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Surat-based student makes solar dustbins

A Surat-based student has developed a solar run bin. Termed as an intelligent bin, the bin works on a sensor-based technology which compresses garbage into a bin.Milan Patel, a mechanical engineering student of CK Pithawalla College of Engineering and Technology, has designed the solar based smart dustbin. Apart from the sensor, the bin has a battery, a solar panel and a compressor. “When Prime Minister Narendra Modi envisaged the Clean India concept, I also thought of contributing to society in a noble way. Hence, I came up with the idea of a solar-based smart dustbin,” said Milan.”If the bins are kept at points across every street, a lot can be changed. Also, it will save the fuel cost as it has six times more storage than the normal bins,” said Milan.Patel says the capacity of the 120-litre bin will cost around Rs11,000. Patel presented his idea for at the event of Smart Villages & Cities Innovation Challenge, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry in Ahmedabad. The event was held on Thursday, where 15 shortlisted students gave presentation of their innovative ideas.Students across the state were asked to develop or design some projects for a smart city which could make any difference in society. 74 projects were received at CII from different colleges. Out these, around 15 were churned as innovative models. Professor Anil Roy of Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology screened all 74 received project and found 7 projects plagiarised. He also found 15 projects good and may be able to make a difference. The shortlisted projects were for waste energy, smart streetlight option, automated railway track alters, streetlights in farms, smart farming etc.

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Gujarat deputy CM Nitin Patel takes charge after Amit Shah’s intervention, gets Finance portfolio

A brewing crisis in the Gujarat government has been diffused after BJP president Amit Shah reached out to sulking deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who had delayed taking charge over not getting portfolios of his choice in the new Cabinet.Patel agreed to take charge today after Shah called him up this morning and assured him that he will be given a portfolio fitting his “stature” as Number Two in the government. Later in the afternoon, he was alloted the important Finance portfolio. He used to previously hold it but CM Rupani had given the portfolio to another key leader Saurabh Patel. “BJP President Amit Shah today called up early morning and assured me that I will be given a portfolio which is fit for my stature as number two in the Cabinet and as the deputy chief minister,” Patel told reporters here. Nitin Patel was in charge of both important Finance and Urban Development departments in the previous government. The finance portfolio has been alloted to Saurabh Patel, while chief minister Rupani has kept the urban development department with himself. However, Patel has maintained that the issue was not about some departments, but about “self-respect”. “I had conveyed to party high command to either give me respectable departments or relive me from Cabinet,” he said today. Patel said he had been serving the party like a “loyal and disciplined” soldier.While announcing the portfolios two days back, Rupani had said, “It is not true that the minister, who has the finance portfolio, is the number two in the cabinet. Nitin Patel is our senior leader and will remain the number two.” Sending feelers to the deputy CM, Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel yesterday said he would extend support to Patel and talk to the Congress to give him the respect he deserved. “If Patel decided to quit the BJP and said 10 other MLAs were ready to quit with him, We will talk to the Congress to take in Nitin bhai and give him a post he deserves,” the Patidar leader had said. Senior Congress MLA Virji Thummar yesterday said Patel would be made the chief minister with the Congress’ support if he quit the BJP.Also readGujarat Deputy CM Nitin Patel assumes office on SundayThe opposition party, however, clarified that Thummar was speaking in his personal capacity and described the row over portfolio distribution as the BJP’s “internal matter”. The BJP and Congress hold 99 and 77 seats, respectively, in the 182-member House.

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Gujarat: Deputy CM Nitin Patel to take charge of ministries today

Earlier, a day after expressing his strong displeasure about significant portfolios being taken away from him for his second stint in the Vijay Rupani government, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel stayed home on Saturday, meeting with supporters at his residence. Days after being sworn into office, Patel had refused to take charge of the portfolios allotted to him. ”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByDNA Web Team <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 31 December 2017 11:30 ISTMust readEx-CJI TS Thakur says no to AAP’s Rajya Sabha offerKamala Mills fire: Know the story behind this picture<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>After showing his displeasure earlier, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Sunday announced that he would assume the charge of his office around 11: 40 am. “BJP chief Amit Shah talked to me in the morning and assured me that I would get all the departments back,” Nitin Patel said. “I have no complaints or dismay now,” he added. He also said that he never crossed the line of discipline in the party.Nitin Patel thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, the Patel community and leaders “who showed support and solidarity for him”. Earlier, a day after expressing his strong displeasure about significant portfolios being taken away from him for his second stint in the Vijay Rupani government, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel stayed home on Saturday, meeting with supporters at his residence. Days after being sworn into office, Patel had refused to take charge of the portfolios allotted to him.

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Saurabh Patel takes charge as Finance Minister

Saurabh Patel has got one of the important portfolios, finance, which was with Nitin Patel in the last government. Both these leaders are considered as friends. However, Saurabh avoided to comment on Nitin Patel's sulkiness. Sources from the government informed that CM Vijay Rupani asked Saurabh Patel to assume the charge of his office immediately, and he rushed to Gandhinagar.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 31 December 2017 4:49 ISTMust readGujarat: Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quitGujarat elections 2017: 30 seats saw other parties making it to third spot<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Finance and Energy Minister Saurabh Patel assumed the charge of his office on Saturday. Patel was at Botad, in his constituency, on Friday when the portfolios were allocated late on Thursday. Patel also held meetings with officials of his department during the day.Saurabh Patel has got one of the important portfolios, finance, which was with Nitin Patel in the last government. Both these leaders are considered as friends. However, Saurabh avoided to comment on Nitin Patel’s sulkiness. Sources from the government informed that CM Vijay Rupani asked Saurabh Patel to assume the charge of his office immediately, and he rushed to Gandhinagar.

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Who made the mysterious call to CM Vijay Rupani?

Amid the heated political atmosphere in the state, particularly after allocation of portfolios, CM Vijay Rupani inaugurated the sixth edition of much awaited annual flower show at the Flower Park of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on Saturday.While entering the nursery section, Rupani was handed over his mobile phone by his personal assistant and the CM talked for about 10 minutes with the person on the call. Speculations were rife that it might be either from Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP president Amit Shah.It comes in the wake of newly appointed Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel being displeased with the allocation of portfolio to him. He is yet to take charge of the office. It is believed that to know what is going on at the local level, someone from the said two might have called the CM, hence he spend 10 minutes over the call during the public event. After inaugurating the show, the CM said that Amdavadis now have a new place to rejoice the beauty of flowers in this pleasant winter.It is for the first time that the flower show is being organised after Ahmedabad was declared as the World Heritage City by the UNESCO. Several other events are also being organised to celebrate the heritage tag.”The annual flower show helps people in Ahmedabad get closer to nature,” he added. It is speculated that Nitin Patel might not attend the concluding event of Kankaria Carnival which is likely to take place on Sunday.WHO WAS ITSpeculations are rife about who called the Chief Minister today. While many say that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, others say it wasBJP president Amit Shah.

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SPG calls for Mehsana bandh on Monday

The Patel reservation outfit Sardar Patel Group (SPG) also has come in support with Nitin Patel. The SPG president Lalji Patel and his team reached Nitin Patel’s house on Saturday and gave a close call for Mehsana on Monday. However, Nitin Patel placated them to not to give such a call.Lalji Patel said, “This is an insult to Nitin Patel. He was the only BJP leader who struggled against Patel agitators during polls and worked hard to keep Patel community’s votes intact for BJP. What kind of reward BJP gave him? We are with Nitin Patel as he is the senior most leader in BJP who comes from Patel community. We give a close call for Mehsana on Monday.”The vice-president of SPG, Purvin Patel, said, “This is the time to show the strength of Patel community in politics. This is the incident that proves that BJP has been sidelining Patel leaders who are influential. The BJP has stabbed into the back of Patel community. This injustice should not be tolerated anymore.” However, Nitin Patel placated them to not to observe close on Monday. Patel said, “People’s sympathy for me is really touching. But, a close call should not be given as it would create problems for common people.”The Mehsana city BJP president, Kaushik Vyas, also said, “There is no Mehsana close call from BJP and that should be avoided. We do not support any close call and also request people that they should not join in any close calls.”

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‘Join Congress, bring 10 BJP MLAs with you’: Hardik’s offer to ‘sulking’ Gujarat Dy CM Nitin Patel

Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who actively campaigned against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recently-concluded Assembly elections in Gujarat, on Saturday attempted to woo the ‘sulking’ Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. Hardik said the Deputy CM, who is believed to be be ‘unhappy’ with the portfolios allotted to him, should join the Congress party, if he can manage to bring along 10 BJP MLAs.”If Nitin Patel is ready to leave the BJP with 10 MLAs then I will talk with the Congress about giving him suitable post in the party,” Hardik Patel, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener,​ said. Hardik also exhorted BJP’s Patel leaders to back the deputy chief minister.”If the BJP is not respecting Patels, then they should leave the party and should accompany Nitin Patel,” he said.Also readGujarat: Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quitThe deputy chief minister is reportedly said to be sulking after finance, urban development and petroleum portfolios were taken from him. He is yet to take charge of the portfolios alloted to him, with a source in the BJP saying he has conveyed his displeasure to the party leadership over the departments allotted to him.The senior BJP leader wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday evening listing his demands. He has reportedly threatened to resign if he is not given all the portfolios he possessed in the previous government. “In his letter, Nitin Patel, mentioned that he felt insulted as he has been given less significant portfolios. He has told the PM and Shah that he should get all the portfolios, including Finance and Urban Development, within two to three days or else they should accept his resignation,” said a BJP source.Also read’Sulking’ Nitin Patel keeps off officeHowever, Patel has denied writing any such letter, but accepted that he has expressed his disagreement.Speaking to DNA, Patel said, “There is nothing wrong in asking for my portfolios back as it is about my self-respect. What is the point of being the deputy chief minister if I hold less important portfolios. I have aired my disagreement to the right person. I do not want to talk much on the issue, but will reveal everything when the time is right.”In the previous government, Patel used to handle important portfolios like finance and urban development. However this time, he has been allotted charge of departments like road and building, and health.Apart from these two, he has also given the charge of medical education, Narmada, Kalpsar and capital project after the portfolios were allotted on December 28.Also readGujarat: Vijay Rupani to continue as chief minister, Nitin Patel named his deputyThis time, the finance portfolio was allotted to Saurabh Patel, while Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has kept the charge of urban development department with himself.(With agency inputs)

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Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quit

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel has threatened to resign if he is not given all the portfolios he possessed in the previous government. The senior BJP leader wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday evening listing his demands.”In his letter, Nitin Patel, mentioned that he felt insulted as he has been given less significant portfolios. He has told the PM and Shah that he should get all the portfolios, including Finance and Urban Development, within two to three days or else they should accept his resignation,” said a BJP source.However, Patel has denied writing any such letter, but accepted that he has expressed his disagreement.Speaking to DNA, Patel said, “There is nothing wrong in asking for my portfolios back as it is about my self-respect. What is the point of being the deputy chief minister if I hold less important portfolios. I have aired my disagreement to the right person. I do not want to talk much on the issue, but will reveal everything when the time is right.”Sources said Patel also held closed door meeting with former chief minister Anandiben Patel. It has been learnt that she has assured him her support. “Anandiben was stung by Amit Shah and Vijay Rupani. Now, she would take this anti-Shah-Rupani movement into her own hands in the days to come,” said a senior BJP leader on condition of anonymity.

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CM Vijay Rupani retains Home, Dy CM cut to size

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani retained General Administration Department (GAD), Industries and other key departments, while his deputy Nitin Patel seemed to have been cut to size in allocation of portfolios, which was announced late on Thursday.Eight cabinet-level and 10 state-level ministers kept waiting for five hours for the CM and his deputy to arrive for cabinet meeting. The two were in a meeting for hours at the CM’s official residence.There were signs that all was not well, and there were differences over allocation of cream portfolios. The meeting, which was to begin at 5 pm, finally started at 9 pm.State BJP chief Jitu Vaghani also joined the big Two at the meeting, and it is believed that calls were made to party’s central leadership owing to differences in allocation of ministries.The Cabinet meeting ended shortly before 10 pm, after which the CM announced the portfolios.Finance and Urban Development, two key departments which Nitin Patel was handling in the previous government, were allocated to others. While Rupani kept Urban Development for himself, Finance went to Saurabh Patel, who was not a part of Rupani’s first government, and was making a comeback in the ministry.Nitin Patel has been allocated Road & Building, Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education, Narmada, Kalpasar, and Capital Planning.Not surprisingly, Patel didn’t come across very happy while sitting next to the CM when the list was made public.Giving the reason for delay, Rupani said, “All our central leaders were busy with discussions on the triple talaq bill debate which was going on in Parliament today. That is why we could not consult them on portfolios and the process got delayed. No one is disappointed nor is there any disagreement on portfolio distribution. Nitinbhai is also happy.”However, Nitin Patel avoided media persons. The CM also informed that ministers and officials, during the meeting, discussed purchase of groundnut from farmers at minimum support price and a Gujarat High Court order related to the Fee Regulation Act.Besides Urban Development, the chief minister has kept GAD, Industries, Home, Ports, Mines and Minerals, Information, Petroleum, Planning, Climate Change, and Science & Technology.Former state BJP chief RC Faldu, a first-time minister, has been given charge of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Road Transport.Bhupendrasinh Chudasama retained Education, Higher and Technical Education, Law & Justice, Parliamentary Affairs, Salt, Cow Conservation and Civil Aviation.Kaushik Patel, making a comeback to the Cabinet after ten years, has been made Revenue Minister.Besides Finance, Saurabh Patel has also been given charge of Energy, the ministry he handled for over 14 years.Ganpat Vasava has got Tribal Development, Tourism, Forests, and Women and Child Welfare.Jayesh Radadiya will be the minister for Civil Supplies, Cottage Industries, Printing and Stationery.Dilip Thakor has been assigned Labour and Employment, Disaster Management, and Yatradham Development.Ishwar Parmar, the junior-most among the Cabinet ministers, has been made minister of Social Justice and Empowerment (SC welfare, SEBC welfare).Among ministers of state, Pradipsinh Jadeja retains Home. He will also be MoS for Energy, Parliamentary Affairs, Law, Judiciary, and Police Housing, and hold independent charge of police Housing, Border Security, Civil Defence, Gram Rakshak Dal, Jail, Excise & Prohibition, NRG and Protocol.Parbat Patel has been given independent charge of Irrigation and Water Supply, while Parsottam Solanki has been given fisheries.Bachu Khabad will hold charge of Rural Housing, Rural Development, Animal Husbandry and Cow Conservation.Jaydrathsinh Parmar will be MoS agriculture, and hold independent charge of Panchayat and Environment.Ishwar Patel has been given independent charge of Cooperation, Sports, Youth and Cultural Activities. He will also be MoS of road transport.Vasan Ahir is MoS for SEBC Welfare.Vibhavari Dave, the lone woman in the ministry, has been given Women and Child Development, Education (primary and higher education), and Yatradham.First-time minister Raman Patkar has been given Forests and Tribal Development, while another debutant Kishor Kanani has got health and family welfare, and medical education.

