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WATCH: Congress MLA slaps female cop, gets slapped back

Needless to say this isn’t the first time that the Indian politicians have put their foot in their mouth. To show another example of this, a video of a politician from Himachal Pradesh is doing rounds on Internet where she has slapped a constable. Congress Leader and Himachal Pradesh MLA Asha Kumari is seen slapping a woman constable in the video, only to be slapped back.The video of the incident was shared on Twitter handle of ANI news agency and was presumably shot on Friday.Kumari visibly was stuck in a huge crowd and was trying to make her way and gain entry to a Congress meeting that was being held by Rahul Gandhi to review the party’s loss in recent elections.Asha Kumari is a MLA from Dalhousie, All India Congress Committee secretary and AICC in charge in Punjab. She has also served as the education Minister of the state from 2003-2005.

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Once again, monkeys are dubbed ‘vermin’ in Himachal Pradesh

The Centre has once again declared rhesus macaque monkeys as ‘vermin’ in ten districts of Himachal Pradesh, thus allowing the state forest department to cull them for preventing crop loss, conflict with humans, and property loss. The fresh notification, brought out by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), will be valid for an year and will be applicable only in non-forest areas.MoEF&CC had issued a similar notification in May 2016 that expired after one year. Himachal Pradesh forest department, though, did not cull a single monkey between 2016 and 2017, its senior officials told DNA. In Bihar and Uttarakhand, too, they had issued similar notifications, declaring nilgai and wild boars as vermins in the respective states.After the 2016 notification became void, Virbhadra Singh-led government sent a fresh proposal to the environment ministry seeking to declare monkeys as vermin again. The proposal was accepted after due appraisal, a ministry official said. The issue of crop losses caused by monkeys was also poll issue in the recent assembly elections. In their electoral campaigns both the Congress and the BJP had promised farmers of appropriate action.”We have issued a fresh notification, it is not an extension of the old one. Apart from Himachal Pradesh, Bihar had also sought renewal of the notification to declare Nilgai as vermin but their proposal has not been accepted. They are yet to provide impact studies. Uttarakhand has not sought any order to declare wild boars as vermin again,” said a senior ministry official on the condition of anonymity.When asked as to why the state government sought a fresh notification when no monkey was culled, GS Goraya, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Head of Forest Force, Himachal Pradesh, said, “Though we did not cull any monkey, we reached out to farmers to create awareness and have succeeded to an extent in curbing the solid waste issue. Open dumping of food waste is the main attraction for monkeys.” He added, “Culling is also difficult as religious sentiments are attached with monkeys. Unless any Panchayat passed a resolution to cull monkeys, we do not want to cull them.”According to Goraya, of the total population of 2.5 lakh around 1.26 lakh monkeys have been sterilized since 2006, of which 50 per cent are females.Animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi who had moved Supreme Court against the earlier orders of Centre, said, “Conflict with wild animals is a direct result of mismanagement of forests. The forest department has waste tens of crores of public funds on counterproductive sterilization and now they they want to kill the same sterilized monkeys.”ELSEWHEREIn Bihar and Uttarakhand, too, MoEF&CC had issued similar notifications, declaring nilgai and wild boars as vermin in the respective states.

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CM Vijay Rupani inaugurates Science Congress

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy CM Nitin Patel swung into action soon after the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday by staying back in Gujarat instead of going to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Himachal Pradesh CM, who is also from the BJP, and his cabinet members.Surprisingly, Rupani did not call a cabinet meeting as the general practice after swearing-in, and portfolio distribution among ministers is awaited.In his first public programme after assuming the charge of CMO in the new term, on Wednesday, Rupani inaugurated 25th National Children’s Science Congress at Science City in Ahmedabad. It was attended by 900 children from 30 states and six Asian countries, scientists, educationists and others. Addressing the gathering, Rupani said, “Former president Abdul Kalam gave slogan of Jay Vigyan that was added to former PM Lal Bahadur Shashtri’s slogan Jay Jawan, Jay Kisan. Kalam came from a very ordinary background but became a great scientist. His vision for India is showing us the path of progress. We should take inspiration from his life. This Science Congress has laid foundation stone for India’s progress that would bring our nation in top three position in world in the sector of science and technology.”His deputy Nitin Patel took charge of his office and held a meeting with officials to review process of purchase of groundnuts by government at minimum support price.Rupani also reached his residence in the afternoon and cleared pending files of the state government that were piled up on his desk after the model code of conduct came into force.

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Ministers wait for portfolios

Generally in Gujarat government, portfolio allocation is made soon after the swearing in and the Chief Minister calls for the Cabinet meeting the same evening. This time, however, it’s been two days since, but neither the Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has convened his first cabinet meeting, nor has he distributed ministries.While no one is saying it, it is believed that Rupani is waiting for an auspicious time for the portfolio allocation as there was bad omen just before the swearing in ceremony when a small accident occurred between Rupani and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s convoys. A BJP leader confirmed this, but requested anonymity.When asked why the allocation had not taken place yet, the deputy CM Nitin Patel said, “I do not know why. That is the prerogative of the Chief Minister. I assumed charge and started work soon after the swearing in. The cabinet members were also in Gandhinagar until the evening, but the cabinet meeting was not called.”When pressed for a reason, Patel speculated it could be because the PM and party chief Amit Shah were busy with Himachal Pradesh swearing in. “I believe it will happen soon after consultation with the party high command,” he said.The wait is however is too much to handle for the new ministers. “This is very suffocating as I do not know what portfolio I am going to get. There was no meeting and there is no message when it will be, so I left for my constituency where my supporters have organized for a felicitation programme. I will now return to Gandhinagar only next week,” said one minister.

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Yet to receive proposal to fill up judges’ vacancies in SC: Govt tells Parliament

There are six vacancies of judges in the Supreme Court, while nine high courts are working without regular chief justices, but the government has not received any proposal from the apex court collegium to fill up the slots, the Rajya Sabha has been informed.Union Minister of State for Law PP Chaudhary, in a written reply, has informed the Upper House of Parliament that the “government has not received any proposal for filling up of the six vacancies of judges in the Supreme Court and for appointment of chief justices in the nine high courts, which are functioning with acting chief justices”. The approved strength of the Supreme Court is 31, including the Chief Justice of India (CJI).The high courts of Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka and Manipur are working without regular chief justices. As per the procedure for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts, the apex court collegium recommends the names of candidates to the government which, in turn, either accepts the proposal or returns it for reconsideration. The collegium comprises the CJI and four seniormost judges of the apex court.

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Jairam Thakur takes oath as Himachal CM, PM hopes new govt will work tirelessly

Jai Ram Thakur was today sworn in as the 14th chief minister of Himachal Pradesh along with 11 other ministers at a ceremony at the historic Ridge Ground here.Governor Acharya Devvrat administered the oath of office and secrecy to the 52-year-old Thakur, a five-time MLA from Seraj, and other ministers which included six new faces. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, BJP veteran L K Advani and a host of union ministers. The cabinet is complete as all 12 berths have been filled while two MLAs would be accommodated as speaker and deputy speaker.Rajiv Bindal will be the speaker of the legislative assembly.Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed confidence that the new BJP government in Himachal Pradesh would work tirelessly for the people.Modi, who was present at the oath-taking ceremony in Shimla, took to Twitter to congratulate chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and his council of ministers.”Congratulations to Jairam Thakur and all those who took oath today. I am confident this team will work tirelessly and serve the people of Himachal Pradesh with exceptional diligence,” he tweeted.Also readJairam Thakur takes oath as Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister; PM Modi, Rajnath Singh attend grand ceremonyJai Ram is the first chief minister from the second largest Mandi district and the 14th chief minister and sixth person to adorn the office of the chief minister. Suresh Bharadwaj and Gobind Singh Thakur took oath in Sanskrit while the others took oath in Hindi. Sarveen Chaudhry is the lone woman in the cabinet. The new ministers include Mohinder Singh, Krishan Kapoor, Suresh Bharadwaj, Anil Sharma, Sarveen Chowdhary, Ram Lal Markanda, Vipin Parmar, Virender Kanwar, Gobind Thakur, Rajiv Saizal and Vikram Singh.Besides, the chief minister, two ministers are from his home district of Mandi, four from the largest Kangra district, one each from Shimla, Solan, Kullu, Una and Lahaul and Spiti districts. Bilaspur and Hamirpur, home districts of Union Health Minister J P Nadda and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chamba and Sirmaur districts have been left unrepresented. The BJP had won 20 seats in Kangra and Mandi districts and also won 13 out of 17 seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and two out of three Scheduled Tribe seats.Some senior party leaders and former ministers including Romesh Dhawala and Narinder Bragata have not been given berth in the cabinet. There are six Rajputs including the chief minister, Mohinder Singh, Vipin Parmar, Virender Kanwar, Gobind Thakur and Vikram Singh, three Brahmins including Suresh Bharadwaj, Anil Sharma and Ram Lal Markanda, who is both tribal and Brahmin and two OBCs. Thakur had earlier served as minister from 2009 to 2012. He was state BJP chief from 2006 to 2009.Mohinder Singh is seven-time MLA and served as cabinet minister twice in 1998 and 2007 in the BJP government headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal while Krishan Kapoor is four-time MLA from Dharamsala and was cabinet minister in the Dhumal government during 1998-2003 and 2007-12. Sarveen Chowdhary is also a four-time MLA and former minister in the BJP government. Anil Sharma, who deserted the Congress on the eve of election is four-time MLA from Mandi and served as minister in the Virbhadra Singh cabinet in 1993 and 2012 while Dr Ram Lal Markanda, a three-time MLA was minister in the Dhumal government during 1998-2003.Suresh Bharadwaj from Shimla is senior party leader and a four-time MLA. He was also Rajya Sabha member and state BJP chief.Virender Kanwar, four-time MLA from Kutlehar, Vipin Parmar, Gobind Thakur, Rajiv Saizal and Vikram Singh are among the new faces. The BJP had won 44 out of 68 seats in the state assembly and after the shocking defeat of BJP’s chief minister face Prem Kumar Dhumal from Sujanpur, the race was open for the top post and Jai Ram Thakur was elected leader. Thousands of people from Mandi, the home district of chief minister thronged the venue and danced to the tunes of traditional folk music. Apart from Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and J.P Nadda, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states like Yogi Adityanath, Manohar Lal Khattar, Devendra Fadanvis and Sarbanand Sonowal were present on the occasion.

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PM Modi takes break from Himachal schedule; has coffee at Shimla’s iconic Coffee House

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday took a break from his busy schedule to have a cup of coffee at Shimla’s iconic Coffee House.News of the prime minister’s visit spread, and soon the venue was swarmed with supporters wanting to take a picture with the prime minister.Earlier, PM Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, former deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and several Union ministers and chief ministers attended the swearing-in ceremony of new Himachal Pradesh CM Jairam Thakur at the historic Ridge Maidan in Shimla.Governor Aacharya Devvrat administered the oath of office and secrecy to Thakur. Along with Thakur, a few MLA also took oath as Cabinet Ministers today. The five-time BJP MLA from Seraj constituency of the hilly state was elected to lead the state after the party’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal failed to register a win from his constituency.The BJP have ousted the Congress from power in Himachal Pradesh by winning 44 out of the 68 seats in the recently held Assembly polls.Along with many senior leaders and workers of BJP state unit, thousands of people also witnessed the swearing-in ceremony.

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Jairam Thakur to take oath as Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister today; PM Modi to attend grand ceremony

BJP leader Jairam Thakur is all set to take oath as the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, former deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and several Union ministers and chief ministers are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Jai Ram Thakur at the historic Ridge Maidan in Shimla at 11 AM.Governor Aacharya Devvrat will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Thakur. Along with Thakur, a few MLA will reportedly swear-in as Cabinet Ministers today. The five-time BJP MLA from Seraj constituency of the hilly state was elected to lead the state after the party’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal failed to register a win from his constituency.The BJP have ousted the Congress from power in Himachal Pradesh by winning 44 out of the 68 seats in the recently held Assembly polls.Along with many senior leaders and workers of BJP state unit, thousands of people are expected to witness the swearing-in ceremony.Also readHimachal Elections: After PK Dhumal’s loss, Jairam Thakur summoned to Delhi; likely to be CMFor the first time in the history of the state, Prime Minister will attend an oath taking ceremony.Massive security and other arrangements have been made ahead of the grand function. Besides seating arrangements, eight to ten LED screens have been installed outside the venue. SPG will look after the security arrangements.Also readHimachal CM designate Jai Ram Thakur lists out priorities Union Health Minister JP Nadda, Former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Incharge for Party Affairs Mangal Pandey have reviewed the arrangements in Ridge Maidan.

