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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Assembly Election 2022 Highlights: Uttarakhand BJP suspends state minister from party, Chhattisgarh CM booked for ‘flouting’ Covid norms

2022 Election Highlights, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and Punjab Election, UP Elections 2022 News: Bhupesh Baghel was booked for 'flouting' Covid norms during a door-to-door campaign for Congress candidate Pankhuri Pathak in Noida. Meanwhile, Madhusudhan Sharma, SP candidate from Bah Assembly constituency, along with his supporters, had performed a 'puja' at Bateshwar Temple.

By: Express Web Desk | Chandigarh, Imphal, Lucknow, Panaji |
Updated: January 17, 2022 9:50:47 am
SPSupporters gather at SP head office in Lucknow on Friday ahead of the event at which Swami Prasad Maurya, Dharam Singh Saini and others officially joined the party. (Express file photo by Vishal Srivastav)

2022 Assembly Elections Highlights: Ahead of Assembly polls in Uttarakhand, BJP suspended state cabinet minister Harak Singh Rawat from the party for six years. The party media coordinator for Uttarakhand, Manveer Singh Chauhan, said Rawat had been suspended for ‘indiscipline’.

In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, an FIR has been lodged against Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and others for allegedly violating Covid protocols during a door-to-door campaign for a Congress candidate in Noida. As per party officials, the CM was holding a door-to-door campaign along with Pankhuri Pathak, the Congress candidate from Noida constituency.

According to police, the FIR has been filed against Baghel and others under sections 269 (acts spreading disease), 270 (spread of disease), 188 (disobedience of public order) and relevant sections of the Epidemic Act, in the police station at Noida’s Sector 113.

Moreover, police in Agra booked a Samajwadi Party MLA candidate and at least 40 others on charges of violating Covid-19 protocol, PTI reported quoting officials on Sunday. Madhusudhan Sharma, SP candidate from Bah Assembly constituency, along with his supporters, had performed a ‘puja’ at Bateshwar Temple on Friday after winning the election ticket, they said.

They did not maintain social distance, wear masks and failed to follow other COVID-appropriate behaviour, according to an official.”For violating COVID-19 guidelines and Section 144 of the CrPC imposed in the state, an FIR has been registered against Sharma and about 40-50 party workers,” Station Head Officer (SHO) at Bah police station Manoj Kumar told PTI.

Meanwhile, BKU national president Naresh Tikait extended his support to SP-RLD candidates in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections. The alliance of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Samajwadi Party (SP) had on Saturday announced its second list of seven candidates for the assembly elections. All candidates are members of the Jayant Chaudhary-led RLD, according to the list shared by the party on social media. The alliance has fielded Rajpal Baliyan from Budhana and Chandan Chauhan from Meerapur, both in Muzaffarnagar district, and Ashraf Ali from Thana Bhawan in Shamli. “I hope people of the state will support the candidates of this coalition,” Tikait was quoted as saying by PTI.

Live Blog

Elections 2022 Highlights: BJP fields Yogi Adityanath from Gorakhpur; Congress releases list of 86 candidates in Punjab; Channi to contest from Chamkaur Sahib; Sidhu from Amritsar.

23:51 (IST)16 Jan 2022
Manipur Congress vice-president quits post ahead of assembly polls

Manipur Congress vice-president Kh Ratankumar Singh on Sunday resigned from the party post ahead of the assembly election, a senior leader of the party said.

According to the resignation letter, he quit the post but did not resign from the primary membership of the party, said the leader who does not want to be quoted.

Another vice-president of the Congress' state unit, Chaltonlien Amo, switched over to the ruling BJP on January 9. (PTI)

23:25 (IST)16 Jan 2022
Uttarakhand cabinet minister Harak Singh Rawat suspended from BJP for 'indiscipline'

Ahead of Assembly polls in Uttarakhand, BJP suspended state cabinet minister Harak Singh Rawat from the party for six years. The party media coordinator for Uttarakhand, Manveer Singh Chauhan, said Rawat had been suspended for 'indiscipline'. Rawat had for some time publicly aired his dissatisfaction with the state government, and had threatened to resign in the last week of December.  