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Son-in-law gave contract to kill Ghatlodia woman

In the afternoon of December 21, Bhagwati Patel found her mother, 75-year-old Rambha Patel, dead in her residence in Karmacharinagar Housing Society part-2.After a week’s investigation, the police concluded on Thursday that one of her son-in-law had hired a Mumbai-based contract killer to murder Patel.According to a city crime branch officer, Patel was strangulated to death and her gold bangles were looted. Two courier boxes with disposable plastic plates were found at the murder spot. A CCTV footage recovered from one of the bungalows in the society showed a 25-year-old courier boy entering the society with the boxes.Patel had six daughters, all married, the officer said, adding that during their interrogation, it came to the fore that one of the sons-in-law Ramesh Patel, a resident of Chandlodia, was deep in debts worth lakhs of rupees. During his interrogation, Ramesh confessed to hiring a contract killer for Rs 5lakh to eliminate his mother-in-law. The crime branch officer added that Ramesh had his eyes set on Patel’s bungalow worth Rs 3 crore. He knew that after her death, her wealth would have been distributed among her six daughters, and each of their share would have come around Rs 40-50 lakh. He was hoping to pay off his debts with that money.According to police, Ramesh identified the contract killer as one Salim. A team of Ahmedabad crime branch officers arrested Salim from Mumbai late on Wednesday. Furthr investigation in the case is on, added the crime branch officer.

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Office crunch: Ishwar Parmar to sit in SS-2

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s team having eight cabinet ministers and his deputy Nitin Patel took oath of office on Tuesday.The CM, Deputy CM and all cabinet ministers sit in the offices of the Swarnim Sankul-1 (SS-1) complex here, but with more cabinet ministers this time, the chambers in this complex fell short on Wednesday.The ‘junior-most’ cabinet minister Ishwar Parmar was then shifted to Swarnim Sankul-2 (SS-2), that is the complex of offices of state level ministers (MoSs).Third and fourth floor of the SS-1 are occupied by CMO, while the half of the second floor of this complex was allotted to Nitin Patel since he became deputy CM in the last term and that has been retained this time too. With this, there are only seven chambers and that is why Parmar has to sit with MoSs now.The social media was rife with messages on Wednesday that the BJP ruled government kept distance with the only Dalit minister Parmar. Some messages said that it was an injustice and therefore Parmar should resign.However, by evening, the Gujarat BJP countered this message and cited the order of General Administration Department (GAD) of making arrangements for Parmar’s office in SS-1 with other cabinet ministers.As per the order, the meeting hall named Girnar Hall on second floor, adjacent to Deputy CM Nitin Patel’s office is being converted into chamber for Parmar.The order undersigned by deputy secretary in GAD also mentioned that Parmar has been allotted office in SS-2 on temporary basis and CM Vijay Rupani ordered the department to make chamber ready for Parmar in SS-1. The GAD also made it clear that new chamber would be ready in 10 days.Parmar, however, was not available for a comment.NEW STATUSThe CM, Deputy CM and all cabinet ministers sit in the offices of the Swarnim Sankul-1 (SS-1) complex here. ‘Junior-most’ cabinet minister Ishwar Parmar was then shifted to Swarnim Sankul-2 (SS-2), that is the complex of offices of state level ministers (MoSs). Social media was rife with messages on Wednesday that the BJP ruled government kept distance with the only Dalit minister Parmar.

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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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New Vijay Rupani cabinet: Mix of youth and experience

Vijay RupaniChief MinisterThe 61-year-old who began his second stint as Chief Minister on Tuesday, has had a meteoric rise in Gujarat’s politics. A man of the organisation throughout his political journey, he was nominated as CM after the abrupt resignation of Anandiben Patel in August 2016. There were question marks on his future, especially after BJP won just 99 seats, its lowest tally in the past seven elections, but the party has chosen to maintain a status quo.CABINET MINISTERSNitin PatelA six-term MLA, 61-year-old Patel is the senior-most in the ministry. He was widely seen as the chief ministerial nominee after Anandiben’s resignation, but BJP picked Rupani and appointed Patel as deputy CM.RC FalduFaldu, a former president of Gujarat BJP, was elected to the Assembly for the fourth time in 2017. Faldu was sidelined in the party from some time, but the influential, Patidar leader has made a strong comeback.Bhupendrasinh ChudasamaChudasama is among the senior-most ministers in the Vijay Rupani cabinet having served as one way back in 1990. The soft-speaking Kshatriya leader is in his fifth term in the Assembly.Kaushik PatelPatel had lost in 2007 and had not contested in 2012, which means he is back after 10 years. This is the 63-year-old’s fourth term as MLA. He had held revenue, energy, civil supplies, and other important ministries.Saurabh PatelPatel, who is in his fifth term as MLA, served as minister from 2002 to 2016, handling finance, energy, civil aviation, planning, tourism. He was one of the visible faces of the government during these years.Ganpat VasavaA four-term MLA, he has emerged as the tribal face of the BJP in south Gujarat. Back in 2011, Vasava was appointed as Speaker of the state Assembly, the first from the tribal community to occupy the chair. He was later appointed as a cabinet minister.Jayesh RadadiyaSon of influential Patidar leader Vitthal Radadiya, Jayesh has been elected to the Assembly for the second time in 2017. The 36-year-old is the youngest minister in the 20-member Vijay Rupani cabinet. He had served as minister of state.Dilipsinh ThakorThis is the 58-year-old’s fifth term in the Assembly. A prominent OBC face in north Gujarat, Thakor had served as minister in the first Modi government in 2001, and had remained till 2007. He was brought back in the cabinet by Anandiben Patel.Ishwar ParmarThe 46-year-old, who was elected to the Assembly for just the second time, is a surprise pick as cabinet minister. The loss of its prominent Dalit faces such as Ramanlal Vora and Atmaram Parmar left BJP with little choice but to promote Parmar.MINISTERS OF STATEPradipsinh JadejaJadeja was elected to the assembly from Vatva seat in the just concluded elections for his fourth term as MLA. He was serving as minister of state for home in the previous government, in addition to law, parliamentary affairs.Parbat PatelThe 5-term MLA from north Gujarat was elected to the assembly first time in 1985. The 69-year-old is a prominent Chaudhary leader, a community that is quite dominant in north Gujarat. He has served as minister of state for finance, water supply, health, transport.Parsottam SolankiThe powerful Koli leader has served in all governments since 1998, barring one. In spite of his poor health, and though he barely attends office, the 56-year-old has once again been included in the ministry, because of the influence he has in his community.Bachu KhabadThis is the 62-year-old’s third term as MLA. He first found a place in the ministry when Anandiben Patel became the chief minister in May 2014. He was made minister of state for fisheries, and forests & environment. He was retained in the ministry by Vijay Rupani.Jaydrathsinh ParmarHaving started as a sarpanch in the late 1980s, Parmar first became a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet in 2011. The four-term MLA was included in the cabinet again in 2013 and has been its part since. The 53-year-old is a qualified lawyer by profession.Ishwarsinh PatelThis is Patel’s fourth term as an MLA. He had first found a place in the ministry in 2011 when the cabinet was expanded. He was dropped from the ministry in 2012, but was inducted again when Rupani took over as CM.Vasan AhirAhir, who has been elected as MLA five times, is among the senior legislators in the cabinet. The 59-year-old had first served as minister of state since 2008 in the second Modi government.Vibhavari DaveThe three-term MLA is the only woman in the Cabinet. She had served as deputy mayor and mayor of Bhavnagar in the mid and late 1990s, and was first elected to the Assembly in 2007.Raman PatkarThis is the first time Patkar has found a place in the ministry. He is a five-term MLA, and was elected from the tribal reserved Umargam seat in Valsad in the latest polls.Kishor KananiThis is the maiden entry of Kanani, a two-term MLA, in the ministry. He had won from Varachha Road seat in Surat. In fact, he was the only Patidar MLA from Surat city who was repeated by BJP.

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Saurabh Patel back in ministry, likely to get key role

Saurabh Patel, the suave and urban face of the state government until not too long ago, is back in the thick of things. He was among the nine Cabinet ministers who were sworn-in along with chief minister Vijay Rupani and ten other ministers of state on Tuesday.The 59-year-old US-educated Patel was a fixture in the Narendra Modi government since 2002. He was minister of state for finance, energy, planning, civil aviation, industries and other key departments for a very long time.One of the visible ministers in the government, Patel was promoted to Cabinet rank when Modi came back to power in 2012 and was entrusted with energy, planning, tourism, civil aviation and other ministries. He was seen as a key link between the government and industry.Patel, whose wife Ila is a cousin of Mukesh and Anil Ambani, was appointed as finance minister in May 2014 when Anandiben Patel took over as the chief minister after Modi’s elevation as prime minister. He also held energy and other important departments.However, Patel was surprisingly dropped from the ministry when Vijay Rupani took over as the chief minister in August last year after Anandiben’s abrupt resignation.His sacking from the cabinet was attributed to controversies over various PSUs allegedly extending favours to companies linked with him. It was also believed that he had fallen out of favour with BJP president Amit Shah.Patel, who had contested from Akota seat in Vadodara in 2012, was fielded from Botad, his traditional seat, in 2017 elections. He, however, just scraped through, winning with a narrow margin of 906 votes against Congress candidate DM Patel. He is expected to be given important responsibilities, especially looking at the 2019 Vibrant Gujarat Summit, which is just a little over a year away.

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Gujarat: Low-profile Vijay Rupani back at the helm, earns praise from other BJP CMs

Vijay Rupani, a low-profile RSS man who has the trust of BJP President Amit Shah, is back in the chief minister’s chair after having survived the incumbency factor and a violent quota stir by the Patidars. Born in Rangoon (now Yangon, Myanmar) Rupani, 61, joined an RSS shakha as a schoolboy, before graduating to the BJP via the Sangh’s students wing–the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the BJP’s face in the high-octane election campaign in his home state, Rupani, belonging to the relatively small Jain community, steered the party machinery in Gujarat, neutralising the incumbency factor against his government and surviving quota stir by the Patidar community, the bedrock of the party’s support base. That he also successfully contained disenchantment with the government over farm distress in some parts of the state, and economic slowdown due to demonetization and roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), also stood him in good stead.Despite the BJP’s tally falling below 100 in a long time, Rupani’s selection also suggested that the top party leadership wanted continuity before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Though only a second-time MLA, he made a mark as an able administrator. Rupani, who worked mostly in the party organisation in Gujarat, fought his first Assembly election in 2014, winning a bypoll from Rajkot West. This time he won from the same seat with an impressive margin of over 53,000 votes. A bachelor of law, Rupani was a Rajya Sabha member between 2006 and 2012.Also readBJP shows off strength as Vijay Rupani takes oath as 16th CM of Gujarat: 10 points It was under him as chairman of the Gujarat Tourism Development Corporation in 2006 that the hugely successful advertisement campaign ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’, featuring megastar Amitabh Bachchan, was launched to promote the state as a tourism hotspot. He was also the chairman of the Gujarat Municipal Finance Board in 2013. When the Rajkot West seat fell vacant in October 2014 after Speaker of the Assembly Vajubhai Vala was appointed the Karnataka Governor, Rupani won the bypoll.On February 19, 2016 he was appointed the chief of the Gujarat BJP. It was seen as a victory for the Amit Shah camp in the state unit. When the state’s first and only woman chief minister Anandiben Patel resigned in August 2016 following allegations of inept handling of the Patidar and Dalit agitations, Rupani was catapulted to the hot seat. Rupani honed his political skills in the crucible of the Gujarat Navnirman agitation, a socio-political movement in 1974 by students and the middle-class against economic crisis and corruption in public life.It soon spread elsewhere, particularly in Bihar, where socialist legend Jayaprakash Narayan gave a call for ‘Total Revolution’. The movement finally led to the fall of Indira Gandhi government and installation of the first non-Congress dispensation at the centre under Morarji Desai. Rupani, who was then with the ABVP, was jailed for nearly a year during Emergency. As the mayor of Rajkot in 1996-97, he endeared himself to people of the city with his initiatives for improvement of the civic infrastructure.Rupani’s mettle as a politician will be tested again in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when Modi bids for a second shot at power. Delivering Gujarat to the BJP is the least he would expect from Amit Shah’s man in Gandhinagar. Chief Ministers of the BJP-ruled states today said the saffron party’s victory in Gujarat for the sixth consecutive time in recently-held polls was a remarkable achievement.Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Assam, and Bihar praised Vijay Rupani, who took oath for the second consecutive time as Gujarat CM at a function held in Gandhinagar.”It is a matter of great pleasure for all of us.Gujarat developed a lot during the tenure of Narendra Modi as chief minister. Some people were assuming that BJP will not come back after Modi left the state as prime minister. But it is a matter of immense pleasure that the BJP managed around 50 per cent vote,” said Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also congratulated Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who came to Gandhinagar but could not attend the swearing-in ceremony, said the recent electoral outcome shows that people have reposed their “faith and trust” in Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. “I express gratitude to voters and give best wishes to (Vijay) Rupani and Nitin Patel for bringing the BJP back to power for the sixth time. Congratulations to the BJP for Gujarat victory. Gujarat has given a different model of development, and it is a faith and trust towards Modi that BJP keeps winning and coming back to power (in Gujarat),” Chouhan told reporters after the event.His Chhatisgarh counterpart Raman Singh said the poll result was the result of hard work put in by Modi and Shah. “Gujarat has again voted for BJP government. We thank Modi and Amit Shah who worked hard to achieve this. It will be a history that the BJP will rule a state for 27 years,” Singh said. Manohar Lal Khattar, Sarbananda Sonowal, and Nitish Kumar–chief ministers of Haryana, Assam, and Bihar, respectively—also extended their best wishes to the new government.

