RS poll battle taken to its office, EC allows counting in 2 states after midnight

The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | 12-06-2022 | 03:50 am

RS poll battle taken to its office, EC allows counting in 2 states after midnight

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.

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Gujarat: Over 600 Congress, AAP workers from tribal districts join BJP
The Indian Express | 9 hours ago | 06-07-2022 | 05:50 am
The Indian Express
9 hours ago | 06-07-2022 | 05:50 am

More than 600 workers of the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) from Dahod, Narmada, Chhota Udepur and Vadodara districts joined the BJP Tuesday at Gandhinagar in the presence of Gujarat BJP President CR Paatil.Dahod, which saw over 400 workers from the Congress and a few from AAP and BTP, also had eight councillors from the Jhalod Municipality, including President Sonal Dindor from the Congress, jump over to the BJP.The others include Dala Vasaiya, Khuman Mansinh Damor, Parsinh Damor and independent councillors Bhavesh Katara, Sukhram Milwad, Zakir Kanuga and Shankar Katara, among others. Dindor and Vasaiya were among the Congress councillors who had, in August 2020, voted in favour of the BJP in the election to Jhalod Municipality’s Presidential post, thus causing a furore. Soon, as Jhalod BJP President Hiren Patel was killed in an alleged case of contract killing, Dindor and Vasaiya submitted a memorandum to the district police citing ” threat to life”.A senior BJP leader said, “The party has welcomed strong workers to the fold… This is not just in preparation for the upcoming Assembly polls but also because it allows the BJP to strengthen its ground in these tribal districts, especially Narmada, Dahod and Chhota Udepur, where the Congress has traditionally been on a strong foot. Although the 2021 local body polls were in favour of the BJP in the districts, it will bring a major impact in the Assembly elections to have these strong leaders into the fold.”Additionally, Dahod Taluka Congress president Suresh Baka-liya as well as former General Secr-etary of Youth Congress Nikunj Meda and Vice-President of Dahod district Congress Mitesh Yadav joined the BJP. Valsinh Munia, son of former Congress MLA Virji Munia, along with Sanjeli Sarpanch Mavji Rawat , Singwad taluka Congress member Dipak Parmar and Veena Bhuriya from Garbada also joined the BJP.AAP leader Dhavalsinh Bhuriya as well as BTP President of Dahod Ajay Katara along with leader Nilesh Bamaniya joined the BJP. Nazimuddin Gangardiwala of the Congress city unit also joined the BJP. He even replaced his skull cap with the new saffron topi of the party at the event. Another leader, Sabur Sultan Tadvi, also joined the BJP.In Chhota Udepur, district Congress President Umesh Shah, along with his brother and President of Chhota Udepur Traders’ association, Dipesh Shah, joined the BJP. Former Congress district president Yashpal Rathwa, also the director of APMC, also joined the BJP. From Vadodara, former MS University senate member and trader Bipin Patel, Hitendra Gohil, Sandeep Bhagat, Wasim Malik (Sarpanch of Kia), Indravadan Bhagat and Sudha Patel from Kandari joined the BJP.Membership songGujarat BJP Tuesday launched a song prepared for its membership enrolment drive. The Gujarati song hails the party and its current top leadership.

Gujarat: Over 600 Congress, AAP workers from tribal districts join BJP
Gujarat has progressed from tanker raj to Nal se Jal: Agriculture Minister
The Indian Express | 14 hours ago | 06-07-2022 | 12:50 am
The Indian Express
14 hours ago | 06-07-2022 | 12:50 am

Gujarat has progressed from ‘tanker raj’ to Nal Se Jal and undergone transformation in other sectors, thanks to the ‘revolutionary’ decision taken by Narendra Modi, Gujarat Agriculture Minister Raghavji Patel said as he flagged off a Vande Gujarat Vikas Yatra Rath (chariot) from Rajkot Tuesday.Addressing a public meeting on the yard of the Rajkot agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) in Bedi village on the outskirts of the city before flagging off the rath, Patel narrated the development march of Gujarat after Modi took over as the chief minister in 2001. “Thanks to the revolutionary decisions taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat has scaled new peaks of achievements. There was a time when there was tanker raj (water was supplied through tankers) but today, thanks to the Nal se Jal scheme, water is reaching households through pipes,” an official release quoted Patel as saying.The Vande Gujarat Vikas Yatra campaign was launched by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel from Ahmedabad as simultaneous events were organised in other districts of the state. As a part of the campaign, raths or modified trucks mounted with LED screens will go to towns and villages of the state and showcase progress made by the state under the BJP reign beginning from 2001.Various BJP leaders and ministers will welcome these raths at various places until the two-week-long campaign ends on July 19. The Rath will go to clusters of villages decided as per the 36 seats of Rajkot district panchayat.Patel claimed that Gujarat has witnessed transformation in other sectors also. “Thanks to tremendous decision-making power of Modi, today, Narmada water has reached Saurashtra and Kutch through SAUNI Yojana. Earlier, there used to be only a handful of check-dams. But today, there are more than one lakh check-dams. By winning the confidence of people, there has been a comprehensive development in fields like education, industry, health, women empowerment etc,” the minister was further quoted in the release.The minister also laid the foundation stone for development projects worth around Rs 2.80 crore and dedicated projects worth Rs 7 crore to the public.

Gujarat has progressed from tanker raj to Nal se Jal: Agriculture Minister
Gujarat BJP Launches Voter App, Claims Can Predict Poll Results
Ndtv | 15 hours ago | 06-07-2022 | 12:10 am
Ndtv
15 hours ago | 06-07-2022 | 12:10 am

It is the first such application in the entire country, claims the BJPAhmedabad: The ruling BJP in Gujarat on Tuesday launched 'President Dashboard', a computer application which a party leader claimed would not only collect and analyze personal information of voters but also predict poll results with accuracy.The application was launched by Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil, and party workers would use it to reach out to nearly 50 lakh households across the state to collect information and seek opinion of voters, a release said."Each booth in-charge would visit households in his area to collect information such as members in the family, birth date, marriage anniversaries and whether they have taken benefit of any government scheme or not. This data will be uploaded on our party's server," said Gujarat BJP's media coordinator Yagnesh Dave."Using the President Dashboard application, the state BJP president can see this data on his laptop or computer. It is the first such application in the entire country. We will also identify each voter. Whether he is a BJP supporter, or a party office bearer, or a supporter of the opposition party or a doubtful one," he added.On voting day, the booth in-charge would sit outside the booth with the same software and tick mark those who come to vote, and this data, by evening, would predict who is winning, Dave claimed.Speaking on the occasion, Paatil said voters will be contacted at booth level and information collected from them will be analyzed using the dashboard application.At present, Gujarat has 1.13 crore BJP members and 67 lakh page committee members. Paatil said, adding that the state unit has started a new enrollment drive.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comHe also launched a theme song for the new enrollment drive. PTI PJT BNM BNM(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Gujarat BJP Launches Voter App, Claims Can Predict Poll Results
Your Daily Wrap: Twitter moves court against Indian govt, SpiceJet sees two flight malfunctions in a day; and more
The Indian Express | 16 hours ago | 05-07-2022 | 10:50 pm
The Indian Express
16 hours ago | 05-07-2022 | 10:50 pm

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Your Daily Wrap: Twitter moves court against Indian govt, SpiceJet sees two flight malfunctions in a day; and more