22:12 (IST)16 Jan 2022
UP BJP vice president Pankaj Singh tests positive for Covid-19

BJP's Uttar Pradesh unit vice president and Noida MLA Pankaj Singh on Sunday said he has tested positive for Covid-19 and has mild symptoms.

Singh, the son of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, said he has isolated himself and requested those who came in contact with him over the last few days to get themselves isolated and tested for the viral disease.

Singh made the announcement on social media, a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced his candidature from Noida for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. (PTI)

22:03 (IST)16 Jan 2022
Several BJP workers tender resignation over Gulab Devi being given poll ticket: Local party leader

Over 200 BJP booth-level workers and officials have tendered their resignation over the party's decision to field Gulab Devi from Chandausi in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, a local leader claimed on Sunday.

Rajnish Varshney, who heads the BJP unit in the Chandausi constituency's Bahjoi area, said those who have "resigned are angry over the party ticket being given to Gulab Devi" as they were demanding ticket for "someone else".

Besides being the sitting MLA from the constituency, Devi is also minister of state for secondary education.

"Around 200 booth adhyaksh, 15 sector in-charges and a large number of party workers have tendered their resignation," Varshney told PTI.

"Those who have resigned are angry over the party ticket being given to Gulab Devi for the assembly elections. They were demanding a ticket for someone else, and we have also informed the party high-command about this," he said. (PTI)

22:03 (IST)16 Jan 2022
UP polls: AAP fields ex-Apple employee from Noida

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday announced Pankaj Awana, a former employee of tech giant Apple, as its candidate from Noida for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

The AAP also fielded Poonam Singh and Sanjay Chechi from the Jewar and Dadri assembly seats, respectively, as it released its first list of 150 candidates for the polls in the politically crucial state.

The party had in September last year only announced names of Awana and Singh as 'probable candidates' from their respective seats.

Gautam Buddh Nagar adjoining Delhi, where the AAP is in power, has three assembly seats -- Noida, Dadri and Jewar, and these have 6,90,231, 5,86,889 and 3,46,425 voters, respectively.

All three seats are currently held by the BJP with Pankaj Singh in Noida, Tejpal Singh Nagar in Dadri and Dhirendra Singh in Jewar. (PTI)

22:02 (IST)16 Jan 2022
Punjab polls: 15 lakh people respond to AAP's 'Janta Chunegi Apna CM' drive

Around 15 lakh people have so far responded to the AAP's "Janta Chunegi Apna CM" drive, in which the party has asked people to name their choice for its chief ministerial face for the February 14 Punjab Assembly polls.

"In the 72 hours since the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has released the phone number 7074870748 to know the opinion of the people of Punjab as regards who should be the party's chief ministerial face for the upcoming election, around 15 lakh people have voiced their views," party MLA Harpal Singh Cheema said.

AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal had asked people on Thursday who should be the party's chief ministerial face for the Punjab polls, even as he had said that his own choice for the post is Bhagwant Mann.

Kejriwal had ruled himself out of the race as the AAP launched the "Janta Chunegi Apna CM" drive and said the name of the candidate for the top post will be announced after getting the feedback of people. (PTI)

22:01 (IST)16 Jan 2022
After being denied ticket, 'Gulabi Gang' chief quits Congress

'Gulabi Gang' commander Sampat Pal on Sunday said she has resigned from the Congress as the party denied her a ticket for the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Holding the state Congress leaders and the observers directly responsible for denying her the ticket, Pal said she will apprise about the 'internal politicking' to the Congress top brass in New Delhi.

Pal had contested the Assembly polls from Mau-Manikpur seat on the Congress ticket in the 2012 and 2017 polls. While she secured only 2,203 votes in the 2012 polls, she backed 40,524 votes in 2017 when she was the SP-Congress ally candidate.

The Congress, this time, has replaced her with Ranjana Bhartilal Pandey.