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Vijay Rupani to be sworn in today for 2nd innings

Gujarat Chief Minister-elect Vijay Rupani, deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, and about 18 to 20 ministers are expected to take the oath of office and secrecy in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Ministers, and Chief Ministers of all 18 BJP-ruled states, in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.Rupani and Patel will take oath as CM and deputy CM respectively at the swearing-in ceremony to be held at 11:00 am in Sachivalaya Campus in Gandhinagar. Officials said that a huge 2,500 square metres dome — which can accommodate 10,000 people — has been booked and prepared for the ceremony.“Three stages have been erected in the dome. The centre-stage is for CM, deputy CM, and others who will be taking oath. One stage is for VVIP guests such as the PM, Amit Shah, visiting Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, and the other stage is for other politicians, sadhus, religious leaders, and other invitees,” the official said.Highly placed sources in the government said that about 18 to 20 ministers, including 7 or 8 holding Cabinet rank, and remaining state rank ministers, will take oath along with CM Rupani and deputy CM Patel.Security has been tightened at Ahmedabad Airport, which will see a lot of VVIP movement, as well as in Gandhinagar. Entry of private vehicles has been restricted in the Sachivalaya due to the swearing-in ceremony.Officials said that PM Modi is slated to have lunch with the new council of ministers and visiting dignitaries at Mahatma Mandir in the afternoon before leaving for Delhi.A Cabinet meeting is also slated in the afternoon, where newly-inducted ministers will be allocated portfolios.This is the sixth consecutive time that BJP is forming government in Gujarat, but this time with the lowest seat tally. The party won 99 seats in the just concluded assembly elections, just seven more than the half-way mark of 92. On the other hand, Congress increased its tally to 77 seats, its best performance since 1990.

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Child rape cases shot up sharply in Ahmedabad, says NCRB

The city which is known to be one of the safest for children is turning out to be a place of nightmare. According to the data issued by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), 196 cases were recorded under Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses(POCSO) Act were lodged in Ahmedabad in 2016.Of these, 139 cases were of minors being raped, 21 21 of them were reported to be sexually assaulted. Also, 7 cases of unnatural activities were reported against children were registered.For instance, one eight-year-old girl was molested by a 60-year-old doctor in his clinic in Isanpur area last Thursday. The incident took place when the girl went to his clinic alone. The doctor took her to an adjacent room, where he held her hand and zipped his pants down to flash his private parts.In 80 per cent of such cases, the accused turned out to someone known to the victims, which includes mostly relatives, neighbours, friends etc. Binal Patel, the city coordinator of Childline of an NGO that works to protect the rights of children, said that she has known a lot of cases where children are abused daily.The one who abuses the kids are mostly in acquaintance, she said.”It is often the relatives, friends of the family, neighbours or people in school whom the child is in touch with who abuse them,” said Patel, adding that in many cases the child is being abused over a period before s/he opens up to her/his parents.The trigger is often when parents discover the physical signs of sexual abuse or molestation,” said Patel. In many cases, the relatives even ignore the case because the incident involves members of the same of extended families, she said. “We know of a case in which an orphan girl was sexually abused by her uncle. But, her relatives asked her to stay mum,” she said.According to NCRB data, 481 cases of crime against children were reported in Ahmedabad in 2016. Of them, 196 cases were reported under POCSO Act, which is 40.74 per cent. While in 2015, 609 cases of crime against children were reported where 191 cases were of POCSO, 173 out of 437 cases were registered under POCSO Act in 2014.Cases in 2017 October 31: A 6-year-old boy was kidnapped and sodomised by a 21-year-old, who spotted the victim playing near his house. The crime took place in Odhav area of the city. Finally, the accused was caught redhanded by the victim’s uncle and was handed over to police.On September 14: Principal of a municipal English medium school, near Shankar Bhuvan, in Shahpur, was nabbed by Shahpur police for raping an eight-year-old student of his school. March 17: Two teenage sisters, both around 15 years old, were gang-raped by six in a running car in Dahod. The accused wanted to punish the family after the girl’s brother accused one of them of bootlegging.POCSO cases filed in Gujarat 2016 1408 cases1414 victims2015 1416 cases1424 victimsPOCSO cases lodged in Ahmedabad 2016 196 cases196 victims2015 191 cases191 victims2014 173 cases 173 victimsCrime chart of cases filed under POCSO Act in Ahmedabad Child Raped 139 cases139 victimsSexual Assualt 21 cases21 victimsOther POCSO cases35 cases 35 victims

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Thakkarbapa Nagar MLA to withdraw cases against PAAS

There is some good news for Patidars of Saurashtrian Patel dominated seat, Thakkarbapa Nagar, that witnessed Patidar wrath in 2015 over reservation row. The new MLA, elected for the second time in a row, Vallabhbhai Kakadiya, has decided to withdraw all 12 cases registered against Patidars. Kakadia is a Patel and is involved in diamond business and had defeated Gita Patel of Congress last time.While listing developments that took place in past five years, Kakadiya is prompt enough to name a new crematorium, flyover, library, RCC road, etc. While Kakadiya garnered 88214 votes, he defeated Babubhai Mangukiya with 34088 votes. In 2012, he had defeated Gitaben Patel of Congress with 49251 votes.Quick to respond when asked about his priorities, Kakadiya, who himself is a Patidar says, “One of my main priority will be to withdraw cases against all Patidar’s. There are about 12 such cases registered so I will get them released. Another big issue in my constituency is illegal settlements on government land and others. In many places, the construction do not have proper documents and because of which for example even if a house is for 1 crore, a person does not get loan of even 2 lakhs. We will legalize all such sites.Since Patel will be representing the constituency for next five years, this is an endeavour of DNA to help you know your MLA.BACK TRACKNew MLA, elected for the second time in a row, Vallabhbhai Kakadiya, has decided to withdraw all 12 cases registered against Patidars. While listing developments that took place in past five years, Kakadiya is prompt enough to name a new crematorium, flyover, library, RCC road, etc.

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75-yr-old strangulated to death

A complaint of murder was lodged with the Ghatlodia police station after a 75-year-old local woman was found dead at her house on Thursday afternoon. The woman was strangulated to death with a cloth. The cops are yet to find the motive of the murderer.The incident took place between 12 to 2 pm in Block 2 of Karamchari Nagar Society Part-2 in Ghatlodia area, the police said. The deceased has been identified as Rambhaben Patel, who used to live alone.Her daughter, who was married, used to visit her daily to help Patel with household chores.Patel’s daughter, who lives in Ghatlodia area came to mother’s her house to prepare lunch, left around 12 pm. Two hours later, when she came back to find the main door of the house broken and her mother lying dead. Patel’s neighbours immediately called the police when the victim’s daughter told them what had happened. Investigating the case, cops said that Patel was strangulated with a piece cloth.A team of FSL officials, fingerprint expert and dog squad were called to the spot to unearth clues. The body has been sent for an autopsy. RG Desai, an inspector of Ghatlodia police station, said, “No sign of robbery or theft could be found from the house.”According to police, the killer might have been a known person to the deceased. The killer entered Patel’s house and there are no signs of hint that the victim struggled when she was attacked.The police have initiated an investigation on the bases of primary reports and are talking to people who might give leads statements of people.CRIME SHEETIncident took place between 12 to 2 pm in Block 2 of Karamchari Nagar Society Part-2 in Ghatlodia area, cops said. Victim’s daughter is married and used to visit her mother daily to help Patel with household chores. A team of FSL officials, fingerprint expert were called to the spot to unearth clues.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Hardik Patel in the dock for Ahmedabad poll rally without police permission

Merely two days after election results were announced in Gujarat, a police case was lodged on Wednesday against Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel and his associates for organising a roadshow on December 11 despite not having permission from the authorities.A case was lodged with the Bopal police in Ahmedabad against the Patel, who is the convenor of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), Raju Patel, Suresh Patel and 50 other members of the Patidar movement for disobeying a police notification. They have been booked under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.”In future, more cases are going to be lodged against me, this is just the start,” Patel said in response to the case. “After 9 days from the day of the incident they have opened their eye, if it was really about the notification they could have lodged the case on the same day of the rally and wouldn’t have waited. They had a fear at that time and waited for the election results to get announced. I know there is more going to come and I am ready for it.”The police, however, dismissed his allegations.”Due to the election bandobast duty and its process, the FIR process was on hold,” said Bopal police station inspector I H Gohil. “Only on Tuesday we got a reply from the Daskoi Taluka Mamlatdar regarding the matter and finally lodged a case against Patel and 52 of his members for disobeying the police order.”On December 11, City Police Commissioner AK Singh had denied permissions for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s roadshows scheduled for the next day, citing security and law-and-order issues, as well as public inconvenience. Permission for Hardik Patel’s 52-km roadshow was also denied; instead, he was allowed to have a convoy along the route with a maximum of 5 vehicles a day before.AK Singh, in his order, had said that “If any individual disobeys the police notification legal actions will be taken against them.”Nonetheless, Patel conducted the roadshow starting from Guma crossroad and ended it in Nikol area, where he was to conduct a public meeting. About 5,000 people joined the roadshow.

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BJP rebels who contested could not fare in polls

The Gujarat BJP’s rebels have to bite the dust who contested assembly polls going against the party’s mandate. There were four such members who contested the polls but none of them could win. Even their effectiveness also could not be proved as baring one, BJP candidates won on two seats, while Congress won over other two.The Gujarat BJP had suspended as many as 24 members of party including several influential leaders following to their rebelious activities against the party candidates. The party chief in Gujarat Jitu Vaghani had suspended them all on December 02. These 24 leaders were not happy after they did not get the tickets in different constituencies, although only four contested the polls.Former Ahmedabad district president and former Viramgam MLA Kama Rathod had expressed his delinquency as he did not get the ticket from Sanand seat in the latest polls. He had lost from the same seat in assembly polls held in 2012 agaisnt Congress’ Karamshi Patel. Patel, however, defected to BJP before the polls and party gave ticket to his seat Kanu Karamshi Patel. Rathod contested as an independent candidate and claimed that he would defeat Kanu but failed.The same was the incident with former minister in Keshubhai Patel’s government and leader from central Gujarat Bimal Shah. He expected ticket from Kapadvanj but party did not gave him ticket. He contested the polls as independent and lost too. Shah received more than 46,000 votes and Congress candidate won with the margin of more than 27,000 votes against BJP candidate. Shah had expressed his displeasure in 2012 polls too when did not get the ticket and had reached BJP’s state office but then was placated by other leaders.The BJP district president in Panchmahals Dr Jaswantsinh Parmar also wan not happy after BJP gave ticket to Congress’ turncoat and former MLA from Godhra CK Raulji. Parmar contested as independent but Raulji won with thin margin of 258 votes and is likely to get berth in Gujarat government’s cabinet now.The BJP worker in Gandhinagar city Rohit Nayani, who was believed to be very close to CM Vijay Rupani was expecting a ticket. However, Nayani got the indication that he would not get the ticket and contested polls under the banner of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) from Gandhinagar North seat. Unfortunately, he got only 772 votes and Congress candidate CJ Chavda won here.Sanand Seat :Kanu Karamshi Patel (BJP)- 67,692Pushpa Dabhi (Congress)- 59971Kama Rathod – 37,795Kapadvanj Seat:Dabhi Kalabhai (Congress)- 85195Kanu Dabhi (BJP)- 57969Bimal Shah- 46,928Godhra Seat:CK Raulhi (BJP) : 75,149Rajendra Parmar (Congress)- 74,891Dr Jaswantsinh Parmar Independent – 18856Gandhinagar North Seat :CJ Chavda (Congress)- 80,142Ashok Patel (BJP)- 74,406Rohit Nayani – 772

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Gujarat: BJP likely to pick CM on Friday; Cong begins analyses of results

