Gujarat Election News

Will give free power if Aam Aadmi Party wins Gujarat, says Arvind Kejriwal
Times of India | 1 day ago
Times of India
1 day ago

AHMEDABAD: AAP convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal promised that people of Gujarat will get free electricity if his party is voted to power in the forthcoming assembly election. He was speaking at an interactive session, 'Bijli Jansamvaad', organized by the AAP in Ahmedabad on Monday. A number of people listed out the difficulties they are facing in relation to power supply. Kejriwal announced that he will visit the state next Sunday "with a solution to Gujarat's electricity problem." Kejriwal said: "Gujarat can also get free, 24-hour electricity, but the condition is only one, and that is you will have to change the politics, the government, and bring in an honest party." The AAP chief said he will visit the state every week to interact with the public on various issues such as corruption, agriculture, and MSP.

Will give free power if Aam Aadmi Party wins Gujarat, says Arvind Kejriwal
  • Free power if AAP wins Gujarat: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: AAP convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal promised that people of Gujarat will get free electricity if his party is voted to power in the forthcoming assembly election. He was speaking at an interactive session, ‘Bijli Jansamvaad’, organized by the AAP in Ahmedabad on Monday. A number of people listed out the difficulties they are facing in relation to power supply. Kejriwal announced that he will visit the state next Sunday “with a solution to Gujarat’s electricity problem.” Kejriwal said: “Gujarat can also get free, 24-hour electricity, but the condition is only one, and that is you will have to change the politics, the government, and bring in an honest party.” The AAP chief said he will visit the state every week to interact with the public on various issues such as corruption, agriculture, and minimum support price. Asserting that it was possible to provide free power to citizens without burdening them with additional taxes or piling up loans, the Delhi CM said his experience has shown that 70-80% of electricity bills are inflated. “Today, 73% of Delhi’s power users get zero electricity bills and about 80% of the users of Punjab will get zero electricity bills,” he said. These achievements have been possible without taking any loans or levying additional taxes, Kejriwal said.

  • Will provide free and uninterrupted power in Gujarat if AAP wins: Arvind Kejriwal
  • The Indian Express

    Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said that “free” and “uninterrupted” electricity will be available in Gujarat, provided people are ready to “change politics” in the 2022 Assembly elections and bring the party to power.The Delhi Chief Minister was on a two-day visit to the state where he attended a town hall event near Vaishno Devi circle in Ahmedabad on Monday noon on the issue of free electricity, where he reiterated his poll promise of providing power free of cost.“Free and uninterrupted electricity supply is a talisman and I only possess it. No one else in the world has introduced free power supply except our government. We are honest people with noble intentions and we don’t want to make money from power companies. Electricity can be free, cheaper and uninterrupted in Gujarat as well, provided you are ready to change politics and bring us to power,” said Kejriwal.Kejriwal attacked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress for their alleged failure to make power supply an election issue.“Elections are coming in Gujarat and today we have assembled to discuss the problem of electricity here. I would like to ask you all that AAP is contesting elections for the first time in Gujarat but there have been many elections contested by the BJP and Congress. Has any party sat with you people to discuss the issue of electricity?” Kejriwal said.“They come, organize huge rallies, deliver big speeches and make big promises but then they loot the people for the next five years. Our party workers have been visiting villages in Gujarat, listening to the grievances of the people. Such people who only have 2-3 fans and bulbs, even they are getting electricity bills of thousands of rupees. If poor people have to pay electricity bills of thousands of rupees every month, then how are they supposed to send their kids to school and ensure two times meals? Why is electricity so expensive in Gujarat?,” he further said.Kejriwal accused ministers and elected representatives in the state of “consuming thousands of units of electricity” for free.“Ministers and elected representatives are making merry in Gujarat…they have several ACs in their bungalows yet their electricity bill comes to zero. Whereas you people, despite having only a few fans, bulbs, TV and a fridge at your home, have to spend thousands on the bill. This is unfair. The facilities given to these politicians must be extended to the common people also,” he added.Kejriwal also attacked the BJP government over the power supply provided to state’s farmers.“I got to know that farmers in Gujarat get electricity only during night hours. What is the logic behind this? On top of that, the rate of steep and there are frequent power cuts. I think the Gujarat secretariat Bhawan should get electricity only during night hours for a few days and these ministers should work only during this time. If our farmers will stay awake all night for electricity, when will they sleep?” said Kejriwal.At the end of the event, Kejriwal also promised the audience that he will return to Gujarat next Sunday, “with a solution for free electricity in Gujarat.”

  • "Gujarat Can Also Get Cheap, Free, 24-Hour Electricity": Arvind Kejriwal
  • Ndtv

    Arvind Kejriwal claimed that 73 per cent of the people in Delhi get zero electricity bill.Ahmedabad: Ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections due later this year, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said he will visit the state every week to interact with the public on various issues like corruption and farming, and claimed it was possible to provide free electricity to people if they bring an "honest party" to power in the state.The Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) national convener said his party has shown in Delhi and Punjab that they stick to their promise."Gujarat can also get cheap, free, 24-hour electricity, but the condition is only one, and that is you will have to change the politics, government, and bring in an honest party...I will be back on Sunday with a solution to Gujarat's electricity problem," Mr Kejriwal said during a town hall organised on the issue of electricity.When some members of the general public raised various issues affecting them, the AAP leader said he will discuss them separately."Today, we should discuss electricity. We will discuss other issues as well. I will visit Gujarat every week and hold 'jan samvad' (public dialogue) on the issues of corruption, agriculture, MSP (minimum support price)," he said.Mr Kejriwal said if Gujarat ministers can enjoy zero electricity bills despite consuming thousands of units, then why not the general public.If farmers in Gujarat are supplied electricity at night, then ministers should also be given the opportunity to work at night for some time at the secretariat, he said during the town hall, referring to an issue raised by a farmer that power supply for agriculture at night adversely affects their life.Mr Kejriwal, without naming anyone, also accused BJP leaders of lying by claiming that there are no power cuts in Gujarat.He said a "very big leader" from Gujarat said people of the state do not want anything for free. "First you give up free electricity...," he said."They are scared that if people are provided free electricity, then they will have no money left to loot," he said.Mr Kejriwal said the "magic" behind their ability to provide free electricity is their clean conscience and honesty."We do not ask for money from power companies, we improve them, we work in the interest of the public. Other parties seek donations for elections from such companies, but we do not seek donations. You are our donation," he said.Sharing the experience of Delhi where the AAP government provides free electricity up to 200 units, Mr Kejriwal said as soon as his party assumed office, power companies were warned not to raise the unit rates."We said we have nothing to do if you gave money to former governments, but our government is honest, we will not ask for a single penny from you. But, you should not raise the electricity rates. They have not raised the rate in the last seven years," the Delhi CM said."We provide subsidies to the public after saving money on corruption, which is why they are enjoying free electricity. When we managed to do so in Delhi, the BJP and Congress said this cannot be done in a larger state, so we won in Punjab," he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comHe claimed that 73 per cent of the people in Delhi get zero electricity bill. In Punjab, where the scheme was introduced from July 1, it will be around 80 per cent, he added.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

  • Gujarat: Vote for AAP, you will get free electricity, says Arvind Kejriwal
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal promised that people of state will get free electricity if his party is voted to power in the forthcoming Gujarat assembly election. He was speaking at an interactive session - 'Bijli Jansamvaad', organised by the party in Ahmedabad on Monday. Even as a number of power users listed out the difficulties they are facing regarding electricity, Kejriwal announced that he will visit Gujarat next Sunday "with a solution to Gujarat’s electricity problem." Asserting that it was possible to provide free power to citizens without burdening them with additional taxes or piling up loans, the Delhi CM said that his experience has shown that 70% to 80% of electricity bills are inflated. "Today 73% of Delhi power users get zero electricity bills and about 80% users of Punjab will get zero electricity bills," he said. Kejriwal said that this has been possible without taking any loans or levying additional taxes. "I am a literate man, an engineer and I have worked in the IT department. I have done my calculations well." he quipped to a round of applause. Hinting at a complete overhaul of the electricity distribution system, he said that providing free power is like performing magic. An art which only he knows. "The secret to free electricity is that I have stopped electricity companies from fleecing people," he said. Commenting on the Gujarat government providing power to farmers during the night hours, the Delhi CM remarked, "If farmers get electricity at night, then the secretariat should also get power only at night." "Elected representatives are using thousands of units of power without paying anything. Some may have installed air conditioners in their toilets too and yet get zero electricity bills. People of the state should get the same benefits as the elected representatives," he said.

  • "Those Not Satisfied With BJP Must Vote For Us": Arvind Kejriwal In Gujarat
  • Ndtv

    Arvind Kejriwal also condemned the killings in Maharashtra's Amravati and in Rajasthan's Udaipur.Ahmedabad (Gujarat): With just a few months left for the Gujarat Assembly election, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday urged the Gujrati people to vote for AAP saying that "those who are not satisfied with BJP should vote for us"."We are not here to engage in dirty politics or corruption. We are here to help people. We are doing good work in Delhi and Punjab. Don't waste your vote on Congress. Those who are not satisfied with BJP should vote for us," said Arvind Kejriwal addressing a gathering in Ahmedabad.As many as 6,988 AAP office-bearers took oath on Sunday."The common man in Gujarat wants a change. They are joining hands with the AAP... There are no Congress office-bearers or volunteers in Gujarat, but lakhs from AAP. Within a month, we'd be bigger than even BJP," said Mr Kejriwal.Expressing hope and confidence over the AAP's victory in the 2022 Gujarat elections, the Delhi Chief Minister said, "AAP is expanding on a huge scale in Gujarat. People are tired of the 27 years of BJP. BJP thinks Congress can't replace them so they have developed ego. People are looking with hope towards AAP this time."The Delhi Chief Minister also condemned the killings in Maharashtra's Amravati and in Rajasthan's Udaipur.On June 28, a tailor Kanhaiyalal Kumar was murdered by two men inside his shop in Udaipur in the broad daylight, while a chemist shop owner Umesh Kolhe was killed by several men in Amravati on June 21.On the incident, the Delhi Chief Minister said, "Whatever is happening is wrong, the country can't move forward like this. There should be peace and unity. I condemn this and hope that the accused get the strictest punishments."AAP's Gujarat hope has been fuelled by its performance in the February 2021 Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) polls in which the BJP won 93 seats, while Aam Aadmi Party bagged 27 seats in the Surat Municipal Corporation election.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe Assembly election in Gujarat is scheduled for December 2022.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Maharashtra Speaker’s election today: Stage set for first test for new CM Shinde
The Indian Express | 3 days ago
The Indian Express
3 days ago

