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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Congress asks for mobile jammers outside rooms guarding EVMs to prevent rigging

The Congress has reportedly requested the Election Commission to install cell phone jammers outside rooms that guard the electronic voting machines (EVMs) fearing rigging, an NDTV report has revealed.According to the report, the Congress made a special request to the Election Commission, who confirmed it to the news channel. The Commission, however, maintained that the EVMs were tamper-proof and adequate security measures had been taken.The Election Commission rules permit all parties to check EVMs before elections as a procedure. The Congress says that it wants VVPAT slips to be manually counted after voting, the report added.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | PM Modi appeals voters to turn out in large numbers during Phase 1Over 2 crore voters will decide the fate of 977 candidates in the Phase 1 of the elections. The polling will begin at 8 am and will conclude at 5 pm. Along with the Electronic Voting Machine, the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail will also be used during the polling.Security has been beefed up in the state to ward off any untoward incidents and maintain law and order. Security personnel have been deployed to maintain peaceful atmosphere for the smooth conduct of elections. CCTV cameras have also been installed for effective monitoring and surveillance.Also readLIVE: Gujarat Elections 2017- Polling for 89 seats continues; EVM glitches at some booths delay votingConcerns over the rigging of EVMs began after the BJP won a record 325 out of the 403 seats in the state. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party alleged that the EVMs and been rigged. Similarly, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi party had alleged rigging of EVM machines and even gave a demonstration inside the Delhi Assembly a month later.Gujarat votes in two phases on Saturday and next Thursday. Results will be declared on December 18.

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No exceptions for Odd-Even, govt tells NGT

After being pulled up by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government finally submitted in court on Wednesday, an action plan to curb pollution in the city. Changing its earlier stance, the AAP government said the Odd-Even road rationing scheme will be implemented with no exemptions, as an ’emergency measure’.The plan also includes a ban on entry of trucks in city limits, shutting down of industries, prohibition on burning of waste, and a complete stop to construction activities, once the pollution levels touch the ‘Severe’ category.Earlier, the AAP government had told the court that due to the lack of adequate number of buses and keeping women’s security in mind, it must allow exemption to women drivers and two-wheelers.The green court, however, was not in agreement and told the government to add to its bus fleet. The transport department is still in the process of procuring 1,000 more Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses.The NGT also directed the city government to file a a detailed report, including details of exemptions given in the Odd-Even scheme, besides directing the Haryana and Punjab governments to submits their detailed action plan by Thursday. The panel will now hear the matter on Thursday.A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar stated that the air quality in the national Capital was never normal. “You all (states) tell us what steps you will take at what level of pollution. What are your normal steps to check pollution?” the bench asked.The court also rapped the AAP government for not filing a comprehensive action plan on ways to tackle severe air pollution in the city, besides slamming the authorities for organising the India-Sri Lanka cricket test match, despite the bad air quality.The report also stated that after the NGT orders, sprinkling of water and mechanised cleaning of major roads is being done.”The Public Works Department (PWD) has deployed 51 water tankers every day, covering an average of 130 km of roads. The department also took help of the DJB. As many as 6 water tankers have been deployed at an average distance of 15-16 km from September 9 onwards,” the report stated.It added: “The PWD is making efforts to increase the number of machines by re-tendering procurement of sweeping machines.”Besides, monitoring and action against persons for burning waste material in the open has been going on as a special drive. Public notices have been issued on prohibition on open burning of leaves and waste.According to the plan, Sub Divisional Magistrates (SDMs) and Tehsildars (Executive Magistrate), Department of Revenue, have been authorised to take action against violators. Penalty will be imposed in accordance with the NGT directions. The report further stated that promotion of Battery Operated Vehicles or e-rickshaws has been taken up.Air quality in the national Capital had dipped close to ‘severe’ category again over the week. However, with the sun showing up and wind speed picking up on Wednesday, it improved to ‘poor’ from the ‘very poor’ category.
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Yogi Adityanath

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Gujarat elections 2017 | House for women, cheaper power: Cong’s manifesto

Reservation in jobs and higher education to economically backward classes, loan waiver for farmers, unemployment allowance of up to Rs 4,000, house for every woman, construction of 25 lakh homes for the poor, free laptops / smartphones for students, a Happiness Index, and lowering of electricity tariff by 50% are some of the promises the Congress has made in its manifesto for the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections.Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki, Gujarat Congress in-charge Ashok Gehlot, and other leaders released the manifesto on Monday evening, barely five days before the first phase of elections. Incidentally, the ruling BJP is yet to announce its manifesto. “Gujarat is in distress today due to 22 years’ misrule of the BJP. Many communities are unhappy with the government. There are no jobs. Farmers are not getting the right prices. Education has become expensive and out of reach of the middle class. Our manifesto shows how we will set these wrongs right when we come to power,” Solanki said after releasing the manifesto.For farmers, the manifesto promises loan waivers, 16-hour electricity, remunerative MSPs, etc. The Congress has attempted to reach out to the youth with a promise to provide Rs32,000 crore financing for self employment schemes, unemployment allowance of up to Rs4,000 a month, and ending the system of filling government posts through contractual and fixed pay system. “We will provide a house for every woman irrespective of the community she belongs. Girls will be provided free education right from primary school to higher education. Women will be given loans to start small businesses,” he said.Banking on support of Patidar community in the polls, Congress promised reservation for Economically Backward Classes in its manifesto. It said that it will introduce a bill to provide reservation to communities, such as Patidars, who do not get the benefits at present. This would be done without making any change in the 49% reservation for OBCs, SCs and STs, it said.Citing high cost of education, the Congress said it will convert all self-financed courses in government / aided institutions into grant in aid courses, reducing fee burden on parents by 80%.“Congress will bring self-financed schools and colleges under Fee Regulation Act and make the fees affordable to all poor and middle class students,” said Solanki.The Opposition party, which is looking to come back to power in Gujarat after 22 years, said petrol and diesel prices would be brought down by up to Rs10 per litre by reducing taxes. It promised 50% reduction in property tax for small shopkeepers in urban areas.Taking a cue from the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, Congress promised to reduce electricity rates by up to 50%, and also announced that households having consumption of up to 200 units a month would be charged at Rs2 per unit.In the manifesto, Congress promised setting up of fast track courts for economic offences such as defaults, cheque bounce, fraud, cyber fraud, among others. The party also announced setting up of Indira canteens for providing food to labour class at Rs 10 per plate.
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Ex-AAP leader Yogendra Yadav says party kept double accounts, dodged tax authorities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav today attacked the AAP over the IT notice issued to it, alleging that the Kejriwal-led party kept double accounts, concealed information and dodged tax authorities.Yadav, however, noted that the notice was also a political vendatta against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).”Of course its vendetta. But a party that took on the entire political system should have known better. IT notice on solid grounds: AAP kept double accounts, concealed info from public and dodged tax authorities. Exposes AAP hypocrisy on financial probity and transparency,” Yadav tweeted.The Income Tax Department has charged the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with taking “hawala entries” worth Rs 2 crore from a Delhi-based operative and revoked the tax exemption given to it for being a political party, for the assessment year 2015- 16. The taxman, according to the penalty notice, has alleged that the Kejriwal-led party in power in Delhi “incorrectly disclosed the hawala money as voluntary donations”. The department slapped these charges on AAP in its assessment order issued to the party last week and determined the total taxable income of AAP at Rs 68.44 crore with a corresponding income tax of Rs 30.67 crore for AY 2015-16.
ALSO READ AAP served IT notice of Rs 30 crores, Kejriwal calls it ‘political vendetta’ Reacting to the notice Kejriwal had termed it as the “height of political vendetta”. Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, former AAP leaders, had questioned the funding of the AAP before they were ousted from the party in April 2015.