The newly elected BJP MLAs of Gujarat are likely to meet in Gandhinagar on December 22 to elect their leader who would be the next chief minister of the key western state, party sources said today.Union minister Arun Jaitley and party general secretary Saroj Pandey, who have been appointed central observers for the election, will hold consultations with the MLAs before the new chief minister is announced. Though incumbent Vijay Rupani continues to be the favourite for the coveted job, there is speculation about his continuance given the BJP’s narrow victory in its bastion. The BJP has 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly, seven more than the 92 required for forming government but its lowest in a long time. The Congress and its pre-poll allies have 80 seats, with the main opposition party having 77.BJP chief Amit Shah had said during the campaign that the elections would be fought under Rupani. Since Modi was the face of the BJP in the keenly fought electoral battle, a last minute change cannot be completely ruled out, sources said. Many in the party wonder if the top leadership would go for somebody from the Patidar community, as the party prepares for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Though the Patidars have traditionally backed the BJP, a section led by young community leader Hardik Patel turned against the party over the quota issue.Also readGujarat elections 2017: BJP had more close victory calls in 2017 than in 2012The BJP leadership’s propensity for springing a surprise while making its choices for top positions, be it a chief minister or the president, has left many guessing if someone new will be chosen to helm the state. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and Manohar Lal Khattar and Trivendra Singh Rawat, his Haryana and Uttarakhand counterparts, were all surprise choices. So was President Ramnath Kovind. Even Rupani was seen as a surprise choice when the party decided to replace Anandiben Patel last year. While many thought Nitin Patel was an obvious replacement of Anandiben, he was eventually made the deputy chief minister. Rupani is known to be close to Amit Shah, has a clean image, and is seen as caste neutral, qualities which may finally tilt the scales in his favour.Congress begins stock-takingAlso readGujarat Election Results: Congress must concede defeat; voters gave a clear cut mandate to us, says BJP Two days after the Gujarat assembly poll results, the Congress today began an exercise to analyse the electoral outcome at a three-day conclave that will be attended by party president Rahul Gandhi on Friday. During the ‘chintan shivir’ (introspection camp), the Congress leaders and workers will analyse the election results district-wise and discuss the road-map ahead in view of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, state party president Bharatsinh Solanki said here.In the elections, the results for which were declared on Monday, the Congress could not wrest power from the BJP even though its tally increased to 77 seats from 61 last time. The Congress ally Bharatiya Tribal Party won two seats, and along with an independent backed by it winning his seat, the tally of the Congress-led alliance stood at 80, 12 short of the simple majority in the 182-memberassembly. The BJP retained power for the sixth time, though with a reduced score of 99 seats against 115 in 2012. The Congress performed well in rural areas of Gujarat but failed to make a significant mark in the urban pockets.The venue of the conclave today and tomorrow is a resort in Mehsana district and on the third and final day, the venue will shift to Ahmedabad where Gandhi will be present, Solanki said. Gandhi, who campaigned extensively in the state for the assembly elections, will address the Congress workers on Friday. “The Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee has organised the ‘chintan shivir’ with the aim of discussing the Assembly poll results and to provide a road-map to strengthen the organisation and increase its connect with the people, keeping in mind the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” Solanki told reporters.”For two days, we will meet here in Mehsana, and on third day, we will meet in Ahmedabad where Congress president Rahul Gandhi will visit to address party workers,” he said. Congress general secretary and election in-charge for Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot, expressed satisfaction over the party’s performance in the polls, while accusing the BJP of “misusing government machinery” and raising questions over the approach of the Election Commission. “Both in terms of seats and campaigning, the Congress performed wonderfully well. Although we could not form the government, a message has been sent across that the BJP can have a tough time fighting the Congress even in the home state of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi and (BJP president) Amit Shah,” said Gehlot, who is also attending the camp.”The way the BJP campaigned involving cabinet ministers with the prime minister himself making emotional appeals, the way they misused government machinery for polls, and the manner the Election Commission took decisions, we believe we have done exceedingly well,” he said. Senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, who lost from Mandvi in Kutch district, said the party could have formed government had it won 16 seats on which it got defeated by narrow margins.However, he took solace in the fact that the BJP was reduced to “double-digits” despite an aggressive campaigning. “At one point after forming the government in 1985, the Congress was reduced to a mere 32 seats. This time people have supported Congress in large numbers and we have increased our seat tally,” he said. “And after 1990, for the first time the BJP has been reduced to double-digits. We were defeated by small margins on as many as 16 seats. Had we won those seats, we could have formed the government,” Gohil said.

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Amidst Rahul’s rising stock, TMC says Mamata has finest credentials to take on BJP in 2019

Young leaders from across the country were reaching out to Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee for her guidance to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, party leader Derek O’Brien said today.A day after Banerjee reportedly had telephonic conversations with Patidar quota agitation spearhead in Gujarat Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, O’Brien said the young leaders were certain to gain from the TMC chief, who had the “finest credentials” to take on the BJP in 2019.”I am not surprised that young leaders from across the country are reaching out to her (Banerjee) for her guidance and to learn from her experiences. She has the finest credentials to take on the BJP in 2019,” he told DNA.According to O’Brien, the TMC chief was sure that the saffron party could be defeated in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls if all the anti-BJP forces came together.”Her experience, track record, role in people’s movements over the last four decades, the experience as a cabinet minister and the resounding mandate of last year (in the West Bengal Assembly polls) makes her the most credible face to take on the BJP,” The Rajya Sabha member said.”If we were to look at the future of the Opposition, Mamata Banerjee has the best credentials. She has the experience, credentials and integrity. Bengal will have an important role to play now and in 2019,” O’Brien added.Apart from Patel and Mevani, OBC leader Alpesh Thakore also played a crucial role in the Gujarat election in putting up a tough fight against the BJP, which had ruled the state for 22 years.Whereas Thakore won on a Congress ticket and Mevani won as an Independent candidate backed by the party, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), led by Patel, extensively campaigned against the BJP in Gujarat.With PTI Inputs

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I was beaten up because I voted for BJP: Gurang Patel

A complaint was lodged with Naranpura police by a 34-year-old man after he was attacked allegedly because he voted for the BJP. The accused assailant claimed to be a Congress supporter.The incident took place on Monday around 11.40 pm outside Jay Ambe paan shop in Naranpura. The complainant Gurang Patel, is a resident of Haripark society.He said that he had gone to the pan shop when the accused, Anil Vyas, came to the spot and started arguing with him regarding the election result.According to his complaint, Vyas started abusing him. When Patel tried to respond, Vyas allegedly hit him on the head and fled from the spot. Patel was rushed to a hospital and later on Tuesday morning, a complaint was lodged with the police.

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47 MLAs face criminal charges

A report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) showed that 47, or 26 per cent, of the 182 MLAs who won in the 2017 Gujarat assembly elections have criminal cases against them. This number has dipped from the 2012 elections, when 57 MLAs had criminal cases against them, which was 31 per cent of the total number of legislators.However, the number of MLAs facing serious criminal charges such as murder, attempt to murder, dacoity and robbery is 33 this time, which is more than that compared to the 2012 election. his forms 18 per cent of the total 182 MLAs, compared to 24 MLAs (13 per cent) in 2012.The Gujarat Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) together analysed the self-sworn affidavits of the 182 winning candidates on the bases of criminal background, finances, education and gender. Their other findings are as follows.Out of 47 MLAs with criminal background who won this time,18 are of BJP, 25 of Congress, 1 of Bhartiya Tribal Party, 1 of NCP and 2 are Independents. Two MLAs, Maheshbhai Chottubhai Vasava of Bhartiya Tribal Party and Bhaveshbhai Babubhai of Congress, face cases related to murder.Six MLAs had cases related to attempt to murder and Ahir Bharwad Jethabhai Ghelabhai of BJP had a case related to rape against him.Financial backgroundOut of the 182 MLAs in the Gujarat assembly this time, 141 are crorepatis, while in 2012 elections, 134 were crorepatis. Out of 182 MLAs, the wealth of 33 is Rs 10 crore or above, and that of 23 is between Rs 5 crore and Rs 10 crore.Another 85 legislators have declared wealth between Rs 1 crore and Rs 5 crore, 37 have asserted it to be between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 1 crore , and four have sworn that it is less than Rs 20 lakh.If we look at the party-wise list of crorepati MLAs, BJP has 84 crorepati legislators of the total 99 who have won, while in Congress, 54 out of the 77 winning MLAs are crorepatis; two from Bhartiya Tribal Party and one from NCP declared assets valued over Rs 1 crore.The top three MLAs with high assets are BJP’s Saurabh Patel of Botad constituency, followed by the party’s Dhanjibhai Patel of Wadhwan constituency, and Congressman Jawahar Chavda of Manavadar constituency. The MLAs with the least assets are Jigneshkumar Natvarlal Mevani of Vadgam constituency and Arjunsinh Chauhan of Mehmedabad constituency.EducationOf the 182 MLAs, 96 have education qualifications ranging between Std V and Std XII, while only 69 are graduates and beyond. There are seven MLAs who have declared themselves as literates while one is unlettered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gujarat elections 2017: Six of three Congress’ Muslim candidates win

Three out of six Muslim candidates fielded by the Congress party in the Assembly elections have emerged as the winners in the electoral battle. The number of Muslim MLAs in the previous Assembly was two.Gayasuddin Sheikh, MLA from Dariapur seat in Ahmedabad seat, defeated former minister and BJP candidate Bharat Barot by 6,187 votes. While Sheikh secured 63,712 votes, Barot was second with 57,525 votes. The contest was a repeat of the 2012 polls when Barot had lost with a margin of 2,600 votes.Congress MLA and the party’s candidate from Wankaner seat, Mohammed Javid Pirzada, defeated BJP candidate Jitu Somani with a margin of over 1,300 votes. Pirzada got 72,588 votes, while Somani secured 71,227 votes.Imran Khedawala, Congress candidate from Jamalpur-Khadia seat in Ahmedabad, defeated two-term sitting MLA and BJP candidate Bhushan Bhatt by over 29,300 votes. Khedawala got 75,346 votes, as compared with 46,007 votes for Bhatt. Khedawala was seen as having the upper hand in the contest after former MLA Sabir Kabliwala’s withdrawal from the contest.The three losing Muslim candidates of the Congress include Suleman Patel, the nominee from Vagra seat in Bharuch. Patel lost with a margin of 2,370 votes in a close contest against sitting MLA and BJP candidate Arunsinh Rana.Congress nominee Adam Chaki gave a tough fight from Bhuj seat to BJP MLA Nimaben Acharya, but fell short. Chaki had a big lead against the sitting MLA in the initial rounds, but fell behind in the race in later stages to lose with a margin of over 14,000 votes.Iqbal Patel, the Congress’s nominee from Surat West seat, suffered the biggest defeat among the minority candidates, losing with a margin of 77,800 votes to BJP MLA Purnesh Modi.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Amit Shah says drop in seats due to Congress’s ‘malicious’ campaign

Deriding the Congress for having “outsourced” its election efforts in Gujarat — an obvious reference to Hardik Patel and company — a visibly elated Amit Shah explained away the drop in seats to the “malicious” Congress campaign and the casteism that it raked up.Speaking to mediapersons after the results became clear, Shah rejected the Patidar phenomenon or the Hardik Patel factor as consequential enough to have caused a problem for the party. “This victory for the party in two states is a win for the tireless efforts put in by crores of BJP workers. It is a victory of the policies of the Prime Minister and that of the pro-poor schemes of the Central government. It is a victory of politics of development and performance over dynasticism, casteism and appeasement. Since Narendra Modi has become the PM, he is trying to weed out these three demons that have ill-affected the polity of India, and after UP results, these results have proved that a new era of politics of performance has dawned after 70 years of independence,” he said.”I offer a heartfelt gratitude to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh that they gave us another opportunity to serve them,” he added.”Casteism was fanned in India, and in such a vicious atmosphere, increasing vote share as well is a big achievement. I have not seen such levels of nasty campaigning in my whole political career: using bad words for the Prime Minister, things have come to this.””We have won in areas which are supposed to be the bastions of Hardik and company,” he said.Shah took solace in the increase in the vote share of the party compared to 2012. “We are going to make a government in Gujarat for the sixth time. Last elections, we got 47.85 per cent votes, and this time we have 49.10 per cent. Under such a hugely casteist campaign by the Opposition, people’s support for the BJP has gone up,” he said.He added, “The result is that all main leaders of Congress have lost. People have put faith in Narendra Modi and they want to join the bandwagon of Modi’s developmental politics. We have another four states elections to face in the near future and in these four states, we shall certainly make governments. In 2019, we shall achieve the PM’s vision of New India.”

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

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

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

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

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As trends paint clear picture of BJP’s victory in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, this is how party celebrates

The trends have started emerging and as they move in the favour of the Bhartiya Janata Party recorded, party workers had already started celebrating. BJP recorded its first official win Gujarat and festivity at party offices across the country have begun. Party workers in Madhya Pradesh are already distributing sweets as the trends show the BJP winning both in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.Fire crackers and sweets have made entry in the BJP headquarters in New Delhi too. Bucking the initial trends, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani won the Rajkot West Assembly seat in the Gujarat Election results on Monday.The early trends had shown Rupani trailing to Congress’ Indranil Rajguru.Ahead of the Gujarat verdict, Rupani sounded confident and had said that the BJP will form the government in the state again.”The results are going to be in BJP’s favour and the party will form Government in Gujarat; people of the state have chosen development” Rupani was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.On Sunday, his supporters also started a ‘Havan’ for his victory.Pitted against Rajguru, one of the wealthiest leader in the fray, Rupani bucked the anti- incumbency factor and the Patel agitation that could have tilted the balance.Gujarat has 26 parliamentary constituencies and 182 assembly constituencies.A total of 977 candidates were in the fray in the first phase of elections, out of which 57 were women candidates and over 2.22 crore people took part in the election to decide their fate. While in the second phase, 851 candidates fought, out of which 69 women candidates contested.

