Tag: Bharatiya Janata Party

Jagan can never get special status to AP

YSR Congress party president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, who took over as the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh last week, has been saying right from the day one that he would continue to pursue with the Centre on securing special category status to the state.

He even told the officials of the finance department to work out yet another representation seeking special category status to AP.

“It is going to be on the top of the agenda for us, whenever we go to Delhi with a representation,” he said.

The chief minister is planning to take up this issue again with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he receives the latter at Tirupati on Sunday.

However, Bharatiya Janata Party is understood to have sent a clear message to Jagan that there is no point in talking about the special category status at all, as it cannot be granted under any circumstances.

“Special category status to Andhra Pradesh is a closed chapter and there is no point in Jagan taking it up with Modi again. We don’t mind if Jagan asks the Prime Minister again and again, but it is not going to yield any results,” BJP Andhra Pradesh unit president Kanna Lakshminarayana said.

He said the Prime Minister was ready to extend whatever assistance the state required, but not the special category status.

“Let Jagan ask for funds liberally for the development of the state and Modi will consider it positively. But not, special category status,” he said, adding that if YSRC chief still claims he would get the status, it would only amount to cheating the people.

‘Elected as PM, but worker for you’: PM Modi to BJP workers in Varanasi

After the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi on a thanksgiving visit on Monday.

Addressing party workers here, PM Modi said, “I had spoken to workers of Varanasi. All of you had ordered me that I can’t set foot in Varanasi for a month. The nation might have elected me as the PM but for you, I am a worker. For me, your order was the priority.”

He said the supporters in Kashi didn’t weigh the elections on the scales of win-loss. They considered this a festival of ‘Lok shiksha’, ‘Lok sampark’, ‘Lok sangrah’, ‘Lok samarpan’.

“UP is giving new direction to politics… 2014, 2017 and 2019 hat trick is not small. Even after this, if the eyes of political pundit do not open, their ears do not hear the sound, then they are living in 20th century.  Political pundits have to agree that there is chemistry beyond poll arithmetic,” he said.

“Work and workers create wonders,” Modi said, giving full credit for his victory to the workers at the grassroots level for creating awareness about his government’s policies and programmes for the people. He also spoke of importance of “perfect synergy” between the government and the party.

At the same time he lamented there was a sense of political untouchability, adding BJP workers were being killed for their ideology in West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala.

Earlier, BJP president Amit Shah on Monday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has transformed Kashi in the last five years.

He also thanked voters here for supporting Modi and re-electing him to the Lok Sabha for the second term. Shah, who has won his maiden Lok Sabha election from Gandhinagar, said when Modi visited the party workers on the day he filed his nomination papers, it became clear that he was going to win.

“I thank your all. At the same time you are lucky to have a person like Modi to represent you in Lok Sabha,” he said, addressing party workers here.

“Perhaps it is the only election where the candidate has not visited constituency after filing nomination. It reflects the confidence Modi had on his voters,” he added.

He accompanied Modi to Varanasi where the Prime Minister offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple soon after his arrival.

Both Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in their speeches here, focused on the “gruelling” campaigning that Modi undertook in the run up to the general elections.

Modi won the Varanasi parliamentary seat by a margin 4,79,505 votes, defeating his nearest rival Shalini Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.

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.

Despite EVMs, EC officials can ‘make or mar’ poll results

As the Opposition parties’ apprehensions on glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) continue to simmer, a new spectre looms large on the vote-count day of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, May 23.

With the verdict of millions of voters in 2019 elections sealed inside EVMs, there are fresh fears of foul play and potential manipulations, thanks to certain alleged loopholes in the counting processes of the Election Commission of India (ECI), warns an expert on election laws.

In order to avoid this, there is a clamour that the ECI must provide a printout of the votes cast in each EVM to all candidates or their Counting Agents, which can be later tallied with the final vote-count.

In the EVMs era, for reasons best known to it, the ECI’s continues the old and faulty “manual recording and tabulation” of votes, where there is huge scope for manoeuvering, said eminent Nagpur-based lawyer Vinod Tiwari.

He has raised the issue with ECI since 2009 but accused the election body of being “reluctant to take any steps to improve the systems, which can benefit the entire electoral process”.

“The old, pre-1990, ballot-paper era style of physical counting and tabulation of the votes, is still in vogue. The Counting Supervisors on each counting table manually record, tabulate the votes displayed on the EVMs, then feed it in excel sheets with further chances of manipulations, before they are fed in computers by government officials deployed for the purpose. There is a big possibility that the final results may be at variance with the actual votes cast,” Tiwari said.