WITH THE Speaker’s election slated for Sunday after Shiv Sena announced the candidature of its MLA Rajan Salvi for the post against BJP’s Rahul Narwekar, the stage is set for the first test for the newly sworn-in Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his group of Sena rebels, and for BJP and the Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis.Shinde and Fadnavis were sworn in on Thursday and the Governor has called for a special session of the assembly on Sunday and Monday for the Speaker’s election followed by a floor test. The election will mark the first battle in the House between Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena which has 16 MLAs, and Shnde-led rebel group with 39 MLAs.On Saturday, Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu issued a whip, asking all the MLAs to be present in the assembly and cast their votes in favour of Salvi.Replying to the whip issued by Prabhu, Chief Minister Shinde asserted that it does not apply to his group as they have more than two-thirds of the total 55 Sena MLAs. He said, “We will face the floor test and we will win”.Sources said a separate whip is likely to be issued by the Shinde faction for the election and the floor test.Ajay Chaudhari, Shiv Sena legislative party leader said, “We have a strategy in place but I can’t disclose it now.’’ Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant said, “We will fight the Speaker’s election and we believe in the Constitution. I have heard that the Shinde faction spokesperson Deepak Kesarkar said that Uddhav Thackeray is their leader. These MLAs now must obey the whip and vote for Rajan Salvi.”Shiv Sena parliamentary party leader Vinayak Raut said, “We have issued a whip that the rebel MLAs should vote for Rajan Salvi. If they don’t, it will be an added material in our case in Supreme Court for disqualifying them.”A three-time MLA, Salvi was accompanied by Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, Sena legislature party leader Ajay Chaudhari, state NCP chief Jayant Patil, and Congress legislative party leader Balasaheb Thorat while filing his nomination for the election.Meanwhile, late Friday night, Thackeray sacked Shinde from the post of Shiv Sena leader in party organisation for indulging in “anti party activities’ ‘.“Dear Shri Shinde, You have been indulging in anti-party activities and have also voluntarily given up your membership of Shiv Sena. Therefore, in exercise of the powers vested in me as the Shiv Sena Paksha Pramukha, I remove you from the post of Shiv Sena leader in the party organisation,” the letter issued by Thackeray read.The move came after Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis took oath as CM and deputy CM respectively on Thursday. Sources in Shinde camp said that they will challenge the letter legally.Ahead of the Speaker’s election, the rebel Sena MLAs and Independent MLAs returned to Mumbai on Saturday evening after spending almost 11 days out of the state — first in Gujarat, then in Assam, and then in Goa. They arrived in Mumbai on a special flight and will be camped at a south Mumbai five-star hotel along with BJP MLAs.Addressing them, CM Shinde asserted that the whip of state legislative leader Bharat Gogawale, who is a part of his group, will be applicable to them, and not that of Shiv Sena’s which has been reduced to a minority.Security was beefed up in Mumbai and police security was deployed along the route from Mumbai airport to South Mumbai hotel to avoid any untoward incident.As the floor test is also scheduled on Monday, Shiv Sena president and former CM Uddhav Thackeray held meetings with party leaders to carve out a strategy. Congress MLC Bhai Jagtap and Congress working president Charan Singh Sapra also met Thackeray at Matorshree Saturday afternoon and all MVA leaders held a meeting in the evening.The NCP legislature party will hold a meeting on Sunday morning to decide their strategy. State NCP president Jayant Patil said, “I feel elections should not be held. All three parties gave a letter… We have a deputy Speaker, Narhari Zirwal, and he has the right to run the House… When the government has changed, Koshyari has allowed elections for a Speaker and people are watching these developments.”Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said, “Earlier, MVA demanded election of Speaker and it was denied by the Governor quoting law related to elections. Now, we can’t understand the reason to have elections. The Governor should not forget that he is a constitutional authority, and not a BJP worker.”

Maharashtra Speaker’s election today: Stage set for first test for new CM Shinde
Planetary distance in km: Giant leap for HC ire
Times of India | 3 days ago
Times of India
3 days ago

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court was furious at the Lok Rakshak Dal (LRD) Recruitment Board after it came to know that the board has advanced its next stage of recruitment even after the court issued a notice over complaints of seven wrong answers and the change in the value of negative marks for wrong answers in a written test taken last month.The grouse of the petitioners was with the answer key that the board had declared. In that key, one of the answers related to how distance between planets is measured. Of the answers (metre, kilometre, mile, and light year), the key said that kilometre or mile were the correct answers. The candidates approached the court asserting that even in school, they were taught that this distance is measured in light years.The first petition was heard by Justice Biren Vaishnav on June 17, when candidates complained about the board’s decision to increase the value of negative marks from 0.25 to 1.25 for each wrong answer or unattempted question. The petitioners said that this change in the rule was made after the advertisement was published and hence was not legal and should be quashed. They said that the board had cancelled two questions, but no grace mark was offered. They also pointed to a question on the President of India’s election. The judge asked the government lawyer, “What does LRD have to do with the President’s election? Why do you ask such complicated questions for LRD recruitment?”These candidates objected to the answer stated as right for the measurement of distance between planets. The court issued a notice and posted a hearing on July 21. When the lawyer sought an early hearing, the judge hinted that much time would elapse before the next stage of recruitment, “It is light years ahead.”The court had received another such petition from nearly 100 candidates on June 29. The next day, one more candidate approached the court. When the court proposed the next hearing on July 21, the candidate submitted that after the first hearing, the board tweeted in 15 minutes of the issuance of the court notice and advanced the verification process for candidates. This angered the judge, “God forbid if there is an attempt at overreaching the court process.” The judge added: “Then you (board) will help yourself. I will set aside the whole selection process. Try and do something before July 21.” Further hearing is to take place on July 8.Scheduling an early hearing, the judge said, “Apparently it is a wrong answer, miles and kilometres... even sixth standard students will know it and the LRD board does not know what the correct answer is. And they are sitting in the selection committee.”

Planetary distance in km: Giant leap for HC ire
Arvind Kejriwal to be on two-day Gujarat visit from Sunday; to hold town hall meet on ‘free electricity’
Times of India | 3 days ago
Times of India
3 days ago

AHMEDABAD: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal will be on a two-day visit to Gujarat from Sunday, during which he will hold a town hall meeting on "free electricity" and also administer oath to the newly-appointed party office-bearers, a party leader said here. During his two-day stay in Ahmedabad, the Delhi chief minister will also hold meetings with senior leaders of the AAP and interact with party members, he said on Saturday. The Kejriwal-led party is gearing up to contest elections to the 182-member Assembly in BJP-ruled Gujarat to be held by the end of this year. "Kejriwal will reach Ahmedabad airport at 3 pm on Sunday. He will administer oath to 7,500 newly-appointed office bearers at a function at 4 pm. They will take pledge to work whole-heartedly for the party and encourage workers for the upcoming Assembly election," AAP's national joint secretary Isudan Gadhvi told reporters here. These office-bearers were appointed after the AAP dissolved its state organisation structure early last month, he said. "For the people suffering due to inflation, our party has launched a 'Muft Bijli' campaign. If people in Delhi and Punjab can get free electricity, then why not those in Gujarat?" he asked. On Monday, Kejriwal will hold a town hall on "free electricity," nearly two weeks after the party launched a state-wide stir demanding free electricity for domestic consumers from the BJP government, he said. Discussions will also be held on the party's "guarantee card," or election manifesto for Gujarat Assembly polls are scheduled in December, Gadhvi added. The AAP functionary accused the ruling party of misleading people by saying that the citizens of Gujarat do not need free electricity as he referred to a statement made by BJP's state unit president C R Paatil. "I would like to appeal to those leaders who do not need free electricity to put up a board outside their house declaring the same, so that more poor people can get free electricity," he said. AAP leaders in Gujarat believe that the party's "free electricity" campaign will play a key role in the Assembly polls as they said that lakhs of people have supported it across the state. The party leaders and workers organised padyatras, mashal and bicycle yatras in different parts of the state and sought from the people their support for the campaign. The party has promised free electricity to the people when voted to power.

Arvind Kejriwal to be on two-day Gujarat visit from Sunday; to hold town hall meet on ‘free electricity’
The case of the disappearing numbers: A look at recent floor tests
The Indian Express | 6 days ago
The Indian Express
6 days ago

Uddhav Thackeray resigned as Chief Minister of Maharashtra Wednesday, after the Supreme Court did not stay the Assembly floor test scheduled for June 30 called by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, and he faced the prospect of 40-odd of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs with the Eknath Shinde camp. The Sena’s petition seeking disqualification of 16 of the rebel MLAs remains pending.The crisis that brought down the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government has several parallels – from hung Houses to new alliances, to petitions in the Supreme Court:July 2019The 2018 state elections threw up a hung Assembly, with the BJP winning 104 seats, the Congress 80, the JD(S) 37, along with three Independents, in the 224-member House. With the BJP failing to reach the majority mark of 113, forcing BJP leader B S Yediyurappa to step down as Chief Minister within three days, the Congress and JD(S) forged an alliance with the JD(S)’s H D Kumaraswamy as CM.In July 2019, the coalition government hit shaky ground when 17 MLAs (14 from the Congress and three from the JD-S) sought to quit the Assembly, citing differences with the government and CM. The Speaker, K R Ramesh Kumar, elected on the Congress ticket, refused to accept their resignation. With the BJP seen as behind the move, the Congress and JD(S) approached the Speaker seeking that the 17 be disqualified and not allowed to contest the election during the tenure of the then Assembly.The Governor asked the Kumaraswamy government to take a floor test twice, and finally on July 23, 2019, the Congress-JD(S) Ministry fell. The Speaker went on to disqualify the MLAs, which remained away from the Congress-JD(S) reach and sequestered in hotels, and Yediyurappa returned as CM after winning a floor test in the truncated-House of 208. The BJP was able to muster support of 105 MLAs, against the Congress and JD(S)’s combined total of 99.In November 2019, on the plea of the 17 MLAs against the Speaker’s order, the Supreme Court upheld their disqualification but not the directive that they could not contest the election till 2023. In the bypolls held the next month, 11 of the 17 were re-elected to the House, on BJP tickets.October 2010The Yediyurappa-led BJP government had a slender majority – at 117, just four more than the cut off mark of 113. In October 2010, 11 of its MLAs withdrew support. The Congress and JD(S) had 101 MLAs, and posed a challenge in case of six Independents swaying their way.On October 6, the Speaker, K G Bopaiah, allied to the BJP, disqualified the rebel MLAs under the anti-defection law, just after Governor Hans Raj Bharadwaj had asked Yediyurappa to initiate a trust motion. With the rebel MLAs disqualified and the House strength down to 213, Yediyurappa won the trust vote by a voice vote and support of 106 MLAs, amid chaos.In May 2011, the Supreme Court held that some of the actions of the Speaker in disqualifying the 11 MLAs did not “meet the twin tests of natural justice and fair play”. It also said Yediyurappa had ignored Constitutional norms.January 2006The 2004 Karnataka Assembly polls had thrown up a hung verdict, with the BJP winning 79 seats, the Congress 65 and the JD(S) 58. The Congress and JD(S) initially formed an alliance with Dharam Singh of the Congress as CM.In January 2006, a dissident group of 42 MLAs of the JD(S), led by Kumarswamy, withdrew support to the Congress, and allied with the BJP. Dharam Singh resigned and the Governor invited the BJP and JD(S) to form the new government.Kumaraswamy struck a deal that the two parties would hold power for 20 months each. But the coalition collapsed in October 2007, after the JD(S) reneged on transferring power to the BJP. President’s rule was imposed, and the next Assembly elections were held in May 2008.2019In March 2019, newly appointed Chief Minister Sawant urged Governor Mridula Sinha to summon the Assembly for a floor test on March 20, 2019, after sitting CM Manohar Parrikar’s death. Sawant resigned from the Speaker’s chair before he was sworn in as CM ahead of the floor test, and Michael Lobo, then Deputy Speaker, carried out the proceedings.The Congress had 14 MLAs, the BJP 12. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party (GFP) had three each. The NCP had one candidate and there were three Independents. The strength of the Goa Assembly is 40, but there were only 36 sitting MLAs at the time (Parrikar and BJP MLA Francis D’Souzaas had died and two Congress MLAs had resigned).Sawant won the floor test with the support of 20 MLAs, after the MGP and GFP MLAs as well as three Independents voted for him.Sawant consolidated his strength in July 2019, after 10 Congress MLAs and two MGP MLAs defected to the BJP.1995The BJP won 121 of 182 seats in the 1995 Assembly elections in Gujarat – its highest till then – in the backdrop of the Babri Masjid demolition and the subsequent riots. However, many MLAs were upset with Keshubhai Patel being made CM. Patel was believed to have the backing of then BJP general secretary and Gujarat in-charge Narendra Modi.While Patel was away in the US, leaving Ashok Bhatt behind as caretaker CM, Shankersinh Vaghela, then a BJP MP from Godhra, claimed the backing of 105 MLAs and launched a coup in September 1995.The MLAs were first taken to Vaghela’s village in Vasan and later to the home of a Congress leader in a village in Gandhinagar. While some of the MLAs were lured back by the BJP, Vaghela flew the remaining 55 out to Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh overnight.They only returned after senior BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee agreed to replace the CM. Suresh Mehta was subsequently appointed CM.But as remnants of the discontent followed the party, in 1996, during a meeting to felicitate Vajpayee, now the Prime Minister, the MLAs literally came to blows. An MLA was stripped of his dhoti and another was nearly set ablaze.The House was placed under “suspended animation”. The Governor was hospitalised at the time when Vaghela staked claim to form the government after parading 103 MLAs before him, including of the BJP, Congress and some Independents. The BJP MLAs numbered 48, more than one-third of the total, thus escaping the anti-defection law. Vaghela became CM.(with inputs from Johnson T A, Mayura Janwalkar, Leena Misra)

