit to Manipur on Friday, officials in Imphal said on Thursday.

The projects which PM Modi will inaugurate include the integrated check post in Tengnoupal district, Dolaithabi Barrage project of Imphal East district, FCI food storage godown in Imphal East district and the Buffer water reservoirs in Ukhrul district, officials said.

PM Modi will also inaugurate improved and upgraded water supply for Churachandpur zone, eco-tourism complex at Thangapat in Kangpokpi district, integrated tourist destination in Noney district and the water supply scheme at JNV, Lambui and its surrounding villages, they added.

He will lay foundation stone for four projects – Infrastructure development of Dhanamanjuri University in Imphal West district, flood lighting of hockey stadium and the main stadium at the Khuman Lampak Sports Complex in Imphal East district and AstroTurf laying in Langjing Achouba of Imphal West district, the officials said.

Security measures have been tightened in the entire state in view of the prime minister’s visit, they added.





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Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina Says Conscience Is Clear As Opposition Claims Poll Rigged


Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina insisted she had no desire “to remain in power”. (Reuters photo)

Dhaka: 

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday rejected calls for a new vote after being declared landslide winner in an election marred by deadly violence that the opposition slammed as “farcical” and rigged.

Hasina’s ruling Awami League party and its allies won 288 seats in the 300-seat parliament, with the main opposition securing only six seats.

Hasina, who got a record fourth term, swept aside opposition protests over clashes between rival supporters that left at least 17 dead and allegations of ballot box stuffing and intimidation.

“The election was totally free and independent. There is no doubt about it,” the 71-year-old Hasina said.

“I have nothing to hide. Whatever I do I do it for the country. My conscience is clear,” she added in comments to reporters.

Hasina insisted she had no desire “to remain in power” and that voters had backed her party because of Bangladesh’s economic growth during her decade-long rule.

The opposition alliance led by the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) said it had been the target of a crackdown for months leading up to Sunday’s poll and called for a rerun.

“We are demanding that a fresh election is held under a neutral government as early as possible,” alliance leader Kamal Hossain told reporters.

Election authorities said they had not received a single complaint against the vote.

Hasina has been lauded for boosting economic growth in the poor South Asian nation and for welcoming Rohingya refugees fleeing a military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar.

But critics accuse her of authoritarianism. Arch-rival and BNP leader Khaleda Zia was jailed for 17 years this year on graft charges that her party said were politically motivated.

Deadly violence that blighted the election campaign spilled over into voting day, even though authorities deployed 600,000 security forces across the country.

Thirteen people were killed in clashes between Awami League and BNP supporters, police said. Three people were shot and killed by police who said they were protecting polling booths. An auxiliary police member was also killed by armed opposition activists, according to officials.

Police have now confirmed 21 deaths during the election campaign and voting day.

“We’ll Cast Your Vote”

The opposition alliance accused Hasina’s party of stuffing ballot boxes and using other illegal means to fix the result.

BNP spokesman Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal said there were “irregularities” in 221 of the 300 seats.

One voter, Atiar Rahman, said he was beaten by ruling party activists in the central district of Narayanganj.

“They told me not to bother, ‘We’ll cast your vote on your behalf’,” he told AFP.

The opposition said the unrest was stirred up to deter voters but the election commission reported 80 percent turnout.

Free And Fair?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first international leader to call and congratulate Hasina, the Bangladesh leader’s press secretary said.

China’s President Xi Jinping also greeted her with Beijing’s envoy handing over “congratulatory messages”.

Experts say Hasina’s victory will be sullied by accusations that she hamstrung opponents.

“This result might affect our democratic system and might also damage state institutions,” Sakhawat Hussain, a former election commissioner, told AFP.

The opposition claims some 21,000 of its activists were detained during the campaign, crushing its ability to mobilise support.

Thirty-five of its candidates were arrested over what they said were trumped-up charges or disqualified from running by courts, which Hasina’s opponents say are government controlled.

The leadership of Bangladesh has alternated between Hasina and Zia, allies-turned-foes, over the last three decades.

Hasina’s victory secures her third consecutive term in office, and fourth overall.

A daughter of Bangladesh’s first president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Hasina was gifted victory in the 2014 election when the BNP boycotted the vote claiming it was not free and fair.