EPCA plans to put odd-even scheme on auto mode

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) is soon planning to devise a system under which measures like odd-even will kick in automatically when air pollution enters’emergency’zone.”It is learnt that the EPCA is now mulling over a proposal to make the enforcement mechanism automatic so that such situations can be avoided. The issue is likely to be taken up at the panel’s meeting on Friday,” said an EPCA official.Earlier this month, when pollution breached emergency levels, the Delhi government had decided to implement the car-rationing scheme based on odd and even number plates but had to call it off at the last moment.The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had made it clear that it would allow the scheme to be enforced only if the exemptions to two-wheelers and women were withdrawn, but the Arvind Kejriwal-led government had expressed its inability to do so, citing inadequacies in the city’s public transport system.Caught between the NGT and the government, the measure, which is a part of the Centre-notified Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), could ultimately not be enforced in the Capital.In fact, the Delhi government had gone ahead with its plan without the EPCA approval. Firstly, the court-appointed watchdog was not in favour of its implementation as the pollution levels were expected to dip and secondly, it was against the exemptions as well.This was also found in a recent report of the EPCA to the apex court. The report stressed the need for “deterrence” so that GRAP’s implementation is strengthened.”It is clear that any direction is as good as its implementation.Given all the challenges of effective governance in our cities, it is clear we need a better system for the implementation of GRAP, during the pollution emergency periods. EPCA will discuss how stronger deterrence can be incorporated in GRAP and get back to the Hon’ble Court on the possible directives needed in this regard,” said the report.Under the current mechanism, if pollution persists in the emergency category for 48 hours or more, then action, as required under such severe spells, shall immediately be pressed into through state-level committees and various implementing agencies listed in the GRAP.In the case of odd-even, the implementing agency as listed by the GRAP is the transport department in Delhi and transport commissioners of the NCR towns such as Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Noida.

Gujarat Election 2017: AAP’s Kanu Kalsaria to contest as an Independent; seeks Congress’ support

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP leader from Gujarat, Kanu Kalsaria, on Saturday announced that he will fight the next month’s state assembly polls as an independent candidate from Mahuva constituency in Bhavnagar district against the “anti-farmer and anti-poor” BJP.Kalsaria, who had joined the Arvind Kejriwal-led party in 2014, said that although he has not formally resigned from AAP, he will not work for it during the polls.”I have not officially resigned from AAP. I have told the party leadership that I am contesting independently from Mahuva. They told me to do whatever I feel right. For now, I am not a member of AAP and I will not be working for it during this election,” Kalsaria, a three-time BJP MLA, said.AAP has so far declared candidates for 20 seats. Kalsaria’s name did not figure in the list.Kalsaria said he filed his nomination as an independent candidate on Friday and will fight the elections under the banner of Sadbhavna Manch, an outfit of Sadbhavna Charitable Trust.Kalsaria had parted ways with the ruling BJP after successfully spearheading farmers’ agitation against Nirma Group’s proposed cement plant in Bhavnagar district in 2011.In 2012, he contested the state elections as an independent candidate, but could not win. In 2014, Kalsaria joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).”People from this (Mahuva) constituency remember my work as an MLA. We built two charitable hospitals under our Sadbhavna Charitable Trust, and we also constructed water bodies. They were not happy that I had left this constituency, so on their insistence I have decided to again contest from here,” Kalsaria said.He said his fight was against the ruling BJP and not against AAP or Congress.”I could have contested from AAP. I am not angry with BJP, Congress or AAP.There are good people in all the parties. But there are certain policies of the BJP that I oppose. I am against the BJP’s policies for farmers and poor.My fight is against the anti-farmer and anti-poor policies of BJP,” he said.Kalsaria had recently met Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi during one of his campaign tours in the state, raising speculations that he was likely to join the Congress.Kalsaria said he had expressed his desire to contest as an independent candidate and had sought Congress’ backing.”I had requested Rahulji not to field any Congress candidate from Mahuva constituency. Congress is a big national party and is free to field its candidate from Mahuva,” he said.Congress is yet to announce its list of candidates for the elections for the 182-member Gujarat Assembly to be held on December 9 and 14. The results will be out on December 18.

Seems like politician has taken over the doctor: Twitter slams Harsh Vardhan for saying Delhi smog isn’t an emergency

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union science and environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has been criticized on social media for claiming that the high pollution levels in the national capital are no cause for worry.Harsh Vardhan has said there is no need to spread panic among the people over the present air pollution situation in Delhi, adding it is not like the Bhopal gas tragedy which was an “emergency”. The Delhi-NCR region has been under a thick blanket of smog over the last one week. Doctors have declared the situation as a ‘public health emergency’, while the government has taken a series of measures in view of high pollution levels.“I am talking in practical terms. You see, what happened in Bhopal when there was a gas leak and hundreds of thousands of people fell acutely sick and had to be rushed to hospital. We call that an emergency situation where you have to panic and you have to see what you have to do. I am not saying we shouldn’t do anything about it (Delhi smog); everyone has to respond to what he is supposed to do. But there is no need to spread panic among the people,” the minister told News18.People took to Twitter to criticise Harsh Vardhan’s statementOn Monday, the Supreme Court said that the Delhi’s air pollution was an emergency-like situation and ordered the central government as well as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and its municipal corporations to respond to a petition on stubble burning and dust spread for quick action.A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud heard lawyer RK Kapoor’s submission on rising air pollution levels. It said there would not be any stay on pollution cases being heard in other courts.On Tuesday, the NGT rapped the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government and asked what constitutes a health emergency according to them.”Don’t gift infected lungs to children. They have to wear masks to school. Measures should be applied automatically by the government after dangerous levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 persist for more than 48 hours.””When reports have stated that two-wheelers are more polluting than four-wheelers, why do you intend to give arbitrary exemptions? Is this a joke? What does one stand to gain from this?” the tribunal said.With PTI Inputs

Odd-even scheme set to make a comeback

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government is all set to bring back the odd-even road-rationing system in the national Capital if pollution levels cross the ‘severe’ category mark. Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, in a letter to the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and senior officers in the ministry on Wednesday, asked them to be “fully geared up for the implementation of the odd-even scheme, if pollution levels increase”.The plan to reduce the number of vehicles on the city roads, to cut down vehicular emissions contributing to 20 per cent of pollution in Delhi-NCR, was first introduced by the Kejriwal-led AAP government in 2016. It was first implemented during January 1-15, 2016, and then again from April 15-30, 2016.DNA had last month (September 25) reported that the scheme may return this winter, as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) which suggests resorting to the measure, if pollution levels cross the ‘severe’ mark touching ’emergency’ category. The GRAP was enforced in Delhi on October 17.”With the increase in pollution levels in Delhi, the government may have to resort to emergency measures, including implementation of the odd-even scheme. It is, therefore, essential that the transport department, DTC, DIMTS, are fully geared up, as and when the same is announced,” the letter stated.The procurement of additional buses by DTC shall be the main component, it further said.Gahlot, in this regard, also asked the concerned departments – DTC and Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) – “to chalk out an Action Plan for procurement of buses, conductors and submit the same within seven days”.The minister had discussed the implementation of the scheme with officials of the transport department in a meeting on October 23.”We are considering the implementation of the scheme in view of the increase in pollution levels beyond the severe mark. However, we have to make sure there is enough preparation if the situation turns so,” said a senior Delhi government official.The scheme, however, had failed in 2016 in absence of a robust public transport system, receiving much flak from the public at large.According to a recent survey, Delhi needs at least 11,000 buses plying on a daily basis. However, the DTC at present has a fleet of around 5,600 buses, of which only 4,200 are plying, as the remaining have turned defunct.The AAP government in 2015 had promised to add 10,000 buses to the DTC fleet and 736 cluster buses. However, while no new DTC buses have been procured, only 215 cluster buses were added.