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HP’s next CM Jai Ram Thakur’s Jaipur connection unfolded

There is joy and celebration in the air. Thumping beat of the drum, happily dancing people and endless rounds of mithai are all indications of the joy the Rao family in Jhotwara feels as their son-in-law is all set to take charge as CM of Himachal Pradesh. The entire neighbourhood is celebrating because, for them, Jai Ram Thakur is Jijaji, the humble, affable and friendly son-in-law of the family who has a friendly smile and a warm word for all.Thakur was married to the daughter of veteran RSS leader from Jaipur, Shrinath Rao in 1995. The doyen leader who had joined Sangh in 1942, is now 87 and watches the celebration with a look of satisfaction. Speaking to DNA he said, “The ideology for which we struggled all our lives is being taken forward. It is heartening to see people who believe in the ideology for which we struggled all our lives taking up responsible positions across the country.” He then mumbled a few lines of a song, “Wo adhoori sadhna purn bas ho jaaye…”Thakur had lost his first election in 1993 by mere 400 votes. But he has been winning the same seat since 1998. He had been in contact with Narendra Modi when Modi was in charge of HP from 1997 to 2002. “The alliance between him and my sister Dr Sadhna was suggested by senior RSS leaders and had blessings of Sheshadri Ji,” recalls Pramod Rao, Thakur’s brother in law. “We had gone to Mandi for the wedding and all arrangements were made by his friends,” he adds. “My late mother was very apprehensive and sent my father to HP to check on the boy and the family. But over years he was her favourite jamai,” recalls Praveen Rao.Dr Vrinda Rao, the daughter in law of the family recalls, “My husband’s younger brother had a spinal injury and he was being treated at the ISIC, New Delhi. The family would sit and even sleep in the corridors on durries. Jai Ram Ji who was then a minister in HP would do the same. When the members of the staff hailing from HP came to know that it was their minister, they went out of their way to help us.”The children of the family though are a worried lot. Their favourite Phoopha Ji always take them out to watch movies, visit malls and tourist places whenever he came to Jaipur or they visited Shimla. But now they know he is poised for larger responsibilities, and they wonder if would be able to spare time for them.

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Jai Ram Thakur is BJP’s Chosen One in Himachal

The BJP chose low-profile Seraj MLA Jai Ram Thakur as Himachal Pradesh’s next Chief Minister. He will be sworn in as the 13th CM of the hill state at the historic Ridge Maidan on Wednesday, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.The move also ends an old rivalry for the top post between upper and lower areas as Thakur comes from central Mandi district.Contrary to speculations that BJP’s central leadership may push Union Health Minister JP Nadda’s name in the wake of a bitter rift between former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal and Thakur’s lobby, not a single slogan was shouted during the meeting of newly elected MLAs that took place in the presence of central observers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narender Singh Tomar at Hotel Peterhoff on Sunday.Thakur’s name was proposed by Dhumal and he was elected unanimously as the new leader after being seconded by Nadda and another two-time CM Shanta Kumar.Thakur is considered to be a soft-spoken and a solid organisation man. It was his influence in Mandi that helped the BJP bag nine out of the 10 Assembly seats from the area.Thakur, who will turn 53 on January 6, belongs to the Rajput community which has a significant presence in the hill state.He has won his 5th consecutive Assembly election from Seraj, earlier known as Chachiot in Mandi district, defeating Chet Ram of the Congress.Mandi is second only to Kangra that sends 15 MLAs to the Vidhan Sabha.Thakur’s dominance in his constituency could be judged from the fact that despite the remoteness and difficult topography, 56 out of 58 panchayats in Seraj constituency were connected by road even as there was a Congress government in the state.”We will try to meet the expectations of the people of Himachal Pradesh. Our dream of a Congress-free Himachal Pradesh has been realised,” Thakur said in his first remarks after being elected as new CM.He was always called CM in the waiting even during the last tenure of Dhumal till 2012.But this time around, he emerged as a favourite for the top post after the defeat of BJP’s chief ministerial face Dhumal from Sujanpur.Thakur served as rural development and panchayati raj minister in the Dhumal government from 2010 to 2012.The BJP ousted the Congress from power by winning 44 out of the 68 seats.With Dhumal’s key men already having lost the election and Nadda’s name not eliciting any warm response, Thakur with the complete backing of Shanta Kumar clinched the deal.The BJP has named a Thakur face its CM candidate at a time when, after losing polls, Congress’ Virbhadra Singh seems to have played out his last political innings. Nadda was a Brahmin, which is the second dominant community in Himachal Pradesh after Rajputs.

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Himachal: Mandi wins the battle for CM after 54 years, Jai Ram Thakur to take oath on 27th Dec

The second largest district of Himachal Pradesh with ten assembly seat, it was after a 54- year wait that Mandi has won the battle for chief ministership.No legislator from Mandi, a district with cultural affinity with Kangra and Kullu and topographic similarities with Shimla and Sirmaur districts, has ever become chief minister. Congress leader Karam Singh won five assembly elections from Chachiot from 1952 to 1972 and was a strong contender for the post of chief minister in 1963 and 1967, but missed out and Dr Y S Parmar became the chief minister.Sukh Ram, whose son Anil Sharma is now a BJP legislator, was another senior Congress leader who was in contention for the top job in the state. He also never managed to become the chief minister. The BJP, this time put up a stunning show in the district, winning 9 of the 10 Assembly seats. The saffron party’s chief ministerial face P K Dhumal lost his own election leaving the field wide-open. Finally, it was again Chachiot, or Seraj after delimitation, that again came to the fore with its five-time MLA Jai Ram Thakur, who will now be sworn as the 14th chief minister of Himachal Pradesh on December 27. Also readThe Accidental CM: Meet Jai Ram Thakur, new Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh He will take oath in a star-studded ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah among others. The 52-year-old Thakur leader edged past party stalwarts in the race to the top office and will be the first leader from the politically-significant Mandi region to helm the hill state. Thanking the party leadership and workers after his election Thakur said that swearing in ceremony would take place on December 27.Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who along with Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman was appointed as a central observer by the BJP, announced that Thakur was chosen to be the next chief minister as thousands of party workers began celebrating.The Seraj MLA, a throughbred RSS man, emerged as the frontrunner for the top post after the shock defeat of BJP’s chief ministerial face Prem Kumar Dhumal in the state Assembly polls, the results of which were announced last week. A former chief minister, Dhumal, was still in the reckoning for the chief minister’s post till last night, when he opted out. Union minister J P Nadda was another top contender. Thakur, a former state unit chief and rural development and panchayati raj minister in a government headed by Dhumal, was elected the leader of the BJP legislature party today.The decision was taken at a meeting of BJP MLAs.His name was proposed by senior leaders Suresh Bhardwaj and Mahender Singh and seconded by others. “It is expected that Thakur will take oath as the state’s next CM on December 27 at a ceremony where Prime Minister Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and a galaxy of top leaders would be present,” a source said. Thakur along with senior party leaders handed a letter staking his claim to form the government in Himachal Pradesh to Governor Acharya Devvrat who invited him to do so.The five time MLA will be the first chief minister from Mandi, the second largest district of the state. Himachal’s chief ministers and political leaders mostly belong to or hailed from Shimla, Kangra and Sirmour districts. Mandi has 10 Assembly seats, second only to Kangra’s 15. In this election, the BJP put up a stellar show in Mandi, winning 9 of the district’s 10 seats.Seen largely as a low-profile man, Thakur is from a farming family of Mandi. He did his post-graduation from Panjab University in Chandigarh and decided to join politics when he was in his 20s. Thakur contested on a BJP ticket in the 1993 Assembly polls. He lost, but went on to win in 1998 from the now delimited constituency of Chachiot (Seraj) and every Assembly election after that. A soft-spoken man, Thakur’s strength is that he is seen as a leader who has managed to straddle the party’s warring factions in the state.A lack of consensus among the newly elected MLAs had resulted in the two central observers — Union ministers Sitharaman and Tomar — returning to Delhi from Shimla yesterday to hold fresh consultation with the BJP central leadership. Earlier, the two-member team of central observers, which was in the state on December 21 and 22, had taken feedback from members of the state BJP’s core committee, MPs and some MLAs. The BJP ousted the Congress from power by winning 44 out of the 68 seats in the Assembly polls.

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BJP picks Jai Ram Thakur as new Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh

Five-time BJP MLA Jairam Thakur will be the new Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh after he was elected as the leader of the BJP legislature party on Sunday. The decision was taken in the Legislative Party’s meet in Shimla . Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Singh Tomar, and state party in-charge Mangal Pandey were present at the meeting. Jairam Thakur thanked the central leadership and senior party leaders after being made legislative party leader in Himachal Pradesh.Earlier, top state leaders, including former CM Shanta Kumar and Virender Kashyap, had categorically told Sitharaman that “only elected member should be made the Chief Minister”.Seraj MLA Jai Ram Thakur, 52, is the real representative of the young generation, maintain many party leaders in Madhya Pradesh. Thakur is a five-time elected MLA and had been seen as a Chief Minister-in-waiting for a long time. Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsWhile former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had last night opted out of the race, Thakur, a MLA from Seraj in Mandi district, and Union minister J P Nadda were the frontrunners for the chief minister’s office.A lack of consensus among the newly elected MLAs had resulted in the two central observers — Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar — returning to Delhi from Shimla yesterday to hold fresh consultation with the central leadership.A two-member team of central observers, which was in the state on December 21 and 22, had taken feedback from members of the state BJP’s core committee, MPs and some MLAs. The BJP ousted the Congress from power by winning 44 out of the 68 seats.Related Photos
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In Pics: BJP celebrates its wins in Gujarat and Himachal(With PTI inputs)

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Avalanche warning for several districts in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand

A medium danger to unlikely danger avalanche warning was issued on Thursday for some avalanche-prone districts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In a series of tweets, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said it has avalanche warning from the Chandigarh-based Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) for several districts in three states. The warning bulletin issued by SASE, valid from 5 pm December 21 to 5 pm December 22, has warned of avalanche for altitude above 3000 mtrs for Laddakh Division and for altitude above 2500 mtrs in other districts. Medium danger level warning (Level 3-Yellow) has been issued for following Ganderbal in Kashmir, the NDMA said. A low danger level warning (Level 2) has been issued for Kargil.Also readDeath toll in J&K avalanche up to 3; 2 still missing”Unlikely Danger level warning (Level 1) for following Distts- Jammu Division- Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar and Udhampur. Kashmir Division- Anantnag, Kulgam, Badgam, Baramulla , Kupwara and Bandipora. Laddakh Division- Leh. Himachal Pradesh- Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti, Kullu, Kinnaur and Shimla. Uttarakhand- Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Pithoragarh and Tihri Garhwal,” the NDMA said.Also readThree Army jawans missing after avalanche in KashmirEarlier, three soldiers were killed after they were swept by avalanche along the LoC in Kashmir on December 13. Their bodies were found a week later.

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Gujarat Election Results: Congress must concede defeat; voters gave a clear cut mandate to us, says BJP

The Gujarat BJP today said the Congress must concede its defeat in the just-concluded polls in the state because voters gave a “clear cut” mandate to the ruling party to form the next government.The BJP’s statement came in the wake of assertions by Congress leaders that their party has recorded a moral victory in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Congress president Rahul Gandhi yesterday said the Gujarat election results were a “zabardast jhatka” (a massive jolt) to the BJP, which narrowly won the polls.Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani said the opposition party must admit defeat in the state polls, which saw the BJP winning 99 seats in the 182-member assembly, down from 115 in 2012, and the Congress bagging 77, a gain of 16 seats.Vaghani accused Congress leaders of trying to protect their newly elected president by only projecting the rise in seats and not highlighting defeat, both in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.”While fighting the election in Gujarat, the Congress did not say they want to be in the opposition after the polls. They used to say that entire Gujarat is unhappy (with the BJP) and people were impressed with Rahul Gandhi. Now, when they lost, they must admit their defeat,” he told reporters here.Referring to the Congress’ defeat in Himachal Pradesh, where the BJP has come to power, he said, “The Congress just cannot win (polls). Neither in states where they were in power nor where they were in the opposition.””We will be forming the government here for the sixth consecutive term. Though the Congress tried to lure voters through promises which can never be implemented, people gave us a clear cut mandate. The people of Gujarat are smart and did not fall prey to Congress tactics,” he added.”To save Rahul Gandhi, the Congress does not even talk about their defeat in Himachal Pradesh, where the BJP took the reins from them.”In Gujarat, too, the Congress talks only about the number of seats they won. This is their tactic to help Rahul escape responsibility for the party’s defeat,” he said.Vaghani exuded confidence the BJP would do well in Gujarat during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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After Gujarat, Amit Shah turns focus on Bengal, to draw roadmap to strengthen BJP in state

After emerging victorious in the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat Assembly elections, Central leadership of BJP has instructed to go all out in strengthening the party organisation in West Bengal.Sources said that on December 19, BJP national president Amit Shan had given such instruction in a meeting with party national secretary from Bengal and former state president Rahul Sinha.Shah had reportedly said that that state leaders needed to pay attention towards completion of party’s booth committee formation.In the meeting which was conducted late in the evening Shah had first taken stock about the party’s activities in Bengal.Later he said that along with the campaigns, meetings and rallies it should also be ensured that booth committees were paid due attention. The first task would be to build at least a 10-member booth committee in all the booths and later work on increasing the number.Sinha had also been instructed to mobilise all the party state frontal organisations and different cells. Sinha has also been handed over the task of seeing that more and more defection from different parties to BJP takes place as well as eminent personalities and intellectuals should also join the party.It was also found out that Shah wants to make the Gujarat and HP victory as the turning point for the West Bengal BJP ahead of the 2019 general elections and he would conduct a meeting with the state BJP leadership in January 2018 and draw up a roadmap. Shah is also likely to visit West Bengal next month.Sinha said that from the importance the Central leadership was paying to West Bengal it is clear how serious and focussed our leaders in Delhi are about Bengal.

