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Oath-taking to be held Dec 25

The BJP’s parliamentary board meeting is likely to be held this weekend and the party would prepare the design of the cabinet in Gujarat government. As per the prescribed rule for the size of cabinet, total number of members of cabinet should be 15% of total seats in the Assembly and that is 27. When many big names like Shankar Chaudhary, Ramanlal Vora, Atmaram Parmar, Chiman Sapariya and other former ministers have lost, many new faces can be accommodated in the new cabient.A senior leader of BJP says, “The BJP will try to maintain caste and regional balance in the cabinet. The cabinet will be dominated by OBC and Patel community leaders. When many senior leaders of party have lost in different regions, there will be open scope for new faces who can get the berth in the cabinet of state government.”Meanwhile, the information have come that the oath taking ceremony of the entire cabinet will be held on December 25 at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad. The sources in Gujarat government said, “The chief secretary Dr JN Singh and other senior officials from general administration departement visited Sabarmati riverfront on Tuesday morning. They also assessed the factors like turnout of people in the ceremony, movement of VVIPs like PM Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and other political leaders.”The BJP will have great challenge to find a Schedule Caste member in the cabinet as the senior SC leaders like Ramanlal Vora and Atmaram Parmar have lost. As compared to that, Manisha Vakil, MLA from Vadodara city seat and Ishwar Parmar from Bardoli seat have been elected for second term and can get the berth in the cabinet. The rest of the SC MLAs have been elected for the first time in their career and those are Malti Maheshwari from Gandhidham, Karsan Solanki from Kadi, Hitu Kanodia from Idar and Pradip Parmar from Asarva. BJP can consider any of them to fill the gap.”The observers appointed by the party high command would visit Gujarat in the weekend and will meet the party leaders to get their opinions on formation of government. They would discuss the probable names for the cabinet members too,” added the senior leader of BJP.PROBABLE NAMESFor Cabinet level ministersVijay Rupani, Nitin Patel, Ganpatsih Vasava, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Kaushik Patel, RC Faldu, Saurabh Patel, Babu Bokhiria, Dilip Thakor, Jayesh RadadiyaFor State level ministersPradipsinh Jadeja, Dr Nimaben Acharya, Vasan Ahir, Parbat Patel, Rajendrasinh Chavda, Shambhuji Thakor, Karsan Solanki, Vallabh Kakadia, Dhanjibhai Patel, Parshottam Solanki, Vibhavari Dave, Pankaj Patel, CK Raulji, Jaydhrathsinh Parmar, Bachu Khabad, Abhesinh Tadvi, Rajendra Trivedi, Manisha Vakil, Ishwarsinh Patel, Kishor Kanani, Naresh Patel, Raman Patkar

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TINA factor may help Vijay Rupani to stay on as Chief Minister

The BJP has said that Vijay Rupani will remain the Chief Minister, but some other names are also being whispered in the state’s power corridors, especially after the “below expectation” results. Observers attribute this to the TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor. The party is set to form government for a sixth straight term, but the celebration is muted as it got 16 seats less, compared to the 2012 Assembly elections, as the Congress improved its tally despite the loss. The names doing the rounds for the post of Gujarat CM are Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, Smriti Irani, and her Cabinet colleague and Minister of State for Roads and Transport, Mansukh L Mandaviya.But dominant thinking is to continue with Rupani, at least for a year.The party does not need to change the CM,” a senior BJP leader said.The leader said party president Amit Shah has also said that Rupani would continue as Gujarat CM. “He is Shah’s close confidant, so he is likely to continue, unless the high command has some different ideas,” he said.The name of Patel leader Ranchodbhai Chanabhai Faldu is also doing the rounds. Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani did not comment on the issue.There is also a murmur in the Gujarat BJP that the party may not appoint a Deputy Chief Minister this time. Nitin Patel held the post in the last government. The party may now make him the Assembly Speaker.”Nitin Patel and Rupani did not share good relations and that is why the party may decide against appointing a Deputy CM. The party needs somebody to handle business in the Assembly. Patel can be the Speaker because of his long experience,” said another senior leader.”Former Speaker Ganpatsinh Vasava is also there but no other Scheduled Tribe leader has been elected who can become a Cabinet Minister. The party needs a senior Scheduled Caste MLA who can be in the government. The BJP high command can keep Vasava in the Cabinet and Patel could be the Speaker,” said the senior leader.The BJP’s Parliamentary Board meeting is likely to be held this weekend. The Board has deputed Maharashtra in-charge Saroj Pandey and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to discuss Gujarat’s leadership issue.No dy cm in guj?There is also a murmur in the Gujarat BJP that the party may not appoint a Deputy Chief Minister this time. Nitin Patel held the post in the last government.

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Gujarat HC issues notice to Cong leader

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi in a defamation case filed by the Anil Ambani–led Reliance Group. The company had filed a Rs 5,000-crore defamation case against Singhvi for making “false and defamatory” statements while talking about the Rafale fighter jet deal.The single bench justice Paresh Upadhyay has issued notice to the Congress leader and legal practitioner Singhvi asking to file reply within fifteen days. The court is hearing a petition filed by the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group for making baseless and false allegation against the company.Group’s Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd has filed the defamation case with the Amreli District’s Rajula civil court. Allegation against the respondent is, “false, defamatory and libellous statements” in connection with the contract awarded in the Rafale deal.” The petition was returned by the Rajula Court citing reason that it is not it jurisdiction and hence the petitioner had to approach the high court challenging the order.Respondent Singhvi on November 30th in Delhi had alleged that Union Finance Minister is fooling the nation by making false claim that it has not waived loan of big defaulters. He had added that, “We all know that top 50 corporates owe Rs 8.35 lakh crore to banks and of those, the three top Gujarat-based companies — Reliance (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group), Adani and Essar — owe Rs 3 lakh crore.”In the said allegation Singhvi had also dragged it group’s defence arm in the allegations, which had nothing to do with the government.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Rahul Gandhi says PM Modi has credibility problem, BJP ridicules

The Gujarat poll outcome sparked a political war of words today with Congress president Rahul Gandhi calling it a “massive jolt” to the BJP, drawing ridicule from the ruling party that he was “enjoying defeat as victory” under an illusion.The BJP win by a reduced margin yesterday also led its key ally Shiv Sena to launch a stinging attack on its senior partner, saying it was a “warning bell” to those who believed in an autocratic rule and that “the much-touted Gujarat model has shaken.” Gandhi also hit out at Modi’s Gujarat model of development, calling it “good propaganda and able marketing”, but which is “hollow from within.” The BJP fought off a strong challenge from Congress to win the Gujarat assembly polls for the sixth straight time since 1995.Also read’What jolt? 19 states are now with us,’ BJP takes down Rahul Gandhi on Gujarat verdictThe BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member assembly, down from 115 it won in 2012, and far lower than the 150-plus seats it had hoped for. It is also for the first time that the BJP’s tally slipped below the 100 mark since the party formed its maiden government on its own in 1995. The Congress, spearheaded by Gandhi, won 77 seats, up by 16 seats. Gandhi also raised questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s credibility after he led his party to a narrow victory in his home state. He claimed the Gujarat results indicated that the country was not listening to Modi any more and took a dig at his Gujarat model of development. “I came to know there (in Gujarat) that people actually do not accept Modiji’s model.”It was thought that the Congress will not be able to fight the BJP in Gujarat…You saw the results and it has dealt a ‘zabardast jhatka’ (a massive jolt) to the BJP in Gujarat,” Gandhi told reporters in Delhi. The new Congress president called the poll outcome a “very good result” and a moral victory for his party. “We lost, but we could have won…But fell short by a small margin. “A big question has been raised on Modiji’s credibility. Frankly, Modiji has a credibility problem and he will find it very difficult… Because what he is saying, his forces and his organisation are repeating that.”But the country is not listening to that. This, the Gujarat election has shown. In the coming times, you will see this clearly,” he said. Talking of credibility, he said while Modi spoke “non-stop” about corruption, he never uttered a word about Jay Shah (BJP chief Amit Shah’s son) or Rafale fighter jet deal, which the Congress claims was against the country’s interest and encouraged crony capitalism.”The country wants to know that you talked non-stop of corruption. Jay Shah, son of Amit Shah, turned Rs 50,000 into 80 crore in three months, there has been a scam in Rafale deal, why don’t you talk of this. This is the credibility issue,” he said. Gandhi said Gujarat sent out a message to the BJP and Modi that the “anger” within them would not work. The Congress chief, who vigorously campaigned in Gujarat, said in three months the state and its people taught him one thing that one can defeat opponents only with love and brotherhood, and not anger, money or force. Mahatma Gandhi told this to the country and this feeling is embedded deeply in Gujarat.”Gujarat has given a message to Modi ji and the BJP that the anger within you will not help you and love will defeat it,” he said.To a question about Modi’s assertion that the BJP’s win was an endorsement of his development agenda and economic reforms like the GST, the Congress president said, “It is strange as in his poll speeches he did not talk about development, nor about GST and note ban.” Responding to Gandhi’s attack, senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar claimed the poll outcome had actually jolted the Congress. “We (the BJP) won both state Assembly elections and in Gujarat for the sixth time. Actually this is a jolt for the Congress,” Javadekar told reporters shortly after Gandhi’s attack on Modi and the BJP.The Union minister also alleged that the Congress tried to adopt divisive politics in Gujarat. However, people put their faith in Modi and in his development agenda, he said. Javadekar said he was amused to hear that the Congress president had described the results as a big jolt to the BJP. “It seems Rahul is under the illusion and enjoying defeat as victory. This shows his dynastic arrogance and is an insult to the people’s mandate,” he said.Reacting sharply to Gandhi’s remark raising questions on Modi’s credibility, Javadekar said it was the Congress which was losing its credibility among the people in the country, because of which, he added, the party was losing election after election.The Sena attack on the BJP came in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, The Sena said the BJP had “barely managed to pass” the electoral exam but was pretending to have passed with distinction. The BJP won Gujarat and Himachal, but the Congress also did not lose, the editorial said. This election result in Gujarat is a “warning bell for those who believe in an autocratic rule,” the Sena said.

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Gujarat Elections 2017- 47 newly elected MLAs have criminal cases, 25 from Congress: ADR

Of the 182 newly-elected Gujarat MLAs, 47 have declared criminal cases against them, while 141 are crorepatis, says a report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).”Out of the 182 MLAs analysed, 47 (26 per cent) MLAs have declared criminal cases against them. Out of 182 MLAs analysed during Gujarat assembly elections in 2012, 57 (31 per cent) MLAs had declared criminal cases against them,” the report by ADR said today. Gujarat Election Watch and ADR have analysed the self- sworn affidavits of all 182 newly-elected MLAs in the Gujarat 2017 assembly elections. Among MLAs with serious criminal cases, 33 have declared serious cases including cases related to murder, attempt to murder, dacoity, robbery etc. Out of 182 MLAs analysed during Gujarat assembly elections in 2012, 24 MLAs had declared serious criminal cases against them.ADR, which works for electoral and political reforms, said that among party wise MLAs with criminal cases, 18 out of 99 MLAs from BJP, 25 out of 77 MLAs from INC, one of the two MLAs from Bhartiya Tribal Party, one MLA from NCP and two out of three independents have declared criminal cases against them in their affidavits. Besides, 12 MLAs from BJP, 17 from INC, one from Bhartiya Tribal Party, one from NCP and two independents have declared serious criminal cases against them in their affidavits.Also readHow Yogi Adityanath delivered the Hindu votes for BJP in South Gujarat “Out of the 182 newly-elected MLAs, 141 (77 per cent) are crorepatis. Out of 182 MLAs analysed during Gujarat 2012 assembly elections, 134 (74 per cent) MLAs were crorepatis,” the report said. Among partywise crorepati MLAs, 84 MLAs from BJP, 54 from INC, two MLAs from Bhartiya Tribal Party and one MLA from NCP have declared assets valued more than Rs 1 crore. The average assets per MLA in the Gujarat 2017 assembly elections is Rs 8.46 crore, while the same was Rs 8.03 crore in 2012. The average assets per MLA for 99 BJP MLAs analysed is Rs 10.64 crore, 77 INC MLAs (5.85 crore), 2 Bhartiya Tribal Party MLAs (Rs 2.71 crore) and 3 Independents (Rs 53.86 lakh).Also readKey indices close at record high over BJP’s win in Gujarat, Himachal PradeshThe top three MLAs with high assets are Saurabh Yashvantbhai Dalal Patel of BJP with total assets of over Rs 123 crore, followed by Dhanjibhai Patel (Makson) also from BJP (over Rs 113 crore) and Chavda Jawaharbhai Pethaljibhai from INC (over Rs 103 crore), the report by ADR said. Three MLAs in Gujarat with lowest assets have their assets valued less than Rs 13 lakh led by independent Jigneshkumar Natvarlal Mevani with total assets of over Rs 10 lakh.The report said that 13 out of 182 MLAs have not declared their sources of income. The average assets of re-elected MLAs in 2017 is Rs 10.71 crore, while in 2012 it was Rs 7.41 crore, ADR added. “The growth in average assets of re-elected MLAs is Rs 3.30 crore ie by 45 per cent,” it said.On their education details, the report said that 96 MLAs have declared their qualification to be between 5th pass and 12th pass, while 69 have declared having a qualification of graduate or above. There are seven MLAs who are just literates while there is one who is illiterate. As per the findings of the report, 21 MLAs have declared their age to be between 25 and 40 years, while 121 between 41 and 60 years. There are 40 MLAs who have declared their age to be between 61 to 80 years. Out of the 182 MLAs, 13 are women against 16 in 2012.