Bawana bypoll: Low voter turnout

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>By-polls to the high-stake Bawana Assembly constituency held on Wednesday saw a low voter turnout with 45 per cent voting recorded till 6 pm — voting began at 8 am. The seat in outer Delhi saw the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP and the BJP in a neck and neck fight with the Congress party also expected to have a better showing in comparison to the 2015 assembly polls. While voting began on a sluggish note on a humid Wednesday morning, it picked up pace during the second half. The constituency is mostly made up of Jats and a sizeable population of Dalits and Poorvanchalis. After the 2007 delimitation, the seat was converted into a reserved category. The bypolls were conducted because the seat fell vacant in March this year after AAP MLA Ved Prakash quit the seat to go back to the BJP. He is now contesting from the seat on a BJP ticket. The other two candidates in the contest include AAP’s Ram Chander and Surendra Kumar.While speaking to DNA, some voters claimed they were angry with Prakash abandoning the seat.“He did not do any development work and has wasted an opportunity as well as two years of the people who elected him. People like him cannot be trusted. He could have done the same work being in the party. He gave up the seat just to join his old party and now he wants to be MLA again from here, which is not acceptable,” said Sushila, 36.Apart from anger at Prakash others believe Kejriwal’s mahapanchayat here may well have turned the course of the campaign. Rohtash Singh Dabas, former legislator from the area, said, “Development is key issue here and Kejriwal’s mahapanchayat did turn people’s faith in favour of the party, as he addressed a number of issues here including that of water supply.”Number gameTotal electors 2,94,282Total candidates in fray8No. of polling stations379 Average number of voters per polling station776Counting of votes28th August

Monsoon session: BJP to corner AAP over ‘unfulfilled’ poll promises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The four-day Monsoon session of Delhi Assembly will begin on Tuesday with the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cornering the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government over several issues, including the “unfulfilled poll promises”. Also, the Arvind Kejriwal-led state government will re-introduce three Bills, which were earlier sent back by the Centre with objections.The Minimum Wages (Delhi) Amendment Bill, 2015, the Delhi (Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services) Amendment Bill, 2015, and the NSIT (amendment) Bill were among the 14 Bills passed by the House but the Centre had sent them back.Last month, Kejriwal had directed the Law Department to submit a “way forward” roadmap on legislative Bills that are awaiting clearance from the Centre.Meanwhile, the BJP, which has four MLAs in the 70-member House, said its legislators will take on the AAP government on its “U-turn” on promises made to the people and “repression” of the Opposition.Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Vijender Gupta, alleged that the government was adopting “unconstitutional measures” and “repressing” the Opposition as well as senior government officials.“The Opposition will launch an all-out attack on the government,” Gupta had said last week. He had also said he that he would raise the issue of House Committees and question their way of functioning.

Accused held for desecrations is ‘AAP supporter’, says BJP MLA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral today claimed that the 50-year-old man arrested for allegedly desecrating the religious places was a supporter of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which was rejected by the Arvind Kejriwal-led party. The Goa police has arrested Francis Pereira, in connection with the alleged desecration of holy crosses in South Goa district. The accused had told the police that he “casually” vandalised 12 crosses over the last fortnight with no intention to create an enmity, a senior police officer had said. “Francis Pereira is a AAP supporter. During the recently held Goa Assembly election he was actively canvassing for the AAP,” claimed Cabral. “It is for the police to investigate. Find out whether there are other people involved. Whether it is AAP or anybody else it is for the police to decide. I just expressed that he was AAP supporter and he was very much involved in the last election with his vehicle canvassing for AAP,” the MLA told reporters. Refuting the claim, AAP said, “Francis Pereira, is neither an AAP volunteer nor was he associated in anyway with our Curchorem team in any party activity,”. “Cabral’s claim that the culprit is an ‘active supporter of AAP ‘is absurd and perhaps stems from his anger at AAP’s recent agitation against the pathetic condition of roads built in Curchorem less than a year ago,” the Kejriwal-led party said in a statement. “The matter is under investigation. AAP sincerely hopes that the police will get to the bottom of the deplorable episode and accordingly launch a full-fledged prosecution backed by a thorough investigation and evidence,” added the statement.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Two men hurl paper missiles at Satyendar Jain inside Delhi Assembly, thrashed by AAP MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two unidentified men today hurled paper missiles at Minister Satyendar Jain inside the Delhi Assembly House while a session was underway leading to a scuffle in which the duo were allegedly thrashed by some of the AAP legislators in its premises.The two men, wearing headgear were sitting in the Visitors’ Gallery of the House when suddenly they threw paper missiles inside the House and raised ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ slogans. Soon after the interruption, the security whisked them away even as AAP lawmakers demanded strict action against the two men for violating the sanctity of the House. As the two men were being taken away, some of the AAP MLAs including Nitin Tyagi, Amanatullah Khan and Jarnail Singh stepped out of the House amid scenes of uproar and chaos.As the duo were being taken away by security personnel, some of the AAP MLAs then jumped on to these men and allegedly thrashed them. The police personnel present in the Legislative Assembly premises then sought to bring the scuffle to an end, which lasted for nearly 30 minutes. One of the duo, assaulted in the scuffle, was later seen being taken inside a medical ambulance.In the note found printed inside the paper missiles, the two men have claimed that they were AAP workers and took the step as they were unhappy with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party and the alleged “corruption cases” against Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain. The House was briefly adjourned after the incident and the proceedings were later resumed.

ACB questions Kapil Mishra in water tanker scam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi Police called ousted Delhi minister Kapil Mishra on Tuesday to question him in connection with the alleged Rs 400-crore ‘Water Tanker scam’.The ACB had earlier recorded a detailed statement of Mishra and was to question him last week, but he sought deferment due to personal reasons. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Private Secretary Bibhav Kumar was questioned by the ACB last week, in connection with the same scam.Mishra had alleged that Kejriwal had “influenced” the probe into the tanker scam, which dates back to Sheila Dikshit’s tenure as the Delhi Chief Minister. In August last year, Dikshit was “examined” by the ACB officials for her alleged involvement in the scam.The Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had, in June 2015, constituted a fact-finding committee to probe the alleged irregularities in procuring some 385 stainless steel water tankers by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).In June, 2016, the government sent the fact-finding committee’s report to the erstwhile Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung, following which an FIR was registered in the case.Meanwhile, the ACB also raided the house of Kejriwal’s brother-in-law Surender Kumar Bansal, and collected documents from all three companies related to him, in the alleged Public Works Department (PWD) scam.