Pal runs a women's organisation named 'Gulabi Gang'. (PTI)

22:00 (IST)16 Jan 2022
Punjab poll wrap: CM’s brother to contest as Independent; BJP, SAD (Sanyukt) want voting deferred

After being denied a Congress party ticket, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s brother Manohar Singh said on Sunday that he would contest as an Independent candidate from the Bassi Pathana Assembly seat.

Meanwhile, BJP and its ally SAD (Sanyukt) have appealed to the Election Commission to postpone the February 14 polls in Punjab in view of Guru Ravidas Jayanti. Earlier CM Charanjit Singh Channi had also made a similar request. In other news, a case has been registered against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia over alleged violations of Covid-19 norms.

Here are the top developments from poll-bound Punjab.

20:41 (IST)16 Jan 2022
‘We are not desperate in Goa…we are open to an alliance with Congress just to defeat BJP’: Mahua Moitra

The Trinamool Congress (TMC)’s MP and Goa in-charge Mahua Moitra speaks to The Indian Express ahead of the 14 February Goa Assembly elections. She says TMC is open to an alliance with Congress just to defeat BJP. Read full interview here

20:38 (IST)16 Jan 2022
AAP announces names of three more candidates for Punjab polls

AAP on Sunday released the names of three more candidates for the Punjab Assembly polls. All three had recently joined AAP from other parties. Former Congress leader Joginder Singh Mann had joined the Kejriwal-led party on Saturday. (ENS)

20:35 (IST)16 Jan 2022
Amit Shah likely to hit campaign trail in UP after January 22

BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to hold a series of meetings in Uttar Pradesh from next week as the party looks to intensify its election campaign to retain power in the state.

With the Election Commission having been extended the ban on public meetings and roadshows till January 22 and the BJP leadership being busy in finalising its candidates for the assembly polls in five states, Shah will start his tour after Saturday and hold meetings, including with organisational leaders, to cover the entire stretch of Uttar Pradesh.

With several party leaders in the five poll-bound states seeking tickets for their kin, a senior BJP leader said any relation of a party member who is already holding an elected position like an MP or MLA is unlikely to be fielded. However, this rule will not apply to those who are already MLAs, he added.

Even if the ban remains in place, the EC has allowed indoor meetings under certain conditions, sources noted. (PTI)

20:34 (IST)16 Jan 2022
JD(U) to fight UP polls independently after no response from BJP on alliance

The JD(U) will fight the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls on its own after the BJP, its ally in Bihar, did not reciprocate its offer of a tie-up, party spokesperson K C Tyagi said on Sunday, asserting it will contest on the plank of "Bihar model" of empowerment of the deprived sections of society.

Tyagi said JD(U) leader and Union minister R C P Singh, who was deputed by the party to hold alliance talks with the BJP, reached out to senior BJP leaders Amit Shah and Dharmendra Pradhan besides its president J P Nadda but in vain.

The JD(U) will hold a meeting in Lucknow on January 18 to decide on the number of seats it will contest, Tyagi said.

The party will run its campaign in the state around its Bihar model, he said, claiming that no government has done as much work for women and poor and backward sections of society as carried out by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led dispensation. (PTI)

20:33 (IST)16 Jan 2022
BJP has given 'farewell' to Adityanath by sending him to Gorakhpur: Akhilesh

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday attacked the BJP, saying the party's 'double engine' model seems to have failed, with its central leadership not giving the Uttar Pradesh chief minister the seat of his choice to contest the state assembly polls.

While there was speculation that Yogi Adityanath may be fielded from Ayodhya, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said the party has decided to put him in the fray from Gorakhpur, his traditional political turf that he has represented in Lok Sabha for five consecutive terms.

Chief Minister Adityanath is willing to contest from any of the 403 seats in the state, the senior BJP leader said.

Speaking to reporters at the Samajwadi Party (SP) office, Yadav said that there is "a chief minister who seeks a ticket, and does not get a ticket of his choice".