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After saffron sweep in Assembly polls, Mamata trying to appease Hindus, alleges Bengal BJP

After BJP’s victory in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, Bengal unit of the party believes CM Mamata Banerjee is looking for an image correction. After a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday, state education minister Partha Chatterjee said that Rs 17 crore has been allotted for the renovation of 74 ghats centred around Dakshineswar and Belur.“The decision has been taken in today’s cabinet meeting. It is a message to those who had been spreading canards about our party,” he said. He also said that a total of 1220 new posts have been created including 460 in the Home and Hill Affairs department, 82 in the Health and Family Planning department and 42 in the Finance department.With the panchayat election next year and BJP getting a shot in the arm in the shape of the defection of former TMC Rajya Sabha member Mukul Roy to BJP, TMC leaders have been trying their best to give out the message that they are for inclusive development of the state, irrespective of the person’s faith. At the district level too it is being used as a tool. In Birbhum district of West Bengal, a Brahmin Sammelan will be conducted on January 8, 2018. District TMC president Anubrata Mondal told DNA that it was being done in accordance with a party circular. “About 15,000 brahmins across the district will gather. They will perform pujas and each of them will be given a Gita, a religious shawl and a photograph of Ramkrishna Paramhansa and Saradha Ma,” he said and denied that it had any political connotation. “We had done this earlier at a block level but going by the party’s instructions, this year I am doing it at a district level,” he said.Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsBJP leaders, however, said that the Mamata Banerjee-led government was doing those out of fear that the party and the government was growing unpopular among the members of the majority community. “They had taken appeasement of the minority to such a level that members of the majority community was disturbed and sensing it, they have now turned to do some damage control but I don’t think these will work. I have also heard that ahead of panchayat polls the TMC will donate cows to people in the rural areas. I have have seen Mamata chant mantras full of mistakes on stage to show people that she is a Hindu,” said Rahul Sinha, BJP national secretary and former party state president. He alleged that Mamata had started the politics of division in Bengal and had she done politics on the basis of developmental work in the state, there would have been no question of appeasing members of any religion.

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‘What jolt? 19 states are now with us,’ BJP takes down Rahul Gandhi on Gujarat verdict

The BJP on Tuesday slammed Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his ‘jolt’ remark agint the ruling party for the Gujarat Assembly elections results.The Congress chief, while talking to reporters, said that the Gujarat verdict is a massive jolt for BJP. He also said that the result in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised questions over his credibilty.The BJP, in a strong comeback, said that there is no question of any ‘jolt’. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar took a dig at Gandhi and said that, ‘It’s a jolt for Congress. We are in 19 states now.’Attacking the newly-elected Congress chief, Javadekar said that ‘those calling ‘vikas’ crazy are saying all this due to frustration.’Union Minister Ananth Kumar also echoed his colleague Javadekar’s sentiments and said that, ‘Credibility of Congress and Rahul Gandhi is at an all time low, while PM Modi’s credibility is at an all time high not just in India but globally.’The BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member assembly, down from 115 it won in 2012, and far lower than the 150-plus seats it had hoped for. It is also the first time in 22 years that the BJP has ruled Gujarat that its tally has fallen below 99.The Congress won 77 seats, up by 16 seats Gandhi called it a “very good result” for the Congress, and a moral victory.

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Gujarat Election Results: Congress may have lost, but the outcome will bost morale, says Ashok Chavan

The Congress may have lost the Gujarat elections on Monday, but the final results will certainly boost the party’s morale, feels Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Ashok Chavan. In Gujarat, in total 182 seats of assembly, BJP won 99 seats while Congress 80. Congress won mostly in the rural belt of Gujarat due to farmers’ unrest. “We are also facing the same situations in Maharashtra. Farmers are not getting the good rates to their crops — cotton, soya bean etc. Besides, the promised farm loan waiver has not been yet fulfilled,” said Chavan on Tuesday.He said that during the Congress regime, farmers were getting Rs 6,000- Rs 7,000 for per quintal of cotton against present Rs 4,000-4,500. “Farmers are working hard but not getting fair rates. On this same issue, BJP MP Nana Patole resigned. BJP has gone back on its given promises. They no more talk about the Ache Din now,” the former chief minister said.Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsIn Maharashtra, there are total 288 seats. Presently, the BJP has 120, Shiv Sena – 62 while the Congress and the NCP 42 and 40 respectively. “Last elections, the Congress and the NCP fought separately. Now, NCP president Sharad Pawar has also indicated possible alliance of Congress and NCP again. In the upcoming elections, we will put the united face that will help to get us majority in state assembly and improve our tally in parliament as well. Modi-Shah juggernaut which was slower down by Congress in Gujarat will be halted in Maharashtra permanently,” Chavan said.NCP leader Ajit Pawar also criticised BJP. “If BJP struggled to get the century in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its party president Amit Shah’s home state, they will not make much impact in Maharashtra. Here, Gujarat pride, Pakistan and fanning Hindu-Muslim issue will not work. We believe in issue-based politics,” said Pawar.Also readAssembly elections 2017| ‘Gujarat model’ has been shaken, verdict a warning for 2019, Shiv Sena tells BJPInterestingly, the Shiv Sena is unlikely to form an alliance with the BJP in the upcoming state and Lok Sabha elections. “Seat sharing between the Sena and BJP is major issue. No one will cut down their current seats numbers to accommodate each other. Therefore, they have no options but to contest separately. And that will surely go in favour of Congress and the NCP,” said political observer.

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Gujarat ki goonj Rajasthan mein..

Gujarat touches 6 districts in Rajasthan. But it’s poll results will have impact on the entire state. A slim win in Modi’s bastion has sent warning bells ringing for BJP in Rajasthan. As the Raje government enters into the fifth year, Congress, post ‘moral victory’ in Gujarat, will go all out to oust the ruling party.Raje, on the other hand, has a tough task to counter anti incumbency factor while setting off on last minute development work for the public. Her immediate challenge is to win three byelections – one for assembly and the other two for parliament- which would disturb the tempo of Congress after its fighting performance in Gujarat.“If she is able to register wins in these elections, Congress will lose the edge which it has got after Gujarat elections. Also, it will send a message to high command that Raje holds the key for BJP in Rajasthan,” said a senior BJP leader.After facing tough fight in Gujarat, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah may change their strategy in coming state polls. They are said to keep complete control over ticket distribution in elections.“Now the duo may consider feedback of chief ministers and party chiefs of respective states in assembly elections lined up in 2018. This imminent flexibility may work well for BJP,” he said.For Congress, it is the golden chance to revive its fortune. The growing confidence and stature of Rahul Gandhi will imbibe confidence in his close aide Sachin Pilot also. After Ashok Gehlot proving his mettle in Gujarat elections, it is now up to Pilot to outsmart the strategies of the former chief minister, which foxed BJP in Gujarat.“Gujarat victory is morale booster for Congress, but Pilot will be under pressure. He is yet to showcase his leadership capabilities. With Gehlot winning crucial brownie points from Congress President, victory in by elections is the least Pilot needs to prove his point,” said a Congress leader.

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Congress vanquished but valiant

Though Congress has lost Gujarat election, the party has got a new stalwart and an impressive poll manager in the form of AICC general secretary and state in-charge Ashok Gehlot. He masterminded the campaign under the leadership of AICC president Rahul Gandhi to give a tough fight to the BJP in its fortress. Going by what unfolded in Gujarat, the Congress is likely to reap benefits of the same in the upcoming Assembly polls in Rajasthan next year and Gehlot could be seen doning the role of Sarathi of Gandhi as well.The appointment of Gehlot as party in-charge of Gujarat campaign gave rise to speculation that he is being shunted out of state politics. A group within the party even started claiming that he has been given a charge of a losing cause as PM Modi is invincible in Gujarat. As BJP’s victory in Gujarat was a forgone conclusion, many believed it will bring down curtains on Gehlot’s political career. Moving Gehlot to Gujarat was also seen by many as clearing the field for PCC chief Sachin Pilot to take reign of the party. “Creating alliances and support base on caste lines in a state was a key move. The Congress had on its side Patidar leader Hardik Patel, OBC community leader Alpesh Thakor as it ally and support from Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani. Gehlot played a major role bringing these leaders on same platform which definitely worked to improve tally of the party. He could be seen in a greater role in the party soon,” said a senior Congress leader reacting to the results. Gehlot worked tirelessly with Gandhi and during this campaign a new chemistry was developed between the two. Although BJP retained power in Gujarat, it will not be seen as a debacle of Gehlot’s campaign because BJP could not cross the hundred mark while Congress increased its tally unlike Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.Ashok Gehlot’s performance in Gujarat will have an impact in his home state Rajasthan, which set to go for polls in 2018. BJP basks in victoryThe BJP state headquarters broke into celebration after BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections on Monday. The party workers were seen dancing, bursting crackers and exchanging sweets. BJP leaders, including BJP state president Ashok Parnami, social justice and empowerment minister Arun Chaturvedi, minister of rural development and Panchayati Raj Rajendra Rathore also reached the state headquarters and congratulated the party workers. Parnami said that the hardwork put in by PM Modi and national president Amit Shah is reflecting in the victory registered in Gujarat and HP. “The BJP government has been in Gujarat for 22 years. There have been no riots in Gujarat for 22 years and the public likes development and peace,” Parnami said. While commenting on the statement of the former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot on EVMs, Parnami said that Gehlot should have faith in democracy.

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Alpesh Thakor is a clear winner, too

Congress’s new face and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor won Radhanpur constituency with a margin of 14,857 votes. He was trailing initially but picked up soon to take a lead in Radhanpur, one of the largest constituencies in Gujarat. Thakor garnered a total of 85,777 votes as against BJP rival Lavingji Thakor who garnered 70,920 votes.The 40-year-old is the convener of Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena and OBC, SC, ST Ekta Manch and has been campaigning against liquor addiction. He had even formed the Gujarat Kshatriya-Thakor Sena. From Alpesh’s team, Geniben Thakor who contested from Vav garnered highest votes (1,02,328) followed by Kiritkumar Patel from Patan garnering 1,01,006 votes. Alpesh had made news recently and was trailed on social media after his tweet on how Prime Minister Narendra Modi had become fairer as he eats mushrooms from Taiwan costing Rs80,000 each.

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DMK calls for ‘secular’ parties to come together

Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu, led by DMK, called for unity among all secular parties of the country following the BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections.”I congratulate the BJP for its victories in Gujarat and HP. People are the masters in a democracy and their verdict has to be accepted. Election results demand unity among democratic, progressive and secular forces to protect the pluralism of India,” DMK working president MK Stalin said. The saffron party’s victory in the two northern states would not help it in Tamil Nadu, he said, adding that coming to power in Tamil Nadu would only remain a wish of sister Tamilisai Soundarajan, BJP’s state chief.Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, a dalit party supporting DMK in the bypoll to RK Nagar Assembly seat, said that BJP’s victory has sounded a warning to democratic forces. “The time has come to begin coordination of all the secular parties across the country. We have to keenly study how the BJP has managed to come back to power again and again in Gujarat for over 20 years despite disgruntlement,” VCK president Thol Thirumavalavan said. Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam separately greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Tamil Nadu unit of BJP celebrated the party’s victory by distributing sweets and bursting crackers at its party headquarters here on Monday.

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Congress leaders take cold comfort in the ‘Fall of Modi’

As initial trends started showing, the Congress being ahead of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, the party headquarters at Akbar road was filled with excited supporters from across the country.However, as the day proceeded and the BJP inched closer to the victory, the celebratory mood turned somber with more media persons thronging the office premises. The party’s robust presence in the initial trends was applauded by the senior party leaders with the former president Sonia Gandhi visiting her son and the new party president Rahul Gandhi at his residence.Back at the Congress office, party workers kept on waiting for Rahul throughout the day. He, however, did not turn up and rather made his way to Parliament.Party leaders termed Gujarat election results as the “fall” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reign. “We have got more support this time if we compare it with 2014 Lok Sabha results when the BJP had won all the 26 seats,” said former All India Mahila Congress, President Shobha Ojha.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Out of 112 female candidates, only 11 chosen in these polls

In a democracy a woman has the Right to Vote, and as a sign of progressive democracy there should be equal representation by them in the House as well. Sadly, the scene will be different in the Gujarat Assembly these elections.A total of 112 women candidates were in fray for the state Assembly election, but only 11 candidates are now going to make their way to the House. Only 11 per cent of the total fielded candidates have won people’s mandate.This is the lowest number as compared the last three Assembly elections. After 2002 election, there were 12 women candidates in the House. In 1995, there were two female candidates; in 1998, four women representatives were elected as Member of State Legislative Assembly (MLA). However, in 2007, there were 15 members and in 2012 elections there were 16 MLAs.