Tanker scam: Mishra to appear before ACB for questioning

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Delhi minister Kapil Mishra will tomorrow appear for questioning by the anti- corruption branch (ACB) in connection with the alleged Rs 400 crore Water Tanker “scam.” A couple of weeks ago, the ACB had recorded a detailed statement of Mishra and was to question him last week but he had sought deferment of his questioning for the day due to personal reasons. He was supposed to appear for questioning today but due to some reasons, he couldn’t appear today. He will be questioned tomorrow, said a senior ACB officer. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s private secretary Bibhav Kumar was questioned last week by the ACB in connection with the “scam.” Mishra had alleged that Kejriwal had “influenced” the probe into the tanker scam that dates back to Sheila Dikshit’s tenure as chief minister. In August last year, Dikshit was “examined” by the ACB officials in connection with her alleged involvement in the tanker scam. The Kejriwal-led AAP government had in June 2015 constituted a fact-finding committee to go into the alleged irregularities in procuring some 385 stainless steel water tankers by the Delhi Jal Board. The Delhi government in June 2016 had sent a report of the fact-finding committee to erstwhile Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung following which an FIR was registered in the case.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

AAP govt sat over DDA file for two long years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) land-pooling scheme, which will provide nearly 25 lakh affordable houses, besides other facilities, could have been implemented much earlier, had the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government not delayed it for so long.Proposed by the DDA, the scheme had been waiting for clearances from the Delhi government since 2015. According to sources, till last year, the Kejriwal government had not even examined the facts of the policy.”We had sent the file to the Delhi government’s Urban Development Department for examination, and to seek clearances for change of land use in the villages of outer Delhi. But till this year, the file had not even been moved to the LG,” a senior DDA official said.Before being sent to the Delhi government, the file had already been approved by the Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD).Officials said the AAP government’s Land and Building Department had to give its clearance on converting 95 villages as development area, but the nod did not come till LG Anil Baijal asked for the file. The declaration for marking these villages as ‘urban’ was also delayed till the very last minute.The matter was prompted only during the recent municipal elections, during which Kejriwal, in a public meeting in Najafgarh, announced that he will bring in the land pooling policy by May 7.”It was only after the municipal polls that the LG asked for the file, which was later cleared by him. The government had been delaying a political decision on the matter for long,” an official said.

Water crisis complaints on the rise, but MLAs fail to raise voice

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over the last one year, issues related to water supply and its pollution have emerged as the city’s major civic woes, with the incidence of such complaints rising by as much as 51 per cent in 2016. This is despite the fact that providing sufficient amount of water was the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) major poll plank.The complaints regarding water crisis in Delhi increased from 150,885 in 2015 to 227,444 in 2016.What is rather unfortunate is, however, the fact that MLAs raised only 38 questions regarding the water crisis during the Assembly sessions held in 2016. As many as six legislators did not raise the issue at all.This data was revealed in a survey done by the Praja Foundation, based on the civic complaints lodged by people, deliberations by MLAs in Assembly sessions, and corporators in the three municipal corporation from January, 2014 to December, 2016.The number of pollution-related complaints by citizens increased from 86 in 2014 to 142 in 2015, and 216 in 2016. However, for the same three years, the number of times these issues were raised by councillors in ward committees, remained dismal. The MLAs raised 24 questions in 2015, which went down to 8 in 2016.Even the BJP-led municipal corporations did not fare well as 83 questions were raised by them in 2015, and the number remained the same in 2016.South Corporation’s west zone reported the highest number of civic complaints. Outer Delhi’s Narela topped the list.

Capital to get 25 lakh more houses in next 10 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhiites looking for affordable houses can now take heart as the Capital is all set to get 25 lakh housing units in the next 10 years. For the purpose, the Delhi government will notify 89 urban areas as development areas, providing more space for construction of hospitals, schools, residential houses, and other basic infrastructure.”The government had promised to implement this land pooling scheme during the municipal elections. We have initiated the process. By next week, all these areas will be declared as development areas under Section 12 of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) Act. We can then get the work started,” Delhi Urban Development Minister Satyendar Jain said on Thursday.Afterwards, in all, Delhi will have 94 development areas. The peripheral villages, or those bordering with Haryana, have not been included in the list. The DDA had notified the policy in June, 2015, and the decision to notify them as urban areas had been lying pending since then.A senior DDA official said:”Farmers, too, will benefit from the scheme. They have nothing to lose as they will get extra land in return. The farmers in these villages, who could not make much from the produce, were facing a hard time selling their land, which will not be a problem anymore.”Under the proposed policy, if a farmer or a group of farmers gives more than 20 hectares (50 acres) of land to the DDA, the authority will return 60 per cent of the land to them after developing it. For less than 20 hectares, DDA will return 40 per cent of the land. On the rest of the land, DDA will provide common facilities, such as roads, sewers, and water supply.”With this, houses in Delhi will become more affordable. More and more multi-storeyed buildings will come up on this land,”Jain added.Giving rest to the rumours that Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal bypassed the Arvind Kejriwal-led government and notified the urban areas, Jain said there was no such conflict and everything was moving in coordination.”Not only this, the DDA has also agreed to give the land for hospitals and schools to the Delhi government free of cost,” Jain said, while explaining the use of development areas.THE POLICY89 villages have been declared as urban areas.The decision to notify them as urban areas has been lying pending since 2015.
After this, in all, Delhi will have 94 development areas.
If a farmer or a group of farmers gives more than 20 hectares (50 acres) of land to DDA, the authority will return 60 per cent of the land after developing it. …& ANALYSISWith the new land pooling policy, Delhiites will get more housing options. The cost of the existing houses is also expected to go down, making the city affordable for a large section of the society.

I-T notice to AAP over alleged tampering of donation records, party says ‘classic case of victimisation?’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax department on Tuesday issued a notice to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) asking why it should not be prosecuted for alleged falsification of account books and “wilful attempt” to evade tax on donations received by it.The department has issued the show cause notice to the party’s convenor – Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal- and three others and has sought the party’s reply in this regard by first half of this month.The tax department has charged the party with not filing a “true and correct” contribution report for donations received for the assessment year 2014-15 which have been found to be over Rs 30.08 crore after year long investigations.The taxman said the first audit report filed by the party to it and the Election Commission, under the provisions of the Representation of People Act, were “incorrect and fabricated”.The notice said that in view of these charges, the department seeks to file a prosecution complaint (charge sheet) under I-T laws in a court under sections 277A (false statement in verification) and 276C (wilful attempt to evade tax). A maximum of three years rigorous imprisonment and a fine can be levied on an accused once the charges are proved in court.It said that the exemption enjoyed by the Kejriwal-led AAP from paying income tax on donations could also be withdrawn as these privileges have been “wrongly claimed”. Political parties enjoy tax exemption under section 13A of the Income Tax Act. The notice while acknowledging that the party had accepted that there were “certain errors” in its first report filed in this regard, added that this admission by the AAP was itself an evidence that its audit report was fabricated initially but was corrected after the taxman began investigations of its audit books and accounts.AAP’s national treasurer Raghav Chadha termed the development as a “classic case of victimisation”. “In the last four days, we have received four notices from the Centre– from one wing of the I-T or the other, or the MHA. It is a classic case of victimisation. They (the Centre) have gone through every record of ours but have not been able to find anything. This is just concoction to malign and harass us. It is my legitimate right to revise my statement and you cannot prosecute me for that,” he told PTI. The tax department, early this year, had submitted these findings to the Election Commission too.

