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Lok Sabha election 2019 result: NDA zooms past 300-mark hours after counting starts

rime Minister Narendra Modi’s NDA government looks set to retain power, as trends emerging from vote counts across India indicated it would sweep the Lok Sabha election with a parliamentary majority of well over 300 seats.

Hundreds of millions of votes cast in a six-week-long election are being counted, but the declaration of final results is still a long way away.

Most exit polls broadcast on May 19 — the seventh and final day of voting — had the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), retaining power with a clear parliamentary majority.

But a number of senior opposition leaders dismissed the survey data — Mamata Banerjee, for example, described them as “gossip”.

For the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the Congress-led grouping vanquished so emphatically in 2014, the exit poll data painted a dreary picture: if the predictions are confirmed, the UPA will struggle to find even 150 wins.

Current trends have the UPA barely crossing the 100-seat mark.

Election analysts will pay particular attention to the three-way contest in Uttar Pradesh, home to the highest number of parliamentary seats in any Indian state: 80.

Results will show if a regional coalition of three parties, including the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, have managed to challenge the NDA, which won all but seven seats here in the 2014 election. So far, that does not appear to be the case — it is the NDA that looks headed for victory in over 50 seats.

The Congress is also in the fray in Uttar Pradesh, but is not part of the tripartite “mahagathbandhan”.

Campaigning for the Lok Sabha election was often acrimonious — politicians got personal at times while targeting their rivals. The Election Commission found itself under constant scrutiny; it drew the opposition’s criticism for a number of issues, including one election commissioner’s dissent against clean chits given to speeches made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

Besides the results of the Lok Sabha election, we will also know the outcome of a number of state elections and bypolls today.

BJP ahead in 4 seats in Telangana

In a jolt to Telangana’s ruling party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) which was hoping a clean sweep, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was leading in four of the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

Overall, the TRS was leading in 11 constituencies but party President and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha was trailing in Nizamabad as D. Arvind of the BJP established early lead.

TRS senior leader Vinod Kumar was trailing in Karimnagar, where Bandi Sanjay Kumar of the BJP was leading by over 23,000 votes.

Soyam Bapu Rao of the BJP was also ahead with a margin of over 28,000 votes in Adilabad. BJP’s G. Kishan Reddy was ahead in Secunderabad, the only seat won by the party in 2014.

State Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy was leading in Nalgonda while All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi was leading in Hyderabad.

TRS, which had won 11 seats in 2014, was aiming a clean sweep by winning 16 seats, leaving Hyderabad for its ally AIMIM.

High Court Rejects Anticipatory Bail to Ravi Prakash

All doors are closing for Ravi Prakash, former CEO of leading news channel TV9. He sought anticipatory bail in the case filed by ABCL group.

However, Telangana High Court today rejected his anticipatory bail petition on the grounds that his reasons are not valid enough to sanction.

Court asked him to appear before the the Cyberabad police who are investigating a case of forgery and cheating against him.

Contending that the case was being heard by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Ravi Prakash argued that the FIRs were unlawful and offered to cooperate with the police if the anticipatory bail was granted. But court has denied him the bail in advance.

He is facing charges of preparing forged documents with fake signatures following complaints by Alanda Media, notices were served on Ravi Prakash, actor Shivaji and two others.

As Ravi Prakash and Shivaji did not appear before police despite three notices, a Look Out Circular (LOC)s were also issued against them.

Ravi Prakash who is absconding sent a video through social media.

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BJP to spring surprises in Telangana

At around 7 pm on Wednesday, media persons in the WhatsApp groups of Bharatiya Janata Party leaders received several profile pictures of former BJP legislature party leader G Kishan Reddy in different poses.

Though no reason was mentioned for sending the pictures, it was quite obvious that the BJP is hoping to win Secunderabad Lok Sabha seat, for which Kishan Reddy contested in the April 11 elections. The party leaders are already getting ready for celebrations in Secunderabad.

