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Haryana municipal body elections to be held in April

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Much awaited Municipal Elections will be held in Haryana in April. The State Election Commission informed that the elections are most likely to be held in the last week of April. As many as 93 Municipal Corporations, Municipal councils, and Municipal committees exist in the state and the elections will be held on 48 seats. Dhanpat Singh, the State Election Commissioner said that the commission that proper arrangements will be made to ensure the smooth conduct of elections. Further he said that voter list was prepared till 5 January 2022. it is pertinent to mention that out of the total Municipal Bodies, 11 are Municipal Corporations to be followed by 22 Municipal Councils and 60 Municipal Committees.

Hemant Kumar, a lawyer at Punjab and Haryana High Court, said that the election commission had issued the schedule of revised voter’s list and updated information. Apart from this, the final voter list of 42 Municipal Bodies will be printed till March 16, 2022, and the finalisation of voter list in 6 Municipal Bodies including Kalka, Narnaul, Fatehabad, Ladwa along with Bhiwani Municipal Council and Asandh Municipal Committee is yet to be completed till 24 March 2022. Likewise, the final voter list of Rania (Sirsa District) is to come on 28 March. After the completion of the voter’s list, the Election Commission may declare the final date of elections.

According to the information provided by the Election Commission, electoral roles were revised in August 2021 and after that, the voters whose names were either added or deleted from the list, are yet to be updated in the list before the election takes place. The Election Commission of India had issued the electoral role for assembly as well as parliamentary elections on January 5, 2022, and considering the same list, the state Election Commission will conduct the elections and no further addition or deletion will be accepted in the list.

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Surrendering gave me a new life, says ex-Naxalite

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Madkam Mudraj, a former Commander in Chhattisgarh’s Naxalite ranks— now an Inspector with the District Reserve Guard (DRG) — confessed he would not be a leading a comfortable life today had he remained with the Maoists.

Madkam Mudraj with Chattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel.

Mudraj confessed this to the Chief Minister of Chattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel, who was in Sukma as part of a public interaction drive (Bhent-Mulaqat Abhiyan) in the Bastar division. It is the second phase of the drive which began on May 4.

Mudraj, during the interaction on Wednesday, said that people do not fear Naxalites thanks to the roads and schools built in the Bastar region. People want to move forward by taking advantage of the state government’s schemes, he said.

He spoke about his life as a Naxalite and said that even his wife was a Maoist insurgent.

“I used to train her (his wife),” he said while adding, “After observing too much bloodshed and also killing of our own brothers (tribals), I finally decided to quit.”

Baghel appreciated Madkam’s return to the mainstream and said that today the Naxalites tremble at their name.

Mudraj is currently an Inspector in DRG. Initially, Mudraj joined as Special Police Officer (SPO) as part of rehabilitation, and was later promoted to a Constable and then as an Assistant Sub Inspector.

“Quitting the insurgent ranks gave me a better life. Even my children are getting education at better school now,” said Mudraj.

He sought to shake hands with the Chief Minister and the latter placed his hand on his shoulder and shook hands with him. Before signing off, the Chief Minister asked the audience to give Madkam loud applause and the whole crowd erupted in cheers.

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AFTER SC NOD TO OBC QUOTA, BJP HOPES TO WOO THE COMMUNITY IN MP LOCAL POLLS

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With the Supreme Court clearing the deck for OBC reservations in Madhya Pradesh local body elections on Wednesday, major political parties in the state have gone into an overdrive to woo and consolidate their OBC vote bank. The apex court has upturned its own ruling it delivered barely four days ago on May 10, in which it refused to extend 35 per cent of reservations to OBCs in the coming panchayat and local urban body elections, as pleaded by the BJP-led state government. There can be no reservations for OBCs, the Court observed, until the state government properly completed the triple test exercise as stipulated in its 2010 bench verdict. But the clearance comes with a rider: in no circumstance can the OBC reservations go beyond the preset limit of 50 per cent. Elections to over 23,200 local bodies are due in the state since 2019-2020.