Rights groups have since accused her administration of stifling freedom of speech by toughening a draconian anti-press law and the enforced disappearance of dissenters.

Hasina rejects accusations of authoritarianism but analysts say she feared young voters would support the BNP.

Her government was criticised this year for its heavy handling of weeks of major student protests that brought Dhaka to a standstill.





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Rajasthan govt scraps education criteria for civic poll candidates


जयपुर :

राजस्थान में कांग्रेस की सरकार बनते ही मुख्यमंत्री अशोक गहलोत (Ashok Gehlot) ने वसुंधरा सरकार (Vasundhara Raje) के कई फैसलों को पलट दिया. नई सरकार ने पूर्ववर्ती वसुंधरा सरकार के पार्षदी और सरपंची चुनाव में शैक्षणिक योग्यता की अनिवार्यता के फैसले को खत्म कर दिया. मुख्यमंत्री अशोक गहलोत की अध्यक्षता में शनिवार को हुई प्रदेश मंत्रिमंडल की पहली बैठक में किसानों का कर्ज माफ करने की पात्रता व मापदंड तय करने के लिए अंतर्विभागीय समिति गठित करने, वृद्धावस्था पेंशन बढ़ाने जैसे कई अहम फैसले भी लिए गए.

यह भी पढ़ें: गहलोत का कैबिनेट: जातीय समीकरण साधने की कोशिश, 18 पहली बार बने मंत्री, नए और अनुभवी दोनों को तवज्जो

कैबिनेट की बैठक में सरकारी लेटरहेड पर से पंडित दीनदयाल की तस्वीर हटाने और उसकी जगह अशोक स्तंभ को ही केंद्र में रखने का भी फैसला किया गया. सूचना व जनसंपर्क मंत्री रघु शर्मा ने बताया, ‘कांग्रेस सरकार ने पंचायती राज व स्थानीय निकायों में चुनाव लड़ने के लिए शैक्षणिक योग्यता की अर्हता समाप्त करने का फैसला किया है.’ बता दें कि वसुंधरा राजे के नेतृत्व वाली तत्कालीन भाजपा सरकार ने 2015 में स्थानीय निकाय चुनावों में उम्मीदवारों के न्यूनतम शैक्षणिक योग्यता संबंधी प्रावधान लागू किए गए थे. शर्मा ने कहा कि कांग्रेस का जन घोषणा पत्र, राजस्थान की मौजूदा सरकार का नीतिगत दस्तावेज होगा और इसे समयबद्ध तरीके से तत्परता से कार्यान्वित किया जाएगा. इसके प्रभावी कार्यान्वयन के लिए मंत्रिमंडल की समिति गठित करने का निर्णय किया गया है, जिसके लिए मंत्रिमंडल ने मुख्यमंत्री गहलोत को अधिकृत किया है.

यह भी पढ़ें:  विभागों के बंटवारे पर खींचतान खत्म: अशोक गहलोत 9 तो सचिन पायलट 5 विभागों के बॉस, देखें पूरी लिस्ट

इसके साथ ही पूर्ववर्ती सरकार द्वारा पिछले छह महीनों में लिए गए फैसलों की समीक्षा भी की जाएगी. उन्होंने कहा कि किसानों के अल्पकालीन फसली कर्ज की माफी के सवाल पर मंत्रिमंडल ने अंतर्विभागीय समिति गठित करने का फैसला किया है. मुख्यमंत्री गहलोत यह समिति गठित करेंगे. शर्मा ने कहा कि राष्ट्रीयकृत बैंक, क्षेत्रीय ग्रामीण बैंक व भूमि विकास बैंक से कर्जमाफी की पात्रता व मापदंड क्या होंगे, इसको लेकर भ्रांतियां फैलाने की कोशिश की गई हैं लेकिन जल्द ही स्थिति पूरी तरह स्पष्ट हो जाएगी. उन्होंने कहा कि डॉ. भीमराव आंबेडकर विधि विश्वविद्यालय व हरिदेव जोशी पत्रकारिता विश्वविद्यालय फिर शुरू किया जाएगा.