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DNA EXCLUSIVE: Keep environment in mind while developing tourism, says Jai Ram Thakur

For BJP leader Jai Ram Thakur, who is front-runner in the race of CM candidates in Himachal Pradesh, the top most priority would be to develop the state but by keeping environmental issues in mind in this sensitive hilly state.Having been elected for record fifth time from Seraj in Mandi district, Thakur comes from a humble background of Thunag village which is about 65 kms from Mandi town. It has taken him three-and-a-half decade of hard work to reach where he is.Having been state president and cabinet minister in Prem Kumar Dhumal’s last cabinet, Thakur is known as a grass-root worker and representative of dominant Rajput community of the state, Thakur spoke to DNA exclusively on issues which he feels are of greater importance for the coming government. Excerpts:Himachal has seen CMs in the past from either upper hilly area or from lower Kangra belt, but never from Mandi?That’s because Congress dominated this second biggest constituency for decades. Be it Virbhadra Singh or Pandit Sukh Ram, they were representing this constituency for decades. Now that has been changed with BJP workers hard work. Look at the situation now, BJP has got 14 out of the total 17 seats from Mandi district.What will be your focus areas for development in the state?The geography of the state is such that Himachal can’t become an industrial hub. Rather, the state has lot of scope for tourism and there are whole lot of central government schemes which can be used to benefit our population here. Everyone should realise that our PM Narendra Modi ji has an emotional bonding with this state. He has spent prime years of his life here as party pracharak.But the state is facing issues related to environment in tourism industry. National Green Tribunal (NGT) has also ordered closure of many hotels?NGT ruling is certainly a cause of worry for our hotel industry. But we should not forget that we are also culprits in ignoring environmental issues for so long. It’s time when all concerned parties have to seriously chalk out plans regarding these sensitive issues related to our environment and health. We can’t go on like this for ever. We need to first regulate ourselves and then spread this message of clean environment across everyone coming to visit our state.What is immediate priority for you, if chosen by high command?Whatever the party decide, I as a humble worker will follow. I would like to thank all the people of the state who for voted for our party. I can assure you from my side that whosoever will be given responsibility to rule Himachal, the first priority would be to improve the law and order situation, which has deteriorated under Congress rule.

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Not politics of hate, but politics of love is the way forward: Rahul Gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi thanked the people of Gujarat for the love they had shown him a day after the state announced its election verdict.In the 182-seat Assembly, the BJP won 99, while the Congress won 80 in a closely fought battle.“The people of Gujarat have shown me a lot of love. The biggest gain the Congress party gets from this is that when there is anger and hate, you can always topple it with love,” he said.Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi said that he had a credibility problem. “On Monday, the Congress president tweeted how he felt about the verdict. “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. 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.”Also readAssembly elections 2017| ‘Gujarat model’ has been shaken, verdict a warning for 2019, Shiv Sena tells BJPEarlier on Tuesday, the Shiv Sena issued a warning to the BJP on the Gujarat verdict. “The BJP won in Gujarat and Himachal, but the Congress was not defeated and the dream of a Congress-mukt Hindustan was not realised, this is a final message to people who think their word is the law. The Gujarat model has been shaken to its roots, We sincerely hope it does no collapse in 2019,” said an editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna.The editorial said while the BJP had won, the discussions centered around Rahul Gandhi’s leap which denoted its position as a strong opposition party. The Shiv Sena also scoffed at BJP president Amit Shah’s claim that the party would garner 150 assembly seats in Gujarat, when in reality it’s tally had failed to even touch three digits.Also readGujarat Election Results: Congress may have lost, but the outcome will bost morale, says Ashok Chavan”If the result is to be explained in one line, the winds have not changed but have slowed down. The wave has receded,” the editorial said.

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How BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equations

The BJP’s victory in the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh has unsettled political equations in West Bengal and it was likely to have far-reaching consequences in politics of the state, say political leaders.Some leaders believe that the Mamata Banerjee-led party could tone down its shrillness in countering the saffron party whose win has given the BJP state leadership and cadres a strong footing to prepare ground for the next year’s panchayat polls.”The results would have a major impact in Bengal politics. It will kickstart a churn in state politics in days to come where BJP will be in an advantageous position,” BJP leader Mukul Roy said.Party sources said several TMC leaders were likely to join the BJP in the days to come and the ruling party would find it hard to keep its house in order.Roy, once the second-in-command of the TMC, joined the BJP last month.The West Bengal BJP leaders are also hopeful that the poll results would impact the Sabang assembly bypoll scheduled on December 21.Last night, the BJP took out a victory rally in Sabang to celebrate its success in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat where the party bagged 44 and 99 seats respectively.”Our next target is Bengal. And this victory for sure will galvanise the cadres at the grassroots level ahead of the Panchayat polls. We are confident that the people of Bengal want freedom from the misrule of this corrupt TMC government,” state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.The TMC, however, dismissed the BJP’s claims as baseless and devoid of any political logic.”The Gujarat poll results will not have any impact on Bengal politics. If you analyse the Gujarat results, you will see that the BJP’s Gujarat model of development has fallen flat as it faced a drubbing in rural areas,” TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy told PTI.However, a section of the TMC leadership, who preferred anonymity, expressed apprehension that the BJP might use central agencies like the CBI and the ED to corner TMC leaders whose names have cropped up in corruption cases.Yesterday, a senior TMC MP told PTI that the party would coordinate with other parties, if need be, in opposing the BJP for its anti-people policies, but would not show resistance on issues that did not affect the common man.”We will play the role of a constructive opposition in Parliament. We will not become a second fiddle to the Congress in opposing the government on each and every issue,” he said.The Congress, which is hoping to cash in on the party’s improved performance in Gujarat, said the TMC’s change in stance in Parliament was an indication that the party was going soft on the BJP to save its own leaders.”The TMC is known for its double standards. It knows very well that most of its leaders might be arrested in corruption cases. So, they are trying to please the BJP by trying to maintain distance with Congress,” Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Abdul Mannan of the Congress said.

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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: Hardik Patel’s magic works in Saurashtra, not on rural seats

Though Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel pooled crowd in his rallies, it seems it did not translated into the votes for Congress.The magic of the young Patidar’s nexus with the Congress, who was mired in controversy over his alleged ‘sex CDs’ that went viral in the run up to the Gujarat Assembly polls, however worked in rural areas, specially Saurashtra, results suggest. One of the factors can be the farmers issues in the region.Despite huge turnout during his roadshows in Surat, the crowd failed to translate into votes for the Congress. Though his campaigning suggests that if he continues to fight for his community, there is an opportunity for him to expand his political career. He has grown despite many hurdles.In Nikol in Ahmedabad, a Patidar-dominated constituency, he asked Patels during his rally to not vote for BJP. Here, BJP candidate Jagdish Panchal won with a margin of 24,880 votes.The ‘sex CDs’ too affected Hardik’s popularity among the veteran Patidars. Though he has often said that he will defeat BJP’s arrogance, he himself is being an arrogant leader. A few months back he had said that he will never join Congress. But ahead of polls, he met Congress president Rahul Gandhi to form an alliance.It seems after Keshubhai Patel, Patidars in Gujarat have a face in politics in the form of Hardik Patel. It won’t be a surprise if he contests Lok Sabha elections in 2019.’EVMS HACKED’Hardik gave controversial comments. A day before the results, he had tweeted alleging the BJP of hacking the EVM. He went to the extent of claiming that BJP hired 140 software engineers for the same. He created rucks over EVMs saying that BJP can win election in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh only by tampering EVMs in Gujarat.

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Himachal Elections 2017: Prem Kumar Dhumal’s loss may spell gains for Jagat Prakash Nadda, Jai Ram Thakur

Whether to celebrate the party’s victory in Himachal Pradesh or to mourn the loss of its chief ministerial candidate — it would seem that the BJP, which has just emerged victorious in the state elections, faces a novel dilemma. Insiders, however, beg to differ and say everything went according to the Central leadership’s script.Ever since its formation in 1971, Himachal Pradesh has faced such a situation for the first time. Prominent BJP face Prem Kumar Dhumal lost to his one-time protégé Rajinder Singh Rana of the Congress from Sujanpur.Going by the insiders’ account, Dhumal was deliberately given a tough seat, instead of his traditional nurtured seat Hamirpur, in order to test his popularity. He lost his earlier constituency of Bamsan to delimitation in 2012. The Dhumal group was constantly putting pressure on the party to declare him as its face, despite opposition from his own party workers.So, in fact, many are seeing Dhumal’s defeat and the party’s win as causes for a double celebration, especially those who see his defeat as an opportunity to stake claim for the top post in the state.If insiders in the party are to be believed, BJP president Amit Shah declared Dhumal the CM candidate with a heavy heart, only nine days before the polls. This, too, after Shah got a feedback from state party president Satpal Satti that “only an old face like Dhumal can take on Congress CM Virbhadra Singh”.Now that he has lost the election, there are murmurs in the party that Union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda might be the parachute CM in the newly emerged circumstances. A call placed from the headquarters in Delhi to Seraj constituency winner Jai Ram Thakur, however, has made him a front-runner in the race.The other name making rounds is Ajay Jamwal, who comes from the RSS, and hails from Joginder Nagar.THE CM FACTORJai Ram Thakur’s name was doing the rounds before Dhumal got the nod. Ajay Jamwal, who comes from the RSS ranks, was another probable for the top job.

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Himachal Elections 2017 | A play with a difference: The tale of two CM faces

In an unusual tale that played out in Himachal Pradesh, one of the two most prominent political faces won his seat but lost power, while the other found his name in the losers’ list but still led his party to victory.End of the ‘Singh era’For 83-year-old outgoing chief minister Virbhadra Singh, this is certainly the end of his active political life that spanned over five decades. His only consolation is that under his watchful eyes, his son Vikramaditya Singh, 28, has managed to enter the Assembly by winning the Shimla (Rural) seat.During the campaign, the six-time CM had declared that this election would be his last. His departure from Himachal politics means that now the hill state has no one with a mass appeal. His immediate future also remains uncertain as he faces a string of corruption charges, which continue to be heard at Delhi courts.In almost 60 years of public life, first as a junior minister in Rajiv Gandhi’s Cabinet and then as the chief minister of Himachal, Singh had a long rivalry with two BJP stalwarts — Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal. Known for his unique style of administration, where he controlled almost every department of the government, Singh would be remembered as someone who ruthlessly crushed rivals and never allowed anyone within the party to grow in stature. For instance, Anand Sharma and Vijay Singh Mankotia, though hugely popular, were never allowed to come anywhere near the CM’s chair.Even state Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu was not allowed to have any say in the last five years. The office-bearers of the state unit were allowed to take directions only from Holy Lodge, Singh’s residence in Shimla.Singh’s biggest weapon to keep the BJP away from student politics was propping up the Left-wing Students Federation of India (SFI) in colleges and university campuses. This was necessary for him to keep the RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad (ABVP) at bay.Singh’s personality was such that when denied complete freedom in selection of candidates, he even went up to the extent of breaking the Congress legislature party, twice. Once, after the Congress’s victory in the 2012 election, he got his lot of loyal legislators under one roof at a Shimla hotel in order to prevent the Central leadership from trying to woo them in Vidya Stokes’ favour.‘Outsider’ Dhumal’s woesOn the other hand, 73-year-old Prem Kumar Dhumal, who was not the party’s initial choice, was happy when the party finally decided on his candidature. His son, flamboyant BJP MP Anurag Thakur’s controversial tenure with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), however, served to exacerbate the problems of an otherwise low-profile Dhumal.This time, Dhumal chose his younger son, Arun Kumar Dhumal, to lead his campaign. Despite being the CM face, he was called an ‘outsider’ by his opponent Rajendra Singh Rana. To make matters worse, his son Thakur brought a battery of hand-picked workers from other states, such as Punjab, Jharkhand, and Rajasthan.Locals say the presence of ‘outsiders’ in Dhumal’s campaign did not go down well with the rural voters in Sujanpur and cost Dhumal the seat.THE CM STORYDespite the party’s return to power, Dhumal had to eat humble pie. Singh and Dhumal are out of the picture; BJP and Congress will have difficulty with successors.

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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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First time in three decades, Himachal to get a fresh face

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will form the new Himachal Pradesh government, but minus its chief ministerial candidate, Prem Kumar Dhumal. This bitter-sweet victory for the BJP over long-time rival in the state, Congress, has ensured that for the first time in nearly three decades, a new face will emerge in the state, despite two party stalwarts — Shanta Kumar and Dhumal — still being around.For the record, Congress’ Rajinder Singh Rana has emerged as the giant killer by defeating his one-time political guru Dhumal from the Sujanpur constituency. Another tragedy that struck Dhumal was that it was he who played a crucial role in ensuring the consolidation of the dominant Thakur community in the Hamirpur region.The state has alternately elected Congress and BJP governments since 1985.In the last election in 2012, the Congress won 36 seats and the BJP 26, while six seats went to Independent candidates. While the Congress won’t accept that the corruption charges against CM Virbhadra Singh made a big difference, BJP’s own lack of confidence in any leader’s ability robbed them of quite a few seats.Dhumal’s supporter and state BJP chief Satpal Satti also lost his Una seat to Satpal Singh Razda of Congress. His close confidantes — Ravinder Ravi, Gulab Singh, and Randhir Sharma — also failed to win their respective constituencies.Dhumal, who moved from farming to teaching English and then to politics, was expected to become the CM for the third time. The Congress plank to counter the move with the criticism of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation failed to make much impact on the voters, primarily because Himachal is an employee-dominated state.For all of the 68 Assembly seats, a total of 337 candidates were in the fray. Singh won his Arki seat without much of a threat and also ensured his son Vikramaditya Singh’s debut from Shimla (Rural).The prestigious Shimla (Urban) seat was once again won by BJP’s Suresh Bhardwaj, who defeated Singh-backed rebel Harish Janartha. While CPI (M) came in third, Congress’s own candidate Harbhajan Singh Bhajji stood a poor fourth. Anil Sharma, who resigned from the government and the ruling Congress and joined the BJP just before the polls, along with his father and former telecom minister Sukh Ram, retained his Mandi seat.The CPI (M) is celebrating the victory of Rakesh Singha from Theog, despite it being a Congress stronghold. It must be mentioned that Vidya Stokes has held this seat many times during her long political career.Behind the scenesThe Gudiya rape and murder case, which came to light in the run-up to the elections, remained a major factor behind the Congress’s defeat in the state. Singh’s government was defamed for its apparent effort to shied the culprits. Though the Congress managed to retain the Jubbal-Kotkhai seat with over 9,000 votes, where Rohit Thakur defeated BJP’s Narinder Bragta, the negative publicity helped the rival party gain a huge ground elsewhere in the state.Another factor that helped the BJP score big in this hilly state was the absence of any top Congress leader during the campaigning. In fact, none of the party’s top leaders camped or campaigned in the state, with even party president Rahul Gandhi paying just one visit to address a couple of election rallies.Himachal was left to Singh, despite knowing well that he was fighting with his back to the wall, following the corruption probe. Also, the last five years could well be termed as his worst-ever tenure as he had no achievements to count. His tenure saw the emergence of a few retired bureaucrats, on extension, from his erstwhile state Rampur Bushair, who ran it like a princely state.The BJP, on the other hand, left nothing to chance. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed over half a dozen election rallies and all top leaders of the party, including BJP president Amit Shah, home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, camped in the state for long periods.BJP, however, had nothing much to offer to the voters. The party counted Singh’s failures while Congress pointed at PM Narendra Modi’s three-and-a-half year of “misrule”.Finally, the anti-incumbency sentiment against the Singh government proved much stronger. The impact of demonetisation and the GST had little adverse impact in the state as compared to that in Gujarat.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Down 16 seats in vote of caution; bags Himachal