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP workers celebrate Modi, their ‘Tiger’

Even as votes were being counted to declare the Gujarat Assembly election verdict, workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gathered in hordes as early as 9 am outside the party headquarters at 11, Ashoka Road on the chilly Monday morning.The party office bore life-size hoardings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As the day proceeded, the stretch from bungalow number 5 to 11 was strewn with flower petals, paper, placards, balloons and the remains of fire-crackers. Enthusiastic party workers expecting a win carried BJP flags and saffron caps and had their faces smeared with gulal (colour) as they shouted slogans such as “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Modi Zindabad”.The celebrations also had a tinge of patriotism with Vande Mataram being played in the background. As the leads from various constituencies started coming in, party workers burst cartons of fire-crackers, often posing for the camera. A large number of party supporters, organised in different groups, danced to thumping dhol beats, raising slogans of “Ghar Ghar Modi”.“I have campaigned in Surat for three months without sleeping for days. The youth is with Modiji,” said Aakash Gupta, 24, a volunteer. Saffron supporters holding a life-size hoarding of Modi had it signed as “Ek Hai Tiger”.“I am a Modi Bhakt and I say it openly. Gujarat is what it is because of Modi. Congress must remember now that people have rejected them for indulging in appeasement and politics of caste,” said Sanjay Chauhan, a supporter. Hoping for a sweeping victory, Harpreet Singh, a Yuva Morcha member of the party’s Delhi wing, said, “We have ordered 1,000 kg boondi ladoo to make sure each supporter has the sweetmeats to enjoy the fruit of their labour of so many months.”

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Patidar voters are split in their support for BJP

The Patel community which was up in arms against the BJP-led Gujarat government on the issue of reservation, has looked split in its support for the party. The rural population voted for the Congress while urban voters trusted the development narrative of the BJP. These results are the mixed impact of the reservation agitation run by Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and agrarian crisis.Some of the Patel leaders of the BJP who were big political names and lost belonged to rural parts. The leading names from the community which lost are Dilip Sanghani, Chiman Sapariya, Raghavji Patel, Naranbhai Patel, Bavku Undhad, Rajni Patel, Kanti Amrutiya and Haribhai Patel.On the other side, BJP leaders like deputy CM Nitin Patel, former Gujarat BJP chief RC Faldu, ministers Jayesh Radadiya and Vallabh Kakadiya, former minister Kaushik Patel and Govind Patel, parliamentary secretary Babubhai Patel, chief whip in the Assembly Pankaj Desai and MLA Rushikesh Patel and some others managed to secure their seats.The voters of urban areas gave 17 seats to the BJP. While out of 36 seats in rural Gujarat, Patel voters favoured the Congress on 12.However, Nitin Patel denied that the BJP suffered. “The party will analyse the results but there is no reason to believe that the community gave their mandate against the BJP. Many Patel candidates have won with great leads.”Hardik Patel said, “I will not give compliments to BJP for this victory as this was not the outcome of honest efforts. People of Gujarat have become aware and more awareness is required. EVMs were tempered.”“Our fight for the rights of people shall continue, we will fight for reservation, agrarian issues and for youth on the basis of truth. Those who give fight, win,” Hardik said.He summed up the BJP’s victory saying, “Hardik has not lost, unemployment, education, health, and moist eyes of farmers have lost this battle. In fact, Gujarat’s people have lost and EVM tampering has lost.”Agitation heatPatidars, or Patels, accounted for about 14% of population They were influential in about 65 of all 182 Assembly seats About 25% of Gujarat’s MLAs were Patidars OBCs, excluding Muslim OBCs, comprised 40% of population ST population (15.5%) outnumbered SC population (7%)

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Gujarat elections 2017: Pro-incumbency has helped us win Gujarat, says Jitendra Singh

Hailing the sixth successive victory of the BJP in Gujarat, Union Minister and top party leader, Jitendra Singh, said that the party has introduced the concept of “pro-incumbency” which has helped them win comfortably even after being in power in the state for 22 years.Amid victory celebrations at the party headquarters, Singh said that it is the BJP which has changed the definition of politics by introducing “pro-incumbency” as a factor. “Till this time, only anti-incumbency was known as a factor for winning or losing an election. But the BJP rule in Gujarat has established pro-incumbency as a major factor in winning peoples’ mandate,” said Singh, minister of state (MoS) in PMO.Hitting at its rival Congress, Singh said, in the history of Indian democracy, winning the state elections after 22 years of rule with a comfortable margin means that people, in particular the youth, have rejected the politics of caste, which the Congress party had been trying to base their campaign on.“The youth, which constitutes almost 40 per cent of the population, has forgotten the old baggage of caste. The Congress tried to make it a caste election, which did not work. We won on performance and delivery and not by visiting 28 temples like the Congress president,” said Singh. The Congress retained its traditional vote in pockets. However, its “negative” strategy of “intimidating” the Patidar community, failed on the ground, he said.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Rahul Gandhi’s soft ‘Hindu’ strategy a success

Gujarat elections saw a new avatar in the ‘janeu-dhari’ and ‘tilak’-sporting Rahul Gandhi, as he hopped temples to woo Hindu voters. During his unusual temple run, beginning with Dwarkadheesh temple, Rahul covered nearly two dozen temples across the state. His pilgrimages included the famed Somnath temple, which has been at the centre of political discord between Congress and BJP, as well as the Akshardham temple of the Swami Narayan sect that has worked as a bulwark for the BJP.He even visited a Navarati pandal in Chandi Bazar, Jamnagar. And when his Hindu branding was challenged, Rahul declared at Bahuchara ji temple, “Main Shiv ka bhakt hoon. Sachaai mein believe karta hoon. BJP jo bhi bole, main apni sachaai mein believe karta hun (I am devotee of Lord Shiva, and I believe in honesty. Whatever the BJP may say, I believe in my own honesty and truth).”By wearing Hinduism on his sleeve, Rahul perhaps forced even Prime Minister Narendra Modi to up his temple visits amid a punishing campaign schedule.To keep the BJP at bay on religious issues, Congress took every care to steer clear of its minority appeasement image. In none of Rahul’s rallies were there any Muslims on the dais, so much so that even Ahmed Patel was kept at a safe distance.Rahul’s temple visits also underscored the fact that the Congress now believes that it will have to reclaim its earlier ‘soft Hindu’ party image, and undo the damage inflicted by its anti-Hindu, pro-Muslim image.The future course of Indian politics might seen a more “Hindu” Rahul Gandhi. It would be interesting to know how Rahul, after tasting relative success in Gujarat, deal with the Ram Mandir issue.RAHUL’S NEW AVATARSome of Rahul’s pilgrimages included the Somnath temple, the Akshardham temple of the Swami Narayan sect, the Bahuchara ji temple and a Navarati pandal in Chandi Bazar, Jamnagar To keep the BJP at bay on religious issues, Congress took every care to steer clear of its minority appeasement policy. Rahul forced even PM Narendra Modi to up his temple visits

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Gujarat elections 2017: One rebel leader eats words, other remains defiant

After BJP’s victory in Gujarat assembly election, the party’s MP Sanjay Kakade, who had predicted BJP’s loss on Monday stated that he is happy that prediction has gone wrong. Giving credit of Gujarat victory solely to the prime minister Narendra Modi,” Kakade said, adding, “Modi is real hero and I am zero.”Kakade had predicted dismal performance of BJP in Gujarat elections. He had claimed that his team had carried out a survey in Gujarat and as per the outcome of the survey, the BJP would get enough number of seats to form government in the state.However, after the results were out on Monday, Kakade stated that he is happy for party’s win and gave credit to Modi. “There was an anti-incumbency factor in the state and I had said that in spite of negativity against the party in the state, if it still wins, the will be only because of Modi.”Meanwhile, Nana Patole, the MP who rebelled and quit the party said, “The BJP has miserably failed to achieve 150 plus target set by Amit Shah. This despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing over 34 poll rallies and the party pulling in chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, Union cabinet ministers and ministers from the state governments. The BJP’s performance has been a reality check for the party.”

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Rahul Gandhi lauds party’s performance, claims decency its strength

Accepting the people’s verdict in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi struck a conciliatory note and lauded party workers for putting up a fight with “dignity and courage”.Though it lost, in what can be considered a moral victory, the party has managed to rake in 80 seats, the maximum since it last held power in the state in 1995.”My Congress brothers and sisters, you have made me very proud. You are different than those you fought because you fought anger with dignity. You have demonstrated to everyone that the Congress’s greatest strength is its decency and courage,” he said on Twitter.He said that the Congress party accepts the verdict of the people and congratulates the new governments in both states.”I thank the people of Gujarat and Himachal with all my heart for the love they showed me,” he said.Party communication department chief Randeep Surjewala took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra asking him “not to dream of Congress Mukta” India and took potshots at BNP, saying Rahul has pushed the BJP in the trap of 99, an allusion to the 99 seats that the BJP looked set to win. In Hindi, it translates into getting trapped in a vicious cycle that never end.

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Gujarat elections 2017 | The victory in Gujarat is special: PM Modi

After leading his party to a sixth consecutive win in his home state of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reiterated that the Gujarat polls were fought on the issue of development and ascribed the imminent victory of the party “purely” to development.”The victory was purely achieved on the subject of development. It’s a truth that is giving a new direction to India’s politics, which the public of Gujarat has given its approval to,” Modi said in an address to ecstatic workers at the party headquarters in New Delhi.Giving, yet again, a personal touch to politics, he said: “Thirty years ago, the poison of caste spread so badly in Gujarat that it took workers like me 30 years to get rid of it.”The Prime Minister, who spoke before the final numbers were announced, termed the party’s imminent victory as “historic”. “In this day and age, for a party to keep winning for so long is an extraordinary achievement. In Gujarat, BJP won all the seats it contested in 1989 Lok Sabha polls. We won most of the seats we contested in 1990. In 1995, in 1998, in 2002, in 2007 and in 2012 we won. We won most seats in Lok Sabha polls too,” Modi said.Modi also took a jab at the Congress, saying “The country has a government which has no ulterior intentions.”On Twitter, where he is one of the most-followed politicians in the world, the Prime Minister wrote: “The victory in Gujarat is special. Starting from 1989, people of Gujarat have been blessing BJP in every Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha election. It is an honour to be serving Gujarat for so many years. We will continue to work for Gujarat’s growth.”In his victory speech, Modi also lauded Gujarat’s party workers for continuing developmental work in the state. “For me, Gujarat polls are a matter of double happiness, because after I left the state three years ago, my colleagues there continued the good work,” he added.”In last few months, there were attempts again to sow seeds of casteism, but people rejected it, I congratulate them, but people must be alert. So many conspiracies were hatched in Gujarat by Congress, misinformation was being spread. People cannot bear it if anyone makes fun of ‘vikas’ (development).”

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Over 5.5 lakh voters chose NOTA option

While Gujarat Assembly elections 2017 witnessed some of the most interesting trends not just in terms of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coming back to power, though being nowhere close to its performance, and Congress improving its vote share, there is NOTA (None of the Above) too which has garnered voters attention. Over 5.5 lakh voters constituting 1.8% votes preferred NOTA, that allows voters not to choose for any of the candidates contesting in their constituency.According to numbers released by the Election Commission, NOTA ranked in 1.8 per cent or 5,51,294 of all votes polled in the Gujarat Assembly election. Interestingly, NOTA ranked higher than parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) that contested the Gujarat elections as well.Of the 29 seats of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), only three seats garnered votes more than NOTA whereas in the 26 seats, NOTA received more votes than AAP.In Mandvi, nearly 5,000 votes were given to NOTA whereas Gujarat Chief Minister’s constituency Rajkot West had 3,309 votes to NOTA. Rapar in Kutch had 4,614 votes to NOTA whereas in Ghatlodia, 4,173 votes were given to NOTA.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Saffron wave holds on to South Gujarat