Not only Secunderabad, the BJP is hoping to spring surprises in the Lok Sabha elections in Telangana by winning a couple of more seats.

According to BJP senior leader and candidate for Malkajgiri Lok Sabha seat N Ramachandra Rao, the BJP will win unexpected number of seats.

As per the party’s internal surveys, the BJP stands a good chance to win Adilabad and Mahbubnagar seats and if possible, Malkajgiri as well. The party also performed extremely well in Nizamabad and Karimnagar also.

“We shall win at least two or three seats,” he said.

On the other hand, the Telangana Congress is expecting to win Chevella. Nalgonda, Malkajgiri and Bhongir seats, besides having fair chances in Khammam and Karimnagar seats.

As far as TRS is concerned, some exit polls have predicted that the ruling party might not get more than 12-13 MP seats. But TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao is confident that his party would win all the 16 seats it contested, while leaving the 17th seat to MIM.

“We have full confidence that we will definitely win 16 seats. We have no doubts about it. Majority (winning margins) may vary, but we will win 16,” TRS MLC Palla Rajeshwara Reddy told a news agency.

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Will KTR’s dream remain unfulfilled

More than anybody else, it is learnt Telangana Rashtra Samithi working president and Siricilla MLA K T Rama Rao who is terribly disappointed with the exit polls’ outcome.

Reason is obvious. KTR will have to wait for another four and a half years to fulfil his ambition of becoming the chief minister of Telangana.

All these days, KTR has been pretty confident that his father would move to national politics to play a key role in the formation of the new government at the Centre by floating the federal front.

Even KCR had made the calculations that the NDA might not get more than 200 seats and the Congress-led coalition would not cross 170.

The remaining seats would go to regional parties. So, he wanted to create a federal front with the help of these regional parties and play the role of a kingmaker in New Delhi.

Many times, KCR asked the people to bless him with powers to go to the Centre to play a bigger role in the national politics.

The very purpose of anointing KTR as the working president of TRS and not taking him into the cabinet is only with a plan of making him his successor on the throne.

Even if a situation arises when the NDA falls short of majority, KCR thought he would move to New Delhi to become a powerful cabinet minister and bring big money to the state.

But the exit poll results dampened the spirits of KTR, as they indicated that BJP will return to power with a comfortable majority on its own. In such circumstances, it will not run after smaller parties like TRS for support.

So, KCR has no chances of moving to Delhi and KTR cannot become the chief minister in the near future, unless of course if KCR volunteers to step down for the sake of his son!

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Election Commission rejects Opposition’s demand over VVPATs

The Election Commission on Wednesday rejected demands of Opposition parties that VVPAT slips be matched with EVM data before counting begins tomorrow for the Lok Sabha elections. The Election Commission said there would be no change in procedure of matching Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips. The decision was taken a day after the leaders of over 21 Opposition parties met the Election Commission on Tuesday and demanded verification of VVPAT slips of randomly-selected polling stations before the counting begins of the votes polled in the just-concluded Lok Sabha election on May 23.

The Opposition had also demanded that in case of any discrepancy during VVPAT verification, 100 per cent counting of the paper slips of VVPATs of all polling stations of that particular Assembly segment be compared with the electronic voting machine (EVM) results.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had also rejected Opposition’s plea demanding at least 50 per cent VVPAT verification saying it is “not inclined to interfere”. The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had said, “We are not inclined to modify our order. [For] how many days will we hear the same matter.”

Meanwhile, Twitter was abuzz on Tuesday with several videos of EVMs being stored and moved from one unauthorised storage house to another in Uttar Pradesh. The Election Commission, however, rejected all the allegations of mishandling of EVMs and VVPAT and maintained that all machines are safe and secure.

Counting of votes for Lok Sabha election 2019 will begin at 8 am on May 23. The results are already expected to be delayed due to tallying of VVPATs with EVM count for the first time. Five per cent of VVPATs will be cross checked for each Assembly segment this time.