In the end, it was left to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliver, once again, Gujarat. Facing its toughest electoral contest in over 22 years, the BJP fell back on its most-trusted mascot to help it cross the finishing line in the state.The Narendra Modi-led BJP bucked strong anti-incumbency to retain Gujarat, while at the same time displacing the Congress in Himachal Pradesh.With Monday’s results, the BJP is now in power in 19 states while the Congress remains at the helm in only four — Punjab, Karnataka, Mizoram and Meghalaya.The BJP won its sixth straight Assembly election in Gujarat — but with its lowest tally ever — helped in no small measure by Modi’s 34 rallies. While the Congress’s vote share went up from 38 per cent in 2012 to over 41.5 per cent, BJP’s vote share also increased from 47.85 per cent to 49 per cent. However, when compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when the party swept all 26 seats, the BJP’s vote-share fell by almost 11 per cent, from 60 per cent to 49.In the hill-state of Himachal Pradesh, the BJP won 44, up 18 seats from 2012, to dethrone the Congress, which came down to just 21 seats, down 15 from its 2012 tally, in the 68-member House.However, in a shock for the BJP, its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal lost to his erstwhile aide Rajinder Rana from the Sujanpur constituency. Outgoing chief minister Virbhadra Singh, however, won from Arki while his son Vikramaditya Singh also won.However, while the Saffron party leaders suggested that victory and not size of the win matters, knowing Modi and his style of functioning, political observers expect some tough decisions in the offing.For Modi understands well that the next general election is only about a year away and nothing can be left to chance.A loss of 16 seats — the party’s tally went down from 115 to 99 in a House of 182, while Congress won 77 seats — BJP leaders say will certainly lead to intense soul-searching and pointed questions from the prime minister.”Election results show the country is ready for reforms,” PM Modi said while addressing party leaders and workers at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Monday evening.The Sensex couldn’t agree with him more. After counting of votes began at 8 am at 37 centres, Sensex crashed by over 800 points in early trades as initial trends showed that the two parties were neck-and-neck. However, it soon recovered as it became more or less clear that the BJP would emerge as the winner. For the opposition Congress, which went for broke under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi (who was anointed party president after the campaigning had ended), the results point at two things: First, there are signs of revival but that revival could be a long, tough road ahead. Second, every time it can’t fall back on the likes of Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor to put up a decent fight against the BJP.Counting of votes came with its own share of twists and turns. At one point, the BJP was leading in 108 seats, but the eventual tally was 99.A quick analysis of the results shows that different regions of the state voted differently. While suffering heavy reverses in Saurashtra, the BJP managed to hold on to Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, and Rajkot, winning 33 out of 37 seats on offer. The Congress improved its tally in Ahmedabad city from two to four, but failed to open its account in three of Gujarat’s largest cities.The BJP improved its tally in north and central Gujarat, the two regions where Congress had won 44 out of 93 seats in 2012. This time, the BJP increased its numbers in the two regions to 53 seats, while its tally in south Gujarat dipped from 28 to 25 seats. The rallies by Patidar reservation leader Hardik Patel hurt the BJP in rural areas, but failed to deliver any gains to Congress in urban seats. In Morbi, Gir Somnath and Amreli, the party could not win a single seat.Incidentally, the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which had led to huge protests in Surat, Rajkot and other places, and was repeatedly raised by Rahul Gandhi in his campaign speeches, didn’t seem to have yielded any major electoral gains for the party.

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Assembly Elections 2017 result: It’s a victory of PM Narendra Modi’s development politics, says Nitin Gadkari

The BJP’s performance in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh polls is a victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development politics over “dirty caste politics” of Rahul Gandhi-led Congress, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.”All sections of society have voted above caste politics. This is a win of development politics of the Prime Minister. In Gujarat, OBC, patidar, dalit all were used for caste politics by the Congress but caste politics could not get success,” senior BJP leader said.Gadkari said the success of the BJP in both the states is “people’s approval of our policies, work done under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his development agenda”.He said, “As far as Rahul Gandhi is concerned, after he became Congress president, he has lost Himachal Pradesh and could not bring the Congress in power to Gujarat.” Gadkari accused the Congress of leaving no stone unturned in portraying the BJP and the central government in bad light and added that “despite the Congress’ dirty caste-based politics, people have reposed faith in the BJP”.”This will strengthen our policies,” he said and added that in Gujarat the BJP is ruling the state since 1989 and after years of governance, the people have reposed faith in the party.Asked about opposition charges of EVM tampering, the senior party leader questioned as to why they raised the issue only after losing elections.”When they lose elections they raise EVM issue. Were EVMs functioning properly when Congress got lead in several seats? “When you (Congress) won Punjab then EVM was functioning properly and when you lose then EVM malfunctions,” Gadkari, who is the minister of Road, Transport, Highways, Shipping, Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation, said.He said victory or defeat in politics and elections should be embraced with an open heart and such kind of allegations were not proper.

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From PM Narendra Modi to Jignesh Mevani: Who said what after BJP’s narrow Gujarat win

The Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP is all set to come back to power for the sixth consecutive time after a lower margin victory in Gujarat assembly elections.BJP crossed 92 seats it requires for a majority in the 182 assembly constituencies in Gujarat.Soon after the results were announced, political leaders from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to young Patidar leader Hardik Patel have come forward expressing their views on their win or loss.Soon after the results were announced, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday took to Twitter to hailed the massive victory as ‘Jeeta Vikas, Jeeta Gujarat’.”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,” said PM Modi 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.For Congress, it was yet another major loss for them and newly elected President Rahul Gandhi on Monday accepted the loss and thanked his party workers for fighting ‘anger with dignity’.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,” Gandhi tweeted.”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’ greatest strength is its decency and courage,” he added.BJP chief Amit Shah hailed the party’s win as “victory of development over dynasty and polarisation”.”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,” said Amit Shah”This is a victory of development over dynasty and polarisation,” he added.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh took a direct dig at newly appointed Congress President Rahul Gandhi after the assembly elections verdict.”Won’t say anything now as he has recently been made party president, ‘sar mundwate hi ole pade’ (Abhi toh kuch nahi bolunga kyunki woh haal hi mein adhyaksh bane hain lekin),” Rajnath Singh told ANI.Union minister Smriti Irani on Monday said the victory is “of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development”.”It is a matter of happiness for us, this is the victory of development. It is the victory of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development,” said Irani.When Smriti Irani was asked about Congress giving a tough fight in Gujarat she was quick to reply and said, “jo jeeta wohi sikander”.While Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that the election results reflect “people’s unshakeable faith in the agenda of development and classless society”.”I would like to give credit for this victory to the people of Gujarat and I also give assurance that in the coming five years, BJP will work towards what the people of the state wants,” Rupani said.”The party’s vote share has increased and despite the tally of seat share leaning in favour of the Congress, the BJP maintained a lead of over 8 percent. The Assembly elections showed people’s unshakable faith in the agenda of development, caste-less and classless society,” he added.However, young Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Monday alleged that the BJP(BJP) has won Gujarat Assembly elections only because of money and EVM tampering. “There has been tampering in EVMs in Surat,Rajkot and Ahmedabad, hence the gap is very less wherever tampering happened. EVMs are hackable,” Patel was quoted as talking to the reporters.Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, who won the Vadgam constituency, said will raise the voice of Gujarat’s discriminated sections in the assembly. “I express my gratitude to the people of Vadgam for all their support. Now I will raise the voice of Gujarat’s discriminated sections in the assembly,” Mevani said after his win.Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that it was a lesson for those who indulged in “divisive and caste politics” to reject the Gujarat Model of development.”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,” Adityanath told reporters at Yadgir in the northern parts of the state.However, the results of the Gujarat assembly elections result did not go down well with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The TMC chief on Monday attacked BJP saying it was a moral defeat for the Hindutva-party the people of the state have “belled the cat for 2019″.”It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people. Gujarat belled the cat for 2019,” Banerjee tweeted.Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for winning the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.”Congratulations to honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party for the victory in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. The Congress, which had claimed it would wrest power from the BJP in Gujarat, has ended up losing even Himachal Pradesh,” Kumar tweeted in Hindi.Goa Chief Minister Manohhar Parrikar said the newly-elected Congress President “scored zero in his opening innings.” “In his opening innings he scored zero” Parrikar said. Earlier on Monday, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah 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.Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday took to Twitter to mock BJP’s victory in Gujarat.”BJP getting limited to double-digit in Gujarat is the beginning of the end for the party. It is the result of neglect of the villages, poor and rural people. This is the BJP’s so-called victory,” Akhilesh tweeted.Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said: “I think it’s clear in Gujarat: the BJP has won but the Congress has not lost.”

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Assembly Elections 2017 results: BJP non-committal about CM nominees, top leaders to visit Guj and HP

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda on Monday said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and General Secreatary of the BJP Saroj Pandey would go as observers to Gujarat and discuss the party’s leadership in that state.“Similarly, Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Tomar will visit Himachal Pradesh and assess the situation there,” Nadda told news agency ANI.Earlier in the day, the BJP high command has called in Jairam Thakur to Delhi this evening. He’s likely to take over as Himachal Pradesh CM since the party’s CM candidate PK Dhumal and state chief Satpal Singh Satti have lost, say party sources.Dhumal, the original chief ministerial candidate, lost to Congress’ Rajinder Rana, said he had expected to win the seat in Sujanpur. He won 18,559 votes as opposed to Rana who won 21,492.“Personal 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 an analysis,” Dhumal was quoted speaking to ANI.In Gujarat, the Congress won 80 seats, while the BJP won 99 in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly. 1.8% of the voters did a NOTA, while 32% of the voters – reportedly BJP supporters – did not turn up to cast their vote, saying that they would rather not vote than vote for the Congress.Also readGujarat Election Results: No matter who wins, when will a villager reap benefits of development?Cities like Ahmedabad, Surat and Rajkot which were major centers of protests by businessmen have voted for BJP as the party won most seats in these cities. BJP’s tally dropped marginally in these trader-dominated cities as Congress made some token inroads in urban areas but failed to make substantial gain in these BJP strongholds.The issue of GST cropped up in Gujarat, right from its rollout in July 2016. High rates of taxation and issues related to compliance caused anger in businessmen and tax practitioner communities.

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Stop trying to derail India from path of development: PM Modi’s top quotes after saffron sweep

PM Narendra Modi addressed the BJP workers in the party headquarters in New Delhi after it was clear that they have won both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. A visibly buoyant Modi expressed his delight after the massive victory in the two states. BJP swept Himachal Pradesh to come back to power and won with a smaller mandate to form government in Gujarat for the sixth time. Here are the major things PM Modi said after the twin win:1. Earlier Gujarat was riddled with caste considerations. BJP got rid of it and started a path of development. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: How GST tweak saved the day for BJP2. Some people have again started to play caste politics in the last few months. People have rejected it but they need to be cautious3. After 2014, there is hunger for development. Even if you do not like BJP, do not try to derail India from path of development. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Akhilesh asks Rahul to build opposition unity ahead of 2019 polls4. Gujarat election result in historic. So many conspiracies were hatched, misinformation was spread5. Elections results show that the country is ready for reform, is looking towards parties that perform in a positive way and believes in transformation6. I bow down to people of Gujarat and Himachal, who chose the path of development.7. The results in Himachal Pradesh show that if you don’t do development and are embroiled in all wrong acts then after 5 years people will reject you.8. During UP elections it was said BJP would lose due to GST effect in urban areas, same was said in Gujarat elections and local body polls in Maharashtra.With ANI inputs

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If Ravi Shastri would be commenting, he would say EVMs has won: Twitter reacts to Assembly Election verdict

BJP assumed power in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, much to the joy of its followers who are active on Twitter. The Gujarat win, albeit with a smaller margin, still showed that the party leadership and organisational skills are some of the best in the business.Here is how people on Twitter reactedPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the assembly election results in Gujarat and Himachal Prades indicate BJP’s effort for development in the state.Also readAssembly elections 2017 results​: Nitish Kumar congratulates PM Modi, Amit Shah on Gujarat, Himachal victory”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.Also readAssembly elections 2017 result: ‘I salute hardworking BJP Karyakartas,’ PM Modi’s victory tweetThe 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: 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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Assembly elections 2017 results: People rejected caste politics for Gujarat Model of development, says Yogi Adityanath

Reacting to the BJP victories in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that it was a lesson for those who indulged in “divisive and caste politics” to reject the Gujarat Model of development.“People all over the world have lauded the Gujarat Model except for the Congress. BJP’s win should serve them as a lesson for the Congress,” reacted Chief Minister.“BJP not only retained Gujarat but wrested Himachal Pradesh from the Congress. People have rejected their caste and divisive policies and voted for BJP’s agenda for development,” pointed Yogi Adityanath.He attributed the Gujarat and Himachal win to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “It is the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister and party workers’ hard work that enabled the BJP to win at both places,” said the Chief Minister.He said that people of both states has given a befitting reply to the Congress for using unparliamentary language against the Prime Minister and stooping to a new low in politics by forgetting political courtesy.He did not forget to take a dig at the new AICC President Rahul Gandhi saying that he had predicted a few days ago that change of leadership in the Congress will be a good sign for the BJP and beginning of an end for the Congress.The Uttar Pradesh chief minister also said that the BJP win in Gujarat and Himachal has set the tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.”It is time for the Congress to do some serious introspection whether or not it should contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls. We will win all 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh in 2019,” said Adityanath giving credit to party President Amit Shah’s poll strategy.

