Karnataka elections 2018: Rahul Gandhi on a four day state visit

Rahul Gandhi, the newly elected Congress party President, is on a four day election campaign in Karnataka. This began on Saturday, February 10, and is his first state to go to polls as party President. A senior party member stated that this is a semifinal, do or die election that could shape the face of the party before 2019.

A Times of India repot mentioned that Rahul spoke about the administrative work done by the Karnataka state government headed by Siddharamaiah. He expressed displeasure about the Rafale deal given by Narendra Modi to an industrial acquaintance. This deal was given to Bengaluru’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) during Congress regime.

He also spoke about the failure of BJP to deliver their promises and their lack of recognition given to the underprivileged classes in society. He opined that Siddharamaiah focuses on the future of the state, and does not delve in the past during elections, like his opposition.

News 18 informed that the campaign commenced in Bellary. Sonia Gandhi began her first rally there after taking charge as party President 19 years ago. Congress, under SM Krishna won the polls after major debacles, which included the invincible nature of the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

After Bellary, Rahul will be visiting Hospet, Huligemma temple, and Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah. His four day visit will end at Anubhava Mantapa in Bidar district.

Congress first win in by-poll election after Rahul Gandhi become party president

Congress party for the first time have won though it’s just a by-poll, but still it’s a big thing. After so long finally Congress scored a perfect score somewhere. This is seen as blow for the Bharatiya Janata Party before the state elections and the national election next year. The Ajmer and Alwar parliamentary seats were won by the party. On this party president Rahul Gandhi said by tweet, “Well done Rajasthan Congress! Proud of each and every one of you. This is a rejection of the BJP by the people of Rajasthan.”

For this by-poll election though this is not so big yet Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Congress Leader Sachin Pilot put in all their energy for campaign in the seat which was vacant after the death of the lawmaker. Ms Raje also said through a tweet “We are committed to Rajasthan’s development… now we have to work very hard.” What BJP should worry about is in Ajmar Congress is leading with 84,000 votes and in Alwar they are leading with two lakh votes. In Mandalgarh assembly seat Congress party came third and won with just a margin of 12,000 votes. BJP and Ms Raje did all they could to retain their seats in Ajmar and Alwar. It is said by the party works that they went out of the way to retain it.

BJP had to witness a setback not only in Rajasthan but also in West Bengal where Trinamool Congress took over the seats. As Congress won over Rajasthan’s Ajmar and Alwar, similarly TMC of West Bengal under Mamta Banerjee won over Naopara and Ulluberia. A shocking thing that we came across was these by-polls happened just four days after the release of the controversial Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat. Whereas this by-poll was seen as prestige battle for Ms Raje in Rajasthan and same was for vice president Shri Rabin Chatterjee. The number of seats in Alwar, Ajmar and Mandalgarh are 11, 23 and 8 respectively. As we know TMC won over Naopara and Ulluberia with BJP coming in the second position. This is seen critically because next year we have national elections.

Ashok Chavan who is the head of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) said, “The process of the revival of the Congress has begun. The political environment in the country is changing rapidly and it is the beginning of the end of Narendra Modi government.” The high voltage run up in all this was the Congress accused the BJP of polarizing the voters and they did nothing to stop attacks on the Muslims in incidences which were mostly linked to cow vigilantes. Sachin Pilot who lost the single seat of Rajasthan in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections today said “The people have rejected the Vasundhara Raje government and its policies. Young people have realized that the politics of polarization doesn’t work.” Whereas at the same time Ms Raje said that this by-poll won’t affect the big picture of 2019 elections.

Sources: NDTV, The Indian Express

Triple Talaq: Congress doing injustice to Muslim women by opposing bill, says BJP’s Ananth Kumar

Ananth Kumar, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, accused the Congress of doing injustice to the Muslim women by creating hurdles in the passage of the Triple Talaq Bill. The bill stands to be one of the most awaited and controversial decisions ever taken by the Supreme Court, wherein the latter declared the pronouncement of talaq by a person to his wife, through any medium, null and illegal.