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

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

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Gujarat: Counting of votes starts in India PM’s home state

Counting of votes in underway in Gujarat, which Narendra Modi’s party has governed for 22 years.

There are going to be new, exciting faces in Congress: Rahul Gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has said that major changes will be undertaken in Congress under his leadershipIn his first exclusive interview since taking over as Congress President, Rahul Gandhi told NH that he would help the party embark on a path of greater democratisation & bring in interesting facesNewly-elected Congress President Rahul Gandhi says that the party will undergo major changes under his leadership, with more exciting people being projected in key positions.In his first exclusive interview since taking over as party president, Rahul Gandhi told National Herald that he would help Congress embark on a path of greater democratisation and bring interesting and young faces within the party fold.The 47-year old leader also rubbishes BJP’s claims that his party fought the recently held Gujarat state elections of casteist lines, instead highlighting that Congress brought the OBC, Dalit and the Patidar communities together on a Congress platform.Edited excerpts from Rahul’s interaction with National Herald’s Editor-in-Chief Neelabh Mishra and Qaumi Awaz’s Editor-in-Chief Zafar Agha. DNA present excerpts.Neelabh Mishra: Congratulations to you on being elected as President of the Congress Party. Thank you for giving this interview, which is the first since your appointment as party head.Rahul Gandhi: Thank you very much.NM: So, where do you go from here, in the Congress party as well as for the country?RG: I liked very much Mr Manmohan Singh’s formulations today, which is the politics of hope versus the politics of fear, or you can say the politics of anger. The BJP has divided the society. And they have created a false animosity between our people. I think Congress party’s role is to create a bridge between our people, start a conversation, where we can once again start to say that we all are Indian. Not a particular class, caste or religion, but our first identity is that of an Indian. And after that, come all other identities. And that is something that the Congress ideology can do.Zafar Agha: The problem is that Congress’ ideology of secularism and harmony is itself threatened now. There is tremendous fear and insecurity among the people. Isn’t this a great challenge before the country and the Congress?RG: Yes, periodically — look at Indian history — this has happened. A sort of polarisation you saw in the 1990s as well. But I primarily think that this country stands together, and we believe very deeply in love and affection. This country does not believe in hatred. And of course there has also been a large organised defamation campaign against the Congress party, carried out by the BJP and the RSS. Very organised, systematic, against its leaders, against its workers, against its ideas, against its past. I really felt this in Gujarat, that certain myths have been created, which are just lies. I mean, in Gujarat, the myth is that Sardar Patel and Jawahar Lal Nehru didn’t get along. It’s a lie. Jawahar Lal Nehru and Sardar Patel were friends. They spent time in jail together. They disagreed on certain things, but they were friends, and Sardar Patel had strong views against the RSS. He had also banned the RSS.As I said in my talk in the US and also during my campaign speeches in Gujarat, there is a central problem that India is facing, which is, India is simply not producing enough jobs, for the number of youngsters of this country.ZA: People say that Congress is not ready organisationally to take on the challenge posed by the RSS-BJP combine. Do you feel this is a problem for Congress?RG: There is lot of work that Congress has to do. There are a large number of new people that we have to bring forward. There is tremendous talent in the Congress party that we have to utilise. But one has to realise that there is a systematic campaign against the Congress party, and we are going to show to the country, the true face of the Congress Party. You are going to see a change in the Congress party, you are going to see more of people who excite you, people about whom you can say that they are somebody very interesting who have been put there by the Congress party. We would like to be associated with decent persons.NM: Will the Congress democratize itself more?RG: That is certainly my intention. We have done a lot of work in the Youth Congress and NSUI, and very successful work at that. We would like to bring in as many new faces, young faces, exciting faces and dynamic faces (as we could). That’s not to say that people who are experienced or older should not have space.

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A dialogue with JC: Hapless Cong prays for a miracle as BJP set to wrest power in Guj and Himachal

Will results of Exit Polls be proved right in Himachal and Gujarat?The Exit Poll results of Himachal are 100% right. BJP is getting absolute majority there…Dhumal will be the chief minister and Modi-Amit Shah will also be present there…there is a tried trend in Himachal …it’s 5-year term for Virbhadra, 5 year for Dhumal…now it’s Dhumal’s turn.Will Amit Shah’s forecast of 15-year rule of BJP stand true in Himachal or will Congress come back after 5 years?Amit Shah has declared in election rallies that this time Himachal is not voting for 5 years , it is voting for 15 years. But how far this forecast is going to be true, it can’t be ascertained…after 5 years Dhumal will be 78…I think he is playing last innings…I think both the leaders are in their last leg due to their age…new generation is coming. How the pair of J P Nadda in Delhi and Dhumal in Shimla work together? Will they become two different centres of power?Nadda was a contender of chief minister…But when his name was ruled out and name of Dhumal was announced then he withdrew himself and dedicated entire focus on elections but going forward it can’t be denied that Nadda and Dhumal will be two different power centres. One will be Delhi and other will be in Shimla. High Command will have its task cut out to maintain coordination between them. Eventually what is the political future of Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur and Virbhandra’s son Vikramaditya?As far as Anurag Thakur is concerned, he is an MP and close to Arun Jaitley. On the other hand, Vikramaditya is contesting election this time…his future is in time wrap.Will Gujarat again see the reemergence of Jodi No : Narendra-Modi-Amit Shah? Will there be absolute majority for BJP or will it be the single largest party?Jodi is Super Hit…as far as election results are concerned, I believe that BJP is getting 112 seats and Congress 70. These days public gives decisive mandate…in 2014 polls BJP had led in 162 constituencies out of 165 and in this elections, the polling percentage was 68% and if we look at it, the vote looks even more decisive. Whichever party wins, it will get 125-130 seats. But it is believed that BJP will form government will 105-107 seats.Who besides Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi emerged as the hero of poll campaign in Gujarat?If we look at heroes of Gujarat campaign then only three are there – Modi, Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi…in second category we may keep Yogi, Smriti Irani, Jaitley, Hardik Patel and his two partners.Was the agenda of Gujarat Pride and Hindu-Muslim related issues came again into picture during last days of electioneering? Was there once again polarisation of Gujarati voters?Narendra Modi smartly raised the issue of Gujarat Pride…The word Neech which Manishankar uttered, Modi encashed that sensibly. Modi also raised the issue of Hindu-Muslim when he said that Manmohan Singh was present in a meeting with people of Pakistan to stall BJP from forming government Gujarat. This people believed to some extent. In the last leg of elections, what would be the impact of negative campaign carried out by Modi and BJP against Congress?Negative campaign is the strategy of Modi. But this should not have happened. Maximum people believed that campaigning should not stoop down to this level. When permission for roadshow in Ahmedabad was turned down, Modi campaigned from Sea-Plane. Was it Modi’s poll branding exercise? It was a masterstroke of Narendra Modi…people of Gujarat was hooked to the Plane. It was 100% a branding exercise.In this situation of Gujarat election, what would be the scenario in 2019? Will Rahul be able to give straight fight to Modi? How much impact would Gujarat and Himachal result will have on the outcome of 2019 elections?The 2019 scenario is absolutely clear which is showing Modi on seat. A Times of India survey say that 79% people want to see Modi as prime minister while Rahul Gandhi has only 16% vote for PM.In the second leg, a day before the polling, Rahul has given interview to Gujarat’s regional channel, what would be the impact on this?It was a mastermind move on Congress part…there is anxiety in BJP. That interview of Rahul was a big challenge for media managers of BJP, it was a failure. Interview came into light of election commission, sent notice to the channel and talks about filing FIR against Rahul also came into being. Later Election Commission retreated following uproar over this issue. Is Election Commission favouring BJP in case of violation of Code of Conduct and how much the independence of EC getting affected?It can’t be said that EC is favouring BJP or not but that goes as an impression among people, questions have been raised on the sanctity of EC. BJP has suffered from this.What would be the national agenda of Narendra Modi after winning elections in Gujarat and Himachal? Will he focus on governance or remain in election mode till 2019 elections? Modi is a man of passion. He has his own style of working. Whether he wins elections or not, it doesn’t affect him because he feels whatever he is doing is right. Whether it’s demonetisation or GST. But in coming days, he will have an agenda of conducting assembly and parliamentary elections simultaneously. Second agenda would be to make GST successful, third would be to have a crack down on shell companies and fourth would be to eradicate corruption. What would be the agenda of Narendra Modi’s one man army – Amit Shah? Will he again come into electioneering mode after forming cabinets in Gujarat and Himachal?If BJP forms government in Gujarat then his entire focus would be on Karnataka and then he will concentrate on Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and MP. He is completely immersed making political strategy 24X7. What is the political fallout of entry of Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha? Has remote control of BJP in Rajya Sabha gone to Amit Shah? This is Modi’s strategy not to merely send Amit Shah to Rajya Sabha but to establish him there. With Shah in RS, BJP MPs will be present in full strengthen with aggression. Definitely, the remote control will be with Amit Shah.Do you see any difference in the personality of Rahul Gandhi pre and post Gujarat elections?There is a big difference in both the situations. Earlier people used to make fun of Rahul Gandhi…now two major personality traits have been visible during Gujarat elections. Now he doesn’t hesitate and speak the language of people. His image has also seen a turnaround. Whether he wins election or not, he has emerged as a leader.Who will be Ahmed Patel of Rahul Gandhi? Or will core group of 4-5 leaders keep taking trivial decisions? Ahmed Patel has been in force as an advisor for last 20-25 years…there is no alternate to him in Congress…I don’t feel there can be any Ahmed Patel in the life of Rahul Gandhi Jagdeeshji, if I ask you to summarise this analysis in one sentence, what would you say?BJP is forming government in both the states but in Gujarat possibility of a miracle can’t be ruled out.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Cong complains, Wi-Fi suspended in Surat

After Congress candidate from Kamrej seat in Surat city Ashok Jirawala wrote to the District Election Office objecting to the presence of wifi network at a counting centre, authorities have suspended the network.Jirawala said, “We had deputed two people to keep a watch at the counting centre because we do not trust BJP as it can do anything to win. A Namo Wi-Fi was found in the range by our workers. We wrote to the concerned authorities and demanded to suspend the WiFi service in the area.”The counting for Olpad, Mandvi, Mahuva, Vyara, Kamrej and Mangrol was to be held at Gandhi Engineering College in Surat city. The WiFi network was provided on the campus for students and is named as Namo WiFi.Jirawala supported his arguments saying, “As many as 13 EVMs and VVPATs were not operating properly in Surat on the polling day. The voters and we complained to the concerned officials but they did not do anything deliberately as they all are having nexus with BJP. The voting was stopped for a few hours and many voters could not cast their votes. That was the conspiracy of BJP and now they wish to hack the EVMs through WiFi here.”After receiving the complaint letter from Jirawala, Surat collector and District Election Officer Mahendra Patel issued an order to college authorities to suspend the WiFi service from the collage campus. Patel said, “We received the complaint from Congress candidate doubting over the tampering of EVMs through WiFi. All the EVMs of six constituencies have been put inside the strong room here. The premise where the counting is going to be held in an engineering college and WiFi service also is operated by them only.””It is not possible that EVMs can be hacked or tampered through WiFi but, we ordered to suspend the service so that they do not have any discontent or objection,” Patel added.

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP, Congress undecided on CM face

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

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Gujarat 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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Gujarat Elections 2017: Wi-Fi service suspended at Surat college following complaint of EVM hacking

The Wi-Fi service at a college here was suspended after the Congress candidate from the Kamrej Assembly seat complained of possible hacking and tampering with the electronic voting machines (EVMs), used in the recently held Gujarat Assembly polls, kept on its campus.Following a complaint by Congress nominee Ashok Jariwala, the Wi-Fi service was suspended on the campus of the Gandhi Engineering College, situated in the Athwa Lines locality here.”We detected that a Wi-Fi network was available near the strong room (in the college), after which we asked the collector to take action,” Jariwala said.Also readGujarat Election 2017: Exit polls are ‘nonsense’, BJP will definitely lose, says Jignesh MevaniHe said they had made a similar complaint two days back, after which the collector had ordered the suspension of the Wi-Fi service on the campus.”But we found it active again today. We cannot take a chance as there is a possibility of hacking and tampering with the EVMs,” said Jariwala.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: All eyes on Modi’s home state as stage set for counting tomorrowFollowing the complaint, Surat Collector and District Election Officer Mahendra Patel ordered the college authorities to suspend the Wi-Fi service on their campus.The complainant feared a possibility of tampering with the EVMs stored inside the strong room, using Wi-Fi, Patel said.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Re-polling on six polling stations underway”The Wi-Fi service they are talking about is of the college and meant for students, and we understand that there is no possibility of EVM tampering using it. However, to dispel their doubt, we have ordered its suspension,” the collector said.The EVMs from six Assembly constituencies — Olpad, Mandvi, Mahuva, Vyara, Kamrej and Mangrol — are kept in the strong room of the college.Following the exit poll results shown by the news channels, which predicted a majority to the ruling BJP in the recently-held election, several opposition leaders, including those from the Congress, Patidar quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, had raised the issue of a possibility of EVM hacking.Hardik Patel today said on Twitter that if a human body, made by god, could be tampered with, then why not an EVM, which is made by humans? “If ATMs can be hacked, why not an EVM!!! (sic),” he asked.He also alleged that there had been attempts to hack EVMs using its “source code” in the Patidar-dominated and tribal areas of the state.Patel had also claimed in a tweet yesterday that 150 software engineers of an Ahmedabad-based company were preparing to hack 5,000 EVMs.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: All eyes on Modi’s home state as stage set for counting tomorrow

Counting of votes will be held tomorrow for the Gujarat Assembly polls, 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’.The 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 others.Modi 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.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.

