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Madhya Pradesh

Kamal Nath to be new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh

Congress leader Kamal Nath was on Thursday chosen as the leader of the state Congress legislature party, paving the way for his swearing-in as the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, after party President Rahul Gandhi decided on his name over the other aspirant Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi with Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia after their meeting during which a decision on the new Chief  Minister of Madhya Pradesh was taken, in New Delhi on December 13, 2018.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia after their meeting during which a decision on the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh was taken, in New Delhi on December 13, 2018.
Congress leader Kamal Nath was on Thursday chosen as the leader of the state Congress legislature party, paving the way for his swearing-in as the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh after party President Rahul Gandhi decided on his name over the other aspirant Jyotiraditya Scindia.
 
Heralding Congress rule in the state after 15 years, Kamal Nath, who flew in here from Delhi, was formally elected the leader of the legislature party at a late night meeting here.
 
"Rahul Gandhi has chosen Kamal Nath as the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister," party observer A.K. Antony said at the legislature party meeting.
 
Kamal Nath told the gathering that he would fulfil all the promises made in the party's manifesto.
 
"I assure every voter of Madhya Pradesh that we will fulfil our promises. The people have stood with the truth," he said. 
 
He thanked the party workers for effectively taking the message to people in the Assembly elections. 
 
Later, talking to reporters, Kamal Nath said he would meet the state Governor Anandiben Patel on Friday morning to decide on the day and time of his swearing-in.
 
"I shall strive to be true to the trust that the people of Madhya Pradesh have reposed in me," he said. 
 
Kamal Nath was accompanied at the meeting by Scindia. Both Kamal Nath and Scindia flew to Bhopal late in the evening after four-hour-long consultations with Gandhi. 
 
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An apparent reason for Congress President Rahul Gandhi choosing Kamal Nath over Scindia as Chief Minster is the nature of verdict in the state where the party is short of majority by two seats.
 
The Congress won 114 seats, two seats short of majority, in a tight contest, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finished a close second with 109 seats in the 230-member House. 
 
The party is dependent on the Independents to cross the half-way mark even as the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party have extended the support of their three MLAs. Kamal Nath is seen as someone who can deftly manage allies and supporting parties. 
 
The decision came two days after the election results were declared in Madhya Pradesh. 
 
Kamal Nath, a former Union Minister, was appointed Madhya Pradesh Congress chief only seven months back and immersed himself in preparations for the Assembly polls in the state where the BJP had been in power for 15 years. 
 
He is the senior-most member of the Lok Sabha, having won nine elections.
 
Although the Congress is also poised to form governments in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, no decision has yet been taken on the Chief Ministers in the two states. 
 
IANS

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Polling begins for Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram Assembly elections

Polling began amidst tight security on Wednesday morning to choose new legislative assemblies in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram -- two of five states where crucial elections are being held just months ahead of the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

 
MP Assembly Elections: 5 cr voters to decide fate of state as polling begins
Polling began amidst tight security this morning to choose new legislative assemblies in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram -- two of five states where crucial elections are being held just months ahead of the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
 
In Madhya Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office and the Congress is making a strong bid to return to power after a gap of 15 years.
 
In Mizoram, the Congress is looking for a third successive term in the face of a stiff challenge from the Mizo National Front.
 
Polling began at 7 a.m in three constituencies of Maoist-affected Balaghat district in Madhya Pradesh amid tight security, while in the remaining 227 of the 230 Assembly seats polling began at 8 a.m.
 
The polling will end in the three constituencies -- Baihar, Lanji and Paraswada -- at 3 p.m, while it will continue till 5 p.m in all the other constituencies.
 
In Madhya Pradesh, though the contest is mainly between the BJP and the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) are also in the fray. 
 
Among the 2,907 candidates in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has fielded candidates in all 230 seats, while the Congress is contesting in 229 seats leaving one seat, Jatara in Tikamgarh district, for the Sharad Yadav-led Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD).
 
The BSP has fielded 227 candidates and the SP is contesting in 51 seats. There are 1,102 independent candidates.
 
In the last polls, of the 230 seats, the BJP won 165, Congress 58, BSP four and Independents three. 
 
Over five crore registered voters in Madhya Pradesh -- 2,63,01,300 men, 2,41,30,390 women and 1,389 of the third gender -- are eligible to vote in today's polls.
 
In Mizoram, polling began at 7 a.m. for all 40 seats in the Assembly and will end at 4 p.m.
 
According to senior police officials, around 11,100 security personnel comprising central paramilitary and state security forces have been deployed across the state to ensure smooth polling and prevent any untoward incident.
 