Never pressured anyone for state unit chief post: Mann

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after he was appointed the AAP’s Punjab chief, Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann said today that he had never put pressure on anyone in the party to give him the position. He assured that he would take all members of the party, including volunteers, to form an “effective” opposition and that his main challenge was to take the AAP back to its “peak” in Punjab. Yesterday, AAP’s outgoing state convener Gurpreet Singh Waraich ‘Ghuggi’ had questioned the “urgency” of appointing Mann as the new Punjab president and also asked under “what pressure” was this decision taken. Moreover, the AAP’s MLA from Bholath, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, offered to resign from the posts of chief whip and spokesperson following the appointment. Describing himself as a soldier of the party, the MP said, “If there are volunteers, who are disappointed with the poll results, I will persuade them to come back. We will again bring ‘Jhadoo Inqlab’ in the state.” Jhadoo (a broom) is the AAP’s symbol. In a major shake-up, the AAP, in a meeting chaired by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, had announced Mann as its Punjab chief and Sunam MLA Aman Arora as co-president. Sarabjit Kaur Manuke, AAP’s Jagraon MLA, was appointed deputy leader of the legislature party in the Assembly. Mann said within a week, he will take over the state unit of the party and set in motion the restructuring of the Punjab unit by forming new teams at the district and block levels, besides announcing heads of various wings. “After forming the new teams, I will go to people of Punjab and ask them to raise their voice on the implementation of promises like debt waiver and raising old age pension made by Amarinder Singh-led state government,” he said. “It is the responsibility of the opposition to raise issues concerning people,” Mann said. On Waraich’s remarks, he said, “Gurpreet is a good friend of mine. We have worked together for 20 years. It was I who told him to be the state convener following the Sucha Singh Chottepur issue.” “It (appointing him state chief) is an internal decision of the party. There is no competition with Ghuggi. Even today, I spoke to him and he told me that he was going out of state for shooting. Yes, there may be some agreements or disagreements over some issues. It normally happens in families. I will take him along,” Mann said. “I am not a person who puts pressure on someone. If I had to do so, I would have done it earlier to get my name declared… I do not play politics of pressure. Whatever duty the party assigns, I will perform it. I am a soldier of the party,” he said. The Sangrur MP was supposed to go to US on May 1 to meet his children, but he was asked to cancel his trip by the party leadership. About restructuring of the AAP’s state unit, Mann said Aman Arora has been assigned the duty. “Earlier, we had 13 in-charges in the state. Now we will have district-wise in-charges. Likewise, we will have in-charges of various wings like youth and women,” he said. The Kejriwal-led party had won 20 out of 117 seats in the Punjab Assembly polls. The Congress had registered a thumping win securing 77 seats, while SAD-BJP managed to win only 18 seats.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

AAP sweeps Mishra out, Kejriwal says ‘truth will prevail’; special assembly session today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sacked Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) minister Kapil Mishra was suspended from the primary membership of the party on Monday, hours after he accused Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of shielding his predecessor Sheila Dikshit in the Rs 400-crore water tanker scam.Mishra dared Kejriwal to expel him after he targeted the latter on Sunday, alleging that the CM accepted a bribe of Rs 2 crore from Health and Public Works department minister Satyendar Jain.The decision to suspend Mishra was taken by the party’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) after a meeting on Monday evening. The matter will be investigated by an internal committee.”I have shared all evidence related to the water tanker scam with the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) today. Also, I told them how Kejriwal, and two other people — Ashish Talwar and Vaibhav Patel —influenced the scam probe. The government also tried to shield Sheila Dikshit time and again,” said Mishra.Meanwhile, late on Monday night, Kejriwal broke his silence on the issue and tweeted, “The truth will win and the Delhi government will hold a special assembly session on Tuesday.”The Kejriwal-led Delhi government complained to the ACB in 2015 about the alleged siphoning off Rs 400 crore as the Sheila Dikshit government hired private water tankers citing water scarcity that never existed.Mishra, as Water Minister, headed a five-member committee that submitted a report implicating Dikshit in the scam.Mishra became AAP’s fourth minister to be sacked after Jitendra Singh Tomar, Asim Ahmed Khan, and Sandeep Kumar.ACB chief MK Meena said that the agency will look into the complaint made by Mishra. He, however, has not submitted any evidence pertaining to the Rs 2 crore bribery allegation he levelled against Kejriwal, Meena said.While the party alleged that a “big conspiracy” was being hatched against it by the BJP through Mishra, Jain stood firm and announced to file a defamation case against the 36-year-oparty’s Karawal Nagar MLA. “He has lost his mental balance. There is a limit to lying. I was not present at the CM’s residence on Friday. I can even prove it,” Jain said.AAP leader Sanjay Singh also presented a letter written by Mishra to the ACB in September 2016, blaming the agency for trying to target Kejriwal instead of former CM Sheila Dikshit in the alleged water tanker scam, even as his name was not mentioned anywhere in the report made by Mishra himself. “Now, he is repeating what the BJP-run central government has been trying to allege. He is clearly voicing the BJP,” Singh said.Mishra, however, slammed the party attempts of labeling him as a “BJP agent”. “If anyone within the AAP had attacked the BJP on issues such as Kashmir, it was me. I will never join the BJP, I am not even in talks with any BJP leaders. If I raise doubts, you call me a BJP agent. What about those who raise questions about corruption, are they all BJP agents?” he said.

AAP crisis: ‘Will expose names involved in tanker scam,’ says sacked minister Kapil Mishra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra who was axed from the Cabinet on Saturday, said that he will would ‘expose’ the names of those involved in an alleged scam in the supply of water on Sunday.Mishra is believed to be close to senior AAP leader Kumar Vishwas who has been at loggerheads with the party leadership recently.Taking to Twitter, in a series of tweets in Hindi, Mishra said he would reveal the same details that he gave CM Kejriwal to everyone at 11:30 am on Sunday at Rajghat.
ALSO READ AAP crisis: Kejriwal-led govt sacks Kapil Mishra; sources say minister removed for ‘non-performance'”I am the only minister with no corruption charges, no CBI enquiry against me. I have not given any position to any relative. I exposed corruption done by Sheila Dikshit,” Mishra said in a tweet, in an apparent jibe at Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain.In another tweet, he also alleged a big conspiracy ahead of his media address.
ALSO READ AAP accuses Centre of ‘witch hunting’, BJP claims fund figures deleted from websiteMishra became the fourth AAP minister to be sacked after Jitendra Singh Tomar, Asim Ahmed Khan and Sandeep Kumar, since the AAP stormed to power in 2015.Mishra said he had met the chief minister on Saturday and handed over documents related to the alleged scam.”I was not informed of the decision and as per my knowledge, it was taken unilaterally by Kejriwal. The Cabinet or the Political Affairs Committee (the AAP’s top decision- making body) was not involved,” Mishra said. Mishra had earlier said that alleged tampering of electronic voting machines was not the only reason for the party’s defeat and there were other factors responsible for it.The AAP leadership has been maintaining that “rigging” of EVMs have been a reason for the party’s poor show in Punjab and its rout in the Delhi civic polls.