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High security for counting

The Ernakulam district administration has made elaborate arrangements for smooth counting of votes on Thursday.

Votes cast in two Lok Sabha constituencies, Chalakudy and Ernakulam, are counted here.

It was decided to set up 12 tables for EVMs in each round. There will be a counting supervisor, counting assistant and a micro observer for the procedure. It will take 30 to 35 minutes to complete a round.

EVMs will be taken out from the strongrooms at Kalamassery Govern-ment Polytechnic and Cochin University of Science and Technology by 7 AM.   The counting will begin by 8 AM, and the first trends will be available by 8.30 AM.

After counting the votes cast in EVMs, they will start counting VVPAT slips of five EVMs in each assembly segment, which is expected to go on for up to six hours.

The two counting centres will have three-layer security. No vehicles except those of the district collector and election observers will be allowed to enter. There is a ban on mobile phones also.

There will be cloakroom facilities in the counting stations to keep phones and other things.

Extensive facilities have been set up for media reporters for covering the procedure. Trends will be available on the Suvidha and Voter Helpline apps and at www.results.eci.gov.in.

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Downpour jams Hyderabad roads

The sudden downpour on Tuesday evening left the city with messy roads and without electricity as heavy rainfall shook the outskirts at 7.30 pm. The abrupt shower caused a traffic jam at all major junctions, and internet connectivity was reported to have stunted.

Power shutdown in the affected areas lasted from anywhere between 20 minutes and three hours as it took a while for the department to restore the damaged power lines. The GHMC recorded around 15 complaints of trees falling in and around Bolarum, Alwal, Kapra, Yapral, and Habeebnagar. Residents of Kapra, Alwal, and Bolarum witnessed a strong wind movement which lasted a few minutes and was followed by lightning and rainfall. Power shutdown complaints were recorded from Secunderabad Cantonment Board, Bolarum, Alwal, Kukatpally, Madhapur, Hitec city, and Gachibowli. Thunderstorm, lightning, and an average wind speed of 32 kmph were recorded. Kumuram Bheem, Asifabad recorded the highest rainfall at 42.5 mm, followed by Malkajgiri, Kapra, Alwal at 29.8mm, 26 mm, and 23 mm respectively. The other areas in the city recorded rainfall between 11.3 mm to 17.9 mm.

Weather expert Mahesh Palawat said, “The temperatures are going to be high during the day time and there will be thunderstorms in the evenings due to the clash in of the winds and increasing humidity in the air.”

PM expresses concern over ‘needless controversy’ on EVMs at NDA meeting

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday expressed concern over the “needless controversy” created by the Opposition over EVMs at a meeting of NDA leaders, even as the ruling alliance laid out its agenda for the next five years if it is elected to power again.

At the BJP-led ruling alliance meeting, which was attended by 36 parties, a resolution was passed, terming the 2019 general election decisive for the country and pledging to make India “strong, developed, prosperous and inclusive” by 2022, when India completes 75 years of its independence, party leader and Union minister Rajnath Singh told reporters.

The BJP-led NDA meeting is being seen as its show of strength and projection of a united front by the ruling alliance ahead of counting of votes on May 23, following which a new government will assume charge.

In his address, Modi stressed on the need to change the narrative from caste lines and orient it for the poor, Singh said.

The Prime Minister expressed concern over the Opposition making “needless controversy” over electronic voting machines, the home minister said.

Earlier Tuesday, leaders of 22 opposition parties met the Election Commission and demanded verification of VVPAT slips of randomly-selected polling stations before the counting of the votes.

The opposition representation to the EC came barely two days before the counting of votes and after exit poll projections that the BJP-led NDA is likely to return to power.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami were among the BJP allies who attended the dinner-meeting hosted by BJP chief Amit Shah.

Union minister and BJP ally Ram Vilas Paswan proposed the resolution.