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

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

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

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

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | If BJP wins, we will intensify our agitation: Hardik Patel

Even as exit polls predict an easy victory for the ruling BJP in Gujarat, the road to power might turn out to be anything but smooth for the party. Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel has now declared that if the BJP comes to power, the reservation agitation will continue with greater intensity. “We have not stopped the agitation. It will not be stopped until our goal is achieved. In the event the BJP comes to power, we renew the agitation for reservation with more vigour,” said Patel.”Goli maarna hai to maar de, mein jaan deene ko taiyaar hu,” said Hardik about his plan to agitate if BJP comes to power. He, however, also insisted that the Congress would win over 100 seats. “There is a lot of anger among the people against the BJP,” adding that the Congress formula was acceptable to him and the party would implement it when it came to power. “If the Congress fails to do so, we will continue the agitation against them too,” said Hardik.Even before the elections, Hardik held several rallies and meetings, urging the people to vote for Congress, stating that it was important to teach the BJP a lesson. Almost all his rallies were well attended, but it remains to be seen if his appeal to the voters worked or not.Additionally, he has also planned a Gujarat yatra in the coming days, where he will meet people and discuss their problems. He will also seek to fortify support for the reservation cause. “I will visit places I haven’t gone to and revisit places that I have already been to and meet people,” said Hardik. He said his plans will include rallies, otla panchayat (small meetings) roadshows, etc, all in an effort to widen his appeal beyond the Patidar community. In the meantime, in the run up to the 2017 election results, the leader is holding meetings in Gandhinagar to decide the future course of action.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Day after polls, candidates get some family time

While many would have thought that a day after elections would be relaxation time for the candidates of both parties, campaigning day and night since past fifteen days, DNA speaks with candidates across constituencies to know how they unwind.For most BJP candidates, it was totally a family time, and for some, even the weekend was dedicated to family, for Congress it was completely opposite. Most candidates of Congress had different responsibilities given by their own party, they too, however, squeezed out some time for their loved ones.Bhupendra Patel, BJP, GhatlodiaFor the AUDA chairman contesting from Ghatlodia constituency, this was a much needed break. He said, “I met my workers after polling just to get a feel of how it was. It has been few weeks that I have not been able to spend time with my family. I have decided to spend the weekend with them.”Patel who was the election in-charge of former chief minister of Gujarat Anandiben Patel in 2012 election campaign has been carefully chosen by the BJP, to contest from a Patidar dominated Ghatlodia this time.Bhushan Bhatt, BJP, Jamalpur-Khadia”Now it is family time. My grand daughter from Netherlands is here and so my day is completely with her,” said Bhushan Bhatt of BJP contesting from Jamalpur-Khadia against Congress’s Imran Khedawala. He adds, “After elections, I met all my workers and understood their side of the story of phase 2 of elections.”A builder by profession, Bhatt has been a three-time municipal councillor from Khadia. He is the son of former speaker of Gujarat Assembly Ashok Bhatt who was an MLA here for 7 terms before he passed away in 2010.Hasmukh Patel, BJP, AmraiwadiFriday morning seemed like a Sunday for BJP’s Hasmukh Patel contesting from Amraiwadi constituency. He said, “Immediately after elections, my workers gathered at our karyalay on Thursday evening to share their experience and we ordered snacks and tea. Since the meeting lasted long, and due to tiredness of so many days, I woke up late on Friday. I will spend the day with my family.”Bharat Barot, BJP, DariapurFor Bharat Barot, the day started with a meeting related to counting that ended at 1pm after which he spent another few hours at his office, meeting his workers and understanding the scenario.He said, “After finishing meetings, I reached home around 4.30pm and had lunch. In evening, I will be meeting political friends for a holistic understanding.”When asked him about family time, he said, “My family also fights elections with me. My mother was also a councillor.”Bhatt is pitted against Congress sitting MLA Gyasuddin Shaikh who the 2012 Assembly election defeating the Barot by 2,621 votes. Bahot represented the constituency for five terms from 1990 to 2007 but it was taken away from him in 2012 assembly election.For CongressImran Khedawala, Congress, Jamalpur-KhadiaFor Imran Khedawala, a day after elections was well planned as he started his day meeting his party workers which was followed by a visit to VS hospital to distribute fruits. He said, “Since it was a Friday, I wanted to distribute fruits to poor patients in VS hospital. After reading namaz, I made various calls to my supporters and well wishers who helped me during elections which was followed by a visit to Jagannath temple with my Hindu friends.”Khedawala’s evening has been reserved for family and close relatives with a daawat. Khedawala belongs to Chhipa community that accounts for around 25,000 to 30,000 voters in Jamalpur-Khadia seat.Arvindbhai Chauhan, Congress, AmraiwadiChauhan’s day started with meeting his party workers first and then visiting the collector office. He said, “I spent the afternoon at the strong room at Polytechnic, checking the cameras, machines, etc. We are extremely concerned with the safety of the voting machines and in any case, we do not want any discrepancies. It is a kind of survey we are conducting and I am in-charge of the same. Evening has been kept reserved for my family and relatives.”Shweta Brambhatt, Congress, ManinagarThirty-five year old Shweta Brambhatt, who has a masters degree in Finance from London, had great plans to rejuvenate immediately after elections. Despite not keeping well since few days, Shweta kept her campaigning pitch high and had plans to visit Ambaji temple with her family. However, Friday entire day she spent her day in meetings and making reports. She said, “It has been an unexpected day for me. I had thought to take two days break to rejuvenate. Since I was not keeping well, I slept early on Thursday evening and woke up late. But had to go to GPCC for day long meeting and sorting reports. I had also planned to visit Ambaji temple but now it looks like only my mother will be able to go. I am tied up with work.”

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Sabarkantha, Mehsana see highest voting, Dahod lowest

Sabarkantha and Mehsana districts saw the highest turnout of voters in the second phase of the Gujarat assembly elections on Thursday, official sources said. The overall turnout in 93 seats of the 14 districts that went to polls today, was recorded at 68.70%, about two percent higher than the 66.75% turnout in the first phase. Of the 2.23 crore registered voters, 1.54 crore exercised their right to vote, said officials.Voting figures released by the State’s Chief Electoral Officer show that Sabarkantha district, which comprises four seats, recorded 77% turnout, the highest among all districts. Out of 9.85 lakh eligible voters, 7.58 lakh exercised their right to vote.Mehsana, the epicentre of the Patidar reservation stir, saw 75% turnout. Being the hometown of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former chief minister Anandiben Patel, and deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, who contested from Mehsana assembly seat, Mehsana district is a battle of prestige for the BJP. Another north Gujarat district of Banaskantha saw the third highest turnout at 74%.Anand (73%), Vadodara (73%), Panchmahals (72%), Chhota Udepur (70%) and Kheda (70%) were the other five districts that saw more than 70% polling.Surprisingly, the tribal-dominated Dahod district recorded just 60% voting, the lowest among the 14 districts. The turnout was in sharp contrast to tribal-dominated districts of south Gujarat, each of which had recorded more than 70% voting in the first phase. In some of the pockets, the turnout was as high as 84% in the first phase.Ground reportOverall turnout in 93 seats of the 14 districts that went to polls today, was recorded at 68.70%, about two percent higher than the 66.75% turnout in the first phase. Anand (73%), Vadodara (73%), Panchmahals (72%), Chhota Udepur (70%) and Kheda (70%) were the other five districts that saw more than 70% polling.

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Gujarat elections 2017: PM Modi’s mother Heeraben casts her vote in Gandhinagar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mother Heeraben cast her vote at a polling booth in Gandhinagar as the voting for the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections began today.Former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel has cast her vote in Ahmedabad’s Ghatlodia.BJP’s Bhupendra Patel is up against Congress’s Shashikant Patel on this seat.The voting will continue till 5 pm in more than 25,000 polling stations.In the second and final phase of elections today, 93 constituencies spread across 14 districts in north and central Gujarat are going to the polls.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 LIVE UPDATES: Polling for second phase underway, 7% turnout recorded till 9 amA total of 851 candidates are in the fray and over 2.22 lakh people will take part in the election to decide their fate.The security has been increased in various parts of the state in the wake of the polls.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | In Behrampura, lack of parking near polling booths pushes people away from votingThe BJP has fielded 93 candidates for this phase, while Congress has fielded only 91.Prime Minister Modi, BJP Chief Amit Shah and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will also visit their constituencies to cast their votes.Also readGujarat elections 2017: Crimes on the rise ahead of Phase 2 in AhmedabadThe voter turnout in the first phase of the polls was 68 per cent.Meanwhile, repolling will be held tomorrow in two booths of Jamjodhpur constituency, two booths in Una, one in Nijjar, and one in Umargam.The results will be declared on December 18.In the 2012 assembly polls, the BJP won 115 seats, while the Congress bagged 61.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Ghatlodia BJP candidate promises vikas

BJP’s election in-charge in 2012 and Ghatlodia candidate Bhupendra Patel promised more development at Ghatlodia, a well developed zone.For Patel, the biggest challenge is to tackle traffic and he promised solutions.He said, “Ghatlodia is spread out. In terms of kilometres, it is huge and is a challenge as a lot of new areas like Gota, Lilapur, etc are developing. My biggest priority will be to provide basic facilities which includes garden and beautification and provide Narmada water to maximum areas. Another biggest concern is traffic on SG highway and SP ring road so my focus will be to ease the traffic problems.””For ease of traffic woes, we have already constructed five flyovers. We are dedicated to construct more flyovers, to ease the traffic burden on roads,” Patel added.Ghatlodia is a BJP bastion where Anandiben in 2012 had won with more than a one lakh margin. This time again, there is a target to maintain the leader, amid Patidar agitations. Patel is addressing different age groups, and also conducting door-to-door campaigns.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Can BJP hold on to its bastion?

With reports indicating that the first phase of the Assembly elections was a close fight between the BJP and the Congress, the poll outcome could very well be decided in the second phase. Of the 93 seats that go to polls in the second phase on Thursday, as many as 21 are in Ahmedabad district, including 16 in the city. The way Ahmedabad votes would have a huge say on which party comes to power.Since the 1990s, when BJP emerged as the dominant player in the state, Ahmedabad city has been its stronghold. In the 2012 Assembly elections, the party won 14 out of 16 seats on offer. In 2007, it won 11 of 13 seats, whereas in the 2002 polls, which were held a few months after the post-Godhra riots, the party won nine of 13 Assembly segments.While the BJP is confident of retaining its seats in Ahmedabad city, there are signs that it is unlikely to be a smooth sailing as in the past few elections.Of the 16 seats, Ghatlodia, Naranpura, Ellisbridge, Maninagar, Sabarmati, Vatva and Naroda are seen as safe seats for the BJP. The party would also seem to have the upper hand in seats such as Vejalpur, Thakkarbapa Nagar, Asarwa (SC) and Amraiwadi, but interesting contests can be expected on the remaining five seats of Nikol, Bapunagar, Jamalpur-Khadia, Danilimda (SC) and Dariapur.The Congress had won Danilimda and the minority-dominated Dariapur seats in the 2012 polls, and is confident of retaining the two seats. The two sitting MLAs, Shailesh Parmar from Danilimda, and Gayasuddin Sheikh from Dariapur, are seen as having strong chances of getting re-elected. The party is also confident of winning the Jamalpur-Khadia seat, which again has a sizeable Muslim population.For the BJP, a key concern in the elections is the Patidar factor. The community has been the strongest supporter of the party in the past couple of decades, but a large number of Patidars are unhappy with the state government due to denial of reservation benefits, and many are likely to vote against the BJP in the elections.A number of Patidar dominated seats in Surat and Saurashtra, which went to polls in the first phase, saw a higher turnout, giving jitters to the BJP. A repeat of the same in Patidar dominated seats such as Ghatlodia, Sabarmati, Naranpur and Thakkarbapa Nagar, could be a cause of worry for the party. Naroda seat too has a significant Patidar population.If the high turnout in other Patidar belts was already not a concern, the tremendous response to quota stir leader Hardik Patel’s roadshow in the city on Monday, would be a cause of worry for the BJP. Hardik has publicly appealed to his community to throw out the BJP in the elections.HIGH PROFILE SEATSManinagar: Represented by PM Modi in 2002, 2007 and 2012, before his elevation as PM Naranpura: Seat was won by BJP president Amit Shah Ghatlodia: Won by former chief minister Anandiben Patel in 2012 with a margin of 1.10 lakh votes, the highest among all

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Unava stands testimony to communal harmony