The case of the disappearing numbers: A look at recent floor tests
Supreme Court 2002 riots order: BJP says not poll issue, but ‘moral victory’ set to boost party
The Indian Express | 1 week ago
The Indian Express
1 week ago

On September 12, 2011, when the Supreme Court had sent the complaint filed by Zakia Jafri against then chief minister Narendra Modi and 62 others back to the Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in Ahmedabad without issuing directions, Modi had tweeted “God is Great”. A few days later, on his 62nd birthday, he launched the ‘Sadbhavna’ fasts, meeting people from all faiths in different districts.As Prime Minister, Modi has chosen not to react to the verdict of a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court on the same complaint, which upheld the clean chit to his administration for alleged role in “the larger conspiracy” related to the 2002 Gujarat riots.However, the BJP has been in celebratory mode. All its top leaders almost immediately issued statements welcoming the judgment, while condemning the role played by activist Teesta Setalvad, retired DGP R B Sreekumar, former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and others in “defaming” Modi who was the then CM of Gujarat. State chief C R Paatil called Setalvad a “Congress puppet”, and accused the three of “fabricating evidence” to “frame” Modi.A day later, Union Home Minister Amit Shah gave an interview to ANI solely centred around the Gujarat riots, repeating the charges against a “triad of media, political parties and NGOs”, and suggesting even the courts had been “swayed” due to their campaign. Hours later, Setalvad and Sreekumar were arrested on charges of forgery, criminal conspiracy etc, on an FIR that extensively quoted the Supreme Court order. Bhatt, who is serving a life term in another case, was also booked on the same charges.While the BJP’s stand publicly is that the riots order won’t be made a poll issue, the party is set to celebrate it as “a moral victory”. A lawyer actively associated with the BJP, who also represented some of the accused in the 2002 riot cases, said: “As a lawyer, I knew how witnesses were being tutored and many innocent people were framed and faced jail terms. This judgment will pave the way for justice, against those who framed Modiji.”The lawyer added that the Court order as well as arrests of Setalvad and Sreekumar would also send out a message to those party supporters “falsely” accused in riot cases. “Back then, the party was unable to check their persecution,” he said.The BJP especially expects a boost for those BJP leaders closely tied to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. The Godhra train burning, in which kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya as part of the campaign were killed, is seen as the trigger for the 2002 riots.For those in the Ram temple campaign, this is the second big Court endorsement after the Supreme Court in 2019 gave the go-ahead for the shrine in Ayodhya.Only one big BJP leader was convicted in the riots, who was also acquitted later. Maya Kodnani was sentenced for the Naroda Patiya violence, one of the biggest massacres of 2002, by a Supreme Court-appointed special court. Since she was acquitted by the High Court, Kodnani is again a presence at the party office at Shree Kamalam.Trial is on in only one more 2002 case under the apex court’s scrutiny, the Naroda Gam deaths. Kodnani is also on trial in this apart from Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi. In its order, the Supreme Court set aside the Tehelka sting operation that had caught Babu Bajrangi bragging about the killings.The Congress’s half-measures on the Supreme Court order – first choosing cautiousness, then speaking out after criticism – won’t help the party’s cause in a state where it is in a direct fight with the BJP.Since 2002, the Assembly elections in Gujarat have been largely polarised on communal lines, with the BJP winning one election after another. Only in 2017 did the Congress show some revival spark, though that is now also seen as snuffed out in face of the AAP’s fledgling competition.The BJP has further put the Congress on the defensive over the Supreme Court order, by alleging the hand of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in propping up Setalvad.Asked how important the Supreme Court judgment was for the BJP, C R Paatil told The Indian Express: “The judgment is important not only for Gujarat, but for the entire country. It is very dangerous in a democracy that some political party hatches such conspiracy or gets it hatched or supports it, by which its rival can get capital punishment.”On whether it will help the party electorally in Gujarat or not, Paatil said: “It is the biggest victory for us that Modi saheb has got a clean chit after such a long struggle. If you ask electorally, we are going to win (the state Assembly elections); it does not matter whether the judgment came now or afterwards. We are going to win because we are doing people’s work, we are connected with the people.”A senior BJP leader, who did not want to be identified, said: “Our party will definitely gain from this development. Narendrabhai and the party as a whole have faced a lot of stress due to these false allegations. Now, sympathy will be in favour of Narendrabhai among people. They will realise that he (Modi) was personally targeted and the entire state of Gujarat was defamed.”According to this leader, the order has ensured that the coming Assembly elections are fought solely on the issue of development. “Narendrabhai has set the tradition of fighting elections on the issues of development. Coming elections will also be fought on the same lines,” said the leader.Indicating the line the party is set to take, one also adopted by Shah in his interview, a senior office-bearer said: “Narendrabhai has always respected the law. He did not act against any of these people who hatched conspiracies (against him). Being the Chief Minister, he could have easily got an FIR registered against them. But he has set a benchmark for respecting the process of law.”The party leader also said that the cases against Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt’s had been registered by the Gujarat government as per the direction of the Supreme Court. “The only gain for our party due to the Court order is that our stand has been vindicated. Our party is not going to make it an election issue and will stick to the politics of development.”

Supreme Court 2002 riots order: BJP says not poll issue, but ‘moral victory’ set to boost party
  • Gujarat Riots: Supreme Court Confirms Clean Chit To PM. BJP's Response
  • Ndtv

    Gujarat Riots: Supreme Court dismissed the petition filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of Ehsan Jafri.New Delhi: "Satyamev Jayate" was the unanimous reaction of BJP leaders on Friday after the Supreme Court upheld the SIT's clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in the Gujarat riots of 2002, when he was the state's chief minister, and dismissed a plea by Congress leader Ehsan Jafri's wife Zakia alleging a larger conspiracy.Union minister Anurag Thakur said,"Satyamev Jayate! Supreme Court of India gives a clean chit and has dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Jafri challenging the SC-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) report on post-Godhra violence in Gujarat. The Supreme Court says the petition is without merit." "Satyamev Jayate,"(Truth alone triumphs) was how another Union minister Smriti Irani put it while party spokesperson Sambit Patra also tweeted the same expression.BJP secretary Y Satya Kumar claimed that Congress' last attempt to malign PM Modi has fallen flat and justice prevailed as he cited the top court's observation that Zakia Jafri's appeal was devoid of merits and deserved to be dismissed.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comBringing the curtains down on the bid to reopen the probe, a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said the material collected during the investigation does not "give rise to strong or grave suspicion regarding hatching of larger criminal conspiracy at the highest level" for causing mass violence against Muslims.The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar, termed Zakia Jafri's plea devoid of merit. It spoke of "the devious stratagem to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design" and noted that all those involved in "such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law".

  • "Ulterior Design": Supreme Court On Appeal Involving PM On Gujarat Riots
  • Ndtv

    PM Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat during the 2002 riots (File).New Delhi: An appeal against the exoneration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a 2002 Gujarat riots case by the wife of a Congress MP killed in the violence is "devoid of merits" and filed "to keep the pot boiling", the Supreme Court said on Friday.Upholding the clearance issued to the then Chief Minister of the state by a Special Investigation Team or SIT, the top court dismissed the petition filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of Ehsan Jafri, who was among the 68 people killed in what came to be known as the Gulbarg Society massacre.The plea was filed "to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design", the court said, in strong comments that, it added, were borrowed from arguments made by the SIT."All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law," the judges said, surmising that the appeal was filed under "dictation of someone".They said petitioner's arguments were bordering on "undermining the integrity and sincerity" of SIT members and most of the content in the plea was "based on versions of others which have been found to be replete with falsehood".It also said that the submissions by Ms Jafri were "far-fetched and an attempt to undo and undermine the industry of the SIT in investigating the cases".The Gulbarg Society massacre was one of the worst incidents of violence in the riots that began after a train coach carrying pilgrims was burnt in Godhra, killing 59 people, a day ago.Ms Jafri, 84, had sought a fresh investigation into the communal riots, alleging a larger conspiracy involving politicians and the police.Supreme Court Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar had reserved the verdict last December.The massacre at Ahmedabad's Gulbarg Society - a cluster of 29 bungalows and 10 apartment buildings housing mostly Muslims - was among the 10 major Gujarat riot cases re-investigated by the special team appointed by the Supreme Court.Ehsan Jafri, a former Congress parliamentarian, was among 68 people dragged out, hacked and burnt by the rioters. The Congress leader's frantic phone calls to police officers and senior politicians for help went unanswered, Zakia Jafri had alleged.The Special Investigation Team had submitted its closure report in February 2012 - a decade after the riots - and exonerated Prime Minister Modi and 63 others, citing "no prosecutable evidence".PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comIn 2016, a special court in Ahmedabad convicted 24 attackers for the massacre that the court described as the "darkest day in the history of civil society." But the court, which also acquitted 36 people including a BJP corporator in this case, underlined that there was no larger conspiracy.Over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the three-day violence in Gujarat in 2002.