Paswan, who joined Singh in the media briefing, too dismissed Opposition’s protest over EVMs as a case of collective frustration over their impending defeat and also warned them of “tit for tat”.

He did not elaborate what he meant by that.

The Lok Janshakti Party chief said Modi turned emotional when he mentioned the political violence, “targeting” BJP workers, in states of Kerala and West Bengal.

Shah had hosted another meeting for Union ministers earlier Tuesday. The BJP described the meeting as an occasion to thank ministers for their service to the nation.

The NDA resolution also expressed its concern over the “systematic assault by the Opposition on institutions ranging from the CAG, Election Commission and judiciary to police and armed forces”.

Modi described the NDA as an alliance of India’s hope and aspirations, saying it has become an “organic entity” like a family and is representative of the country’s regional aspirations.

The NDA leaders at the meeting, which was presided by Akali Dal patriarch Parkash Singh Badal, felicitated the prime minister and praised his council of ministers for their work.

The resolution expressed confidence that the NDA will come back to power under Modi and said its government planned a capital investment of Rs 100 lakh crore in infrastructure while Rs 25 lakh crore will be devoted to farm and rural sectors.

Hailing Modi’s leadership and expressing faith in him, the resolution adopted by NDA leaders said their alliance is a true representative of India’s diversity and dynamism.

“It is the alliance that manifests the dreams and aspirations of 130 crore Indians. Today, the NDA has become the principal pole in Indian politics.

“Under the leadership of PM Modi, the NDA government has future-proofed India, which means the creation of next-generation roads, railways, highways, i-ways and ports infrastructure that caters to the needs of the present and coming generations,” it said.

The NDA, the resolution added, stands as a bulwark against the “vote-bank politics and old-school political thinking of the Opposition” whose 20th-century politics has not cut ice with the young voters of the 21st century.

“The last five years were about fulfilling the basic needs of the people; now is the time to further increase the pace of progress and meet the aspirations of the people,” it said.

It also praised the outgoing government’s development and welfare initiatives.

Singh said its work on the security and diplomatic fronts have ensured that India is no longer seen as a “soft state” by the world.

“We resolved that once again under the leadership of PM Modi, by 2022, when India marks 75 years of freedom, it is our endeavour to fulfil the dreams of our great freedom fighters and give shape to the strong, prosperous, developed and inclusive India they dreamt of,” it said.

Besides representatives of 36 NDA constituents, Singh said leaders of three other parties also sent their letters of support at the alliance meeting.

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TikTok celebrity Mohit Mor shot dead near Delhi

A 24-year-old gym trainer and social media star was shot dead by three unidentified gunmen on Tuesday in outer Delhi’s Najafgarh.

The deceased was identified as Mohit Mor of Haryana’s Bahadurgarh who had over 5.17 lakh followers on social media app TikTok. The fitness enthusiast used to frequently upload fitness videos on his TikTok and Instagram profiles and was popular in virtual world.

Mor went out to visit his friend at around 5 pm on Tuesday and was gunned down at a photocopy shop located in his vicinity.

Three unidentified men came on a bike and pushed down five bullets into him when Mor was sitting on a sofa at the shop.  According to a senior police officer 13 bullets were fired at him, IANS reported.

The incident was captured in CCTV camera and while one attacker is clearly visible in the footage, the faces of the other two were covered with helmets.

“When Mohit Mor was busy talking with his friend inside the shop, three armed persons barged inside the shop and indiscriminately fired 13 bullets on him. Mohit Mor fell on a sofa kept inside the shop. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead,” a senior police said.

Police relate the murder to a gang war near Dwarka Mod metro station on Sunday in which two alleged criminals were gunned down.

“We are checking his Tik Tok and Instagram accounts comments and Call Details Record (CDR) to establish his enmity with anyone on social media that may help us to crack the case,” the senior police officer said.

“Prima facie, it appears a case of personal enmity and a money dispute,” the officer added.

A case under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code was registered and a probe is underway.

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