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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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5 reasons why BJP managed to win Gujarat for consecutive 6th time

As predicted by exit polls, it’s a saffron sweep again, with BJP retaining Gujarat and wresting Himachal from Congress. Sure it had a bit of a shock, when Congress pulled away once and both its CM and deputy CM trailing at one point, but as they say the party with superior organisation and the better leader finally prevailed. As trends indicate, BJP will end up just short of 100, less than what it got in 2012 and much short of Amit Shah’s 150 seats target prediction. But after 22 years of anti-incumbency and battling resentment from Patidars , one suspects the saffron party will be more or less happy with this electoral win. Here are the major factors that lead to BJP’s win in Gujarat.The NaMo factor:Also readAs trends paint clear picture of BJP’s victory in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, this is how party celebratesIt may not be tsu-Namo any longer, but it’s sufficient to get BJP across the line. PM Modi did close to 40 rallies in Gujarat, criss-crossing his home state where his party was stuck on a rut. But what showed his great leadership quality truly was the ability to understand that people are veering away from BJP during the closing stages of the election. Thus came the changed narrative in the last phase of the polls bringing the Pakistan conspiracy theory and fully using the Mani Shankar Aiyar gaffe. He managed to be proactive and got Congress in the defensive. Naysayers will call it cynical politics not proper for the PM of world’s largest democracy, but he got the job done for his party, and that’s what all matters in electoral politics. BJP’s urban fortress remains intact:Also readHimachal Assembly Election 2017: What cost Congress the electionsStruggling with triple whammy of demonetization, GST and Patidar agitation, many thought BJP would fare poorly in its urban centres. As it turns out, the voters may be unhappy with BJP, but the love affair continues. A cursory look at Gujarat map shows giant cluster of saffron surrounding all the major cities. It is leading in 13 out of 16 in Surat and 17 out of 21 in Ahmedabad. BJP is down 6% from 2012 in vote share in urban seats, but Congress still lags behind. BJP has won 43 out of the 55 urban constituencies. In many places vote percentage has fallen sharply from 2012 and 2014. It’s plausible to guess that BJP supporters who are unhappy with the party but don’t want to reward the Congress, stayed away and saved Modi’s team from blushes. Hardik factor worked but only just..:The Patel factor reigned supreme in Saurashtra and North Gujarat, where the agitation started originally. In Saurashtra, BJP is set to lose around 13 seats. It is ahead only in 22, whereas it won 35 in 2012. However, in North Gujarat, the party has done decently well just dropping 2-3 seats from 2012. It has done reasonably well even in districts like Mehsana, Patan, Banaskantha. For Congress to win, Hardik’s clout needed to carry crucial seats in these district. But somehow the saffron party managed to hold on to many of the bellweather seats, thanks to older Patels voting for BJP and Hardik, who is a Kadwa Patel not getting support from Leuva Patels. Infact of the total 25 Patel dominated seats, BJP and Congress won 12 each. The state government’s good performance during the floods managed to give them brownie points in districts like Banaskantha. The party has lost only three seats in Central Gujarat, which has been a major Congress bastion. Congress couldn’t reap dividends from agrarian distress:With crops failing for two successive times, and poor MSP for cotton and groundnuts, many pundits expected the Congress to virtually sweep the rural seats. In the rural centres, in 2012, Congress was only a percentage point behind BJP in vote share. So the grand old party really had the chance to surge ahead in rural Gujarat, where the famed Gujarat model hasn’t really reached. However, the party couldn’t exactly latch on to the loose balls given by BJP and out of the 128 rural or semi-rural seats, it is leading only in 65 odd. In short, Congress needed to sweep rural Gujarat to fill the deficit of their weakness in urban pockets. But it failed in that account. Congress couldn’t decode the caste calculus:Congress before the elections had assurance of support from two of the largest caste groups, the Thakors and Patils. This along with Jignesh Mevani bringing the dalit vote should have been game-set-match for Congress. But on ground, owing to presence of rebels, poor selection of candidates and lack of proper coordination between PAAS and Congress workers, the caste advantage couldn’t be leveraged. While Mevani and Thakor both pulled through, they have some way to go before becoming cult leaders like Lalu or Mulayam, who can get the support of their entire caste group enmasse. But for Congress, the most disappointing thing would be loss of their several tall leaders. The likes of Arjun Modhwadia, Shaktisinh Gohil, Indranil Rajguru means the party is bereft of credible leaders who can tap on to popular resentment against ruling government. The Congress wanted to win this election by outsourcing it to caste leaders from outside. The gamble worked partially but failed in its core purpose, thus giving Rahul Gandhi many things to ponder upon. In the end, it was a case of a missed opportunity for Congress. It can pat on its back for winning more seats and giving BJP a real scare, but considering the anti-incumbency of 22 years , an ineffective state leadership of the saffron party and massive resentment till recently among the Patels, the Congress should and could have won easily. But BJP’s superior ground game and the Modi factor, finally got BJP home. Modi like in many of the past elections is truly the man of the match. When the dust settles, Rahul and rest will be just sideshows of the 2017 Gujarat election history.

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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 Election 2017: Remember Alpesh Thakore’s mushroom remark? BJP has ‘sweet’ comeback for the jibe

Celebrations kicked in for the Bhartiya Janata Party as numbers in Gujarat started moving in its direction. After putting Himachal Pradesh in its kitty, BJP is all set to rule Gujarat once again. While party workers across the nation are celebrating with fire crackers and sweets, BJP’s Delhi unit spokesperson Tajinder Singh Bagga has found out his own unique way to join the festivities. Referring to Congress leader Alpesh Thakor’s jibe on PM Modi, Bagga brought a cake with pictures of mushrooms on it.Bagga, displaying the cake, in front of the cameras said, “This is a simple, inexpensive cake but it is a befitting reply to those who brought politics to this level.”Also readAs BJP heads for win, here are 5 Gujarat-based stocks to keep an eye on”We will cut the cake here and distribute it here, everyone is invited. Every citizen is invited,” he further added.Also readGujarat Election 2017: As BJP gets back in business, Adani Group gains after initial lossOn the last day for campaign in Gujarat, prominent OBC leader and Congress candidate Alpesh Thakor levelled a bizarre allegation against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that PM’s complexion has turned fair after eating mushrooms imported from Taiwan, each of which cost Rs 80,000. “Someone told me that you can’t eat what Modi ji eats, because it’s not a food for the poor,” Thakor said during an election rally. He further said, “One mushroom costs Rs 80,000, and he eats five mushrooms a day. That is why I wonder how he turned so fair. He was as dark as me,” Thakor added.Also readApple increases iPhone prices in India over 5% increase in import duty on mobiles”The Prime Minister who eats mushrooms worth Rs 1.20 crore in a month, you can imagine how many crores of money his workers must be eating up,” said the OBC leader.

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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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Himachal Elections: BJP’s Prem Kumar Dhumal trailing; who will be Chief Minister?

The BJP looks set to wrest power from the Congress in Himachal Pradesh as it has won three seats and leading in 40 seats, however, the party’s Chief Minister candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal is staring at loss.The ruling party candidate Rajinder Rana is ahead of Dhumal with Congress leading in 21 seats.So far, Rana has received 21492 votes and with 18559 votes Dhumal is trailing.On November 1, just before the polls, Dhumal was unexpectedly announced as the chief ministerial candidate. The health minister, JP Nadda, emerged as a strong contender, initially, but it was Dhumal at the end.Prem Kumar Dhumal, popularly known as PK Dhumal, was born into a strict Brahmin family on April 10, 1944, in Samirpur Village of Hamirpur district.During his two stints as chief minister, the hill state saw significant infrastructure developments, particularly of roads. He also oversaw the development of new railway lines as well.This gave rise to Dhumal being called as the ‘sadak walla mukhyamantri’.Congress candidate Anirudh Singh won the Kasumpti seat by defeating BJP’s Vijay Jyoti by a margin of 9,397 votes. Also readAs trends paint clear picture of BJP’s victory in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, this is how party celebratesIn Lahaul and Spiti, Dr Ram Lal Markanda of BJP defeated Ravi Thakur of Congress by more than 1500 votes.Congress veteran and six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya Singh are leading from Arki and Shimla (Rural) respectively.Since the past 24 years, Himachal Pradesh has had alternative governments between the BJP and the Congress.Main rivals BJP and Congress contested all the 68 seats at stake. The hill state witnessed a record 75.28% turnout.The Congress and the BJP had 36 and 26 seats respectively in the outgoing House.

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Himachal Elections: After PK Dhumal’s loss, Jairam Thakur summoned to Delhi; likely to be CM

The BJP high command has called in Jairam Thakur to Delhi this evening. He’s likely to take over as Himachal Pradesh CM since the party’s CM candidate PK Dhumal and state chief Satpal Singh Satti have lost, say party sources.Thakur was a cabinet minister in Bharatiya Janata Party ministry in Himachal Pradesh. He was minister of rural development and panchayati raj. He was elected to Himachal Pradesh Assembly from Mandi. He had won his first election in the year of 1998.Dhumal, the original chief ministerial candidate, lost to Congress’ Rajinder Rana, said he had expected to win the seat in Sujanpur. He won 18,559 votes as opposed to Rana who won 21,492.“Personal 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 an analysis,” Dhumal was quoted speaking to ANI.Prem Kumar Dhumal, popularly known as PK Dhumal, was born into a strict Brahmin family on April 10, 1944, in Samirpur Village of Hamirpur district.During his two stints as chief minister, the hill state saw significant infrastructure developments, particularly of roads. He also oversaw the development of new railway lines as well.This gave rise to Dhumal being called as the ‘sadak walla mukhyamantri’.Congress candidate Anirudh Singh won the Kasumpti seat by defeating BJP’s Vijay Jyoti by a margin of 9,397 votes. Also readAs trends paint clear picture of BJP’s victory in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, this is how party celebratesIn Lahaul and Spiti, Dr Ram Lal Markanda of BJP defeated Ravi Thakur of Congress by more than 1500 votes.Congress veteran and six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya Singh are leading from Arki and Shimla (Rural) respectively.Since the past 24 years, Himachal Pradesh has had alternative governments between the BJP and the Congress.Main rivals BJP and Congress contested all the 68 seats at stake. The hill state witnessed a record 75.28% turnout.The Congress and the BJP had 36 and 26 seats respectively in the outgoing House.

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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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Himachal Pradesh Election Results 2017: BJP ahead in 45; Congress wins one seat

The BJP looks set to wrest power from the Congress in Himachal Pradesh as it was leading in 40 seats while the ruling party bagged one seat and was leading in 21 others, according to Election Commission trends.Congress candidate Anirudh Singh won the Kasumpti seat by defeating BJP’s Vijay Jyoti by a margin of 9,397 votes.Congress veteran and six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya Singh are leading from Arki and Shimla(Rural) respectively, according to trends available for 65 of the 68 seats. Independents are leading in two constituencies while the CPI(M) is ahead in one.Prem Kumar Dhumal, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Himachal Pradesh, was trailing behind Congress’s Rajinder Rana in Sujanpur, according to early trends.Main rivals BJP and Congress contested all the 68 seats at stake. The hill state witnessed a record 75.28% turnout.The Congress and the BJP had 36 and 26 seats respectively in the outgoing House.Himachal Pradesh has a tradition of change in government after every elections and going by the trend, this time it appears to be the turn of the BJP which is upbeat after the exit polls predicted a victory for the saffron party.Also readHimachal Pradesh Election Results 2017 LIVE: BJP leads in 45 seats, set for a sweepThe BJP ousted the Congress in 1990 and the Congress avenged defeat in 1993. The BJP formed the government with the help of Himachal Vikas Congress in 1998 and the Congress was back in power in 2003. The BJP made a comeback in 2007.