There is jubilation in the BJP camp, as the Supreme Court verdict was celebrated by the BJP with sweets distribution in the state party office here in Bhopal. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan could not hide his glee while welcoming the Court decision. Squarely blaming the Congress Party for filing the case in the Supreme Court and unfavourable verdict earlier, Chouhan said, “Finally, truth has prevailed and it has been proved again that truth cannot be defeated. I salute the Supreme Court. We had sought elections but with OBC reservations. The Congress Party had sinned. The elections were being held with OBC reservations, but it was the Congress Party people who had approached the Supreme Court upon which it was decided (by the Court) that elections should be held without OBC reservations. We left no stone unturned and submitted the (Backward Commission) report before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has ordered to hold elections with OBC reservations. We welcome the decision.”

The jubilation in the BJP camp over the Court verdict is not misplaced, though. Muralidhar Rao, in charge of the BJP Madhya Pradesh, had not long so ago said, “Brahmin and Baniya are our pocket borough.” It is Rao, in fact, who has set out a goal for the BJP to secure 51 per cent of votes in coming elections by roping in SC, ST and OBCs in the state. If the BJP is able to hit that target, it would be no less a miracle as it would help the party to remain at the helm of affairs in the state for a long time to come. Behind the OBCs becoming a hot property for both the saffron party and the Congress party lies the need to consolidate them as a reliable vote bank by making OBC reservations a cause calibre.

OBC communities constitute about 50 per cent of the 8 crore population of the state. Both parties, therefore, are making an all-out effort to lure OBCs like Lodh, Yadav, Kurmi, Kirar and Kalar, among others, into their political fold and convert them into a solid and permanent vote bank. If this tactic pays off in assembly elections, which are due in 2023 in the state, the BJP would deploy it in other states including Uttar Pradesh, where the OBCs are in decisive sizable numbers, to counter caste-based politics, and take it further in 2024 parliamentary elections, as well.

The political power in Madhya Pradesh revolves around two parties. The government will be formed either by the Congress Party or by the BJP. Regional parties in the past have tried to make inroads in the state but could not succeed. Except for the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party from UP, no other outfit could ever secure a single-digit win in assembly elections in the state. Even the Gondwana Ganatantra Party, with a firm base among the tribal population in the state, and the Bharatiya Janashakti Party formed by Uma Bharti after deserting the BJP could not make in a visible impact on the electorate.

Actually, it is the tribal constituencies that play a decisive role in bringing a party to power in Madhya Pradesh. Tribals have been a traditional vote bank of the Congress Party. After the tribals switched their allegiance to the saffron outfit in 2003, the BJP has been winning election after election to form government for the past three terms. In the 2018 elections, however, the Congress Party under Kamal Nath managed to wean them away from the BJP. The party was able to form the government, though it did not have a full majority, but could not complete the term and was removed after 15 months in a high-pitched political drama. The disillusionment of tribals from the BJP allowed the saffron strategists to introspect. The BJP is, therefore, not only trying to win over the tribals Scheduled Castes back to its fold but also trying to make OBCs its sold vote bank. Pitching for OBC reservations in local body elections is, thus, the fulcrum of the BJP poll strategy.

However, the credit of bringing the OBC vote bank politics to centre stage in the state goes to the Congress Party. It was, in fact, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Digvijay Singh who took cognizance of the strength of this class of voters, who had been rather neglected in electoral politics until then. He tapped this potential vote bank by extending 14 per cent reservations to OBCs and formed government twice in succession. After 2003 elections, he put in place an agenda to empower Dalits and his government implemented reservations in government contracts and purchase orders to Scheduled Castes and Tribes. The Congress lost its base among the OBC in the next elections and BJP formed the government under the leadership of Uma Bharti, an OBC herself. Recognizing the community as a kingmaker, the BJP appointed OBC leaders like Babulal Gaur and Shivraj Singh Chouhan as chief ministers of the state in this order. Chouhan is the longest-serving BJP chief minister among the OBC. The BJP has won elections thrice by putting Chouhan at the forefront. He is serving the fourth term as Chief Minister. Although Chouhan has carved out for himself an image of a popular leader, especially among women and the youth as Mamu, this image cultivated through government schemes and social engineering programmes could not secure him a clean sweep in 2018 elections. Chouhan and the BJP strategists have, thus, made this strategy of wooing OBCs to their camp, rather than relying on communal polarization.