"Sadhus and seers say that if he comes to Faizabad (Ayodhya), then he will be given a farewell. The BJP has already given him a farewell by sending him off to Gorakhpur," he said. (PTI)

20:19 (IST)16 Jan 2022
BJP & SAD (Sanyukt) seek postponement of Punjab polls

BJP, SAD (Sanyukt) seek postponement of Punjab assembly polls in view of Guru Ravidas Jayanti

The BJP and its ally SAD (Sanyukt) have appealed to the Election Commission to postpone the February 14 assembly election in Punjab in view of Guru Ravidas Jayanti, after the BSP and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi made similar requests to the poll panel.

The birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas falls on February 16.

In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner on Sunday seeking postponement of the election, Punjab BJP general secretary Subhash Sharma said, "The state has substantial population of followers of Guru Ravidas ji, including the Scheduled Caste (SC) community which is about 32 per cent of the population of Punjab." (PTI)

19:18 (IST)16 Jan 2022
UP polls: SP candidate's list has names of criminals, says Adityanath

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday said while the BJP's list of candidates for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls has given representation to different sections of society, the Samajwadi Party's list consists of names of criminals.

Speaking to reporters after reviewing the King George Medical University's preparedness to deal with Covid cases, Adityanath said, "The BJP yesterday released its list of candidates. You have seen that it symbolises social justice, and has given representation to different sections of society."

Every person, who has seen the BJP list, feels that the essence of 'sabka saath, sabka vikaas' has been incorporated in it, the chief minister, who will be contesting the polls from Gorakhpur, said.

"But, if you have seen the list of the Samajwadi Party (SP)-alliance, then tickets have been given to people responsible for the exodus of Hindu traders from Kairana and riots in Muzaffarnagar, and to a history sheeter from Loni," Adityanath said. (PTI)

19:17 (IST)16 Jan 2022
Shiv Sena will contest 10-15 seats in Goa: Sanjay Raut

The Shiv Sena will contest 10-15 seats in the next month's Goa Assembly elections, party leader Sanjay Raut said on Sunday and stressed that the Maharashtra-based outfit will field “common men” as its nominees.

Responding to a question on whether the Sena will contest the polls in Goa along with the NCP, its alliance partner in the Maharashtra government, Raut said, “We will also go. Their (NCP) leaders are coming to Goa.”

“We will contest 10-15 seats in Goa,” he added.

The Sena has so far failed to succeed in electoral politics in Goa which has a sizable Maharashtrian population. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has been fielding candidates in the Marathi-dominated pockets of the tiny coastal state. (PTI)

19:16 (IST)16 Jan 2022
TMC and AAP have already come to power in Goa in their imagination: Sanjay Raut

Taking a dig at the TMC and the AAP in the run-up to the next month's Assembly elections in Goa, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said that these parties have already come to power in the coastal state in their imagination.

Apart from traditional contestants like the BJP, Congress, MGP, and GFP, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party and Trinamool Congress under Mamata Banerjee are vying for a power pie in Goa scheduled to go to polls on February 14. 

Raut also took a swipe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying while the coronavirus is spreading in the national capital he is busy in a door-to-door campaign in Goa.

"The Delhi chief minister is undertaking a door-to-door campaign in Goa. Coronavirus is spreading in Delhi and he is going door-to-door. It is good to spread one's party but...let's see what happens in Goa. I was on the road while he was campaigning,” he said.

On Saturday, Kejriwal joined the door-to-door campaign for the candidates of his party at St Andre Assembly constituency in North Goa. (PTI)

19:15 (IST)16 Jan 2022
Goa: Lourenco quits TMC a month after joining it from Congress

A month after quitting the Congress and joining the Trinamool Congress, former Goa MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco on Sunday quit the Mamata Banerjee-led party, the move coming a few weeks ahead of Assembly polls in the state scheduled for February 14.

Reginaldo was MLA from Curtorim and was working president of Goa Congress when he quit the party and the state Assembly in December. He did not give any reason in the letter that he sent to Banerjee informing her about his decision to leave TMC.