Worse is the reality of ignorant Counting Agents, appointed by various political parties, who remain blissfully unaware of such hoodwinking going on before their wide-open eyes, Tiwari said.

In the massive counting halls hired by the EC, for safety and security reasons, a strong wire mesh is erected around all the counting tables, the Counting Agents are kept at least 10-15 feet away, making it impossible to view properly what exactly is recorded on the sheets by the Counting Supervisors.

As per usual practice, from a tiny slot in the wire-mesh, the Counting Supervisors generally take the signatures of a few of the Counting Agents on the prescribed forms on the pretext of attendance before display/counting of the votes begins.

“Here, out of, say, 10 Counting Agents, the signatures of a few may be taken as a formality and the poor Counting Agents fail to gauge the significance or the gravity of their action as the signatures are obtained very casually,” said Tiwari, who has pointed this serious issue to the ECI.

Then, he claimed that the ‘vote-count games’ begin. The Counting Supervisors have no scope to change total number of votes (which is the vertical total), but they can surreptitiously “add” the votes polled by independent candidates or those standing third, fourth or fifth, in multiples of 50 or 100, to a particular candidate who has to be “favoured”, without affecting the vertical total.

In a particular booth, if the total number of votes polled is say, 786, then on display of counting of votes, all 786 are shown including NOTA, and the Counting Agents dutifully record the numbers against their candidates, plus maybe their immediate rivals, but not all the candidates.

“As the counting table is not visible from the 10-15 feet distance and the wire-mesh barrier, some Counting Supervisors can simply add up the votes hijacked from independents or other non-serious lower-ranking candidates to their particular ‘favoured’ candidate,” explained Tiwari.

“When the victory margins are very thin — which is expected in the 2019 parliamentary elections — these additions of 50-100 votes to the ‘favoured’ candidates can make or mar elections, for candidates, political parties or alliances,” he pointed out.

He said that there are many past instances of prominent candidates being “slaughtered at the counting tables” in Maharashtra and other states, while some others barely scraped through with wafer-thin margins, as pointed out many times to ECI.

In order to avoid and end such intrigues permanently, Tiwari has urged the ECI to provide a printout of the votes polled on each EVM to all Counting Agents of all candidates at the counting table itself, before starting the vote count.

The Counting Agents can later tally the printout figures with the final vote-count to ascertain whether any major errors against their candidates vis-a-vis votes cast have taken place at the counting tables.

Trade Union Joint Action Committee Convenor Vishwas Utagi terms the matter as “portending grave implications for future of Indian democracy”.

“All the political parties must immediately take up the matter with the ECI and if necessary move the Supreme Court, as a few officials cannot be allowed to play around with democracy,” Utagi told IANS.

In India, the counting of votes is governed by the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and though these have been amended for the EVMs era.

On March 24, 1992, the Rules {vide Notification No. S.O.230(E)} were amended to make them in tune with EVMs era, informed Tiwari, who was the Bharatiya Janata Party’s National Co-convenor and Vice-President (Legal & Legislative Cell) from 2012-2017.

“I have taken this up with the ECI repeatedly in the past ten years, but they don’t budge. It’s a sheer mystery, why — in the modern EVMs — the ECI sticks to the outdated manual practices in vote-count, and shies from upgrading to technology counting votes,” said Tiwari.

Moreover, only major political parties or serious candidates appoint Counting Agents, many independents or frivolous candidates who may secure a few hundred votes don’t even bother to send anybody to the counting centres, leaving the counting tables open grounds for deception.

 

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In his first-ever press conference, PM Modi directs all questions at Amit Shah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed his first press conference today but avoided answering any question. All questions asked during the press conference were instead answered by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah, who was seated next to him.

The press conference was organised at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi.

When the media asked questions to the prime minister, Amit Shah said he need not answer them.

Aaj Tak asked the prime minister in case Sadhvi Pragya wins the Lok Sabha election, will the BJP embrace her or show her the exit door. This was in response to the Prime Minister’s comment earlier in the day where he said he would personally never be able to forgive Sadhvi Pragya for her comments on Mahatma Gandhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he follows discipline and for him party president is everything. The question was then answered by Amit Shah.

“The party has issued her a show-cause notice. When she submits her reply, the party’s disciplinary committee will then take an appropriate decision,” he said.

The media also asked other questions ranging from the election-time violence in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee’s allegations of BJP attacking Trinamool Congress workers, Congress’s allegations on Rafale deal, among others. These questions too were answered by Amit Shah.

Meanwhile, addressing a live press conference at the same time, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said since PM Modi is now addressing a press conference, he must tell why he is not debating with him on the Rafale deal.