  • Plea "To Keep Pot Boiling": Supreme Court's Big Order In 2002 Riots Case
  • Ndtv

    Appeal filed under the "dictation of someone", the Supreme Court saidNew Delhi: The Supreme Court rejected an appeal against exoneration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a 2002 Gujarat riots case. The appeal by Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the violence, was "devoid of merits", the court said Here are top five observations by the court:Quoting from the Special Investigation Team's arguments, the court said the plea was filed "to keep the pot boiling" for "ulterior design".All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law, the court said.The appeal was filed under the "dictation of someone", the Supreme Court said in its verdict.The court said most of the content in the plea based on the versions of others and found to be "replete with falsehood".The court said the petitioner's arguments border on "undermining the integrity and sincerity" of the probe team's members and question the "wisdom" of Supreme Court. Comments

Gujarat BJP leaders reach Delhi to visit schools and find faults, AAP says will give all assistance
The Indian Express | 1 week ago
The Indian Express
1 week ago

With elections in Gujarat scheduled at the end of the year, the politics has now reached the national capital.“A 17-member party delegation from Gujarat is in Delhi on a two-day visit to assess and bring to the fore the ground reality of Kejriwal’s so-called world model in several areas of Delhi,” said state BJP Vice President Virender Sachdeva.He said that the team would be visiting some schools Tuesday and some others Wednesday. Replying to this, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted, “it was learnt from the newspaper that the Gujarat BJP team is coming to Delhi’s school-mohalla clinic. We have made a team of 5 MLAs to welcome this team from Gujarat and show them schools and mohalla clinics,” he said.BJP spokesperson Praveen Shanker responded to Sisodia’s tweet saying that why AAP wants to decide which school BJP will visit. “Let us visit wherever we want, you want to do a conducted tour in a sanitised environment because you fear that it will expose your reality that you have built only few schools which you keep on advertising while others in a dilapidated state.”Sisodia had earlier said that the party will be contesting the Gujarat polls from all the 182 seats in the state. After its landslide victory in the recently-held Punjab Assembly election, the AAP is seeking to expand its footprint in other states.The party had made its debut in Gujarat in the 2017 Assembly polls but could not open its account. The BJP won the Gujarat Assembly polls in 2017 for the sixth straight time and is currently in power in the state.The entry of AAP has made the contest a four-way fight in Gujarat with BJP and Congress already in fray and AIMIM trying to strengthen its presence in this year’s election.AAP MLA Atishi also tweeted: “A BJP delegation from Gujarat has come to Delhi to visit our government schools and mohalla clinics. We are at AAP office to welcome him; those who want to visit school, hospital or mohalla clinic, we will take them there.”

Gujarat BJP leaders reach Delhi to visit schools and find faults, AAP says will give all assistance
Sena Rebel Eknath Shinde's Midnight Meet With BJP Leaders In Gujarat
Ndtv | 1 week ago
Ndtv
1 week ago

Shiv Sena rebel MLA Eknath Shinde and nearly 40 other rebels are in AssamGuwahati: Shiv Sena rebel MLA Eknath Shinde and the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis met in Gujarat's Vadodara last night to discuss possible government formation in Maharashtra, sources have said.Home Minister Amit Shah was also in Vadodara last night, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.Mr Shinde came to Vadodara on a special flight from Assam's Guwahati last night, sources said.After talks with Mr Fadnavis, who was the Maharashtra Chief Minister until the Sena's Uddhav Thackeray took over in 2019, Mr Shinde returned to the main city in BJP-ruled Assam where nearly 40 rebel Sena MLAs are holed up in a five-star hotel.Among them, 16 MLAs including Mr Shinde - who Team Thackeray has pointed out as the ringleader of the rebellion - face disqualification notice from the Maharashtra Deputy Speaker, who asked them to respond by Monday evening and be present in Mumbai.Mr Shinde and the rebels want to ally with their former partner, BJP, again and claim they have the numbers to form government. The rebels have already announced a new faction called "Shiv Sena Balasaheb", to mean the ideal Shiv Sena as envisaged by Bal Thackeray, the party's founder and father of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.But the Maha Vikas Aghadi, or MVA, alliance of the Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress have told the rebels to return for a floor test.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe Sena's play appears to be to go for disqualifying the 16 rebels and discouraging the rest from facing elections, hence forcing them to return from Assam, where the BJP's north-east election strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma is the Chief Minister and whose close aides have been taking care of logistics in the hotel where the MLAs are staying.If Mr Shinde's faction wants to take over the Sena from Mr Thackeray, it will need to approach the Election Commission and wrest control of the party symbol. Team Thackeray has said the party's constitution won't allow this and they still have the support of grassroots leaders and the cadre.

Sena Rebel Eknath Shinde's Midnight Meet With BJP Leaders In Gujarat
  • Eknath Shinde Met BJP's Devendra Fadnavis In Gujarat Last Night: Sources
  • Ndtv

    Shiv Sena rebel MLA Eknath Shinde and nearly 40 other rebels are in AssamGuwahati: Shiv Sena rebel MLA Eknath Shinde and the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis met in Gujarat's Vadodara last night to discuss possible government formation in Maharashtra, sources have said.Home Minister Amit Shah was also in Vadodara last night, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.Mr Shinde came to Vadodara on a special flight from Assam's Guwahati last night, sources said.After talks with Mr Fadnavis, who was the Maharashtra Chief Minister until the Sena's Uddhav Thackeray took over in 2019, Mr Shinde returned to the main city in BJP-ruled Assam where nearly 40 rebel Sena MLAs are holed up in a five-star hotel.Among them, 16 MLAs including Mr Shinde - who Team Thackeray has pointed out as the ringleader of the rebellion - face disqualification notice from the Maharashtra Deputy Speaker, who asked them to respond by Monday evening and be present in Mumbai.Mr Shinde and the rebels want to ally with their former partner, BJP, again and claim they have the numbers to form government. The rebels have already announced a new faction called "Shiv Sena Balasaheb", to mean the ideal Shiv Sena as envisaged by Bal Thackeray, the party's founder and father of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comBut the Maha Vikas Aghadi, or MVA, alliance of the Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress have told the rebels to return for a floor test.The Sena's play appears to be to go for disqualifying the 16 rebels and discouraging the rest from facing elections, hence forcing them to return from Assam, where the BJP's north-east election strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma is the Chief Minister and whose close aides have been taking care of logistics in the hotel where the MLAs are staying.

The meltdown
The Indian Express | 1 week ago
The Indian Express
1 week ago

The still-unfolding scenes of the dramatic political crisis in Maharashtra, stretching from Mumbai to Guwahati via Surat, frame a government in freefall in an important state, and its rippling echoes. The Uddhav Thackeray government would appear to be coming undone by, on the one end, its own weakness, the inability or unwillingness or both of a family-run party to accommodate the rising ambitions within, and on the other end, by its partner-turned-foe’s aggressive fishing in murky waters. That the Sena rebels who have rallied behind Eknath Shinde have been ferried and locked into hotels in BJP-ruled states, first Gujarat and now Assam, tells its own story. There has been visible rancour between the Sena and BJP ever since 2019 assembly election, in which the BJP emerged as the single largest party but after which the two long-standing allies went their separate ways. The rift inaugurated a battle over the “real” flagbearer of Hindutva against the arresting backdrop of the country’s financial capital. At that time, the Sena went on to join hands with Sharad Pawar’s NCP and the Congress, and formed a coalition government. Now the Shinde-led group of rebels are pointing to that unlikely alliance and the need to go back to a solo, undiluted Hindutva as reason for their revolt, but they protest too much. After all, unlikely alliances are not unusual in Indian politics and, time and again, power has proved to be a strong glue. In all likelihood, therefore, the current unravelling in Mumbai has more to do with a Sena, having lost Bal Thackeray, finding it difficult to hold together and a BJP, in power at the Centre and not above weaponising its control of central agencies against political rivals and opponents, that is seizing the opportunity.In the coming days, the prospect of a vertical split in the Sena, and the endgame for the Uddhav Thackeray government, will pose a test for the institutions of the Speaker and Governor. The Deputy Speaker — since the Maharashtra assembly does not have a full-time Speaker since 2020 — could be called upon to assess the claims and counter claims and determine the status of the Sena factions under provisions of the anti-defection law. The governor could play a critical role in resolving the political instability, even as, after the Bommai judgement in 1994, the Supreme Court has laid down that the place for deciding whether a government has lost its majority is the floor of the assembly, not Raj Bhavan.The fate of the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra will also send signals that resonate beyond the state. With less than two years to go for the general election in 2024, and given that the Opposition is struggling to rally together to put up a fight against a formidable and predatory BJP, the loss of a crucial state will be consequential. Maharashtra, which has been one of the most prominent sites in the fight against Covid — during which, incidentally, the Uddhav Thackeray government kept a remarkably calm head — is now, amid the political tug and pull, again ground zero.

The meltdown
J&K Assembly to miss presidential polls for 2nd time in history
The Indian Express | 1 week ago
The Indian Express
1 week ago

As India elects its next president on July 18, the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will not be a part of the exercise for the second time in the history of the election to the top constitutional post.There have been precedents of legislative assemblies of states not being part of the presidential polls on account of their dissolution, the first such instance being of Gujarat in 1974.The assemblies of Assam, Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir too could not participate in subsequent elections on account of dissolution.In the present case, the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir is yet to be constituted after the erstwhile state was bifurcated into the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in 2019.The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act provides for a Legislative Assembly for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, but the election is yet to be held due to various reasons.In 1974, Gujarat was in the throes of the Navnirman movement, which led to the dissolution of the state government headed by Chimanbhai Patel.Against the backdrop of demands to postpone the presidential polls, a reference was made to the Supreme Court to get its opinion and nip any controversy in the bud.The apex court had opined that the presidential polls had to be held and completed in such time as may enable the president-elect to enter the office on the expiry of the term of office of the outgoing president and therefore, the election should be held even if the Gujarat Legislative Assembly was not in existence then.The Supreme Court had noted that Article 54 of the Constitution mentioned the houses of Parliament and legislative assemblies only for the purpose of showing the qualifications of the members of the electoral college.“The elected members of a dissolved legislative assembly of a state are no longer members of the electoral college consisting of the elected members of both houses of Parliament and elected members of the legislative assemblies of the states and are, therefore, not entitled to cast votes at the presidential elections,” the top court had opined.In 1992, the legislative assemblies of Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland were dissolved and thus, could not be part of the 10th presidential polls that elected Shankar Dayal Sharma to the top constitutional post.In 1992, Jammu and Kashmir had gone unrepresented in the presidential polls as the election to the Lok Sabha too could not take place in the erstwhile state in 1991 due to insurgency.However, in the July 18 presidential polls, five Lok Sabha members from the Union Territory — Farooq Abdullah, HasnainMasoodi, Akbar Lone, Jugal Kishor Sharma and Jitendra Singh — are eligible to cast their votes.In 1982, when Giani Zail Singh was elected as the president, the legislators from Assam could not vote as the Assembly was dissolved.