Meanwhile, BJP-turned-Congress leader Micheal Lobo invited Lourenco to return to the Congress. (PTI)

     

19:14 (IST)16 Jan 2022
ECI allows mediapersons to cast vote through postal ballot

The Election Commission of India has allowed journalists to cast their votes through postal ballot facility, according to an official statement of the office of Punjab chief electoral officer on Sunday.

Voting for Punjab's 117 assembly seats will be held on February 14 and the counting of votes will take place on March 10. The ECI has allowed mediapersons, authorised by the poll body, to exercise their franchise using postal ballot facility, said the statement.

"Mediapersons, during a press conference, had asked Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Punjab Dr S Karuna Raju to include them in absentee voters so that they can cast their votes using the postal ballot facility," it said.

Raju said any absentee voter wishing to vote by postal ballot has to make an application to the returning officer in Form-12D, giving all requisite particulars and get the application verified by the nodal officer appointed by the organisation concerned. He said any voter opting for postal ballot facility would not be able to cast a vote at the polling station. (PTI)

18:18 (IST)16 Jan 2022
FIR lodged against Bhupesh Baghel under Epidemic Diseases Act

An FIR has been lodged against Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and others for allegedly violating Covid protocols during a door-to-door campaign for a Congress candidate in Noida.

According to police, the FIR has been filed against Baghel and others under sections 269 (acts spreading disease), 270 (spread of disease), 188 (disobedience of public order) and relevant sections of the Epidemic Act, in the police station at Noida’s Sector 113.

Moreover, police in Agra booked a Samajwadi Party MLA candidate and at least 40 others on charges of violating COVID-19 protocol, PTI reports quoting officials said on Sunday.Madhusudhan Sharma, SP candidate from Bah Assembly constituency, along with his supporters, had performed a 'puja' at Bateshwar Temple here on Friday after winning the election ticket, they said.

They did not maintain social distance, wear masks and failed to follow other COVID-appropriate behaviour, according to an official."For violating COVID-19 guidelines and Section 144 of the CrPC imposed in the state, an FIR has been registered against Sharma and about 40-50 party workers," Station Head Officer (SHO) at Bah police station Manoj Kumar told PTI.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav at the party head office in Lucknow.

The Election Commission on Saturday issued a notice to the Samajwadi Party for organising a public gathering "in the name of virtual rally" at its Lucknow office in violation of Covid-19 norms. Referring to Friday's event in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, the notice stated that after considering the available material and extant instructions in the matter, the poll panel has decided to provide the party an opportunity to explain its stand regarding the "violations".

On Saturday, the poll body also decided to extend the ban on public rallies and roadshows till January 22. Earlier, while announcing the poll schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur on January 8, the Election Commission had decided to ban public rallies, roadshows and similar physical campaigning events till January 15 in view of rising Covid-19 cases.

Won’t induct any more BJP legislators: SP chief Akhilesh Yadav

A day after two former UP ministers and five BJP MLAs shared stage with him, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday said his party would not induct any more legislators or ministers from the saffron party.

“I would tell the BJP that I am no longer going to take BJP MLAs or ministers (into SP), you can cut their tickets,” he told mediapersons at the SP headquarters here. Without revealing the name, he, however, said another BJP leader would soon switch to the SP.

On former UP minister Dara Singh Chauhan, who had left the BJP on Thursday, Akhilesh said he and a few others would be inducted into the party on Sunday.

UP OBC upheaval fallout: What caste was Emperor Ashoka?

By the BJP’s calculation, this year will see the 2,327th birth anniversary of Emperor Ashoka. As good a time as any, it appears, to find out his “caste”.

With defections setting the caste cauldron of Uttar Pradesh again on the boil ahead of the Assembly polls, the focus is on the Mauryan king who ruled over most of what is now called India between 268 BCE and 232 BCE. On two sides of the battlefield are rallied parties in neighbouring Bihar, the state which claims the king as its own.

The BJP, which has an eye for icons covered in the cobwebs of history, was one of the first to recognise the political value of the Great Ashoka. In 2015, the Bihar BJP marked his 2320th birth anniversary, and the party’s government at the Centre issued a postal stamp on him.

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