AAP sacks Kapil Mishra, inducts 2 new faces in Cabinet rejig

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra was axed from the Cabinet today, days after he sided with senior AAP leader Kumar Vishwas who has been at loggerheads with the party leadership. His sacking also highlighted the simmering tension between the leadership and Vishwas, which could snowball into a major crisis for the poll-battered AAP. The party also inducted two new faces — Seemapuri MLA Rajendra Pal Gautam and Najafgarh legislator Kailash Gahlot — taking the number of ministers in the Arvind Kejriwal-led Cabinet to seven. However, they have not been alloted any portfolio yet. A senior official said the decision to remove Mishra was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Mishra became the fourth AAP minister to be sacked after Jitendra Singh Tomar, Asim Ahmed Khan and Sandeep Kumar, since the AAP stormed to power in 2015. The official said Mishra was removed after it was found that consumers were receiving “inflated” water bills. Soon after the move, Mishra claimed he would “expose” the involvement of certain AAP leaders in an alleged scam tomorrow. Mishra said he had met the chief minister earlier in the day and handed over documents related to the alleged scam. “I was not informed of the decision and as per my knowledge, it was taken unilaterally by Kejriwal. The Cabinet or the Political Affairs Committee (the AAP’s top decision- making body) was not involved,” Mishra told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Give free hand to chief of AAP in Pb on party issues: Khaira

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of a possible shake-up of the AAP in Punjab, its MLA, Sukhpal Khaira, today sought a “free hand” to the state unit chief in restructuring and fixing its own agenda to perform better in the upcoming polls. AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal has called a meeting of party MLAs at his residence in New Delhi on May 8 to hold a discussion on restructuring the state unit after its loss in the recent Punjab Assembly elections. The Kejriwal-led party had won 20 out of 117 seats in the Punjab Assembly polls. The Congress had registered a thumping win securing 77 seats, while SAD-BJP managed to win 18 seats. “I want the party leadership in Delhi to give a free hand to whomsoever they appoint as the chief of the state unit,” Khaira, who is the chief whip of the party in Punjab, said. Noting that the AAP is facing “challenging times”, Khaira demanded “full authority” for the new chief of the state unit in the organisational structure. “Besides, freedom should also be given to fix agenda or take decision on burning issues of the state. Then, AAP can perform very well in upcoming polls like Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll, municipal corporation elections and panchayat elections in the state,” he said. “Punjabis very well know what their agenda or issues are,” he said. Notably, during the assembly polls, other political parties had accused AAP in Punjab of being run by outsiders. Last month, AAP MP Bhagwant Mann had slammed the party leadership, saying they behaved like “a mohalla cricket team” and not naming a chief ministerial candidate for the state polls cost them heavy. Khaira, the MLA from Bhulath, said convener of Punjab unit Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi did not have a working committee in the state. “Can any party’s state unit chief work without a working committee,” he asked, adding, “Rather than zonal level, district and block-level units of the AAP can be formed for the betterment of the party.” Khaira said the party leadership in Delhi should take wider view in selecting who would be AAP’s Punjab unit chief by seeking opinion from the volunteers also. “Had the party distributed tickets for the assembly polls after taking views of volunteers, there would not have been any trouble over ticket distribution,” he said. Asked whether he wanted to become the chief of the party’s state unit, Khaira, who had left the Congress to join the AAP, said if the party entrusts him with the task he will not “run away”. On Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll, Khaira said the party should contest all polls. The Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat fell vacant after sitting MP and veteran bollywood actor Vinod Khanna died on April 27.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

AAP cries foul over MHA notice, BJP accuses it of tampering fund figures

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday cried foul over the Union Home Ministry issuing a notice to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led party asking it to provide information on overseas funding it has received. Accusing the Centre of ?witch hunting?, AAP leader Ashutosh said that the Union Government is practicing political vendetta. ?This is nothing but witch hunting, this is political vendetta. The Home Ministry once under Manmohan Singh and the other time under Narendra Modi has already conducted an investigation and submitted the report of the same to the Delhi High Court citing that nothing has been found wrong in the funding of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP),? Ashutosh told ANI. ?This is nothing but political vendetta. I will say that with which ever agency they want to appoint to investigate the matter they can, I know they will able to find nothing,? he added. However, on the paradox, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has claimed that the AAP had deleted information regarding its foreign funding from its website and is hiding facts from the income tax department and the government. BJP leader R.P. Singh said that AAP, which made tall promises of working with transparency, should give the details of its foreign funds to the government, while adding that if the party has not done any wrong then it should not fear from any sort of investigation. ?This is long pending and this is the case which is on with them that they have to give the details of the foreign funding which has been coming to them under FCRA, they have purposely removed all the details from their website, all though they have claimed that they are very transparent party,? said Singh. ?Nobody has given them a clean chit and witch hunting and if they claim that they have done nothing wrong then they must not fear of anything. There are details which the AAP has hidden from the income tax department and the government,? he added. Triggering yet another AAP vs Centre face-off, the MHA had yesterday sent a notice to AAP, asking it to provide information in connection with its overseas funding. The Home Ministry in its notice has asked AAP to disclose the source, nature and the amount of donation as well as the foreign equity in the shareholding pattern of the corporation, company or source from where the donation is received.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Centre asks AAP to furnish details of its foreign funding, party says ‘vendetta’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi was today asked by the government to furnish details of overseas funding to it following suspicion that it might have violated the provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, an official said. In a communication, the Union Home Ministry asked the Arvind Kejriwal-led party to explain certain fundings from abroad after suspecting that it might have violated FCRA provisions.The MHA official said the communication to the AAP was part of its “routine” queries sent to a few other political parties regarding overseas funding to them. The official made it clear that it was not a show cause notice and a decision on it would be taken only after the AAP submits its reply. Meanwhile, AAP’s Raghav Chadha called it a vendetta. He wrote on Twitter:
ALSO READ AAP demands withdrawal of amendment to FCRA

Get ready for Delhi 2020: Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After gaining a massive mandate in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, the BJP has set its eyes on 2020 Delhi Assembly elections.The Bharatiya Janata Party’s national president Amit Shah was in the Capital on Tuesday to set the stage for the same in his first post-victory address to party workers. Besides 2020, Shah told a hall packed of workers, new and outgoing councillors to get ready for a possible bypolls for the 21 Assembly seats, whose MLAs from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) might face disqualification for holding office of profit. The Election Commission (EC) is expected to decide the fate of these MLAs soon.Shah was attending the Vijay Parv celebrations at the headquarters of North and South MCD at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Civic Centre. “Victory in the corporation polls was not the final destination of the party, instead it was to lay the foundation to wrest the Delhi Assembly from the AAP,” he told the party workers.Shah had kickstarted the campaign with Panch Parmeshwar Sammelan in Ramlila Maidan urging booth workers to build a connect with the people.Party workers will be starting the ‘Alpkalik Vistarak Yojana’, a fortnightly exercise of workers at the assigned booths soon.”Under the yojana, district and booth-level workers will visit each house falling under their area for 15 days and will gradually extend the exercise to a month. The connect made with people needs to be encouraged further for the Assembly polls,” he said and announced schemes to achieve this target.Hailing the role of booth-level workers, amid chants of Modi slogans, Shah said the responsibility of party workers in Delhi is bigger than those workers in other states as this is the national capital.While conveying a strong message to the newly-elected 181 councillors against malpractices, Shah said, “All councillors must remember that they have been chosen to change the life of the people of Delhi, of the jhuggi-jhopri clusters, in particular. They must work for them and not for themselves.”Taking a dig at the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, he said that there was an atmosphere of negativity in the city, which has been quelled by the BJP’s victory.”The people of Delhi have rejected the politics of excuses and have rather opted for a positive party.Vijay Parv was organised to appreciate the contribution of party workers in the MCD elections. From local unit in-charge, state office bearers, and outgoing councillors to veteran leaders, all were invited to the event.Those present at the event included Delhi BJP chief, Manoj Tiwari, national vice-president Shyam Jaju, MPs Harshvardhan, Udit Raj, Pravesh Verma and union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Vijay Goel and Jitendra Chaudhry, among others.