Though the Congress had its best performance in the last six elections, it is the party’s performance in Saurashtra, a traditional hub of the BJP, that could be the biggest takeaway.In 2012, the Congress won just 11 seats out of 48 in Saurashtra, and the BJP 29. The Congress has increased its tally to 26, even as the BJP’s has declined to 22.The BJP had the upper hand in Rajkot, from where Chief Minister Vijay Rupani contested, as it won five out of eight seats. In Bhavnagar, from where its state president Jitu Vaghani contested, Bjp won six out of seven seats.Buoyed by the Patel reservation agitation and support for its leader Hardik Patel, the Congress made a clean sweep in several districts. The party won all three seats in Morbi, four in Gir Somnath, and five in Amreli.Analysts said that the agrarian crisis in Saurashtra, which had led to anger against the BJP, also helped the Congress in many seats.Congress leaders Paresh Dhanani, and ex-MPs Virji Thummar and Vikram Madam, were among the key winners for the Congress.BJP holds on to south GujaratIf the BJP has been able to hold on to power in the state, it is largely thanks to south Gujarat, where it managed to more or less retain its seats in spite of GST’s impact, the Patel reservation agitation and other factors.The BJP had swept south Gujarat in 2012 winning 28 out of 35 seats on offer. In this election, it won 25 of the seats, while the Congress could increase its tally from six to eight. The Chhotu Vasava-led Bhartiya Tribal Party won two seats.The Congress was banking heavily on south Gujarat, especially Surat, but it failed to make inroads. In Surat city, the Congress failed to win a single seat out of 12, while in Surat Rural, the party won only one seat out of four.The Congress had high hopes from the five Patidar-dominated seats in Surat, but it could not breach the BJP’s fortress. The ruling party had dropped four of MLAs in the five Patidar-dominated seats to minimise the impact of the Patidar anger, and the strategy worked well.Minister Ganpat Vasava won for the fourth straight time from Mangrol (ST) seat, while former minister Chhatrasinh Mori of BJP lost from Jambusar seat.Tushar Chaudhary and former MLA Dhiru Gajera were among the other prominent losers from the Congress.Jitu Chaudhary, the Congress MLA from Kaprada (ST) seat, defeated BJP candidate Madhu Raut with a margin of just 170 votes.The BJP won three seats out of four in Navsari, and four out of five in Valsad. The Congress won both tribal seats in Tapi district, and also the Dangs seat.In Narmada district, the Congress won one seat and the Bhartiya Tribal Party the second one.Congress gains in KutchThe Congress seems to have gained in Kutch as it has won three seats out of six as against one in 2012. In 2012, the Congress won Abdasa, whereas this time, it has won Mandvi and Rapar along with Abdasa.BJP won Gandhindham, Bhuj and Anjar as against 2012 when it won five seats: Mandvi, Gandhindham, Bhuj, Rapar and Anjar.The Congress won Mandvi, Abdasa and Rapar with a margin of nearly 51,000, 10,000 and 15,000, respectively, whereas the BJP won Gandhidham, Bhuj and Anjar with a margin of nearly 20,000, 14,000 and 9,000, respectively.BJP’s Nimaben Acharya and Vasanbhai Ahir won for the second time.Congress loses edge in central GujaratThe BJP further strengthened its position in central Gujarat widening its gap with rival Congress. The Congress feels that aligning with agitating Patidars alienated the powerful Kshatriya community in the region. It has been a traditional supporter of the Congress. On the other hand, the Patidar agitation was not effective in the region resulting in net loss of two seats.Of the 40 seats that went to the polls in second phase, the BJP won 22 seats, while the Congress managed 16. Two seats went to independents. In 2012, BJP won 20 seats followed by 18 by the Congress, while one seat gone to the NCP and one to an independent candidate.Before 2012, central Gujarat region was a Congress stronghold. The BJP got strength after cooperative dairy leader Ramsinh Parmar defected to it during the recent Rajya Sabha polls. While Parmar lost from Thasra, the Congress gained in terms of seats.Congress retains seats in North When Congress dissidents in North Gujarat were up in arms after ticket distribution in North Gujarat, it seemed that the party would lose badly in the region. Mainly the opposition was against Thakor leader Alpesh Thakor, but surprisingly, the Congress did well in this region. On the other side, the BJP failed to save two of the ministers in Vijay Rupani’s government. This is the region where the hometowns of BJP bigwigs like PM Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and former CM Anandiben Patel are.

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Gujarat elections 2017: NOTA gets more votes than AAP in Gujarat

NOTA was more popular than the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidates in the 2017 Assembly elections. In fact, in all of the 29 seats (except two) that the party contested, NOTA polled the third highest votes after Congress and BJP.The AAP candidates also continued the party’s trend of losing their deposits. It should be noted that all the candidates of AAP had lost their deposit in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. That was the first time the AAP had contested in the polls in Gujarat.In fact in the 2017 elections, except for eight seats, the party got votes in three digits in the rest of the seats it contested.It can take solace from the fact that in Katargam and Bapunagar its candidates came third.In places like Chhota Udepur, the AAP unwittingly cut into the leading parties votes. Congress won Chhota Udepur with a slim margin of 1093 votes. It should be noted that the party had been called the BJP’s B-team after it put up candidates in seats where the winning margin was slim. At that time it was believed that AAP candidates would cut into the anti-BJP’s votes. In Chhota Udepur, it seems the AAP and another independent ended up helping the Congress.On the party’s poor performance, Harshil Nayak, spokesperson for the AAP said that the votes polled by the candidates have come as a shocker. “We were not expecting to poll such low number of votes. In fact, in places like Kamrej we had set up a helpline asking people to give us missed calls to let us know if they supported us and we had got 11,000 calls,” said Nayak. The party won 1454 votes in Kamrej.It should be noted that before going to polls, the party had claimed that it would concentrate its energy on 10 seats where it was likely to get good response. It fared poorly in most of the 10 seats.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | EVM-tampering charges now seem silly, but Hardik Patel still at it

The close contest between the BJP and Congress in Gujarat elections, that swung like a pendulum for most part of the day, seems to have drawn curtains on the controversy revolving around Electronic Voting Machines (EVM).The Congress, which continuously questioned the impartiality of the EVMs during the run-up to Assembly polls, did not raise the issue on counting day when it saw its tally growing. The only exception was Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, who attributed the BJP victory to EVM tampering. “I won’t greet BJP on its victory because these victories have been won through unfair means,” said Hardik. “The public of Gujarat has awakened but is required to be awakened more. That EVMs have been tampered with is a reality.”Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti cleared the air, saying, “No EVM has been tampered. Questions raised about EVM tampering have already been answered.” He added that voting had been conducted through Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) which enabled people to see whom they voted for. “All arrangements were made in Gujarat by the Chief Electoral Officer of the state in view of the counting,” he said.To remove all doubts of tampering, the Election Commission (EC) had ensured 100% coverage of elections through EVMs fitted with VVPAT machines.Before deciding to deploy EVMs and VVPATs in Gujarat elections, the EC had even arranged a Hackathon in which it invited all political parties to try and show if tampering was possible.Former chief election commissioner, T S Krishnamurthy, said EVMs have emerged as the “real winner” in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections, and their “bashing” should stop now. “They (EVMs) have done their job well,” Krishnamurthy said. “After all, the Congress has increased its position (in Gujarat, as compared to the last elections). Some BJP leaders have been defeated. EVMs have served their purpose.”Blaming both the Congress and the BJP for attacking EVMs at their convenience, he pleaded that the debate should now stop. To this end, Krishnamurthy referred to a book authored by BJP national spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao some years ago casting doubts on EVMs. “If they (the political parties) want to show (sic) their responsibility, they have to go to court or to an independent body of technical experts and prove it,” he said.Former chief election commissioner H.S. Brahma also said that VVPATs could not be tampered with. “I firmly believe that our EVMs and VVPATs cannot be tampered with,” he said. “This matter should be closed once and for all.EVM is a standalone machine. The question of hacking doesn’t arise.” Two other former chief election commissioners N. Gopalaswami and Naveen Chawla have also said that they believe EVMs cannot be tampered with.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Congress sweeps holy towns; wins 10 of 14 seats

The BJP emerged the winner in the battle for Gujarat, winning 99 of the 182 assembly seats on offer, but the Congress had a clear upper hand as far as assembly seats, which are home to famous temples, are concerned. In fact, the Congress won more than twice such seats as compared with the BJP.While the BJP retained Dwarka, Jetpur (home to Khodaldham temple) and Halol (home to Pavagadh) seats, the Congress swept the other holy towns such as Somnath, Becharaji, among others.In Somnath, Congress candidate Vimal Chudasama defeated minister and BJP nominee Jasha Barad by a margin of 20,000 votes. It was at the historic Somnath temple in Somnath that the controversy over Congress president Rahul Gandhi being listed as a non-Hindu in a register had erupted.In Junagadh, which is home to Girnar, senior BJP MLA Mahendra Mashru suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Congress candidate Bhikhabhai Joshi. Joshi won with a little over 6,000 votes.The Congress also came up trumps in Thasra, where the famous Dakor temple is situated. The party’s candidate Kanti Parmar defeated Amul chairman and six-time MLA Ramsinh Parmar by over 7,000 votes.Becharaji, home to the Bechraji Mata temple, saw former home minister and BJP MLA Rajnikant Patel losing to Congress’s Bharat Thakor with a margin of over 12,000 votes.In Chotila, Congress’s Rutvik Makwana defeated BJP’s Zinabhai Dervaliya by a margin of over 22,000 votes. Makwana got 77,992 votes, as against 55,305 for Dervaliya.The Congress also won from the tribal reserved seat of Vansda in south Gujarat, where the Unai Mata temple is located. Anant Patel, the Congress candidate, won against Ganpat Mahla of BJP by over 18,000 votes.Danta (ST) seat in Banaskantha, home to the Ambaji temple, saw sitting MLA and Congress candidate Kanti Kharadi defeating BJP’s Malji Kodarvi by a margin of close to 25,000 votes. Incidentally, prime minister Narendra Modi had offered prayers at Ambaji temple on the last day of campaigning.Unjha constituency in Mehsana, where the Umiya Mata temple is situated, saw five-time BJP MLA Narayan Patel biting the dust against Congress’s Dr Asha Patel. Narayan Patel lost with a margin of 19,500 votes.BJP also had to face reverses in Abdasa seat, where the famous Ashapura temple is situated. Congress’s Pradhyumansinh Jadeja defeated BJP’s Chhabil Patel by a margin of over 12,000 votes.In Jamjodhpur, home to Umiya Mata temple in Sidsar, Congress’s Chirag Kalariya beat minister Chiman Sapariya with a margin of 2,500 votes.The BJP won four seats where famous temples are situated.Minister Jayesh Radadiya won from Jetpur seat, which is home to Khodaldham temple at Kagvad, by defeating Congress’s Ravi Ambaliya with a margin of over 25,000 votesIn Dwarka, sitting MLA and BJP candidate Pabubha Manek won by defeating Congress’s Meraman Ahir by over 5,700 votes.Minister Jaydrathsinh Parmar also emerged the winner from Halol seat, where the famous Pavagadh temple is located. Parmar defeated Congress’s Udesinh Baria by over 57,000 votes.BJP snatched Palitana seat from Congress in the polls. The party’s candidate Bhikha Baraiya defeated sitting MLA and Congress’s Pravin Rathod by over 14,200 votes from the holy town.

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What the verdicts mean…

The early jitters in the stock market on Monday morning showed how nervous investors were. The markets were confident of a BJP victory, thanks to the exit polls, but when early counting trends showed the party neck-and-neck with Congress, the Sensex tanked more than 800 points. Later, as counting progressed, it recovered.
Despite taking tough measures such as demonetisation and the brouhaha over GST rollout, the government has managed to keep voters under its wings. Now it can stick to its policy trajectory, with reforms and fiscal consolidation topping the agenda.

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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Tuesday 19 December 2017 1:30 ISTMust read’FRDI Bill will take away people’s bank deposits’: Mamata writes to Jaitley for immediate withdrawalForget sharing your data with banks, in Goa you need to share Aadhaar for paid sex<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>For IndiaThe issue of quota could be back in the political discourse with the Congress’s promise of reservation to Patidars having helped it to consolidate in Patel belts of Gujarat. In order to consolidate its Hindu vote-bank, the BJP’s call for Ram temple will reach a crescendo before 2019 elections. The Hindutva message will be pushed further and deeper. Reacting to Rahul Gandhi reworking his party’s strategy from minority outreach to soft Hindutva, the BJP will scale up Hindutva, along with issues like the ‘Triple Talaq’ in the run-up to 2019. This also means that despite being in office for three years, the Modi government is yet to suffer any substantial anti-incumbency wave. It can breathe easy in 2019 when it faces the next general elections. Trading community’s woes will now get more attention, especially after the results in the Saurashtra region, the diamond hub. The message is, reform with caution. Also, the middle class needs to be kept in mind. The echo of Monday’s results will be heard far beyond the boundaries of the two states and will impact upcoming elections in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. For GujaratGujarat has given one message loud and clear: The voter cannot be taken for granted. BJP got simple majority, but that’s about it. Congress has gained but doesn’t get to rule the state. Were it not for PM Modi, the BJP would have come close to experiencing defeat. Gujarat trusts Modi, but wants the party to work on unresolved issues. Congress could not encash 22 years of anti-incumbency, dissent over GST and Patidar support. Rahul fought gallantly, but will need the rank and file to convert narrow defeats into victory. It must now fight hard on people’s issues. For Himachal PradeshAn end of the road for BJP stalwarts Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal. While Shanta Kumar was already out of the race, the defeat of two-time CM Dhumal and BJP state president Satpal Singh Satti has sent shock waves through the party. With the last-minute decision of declaring Dhumal as its chief ministerial candidate backfiring, the BJP will now think of projecting leaders with a stronger grassroots connect in future Assembly polls. For modi-shah & the bjpThe iron grip of PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah on the party will continue. Modi remains the principal vote-catcher of the BJP, while Shah remains the ‘Shah’ of strategy. There will be more centralisation of power within the BJP. The loss of over a dozen seats will act as a wake-up call for the duo. They will now have to re-assess the impact of hard reforms measures on the rural electorate (results in rural Gujarat being a pointer). For Rahul & CongMonday’s results can boost opposition morale in the run-up to the crucial seven state elections in 2018 and the general elections in 2019. Unlike in Gujarat, the Congress state leaderships in Rajasthan and Karnataka are popular. A stronger Congress can also become the nucleus around which all other non-BJP regional parties can gather. Congress has recorded its best performance in Gujarat and this will definitely be a moral booster. It has taken away some 16 seats from the BJP in Gujarat — the credit for which should go to party president Rahul Gandhi. For Hardik & PatidarsDuring the campaign, Hardik Patel was confident that the Patidars would back him, and, therefore, Congress would defeat BJP. That hasn’t happened. He has said that the agitation will be more intense if BJP wins; but he must now introspect as the Patidars in urban areas haven’t voted for Congress, and those in rural areas voted against BJP because they suffered an agrarian crisis. With BJP back in power, Patidars may not get the reservation quota. For Economy & ReformsThe early jitters in the stock market on Monday morning showed how nervous investors were. The markets were confident of a BJP victory, thanks to the exit polls, but when early counting trends showed the party neck-and-neck with Congress, the Sensex tanked more than 800 points. Later, as counting progressed, it recovered. Despite taking tough measures such as demonetisation and the brouhaha over GST rollout, the government has managed to keep voters under its wings. Now it can stick to its policy trajectory, with reforms and fiscal consolidation topping the agenda.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: 100% match in random vote count on EVMs and VVPAT slips, confirms EC official