However, if there is any politician the BJP should thank for bringing the OBC discourse in the state electoral politics, it is Kamal Nath. The veteran Congress Party leader, just before the 2019 parliamentary elections, promised to extend 27 per cent reservations to OBCs in government jobs and local body elections. It did not help the party, though. It nonetheless made the OBCs aware of the issue and the empowerment it could bring to them as a community. This development gave rise to all sorts of gamesmanship among the political outfits with regard to reservations in three-layered local body elections. The issue assumed so much significance that Chouhan was forced to promise local elections with OBC reservations.

Both the Congress Party and the BJP are competing with each other while taking credit for the Supreme Court verdict in favour of OBC reservations in local body elections.

“We did not expect the Shivraj government to work for the welfare of OBCs … therefore, we have already decided that the Congress would extend 27 per cent reservation to OBCs in local body elections and we will ensure them all rights. We will fulfil our promise come what may. We are committed to ensuring 27 per cent reservation to OBCs and we will fight for it,” said the Kamal Nath after the Court verdict.

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Kuldeep Bishnoi meets Haryana CM, sparks rumours

Kuldeep Bishnoi meets Haryana CM, sparks rumours

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The rift between Haryana Leader of Opposition Bhupender Singh Hooda and Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi has widened following the appointment of Udai Bhan as the Haryana Congress President.

Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi

Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi

Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi

Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi

Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi

Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi

Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi

Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi

Bishnoi, considered to be the strongest claimant for the post, was denied the same. Since then, he has been showing dissatisfaction with the working of the Party High Command. He even met BJP leader and Chief Minister Manohar Lal in Gurugram. Sharing a picture with the Chief Minister on his social media account, Bishnoi wrote that he is thankful to him (CM) as the Chief Minister resumed status of Adampur Gram Panchayat.

Though according to Bishnoi, it was just a courtesy meeting, political experts are of the opinion that it was not so. The meeting assumes significance in the wake of his ongoing feud with Hooda.

Political experts speculate that if Bishnoi shakes hands with BJP, the Congress is likely to face a challenge for one Rajya Sabha seat which is being considered confirmed for the party presently.

There are 90 Assembly seats and 31 legislators are from the Congress. The Congress should have the support of at least 30 MLAs. In case, Bishnoi quits the Congress then the party will be left with 30 legislators and securing the same number will be the need of the hour for the party to own one seat of Rajya Sabha.

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‘Felt ignored’, says Hardik Patel on quitting Congress

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Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Thursday took a dig at Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra saying that he resigned from the grand old party after he felt that he was being “ignored”.

“When Rahul comes to Gujarat, he did not talk about the problem faced by the people of Gujarat. Party leaders are busy arranging chicken sandwiches and Diet Coke for Rahul Gandhi. There are talks in the party that people will vote for Congress when they get bored with the other party. I have spoken to Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi and mentioned the problems of Gujarat. He asked me what the problems were and I told him. That’s when I was ignored. I decided to leave the party not with sadness but with courage,” said Hardik Patel in a press briefing here. The Patidar leader, who joined the Congress in 2019 was elevated as one of the Gujarat Congress working presidents in 2020. “Thankful to Congress for making me the working president for Gujarat. But what was the use when you are not given any work?,” he said.

On Wednesday Patel resigned from the party and stated that Gujarat Congress leaders were least bothered to address real issues of Gujarat but were more focussed on ensuring that the leaders who come from Delhi in Gujarat get “chicken sandwich” on time.