Passed in the Lok Sabha after rejecting a resolution moved by Revolutionary Socialist Party member NK Premachandran, the bill confers a jail term of upto three years to any person practicing instant triple talaq. Due to Congress’s constant insistence that its resolution to refer the bill to a standing committee be voted on, the bill’s passage in the current winter session of the upper house became difficult.

In reaction to this demand, Ananth Kumar said, “Every day they bring a new excuse and their demand to refer the bill to the Select Committee is just a trick to misguide all.”

As the winter session of the Rajya Sabha ends on Friday, January 5, the bill is now pushed to the budget session, which begins in less than a month.

68% vote in Phase one Gujarat polls-A look at the Highlights of the Day

Hindu Business Line reported that Gujarat saw a 68% voter turnout in the first phase of voting on Saturday, 9 December. 19 districts with 89 assembly seats were part of this phase. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, BJP state chief Jitu Vaghani, former state Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia, OBC leader Alpesh Thokor and SC/ST leader Jignesh Melvani are some big names from today’s list of contested seats.

NDTV stated that there were certain allegations about the use of mobile jammers at the place of voting. This was denied by the Chief Electoral Officer, BB Swain. It was not used due to policy guidelines. 397 candidates are ‘Crorepatis’. Pankaj Patel, the Congress candidate from Daskroi constituency is the richest with worth 231.93 crores declared assets. Molti Ba, 106-year-old citizen who witnessed the Dandi March and Civil Disobedience Movement during India’s freedom struggle, was one among the many voters.

India Today informed that 1,085 villagers of Gajadi, in Morbi district did not vote this time. They were upset about the lack of delivery of poll promises. The village lacks the basics of bijli, sadak and paani (electricity, roads and water). They complained that neither the BJP nor the Congress paid heed to their plea.  Hardik Patel mentioned, “I will join the Congress if it suites the needs of the Patidar community. I feel Rahul Gandhi has matured as a fine politician.”

The second phase is scheduled for 14 December. Results will be announced on 18 December. Gujarat has been the election laboratory for the country. BJP is eyeing to continue its political reign in Gujarat, while Congress sees it as a litmus test and wants to make a comeback.

Sources – India Today, NDTV

UP Civic poll results 2017: BJP wins big; Maya’s BSP down but not out

  • Lucknow gets its 1st woman mayor in 100 years
  • Ayodhya votes for Lotus; Gets its 1stmayor
  • Lucky draw for settling tiebreaker between BJP-Congress in Mathura
  • Congress puts up a poor show in Amethi and Raebareli

Eight months after BJP’s landslide victory in the assembly election, the party soars high in the UP local body election. Considering BJP’s large-scale campaign throughout the state, their win seems no surprise. Interestingly, BSP emerged as a silent winner in Aligarh and Meerut despite having a low-key campaign.

Party chief Amit Shah said, winning the Uttar Pradesh civic polls is a reflection of the people’s unshakable faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision and the BJP’s politics of performance. The party bagged 14 out of 16 mayoral seats in municipal corporations in Uttar Pradesh.

BJP candidate Sanyukta Bhatia created history after being elected as the first mayor of Lucknow, defeating her nearest rival, Samajwadi Party candidate Meera Vardhan, by a sizable margin of 1,31,356 votes. The state capital has never had a woman as its mayor. The newly-elected mayor said she will prioritise civic issues such as garbage and traffic congestion, in her interaction with The Times of India.

Meanwhile in Ayodhya, Rishikesh Upadhayay, a BJP candidate got elected as the first mayor.In Mathura, where BJP and Congress both polled 874 votes in ward number 56, the win was to be decided by a lucky draw. Coincidently, luck favoured BJP’s, Meera Agarwal.

Congress faced huge disappointment in its strongholds. The party failed to win even a single seat of the chairperson in the four town areas or Nagar panchayats of Amethi, the parliamentary constituency of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Whereas in Rae Bareli, the parliamentary constituency of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the party candidate won municipality chairperson’s seat but lost in other eight town areas.