There was a “100 per cent match” in the random vote count on EVMs and paper trail slips carried out by the Election Commission in 182 Gujarat polling stations today, a senior official said.The EC had said it would conduct random vote counts on EVMs and VVPAT slips in one polling station in each of the 182 Assembly constituencies. “There was a 100 per cent match in the results of the EVM and the slips produced by the paper trail machines,” the official of the election machinery said. The polling stations were decided through a draw of lots in which the candidates or their agents were also present. The EC had decided to match the tally in select polling stations amid allegations that the EVMs were compromised to help the BJP.In Gujarat, Chief Electoral Officer B B Swain also said that the vote count through the EVMs matched with the VVPAT in all the constituencies where the paper trail slips were counted. Officials did not find any mismatch in the EVM vote count and VVPAT slip count as the counting concluded today evening, Swain said. “This was basically a confidence-building exercise. We did this at one polling booth each in all the 182 seats after the counting ended today. At all these booths, vote count of a randomly selected EVM matched with the slips of the connected VVPAT. There was no mismatch at any of the booths,” he said.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Congress’ bitter-sweet defeat is story of missed opportunity Besides, as announced earlier, VVPAT slips were taken into consideration during today’s counting at 10 booths across seven constituencies as the presiding officers of these booths had failed to wipe out the votes from the EVMS during the mock poll ahead of the voting on December 9 and 14. In addition, four such new cases had emerged during today’s counting at Vagra, Dwarka, Ankleshwar and Bhavnagar- Rural seats, Swain said.Also read5 reasons why BJP managed to win Gujarat for consecutive 6th time”There was a mismatch of some votes on one booth each of these four seats. This occurred because the Returning Officer must have made the same mistake but it could not be detected earlier. So we took into account VVPAT slips for these booths during the counting and resolved the issue,” he said.On December 15, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a plea of the Gujarat Congress seeking counting of at least 20 per cent of the paper trail slips manually along with votes cast in the EVMs in each constituency of the state.It had said that the court cannot interfere unless the Election Commission of India’s decision to restrict the EVM- VVPAT paper trail to one booth per constituency is proved “arbitrary”, “illegal” or “malafide”.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: How BJP managed to minimise effect of GST and demonetization in urban pockets

Once again, it was the urban voter who stood rock solid behind Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat assembly polls, giving the party 42 out of 48 seats from cities.Observers attribute ‘There Is No Alternative’ (TINA) factor behind BJP’s continued hold in cities as Congress does not have proper organisation and credible faces that could convert the dissent into votes. BJP won 12 of 16 seats in Ahmedabad city, all 12 seats in Surat, all six seats in Vadodara, all three seats in Rajkot, two each in Bhavnagar and Jamanagar, and one each in Mehsana, Navsari and Gandhinagar.Experts say there is practically no political opposition to BJP in cities of Gujarat and voters have no way to go. This is exactly what had happened in the elections to urban local bodies, which BJP had swept in early 2016, said Prof Dinesh Shukla a former Professor of Political Science at Gujarat University. “This has reinforced the fact that BJP is predominantly an urban party. Congress does not have an organisation that can even remotely compare with that of BJP. Sewa Dal is not active. While RSS has cadre that reaches out to voters. Results are also an indication that demonetization and GST were not such big issues that seemed at one point of time,” said Shukla.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Congress’ bitter-sweet defeat is story of missed opportunity BJP swept these seats, even as these areas are facing adverse effect of demonetization and GST, which has aggravated economic slowdown and stopped net job creation. Jayendra Tanna, President of Gujarat Traders’ Federation said that even the business community, which had suffered setbacks because of GST and demonetization, has voted for BJP and now the ball is in BJP’s court to ensure that interest of this section of society is taken care of. “Businessmen who had protested against the shortcoming and complicated compliance of GST, got swayed away by the cosmetic changes the government did in GST in the run up to the elections. They felt that the government is sensitive about their hardships. Now it is government’s turn to ensure that small businessmen do not suffer,” said Tanna.He feels that non-business community voted for BJP as it was influenced by the campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi rather than genuine issues that affect the masses. “These issues, that affect the masses on daily basis, were never debated during the campaign. They got swayed by a campaign that did not cater to their day-to-day requirements,” said Tanna.

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Himachal Elections 2017: From PM Modi to Virbhadra Singh, who said what after BJP’s thumping win

Unseating Congress from power in Himachal Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday registered an emphatic win over the ruling party in the 68-member Assembly. The latest trend showed that the BJP has won 34 seats while it was leading on 10 other seats. Its rival Congress won 19 seats and was leading in 2 other constituencies, as per the latest trends. The BJP’s win turned sour as its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal and its state unit chief Satpal Singh Satti both were defeated in their respective constituencies. While Dhumal was lost the Sujanpur Assembly seat to his Congress rival Rajinder Singh Rana by about 3,500 votes, Satti was defeated in Una by Satpal Singh Raizada by over 3,000 votes.Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya Singh won from Arki and Shimla(Rural) respectively.Also readHimachal Elections: After PK Dhumal’s loss, Jairam Thakur summoned to Delhi; likely to be CMHere is how local and national leaders of the two parties reaction to the Himachal Pradesh Assembly election results:Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Also readHimachal Pradesh Election Results 2017 LIVE: BJP wins battle, Virbhadra Singh accepts defeatThe results in Himachal Pradesh show that if if do not work for the development and are embroiled in all wrong acts then after 5 years people will not accept you.Watch: PM Modi speaks at BJP Headquarters after party’s win in Gujarat, HimachalAmit Shah, BJP PresidentThe two-third lead in Himachal Pradesh shows that people there want to join PM Narendra Modi in the journey to development.Prem Kumar Dhumal, BJP CM candidatePersonal loss is not of much importance.The gain that victory has brought to state BJP is important. Thankful to people of the state for voting for BJP. In politics, sometimes one wins, sometimes one loses. I was not expecting to lose, I will do analyse this. Rajinder Rana, Congress (Who defeated Dhumal)It’s a symbol of people’s confidence in Congress. Thankful that they made me victorious. We have never stepped back from serving people in Sujanpur and we will always serve them.Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister I accept the victory of BJP. I, being the CM, take full responsibility of our performance here. I hope Vikramaditya keeps winning in future, like he won today.Vikramaditya Singh, CongressI’ll always stand with government, whichever party it might be of, and serve people. As a son, I am sad we couldn’t make it possible for him (Virbhadra Singh) to become the CM 7th time. We’ll analyse our drawbacks in meeting.Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister We are sad about Prem Kumar Dhumal losing but we are happy that people of Himachal Pradesh voted for the BJP.(With ANI inputs)Watch: BJP President Amit Shah speaks after Gujarat, Himachal win

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Gujarat Election Results: No matter who wins, when will a villager reap benefits of development?

Two years ago, when I visited a young Alastiben after treading downhill for close to two hours in the scorching sun, I found her helpless. In her early twenties, she was eight months pregnant. She was expecting her third baby. I asked her if she wanted to deliver her baby in a hospital. She nodded, but she said she was unable to. There was no motorable road for close to four kilometers in her hamlet of Nilungi in Narwad village of Kaprada block. There was no way she could walk so much with a baby in her womb to reach the highway.One of the worst blocks of South Gujarat, Kaprada constituency in Valsad district is not buying into the ‘development’ model propagated by the BJP. This is primarily because development has not reached there in the truest essence.The non-motorable road in Nilungi – Maitri PorechaEven as Congress candidate Jitubhai Chaudhari has won in Kaprada by a narrow margin of 120 votes, neither congress nor BJP have done much to fasten development in terms of health or education in the constituency.A narrow road from adjoining Moodgaon hamlet leads to Nilungi. Vehicles have to be parked at the mouth of the rocky road at Moodgaon. The road to Nilungi is replete with heavy rocks. It must be traversed by foot.At the base of the hill, in the hamlet of Nilungi, I met two pregnant women. Alastiben is one of them. She was shy. She did not want to interact with outsiders. She had many chores to finish at home. Later, she would go and work in her rice fields. Her two children, Sooraj (5) and Jayshree (2), flit around her, constantly clasping at her sari.After much coaxing, Alastiben sat down to chat. She says there are no maternal and child care services in the hamlet. “Nilungi is cut off from the world. The aanganwadi in Nilungi is non-functional. Last month, I had to walk four kilometres to and fro to the adjoining hamlet of Khadki to get myself checked. How do you expect a pregnant woman to undertake such arduous treks, uphill and downhill, on foot, to access medical care?,” she asked. The Gujarat government provides financial incentives to pregnant mothers, so that they may consider delivering babies in hospitals. But Alastiben was in no position to access such an incentive. Her biggest worry is that she may not be able to reach the hospital, due to lack of roads.Alastiben was illiterate. She was not aware of the date so as to when her baby is due for delivery. She did not know what time of day was it. She returned back to sweeping the floor of her house and to other chores at her farm. Closing the conversation, she said, “I would like to get hospitalised for my delivery, but it’s impossible as there are no motorable roads to take me there.”Village after village in Kaprada had hamlets bereft of motorable roads. Villagers said that women had gotten used to delivering babies at home because there would be no facilities to take them to hospital. At least 14 people had died over the last two decades because they could not avail emergency medical care on time. A major cause of death was due to falling off a tree and subsequent delay in reaching the hospital for treating internal bleeding. Another was diarrhoea and dehydration due to drinking water from contaminated sources. Also prevalence of leprosy is eight times more in Kaprada as compared to its urban counterpart of Valsad block.The urban-rural divide is stark in the results of Gujarat’s Assembly Elections this year. Kaprada falls in Valsad district consisting of six talukas. It is one of the most backward districts in Gujarat. On the other hand, 60 kilometers away in the very Valsad district, urban Valsad constituency has developed into a buzzing city with top-class facilities.BJP candidate Bharatbhai Patel has won by a margin of 43,092 votes in urban Valsad constituency, while Congress has registered a win in Kaprada. Two blocks at either ends of the development in Valsad district have different party leanings. In one of them, the buzzing urban Valsad block, BJP enjoys undivided confidence of the voters, while in the other, the rural hilly Kaprada, one of the most backward block in South Gujarat lying in the farthest corner of the Valsad district, a Congress candidate has registered a win, even if by a very narrow margin.But no politician had ever visited Nilungi, where Alastiben waited her pangs of labour to begin any moment. Her third baby was delivered at night in her hut. A relief is that her baby was born healthy and she is doing fine. But no political party has ever bothered to facilitate the construction of motorable roads there or question its absence till date.When I first wrote about the dire condition of Kaparada on social media, I received a phone call from the collector of Valsad – Ravi Kumar Arora. He had been embarrassed after reading my heart-wrenching posts of under-development in this corner of Gujarat on Facebook.Over the phone, Arora told me, “Madam, it is not like the government is not doing anything for the development of Kaprada.”I retorted back, “Why don’t you come and see the conditions for yourself?”The administration had run a search on my name and were curious to know what I was up to in Kaprada and my background as well as that of my family members.On January 27, a day after the Republic Day celebrations had wound up, Arora landed in Nilungi along with a battery of officials – a total of over 50 in all. They were block level officers, engineers, chief medical officers, nurses and health workers. He made each one of them walk downhill – a trek of four kilometers to reach Nilungi. Later, he promised Rs 1 crore for the village including building a road to Nilungi. Estimates were drawn and filed by engineers.Two years down the line, sitting from my office in New Delhi, I follow-up with the Sarpanch of Narwad village every month to know if the works of the new road have begun in Kaprada. They have still not begun. And I wonder, no matter which political party wins in Gujarat, will a villager ever reap the benefits of a decent motorable road?