यह भी पढ़ें:  तीसरी बार राजस्थान के मुख्यमंत्री बने अशोक गहलोत के पास है कुल इतनी संपत्ति

गहलोत ने अपने पिछले कार्यकाल में इन दोनों संस्थानों की शुरुआत की थी, जिसे वसुंधरा राजे सरकार ने बंद कर दिया. इसे तत्काल शुरू करने का फैसला किया गया है. वृद्धावस्था पेंशन के बारे में शर्मा ने कहा कि सरकार ने दो स्लैब में मिल रही 500 रुपये व 750 रुपये की पेंशन को बढ़ाकर क्रमश: 750 रुपये व 1000 रुपये प्रति माह करने का फैसला किया है. उन्होंने कहा कि एनआरएचएम, पैरा टीचर, उर्दू पैराटीचर, लोक जुंबिक कर्मी, आंगनबाड़ी कर्मी, विद्यार्थी मित्र व पंचायत सहायक जैसे संविदाकर्मियों की समस्या पर विचार करने के लिए समिति गठित की जाएगी. यह समिति इन सभी कर्मियों की बातों को सुनकर उनकी समस्याओं के समाधान फैसला करेगी.

VIDEO: राजस्थान के शिक्षा मंत्री बोले- शिक्षा के भगवाकरण पर लगेगी लगाम

(इनपुट: भाषा)



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10,500 Arrests Ahead Of Bangladesh Poll: Opposition


Opposition parties said the arrests were done to create a “climate of fear”. (Representational)

Bangladesh: 

Bangladesh police have arrested more than 10,500 opposition activists in a crackdown ahead of elections this week, opposition parties said Tuesday.

The figures were released after the United States urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to do more to ensure free polls on Sunday when she is aiming to win a record fourth term.

Opposition parties said the arrests since the election was called on November 8 were intended to create a “climate of fear”.

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), whose leader Khaleda Zia is serving a 17-year jail term, said 7,021 of its activists had been detained.

Its Islamist ally, Jamaat-e-Islami, said more than 3,500 followers were in custody. Jamaat-e-Islami is banned from contesting elections but has candidates taking part as individuals with the BNP.

“Every day 80 to 90 of our activists have been arrested nationwide. These arrests have created a climate of fear,” Jamaat secretary general Shafiqur Rahman told AFP.

Police spokesman Sohel Rana did not confirm any figure for arrests but said they did not make “unnecessary arrests” without warrants.

“We never target any individual unless they break the law. These people have specific warrants against them,” he told AFP.

Candidate attacks 

Rizvi Ahmed, a BNP spokesman, said the charges laid against party activists were “fictitious” and “ghost” cases” aiming for “a lopsided election” in favour of Hasina.

Hasina and Zia have been political foes since the introduction of democracy in 1991. They have traditionally alternated in power but Hasina’s current rule has lasted since 2009 and Zia’s jail term this year prevented her from taking part in the election.

The BNP and its allies have also accused police and ruling Awami League party activists of attacking their activists and candidates.

The BNP had hoped the deployment of 30,000 troops on Monday would improve security across the Muslim-majority majority country of 165 million.

“The Awami League activists along with the law enforcing agencies attacked our candidates at 28 constituencies (in the last 24 hours). Nineteen of our candidates and over 100 activists were injured in the attack,” Ahmed told a press briefing.

He said that since the election campaign started at least 152 BNP candidates were attacked and hundreds of activists were injured in clashes.

Police spokesman Rana denied police had attacked any opposition activists, acknowledging only that “isolated incidents” were possible.

“If we receive any clear and evident allegation against any police member, we will surely take stern action,” Rana said.

Hasina won a 2008 poll by a landslide, and the BNP boycotted the 2014 election — saying it was not free and fair — gifting her a return to power.

Civil society and rights groups have accused Hasina’s government of silencing dissent and muzzling the press through a strict digital-security law.

The US State Department has also raised concerns about Sunday’s vote after it cancelled a planned observer mission by the Asian Network for Free Elections, which is funded by the US government because Bangladesh held up visas and credentials.

State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said democratic elections must have “space for peaceful expression and assembly, for independent media to do its job covering electoral developments, for participants to have access to information and for all individuals to be able to partake in the electoral process without harassment, intimidation or violence.”

“We encourage the government of Bangladesh to uphold its commitment to a democratic process by ensuring all Bangladeshis are free to peacefully express themselves and participate,” he added in a statement.

 

 

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)





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