According to him, in Congress, the people who speak the truth are strategically defamed by big leaders.

“In Gujarat, whether it’s the Patidar community or any other community, they have had to suffer in Congress. Speak the truth in Congress and big leaders will defame you and that is their strategy,” added Patel.

“In Gujarat, it’s not only Hardik who is angry with Congress. There are many leaders and legislators in Gujarat who just use Congress. Sitting in power and praising the party does not mean that the party will make them Chief Minister”, said the Patidar leader.

He alleged that Gujarat Congress leaders tried to disrupt his political effort “sitting in the AC chambers”.

The Gujarat Assembly elections are slated to be held this year.

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SCARED AFTER CONGRESS CHINTAN SHIVIR: CM GEHLOT ON BJP’S RAJASTHAN MEETING

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has hit out at the central government and BJP for price rise, unemployment and communal tensions across the country. Hours before BJP’s meeting of national office-bearers, Gehlot on Thursday said the saffron party is holding the brainstorming session in the state as it is scared after the Congress organised its ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Udaipur recently.

He said as soon as the Congress’ ‘Chintan Shivir’ was announced, the BJP also decided to hold its meeting in Jaipur. “They are scared and therefore they are coming here,” he said, while exuding confidence that the people of the state will vote for Congress in the next assembly elections. Gehlot was talking to reporters on various issues here today.

Targeting the BJP for ‘its agenda of Hindutva’, Gehlot said the BJP is doing politics in the name of Hindus and have become arrogant under the impression that they have their support. “They are just misleading the people in the name of Hindutva. This will backfire. This is not in the interest of the public,” Gehlot said.

He also alleged that the communal tension in state’s Karauli in April was “pre-planned”. Be it Karauli or Jodhpur, where communal tension broke out in the recent past, the police controlled the situation and riots were not allowed to happen, Gehlot said. He said it was BJP’s agenda to defame the Congress government in Rajasthan.

He reiterated that an atmosphere of tension is there in the country so that the public attention can be diverted from the real issues of inflation and unemployment.

Gehlot also said that increase in crime, incidents of paper leaks etc. were the result of unemployment and it is the responsibility of both the Centre and state governments to provide jobs to youths.

The CM further said it seems that the economic policies of the central government have failed and they have no plan to control inflation. “Instead of diverting the country’s attention to the temple-mosque issues, the prime minister and the NDA government should focus on solving the unemployment problem and controlling inflation,” Gehlot added.

On the resignation of Congress MLA Ganesh Ghoghra, Gehlot said the FIR was registered against the legislator as the rule of law should be upheld. “Ganesh Ghoghra is our young colleague. He is an emotional person and keeps fighting for the people. We should appreciate him.

“He had gone for a public hearing but some other incident happened there. There is a rule of law, which should remain, and therefore the FIR was registered,” Gehlot said.

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CBI grills TMC leader Anubrata Mondal in cattle smuggling case

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Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal on Thursday appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation in its office at Nizam Palace in connection with the West Bengal cattle smuggling case.

Earlier, the Birbhum Trinamool district president had avoided six summons by the CBI in the case. Mondal left his house in Chinar Park with a convoy of two vehicles at 9:10 am on Thursday and reached Nizam Palace at 9.50 am. He was seen climbing the stairs of Nizam Palace holding the hands of his helpers. Mondal sent an email to his lawyer on Wednesday and expressed his desire to appear before the CBI.

According to CBI sources, Mohammad Enamul Haque, the alleged kingpin of the racket who was arrested from New Delhi in November 2020, has repeatedly named Mondal. After being questioned for nearly four hours on Thursday, the CBI officers had to cut short its investigation after Mondal complained of chest pain and was rushed to SSKM Hospital.

The Trinamool leader is under double pressure with post-poll violence on one hand and cattle smuggling on the other. In both the cases, the CBI summoned him repeated times. But Mondal avoided appearance every time due to physical reasons. He had sought time from CBI till May 21.

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