J&K Assembly to miss presidential polls for 2nd time in history
Hours after Amit Shah’s public meeting Election Commission announces poll dates for Diu municipal council
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago

The Election Commission of the Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu (UT of DNH&DD) announced on Sunday that the Diu municipal council polls will be held on July 7.This announcement comes just hours after Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Praful Patel, administrator of the UT addressed a massive public rally in Diu on Saturday evening.According to a press release issued by the election commission of the UT of DNH&DD, notification for the election to the 13 wards of the Diu Municipal Council (DMC) in Diu district will be issued on June 13. According to the notification, Nomination papers can be filed till June 20. Scrutiny of nomination papers will be done on June 21 and June 23 will be the last date of withdrawing candidature.The notification said that polling, “if necessary” will be conducted on July 7 and counting of votes will take place on July 9.With the announcement of poll dates, the model code of conduct of election came into force on Sunday.The polls also come around a month after seven of the nine Congress councillors of Diu Municipal Council defected to the BJP, formally ending 15-year-long rule of Congress in the civic body.In fact, the Congress had virtually lost power in the DMC on December 18 last when the UT administration suspended DMC president Hitesh Solanki, citing a case of disproportionate assets pending against him and since then, the chief officer of the civic body had assumed administrative control of the DMC.The defections had left Congress red-faced and overturned a sweeping majority it had got by winning 10 out of 13 seats of DMC in the general election held in July, 2017.At Shah’s public meeting organised by the administration of UT of DNH&DD, the Home Minister laid foundation stones of infrastructure projects worth Rs 80 crore, including a proposed cable car service between Diu and Ghoghla.Shah had lavished praise on Patel, a BJP leader, who has served as junior home minister of Gujarat, saying the administrator had been giving concrete shape to the vision of Narendra Modi for development of Diu.Incidentally, Shah had also held a lengthy meeting with local BJP leaders and party workers before the public meeting.The local BJP leaders had also joined Shah in a dinner later on Sunday evening after the Union Home Minister inaugurated INS Khukri memorial in Diu.

Hours after Amit Shah’s public meeting Election Commission announces poll dates for Diu municipal council
The gramophone company
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago

Francis Barraud, a native of Liverpool and a painter, had a brother named Mark. Mark died. Francis inherited a cylinder phonograph player, recordings of Mark’s voice and Mark’s fox terrier named Nipper. When Francis played the records, the dog would run over to the phonograph and listen intently with a confused look about where the voice came from. Francis painted the scene and called it “His Master’s Voice”. The Gramophone Company bought the painting in 1899 for £100. The logo became so popular that, eight years later, the company changed its name to HMV. Nipper was immortalised with his own blue plaque in London in 2014.Not FringeLast week, when I read that two spokespersons of the BJP had been subjected to disciplinary action (Ms Nupur Sharma was suspended and Mr Naveen Kumar was expelled from the party), I remembered the story of Nipper. Without meaning any disrespect, let me refer to the duo hereafter as Nupur and Naveen. On June 5, Nupur received a letter that began with the words, “You have expressed views contrary to the party’s position on various matters”. It left me wondering what is the BJP’s position on matters concerning Muslims and Christians who are citizens of India?Nupur and Naveen are loyal foot soldiers of the BJP and they listen to their leaders intently. Like many of you, Nupur and Naveen observe, read and listen. For example, in the 2012 election campaign in Gujarat, they heard Mr Narendra Modi say, “If we raise the self-respect and morale of 50 million Gujaratis, the schemes of Alis, Malis and Jamalis will not be able to do us any harm.” They would have wondered who were the Alis, Malis and Jamalis, who are the “us” and why would the Alis, Malis and Jamalis draw up schemes that would harm “us”?Memorable WordsIn the 2017 elections to the UP state legislature, the Prime Minister summed up his view of sabka saath, sabka viswas in a memorable speech: “If you create a kabristan (burial ground) in a village, then a shamsan (cremation ground) should be created. There should be no discrimination.” The words must have left a deep impression on Nupur and Naveen.🚨 Limited Time Offer | Express Premium with ad-lite for just Rs 2/ day 👉🏽 Click here to subscribe 🚨They heard the words of Mr Amit Shah on 11 April 2019. He said: “We will ensure implementation of NRC in the entire country. We will remove every single infiltrator from the country, except the Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs… The BJP’s pledge is to get rid of the infiltrators… The illegal immigrants are like termites. They are eating the grain that should go to the poor, they are taking our jobs.” Nupur and Nareen must have been convinced that these were the right words uttered by the right person in the right place.On 15 December 2019, at an election rally in Jharkhand, the Prime Minister said that the people “creating trouble” were “identifiable by their clothes”. Nupur and Naveen probably listened to that speech; and may have resolved to identify people by their clothes.During the campaign in the elections to the UP legislative assembly, Mr Adityanath, the Chief Minister, repeatedly said, “The contest has moved much ahead. The fight is now 80 versus 20.” Nupur and Naveen must have heard these words and it must have been burnt into their consciousness that the “20 per cent” was the enemy.No one is in doubt about the BJP’s position on Muslims that can be traced to M S Golwalkar (‘Guruji’ in the RSS). Muslims are not wanted in India or in India’s Parliament and legislatures. Of the 375 BJP MPs in both Houses of Parliament, there will not be a single Muslim MP by the end of this month. The BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate in the elections to the 403-member UP assembly or the 182-member Gujarat assembly. In 11 states with a BJP chief minister, there is one Muslim minister. There has not been a Muslim as election commissioner in the ECI since Mr S Y Quaraishi retired in June 2012. The list is long.In my view, Ms Nupur Sharma and Mr Naveen Kumar faithfully reflected the positions of the BJP on various matters. They listened to the Master’s voice and spoke in their own way. The BJP is modern India’s The Gramophone Company.Deaf Ear won’t work The Opposition, including the Congress, had repeatedly warned the BJP and the government of the consequences of its anti-minority policies and phobia. They had warned the government on the anti-Romeo squads, the love jihad campaign, CAA, NRC, the abrogation of Article 370, the anti-conversion Bills in state legislatures, the raking up of non-issues like hijab, halal and aazaan, the Uniform Civil Code and many other issues that are clearly Islamophobic. The government turned a deaf ear. Now, when UAE and 15 other countries condemned the utterances of the BJP’s spokespersons, the government is scrambling its defences. The heavy artillery of the Foreign Minister has been withdrawn and the deft draftsmanship of the Foreign Secretary brought into play.The sad truth is that the Prime Minister has not uttered a word of condemnation. He thinks that he can ride this storm too. And life will go on. Truth is, political life will not go on in India to the exclusion of 202 million Muslims. This time, it is not the Opposition, but the world that has forewarned Mr Modi.

The gramophone company
RS poll battle taken to its office, EC allows counting in 2 states after midnight
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago

The battleground for 16 Rajya Sabha seats across four states — Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana and Karnataka — shifted to the Election Commission of India’s (EC) headquarters in New Delhi late Friday night, with delegations of all parties arriving at EC office and delaying the counting in the nail-biting elections in Haryana and Maharashtra.What followed were marathon meetings for Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioners present at Nirvachan Sadan with representatives of all parties from 5.30 pm till late Friday night, going through returning officers’ orders, and viewing the video footage of allegations made by the parties.Finally, in an order around 1 am Saturday, the EC moved to allow counting of votes to commence in Haryana and in Maharashtra after directing the returning officer (RO) to reject the vote cast by Shiv Sena MLA Suhas Kande. The EC also allowed counting to begin in Haryana.An EC official said, requesting anonymity: “The BJP delegation arrived first, around 5.30 pm, to submit complaints on Haryana and Maharashtra. The Congress team arrived around 6.30 pm to counter the BJP, as also submit their complaint. Around 9 pm, another delegation arrived with a complaint against an Independent MLA [in Maharashtra] for openly displaying Hanuman Chalisa…till around 10 pm these complaints were scrutinised and counter-versions were heard.”“We have to hear what the RO has to say; the Commission cannot intervene until the RO passes an order and then examine it,” the official said. “Once he passes an order, and we felt there were contesting claims, we go through video footage. We received about a dozen complaints and eventually, after examining all footage, we found only one issue. After that the order was passed after midnight.”The high-intensity political drama began when a BJP delegation comprising Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Jitendra Singh and Arjun Ram Meghwal, among others, arrived at EC office at 5.30 pm and alleged that the RO improperly rejected representation of BJP’s authorised representatives in Maharashtra. They alleged that three MLAs — Yashomati Thakur, Jitendra Avhad and Suhas Kande — had compromised voting procedures.They cited EC’s decision in then Congress MP Ahmed Patel’s case in 2017 — the poll panel had set down conditions wherein any vote cast in violation of election rules would be cancelled, whether at the time of voting or counting. In the high-stakes Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat in 2017, the EC had, in a boost to Congress candidate Patel, disqualified two votes by Congress MLAs that were in favour of BJP.The BJP team was followed by a delegation with a complaint jointly signed by NCP’s Jayant Patil, Congress’s Balasaheb Thorat and Sena’s Anil Desai against a BJP MLA for allegedly violating procedures by openly displaying his ballot paper to persons other than his own party’s election agents. They also alleged that an Independent MLA, Ravi Rana, compromised procedure by openly displaying Hanuman Chalisa, a religious book and sought to influence other voters and violated the secrecy of the ballot.They, too, cited EC’s Ahmed Patel order.Nirvachan Sadan soon saw another delegation around 9 pm, led by Congress’s Nana Patole against BJP MLA Sudhir Mugantiwar for allegedly displaying his ballot paper to persons other than BJP polling agents.Sources said EC found no evidence against BJP’s complaints regarding voting in Haryana and Maharashtra.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxIn its order, EC noted that the video recording in the matter of Sena MLA Kande — that he had allegedly shown the marked ballot paper to his authorised representative as well as authorised representative of another party, “NCP” — is consistent with three facts mentioned by the RO in his report: “that the voter, instead of taking the ballot paper in the folded form, took it without folding; (b) that Kande showed the ballot paper to the authorised representative of his party from outside the cubicle of authorised representative; he was then asked to go inside the cubicle.”“Despite being asked by polling staff to go inside the cubicle, he lingered with unfolded ballot paper,” the EC said in its order.“In fact, the footage showed that symbols on his [Kande’s] ballot paper could be seen by others too…this was the only complaint we found to be true among all the others,” the official quoted above said.The Commission invoked Article 324 of the Constitution and other powers to reject the vote cast by Kande.EDOT: Why Sena MLA’s vote was rejectedRules state that an elector in Rajya Sabha polls has to show his/her ballot paper “only to the authorised representative of his party, and to no one else”. And Independent MLAs are “not to show” their ballot paper “to anyone at all”, as EC noted in its order while rejecting the vote cast by Sena legislator Suhas Kande.