53 per cent voter turnout in Delhi municipal polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The high-stakes Delhi municipal polls today saw a turnout of around 53 per cent, with a sluggish start and a brisk end, even as rancour over “faulty EVMs” coloured the entire exercise with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal railing at the state election body. As the dust settled, the incumbent BJP, which based its campaign largely on the image and popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appeared confident of pulling off a victory, two years after the assembly poll debacle. The figures shared by State Election Commissioner S K Srivastava suggested that the polling percentage could inch past the 2012 mark of 53.23 per cent, which was the highest in 15 years. The BJP and the Congress had then bagged 138 and 54 seats respectively. This time, the counting will be held on April 26. Srivastava told a press conference that North Corporation’s Bakhtawarpur ward recorded the highest turnout at over 68 per cent, while south Delhi’s Lado Sarai registered the least turnout at 39 per cent. Despite a sluggish start, as the day progressed and the heat waned towards the afternoon, people, including the women and the elderly, trooped out in large numbers to exercise their franchise. The AAP, which the exit polls suggested was headed for a drubbing, led the charge against the Commission over technical glitches in EVMs, which the party has claimed can be “tampered with”. Kejriwal alleged in a tweet, “Reports from all over Delhi of EVM malfunction, people wid voter slips not allowed to vote. What is SEC doing? (sic).” Srivastava said 18 electronic voting machines (EVMs) were replaced owing to battery or button-related issues. “Out of 13,000 polling stations, EVMs were changed in only 18 polling stations. It shows our EVMs are unhackable, robust and no wrong can be done,” he said. To a question on allegations that voting slips were not properly distributed in some areas, he said people were welcome to approach the commission with genuine grievances. There were no reports of violence. However, a candidate of Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India claimed that he was roughed up by a Congress candidate and his supporters during polling at a booth in Rohini after he tried to stop him from carrying out “bogus voting”. Congress, desperate to regain some lost ground, said the matter should be probed by the Election Commission and ensure that people do not have any doubt over the country’s democratic process. “If the chief minister of Delhi has raised some questions on EVMs, and if it has even one bit of truth, then the commission should look into the matter and ensure that the trust of people on the electoral process does not get hit,” Jaiveer Shergill of the Congress said. Polling was held in 270 of the 272 wards of the three municipal corporations. The election to two wards has been postponed due to the death of candidates. A total of 1,32,10,206 voters were entitled to exercise their franchise in electing councillors for the 270 wards falling under the three corporations – NDMC (103), SDMC (104) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (63). The verdict will determine the standing of the three main players — the AAP, the BJP and the Congress — in Delhi and its ripples will be felt beyond the city’s borders, as it comes within 10 days of the Rajouri Garden bypoll where the Kejriwal-led party had finished third. Incidentally, in May last year, bypolls to 13 wards were held, in which the AAP had finished on top with five seats, followed by the Congress with 4, the BJP at 3. One seat had gone to an independent candidate.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Setback to Kejriwal as Shunglu Committee highlights ‘gross use of power’ by AAP govt.

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In what may land Aam Admi Party (AAP) in the soup, Shunglu Committee, formed by former Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, has highlighted the ?gross use of power? by the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in the appointment process. The three-member committee, in over 100-page report, questioned the appointment of Health Minister Satyendra Jain’s daughter Soumya Jain as an adviser to Mission Director, Delhi State Health Mission. Soumya is an architect by profession and her expertise in Mohalla clinics was touted. The file contained no evidence of who approved her appointment. The AAP government paid her a salary of Rs 1.15 lakh from the period April 18 to July 14, 2016, when Soumya resigned from the post. The appointment of Nikunj Agarwal, a relative of Kejriwal, as the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the health minister has also been questioned by the committee. The committee has raised objection on the appointment of several personal staff of ministers including Roshan Shankar as advisor to the minister of tourism, appointment of Abhinav Rai to the minister of transport, appointment of Rahul Bhasin in CM office, appointment of Gopal Mohan, a close associate of Arvind Kejriwal. Shunglu Committee has also raised questions on the appointment made under co-terminus basis, appointments of consultants and contractual appointments without following procedures. The appointment of Parija P as a full-term member of administration in Delhi’s municipal taxation tribunal was also pointed out by the committee. It must be noted that Parija had no administrative experience and was unqualified for the post which required at least a secretary-level officer of Delhi to fill it.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

EVM does not decide election results: BJP hits out at AAP for ‘blowing things out of proportion’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of falsely blaming the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) for their defeat, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe claimed that former is ‘blowing things out of proportion’.Speaking to ANI on Saturday, Sahasrabuddhe lashed out at the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, stating that the party is looking to mask its defeat by citing that the EVMs were tampered with.”The agenda behind questioning the authenticity of EVMs is for AAP to philosophize its defeat. They are looking for excuses right now to cover up for their defeat,” he said.Echoing a similar opinion, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi further accused AAP asserting that they are slowly losing support.”The Congress and AAP work in coherence with each other. By questioning EVMs, it is clear that the party is under the fear of losing workers. It is strange how EVMs were not questioned when the two parties successfully established majorities in Punjab and Delhi respectively,” said Lekhi.Earlier on Saturday, Kejriwal met Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi to discuss the EVM tampering issue.