In all 768,181 voters, including 393,685 women, would decide the electoral fate of the 209 candidates in the state, of whom 15 are women. In 2013, only six women had contested and none were successful. 
 
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Besides the two national parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), many regional and local parties have fielded candidates in most of the 40 assembly constituencies. They include the main opposition Mizo National Front (MNF), People's Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM), Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) and Meghalaya-based National People's Party (NPP). 
 
However, the main contest is likely to be between the ruling Congress and the MNF. Both the parties have fielded 40 candidates each. 
 
The BJP, which is trying to make inroads in the state, has fielded candidates in 39 constituencies. 
 
Except for 10 years -- 1998-2003 and 2003-2008 -- the Congress has been in power in Mizoram since it became a full-fledged state in 1987. 
 
Counting of votes in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram will be taken up on December 11 along with Chhattisgarh, where polling was held on  November 12 and 20, and Rajasthan and Telangana, where voting will be held on December 7.
 
The term of the Assembly in Chhattisgarh is due to expire on January 5, 2019; Madhya Pradesh on January 7, 2019; Rajasthan on January 20, 2019 and Mizoram on December 15, 2018.
 
In Telangana, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) decided to go in for early polls and, accordingly, the Governor of the State had dissolved the Assembly with immediate effect on September 6, 2018, nearly nine months before its term was to end.
 
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Ten dead, 18 injured in stampede at Kamtanath Pahad temple at Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh

Ten pilgrims were killed and at least 18 others suffered injuries in a stampede at the Kamtanath Pahad temple in Chitrakoot in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh in the early hours of Monday, officials said.

 
Ten killed in stampede at Kamtanath Pahad temple at Chitrakoot in MP
Ten pilgrims were killed and at least 18 others suffered injuries in a stampede at the Kamtanath Pahad temple in Chitrakoot in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh in the early hours of today, officials said.
 
Inspector General of Police (Rewa Range) Pawan Shrivastav told NetIndian over the telephone that the victims included six women and four men. 
 
He said six of those injured had been discharged after first aid while the rest were undergoing treatment for injuries. None of them was in a serious condition, he said.
 
District Magistrate and Collector Mohan Lal said the incident occurred around 4.45 am today.
 
Thousands of pilgrims had gathered at the temple, located about 80 km from Satna district headquarters on the border between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh for the five-km "parikrama" (circumambulation) of the Kamadgiri hill on the occasion of Somvati Amavasya.
 
Details of the circumstances leading to the incident were not clear, but Mr Shrivastav said one of the pilgrims, a woman, appeared to have stumbled and fallen and before people realised it, some more people fell and several others following them, all at a brisk space in a cramped section of the "parikrama" trampled upon them.
 
Many of the devotes, especially women, were performing "Shayana Pradakshinam" --- in which they lie down and roll on the path -- for worship when the incident occurred, sources said.
 
The district authorities have ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, they said.
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed his grief at the loss of lives in the incident and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next-of-kin of those killed, Rs 50,000 for those with serious injuries and Rs 10,000 for those who have suffered minor injuries.
 
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Congress governments in MP, Rajasthan to withdraw cases against Dalits

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Heeding to BSP chief Mayawati's ultimatum, the Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan on Tuesday said they will withdraw cases filed against Dalits during the 'Bharat Bandh' last year that witnessed large-scale violence.
 
The decisions were announced by the two governments a day after Mayawati threatened to take back the BSP's support to them if they did not withdraw the cases filed against the Dalits during the 'Bharat Bandh' called by Dalit groups.
 
The Madhya Pradesh government will withdraw all the "political cases" filed by the previous BJP government against workers of political parties and Dalit activists, Law Minister P. C. Sharma said.
 
"We (Congress) have been fighting (against the BJP government). Irrespective of any party, those who have been fighting the BJP government which had sent people to jail... those political cases will be withdrawn," he said. 
 
Last week, Sharma had indicated that the government was drafting a proposal to withdraw "politically motivated" cases against political and trade union leaders filed during the BJP's rule during the last 15 years. 
 
In Jaipur, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said his government will revoke cases registered against Dalits during the Bharat Bandh of April 2 last year after reviewing them.
 
Speaking to the media at the Congress office, Gehlot said: "Our government will review all such cases to ensure that innocents are released."
 
He said that Mayawati's demand was valid. The previous government had framed cases against many people "and hence our government will review all such cases".
 
"In fact, I am thankful to Mayawati for giving support to our party. She herself took the initiative to extend support to the Congress and hence I am thankful to her."
 
The BSP has two members in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly in which the Congress has 114 MLAs and is two short of the majority mark.
 
The Samajwadi Party has one MLA and has also extended support to the government. There are four independents. 
 