RS poll battle taken to its office, EC allows counting in 2 states after midnight
Explained: When can a Rajya Sabha vote be rejected?
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago

Elections for 57 Rajya Sabha seats across 15 states are being held on Friday. With as many as 41 candidates having already been declared elected unopposed, the contest is on for 16 seats in four states — Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana and Karnataka.Members of the Rajya Sabha are elected through single transferable votes via an open ballot. Members of a state’s Legislative Assembly vote in the Rajya Sabha elections in what is called proportional representation with the single transferable vote (STV) system. Each MLA’s vote is counted only once.There have been multiple instances in the past where the votes of MPs and MLAs have been rejected due to violation of rules.In 2017, with the high-stakes Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat touching a nerve-racking finishing, the counting was delayed in three seats after the Congress asked the Election Commission (EC) to reject the votes of two of its rebels, who allegedly showed their ballot papers to unauthorised persons in the polling booth in Gandhinagar.Later, in a boost to the Congress party and its candidate Ahmed Patel, the EC disqualified two votes by Congress MLAs that were in favour of the BJP. The commission’s order was made after the Congress petitioned it saying the two MLAs showed their votes to a BJP agent and therefore, stood invalid. The two MLAs were Bhola Bhai Gohil and Raghav Bhai Patel.The commission had invoked its constitutional powers to overrule the returning officer, who had declared the votes valid, and by doing so maintained the panel’s neutrality.The commission turned to Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives the panel unprecedented powers to hold free-and-fair polls in situations not covered by the Representation of People’s Act, the law governing the election process in India.Open ballot voting applies in elections to Council of States only. Every political party which has MLAs can appoint an authorised agent to verify whom its members have voted for.In 2016, Randeep Surjewala’s vote was rejected after he showed it to another MLA instead of his party’s authorised agent. Surjewala was an MLA in the 2016 Rajya Sabha elections in Haryana.No. The spirit behind Rule 39AA of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 is that MLAs belonging to a political party shall show their ballot papers (after marking their vote) to the authorised agent of that party only and not to the authorised agent of other parties. As such, the same person cannot be appointed as the authorised agent of more than one party.Can an MLA or minister be appointed as an authorized agent?There is no such restriction imposed by the EC in elections to the Council of States and State Legislative Council by MLAs.Can an Independent MLA show his marked ballot paper to the authorised agent of any party?No, Independent MLAs are required to insert the marked ballot paper in the ballot box without showing the marked ballot to any agent.What action is taken by the Presiding Officer/Returning Officer in case an elector belonging to a political party refuses to show his/her marked ballot paper to the authorised agent?In such a case, the ballot paper issued to the elector will be taken back by the Presiding Officer, or a polling officer under the direction of the Presiding Officer, and the ballot paper will be kept in a separate envelope after recording on the reverse side of the ballot paper “Cancelled-voting procedure violates”. A provision in sub-rules (6) to (8) of rule 39A of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, shall apply in such cases.According to the EC, if the elector drops the ballot paper in the box without showing it to the authorised agent, then at the time of counting, the RO should first separate this concerned ballot paper and it shall not be counted.Yes, in the ballot paper, a MLA has to mark his or her choice of candidates by ranking them and they also have to use a special pen provided by the EC. If they use any other pen, or if their ballot papers remain incomplete, the vote would be regarded as invalid.In 2016, the EC directed the Haryana Police to register an FIR on the complaint of senior lawyer R K Anand against the Returning Officer for allowing the use of an unauthorised pen for voting in the Rajya Sabha election. The Congress party had alleged this was a deliberate fraud to make the party’s votes invalid.

Explained: When can a Rajya Sabha vote be rejected?
Pankaja ‘ignored’ but father’s protege Uma Khapre gets a pleasant surprise
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago

WHILE BJP national secretary Pankaja Munde, who was widely expected to make it to State Legislative Council, remained out of bounds for the media on Wednesday after her name did not figure in the list declared by the party, her father Gopinath Munde’s protege had reasons to raise a toast. Uma Khapre, 56, known for her proximity to the former Union Minister, has been picked by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) central leadership for the council seat.On Wednesday, the BJP announced five names for the council, election for which will be held on June 20.“It came as a big surprise. I had not applied for the council seat neither was I eyeing it. I first got a call from a party leader at 6 in the morning that I might be picked for the council seat. At 8 am, our party chief confirmed that I have been picked,” Khapre, who is the women’s president for the state BJP, told The Indian Express.Reacting to Pankaja Munde being denied the council seat, BJP state president Chandrakant Patil said, “The decision for Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, assembly and council seats are taken by the central leadership of the party…we, as disciplined soldiers, have to accept it. Pankaja is a national secretary and the party might be planning something else for her in the future.”Describing Gopinath Munde as her “guru,” Khapre said, “I was an integral part of Munde saheb’s team till his death. He trusted me a lot and gave me at least six-seven posts of BJP units in Pimpri-Chinchwad and at state levels when he headed the party in Maharashtra.”When Munde died days after he was sworn in as a minister in the PM Narendra Modi-led central government in 2014, Khapre was among the first leaders from Pimpri-Chinchwad to reach Beed district, the home town of Munde. “I was completely shattered. I thought my political career would end,” she said.Khapre said that when she contested her first civic election over two decades back, Gopinath Munde had turned up in person to campaign for her. “He came all the way to campaign for an ordinary party worker. It boosted my morale,” she said.Khapre said when Munde undertook a state-wide tour against the “wrongdoings” of the then Congress-NCP government in the state, she had observed him from close quarters. “The way Munde saheb raised several acts of omissions and commissions of the then state government was truly inspiring. I learnt a lot from him. He was a leader who led from the front,” he said.Khapre, an OBC leader, said she has no clue why she was picked for the council. “May be the party observed my hard work and rewarded me. I have campaigned for the party in the recent Uttar Pradesh polls and in the past I campaigned in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Jharkhand polls…I have been a loyal party soldier all my life,” she said.BJP leader Sarang Kamtekar said, “Uma Khapre has been an OBC face of the party. Her nomination seems to be a part of our party’s strategy to honour women’s wing leader with legislative post.”Besides Khapre, BJP has picked Pravin Darekar, the Opposition leader in the State Legislative Council, Shrikant Bharatiya, Ram Shinde and Prasad Lad.

Pankaja ‘ignored’ but father’s protege Uma Khapre gets a pleasant surprise
Newsmaker | Billionaire industrialist Kewal Singh Dhillon bets on BJP for second shot at Lok Sabha
The Indian Express | 4 weeks ago
The Indian Express
4 weeks ago

Expelled by the Congress for alleged anti-party activities earlier this year, former Barnala MLA Kewal Singh Dhillon joined the BJP on June 4 and the following day he was announced as the Opposition party’s candidate for the candidate for Sangrur Lok Sabha bypoll. The by-election became necessary after the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Bhagwant Mann was elected from Dhuri in the state polls and became the chief minister.This is not Dhillon’s first shot at getting into Parliament from Sangrur. The 72-year-old leader, who was born in the village of Tallewal in Barnala, lost to Mann in the 2019 general elections by a margin But even though he lost by about 1.1 lakh votes, he put in a strong performance by polling around 3.03 lakh votes.Dhillon, who was considered to be a confidant of former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, is a renowned industrialist with business interests in real estate, beverages, and entertainment, and is worth Rs 132.88 crore according to the affidavits he submitted to the Election Commission. He contested the Assembly elections thrice for the Congress, winning in 2007 and 2012. Both times, the Congress was in the Opposition. He lost to the AAP’s Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer by 2,432 votes in 2017 and his hold in the party ensured his candidature against Mann two years later in the parliamentary polls.But soon all that changed for the veteran Congressman as he found himself out in the cold. According to party insiders, he was expecting a ticket in this year’s Assembly elections but, to his surprise, the party chose former Union Minister Pawan Bansal’s son Manish Bansal. Though the Bansals are from the Tapa area in Barnala’s Bhadaur constituency, they have been in Chandigarh since 2009, when Pawan was elected to Parliament from the Capital.Initially, Dhillon announced he would contest the polls as an Independent. But later he dropped the idea and did not help Bansal in his campaign. Three days before the February 20 elections, the veteran leader was expelled from the party. At the time, the party’s Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari expressed shock at the party’s decision, saying, “When no one was prepared to invest a penny in Punjab during days of terror, he brought @PepsiCo to Punjab in 1980s. He was a Congressman when it was an invitation to assassination.”Accompanied by Sunil Kumar Jakhar, another former state Congress chief who joined the BJP last month, state BJP president Ashwani Sharma, and Union Minister Som Parkash, Dhillon filed his nomination papers on Monday. “Only the BJP can save Punjab,” he told the media. “And that can be done by Modi saab, Amit Shah ji. They can improve the financial condition of the state and even can make farming a profitable venture.”In his first address to BJP workers in Sangrur, Dhillon said, “This is your own election and you all have to fight it. I joined the BJP after a great deliberation with the senior leaders of the BJP. As of now, the whole of Punjab is under threat. Law and order have gone for a toss and it is really difficult to come out of the house.”Attacking the AAP and his former party, he said, “Badalaav (change) is over within three months of this AAP government. The kind of insecurity in Punjabi youth can be seen by visiting the Canadian embassy as nearly 20 lakh applications of Punjabis are lying pending there. Punjabis are the most hardworking people while the Congress used to call them drug addicts.”Dhillon added, “I am really thankful to our PM for repealing farm laws but till the time farming does not become a profitable venture in the state, we cannot survive. And I know that only the BJP can do this … Modi ji changed Gujarat’s skyline when he was the chief minister of that state. UP, where law and order were issues, is now the most peaceful state and huge investment is taking place. Punjab is in dire need of support from the Centre. I have been told by BJP leaders that nearly Rs 25,000 crore of investments have been planned for Punjab which will also generate employment avenues. I am sure that the Centre will lend a helping hand to Punjab and this tag of poor law-and-order situation will be removed. If anyone can make this state prosperous, it is Modi saab and Amit Shah. I had a discussion with Amit Shah ji and he has his vision clear for 2024 polls as well. The state will develop if the BJP is given a chance.”