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Most rich candidates bite the dust

Billionaires didn’t find it going easy in Gujarat polls. A large number of them had to taste defeat and only two from BJP made it to the hustings.Dhanjibhai Patel from Wadhwan in Surendranagar district defeated his Congress rival Mohan Patel by a margin of over 21,000 votes. Dhanjibhai had assets worth Rs 115 crore.Former Industries Minister and BJP strongman Saurabh Patel won from Botad after a roller coaster ride. Patel, whose assets had doubled in last five years, has declared assets worth Rs 135 crore in in 2017 affidavit.Indranil Rajguru of Congress, with assets worth Rs 141 crore lost to Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani by a margin of 55,000 votes from Rajkot – West constituency. It was one of the most high profile contests in the state as it was matter of do-or-die for ruling BJP. Rajguru had represented Rajkot East earlier.Congress candidate from Daskroi in Ahmedabad, Pankaj Patel, who was the richest candidate with assets worth Rs 231 crore lost to BJP strongman Babu Jamna Patel, who had declared assets worth Rs 48 crore.Ashok Lal, a Congress candidate from Jamnagar – South lost to former BJP state President R C Faldu by a margin of 16,000 votes. Lal had declared assets worth Rs 109 crore.Congress candidate Raghu Desai from Chanasma in north Gujarat lost to outgoing Labour and Employment Minister Dilip Thakor of BJP. Desai had declared assets worth Rs 108 crore.Dharmendra Vaghela, and independent candidate who was challenging BJP strongman Madhu Srivastava from Vaghodia in Vadodara lost by a margin of 21,000 votes. Vaghela was supported by Congress and had declared assets worth Rs 97 crore in his affidavit.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Results won’t have any bearing on Karnataka polls, says Siddaramaiah

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today said the results of the Gujarat Assembly polls would not have any impact on the Assembly election in the state, which is due early next year.”The election results of one state will not have an effect on the election of another state. The issues will be different. Whatever may the Gujarat poll results be, it will have no impact on Karnataka,” he told reporters at Yadgir in the northern parts of the state.The Congress leader also claimed that by ensuring the party’s victory in the Assembly polls, Karnataka would give the “first gift” to newly-appointed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his leadership.Also readAssembly Elections 2017: Gujarat, HP results lesson to parties indulging in caste-politics and dynasty, says Amit ShahClaiming that there was no anti-incumbency against his government, Siddaramaiah said if it was there, the Congress would have got to know about it in the Nanjangud and Gundlupet bypolls, which the party won by big margins.”I am sure that in 2018, we will come back to power hundred per cent,” he added.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Rahul’s campaign reminded us of Indira Gandhi, ‘moral win’ for Congress, says Ashok GehlotThe Congress has already announced that Siddaramaiah will be its face in the Karnataka Assembly polls.Expressing doubts about the BJP’s performance in Gujarat, despite anti-incumbency and a strong undercurrent against it, the chief minister said the poll results lent credence to the doubts regarding the electronic voting machines (EVMs).Raising apprehensions that the EVMs could be tampered with, Siddaramaiah had recently demanded the use of ballot papers in the next Assembly polls in the state.Suggesting that in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP was expected to win because of the anti-incumbency factor against the Congress, he pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah were from Gujarat and claimed that the duo had taken the Gujarat election as a “prestige issue”.He also acknowledged that the strategy of Modi and Shah of using the “Gujarati pride” card had effectively worked in the saffron party’s favour.Though there was an undercurrent and a strong anti- incumbency factor against the Gujarat government, Modi had asked for votes pointing out that he was from the state, Siddaramaiah said, adding, “Most probably, this worked.” Noting that the trends of the results showed an improved performance of the Congress, the chief minister gave the credit for that to Rahul Gandhi.”I feel, in Gujarat, we have won despite losing. The people have shown their support to Rahul Gandhi’s leadership,” he said.Pointing at Modi and Shah’s Gujarati origin and the fact that the BJP was in power both in Gujarat and at the Centre as factors behind the saffron party’s performance, the Congress leader accused it of polarising the voters by systematically playing the communal card.”They (BJP) are playing it in Karnataka also by triggering communal tensions with an intention to polarise the voters. But it will not happen here,” he said.The BJP is headed for a record sixth straight victory in the Gujarat Assembly polls today. The party is also set to evict the Congress from Himachal Pradesh.

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Gujarat Election Results: Did NOTA cost Congress the state?

The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) will end up forming the government for the sixth term, but in some constituencies the elections saw NOTA as a key player.NOTA or None of The Above is exercised by a voter when s/he does not wish to choose any of the candidates on the ballot.The vote share of NOTA stands at 1.8%, higher than that of parties such as the BSP and the NCP. In essence, if NOTA was a party, it would have been the third most polled beside Congress and BJP. In all, 5,40,566 NOTA votes were recorded in Gujarat, the Election Commission shared on its website. According to the constitutional body, 1.8% of the voters didn’t vote for any party. BJP so far has won 49% of the vote, while the Congress has won 41% of the vote.But the question arises: given how close this election has turned out to be, has the NOTA votes cost the Congress? Data suggests that the margin of victory for the BJP was less than 10% in 33 constituencies. Porbunder was one of the seats that witnessed this. The winning margin of the BJP’s Babubhai Bokhriya is 1,855, while NOTA received 3,433 votes. There are 15 seats where the difference between winner and loser is less than 1000 votes. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: No longer a cakewalk for BJP in 2019 LS poll, says TRS leaderThus it can well be said NOTA and the fact that Gujarat witnessed a sharp drop in voting, finally helped BJP bunk the anti-incumbency trend. Interestingly, the Supreme Court said that a re-election was out of the question if NOTA was ever a majority in a general, assembly or civic election. The landmark judgment that was passed last month debunked a petition and said that conducting polls was an expensive exercise.Also read5 reasons why BJP managed to win Gujarat for consecutive 6th timeA bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra further observed that to entertain the plea, the court would have to declare that a candidate should compulsorily get 51 per cent of the votes to be declared winner.The top court termed the suggestion “unworkable” and said, “we cannot destroy our democracy just like that… holding an election in our country is a very serious and expensive business. Today we cannot say that unless a person gets 51 per cent of votes, he cannot be declared elected.”

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Rahul’s campaign reminded us of Indira Gandhi, ‘moral win’ for Congress, says Ashok Gehlot

Expressing satisfaction over the “moral win” in Gujarat Assembly elections, Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Monday said the party, under the leadership of its president Rahul Gandhi, ran a very good campaign in the state. “Congress had a very good campaign in Gujarat, Rahul ji’s campaign reminded us of Indira ji,” Gehlot, who was the Congress election in-charge for Gujarat, said. The former Rajasthan Chief Minister said it was a win for Rahul’s issue based campaign. Also readAssembly Elections 2017: Amit Shah hails BJP win in Gujarat, HP as ‘victory of development over dynasty and polarisation”Whatever the results, it was moral win for Congress. It was a win for Rahul ji’s issue based campaign. BJP in home state of Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi ji and (BJP President) Amit Shah ji is struggling to cross even 100,” Gehlot said. As per the official trends provided by the Election Commission at 4:12 pm, the BJP has already bagged 66 seats while it is leading on 33 others. Congress has won in 57 Assembly constituencies while its candidates are leading on 20 other seats.Also read5 reasons why BJP managed to win Gujarat for consecutive 6th timeCongress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the Congress and its allies are poised to win 84 seats. He counted two independents”Two Independents who won support Congress and so does the NCP. So the Congress+ tally right now is 84 and BJP is 98-99,” Surjewala said.

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Assembly Elections 2017: Amit Shah hails BJP win in Gujarat, HP as ‘victory of development over dynasty and polarisation

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah on Monday hailed the party’s win in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections as a “victory of development over dynasty and polarisation.”Talking to reporters at the party headquarters in Delhi, Shah said, “We have once again emerged triumphant. I offer heartfelt gratitude to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh that they gave us anther opportunity to serve them.”This is a victory of development over dynasty and polarisation, he said.Also readSensex cheers over BJP win in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh polls”The two-third lead in Himachal Pradesh shows that people there want to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the journey to development,” the BJP chief who arrived at the party office to a rousing welcome said.”We are confident that when we go into 2019 elections under the leadership of PM Modi we will once again get people’s support and Modi ji’s aim for the youth in 2022 will become a reality,” he added.

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Assembly elections 2017 result: ‘I salute hardworking BJP Karyakartas,’ PM Modi’s victory tweet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the assembly election results in Gujarat and Himachal Prades indicate BJP’s effort for development in the state.”Election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh indicate a strong support for politics of good governance and development. I salute the hardworking BJP Karyakartas in these states for their hardwork which has led to these impressive victories,” PM Modi said on Twitter.”I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in BJP. I assure them that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly,” he said in a series of tweets.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to form a government in the state of Gujarat for the sixth time and end Congress’ reign in Himachal Pradesh.Union Minister Smriti Irani also hailed BJP’s win saying, “It’s a matter of happiness for us, this is the victory of development.””Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. It is a victory of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development,” she added.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Hardik Patel puts blame on EVMs, vows to continue ‘struggle’

Young Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Monday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been able to win in Gujarat Assembly elections only because of money and EVM tampering.Talking to reporters as trends showed BJP’s win in the Assembly polls, the 24-year leader said, “There has been tampering in EVMs in Surat,Rajkot and Ahmedabad, hence the gap is very less wherever tampering happened. EVMs are hackable.”He also vowed to continue his “struggle” for the people of Gujarat.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Key candidates and their fateAs per the official trends provided by the Election Commission at 3:30 pm, the BJP has already bagged 46 seats while it is leading on 63 others. Congress has won in 42 Assembly constituencies while its candidates are leading on 35 other seats.Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor urged all opposition parties to take this concern against EVMs forward. Also readGujarat Election Results 2017 LIVE: Rajnath Singh takes a dig at Rahul Gandhi, says ‘sar mundwate hi ole pade’ “If ATMs can be hacked, why can’t the EVMs,” he repeated his earlier remarks. Patel also congratulated the BJP for the win in a sarcastic tone. “I congratulate the BJP which wins the elections by tampering with the EVMs,” he said. On Saturday, Patel had also questioned Supreme Court’s decision to reject Congress’ plea, seeking cross-verification of Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trails with votes cast with Electronic Voting Machines and asked why they were used in the Gujarat elections.He had also said if EVMs were not tampered with then the exit polls’ results, which showed BJPs’ victory, would be proven wrong.Hardik Patel, who led the Patidar quota agitation last year, had extened his support to the Congress and had extensively campaigned against the ruling BJP.

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Assembly elections 2017 results: Spectacular win for BJP, have proved PM Modi’s hard work, says Shivraj Singh Chouhan

The chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, on Monday expressed confidence on the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) sweeping Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, adding this would be a spectacular victory for the party.While speaking to media here, Chouhan said, “This country will progress towards development only because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The spectacular victory in Gujarat and the way Himachal Pradesh has been snatched away from the Congress party has proved our the prime minister’s hard work and dedication for the country.””Not forgetting Amit Shah, who is another idol in the BJP we all look up to. I would also like to thank him for his loyalty and for being an inspiration in the party,” he added.Further thanking the people for their trust, Chouhan said, “I promise we will never fail on our endeavours and continue ‘vikas’ (development) of the state.”The Election Commission official trends for Gujarat polls show BJP winning on 10 seats and leading on 83 seats while Congress has won 7 seats and is leading on 69, at the time of filing this report.The BJP is also leading in Himachal Pradesh as it has won on 3 seats and leads on 40 seats, while Congress has won on one seat and is leading on 20.The counting of votes for 68 Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh and 182 constituencies in Gujarat began on Monday morning.The hill state went to polls on November 9 while elections were held in two phases in Gujarat on November 9 and 14 respectively.

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Gujarat Election Results 2017 LIVE: Good news for Congress as Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani wins in Vadgam

Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani won the Vadgam constituency in the pretigious Gujarat Assembly Elections on Monday.Vadgam, a reserved Assembly seat, saw a contest between Mevani and BJP’s Vijay Chakravarti.Popular among the Dalit youth, Mevani won the seat with more than 18,000 votes.Mevani came to limelight after he started organised protests against the Una killing in July, where four Dalits were beaten publicly for skinning a dead cow by vigilantes. ‘We want to overthrow the 22 years of BJP rule. But we are not endorsing Congress either… People of Gujarat are smart enough to choose whom to cast their vote to. We don’t have to tell them,’ Mevani had said during one of his campaign rallies.