BJP making desperate attempts to destabilize Kejriwal Govt. AAP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> With Bawana MLA Ved Prakash joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the crucial MCD polls, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday alleged that the saffron party does not believe in democracy and is making desperate attempts to destabilize the government in Delhi for nefarious gains. AAP?s Sanjay Singh told the media here that the BJP wants to expel governments and rule in this country. ?We witnessed how they murdered democracy and formed the governments in Arunchal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. They have begun doing the same in Delhi ahead of the MCD polls. They have begun attempts? to destabilize our government, but the people through their votes in the MCD polls will give apt reply to the Bharatiya Janata Party,? said Singh. ?The Bharatiya Janata Party will have to face defeat in the same manner as they did in 2015 when they could win only three seats,? he added. Ved Prakash, who earlier in the day joined the saffron party at its Delhi unit office in the presence of Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, said that he was feeling suffocated in the AAP. He also alleged that Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has failed to deliver on the promises it had made in the run up to the 2015 assembly elections. Stating that there was discontent among the people over the AAP Government’s failure to address their grievances, Prakash further said there are around 35 MLAs who are not happy with the party leadership. On April 22, Delhi will elect the 272 members of its municipal corporation. The municipal corporation, presently governed by the BJP, decides crucial matters such as health and sanitation.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Setback to AAP as Ved Prakash joins BJP ahead of MCD polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a major setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ahead of the Delhi civic polls, Bawana MLA Ved Prakash on Monday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Prakash had earlier alleged that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal works under the influence of few AAP leaders. This development may boost the morale of the BJP, which is eyeing a hat-trick in the civic polls. The MCD polls is seen as a direct contest between the BJP and AAP. BJP president Amit Shah had earlier last week accused Kejriwal of neglecting his duties in the national capital city. ?Kejriwal made promises to the people of Delhi but after the (Assembly) election, he was seen at Goa and Punjab but not in this city. He has created a record of losing everywhere he went from Delhi,? he added. Shah, who was addressing the BJP workers ahead of the MCD polls, also alleged that corruption has flourished under Kejriwal-led government and added that people must teach it a lesson.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

AAP, chup kyon hai?: Twitter goes all out after Ashutosh calls March 11 a ‘historic day’ in Indian politics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s not a good day to be an Aam Aadmi supporter. After decimating the Delhi election in 2015, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party expected that history would repeat itself in Punjab and Goa, the two states where the party decided to contest elections. However, things didn’t go according to plan. While the party has around 25 seats in Punjab, it’s yet to open it account in Goa (although these numbers are too early).On Saturday morning, Ashutosh, the AAP spokesperson put a tweet saying that it would set the tone for the future of politics in India.Naturally, after the results were announced, people began flooding his timeline with jokes and memes.The exit polls had predicted an AAP victory in Punjab. But the results have shown otherwise, and if this is the trend, then Arvind Kejriwal and his partymen may have to seriously rethink their Municipal Corporation of Delhi strategy.

Amarinder seeks probe into AAP’s ‘nexus’ with militants

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reacting to the arrest of Nabha jailbreak mastermind from the alleged house of an AAP worker, Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh today sought a probe into what he called Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s “nexus” with militants and gangsters in the state. The Congress chief ministerial candidate flagged concern over the arrest of Gurpreet Singh Sekhon from the house of an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activist, just two weeks after Kejriwal had courted controversy by staying at a KLF militant’s home in Punjab. There is apparently a “strong nexus between AAP and the militants as well as dreaded gangsters, posing a major threat to Punjab’s security and safety”, alleged Amarinder, demanding an independent investigation, preferably by a central agency, into the party’s “dangerous” links. With the Maur bomb blast also being traced to KLF and occurring just a few days after Kejriwal’s stay at KLF terrorist Gurwinder Singh’s house during his Punjab visit ahead of the assembly polls, the situation warranted a detailed inquiry into what appeared to be “nefarious links” between AAP and anti-social elements, he said. Amarinder said while Kejriwal-led AAP had increasingly been exposing its “extremist ideology” in the run-up to the polls, things had now come to a head in the wake of the latest reports of Sekhon’s arrest from the home of party activist Goldy Gill, an NRI who had been actively engaged in campaigning for his party. “It was no longer possible,” he said, “to brush away controversial Kejriwal’s stay as a mere coincidence, as the AAP leadership had been trying to project.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Goa Elections 2017: BJP, Congress, AAP and new three-party alliance set to do battle for 40-state Assembly

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After an acrimonious campaign, Goa is all set for the Assembly polls which will witness a contest among ruling BJP, opposition Congress, new entrant AAP and the three-party alliance forged by MGP, GSM and Shiv Sena. Over 11 lakh voters in Goa are eligible to exercise their right to franchise to elect members for the 40-seat state Assembly. Voting across 1,642 polling booths in the state would begin tomorrow at 7 AM and culminate at 5 PM. The Chief Electoral Officer, working under the guidance of Election Commission of India (ECI), has deployed trained staff to conduct polling which would be provided security cover jointly by state police and paramilitary forces.The fate of five former chief ministers and present CM Laxmikant Parsekar will be decided in the election which is being contested by 250 candidates–131 in South Goa and 119 in North Goa. The counting of votes will be held on March 11.There are speculations that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar might be sent back to Goa to be the next chief minister, if BJP retains power in the tourist state. BJP, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, and MGP and its allies are the major contenders this time. The Arvind Kejriwal-led party, which has for the first time forayed into Goa, is contesting on 39 seats. Congress is contesting on 38 seats and BJP on 37.BJP, which had pre-poll alliance during the 2012 Assembly polls, is going alone this time but is supporting independents in four constituencies. The ruling party, which had projected Parrikar as the chief ministerial face in 2012, had then contested on 28 seats while Congress fought on 34 seats.The Parrikar-led party had in 2012 garnered 34.68 per cent of vote share as against 30.78 per cent of Congress.Post the 2012 election, there were two bypolls in the state. First on May 25, 2012, when the Cortalim Assembly seat fell vacant following the demise of sitting legislator and BJP minister Mathany Saldanha and the other on February 16, 2015, when Parrikar was elevated to the Union Cabinet.In both the by-elections, the BJP candidates had won. The current election is being fought on the plank of “verdict for continuation of development” by BJP, while the Congress has focused its campaign over the alleged u-turn on the promises by the state government.Congress is assuring a corruption-free government to the people of Goa. A majority of the candidates fielded by AAP are fresh faces. Its chief ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes has promised to put processes in place within 90 days to check corruption in the state. The election will also test the impact of rebel RSS leader Subhash Velingkar on the electorate.Velingkar’s Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) has forged a pre-poll alliance with the MGP and Shiv Sena in the state.

Punjab Elections 2017: Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan call AAP as ‘new fraud’ in Indian politics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days before Punjab goes to polls, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan today advised people of the state against voting for AAP, calling it a “new fraud” in Indian politics and exhorted people to choose “alternatives” like the Aapna Punjab Party (APP).Yadav and Bhushan, who had floated political party Swaraj India last year, said the hope for a real change in Punjab can be kept alive only if the people opt for alternatives like APP led by Sucha Singh Chotepur, who was sacked as AAP’s Punjab convener.”Punjab is at a crossroads. There is an election, but not a single party worthy of being chosen. People are being asked to choose between old thieves and a new fraud to unseat plunderers,” a letter, jointly signed by Yadav and Bhushan, said.Releasing the letter in a press conference here, the duo, who were expelled from AAP over alleged anti-party activities, said it was incumbent upon them to make people aware of the “real truth” about the Arvind Kejriwal-led party.Swaraj India, which plans to make its electoral debut in the upcoming MCD polls in the national capital, wondered why AAP was not naming a chief ministerial face and “pushing Kejriwal’s name on the sly”.”The truth is AAP looks good from a distance. But we have seen from inside and the broom has become very dirty. What will a party, which is already selling tickets, do after coming to power?”Punjab needs to opt for alternative small outfits or honest independents so that the hope for change is kept alive.For example the small forum backed by MP Dharamvira Gandhi or Sucha Singh Chotepur’s party (APP),” Yadav said.Yadav said Swaraj India would have campaigned for these outfits had they cobbled an alliance, “which unfortunately did not happen”.The February 4 polls in Punjab will see a triangular contest among AAP, Congress and the incumbent BJP-SAD alliance.

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