Newsmaker | Billionaire industrialist Kewal Singh Dhillon bets on BJP for second shot at Lok Sabha
How Boris Johnson became politically vulnerable
The Indian Express | 4 weeks ago
The Indian Express
4 weeks ago

Written by Mark LandlerWhen Boris Johnson won a landslide election victory for his Conservative Party in 2019, he loomed as a colossus over British politics, the man who had redrawn the country’s political map with a vow to “get Brexit done.”With an 80-seat majority in Parliament, the greatest amassed by a Conservative leader since Margaret Thatcher in 1987, Johnson seemed assured of five years in power. Some analysts predicted a comfortable decade in No. 10 Downing St. for Johnson, the most reliable vote-getter in British politics.Now, just 2-1/2 years after that triumph, Johnson’s political invincibility has been shattered. Rebels in his party fell short of ousting him in a dramatic no-confidence vote on Monday. But with 148 of 359 Tory lawmakers voting against him, he has been damaged, perhaps irretrievably, as an effective, credible leader. Although he remains prime minister, he may be living on borrowed time.It is one of the most head-spinning reversals of fortune in modern British political history. What happened?To some extent, Johnson’s standing crumbled because of the same confounding mix of strengths and foibles that propelled his rise: rare political intuition offset by breathtaking personal recklessness; a sense of history not matched by a corresponding sense of how he should conduct himself as a leader; uncanny people skills vitiated by a transactional style that earned him few allies and left him isolated at dangerous moments.It is that last quality, analysts say, that made Johnson so vulnerable to the setbacks he has suffered. With no underlying ideology beyond Brexit and no network of political friends, the prime minister lost the support of lawmakers in his party when it became clear they could not count on him to win the next election.“Johnson’s such an accomplished escape artist, and his colleagues so craven and cowardly that you can’t rule out him living to fight another day,” said Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London. “But for what precisely? ‘There’s no there there,’ as the saying goes.”Johnson, after all, is the politician who decided to back Brexit after writing two columns — one making the case for leaving the European Union; the other arguing against it — the night before announcing his position. He won in 2019 by promising to “Get Brexit done,” but having accomplished that goal within months of the election, he often seemed like a prime minister without a plan.Events, as another British prime minister, Harold Macmillan, once put it, have also played a role. Like other world leaders, Johnson was thrown off course by the coronavirus pandemic, his government upended by a rolling health crisis, in which he played a highly visible but not always reassuring role.Johnson reacted late to the looming threat of the virus, imposing a lockdown on the country a week after neighbouring European countries. That delay, critics argued, made the first wave of the pandemic worse in Britain than elsewhere. In April 2020, with the virus circulating in Downing Street, Johnson himself contracted Covid-19, ended up in an intensive care unit and nearly died.But Johnson also pushed for Britain to be a pioneer in developing a vaccine. When Oxford University and AstraZeneca produced one, he rolled it out faster than almost any other major country. He also made a fateful decision — one later copied by other leaders — to reopen society after a significant percentage of the population had been vaccinated. Britons, he said, must learn to live with Covid.It was during the darkest days of the pandemic that the seeds of Johnson’s current troubles were sown. While the rest of the country was enduring stifling lockdowns, the prime minister and his top aides were taking part in social gatherings at Downing Street that violated their own lockdown restrictions.The first reports of illicit parties emerged late last November, prompting Johnson to issue a blanket denial that any laws had been broken. A subsequent police investigation found that was not true: Johnson himself was fined for attending his own birthday party in violation of the rules.Allies of Johnson argue that “Partygate,” as the London tabloids nicknamed it, is a trivial distraction at a time when Europe is confronting its first major land war since World War II. The prime minister swiftly staked out a position as Ukraine’s staunchest defender, shipping powerful weapons to its army and placing regular phone calls to his new friend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.At first, the war eclipsed the scandal, giving Johnson the chance to wrap himself in a statesman’s mantle. But as the fighting ground on, disenchantment resurfaced at home. London’s Metropolitan Police levied fines, and an internal investigation by a senior civil servant painted a lurid portrait of partying in the heart of government.The taint of moral hypocrisy corroded the prime minister’s popularity with the public. On Friday, when he and his wife Carrie Johnson climbed the steps to St. Paul’s Cathedral for a thanksgiving service in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne, he was roundly booed by the crowd. It was an omen.Beyond that, the economic winds began blowing against Johnson. The supply-chain disruptions from the pandemic — combined with price shocks on food and fuel after Russia’s invasion — drove inflation into double digits and raised the specter of “stagflation.”The last time Britain faced that, its Labour government went down to a crushing defeat against Thatcher’s Conservatives. The prospect of history repeating itself helps explain why lawmakers are turning against Johnson.The 2019 Conservative victory was fuelled by winning seats in longtime Labour districts in the country’s Midlands and industrial north, known colloquially as the “red wall.” But as Johnson himself acknowledged after the victory, the Tories had rented these seats, not won them in perpetuity.Instead of appealing to those new Tory voters with innovative policies, Johnson lurched from scandal to scandal. In addition to Partygate, the prime minister became embroiled in an uproar over the expensive refurbishment of his apartment in Downing Street, which was funded by a Conservative donor.He defended a Conservative lawmaker who was accused of lobbying improperly while in office and then had to back down, a humiliating setback that presaged some of the troubles to come within his own party. He got caught up in a vicious and damaging public feud with his former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings.By themselves, these issues might not have been enough to trip up a politician known for his Houdini-like escapes. But against an economic backdrop that the head of the Bank of England described as “apocalyptic,” they contributed to fears in the party that the Conservatives face a ferocious voter backlash.“All we can say with any level of certainty is that ordinary Brits are going to find it tough going economically for the rest of this year — and probably well into the next,” Bale said. “And that spells trouble for the Tories, Johnson or no Johnson.”

How Boris Johnson became politically vulnerable
Enrol panna pramukhs as party members: Paatil to Rajkot BJP
The Indian Express | 4 weeks ago
The Indian Express
4 weeks ago

CR PAATIL, president of the Gujarat state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Sunday directed the party’s Rajkot city unit to launch a drive to enrol around 1.15 lakh persons, who have become ‘panna pramukh’, as the party’s primary member and invigorate the party ahead of the Assembly election in the state.A panna pramukh is in-charge of a page of a voters’ list and the first point of contact in the party’s election machinery.“Paatil directed the Rajkot city unit to launch a drive to try and persuade the party’s well-wishers, who have become panna pramukhs, to now get themselves registered as BJP’s primary members. The drive will be launched on June 16 and will go on for around a month,” a party insider who was present at the meeting told The Indian Express.During his day-long visit to Rajkot, Paatil presided over a meeting of the MPs and MLAs from Rajkot city, office-bearers’ of the party’s Rajkot city unit, members of the party’s executives and invitees, office-bearers of the party’s units for election wards in the city, heads of various cells of the party and corporators of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC). Around 250 people attended the meeting.Kamlesh Mirani, president of BJP’s Rajkot city unit couldn’t be reached for comment. However, party sources said that the city unit has made 1.43 lakh panna pramukhs.“Out of them, around 1.15 lakh are not registered primary members of the BJP but are well-wishers of the party and were given the responsibility of panna pramukh. Now, the party wants them to become party members formally,” the party insider further said. “From June 16, we will request these panna pramukhs to dial 7878182182. In response, they will get a link on their WhatsApp account for filling up their details to register themselves as BJP’s workers,” the party insider added.🚨 Limited Time Offer | Express Premium with ad-lite for just Rs 2/ day 👉🏽 Click here to subscribe 🚨Typically, one page of electoral rolls in Gujarat contains details of around 20 voters.  BJP has plans to task these panna pramukhs to persuade maximum voters on his or her page for the party.“Panna pramukhs will feel they are important and the local leaders will feel good for the fact that new people are joining the party,” said an elected leader of BJP who has the task of persuading around 3,000 panna pramukhs out of around 7,500 to become primary members of the party.Reviews construction of party officeEarlier in the day, Paatil visited the under-construction office called Kamalam of the BJP  on 150-feet Ring Road in the city. “When Amit Shah was the national president (of BJP), he launched a drive to have a BJP office in all districts of the country. During his tenure, around 700 offices were completed. As part of the same drive, offices are being constructed in various districts of Gujarat,” Paatil said.

Enrol panna pramukhs as party members: Paatil to Rajkot BJP
Prashant Kishor Forecast: Congress' "Impending Rout" In Gujarat, Himachal
Ndtv | 1 month ago
Ndtv
1 month ago

Prashant Kishor predicted "impending electoral rout" for the Congress in Gujarat, Himachal(FILE)New Delhi: Prashant Kishor today posted a savage review for the Congress, the party he almost joined weeks ago, calling its recent “Chintan Shivir” or brainstorming session on a revival plan a “failure”. In doing so, the election strategist predicted an “impending electoral rout” for the Congress in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections later this year."I've been repeatedly asked to comment on the outcome of #UdaipurChintanShivir. In my view, it failed to achieve anything meaningful other than prolonging the status-quo and giving some time to the #Congress leadership, at least till the impending electoral rout in Gujarat and HP!" - Prashant Kishor wrote in his post.I've been repeatedly asked to comment on the outcome of #UdaipurChintanShivirIn my view, it failed to achieve anything meaningful other than prolonging the status-quo and giving some time to the #Congress leadership, at least till the impending electoral rout in Gujarat and HP!— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) May 20, 2022The Congress, promising hard decisions after a series of election debacles since 2014, approved some reforms during the three-day strategy meet in Rajasthan's Udaipur but steered clear of any dramatic decisions or larger questions like a leadership overhaul.Weeks before the meet, the Congress's talks with Prashant Kishor for a collaboration crashed for the second time in a year.During those talks, a panel of Congress leaders had discussed Prashant Kishor's presentation on a rescue plan for the Congress ahead of elections in important states and the 2024 national polls.But the strategist pulled away when he was reportedly asked to work for the Congress as part of an "Empowered Action Group"; such a group, he said, did not have any authority under the party's constitution and so, would end up adding another layer to the Congress's internal fissures.Prashant Kishor's Congress 2.0 plan, which he had presented to the Gandhis last year, recommended Sonia Gandhi as party president, with a "Non-Gandhi" Working President or Vice President, and Rahul Gandhi as Parliamentary Board chief.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe proposal for a parliamentary board, a key demand of a rebel group within the Congress, was shot down in the Udaipur session. Instead, the party decided to have a political affairs committee in every state and the Centre.The Congress also brought back a "One Family One Ticket" rule. But the rule leaves a loophole for those who have been in active politics for five years, which helps the Gandhi family among others.