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Gujarat Election Results 2017 LIVE: ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar,’ Union Minister Smriti Irani tells Congress

After a mid-morning scare, it seems the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to form a government in the state of Gujarat for the sixth time. The party may be slightly shaken by the fact that these elections have been more uncomfortable than it may have expected – with Congress making significant gains from the 61 seats it won in 2012 and run the BJP close.But Union Minister Smriti Irani said, ” Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar.” On Monday, ​I&B Minister hailed BJP’s win, “It’s a matter of happiness for us, this is the victory of development.”She continued, “Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. It is a victory of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development.”BJP MP Madhya Pradesh unit president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan said the workers are excited by the increase in the party in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections. “Anti-incumbency is not working there. The prime minister’s popularity is intact. Amit Shah’s strategy has worked,” BJP vice president Shyam Jaju said.BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya also said, “There is nothing to worry. We will form government in Gujarat with comfortable majority.”

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Assembly Elections 2017: Congress leader Ashok Gehlot says results depict victory for Rahul Gandhi’s campaign

As the BJP appears to be on its way to retain power in Gujarat, senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot today said he saw the results as a “victory” for the party due to the response its chief Rahul Gandhi’s campaign got from the people.Gehlot, the Congress election in-charge for Gujarat, said Gandhi ran a nice campaign in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trends from 181 seats in the state, gave the BJP a lead in over a 107 seats while the Congress was following with 65.The simple majority mark in the 182-member Assembly is 92. The Congress, however, appears to be on its way to improve its 2012 tally.”The way the Congress campaigned and the way Rahul Gandhi did bus trips, we put up a very nice campaign. Whatever the results, the country will see this as the Congress’ victory,” Gehlot said.”Through the campaigning and manifesto, we have been successful in reflecting the feelings of the people of Gujarat and we believe we have been successful in that,” he said.To a question, Gehlot said the saffron party tried to turn the direction of the campaign by raising the ‘son of the soil’ issue. “The BJP tried to turn the campaign in another direction by its ‘son of the soil’ comments and saying that he (Modi) is a prime minister from Gujarat. We have given a very nice message to the people of Gujarat,” he said.He said it is not the culture of the Congress to make such comments.”Rahulji (Gandhi) had said that Congress people will not make such commments against the prime minister. The manner in which the prime minister made comments against Manmohan Singhji, Soniaji and Rahulji, we did not want to respond to them in the same language,” he said.

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Development is the mantra of today’s polity, people are with Modiji: Prakash Javadekar

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said that the development is the mantra of today’s polity as the BJP headed for a victory in Gujarat and was set to retain power and also stayed on course to oust the Congress in Himachal Pradesh.Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped out of his car, greeted the media with a ‘namastey’ and flashed a victory sign, while entering the Parliament.Also readWatch: PM Modi flashes victory sign as BJP gets unassailable lead in GujaratWith poll trends favouring the BJP in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the results were an approval of the Modi government’s policies.Asked if the results were an approval of the Modi government’s policies, the former party president said, “Of course. It is an approval of the government.” Seeking a sixth straight term, the BJP was ahead in 100 seats while the opposition Congress is leading in 70 seats, the Election Commission (EC) trends available for 175 of the 182 seats at stake showed.The BJP has been in power in the state since 1995, winning consecutive elections in the home state of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP was ahead in 42 seats while the ruling Congress is leading in 22.

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Watch: PM Modi flashes victory sign as BJP gets unassailable lead in Gujarat

As the trends show BJP getting solid lead in Gujarat Assembly Elections results, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen jubilantly flashing victory sign outside Parliament.The stakes are high as the BJP looks for straight fifth victory in the Prime Minister’s home state.Though the initial trends showed a tough fight between the Congress and the BJP, the post-11 am leads show BJP topping the game.Top BJP leaders have already started reacting to the trends with many showing confidence in forming government both in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.”We will form government in both Himachal and Gujarat with clear majority,” Union Hom Minister Rajnath Singh said as election leads started trickling in.”The result is as per our expectations. BJP is leading in both the states. BJP will form a government with clear majority in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh,” the Home Minister added.The elections for 182-seat Assembly were held on December 9 and 14, after an acrimonious campaign, which was dominated by a face-off between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.In the 2012 elections, the BJP had won 115 seats while the Congress emerged victorious on 61 seats.The BJP has been in power in the state since 1995, winning consecutive elections in the home state of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.

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Bihar CM Nitish Kumar mocks at Opposition: criticism of EVMs out of fear of defeat

After the Congress, the AAP and Patidar leader Hardik Patel expressed apprehension that the EVMs may have been tampered, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar didn’t let go of the opportunity to mock at the opposition. He tweeted on Sunday night that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) have helped making elections “transparent and impartial” and those criticising them were doing so out of the fear of defeat. Kumar’s observation came a day before the counting of votes for the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, and in the backdrop of allegations of EVM tampering in Gujarat to favour the BJP. “Some may criticize the EVMs out of fear of defeat, but the EVMs have made elections transparent and impartial. Now, nobody can deprive anybody of the right to cast votes,” Kumar, who has predicted a comfortable majority for the BJP in Gujarat, tweeted in Hindi. The Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party and Patidar leader Hardik Patel have expressed apprehension that the EVMs may have been tampered with in Gujarat where the BJP has been in power for 22 years and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had served as the Chief Minister for over a decade.(With PTI inputs)

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Gujarat elections 2017: Counting of votes to begin at 8 am today, results by noon

The counting of votes for the Gujarat Assembly elections will commence at 8 am and most of the results are likely to be in by noon.State’s Chief Electoral Officer BB Swain said that counting of votes for the 182 Assembly seats will take place at 37 centres, including three in Ahmedabad. The Election Commission has set up two counting centres each in Surat and Anand, and one centre in the remaining 30 districts.”The counting of votes will begin at 8 am with counting of postal ballots. The counting of votes cast their Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will commence at 8:30 am once postal ballots have been counted,” Swain said. Initial trends about the winners are likely to emerge within two hours of the counting, and a clear picture is expected by noon.The counting of votes will take place in 182 halls across the 37 counting centres. In each hall, there will be 14 tables for the counting.”On each table, there will be once counting supervisor, one counting assistant, and one micro-observer. In addition, Election Commission has appointed one observer for each constituency,” he said.As many as 10,000 counting staff and 8,000 support staff have been deployed for counting of votes. More than 25,000 security personnel will be on guard during counting of votes.

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Ashok Gehlot says Cong set to form govt in Gujarat

AICC general secretary and Gujarat party in-charge Ashok Gehlot has expressed fear of EVM tampering in Gujarat polls, counting for which be conducted on Monday.The leader, albeit, hoped that party would form government by registering a landslide victory. He was in Jaipur after holing over a month long campaigning in the neighboring state, Gujarat.Interacting with mediapersons, Gehlot said, “Almost after 22 years Congress will form a government in Gujarat, provided the EVM’s are not tampered.”Gehlot said it was his personal opinion. He demanded the the election commission of India (ECI) should introduce ballot system for voting which would erase doubts over the EVMs.The exit polls in Gujarat have clearly indicated BJP retaining the state which it ruled for 22 years. The Congress, which campaigned aggressively across the state at the grass root level under the leadership of party president Rahul Gandhi, is sure of victory but expressed apprehensions over rigging of EVMs. Patidar leader Hardik Patel and a Congress leader also has expressed similar doubts recently.Whether the party forms government or loses with a thin margin to BJP, would certainly impact Rajasthan where Assembly elections are slated in December.MANDATE TODAYExit polls in Gujarat have clearly indicated BJP retaining the state which it ruled for 22 years. The Congress is sure of victory but expressed apprehensions over rigging of EVMs.

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP, Congress undecided on CM face

While several exit polls are predicting a clear victory for BJP in the Gujarat Assembly elections, not many are betting on who will be the next CM. There are many who believe that there may be a change of guard even if the BJP comes back to power. The race is also wide open in case the Congress pulls off a surprise win.Rupani was a surprise pick as CM after Anandiben Patel’s abrupt resignation last year. Rupani has done fairly well, and his tenure has largely been controversy-free, but in spite of the party showing faith in him, it is not certain that he will be leading the government once the results are announced.”If BJP wins more than 150 seats, it would mean that Patel community has strongly supported the party. In such a situation, the party is likely to install a Patel leader as the CM. This would tip the scale in favour of someone like (deputy CM) Nitin Patel or Bhikhubhai Dalsania, another non-controversial leader,” said a BJP leader requesting anonymity.Some others see Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya, who too is a Patel, as one of the contenders.CM Vijay Rupani’s comments in an exclusive interview with DNA before the elections that he would be happy with the role assigned to him also sparked off speculations. “I never expected any position. I have been saying since the day I was appointed CM that I am here to play a 20-20 match. Our high command will take a call on the issue,” Rupani had said.However, what could work in Rupani’s favour is that he remains grounded, and his tenure has been free of controversies.”Our national president Amit Shah has repeatedly said that Vijay Rupani will be CM and Nitin Patel deputy CM. The BJP has absolute clarity on this,” BJP’s Gujarat in-charge Bhupender Yadav, said.In case the Congress wins, a host of party leaders would be in the race for the CM’s post.Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki is seen as a contender for the post even though he did not contest in the elections. The fact that he had served as Union minister in the UPA government, and comes from a political family, hands him the advantage.Senior Congress leader and son of former CM Chimanbhai Patel, Siddharth Patel, who contested from Dabhoi seat, is also seen as a potential candidate for the top post. He is a Patidar, and if Congress wins, it would be to a great extent to support from the Patidar community.Two-term MLA Paresh Dhanani, who too belongs to the Patidar community, and one of the vocal critics of BJP government, could be a pick for CM if the party wins.Senior MLA Shaktisinh Gohil, who had served as minister in an earlier Congress government in the state, too seen by many as a potential chief ministerial candidate. He is the Congress’s national spokesperson, and had served as leader of opposition.

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Gujarat Election 2017: Confident of bagging more than two-third seats, says BJP

With a day left for the counting of votes in Gujarat Assembly election, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Sunday that he was confident of a landslide victory for ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”I am confident that the results will be in favour of BJP. BJP will form the government and will get more than two-third of the (182 Gujarat Assembly) seats,” Rupani told ANI on Sunday.”Gujarat public has preferred politics of development, and development was brought in by Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and the BJP,” he added.Replying to the allegations of Congress about tampering with electronic voting machines (EVMs), Rupani said the baseless charges had been made “so that the responsibility of defeat does not fall on Rahul Gandhi” when the results would be declared on Monday.Rupani also dismissed Congress ally Hardik Patel’s allegation of 140 engineers being hired to tamper 5000 EVMs, as insignificant.The counting of the two-phase Gujarat Assembly election will be held on Monday.While majority of exit polls have predicted BJP’s win, Congress is hopeful of bagging Patidar votes and overthrowing BJP from 22 years of governance in the state.

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Gujarat Election 2017: Exit polls are ‘nonsense’, BJP will definitely lose, says Jignesh Mevani

Jignesh Mevani candidate from Vadgam constituency and Dalit leader on Sunday rebuffed the exit polls while saying that Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP)’s debacle in the Gujarat Assembly Elections is certain.”These exit polls are fake and rubbish. These are nonsense. The BJP is definitely going to lose this time and will not form the government,” he said.After the two-phase Gujarat assembly elections concluded on December 14, the exit polls of various media houses predicted that the BJP would secure a big win in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf.Most of the exit polls showed that BJP would secure more than 100 seats out of total 182 in Gujarat.The results of the Gujarat assembly polls will be declared on December 18.

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Himachal Elections 2017: A day before counting, both BJP and Congress claim victory

With less than a day to go before the counting of votes begins in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls, both ruling Congress and the opposition BJP are claiming victory.While the Congress dismissed the exit poll results, which predicted a BJP victory, the saffron party expressed confidence that their performance would better projections.Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who returned to Shimla after 18 days, dismissed the exit poll results, saying he could well read the mood of the people of the state and the actual results would be opposite to the exit poll projections.”I am confident that ‘mission repeat’ would be achieved and tall claims made by the BJP would be proved wrong,” he told reporters.Singh said he visited every nook and corner of the state during the election campaign and has no doubt the Congress was in a strong position.Also readHimachal Elections 2017: Exit Polls predict BJP will oust Congress in the hill state “The Congress would certainly for the government.” On the other hand, former chief minister and senior BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal was highly optimistic and said the results would be same as projected in the exit polls.Also readBJP exudes confidence after Exit Polls predict wins in Gujarat and Himachal, Congress says wait for D-DayTalking to reporters at his Samirpur residence, Dhumal said the Congress party was upset with the exit polls and was making vague statements. “In fact, the BJP would win more seats than projected in exit-polls,” he said.Dhumal was declared the chief ministerial face of the BJP towards the end of the campaign.