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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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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP upbeat, gears up for ‘twin wins’

Silently, but diligently, the BJP’s election machinery rolled on a chilly Sunday, with party spokespersons huddled at the headquarters at 11 Ashoka Road, just a day before the fate of its candidates in Guajarat and Himachal Pradesh was to be revealed.As exit polls give the BJP a decisive edge in Gujarat, the mood was upbeat with BJP general secretary in-charge for Gujarat, Bhupendra Yadav, and Information and Broadcasting minister Smriti Irani, who is a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, briefing the spokespersons.According to sources in the party, nearly 30 party workers met at the party office to discuss and finalise the media communication strategy for Monday. They included leaders such as Dalit face of BJP, Bizay Sonkar Shastri, former Union minister Shahnawaz Hussain, the suave Samajwadi Party-turned-BJP leader Gaurav Bhatia, and Zafar Islam.Yadav oversaw communcation management, BJP’s media in-charge Anil Baluni and his deputy Sanjay Mayukh helped.”This meeting is nothing special. We are here only to decide the media strategy for Monday, as it would be a long day. We are deciding the shifts in which the spokespersons would be present here to interact with the media,” a senior BJP leader said.As the results start trickling in from 8 am, most of the party members would be present at the headquarters by 7 am. In the event of a victory, celebrations have been planned, including sweet distribution and cracker bursting.Meanwhile, an eye-catching poster of Congress president Rahul Gandhi was seen hanging right opposite the saffron party’s central office, ostensibly put up by the Youth Congress. The poster had Rahul waving his hand, with the message: “Lead For The India”.

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Gujarat and Himachal Elections 2017: Can Congress stop a saffron sweep?

Counting of votes will be held tomorrow for the Gujarat and Himachal polls. The Gujarat Poll is considered a prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state and a litmus test for new Congress president Rahul Gandhi.While the BJP is seeking a sixth straight term in office, the Congress is aiming to stage a comeback in power after being in the opposition for over two decades.The results are expected to have a bearing on the 2019 parliamentary polls also as Modi had come to power in 2014, based on the Gujarat ‘model of development’.Also readGujarat Election 2017: Confident of bagging more than two-third seats, says BJPThe much-awaited results of the keenly fought elections will be announced tomorrow when the counting of votes will be held at 37 centres across the state’s 33 districts, amidst tight security.The voting was held following an acrimonious campaign, where both the main political parties indulged in no-holds- barred attacks on each other.Also readGujarat Election 2017: Exit polls are ‘nonsense’, BJP will definitely lose, says Jignesh MevaniModi led the campaign for the BJP, while Rahul Gandhi was the pivot of the Congress’ electioneering.During the campaign, Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah trained guns on the Congress on issues like Ram Temple, alleged Pakistani interference in the Gujarat polls and (suspended Congress leader) Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remarks.Also readHimachal Elections 2017: Exit Polls predict BJP will oust Congress in the hill state Gandhi persistently attacked Modi and the BJP for “not talking about the future of Gujarat” and skipping key issues being faced by the people of the state.The Congress also stitched about a broad social coalition with prominent Patidar, OBC, and Dalit leaders – Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jigesh Mevani – in its bid to unseat the BJP in power for over two decades.Patel led a long agitation of his community for reservation, while Thakor led an counter protest against inclusion of Patidars in the OBC reservation list. Mevani raised his voice against Dalit atrocities.The influential Patidar community, which accounts for around 12 per cent of the state’s population, could prove to be the ‘X factor’ in the polls in which Patel pledged support to the Congress and appealed to people to “uproot the BJP” this time.As the campaign was nearing its end, “Vikas” (development) took a back seat, and caste and religious issues received prominence.The two main rival parties also tried to counter each other on social media, as the Congress and its supporters launched the campaign “Vikas Gando Thayo Che” (development has gone crazy), while the BJP launched a counter drive of “I am development, I am Gujarat”.An average 68.41 per cent polling was recorded in the two-phase Assembly elections in Gujarat.According to the final figures released by the Election Commission, the voter turnout in the second phase of balloting on December 14, for 93 seats of North and Central Gujarat, stood at 69.99 per cent.In the first phase of polls held on December 9 for 89 seats in Saurasthra, Kutch and South Gujarat, 66.75 per cent voting was recorded.The total voter turnout this time has seen a dip of 2.91 per cent, as compared to the 2012 polls when 71.32 per cent polling was registered.In terms of numbers, of the total 4.35 crore registered voters, 2.97 crore exercised their right to franchise in the elections held on December 9 and 14.According to the EC data, the tribal-dominated Narmada district witnessed the highest voter turnout of 79.15 per cent, while Devbhumi-Dwarka of Saurashtra region recorded the lowest at 59.39 per cent.The districts which recorded a high turnout are Tapi (78.56 per cent), Banaskantha (75.15) and Sabarkantha (74.97). The districts which saw a low turnout are Amreli (61.29), Bhavnagar (61.56) and Porbandar (61.86).Out of the total 33 districts, 15 recorded over 70 per cent polling, while 17 others clocked between 60 per cent and 70 per cent.Only Devbhumi Dwarka district registered polling below 60 per cent.Counting in Himachal The fate of 337 candidates including Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his predecessor Prem Kumar Dhumal will be known tomorrow as counting of votes is taken up in Himachal Pradesh where traditional rivals BJP and Congress have contested all 68 seatsThe hill state witnessed a record 75.28 per cent turnout and pollsters have predicted a BJP vitory.Adequate security arrangements have been made for counting which would start simultaneously in all 68 constituencies at 42 counting centres.Corruption was the main focus of the BJP campaign with the party training its guns at Chief Minister Singh, while the Congress hit out at the BJP over the issue of GST and demonetisation.The BSP contested 42 seats followed by the CPI(M) 14, the Swabhiman party and the Lok Gathbandhan Party six each and the CPI-3.Out of 67 sitting MLAs, 60 MLAS, nine cabinet ministers, HPCC president Sukhvinder Singh Sukkhu, state BJP chief, Satpal Singh Satti, Deputy Speaker, Jagat Singh Negi and eight Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS) contested the poll along with a dozen former ministers.Himachal has a tradition of change in government after every elections and going by the trend, this time it is the turn of the BJP which is upbeat after exit poll results.There are 25 Congress, 28 BJP and four independent MLAs in the outgoing house while one seat was lying vacant after death of former minister Karan Singh from Banjar.Sitting Rajya Sabha member Viplov Thakur(Congress), former Lok Sabha members, Chander Kumar(Congress and Dr Rajan Shushant (Independent) and former Rajya Sabha member Kripal Parmar(BJP) are also among key contestants.While the BJP is confident of winning the polls with a comfortable majority, the Congress has rejected the exit-polls and claimed that it was all set to repeat.The BJP ousted the Congress in 1990 and the Congress avenged defeat in 1993. The BJP formed the government with the help of Himachal Vikas Congress in 1998 and the Congress was back in power in 2003. The BJP made a comeback in 2007.2,820 counting staff has been deployed for tomorrow’s exercise which includes counting supervisors, counting assistants and micro observers.Chief Electoral Officer, Pushpender Rajput said three- tier security arrangements have been made at all counting centres.He said wire mesh barricading has been done at counting centers and there was a separate entry passage for counting staff and counting agents.Videography and CCTV coverage will be done in all counting centres.

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BJP will register comprehensive victories in Gujarat and Himachal: RS Prasad

Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad today asserted that the party will register comprehensive victories in the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.The law and justice, electronics and IT minister said voters have full faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during whose tenure the country has witnessed “all-round growth”.”The people of Gujarat have not forgotten the economic progress and the excellent law and order that prevailed while Modi was the chief minister. The BJP is all set to retain power in the state with a comfortable majority,” he told reporters here.The minister also expressed confidence that the BJP will “win a thumping majority in Himachal Pradesh and dislodge the Congress from power”.Counting of votes in both the states will begin on December 18.Prasad arrived here on his way to Rohtas district, where he is scheduled to address a four-day training camp for the party’s state-level office bearers that began yesterday.”The country has witnessed all-round growth and new benchmarks of progress have been set under Modi’s leadership,” he said.There has been effective action against terrorists and the PM’s diplomacy has been a huge success, placing India among the strong nations of the world, he added.

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BJP exudes confidence after Exit Polls predict wins in Gujarat and Himachal, Congress says wait for D-Day

The BJP looks headed for facile victories in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, exit polls by various media houses concluded unanimously after a rancorous campaign which saw sharp exchanges between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress’s president-elect Rahul Gandhi.Almost all exit polls predicted more than 100 seats for the BJP in Gujarat where the party has been ensconced in power for close to two decades now.In Himachal Pradesh, where the electorate has chosen the Congress and BJP alternately in Assembly elections, the exit polls projected a clear majority for the saffron party, unseating the Congress.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Congress files anticipatory complaint with EC against PM Modi’s ‘roadshow’Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman claimed that the BJP was always confident of its victory and the exit polls have predicted the same.”We have been confident from the beginning that we will be able to work with the voters in Gujarat, we will be able to communicate with them. Our good work in the last several governments that we have had, has been repeatedly called by the voters themselves. We have more work to do towards development which is ‘sab ka sath, sab ka vikas’,” she said.Also readGujarat elections 2017: ‘Modi, Modi’ chants and 500-metre walk – When PM Narendra Modi stood in queue to cast his vote The minister, a former BJP spokesperson said, Gujarat was a state which was very conscious about development. It was aware of what was happening around the globe and would want to be aligned with international financial markets, she said.Also readAs Gujarat campaign progressed, we saw complete bankruptcy in BJP: Rahul Gandhi in Kerala Sitharaman said the state valued the importance of peace and harmony, and of good governance.”I think our plank that only development can bring in equality-based development has been acceptable for the people.And that s what exit polls show. We will wait for the 18th, we are confident we will make it,” she said.The Congress was, however, sceptical about the predictions, with party spokesperson Shobha Oza insisting exit polls have proved wrong in elections before, and claiming it will emerge victorious.”I don’t know how much you trust the exit polls. We have seen exit polls in Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Punjab. All of them proved to be wrong. So, how much can one trust the exit polls.”We will wait for the 18th for the real results. Let’s not take these exit polls too seriously. We have seen them go wrong in many states in the past,” Oza said, adding “definitely, we are winning in Gujarat.”Today’s Chanakya gave BJP 135 seats in Gujarat and predicted a measly 47 for the Congress, 14 less than the opposition party has in the current Assembly. It predicted a voteshare of 49 per cent for the BJP and 38 per cent for challenger Congress.A party or an alliance has to win at least 92 seats in the 182-member House to form government in Gujarat.In the 2012 Assembly polls, the BJP had won 115 seats, the Congress 61 and others six.The Times Now-VMR Exit poll predicted 113 seats for the BJP and 66 for the Congress, with the remaining going to others.The Republic-C Voter Exit Poll gave the BJP 108 seats and the Congress 74.The ABP-CSDS exit survey by ABP News predicted a BJP victory in 117 seats as against the Congress’s 64.The NDTV said the BJP was likely to clinch 112 seats and the Congress 70.A survey by India Today’s ‘Aaj Tak’ news channel also predicted that the BJP would retain power in the state, winning anywhere between 99 and 113 seats. Aaj Tak’s was the lone survey that said the BJP’s tally could slip under 100.It projected 62 to 82 seats for the Congress.India TV-VMR survey also forecast a BJP win, with the party likely to clinch anywhere between 108 and 118 seats. The Congress, it said, could win 61 to 71 seats.The survey said the BJP could garner 48 per cent of the votes polled, the Congress 41 and others 11 per cent.The News X Exit polls gave 110-120 seats to BJP and 65 to 75 seats to the Congress, leaving 2-4 seats for others, while the News Nation exit polls gave the BJP as many as 124-128 seats and the Congress between 52 to 56 seats and 1-3 for others.In Himachal Pradesh, the exit polls predicted the BJP’s return to power with a comfortable majority.Today’s Chanakya gave the BJP 55 seats and to the ruling Congress 13 seats, with the remaining to others. It also predicted a margin of plus/minus 7 seats.The Aaj Tak-Axis exit poll gave 47-55 seats to the saffron party, 13-20 to the Congress and 0-2 to others.The ABP News-CSDS exit poll predicted 38 seats for the BJP and 29 for the Congress, with one to others.Among other exit polls, the News X survey predicted 42-50 seats for the BJP and 18-24 for the Congress.Congress had returned to power in Himachal Pradesh in 2012 pocketing 36 seats, marginally more than the half-way mark, while the BJP secured 26. The others had bagged the remaining six.

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‘Chintan Shivir’ not an excursion, blueprint of ‘new Haryana’ to be prepared: ML Khattar

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today said the ‘Chintan Shivir’ (brainstorming session) at the Timber Trail resort in Himachal Pradesh would not be an “excursion” and asserted that a blueprint of a “new Haryana” would be prepared.The session, set to be held from December 15 to 17, faced flak from the opposition, which dubbed it as “holidaying in the hills”.”Blueprint of a new Haryana would be prepared through deliberations on development at the Shivir,” Khattar said here, adding, “Various ongoing development works and other schemes will also be reviewed.”The BJP government is making all out efforts to bring a positive change in the system, the chief minister said.”A blueprint to take the state and the society further ahead on the path of economic development in the next two years would be prepared during the Shivir. Various welfare policies and laws would also be deliberated upon in the Shivir,” he said in Rohtak.Asked about the opposition’s criticism that the session to be held at a luxury private resort was a waste of public money, Khattar said, “The chintan shivir is not being organised for the purpose of excursion.”Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the ruling BJP’s concern should have been the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and not “holidaying in the hills”. He alleged that the government was wasting public money.Taking a dig at Hooda, Haryana Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister O P Dhankar said it was a tradition in the BJP to take collective decision from ‘chintan’ (brainstorming).Meanwhile, speaking to reporters about the claim made in a new show of a US-based science channel that the ‘Ram Setu’ between India and Sri Lanka was man-made, Khattar said “Shri Ram Setu’s existence has been confirmed, but it is unfortunate that the leaders of the Congress party are refusing these facts.”Khattar attacked the opposition parties in Haryana, saying they dub organising festivals like Gita Jayanti as futile exercises.He also hit out at the opposition for negating the existence of mythical Saraswati river. “The Congress has always been negating the mythological, literary and historical facts,” he said.”The leaders of the Congress party should think twice before making any statement. It seems that they have no interest in spreading the values in the society and it has become their habit to make comments on our mythological and literary heritage which have earned recognition at international level,” he added.