Prashant Kishor Forecast: Congress' "Impending Rout" In Gujarat, Himachal
2-Day Gujarat BJP Strategy Session Begins, Amit Shah Attends
Ndtv | 1 month ago
Ndtv
1 month ago

The executive body of the state BJP will meet again once the poll process beginsAhmedabad: The Gujarat BJP's two-day 'chintan shivir' began on Sunday at a golf resort on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, where party leaders discussed strategies for the state Assembly election likely to be held in December.Union Home Minister Amit Shah and senior national and state-level leaders, including Gujarat in charge and Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav, joint in charge Sudhir Gupta, state party chief CR Paatil and Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel remained present at the meeting.The party has been in power in the state for the past 27 years and it will have to contend with traditional opponent Congress and new entrant AAP as it seeks to extend the winning streak by another five years.Party officials said the achievements of the government under Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel were discussed at the meeting, and presentations were made on various issues."The meeting will discuss plans on how to win 182 seats in the upcoming election. Plans are prepared, opinions of the leaders are taken and decisions are made. The executive body of the state BJP will meet again once the poll process begins. It will pass resolutions based on the decisions," state BJP spokesperson Yagnesh Dave said.The 'shivir' is being organised a few days after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched his party's election campaign from Dahod with the aim of cornering the state's 40 tribal-dominated Assembly seats.The BJP also has to deal with the Aam Aadmi Party, which has claimed that it can give better governance to the people of the state.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe AAP had held road shows attended by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann recently and has been attacking the BJP and the Congress stridently over various issues plaguing the state.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

2-Day Gujarat BJP Strategy Session Begins, Amit Shah Attends
Hardik Patel Drops Gujarat Congress Post From Twitter Bio
Ndtv | 2 months ago
Ndtv
2 months ago

Hardik Patel has insisted he was not in talks with the BJPNew Delhi: Hardik Patel, the working president of the Congress in Gujarat, has dropped the party name from his Twitter bio, appearing to hint at his exit just months before elections in the state."Working President of the Gujarat Congress" is now missing from Hardik Patel's bio, which says: "Proud Indian Patriot. Social and Political Activist. Committed to a better India." The Congress's "hand" symbol has also been removed.Over the past few years, Congress leaders who have exited the party have usually dropped the first hint by changing their Twitter bio.The 28-year-old Patidar leader has been complaining of being "ignored" by the Congress and its top leaders in Gujarat. He even compared it to the feeling of a "groom forced into nasbandi (vasectomy)".He has so far denied, however, that he is on his way out of the party he joined in 2019.Last month, Hardik Patel worried his party bosses even more when he went a step further and praised the BJP, saying, "some things are good about the BJP and we must acknowledge that.""The recent decisions that BJP has taken politically, we have to accept that they have the strength to take such steps. I believe that without even taking their side or praising them, we can at least acknowledge the truth. If the Congress wants to become strong in Gujarat, then we have to improve our decision-making skills and decision-making power," Hardik Patel told NDTV on April 22.He insisted he was not in talks with the BJP. "No, there are no talks. I am not thinking of the BJP and I am not talking to the BJP. The discussion is about the people of Gujarat and in the interest of the people and I have to do something good for them," he said.Some reports suggest he has been in talks with Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is pitching itself as the better opposition in Gujarat compared to the Congress.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"I am not tilting to any side. When there is a lack of will power then there are many options before you. I don't have shortage of will power and I will work for the benefit of the state. And if I have to take any decision in this regard, I will take it," he said.Hardik Patel led an agitation of the powerful "Patidar" community for quota in Gujarat in 2015 and joined the Congress just before the 2019 national election. The party scored in the 2017 Gujarat election, putting up a strong challenge to the ruling BJP, but the Patidar community did not support the party in the 2019 election or local body polls.

Hardik Patel Drops Gujarat Congress Post From Twitter Bio
"Some Things Good About BJP...": From Hardik Patel, Worrying Message For Congress
Ndtv | 2 months ago
Ndtv
2 months ago

Hardik Patel has now accused his party leadership in the Congress of sidelining himNew Delhi: Congress leader Hardik Patel, who has been complaining about being ignored by his party of three years, is transmitting worrying signals to his bosses by praising the BJP just months before the Gujarat election.The prominent Patidar leader has once again hit out at his party and the state Congress leadership. But while he has denied reports that he is talks with the BJP, he does concede that "some things that are good about the BJP and we must acknowledge that."The comments betray the fiery leader's ambivalence towards the BJP, which the Congress may find ominous in an election year."The recent decisions that BJP has taken politically, we have to accept that they have the strength to take such steps. I believe that without even taking their side or praising them, we can at least acknowledge the truth. If the Congress wants to become strong in Gujarat, then we have to improve our decision-making skills and decision-making power," Hardik Patel told NDTV.But he insisted he was not on the verge of quitting the Congress after a bitter outburst in which he said he felt like a "groom forced into nasbandi (vasectomy)".Hardik Patel, who led an agitation of the powerful "Patidar" community for quota in Gujarat in 2015, joined the Congress just before the 2019 national election. His popularity was seen to have waned since his political debut. Although the party made gains in the 2017 Gujarat election, the Patidar community did not support the party in the 2019 election or local body polls.Hardik Patel has now accused his party leadership of sidelining him, even trying to drive him out. Reports say he is upset about the Congress's plan to rope in prominent Patidar leader Naresh Patel."Why should I sever ties? There is no such discussion. We speak the truth. In our families also when we speak to our parents, we tell the truth. I am only speaking the truth so that the people accept the party," he said, when asked whether he wanted to quit the Congress."I am not tilting to any side. When there is a lack of will power then there are many options before you. I don't have shortage of will power and I will work for the benefit of the state. And if I have to take any decision in this regard, I will take it."But he insisted he was not in talks with the BJP. "No, there are no talks. I am not thinking of the BJP and I am not talking to the BJP. The discussion is about the people of Gujarat and in the interest of the people and I have to do something good for them," he emphasised.Dismissing talk of his joining the rival party as "rumours", he said: "These kinds of rumours are always attributed to sources. If there is a political situation that leads to this, then I will inform you guys first."Hardik Patel said he had conveyed his concerns to the "high command" and he had been told that decisions would be taken soon."I have no personal anger against anyone but I am angry with the state leadership. The state leadership has a responsibility in the interest of the state and in that I see conflict and a storm. Some things can be resolved quickly but it is not done. When someone speaks the truth in the party he is viewed differently as if he is about to go," Mr Patel said.Some of the Congress leaders in Gujarat have complained about Mr Patel's open party-bashing.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"The state leadership is not letting me work. They are stopping me from working. It is normal that I will talk about it," he said.Asked whether he still considered himself a "Hinduwadi" leader as he had once said, Mr Patel replied: "I come from the clan of Raghuvanshi. We revere Lav-Kush. We are devotees of Lord Ram. We are devotees of Lord Shiva. We revere our ancestral gods. We are Hindus. According to Hindu traditions, to protect Hinduism, we are putting in efforts. On the death anniversary of my father, I will distribute 4,000 copies of the Bhagavat Gita. Our connection to Hinduism is not new, this is what we are doing for years, and I am proud of it."

"Some Things Good About BJP...": From Hardik Patel, Worrying Message For Congress
"AAP Good Alternative To Congress": Ex Richest MLA After Gujarat Switch
Ndtv | 2 months ago
Ndtv
2 months ago

Indranil Rajguru is seen to enjoy immense clout in Gujarat's Rajkot and Saurashtra region.Delhi: In a blow to the Congress in Gujarat just months before an election, the party's richest MLA, Indranil Rajguru, has crossed over to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The Congress had appointed him Vice President just a month ago.Former MLA Indranil Rajguru's exit comes at a time the Congress is at the receiving end of bitter accusations from its working president in Gujarat, Hardik Patel.AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, announcing the new members, tweeted: "We all must together fulfil the aspirations of the people of Gujarat."AAP leaders have also reached out to Hardik Patel, urging him to make the switch to a "better alternative".Speaking to NDTV, Indranil Rajguru said people were fed up of the BJP and did not want the Congress. "AAP is the better alternative than the Congress, to take on the BJP," Mr Rajguru stressed."In Gujarat, they (voters) don't want BJP. But they are not satisfied with the Congress either. I have faith in AAP, so I joined AAP."Mr Rajguru is seen to enjoy immense clout in Gujarat's Rajkot and Saurashtra region.On ditching the Congress soon after a prestige post, Mr Rajguru said: "The people of Gujarat want a new party - a party that will really work for people instead of inflighting. AAP will be a good alternative to Congress and BJP."He added: "When people are fed up with the BJP and the Congress is not able to make up the gap, they have to think what they must do."Mr Rajguru, a former MLA, praised Arvind Kejriwal saying he fought for the people, not party."This attitude impressed me a lot. I was in the Congress from the beginning because I wanted to serve the people. The BJP has acquired power by fooling people, while the Congress has lost its ability to become an alternative. My only problem with the Congress is that it lacks the will to defeat the BJP," he said.Mr Rajguru won as a Congress MLA from Rajkot-East seat in 2012. In the 2017 Gujarat election, he decided to quit his safe seat to contest against then Chief Minister Vijay Rupani from Rajkot-West. But he lost.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comIn 2018, he quit the Congress claiming he was unhappy with the functioning of the organisation and that those working against the party were being rewarded.Mr Rajguru returned to the Congress in 2019 and also campaigned for party candidates in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

"AAP Good Alternative To Congress": Ex Richest MLA After Gujarat Switch
Hardik Patel Trashes Congress Exit "Rumour" Sparked By "Nasbandi" Jab
Ndtv | 2 months ago
Ndtv
2 months ago

Hardik Patel has alleged that Gujarat Congress leaders are harassing himGandhinagar: Hardik Patel, the Congress's disgruntled Working President in Gujarat, denied that he was on the verge of leaving the party after a bitter, public outburst in which he said he felt like a "groom forced into nasbandi (vasectomy)"."There is a rumour that I am leaving Congress, I do not know who is spreading it," Hardik Patel was quoted as saying by news agency ANI."I have given my 100 per cent to Congress till now and will give the same in the coming days. We will do better development in Gujarat. There will be small fights and blame games within the party, but we have to work together to make Gujarat a better place," he said.The firebrand leader added, "If speaking truth is a crime, consider me guilty. The people of Gujarat have expectations from us, we have to stand up to them."Hardik Patel also said he had complained to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi several times about the harassment but no action has been taken.Hardik Patel, who led an agitation of the powerful "Patidar" community for quota in Gujarat in 2015, joined the Congress just before the 2019 national election. His popularity was seen to have waned since his political plunge, more so as he had earlier shunned politics. Although the party made gains in the 2017 Gujarat election, the Patidar community did not support the party in the 2019 election or local body polls.As the Congress preps for a head-to-head battle with the ruling BJP in Gujarat, Hardik Patel has accused his party leadership of ignoring and sidelining him. Yesterday, he also alleged that Gujarat Congress leaders were "harassing" him and wanted him to quit the party."I am being harassed so much that I feel bad about it. Gujarat Congress leaders want that I should leave the party," Mr Patel told PTI."I am more pained because I have represented the situation to Rahul Gandhi many times, but no action has been taken by him against Gujarat Congress leaders," he said.Reports say Mr Patel is upset about the Congress's plan to rope in prominent Patidar leader chairman of the Khodaldham Temple Trust, Naresh Patel."You used Hardik in 2017, you want to use Naresh bhai in 2022 and in 2027 you would use another Patidar leader. Why don't you support and strengthen Hardik?" he said."They should take Naresh bhai, but will they treat him like the way the way they did to me?" he asked.Mr Patel said though he was working president of the Gujarat Congress, no work had been given to him. "I am not called to attend important meetings or not made part of any decision-making process," he alleged.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com

Hardik Patel Trashes Congress Exit "Rumour" Sparked By "Nasbandi" Jab