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Hardik Patel’s allegations are baseless, no clarification required: Ahmedabad collector on EVM row

The Ahmedabad District collector on Sunday rejected the allegations levelled by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, saying they are baseless and no clarification was required.Patel has alleged that with the help of 140 software engineers, efforts were being made to hack the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) source code.In a tweet, he had also alleged that efforts were largely made to tamper EVMs in Patel and Adivasi assembly constituency areas.However, reacting to the allegations made by Patel, Ahmedabad Collector Avantika Singh said, “These are baseless allegations. I don’t think any clarification is needed. Even if any clarification is to be issued, it will be issued by EC.”Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | 4 Congress workers allowed to monitor CCTV in strong roomOn Saturday, Patel had also questioned Supreme Court’s decision to reject Congress’ plea, seeking cross-verification of Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trails with votes cast with Electronic Voting Machines and asked why they were used in the Gujarat elections.”Why are VVPATs used in the first place? It is used for smooth counting of votes wherever there is a fault. I do not understand Supreme Court’s stand on the issue,” he said.He also said if EVMs were not tampered with then the exit polls’ results, which showed Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in the state polls, would be proven wrong.”If EVMs do not malfunction then BJP will lose the election. I have 100% doubt on EVMs,” he said.The voting for the two-phase Gujarat Assembly election ended on Thursday and counting of votes will be held on December 18. Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | Post Guaratj polls, politics to weigh more on economy, says Assocham

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Re-polling on six polling stations underway

The re-polling at six polling stations of Gujarat commenced today.It is being conducted in Vadgam, Viramgam, Daskroi and Savli polling stations.The re-polling was ordered on Friday late night, citing technical reasons, where the Election Commission annulled the polling data that was present in the EVMs.Ahead of re-polling in the areas of Gujarat, security has been beefed up with polling agents, officers and police jawans prepared and stationed at their respective places for the elections.Elections were held in these six polling stations in the second phase of Gujarat Assembly polls on December 14.Apart from this, counting of votes will be done through counting of slips in VVPAT in 10 polling stations in Visnagar, Becharaji, Modasa, Vejalpur, Vatva, Jamalpur-Khadia, Savli and Sankheda as the presiding officers did not clear from the control unit the votes that were cast during mock poll, the poll commission added.The results of the Gujarat Assembly election will be announced on December 18.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Stakes high in Guj’s top 4 cities

To continue its winning streak in Gujarat and retain power in the recently concluded state Assembly elections for a fifth consecutive time, the BJP will have to clinch four major cities —Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat. Of the 37 seats across these cities, in the 2012 polls, BJP had won 34 seats. However, if the Congress is able to make inroads in these cities, it can upset BJP’s apple-cart.In Ahmedabad, traditionally, whichever party has taken the lead has gone on to form the government. In 1985, when Congress had last formed the government in Gujarat, it had won 10 of the 12 seats in Ahmedabad. At the time, Ashok Bhatt of BJP had won Khadia while Babubhai Vasanwala for Janata Party had won Ellis Bridge and the rest had been taken by Congress. Since then, Congress has never taken the city, nor state. In the 1990 polls, it bagged only two Muslim-dominated seats of Shaher Kotda and Jamalpur. Narhari Amin and Babubhai Vasanwala from Janta Dal won the Sabarmati and Ellisbridge seats respectively, while BJP bagged the rest. Ultimately, the Chimanbhai Patel-led Janata Dal won 70, while BJP won 67 seats and a JD-BJP coalition government was formed. However, since then, it has been BJP all the way, with Congress winning only the Muslim-dominated seats. It the outgoing Assembly, it only had two MLAs from the city.Now, poll watchers say that the Congress can add about two seats to its existing tally of two seats. The party though feels that it has a legitimate shot in six constituencies, mainly because of the Patidar agitation. Local factors like relative strength of candidates, demonetization and GST will also play a role. Party spokesman Kailash Gadhvi sees Congress victory in Danilimda, Jamalpur-Khadia, Shahpur, Thakkarbapanagar, Nicol and Vejalpur. “Demonetization and GST has hurt small businessmen and masses. Urban areas suffer from high cost of education and health services. There is high degree of joblessness affecting the youth. All these factors are now in our favour,” Gadhvi told DNA.Meanwhile in Surat, also a BJP bastion, the party currently holds all the seats. Economic slowdown aggravated by demonetization and GST has put a spanner in its loyal votebank of small traders and manufacturers. When GST was implemented, the city was at the forefront in its opposition in June and July this year. At the time, the party had to send a central team of tax officials to placate the businessmen. In the run up to the voting, Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Smriti Irani, Nirmala Sitharaman and Purushottam Rupala began an outreach to meet local leaders. Therefore, poll watchers feel the Congress might be able to spring a surprise in Varachha Road, Kamrej and Surat – North.Additionally, though BJP had won all the six city seats in Vadodara in 2012, the Congress is optimistic about winning there. In Rajkot, the BJP holds two of the three seats, but Congress just might flip the equation and gain a lead this year.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Hardik Patel questions authenticity of EVMs

PAAS leader Hardik Patel has questioned the authenticity of EVMs on Saturday. Patel posted several tweets saying that BJP would try to tamper with EVMs. He also made the prediction that if EVMs were not tampered, BJP would win only 82 seats.Talking to mediapersons, he also questioned SC’s decision to reject Congress’ plea, seeking cross-verification of VVPAT with votes cast with EVMs and asked why they were used in the Gujarat polls. “Why are VVPATs used in the first place? It is used for smooth counting of votes wherever there is a fault. I do not understand SC’s stand on the issue,” Hardik said.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Post Guaratj polls, politics to weigh more on economy, says Assocham

With conclusion of the high stakes Gujarat Assembly elections, and several other states to go to polls in 2018, political realities are expected to weigh heavily on economic decisions of the central government, said industry body Assocham based on its internal assessment.The industry chamber said that the political compulsions would also be visible on the forthcoming Union Budget, which is expected to be the last full-fledged budget of the Union government before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.”Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, a number of states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh are due to go to polls. Inevitably, the Centre and states concerned would have to factor in populist sentiments in their decisions. Any tough reforms such as flexibility in labour laws may not go well with the popular sentiment, and hence India Inc’s expectations should be muted,” the chamber said in a note, indicating that tough reform measures may not be taken.However, Assocham also said that streamlining of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and rationalisation of tax rates would be an important takeaway from the current political-economic environment.”GST had not gone down well with traders, and the issue was in focus during Gujarat elections,” it said adding that the Centre’s plans to streamline regulatory procedures and rationalise tax slabs would be welcome measures.The chamber said that SMEs would also get a boost in the coming days, starting with the Budget proposals, as the government starts focusing more on job creation in the run-up to the 2019 General Elections.”Going forward to 2018 and 2019, we expect major attention going to the rural landscape with initiatives like support to farmers, rural and agri infrastructure,” Assocham added.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | BJP leaders chalk out strategy ahead of D-Day

After the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections got over on Thursday, BJP leaders met at state party’s headquarters Shri Kamalam near Gandhinagar on Saturday. The meeting of top brass leaders was called by party chief Jitu Vaghani and attended by CM Vijay Rupani, Deputy CM Nitin Patel, Gujarat in-charge of BJP Bhupender Yadav and others.The senior leaders also met party candidates and the counting agents (who are present at counting venues) of BJP deputed for all 182 seats across the state. The party leaders guided them on the counting process, issues and objections that can be raised during counting, counting through VVPAT slips and EVMs and other aspects they should take care of.Talking to mediapersons after the meeting, Vaghani said, “Bhupender Yadav is a lawyer in the Supreme Court and has good understanding of laws. He guided counting agents on the process and related acts. We appealed our workers besides those of Congress and other candidates that they should maintain peace and composure during the counting process and should not create any ruckus in case of adverse results.”He added, “Congress has already started to cry foul over the issue of EVMs when even the counting process has not started leave aside results. They have conceded to their defeat and are trying to pass the buck on BJP and EVM to shield the failure of their leader Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat polls.”On the other hand, it is also learnt that the Gujarat government has booked the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad for oath taking ceremony of the new cabinet. The booking for December 25 has been made with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).Sources in AMC said, “We have received the booking application of Sardar Patel Stadium three days back for oath taking ceremony of new cabinet. The booking date indicates that the ceremony can be held on Christmas on December 25.”BJP won the Assembly polls with 116 seats in 2012 and Narendra Modi became the chief minister of the state. He along with seven cabinet ministers and nine state level ministers had taken the oath at Sardar Patel stadium on December 26, 2012.Cabinet oath at Sardar Patel stadiumGujarat government has booked the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad for oath taking ceremony of the new cabinet. The booking for December 25 has been made with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).BJP leaders guided workers on the counting process, issues and objections that can be raised during counting, counting through VVPAT slips and EVMs and other aspects they should take care of.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Seats with the most candidates saw a huge dip in voter turnout

The Gujarat Assembly elections saw a turnout of 68.41%, a little over 3.5% lower than 72.02% polling reported in the 2012 polls. An analysis of 20 seats, which had the highest number of candidates in fray reveals that the turnout in many such seats was lower by 5-6%, and even by more than 11% in one constituency.Botad seat, from where 25 candidates were in the fray, including former minister Saurabh Patel, saw the steepest fall in voter turnout among the 20 seats. From 79.26% in 2012, the Patidar-dominated seat saw turnout of 67.57% this time, a decline of over 11.5%. In Mehsana, which had 34 candidates in the fray, the highest among all 182 seats, the voter turnout was 69.99%, as against 75.56% in 2012, a sharp dip of more than 5.5%. Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel was pitted against Congress’s Jivabhai Patel from the seat.The Jamnagar Rural seat, from where BJP fielded Congress turncoat Raghavji Patel as its nominee, witnessed almost 7% drop in voting from 72.64% to 65.87%. The seat had as many as 27 contesting candidates.In the 2012 elections, 2.74 crore out of 3.80 crore voters or 72.02% had exercised their right to vote. In 2017, the number of voters rose to 4.35 crore, of whom, 2.98 crore or 68.41% voted. The difference in the voter turnout was 3.61%. Khambhalia seat in Saurashtra for instance saw a sharp fall of more than 8% in voting in this election as against the previous one.Two seats in rural Ahmedabad, viz. Viramgam and Sanand, were the only ones among the 20 which saw a higher turnout than in the 2012 elections. Incidentally, Congress had won both the seats in 2012. Viramgam seat, from where 22 candidates contested, saw 67.69% voting, about 1% higher than the previous elections. Congress turncoat Tejshree Patel was the BJP candidate from Viramgam this time.Similarly, Sanand constituency, from where 14 candidates contested, witnessed 75.42% polling as against 74.22% voting.Rural boostTwo seats in rural Ahmedabad, viz. Viramgam and Sanand, were the only ones among the 20 which saw a higher turnout than in the 2012 polls. Congress had won both the seats in 2012.

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Rahul Gandhi to take charge as Congress president today: 10 updates

Rahul Gandhi will take over the reins of the Congress party on Saturday. This marks the beginning of the new era in the Grand Old Party, which has so far seen the leadership of Sonia Gandhi for 19 years.Ahead of the official elevation, here are the major updates on this political story:1: Rahul Gandhi will receive a formal certificate of being elected as the Congress president unopposed from the party’s central election authority at a function at the party headquarters in New Delhi today.2: The 47-year-old will take the charge from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who has been the longest serving president of the Congress.3: Sonia Gandhi, who became Congress president in 1998, steered the 132-year-old party for 19 years.Also readSonia Gandhi ‘retires’ as Rahul Gandhi takes the reins today4: Sonia Gandhi’s two-decade long stint saw the Congress-led UPA winning two successive Lok Sabha polls in 2004 and 2009 and formed UPA-I and UPA-II governments.5: On Friday, the media was abuzz with stories about Sonia Gandhi’s retirement.Also readIt’s official! Rahul Gandhi is new Congress president, to assume office on December 166: Congress, however, clarified that she is retiring from the post of party president and not from politics.7: The reluctance shown by Rahul Gandhi in his initial years of politics is now a thing of past.8: The Gujarat Assembly Election saw him in an alll-new aggressive avatar. Be it going to temples or questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter, Rahul Gandhi managed to infuse new energy in the party’s poll camapign.9: Though all major exit polls are showing the BJP victory in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the fact remains that this would be solely seen in comparison with Rahul Gandhi’s aggressive campaigning.10: At a time when the Congress has been reduced to limited political presence across India, Rahul Gandhi will have huge responsibility on his shoulders.

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RSS expresses concern over ‘growing’ casteism at samnvaya baithak

Considering it to be a huge threat to the very essence of nationalism and the society, the RSS expressed concerns over growing casteism in the country and stressed on the need to promote social harmony.The RSS held a two-day meeting here on the importance of social harmony and family values. State ministers, including Arun Chaturvedi, Gulab Chand Kataria, Vasudev Devnanai, and BJP leaders Satish Punia, Ashok Parnami took part in the meeting.Talking about the discussions held in the meeting, BJP state president Ashok Parnami said the RSS was of the opinion that castiesm was growing dangerously.Also readWill support BJP, RSS if they shun politics of hatred, says Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind”Casteism has emerged as a major threat to the Indian social fabric and the Gujarat elections have seen the issue acquiring threatening proportions. So with growing concerns, the RSS has taken a serious note of the issue and committed to promote social harmony,” Parnami said.Nearly 275 RSS workers from 35 regions participated in the deliberations – Samnvaya Baithak – spread over 8 sessions in two days.Also readJawaharlal Nehru divided the nation, Sardar Patel united it: RSS leader Indresh KumarStressing on the need of restoration of the traditional Indian family values and structure, RSS general secretary Bhaiyaji Joshi talked about the flaws that have crept into the Indian social mechanism.

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