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Three Army jawans missing after heavy snowfall in Kashmir

Three army jawans went missing at Mani Post Bagtoor Gurez sector of Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district due to snow avalanche.They went missing after the night temperature at most places in Kashmir division, including Ladakh, dropped last night.Pir Panjal range in Rajouri and Srinagar continued to receive season’s first snowfall, while the Mughal road and the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has been closed for traffic due to snowfall in the region.Meanwhile, Solang valley in Manali of Himachal Pradesh also received fresh snowfall.The Met Department had earlier said that a western disturbance would affect the state from December 11.

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18 injured in pile-up on Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road in Punjab

Eighteen persons were injured in a pile-up involving three vehicles on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road, police said today.A Sangrur-bound state transport bus coming from Mata Chintpurni shrine in Himachal Pradesh and a truck going towards Hoshiarpur were involved in a head-on collision near village Khurampur, 6 kms from here, yesterday evening.Another bus was also involved in the collision, they said.A heavy machine had to be pressed into service for removing the entangled vehicles and restoring traffic, which was disrupted for a while after the accident.Bus driver Rupinder Singh of Malerkotla, conductor Harpreet Singh of Lehragaga and truck driver Surinder Singh of Kapurthala were among the injured.They were admitted to a local hospital.The driver of another truck escaped unhurt.Bus passengers with serious injuries have been hospitalised.
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Thumping majority for BJP in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh a foregone conclusion: ML Khattar

He was speaking on the sidelines of ‘Pravasi Haryana Sammelan’ organised here by his government for people who have origins in the northern state but have settled down in Bihar.”The country-wide BJP wave is there for all to see. The party’s stunning performance in the local body elections in Uttar Pradesh is the latest example. A thumping majority in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh is a foregone conclusion,” Khattar told reporters here.The chief minister also ridiculed Uttar Pradesh leaders Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav for crying foul over their defeat in the recently held civic polls and demanding the return of ballot papers.”Haryana and Bihar share an old relationship and I want both the states to prosper. Faridabad has a large population of Biharis and the Chhath Puja was recently celebrated there with great fervour,” he said. Khattar also claimed that Haryana was among the fastest growing states in the country with a per capita income higher than the national average.Referring to his three-year-old rule, Khattar said, “In terms of ease of doing business we have moved from the 14th to the sixth position. We have also worked on the social front and the sex ratio in the state has risen from 840 to 937.” Khattar said his government was criticized by political parties when it laid down minimum educational qualifications as an eligibility criterion for panchayat polls but the Supreme Court later lauded the decision.”Our decision to introduce education qualification was hailed by the Supreme Court. Now we have suggested the Centre to introduce similar criteria for MLAs and MPs,” he added.
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Winter is here: North India experiences biting cold; sub-zero temperature in Kashmir, Himachal

Delhiites woke to a chilly morning with the minimum temperature settling at 8 degrees Celsius, the Kashmir Valley shivered under sub-zero temperatures while Punjab and Haryana also saw the mercury dip as large parts of north India experienced biting cold.The mercury dived below zero degrees Celsius in the high altitude areas of Himachal Pradesh as well.A blanket of haze again enveloped Delhi today and the visiting Sri Lankan team again brought the smog issue to the centre-stage when they played with masks on and even held up proceedings in the third test match against India.The India Meteorological Department said pollution levels have spiked due to calm conditions, marked by low wind speed and moisture. The IMD has forecast possibility of light rains on December 5 and 6.Delhi recorded a high of 23.9 degrees Celsius and a low of 8 degrees Celsius, a MeT department official said.Meanwhile, Adampur in Punjab recorded a biting 4.9 degrees Celsius minimum temperature as visibility dropped slightly at few places in the state and neighbouring Haryana due to shallow fog and mist.Among other places in Punjab, Amritsar and Ludhiana, experienced a cold night recording respective lows of 6.6 and 7.2 degrees Celsius, a Meteorological Department official said here.Patiala, too, was cold at 8.5 degrees Celsius while Bathinda registered a low of 8.1 degrees. Pathankot and Gurdaspur recorded minimum temperatures of 7.3 degrees Celsius and 7.4 degrees Celsius, respectively.Chandigarh, the common capital of Punjab and Haryana, recorded a low of 8.6 degrees Celsius.In Haryana, Hisar was the coldest place recording a low of 5.6 degrees Celsius, down four notches against normal limit. Ambala recorded a low of 9.3 degrees Celsius while Rohtak’s minimum was 6.7 degrees.The Kashmir Valley and the Ladakh region continued to experience sub-zero night temperatures even as the Meteorological Department has forecast a further dip in the mercury owing to the dry weather over the next few days.The night temperature across Kashmir division, including Ladakh region, stayed below the freezing point last night, an official of the MET department here said.Last night, Srinagar – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir – recorded the minimum temperature of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius ? down 0.5 degrees from the previous night, the official said.Gulmarg, the famous ski-resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius and the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 2.2 degrees Celsius, same as the previous night, the official said.Kokernag town, also in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 1.3 degrees Celsius, slightly down from minus 1.1 degrees Celsius yesterday, the official said.Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius ? down from the previous night’s minus 2.0 degrees Celsius, he said.The other famous health resort of Pahalgam, which serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra, registered an increase of nearly a degree in the night temperature as the minimum there settled at minus 1.8 degrees Celsius.Leh continued to be the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir, with a low of minus 8.6 degrees Celsius ? though a slight increase from the previous night’s minus 8.7 degrees Celsius.The nearby Kargil town also witnessed a slight increase in the night temperature as the mercury there settled at minus 7.2 degrees Celsius, compared to minus 7.6 degrees Celsius the previous night.In Himachal Pradesh, the mercury stayed between minus seven and minus 12 degrees Celsius in high altitude areas of the state. Strong winds lashed capital Shimla which witnessed overcast condition.Owing to the low temperatures, skating commenced in Shimla’s ice?skating rink. After nearly a decade skating in the rink was feasible in early December. Last year, it started on December 27.Keylong, Kalpa and Manali recorded a low of minus 4.2 degrees Celsius, minus 0.6 degrees Celsius and minus 0.2 degrees Celsius respectively. Una was the hottest in the region with a high of 26.8 degrees Celsius.
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61,974 cases of riots, group clashes in 2016; highest in Bihar: NCRB

A total of 61,974 cases of riots and group clashes took place in the country in 2016, down five per cent from the previous year, National Crime Records Bureau data said today.According to it, 35 cases of sedition were also registered in 2016 out of which Haryana accounted for the highest number of 12 cases followed by Uttar Pradesh with six.Among the 61,974 cases of riots and group clashes, the highest — 11,617 cases — were registered in Bihar, 8,018 in Uttar Pradesh and 7,898 in Maharashtra.There were 61,974 cases of riots and group clashes in the country in 2015.The 35 sedition cases registered in 2016 included three each in Karnataka and Kerala, two each in Delhi, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.Also readWith 16%, UP accounts for most murders in country: NCRBAs many as 60 cases of custodial deaths or disappearance from lock-ups were reported in the country in 2016 of which 12 were in Maharashtra, nine each in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, five in Madhya Pradesh, four in Punjab, three each in Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh and two in Rajasthan.A total of 32 people also died or disappeared in the country last year while they were under the remand of the police. These included six each in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, four in Maharashtra and two each in Assam, Gujarat, Haryana and Tamil Nadu.
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Congress should have condemed chaiwala meme on PM Modi says Vijay Goel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vijay Goel on Sunday criticised Congress’ youth wing for a meme it had put out mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “chaiwala” past, and said its parent party-the Congress – should have condemned it.Speaking to reporters after taking part in ‘Mann Ki Baat – Chai Ke Saath’ event in Delhi, Goel said at a time when the prime minister was trying to take India forward, the Congress’ youth wing was stooping down with its tweets and memes.”Congress should have condemned it. Politicians should not stoop down as it would be difficult to recover from that level,” he said.On November 21, the official Twitter handle of the Youth Congress online magazine ‘Yuva Desh’ had kicked up a row by mocking Modi’s “chaiwala” past and English-speaking skills through a photograph showing him in a conversation with British premier Theresa May and US President Donald Trump.The meme was removed soon after it was put out.And Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala has said on Twitter that Congress “strongly disapproves and rejects such humour through memes. Differences on policy and opinion aside, Congress culture imbibes respect for PM and all political opponents.””There was no prime minister who had done so much work and initiated so many schemes, which is evident from Moody’s rating,” Goel said, adding that the saffron party will sweep the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.”Along with the Modi government at the Centre, more BJP or NDA states should join to make India better and positive,” he said.When the BJP-led government talks about positivity and the prime minister educates people with his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programmes, the opposition only engages in negativity, he added.

Gujarat Elections 2017: Modi, Shah discuss possible list of candidates

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah met other party leaders here today to finalise the list of candidates for the Gujarat Assembly polls to be held next month, sources said.The BJP’s central election committee meeting, chaired by Shah, was also attended by state Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. A preliminary list prepared by the state unit of the BJP was discussed, the sources said. Gujarat’s Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, BJP state in-charge Bhupender Yadav and state BJP president Jitu Vaghani were also present at the two-hour long meeting.The list of candidates would be announced at an “appropriate time”, Union minister J P Nadda told reporters after the meet. Elections to the 182-member Gujarat Assembly will take place on December 9 and 14. The votes will be counted on December 18, along with those of Himachal Pradesh, where elections were held on November 9.

Punjab AAP rakes up river water dispute, demands royalties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Raking up the raging river water dispute, Punjab’s unit of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has demanded that the Punjab government should levy royalties on river water being supplied to Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan.The state is locked in a dispute with neighbouring Haryana for construction of 214-km Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, whose construction was suspended in 1990. While the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Haryana for construction of the canal, Punjab has rued that it will end up facing serious ecological crisis due to depletion of ground water.Leading a sit-in protest outside the Punjab Secretariat, Leader of Opposition, Sukhpal Khaira and other MLAs, including Vice-President Aman Arora, demanded that the government should put into effect the resolution passed in the Punjab Assembly and seek royalties from the neighboring states.“As a riparian state, we urge Punjab government to levy royalties on neighbouring Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi which are being provided water from Satluj river for decades,” said Leader of Opposition, Sukhpal Singh Khaira. The AAP MLAs contended that the government can send the bills to the Delhi government to begin with, where CM Arvind Kejriwal is likely to agree.However, the demands were dismissed by cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Bajwa. “If we seek royalties from other states, then we will also have to pay royalty to Himachal Pradesh, which is actually providing river water to Punjab. The water is coming from HP. A decision cannot be taken like this,” said Bajwa, highlighting that such problems needed a long-term solution.

Odisha sets up panel to crack down on ganja farming

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Odisha Police has set up a coordination committee, comprising officials of revenue, excise and forest departments, to crack down on ganja cultivation in the state.A meeting of top officials of excise department, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and police superintendents of districts, where ganja cultivation is rampant, was chaired by DGP R P Sharma on Wednesday to determine their plan of action in this regard.Stating that Odisha has emerged as the second state in the country, followed by Himachal Pradesh, to eradicate ganja plantation, ADG (crime branch), Santosh Kumar Upadhaya, said a coordinated effort could end the menace in Odisha.He said a blueprint has been prepared in the meeting for wiping out ganja plantations during the harvest period between November and January.The Odisha Police has set a target to destroy 4,000-acre hemp cultivation in 2017-18, he added.A source in the crime branch of the Odisha Police said ganja cultivation in several hilly areas of the state has been on the rise for several years now.Around 1300 acres of hemp was destroyed in 2012-13, but another 4000 acres were reported in the financial year 2016-17 in the state, a senior NCB official said.Tribal-dominated Kandhamal district was found to be the worst-affected. The police had destroyed 243 acres of ganja in 2013-14, 727 acres in 2014-15, but the plantation area rose to 1341 acres in 2015-16 and 2,072 acres in 2016-17.”Suitable climate, hilly terrains and support from local people made Kandhamal district a safe haven for the ganja cultivators,” a police official said on the condition of anonymity.​

PM Modi’s language shows his arrogance says Virbhadra Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day before the polls CM Virbhadra Singh is taking a break from his continuous campaign trail at Holly Lodge in Shimla, before he takes off for Rampur to cast his vote in the wee hours of Thursday. Most of his travel is by road, believing his 83 years. He says that the BJP has taken the debate to a crude level and that the Congress will be back for another term. Edited excerpts of an interview with dna.The BJP has been attacking you on the grounds of corruption.This house, built in 1880, belongs to my father, as does the vast ancestral properties that was passed on to me, while the BJP is saying that I am corrupt. In their own party, former CM PK Dhumal’s son, Anurag Thakur, started the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association and his father passed on some prime land. They ran it as a family business. In Shimla, Dhumal passed on the grounds of the British-era government school in Lalpani for the association. Even the finance minister, who was involved in cricket with the DGCA, has cases against him. In my case, the same issue is looked after by the Income Tax department, CBI and ED. If this is not persecution, what is it. I’m not going to bow down.The language that the PM used while attacking the Congress has been quite strong; he’s called the Congress ‘termites’ and likened the party to ‘demons’.One does not expect such rude behaviour and crude language from a PM. For example, in a poll rally he said, “What is Congress. ‘Gandi keera’ hai.” We haven’t resorted to that sort of language; this is crass politics. Congress has a history of over a century, and to liken us to insects shows the arrogance of the PM. The power has gone to his head.Do you think that the Kotkhai rape and murder incident could have been dealt with differently?I sympathise with the family as their daughter has been brutally raped and murdered. Yet the government did what was possible. The day after the incident, I wrote personally to the PM saying that the case be referred to the CBI, and also called the union home minister. So many months have passed, there has been no findings and the High Court has rapped them on it. The BJP has been unscrupulous and have used it to build a political movement. A few days after the incident at the Kotkhai PS, the BJP leaders gave an instigating speech, vandalised the newly-constructed office and attacked the store room and the record room which housed files of the station for decades. What form of a protest is that.You are one of the senior most people from the Congress. And there has been an exodus of senior party leaders. Why is that so?I don’t know, everyone has their own reasons. I joined the party in 1961, and soon became an MP from Mahasu. I keep my personal life and beliefs away from my politics, I believe in clean politics based on issues. The political stage is not meant for venting or anger.There has been a lot of talk about Rahul Gandhi taking over as vice-president. What do you think of him as a leader?Somebody has to head the party, and he’s eligible to become President when the seat will be vacant.Is this election more about Virbhadra Singh versus Prem Kumar Dhumal or it is a battle between the Congress and the BJP? Do you think it would have been any different if JP Nadda was selected as CM candidate?It is a battle between the parties. There’s no personal fight, at least so fast as I am concerned. We have no accused anybody and have carried this campaign as cleanly as possible.I don’t think the difference would have been significant, whether it is Nadda or Dhumal or Shanta Kumar, it doesn’t matter. The Congress will come back to power.The Congress has been attacking the BJP on the implementation of the GST. And it is a year since demonetization was declared.These are valid arguments, people in every sort of trade and industry are talking in the same terms as us. We are echoing the same concerns. In Himachal Pradesh, there are many farmers, and they have been severely affected. The time is gone when parties threw money to people and buy their votes, the people of Himachal have always been politically aware.