As the campaign wrapped up for the second and last phase of polls in Gujarat, Khadim of Mira Datar Saiiyed, Altafmiya spoke about the warmth that Muslims and local Patidars exchanged even today, notwithstanding the scars of 2002 post Godhra riots, which saw Muslims from Unjha deserting homes and settling here.In the Prime Minister Narendra Modi versus Rahul Gandhi blitgkreig campaign Modi, Mandir and Mandal dominated the poll discourse in Gujarat, but the Muslim factor got pushed into the background in the one of most keenly contested elections.But amid the polarised campaign in Gujarat, a shrine of Hazrat Sayyad Ali Mira Datar located in Unava, 80 km away from Ahmedabad, stands testimony of the communal harmony.The shrine in a fort like structure near river Pushpavati, falls in Prime Minister Modi’s hometown Mehsana. Modi’s native village Vadnagar falls in Unjha constituency, of which Unava is a part.The Muslim population in Unava is around 7,000, outnumbered by Hindus, who are 30,000 in number. They include Patidars, the OBCs, Thakors. Around 2,000 Muslims had migrated to Unava from areas like Patan, Mehsana, Unjha and Shivpur and their properties are still here.”The influential Patidars living there have asked the Muslims to come back. After some time maybe,” says Haaji Abdul Islam.He discusses with gusto, the impact that the GST could make on poll results but insists there is no communal tension in the area now. “Our farms are close to each other. After 2002, there were no communal riots here. The Patels come to our rescue when we need to get some work done from the government. They are influential and helpful,” says Fazoo Mian.He also recalls that Gujarat Chief Minister Chimanbhai Patel had represented the Unjha Assembly seat in 1985 and in 1990, had got a water tank constructed in the name of Datar Baba.The community, though mostly inclined to vote for Congress, wants to move beyond 2002 riots, talking of its good relationship with neigbouring Hindus.A youth Aftab says, “2002 riots is an old issue. Most of the doctors have their residences and clinics in Patidar areas. So if somebody from our family falls sick, we go there even at midnightThere are nine doors of pure silver including “Jannati Darwaja” to enter the dargah. It is believed that whoever is “possesed by evils, gets cured if he or she comes to dargah with devotion. It was due to his miraculous powers of healing that the honorific of Meera Datar was added to Sayyad Ali. The fortlike structure in which the dargah is located once had a flour grinding mill called ‘Daadi Maa Ki Chakki”, which was later removed and a gumbad was constructed in its place. Those who visit the shine believe that if anyone possessed of an evil spirit takes seven round of the gumbad, his evil spirit is gone. The devotees believe that a visit at the shrine can free oneself form black magic, unknown mysterious diseases, incurable physical and psychiatric problems.In 2012, the state government, an NGO named Altruist and the trustees of the dargah had joined hands to help the mentally ill, who visit the shrine in hope of relief.The faith healers at the dargah, who called themselves ‘Mujawars’ says they are descendants of Saiyad Ali.Since Hindus also visit the shrines in large numbers, apart from 70 rooms for guests in dargah compound, there are four guest houses for Hindus and specially for Jain Hindus.In Unjha, BJP has fielded octogenarian Narayanbhai Lalludas Patel, who has won the seat consecutively for last five term while Congress has fielded Ashaben Patel.As the contest promises to be a keen one this time with Patidars inclined towards Congress, both Muslims and Patels, who in 2002 were on the cross roads, seems standing together as far as their political preferences are concerned.”Patels are always with BJP. But Modi government has implemented GST. After that there is some anger against the government among Patidar businessmen. Let us see what happens this time,” says Fazoo Mian.

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Gujarat elections 2017: It will be a close fight, say Mumbai Gujaratis

As campaigning came to an end in Gujarat, Gujaratis in Mumbai said that permutations were running in all directions. While it was a prestige issue for the BJP, it was next to do or die for the Congress, said most Gujaratis who live in large numbers in in Mumbai and have always felt a direct connect for the state.A large part of both Maharashtra and Gujarat have been part of the Bombay presidency before the states were formed. Though a number of Gujaratis stayed and have voting rights here, the connect with their native place exists to date.”This time it is going to be tough,” said Ramesh Shah, a Kutchi who runs a ration shop in Dhobi Talao area. Shah had just come back to his shop after lunch, in which he saw Hardik Patel’s rally. Patel is the emerging face of the Patidar agitation, a community to which Sardar Patel belonged and played a decisive role in Gujarat. “Though my area has already voted, what I hear when I speak to my relatives is that it is a tough battle this time around,” said Shah.He is not the only one. After series of protests, a feeling that it will not be as easy has percolated in the community which has for the past 20 years voted BJP for power. “A fraction of voters may be divided but BJP is going to win,” said Hemant Joshi, a Chartered Accountant by profession who lives in Vile Parle.A follower of Swaminarayan sect which has openly thanked the BJP, Joshi’s relatives are in Ahmedabad. He added, “People are not going to take what Mani Shankar and others have said. They have insulted people. People have seen development and will vote accordingly.”Demonitization and GST are behind them now.”Both were needed,” said Lalit Jain, an owner of a utensil shop. On GST, which many from his industry had alleged stalled business, Jain said, “That is behind people now. A number of them feel Modi is the leader.”However, these are the very reasons that have put off some like Rajendra Dharod, a businessman. “Last year, the election centered around vikas (development). This time, both parties are not talking about it,” said Dharod who lives in Thane.

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‘Pak meddling in Gujarat polls’ remark: BJP is intellectually bankrupt, says its Maharashtra ally Shiv Sena

Wading into the battle between the BJP and the Congress over allegations by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Pakistan was trying to manipulate the Gujarat elections, the Shiv Sena said repeated attempts to bring in Pakistan and fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in the discourse during polls indicated “intellectual bankruptcy.” Noting that the “Prime Minister should not make allegations but take action,” an editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna, which has party president Uddhav Thackeray as the editor and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Rat as the executive editor, dared Modi to take military action against Pakistan.Alluding to Modi’s charges about a secret meeting with Pakistani officials hosted by former Congress minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, the Shiv Sena also dared Modi to arrest those who were present. “The Gujarat elections are turning out to be more important than the Kashmir imbroglio,” the Shiv Sena said, adding that allegations about Pakistan was pushing for senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s name as the chief minister of the state could raise questions about attempts to polarise voters to win elections.Also readNothing more than Indo-Pak relations were discussed at Aiyar’s residence: Ex-Army Chief rejects PM’s allegation“In every election, either Pakistan or Dawood Ibrahim is invoked. This is intellectual bankruptcy” the Shiv Sena charged, adding that these bogeys were used by the BJP when it found the going to be politically tough. The editorial noted that during the Bihar elections, BJP president Amit Shah had said that the victory of the Janata Dal (United) under Nitish Kumar would lead to crackers being burst in Pakistan, but the BJP had allied with Kumar later. “In the Rajya Sabha elections, the BJP government worked to the hilt to ensure Ahmed Patel’s defeat. If these same attempts are made against Pakistan, none if its activities against India will succeed,” the editorial said.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Ravan’s arrogance had ruined Lanka: Hardik Patel

Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel compared BJP’s development theory with Ravan’s Lanka.The 24-year-old quota protest leader was addressing a rally at Patidar-dominated Nikol in Ahmedabad on Monday. He also urged people to vote BJP out in the upcoming Assembly elections.Addressing a crowd of around 25,000 people who turned up to listen to him around 9 pm, Hardik said, “We have heard in Ramayana that there used to be Ravan’s kingdom Lanka, and it was built of pure gold. King Ravana had also carried out development works, but the entire kingdom of Golden Lanka vanished because the king became arrogant.The BJP was talking about development a week ago, but has now diverted to Ram Mandir, Hindu-Muslim and India-Pakistan. They are lying, and you should not fall in their trap.””What would Pakistan gain from Gujarat polls? They are trying to divert the issue, but we need to stay united. Ignore all kinds of threats or fears you received or felt. Let us them show our strength; they are powerful only because of you. One can say that he/she does not like other party, but let us give them a chance to serve us for five years and test them,” Hardik said.He claimed that not only Patidars but people from all communities had turned up to listen to him here. He appealed to them that if they wanted to secure the future of their next generation, they need to bring change. In the 2015 civic polls, a few months ago, back to Hardik Patel’s maha rally in Ahmedabad, BJP won with thumping majority and Hardik showed the concern on that too.He said, “When during the 2015 civic polls, I was in jail and you did not give desired results. How can you forget the atrocities on our women and our 14 youths who were killed in police firing? Their sacrifices should not go in vein this time. Make a resolution that you will not vote for the BJP and will not let others do so.”Hardik slammed the education system and unemployment issue as well.He raised his voice against the issues in rural Gujarat, including agriculture and others. He urged his audience to take an oath that they would not vote for the BJP in the upcoming polls.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: MLAs’ assets rise by as much as 13 times in five years

Assets of Gujarat MLAs have gone up sharply in the last five years, including more than 13 times in the case of one and over 12 times in the case of another, an analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Gujarat Election Watch (GEW) shows.The NGOs analysed the poll affidavits of 121 sitting MLAs, who are re-contesting in the ongoing assembly elections.”The average assets of these 121 MLAs from various parties, including independents, were at Rs7.56 crore in 2012. The average assets as per the 2017 election affidavits have gone up to Rs10.54 crore, which is an increase of Rs2.98 crore or 39% in five years,” ADR and GEW said in the analysis.The average assets of 81 re-contesting BJP MLAs increased by 57% from Rs6.82 crore to Rs10.70 crore. Similarly, average assets of 37 Congress MLAs went up by 14% from Rs8.88 crore to Rs10.12 crore, while that of two NCP MLAs rose by 3% from Rs15.61 crore to Rs16.04 crore.Strongman Chhotu Vasava, who is contesting on Bhartiya Tribal Party symbol, saw his assets decline 17% from Rs2.70 crore to Rs2.24 crore, as per his election affidavits.Saurabh Patel on topFormer finance and energy minister Saurabh Patel saw the highest rise in his assets in absolute terms. In 2012, the BJP MLA had declared assets worth Rs56.60 crore, which have gone up to Rs123.78 crore in these elections – an increase of 119%.He is followed by BJP MLA from Dwarka, Pabubha Manek, whose assets have gone up from Rs31.86 crore to Rs88.42 crore, a rise of 178%.The assets of Dinesh Patel, BJP MLA from Padra seat in Vadodara, increased by 56% from Rs39.41 crore as per the 2012 poll affidavit to Rs61.30 crore in 2017.First-time MLA sees 1,348% riseAs far as percentage rise is concerned, Manisha Vakil, BJP MLA from Vadodara City seat, saw the highest rise. In 2012, her maiden election as MLA, she had declared assets of Rs7.12 lakh, which have surged 1,348% to Rs1.03 crore.BJP MLA from Fatepura (ST) seat Ramesh Katara’s assets have surged by 1,205% from Rs6 lakh in 2012 to Rs78.32 lakh in 2017, according to his election affidavits.Minister Ganpat Vasava, who is seeking a fourth term from Mangrol (ST) seat saw his assets jump by more than four times since the last elections. From Rs60.15 lakh in 2012, he declared assets of Rs3.11 crore in 2017.The analysis reveals that three sitting MLAs, Amit Chaudhary (BJP: Mansa seat), Sangita Patil (BJP: Limbayat) and Gendal Damor (Congress: Santrampur ST), saw their assets rise by over 300%.There are six other re-contesting MLAs whose assets saw an increase of more than 200% since 2012, and 14 others whose assets rose by over 100%.The analysis reveals that 76 other re-contesting MLAs saw their assets rise by up to 100%. However, 21 others also saw their assets decline since 2012.

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP’s star punch in Dalit constituency in Sabarkantha

“Lankesh lives 5 kms from here,” prompt comes the reply from Atul Bhai when asked about the residence of Arvind Trivedi, the actor who had played the famed role of ‘Ravan” in Ramanand Sagar’s magnum opera “Ramayana”.At a time when political discourse in Gujarat gets frequent mention of Ram temple in Ayodhya, the man who played Ravan is very popular in Idar. Trivedi frequently organises the scriptural reading of “Sundar Kaand” of Ramayana. This is perhaps the first election in which he is not campaigning anywhere owing to health reasons.Punching with star power its election exercise in Idar, BJP has fielded noted actor Hiteshbhai Kanodia, son of Gujarati film legend Nareshbhai Kanodia from the reserved constituency of Idar in Sabarkantha. Hitesh, a popular youth icon in Gujrat film industry has featured in BJP’s Hu chhu Vikas, hu chhu Gujarat’ (I am Vikas, I am Gujarat) campaign to counter Congress’Vikas gando thayo chhe’ (development has gone crazy) campaign.Congress candidate Manilal Vaghela could find the going tough in this saffron party stronghold where BJP’s Raman Lal Vora has been winning the seat since 1995. Vora, Gujarat Assembly Speaker and BJP’s Dalilt face in the state has been shifted to Dasada Assembly seat. Since he has represented the Idar seat for over two decades, Vora is also being involved in campaigning in Idar.74-year-old Naresh Kanodia, who is camping in Idar to campaign for his son, says that theirs is not only a film family but also political family, which has been connected with masses.Hitesh used to play his child roles in Gujarati films. The father is now playing his role not only in reel but also real life.”Vora ji has done so much work in this constituency that no body can defeat the BJP here. BJP has fielded our family for the tenth time. My son is a superstar in Gujarati films and a serious candidate here,” he says drawing parallel from the success that NT Rama Rao had got in Tamil Nadu Politics.Naresh Kanodia also took part in BJP’s Gujarat’s Gaurav Yatra in central Guajrat and campaigned in Kheda, Anand, Panchmahal and Dasad.The Idar candidate Hitesh alias Hitubhai has acted in over 100 films and earlier used to play child roles in the movies in which his father was the protagonist. Hitesh had contested the 2012 assembly polls from Kadi seat but lost by less than 1,200 votes. He had got over 83 thousand votes then. In 2007, his father Naresh Bhai Kanodi had lost the Karjan seat in Baroda by a little over 2,000 votes after winning the seat once in 2002.Naresh Bhai’s brother Mahesh Kumar Kanodia had been a four term four-term Lok Sabha MP from Patan Parliamentary seat in North Gujarat in 1991, 1996, 1998 and 2004. He is a well-known singer, who could sing in 32 voices along with Naresh Kanodia.Since 1962, Congress has won the Idar assembly seat only thrice out of the 12 polls, the last being in 1980. Congress is this time riding on Patel anger and banking on Hardik Patel’s reach among Patidats, Alpesh Thakore’s among OBC and Jingesh Mewani’s following among dalits to wrest this seat from BJP after close to four decades.The seat was with Janata Dal, when Vora wrested it for BJP in 1995. Congress candidate Manilal Vahgela had contested the seat in 2007 polls as well but lost to Vora of over 21 thousand votes.In 2012, Congress fielded Ramabhai Solanki but Vora again won the seat, albeit with a reduced margin of over 11 thousand votes., though even this time Vohra increased his votes as in every elections. The contest is all the more bi-polar this time.Sajan Ben Shyamal, the care taker of his house belongs to Thakor (OBC) community. There is a glint in her eyes when asked about Alpesh Thakor, the young OBC leader of the community. A resident of Sardarpura village, she says that most of her community men either work as labours in field of Padtiars or work as housemaids. She says that people of her community of are thinking of voting for Congress now.In Sudatpura village, where a dozen residents are RSS pracharaks, Kamlesh Patel, whose house is in front of Swaminarayan Temple says that he has been voting for the BJP for generations and will do so. “Yes we want anamat. But I did not go to see Hardik Patel when he visited the Town Hall here because he had joined Congress. We had been voting for BJP for generations,” he sums up.Yash Patel, who will turn a voter in 2019, says earlier 80 percent of Patidars votes went to BJP, which could be fifty fifty this time.Since the area has also good number of Patidars, BJP has roped in prominent Patel leader Parshottam Rupala to campaign in Idar on November 11, three days before polling on November 14.Idar, is a manufacturing hub for handmade wooden toys, tiles and is dotted with several architectural monuments.Arvind Trivedi and his brother Upendra Trivedi, a prolific Gujarati cinema actor, who belong to village Kakadia near Idar town brought the area in limelight. Upendra breathed his last in 2015.Arvind who shot into international fame with his ‘Ravan” role had campaigned for BJP in many past elections but of late not keeping well. He left for Mumbai only last week.Trivedi,’s residence “Annapuprna” on Idar Ambaji road is a visual treat and kind of a milestone.An ardent devotee of Lord Rama, the ‘chaupai (four-line verses) of Ramayana are written across the boundary wall of his residence besides a temple of Lord Shiva called “Lankeshwar Mahadev” at his residence.