Sources – NDTV, The Times of India

 

 

DU Elections Herald the Winds of Change

For students of Delhi University, it is common sight to see the winning candidates in any year’s student elections being fielded by the ABVP, the RSS-affiliated right wing student organisation that has till now commanded the majority support. But not anymore. If the recently concluded DUSU elections send a message, it is that ABVP is not the most popular party anymore. The stunning defeat of the ABVP, only to give over its stronghold to the Congress backed NSUI shows that BJP is losing its hold over campuses.

It is true that the ABVP was not totally decimated in the elections. NSUI won only the President and Vice-Presidential positions, while the other two of General Secretary and Joint Secretary were retained by ABVP. It is also true that statistically, the best performer in the election was still the ABVP candidate for secretary, Mahamedhaa Nagar who defeated her NSUI rival by 2624 votes to win the post of secretary. Her win was still the biggest margin. However, what counts more is that NSUI has made a comeback and a stunning one at that. For the last five years, ABVP has dominated the student politics scene in Delhi, leaving no leeway for other parties to set foot. Since 2012, NSUI has never held an important position in DUSU and while this may be a half-triumph, it is still a triumph.

ABVP’s shocking loss should sound the alarm bells for the BJP and the Modi-brigade which has thus far captured the imagination of the youth across campuses. Students across the world do not like being dictated to and Indian students are no different. With the Modi brigade dictating terms on cow vigilantism, coupled with the lack of tolerance and the alarming rise of Hindutva across the country, it should be of no surprise that the students have swung to the age old challenger of the BJP, the Congress and chosen to put their faith in them. This is certainly a reaction to the brand of hyper nationalism propagated by the centre, which has backfired against them. Moreover, the ABVP has been on a rampage of violence and disruption, with the Rohith Vemula suicide last year, the upheaval in JNU and the Ramjas incident early this year. On every one of these occasions, the ABVP was the muscular aggressor and on the receiving end of much criticism from left-wing liberals.

And NSUI’s win in DU is not a one-off incident. This is simply a follow up of the impressive performances by the outfit in the recent polls in Guwahati, Rajasthan and Punjab Universities. This is the concert result of the educated and urban youth taking up arms against the divisive and polarising politics wielded by the ABVP in every election it participates in. This is a wake-up call to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Ironically, the latter had termed ABVP’s victory in DUSU polls last year as the triumph of nationalism. The DUSU election is definitely a reflection of the current mood among the youngsters, who are witnessing a polarising of the country under the current government.

However, it is not all hunky-dory for the NSUI. This year’s election also saw a huge jump in NOTA votes, from less than 10% last year to 16.5% this year. This can only portray a certain disillusionment with the student wings of mainstream political parties and should be a cause of worry for both the Congress and the BJP. It is also to be noted that more students availed of the NOTA option in the DUSU elections than the JNSUSU elections. Nonetheless, the DUDU results should be doing much to boost the sagging morale of the Congress, which sadly, does not remain a key player at the centre politics any longer.

Sources: The Quint, Hindustan Times

SC quashes Congress plea to disallow NOTA to three RS seats in Gujarat

Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar decided to freeze Congress’ plea to abolish None of the Above (NOTA) from the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. NOTA will continue to feature as an option on the ballot paper, which was introduced by Election Commission (EC) in 2014.

Senior advocate, Kapil Sabil, argued that NOTA will foment to be a recipe for corruption, and it was the court’s responsibility to stop the rot at the stems. He raised the concern that MLAs might cross vote once again, throwing party directives to thin air or invalidate their vote by exercising NOTA.

Closely observing Sibal’s apprehensions, Justice Roy asked Sibal whether Congress is already forecasting a defeat.

The bench also argued that NOTA has been in place since Jan 26, 2014 and it didn’t understand why Congress is filing a petition at the 11th hour.

Although the BJP has supported Congress’ claims regarding NOTA, they have maintained a strategic silence in SC on the issue.

Rajya Sabha elections are due on August 8, with ten seats up for grabs; one from Madhya Pradesh, three from Gujarat, and six from West Bengal.

SOURCES: THE HINDU, TOI

IMAGE CAPTION: ELECTION COMMISSION