Himachal Elections 2017: Polling for all 68 constituencies on Thursday, keen contest between Cong- BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The hill state of Himachal Pradesh goes to polls on Thursday with traditional rivals, the Congress and the BJP locking horns in all 68 constituencies where 337 candidates including 62 MLAs are in the fray.Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, 10 ministers, eight Chief Parliamentary secretaries, Deputy Speaker Jagat Singh Negi, former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and over a dozen former ministers are among those who have thrown their hat in the ring. The ruling Congress led by the chief minister and the BJP led with former chief minister Dhumal are contesting all 68 seats while the BSP is contesting 42 seats, followed by the CPI(M) 14, Swabhiman Party and Lok Gathbandhan Party six each and the CPI-3.The 12-days high-voltage campaign, which came to an end yesterday, saw over 450 rallies by star campaigners of the BJP and the Congress including Prime minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah who addressed seven and six rallies respectively. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi addressed three rallies. Corruption was the main focus of the BJP campaign with the party training its guns at Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, while the Congress hit out at the BJP over the issue of GST and demonetization.There is straight contest only in one constituency (Jhanduta) while the maximum number of 12 candidates is in fray in Dharamsala. The BJP has fielded four Congressmen including former minister Anil Sharma and given ticket to on Independent from Chopal while Congress had fielded two independents from Paonta Sahib and Kangra. Both Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Dhumal have shifted their constituencies and are contesting from Arki and Sujanpur. Chief Parliamentary Secretary Mansa Ram, who was elected for the first time in 1967 from Karsog(SC), is in the fray for eleventh time.There are 19 women in the fray including six fielded by the BJP and three by the Congress while seven rebels each of BJP and Congress are also contesting the polls. At present, the Congress and the BJP have 35 and 28 MLAs respectively in the 68-member House besides four independents while one seat is vacant. Over 180 independents and a dozen rebels of the Congress including former ministers Singhi Ram (Rampur) and Vijay Singh Mankotia (Shahpur) are in the fray. A total of 50,25,941 voters are eligible to cast their vote. As many as 7,525 polling booths have been set up in the state and 37,605 polling personnel have been deputed for poll duty.Besides 17,850 personnel of police and Home Guards and 65 companies of central paramilitary force have been deployed, Chief Electoral Officer Pushpender Rajput said.Elaborate arrangements have been made for ensuring free and fair polls and 29 general, three police, 22 Expenditure Observers and 71 Assistant Expenditure Observers, 1,561 Micro Observers, besides, 193 Sector Magistrate and 789 Sectors officers have also been deployed throughout the state. Web-casting would be used in 2,307 polling stations in the state for live monitoring of polling activities in the state by ECI and polling would be held from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, the CEO said. He said the state has 100% Photo Identity Card (EPIC) holders and 7525 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) are being used. VVPAT machines are being used for the first time in this Vidhan Sabha Election and 10% of total EVMs and VVPATs have been kept in reserve.The Election Commission has also allowed the electors to cast their vote by producing any one document out of the 12 identity documents. He said 983 polling stations had been declared vulnerable and 399 as critical to ensure free and fair elections in the State. The maximum numbers of vulnerable polling stations are 297 in Kangra district and minimum two in Kinnaur district, he added. He said the Hikkim polling station in Lahaul and Spiti Assembly Constituency, which is situated at a maximum height of 14567 feet, has 194 voters while Ka polling booth in Kinnaur has minimum of six voters.Till the 1967 assembly polls, the Congress had a monopoly and barring splinter parties which won two or three seats, Independents filled the gap of opposition. After merger of Punjab hill areas in November 1966, the assembly polls were held in 1967 and the Congress won 34 out of 60 seats and the Bhartiya Jan Sangh, for the first time won seven seats. Two seats were bagged by CPI, one by Swatantra Party while independents recorded victory on 16 seats.However, in the 1972 assembly polls, held close on the heels of the Indo-Pak war, the Congress bounced back to power, winning 53 out of 68 seats while the Jan Sangh won five seats and Independent bagged seven seats.The Congress and the Jan Sangh polled 53.54 and 7.75% votes while Independents cornered 28.27% votes. The Congress fortress was finally demolished by the Janata wave in 1977, leding to emergence of a two-party system as the Janata Party and the Congress polled 57.19 and 38.38% votes, respectively and won 53 seats and nine seats. The CPM and the CPI together secured only about two% votes.The Congress staged a comeback in the 1980 Lok Sabha poll, winning all four seats with 52.88% votes as against 36.38% polled by the Janata Party.The split in the Janata Party led to the emergence of the BJP as the main opposition in the state. It won 29 seats with 35.15% of votes, while the Congress only got 31 seats despite a vote share of 42.52% and failed to get a clear majority. The Janata Party, the CPI and the CPM accounted for eight% of votes. Riding on the sympathy wave in the wake of Indira Gandhi s assassination, the Congress swept the 1984 Lok Sabha elections winning all four seats with a record 67.58% votes. The BJP s percentage dropped to 23.27.Sensing the mood of the people, the then Congress government went for snap polls, winning 58 out of the total 68 seats while the strength of the BJP was reduced to seven. However in the 1989 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP won three out of four seats and in the ensuing assembly polls in 1990, the BJP entered into an alliance with Janata Dal and the combination won 58 seats( BJP-47, JD-11) while the Congress got nine seats. The BJP and the Congress polled 41.77 and 37.35% votes while the JD, which contested 17 seats got 10.82% votes. In the 1991 Lok Sabha elections, the two parties shared the two seats each even though the Congress polled 46.16% votes, about 3.5% more than the BJP.The Congress returned to power with a bang in 1993, winning 54 seats. The BJP won only eight and its vote share declined to 36.18% while the Congress polled 49.36% votes.The Congress won all four Lok Sabha seats in the 1996 elections, improving its vote percentage to 54.33 while BJP polled 39.62% votes. The emergence of the Himachal Vikas Congress, a breakaway faction of the Congress in the 1998 assembly polls, severely dented the Congress vote bank polling 9.63% votes against 43.51 and 39.09% votes polled by the Congress and the BJP a new dimension to the political scene in 1998.The HVC won only five seats, but led to defeat of the Congress in another 14 seats. The Congress and the BJP won 31 seats each and the BJP formed a coalition government with HVC. Ahead of the 2003 assembly polls, the BJP and HVC parted ways and the Congress won 43 seats with 41 per votes while the BJP got 16 seats with vote share of 35.38% and HVC was decimated getting one seat with 5.87% votes. The BJP won majority on its own in the 2007 assembly polls for the first time and won 41 seats while the Congress won 23 seats and BSP and Independents three and one seat respectively.The BJP and the Congress polled 43.78 and 39.54% votes.Ahead of the 2012 polls, BJP dissidents floated the Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) which won only one seat but cornered 4.52% votes. The Congress and the BJP won 36 and 26 seats polling 43.21 and 38.83% votes. Independents candidates polled 15.87 votes and five independents were elected. This time there is no third force and as Congress and the BJP have been returning to power alternately since 1985, the BJP is claiming that it is their turn to stage a comeback.

Himachal Assembly Polls 2017: We lost two tallest leaders for nation, don’t need BJP’s certificate, says Anand Sharma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP has attacked the Himachal government on corruption. What is the Congress’ strategy?There have been no charges of corruption against the government. There are no FIRs, no inquiries. There are some old cases of disproportionate assets against CM Virbhadra Singh, which are sub-judice. There are allegations against the BJP, too. They have fielded the highest number of corrupt politicians in the state — 23 with criminal charges and 9 with serious criminal charges.
The Prime Minister said in his speech at Kangra on Thursday that the Congress’s support for Kashmir’s “azaadi” is an insult to the Army… The Congress definitely does not need a certificate from PM Modi on our love for the country. The party has paid the supreme sacrifice and we have lost two of our tallest leaders in service of our nation. Modi has no counter for the betrayal of people for not delivering on his promises, especially jobs. He promised 7 crore jobs. His government killedover 4 crore. The twin blows of demonetisation and GST have taken away over 33% jobs from the MSME sector. He needs to address that instead.
The BJP says that it was the Congress which thought of the GST… It is true that the original author of GST was the Congress. Then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee drafted it and sent it to a standing committee. It was finalised by P Chidambaram. For seven years, we could not pass the GST because of a strong opposition from the BJP. Especially from Modi who said that GST was against the “spirit of the Constitution”. But when he came to power, he saw virtue in it. The government met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and later, formally asked for our support. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met me, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Chidambaram. We agreed to extend support on three conditions. The first was that the highest tax slab should not exceed 28%, the second was to support small enterprises which do not have infrastructural back-up, and the third was to not exclude revenue goods like petroleum products, fuel, electricity etc. The BJP took our support and did exactly the opposite: there are now five tax slabs and the GST is one of the highest in the world, there is no help for the MSME sector and they excluded petroleum products, fuel electricity etc, which make for 45% of the revenue, from GST.
The BJP has attacked your manifesto, saying that these are false promises… Unlike the BJP, we do not make false promises. Himachal Pradesh has a population of 75 lakh, and in the last five years, we created 65,000 jobs. In Gujarat, where the population is 6.5 crore, the BJP has managed to create10,000 jobs. We built four medical colleges, while they have had to shut down their government schools. The BJP is now talking about appointing a new Lokayukta, when the big question is why have they not appointed the Lokpal even after the Bill was passed and the Supreme Court has passed orders. Their vision document has no vision. It is all lies.

Himachal Assembly polls 2017: Cong lost trust of people, BJP govt will earn it back, says Prem Kumar Dhumal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>What is the BJP’s biggest poll offering in the state?The benefits of “jaan, maan aur sammaan”. In the last five years, the Congress eroded people’s belief and lost its credibility owing to its misrule and rampant corruption. We promise to win that belief back. We will have something for everyone. We will ensure women are safe here, bring development back on track, create more jobs, build better health facilities, and restore pension for those above 70 years. In the tourism sector, the backbone of the state economy, we plan new destinations, better infrastructure, and the development of the “char dham” circuit, connecting all temples.
The Congress’ manifesto, released after the BJP’s, seems to have an edge… It is a fraud manifesto — full of false promises. In 2003, the Congress in its manifesto said that one member in every family will get a job. It later said that those without jobs will get social security cards. But unemployment is still a huge worry. In 2003, and again in 2012, they said that Class X students will get Rs 10,000, while those above Class XII will get Rs 15,000. I spoke to students in Rampur, none of whom received any stipend. The hydro-electric projects the Congress has been promising aren’t complete. These are false assurances. The state is reeling under a debt of Rs 28,000 crore. What are the BJP’s plans?We plan to generate an income of Rs 600 crore every year through hydel projects. We will create 70,000 jobs that will boost the economy to an extent. In a state like Himachal Pradesh, there is not much scope to send money back to the Centre, but we will do our best. In one of the rallies on Thursday, PM Modi said that he will ask cold drink companies to ensure that at least 5% of the compositions are made of fruit pulp or juice. This will be very beneficial for the state’s agrarian economy.There has been some unhappiness within the party over ticket distribution…In every Vidhan Sabha constituency, a party usually has 50-100 prominent workers. The party is bound by certain factors — especially winnability. There is bound to be discontentment among a section of the people, but the party is supreme.Talking of discontentment, the GST has been a major grouse among the voters…In Parliament, when the GST was eventually brought in, P Chidambaram reminded us all that it was the Congress in 2010 which took the initiative. The “one nation, one market, one tax” scheme will be a boon for small traders by lowering price rise. It will expand the GDP by 1.5-2 per cent. We introduced a system for traders to pay the tax quarterly and rest easy on other days. The GST council had given an option for the state government to increase the tax exemption limit to Rs 20 lakh per annum, but the Congress government here maintained it at Rs 10 lakh. If the BJP comes to power, we will hike it to Rs 20 lakh to offer relief to traders here.

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