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Jawaharlal Nehru divided the nation, Sardar Patel united it: RSS leader Indresh Kumar

RSS leader Indresh Kumar today said those who do not love India should leave the country and a law should be enacted to punish those who disrespect the tricolour. Alleging that the Congress divided the nation, he said it was a big lie that it helped India attain Independence. “If you cannot love Bharat then leave Bharat. And, a law should be enacted to punish those who disrespect the country or the national flag,” Kumar said at an event here. “It is a fact that the Congress divided India and it is a big lie that it helped the country attain Independence. Who divided the nation – Jawaharlal Nehru. Who united the nation – Vallabhbhai Patel,” he said. Kumar said there was no “temporary article in any constitution in the world like Article 370 in the Constitution of India”. There was a need to bring the people of Kashmir into the mainstream, he said. The RSS leader said China had to bow down to India on the Dokalam issue under diplomatic pressure.

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Why does Pak Army’s former DG want Ahmed Patel to be Gujarat CM, asks PM Modi

Continuing his campaign blitzkrieg in his home state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday addressed a poll rally in Gujarat’s Palanpur, which will go to poll on December 14.Though bad throat forced him to cut short his speech, yet the Prime Minister left no stone unturned to slam his political detractors.After the blistering attack on now-suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar in Banaskantha, PM Modi took dig at the senior politician for his ‘secret meeting’ in Pakistan.Aiyar has been on BJP’s target ever since he sparked a political uproar with his ‘neech’ remark against the Prime Minister.Addressing a poll rally, the prime minister also raised questions over the alleged appeal by former director general of the Pakistan Army, Sardar Arshad Rafiq, that senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel be made chief minister of Gujarat.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | PM Modi resorting to bhashan ka shasan, says Rahul GandhiModi said (former Congress minister) Mani Shankar Aiyar had called him “neech” (vile) a day after the alleged meeting of Pakistani leaders with top Congressmen.”There were media reports yesterday about a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. It was attended by Pakistan’s high commissioner, Pakistan’s former foreign minister, India’s former vice president and former prime minister Manmohan Singh,” Modi said.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: PM Modi thanks people for turning out in record numbersThe meeting at Aiyar’s house carried on for almost three hours, Modi said.”The next day, Mani Shankar Aiyar said Modi was ‘neech’. This is a serious matter,” he said.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: PM Modi changing agenda after getting exposed on development, says Rahul GandhiModi added that Rafiq had backed Ahmed Patel as the next chief minister of Gujarat.”(On one side) Pakistan Army’s former DG is interfering in Gujarat’s election, on the other side, Pakistan’s people are holding a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house,” he said.”And, after that meeting, people of Gujarat, backward communities, poor people and Modi were insulted. Don’t you think such events raise doubts,” Modi asked.He also attacked Ahmed Patel, a senior Congress leader and big name in Gujarat politics.Known to be a confidant of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Patel was slammed for his apparent Pak links.In a covert remark without saying much, Pm Modi asked, “Why are people who previously held high posts in military-intelligence establishment of Pak writing that we should help make Ahmed Patel the CM.”It should be noted that Patel was in news recently for his alleged ‘links’ with an ISIS man.The Rajya Sabha member was targeted after the Gujarat ATS arrested two suspected ISIS men, of which one was a lab technician at a hospital where Patel was a trustee.With inputs from PTI

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Money power: 397 crorepatis in fray for Gujarat polls

Close to 400 or nearly a quarter of the candidates contesting in the Gujarat Assembly elections are crorepatis, according to an analysis of their poll affidavits by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Gujarat Election Watch (GEW).Of the 1,828 contesting candidates, election affidavits of 83 candidates were not analysed. Affidavits of 1,745 candidates were analysed, of whom 397 have declared assets worth Rs1 crore or more.Of the 977 candidates contesting in the first phase, 198 have declared assets of more than Rs1 crore. Of the 851 candidates in the fray in the second phase, 199 are crorepatis as per the disclosures made by them in their election affidavits.The BJP, which has won the last five Assembly elections in the state and is vying for the sixth one, has fielded 142 crorepati candidates. The Opposition, which has been out of power since 22 years and is hoping to end its losing streak, has given tickets to 127 such candidates.The analysis reveals that crorepati candidates also rule the roost in the smaller outfits. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has fielded 17 crorepatis, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) 13, and the Bahujam Samaj Party (BSP) five.As many as 56 of the independent candidates in the fray are also worth more than Rs 1 crore, while the remaining such candidates belong to lesser known outfits.The analysis reveals that 131 of the 397 candidates have declared assets worth over Rs5 crore, while 124 others have shown that the own movable and immovable assets in the range of Rs2 crore to Rs5 crore.In a sharp contrast, six candidates have declared that they have ‘zero’ movable or immovable assets. All six are in the fray as independent candidates.The analysis shows that 13 candidates have declared that their annual income is more than Rs1 crore, based on the last Income Tax returns filed by them.Daskroi Congress candidate richestPankaj Patel, the Congress nominee from Daskroi seat in Ahmedabad district, is the richest candidate in fray in the Gujarat elections. Patel, who is taking on sitting MLA Babu Jamna Patel, has declared assets worth Rs231.93 crore in his election affidavit.Congress MLA Indranil Rajguru, who is contesting against chief minister Vijay Rupani from Rajkot West seat, is the second richest with assets worth Rs141.22 crore.Former finance and energy minister Saurabh Patel, who is fighting from Botad seat in Saurashtra, has declared assets worth Rs123.78 crore, making him the third richest candidate.BJP candidate from Wadhwan seat in Surendranagar, Dhanjibhai Patel, is the fourth richest with assets of Rs113.47 crore.Ashok Lal, Congress candidate from Jamnagar South seat, has declared assets of Rs109.03 crore, and is the fifth richest.60% candidates class 12 or belowIn terms of educational qualifications, of the total 1,828 candidates trying their luck in the assembly polls, 1,098 nominees have passed class 12 or below. These 1,098 nominees have either passed only 5th, 8th, 10th or 12th class. 119 candidates mentioned that they were only literate, while 23 others declared that they were illiterate.118 women in frayAlso, there are only 118 women candidates in the fray, which is just 6% of the overall number, according to the analysis.Of the total candidates, 658 are in the age group of 25 and 40 years, 889 between ages of 41 and 60, and 193 of them between 61 and 80.(with agency inputs)In crores397 candidates have declared assets worth Rs1 croreFirst phase977 candidates contesting in the first phase, 198 have declared assets of more than Rs1 crore.Second phase851 candidates in the fray in the second phase, 199 are crorepatisPartywise break upBJP: 142CONG: 127NCP: 17AAP: 13BSP: 5INDEPENDENT: 56

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Gujarat Elections 2017: 68% turnout in Phase 1, EC rejects Congress’ Bluetooth-EVM hack complaint

Over 68 per cent turnout was recorded today in the first phase of polling for 89 Assembly seats in Gujarat where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress’s soon-to-be chief Rahul Gandhi are locked in a bitter, high-stakes battle after a 22-year BJP reign.The final voting figure was set to go up as people stood in queues outside polling centres even after the closing time of 5 pm, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said in Delhi.Four persons were injured in clashes between two groups of the same community at Chorvila village of Sayla tehsil of Surendranagar district. The polls, however, largely passed off peacefully.Opposition leaders expressed apprehensions about electronic voting machine (EVM) tampering, a charge rejected by the EC. The BJP took pot-shots at the Congress saying that the party was looking for excuses.State Election Commission officials said there were reports of technical glitches in EVMs in Surat and some other places, but the polling resumed after the machines were replaced.Sixty eight per cent of the 2.1 crore voters exercised their franchise, Sinha said.Also readGujarat Elections: ‘No question of any challenge’, says CM Vijay Rupani who’s contesting against richest candidate The prime minister thanked the people of Gujarat for turning out in record numbers.”Thank you Gujarat! Gratitude to my sisters and brothers of Gujarat for voting in record numbers today. I am seeing that BJP is headed towards a historic victory, powered by the affection and support of every Gujarati,” he tweeted.Responding to a series of questions on reports of EVM tampering, Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Jain said a complaint filed by a Congress candidate in Porbandar regarding his cell phone connecting to an EVM through ‘bluetooth’ was found to be incorrect.Also readHeard EVMs are picking up gravitational waves: Twitter in splits after Congress leader thought Bluetooth could hack EVMsThe complaint was lodged by senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia. In a tweet, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had also asked the EC to look into the reports of EVM malfunctioning.Jain said experts found that the cell phone actually connected to the bluetooth of a polling agent’s mobile.The EVM has “no receptors” and cannot be connected to any other device except the control unit and the paper trail machine, he said, adding it has no bluetooth or USB (pen drive in common parlance) port.Officials said 977 candidates were in the fray from the 89 seats of Saurashtra and south Gujarat, of which 63 were won by the BJP and 22 by the Congress in the 2012 Assembly polls.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: EC disposes Congress leader’s ‘Bluetooth EVM’ hacking complaint after investigationIn the 2012 elections, the voting percentage was 70.07 while it was 60 per cent in 2007 polls in the corresponding constituencies of the 182-member Assembly.Several key leaders, including Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his opponent from Rajkot (West) Indranil Rajyaguru, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani were among the early voters.Cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara also cast his vote in Rajkot.Prominent candidates in today’s battle included Rupani and Congress’s Shaktisinh Gohil (Mandvi) and Paresh Dhanani (Amreli).As the polling process began at 8 am, people stepped out of their houses braving the winter chill and queued up to cast votes.With the marriage season on, brides and grooms, clad in wedding finery, came to polling booths along with their relatives to exercise their franchise. Many such voters were seen in Bharuch, Bhavnagar, Gondal and Surat.A 115-year-old woman from Upleta town of Rajkot, Aajiben Chandravadia, also voted, reports said.As per the turnout data of 8am to 5pm, both Navsari of south Gujarat and Morbi district of Saurashtra recorded the highest turnout of 75 per cent. Porbandar and Botad districts in Saurashtra recorded the lowest turnout of 60 per cent.In Visavadar town of Junagadh district, BJP candidate Kirit Patel allegedly entered into a heated argument with the election officer. “That was a minor incident. Patel was unhappy over some issue related to the timing of the polling,” said an official.In Surat, a person called Ashwin Patel, who claims to be running a parallel Patidar quota agitation, alleged that some persons attacked his car.The election in Modi’s home state is crucial for the BJP and Congress ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and is seen as a prestige battle for the prime minister, who was the chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, and a litmus test for the opposition party’s heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi.Emotive issues of religion and caste competed with that of development and the attacks by the two parties often turned personal as leaders indulged in name-calling.The Congress, in political wilderness in Gujarat for nearly 22 years, is desperate to break the jinx. It has raised questions on BJP’s Gujarat “development model”, demonetisation and GST.The BJP is banking on its performance and Modi’s popularity to counter any anti-incumbency or the impact of the Patidar quota stir. Modi has attacked the Congress over the issue of dynastic politics and corruption and invoked “Gujarati pride’ in his campaign speeches.While Modi addressed about 15 rallies for the first of the two-stage polls, Gandhi spent over seven days in Saurashtra and south Gujarat emerging as the Congress pivot to take on the prime minister on his home turf.EC officials said a total of 26,865 ballot units (on which votes are cast), 24,689 control units which are kept with the presiding officer and an equal number of paper trail machines were deployed.Out of these, 181 ballot units (0.6 per cent of the total), 223 control units (0.55 per cent of the total) and 714 paper trail machines (1.75 per cent of the total) were replaced during polling, they said.Over 6,000 ballot papers were electronically transferred to service voters, a major achievement considering that the practice of e-ballots was new, Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena said in Delhi.The second phase of polling in 93 seats will be held on December 14 while the counting of votes is scheduled on December 18.

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