In the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, the Congress has 99 members and its pre-poll ally Rashtriya Lok Dal has one MLA. There are six BSP MLAs and 13 independents. 
 
The Congress had supported the protest in April 2018 against the changes to the SC/ST Act brought in by the Supreme Court which were later nullified by a legislation passed in Parliament. 
 
IANS
 

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MP to withdraw 'political cases' after Mayawati's threat

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The Madhya Pradesh government will withdraw all the "political cases" filed by the previous BJP government against workers of political parties and Dalit activists, Law Minister P.  C. Sharma said on Tuesday.
 
The announcement came a day after BSP chief Mayawati issued an ultimatum to new Congress governments in the state and in Rajasthan that her party will withdraw support to them if they do not revoke cases filed against "innocent people" during the April 2 Bharat Bandh of last year called by Dalit groups. 
 
"We (Congress) have been fighting (against the BJP government). Irrespective of any party those who have been fighting the BJP government which had sent people to jail... those political cases will be withdrawn," Sharma said. 
 
On Monday, Mayawati issued a statement saying if the newly elected governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan do not act swiftly and withdraw the cases against innocent persons framed in Bharat Bandh, the Bahujan Samaj Party may have to reconsider extending outside support to the Congress governments. 
 
Last week, Sharma had indicated that the government was drafting a proposal to withdraw "politically motivated" cases against political and trade union leaders filed during the BJP's rule during the last 15 years. 
 
The BSP has two members in the 230-member Assembly in which the Congress has 114 MLAs and is two short of the majority mark.
 
The Samajwadi Party has one MLA and has also extended support to the government. There are four independents. 
 
In the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, the Congress has 99 members and its pre-poll ally Rashtriya Lok Dal has one MLA. There are six BSP MLAs and 13 independents. 
 
The Congress had supported the protest in April 2018 against the changes to the SC/ST Act brought in by the Supreme Court which were later nullified by a legislation passed in Parliament. 
 
IANS
 

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Kamal Nath expands Ministry, MP gets first Muslim minister in 15 years

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Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday expanded his cabinet inducting 28 ministers including Arif Aqueel, the lone Muslim face in the new council of ministers.
 
Aqueel, MLA from Bhopal North, is the first Muslim minister in the state after 15 years. 
 
Keeping the regional balance in view, Kamal Nath inducted nine MLAs from the Malwa Nivad region, six from central Madhya Pradesh, five representing the Gwalior-Chambal region and three from Bundelkhand in his cabinet. 
 
Governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath of office to the new ministers at the Raj Bhavan here. 
 
The ministerial team includes 11 loyalists of the Chief Minister, nine from Congress veteran's Digvijay Singh's camp, seven from Jyotiraditya Scindia's camp, and one from former state party chief Arun Yadav's camp.
 
There are only two females in the cabinet -- Vijay Laxmi Sadho from Maheshawr and Imarati Devi from Dabra.
 
The cabinet expansion was done after both Kamal Nath and Scindia held discussions with the party central leadership. 
 
Congratulating the new ministers, both Kamal Nath and Scindia asked them to work towards fulfilling the Congress' commitment of ensuring the progress and welfare of the state. 
 
The session of the newly elected Assembly is scheduled to begin from January 7.
 
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Kamal Nath expands his ministry, 28 legislators take oath

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Newly-elected Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath expanded his ministry on Tuesday with 28 new Ministers taking oath.
 
Governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath to the new ministers at the Raj Bhavan here.
 
Arif Aqueel, MLA from Bhopal North, is the only Muslim face in the Chief Minister's team. It is after 15 years that a Muslim has been inducted in the ministry. 
 
The ministerial team includes 11 loyalists of the Chief Minister, nine from Digvijay Singh's camp, seven from Jyotiraditya Scindia's camp, and one from Arun Yadav's camp.
 
Among those who have been inducted are Arif Aqueel, Sajjan Singh Verma, Bala Bachchan, Lakhan Sing Yadav, Vijayalaxmi Sadho, Hukum Singh Karada, Govind Rajput, Pradeep Jayaswal, and Imarti Devi, and others. 
 
The Congress returned to power in the state after 15 years.
 
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Kamal Nath defends his remarks on jobs for MP youth

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Unperturbed by the attack on him for his remark that youth from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are taking away the jobs in Madhya Pradesh, new state Chief Minister Kamal Nath defended his statement saying he has not said anything new.
 
"I meant to say that local people should get preference (in employment). And this is everywhere. I did not say anything new. It is everywhere. Is it not so in Gujarat (that locals get preference in jobs)?," he told reporters.
 
Kamal Nath was asked about the controversy over his statement that his government would give incentives for investors who provide 70 per cent of the jobs for youth from Madhya Pradesh in a bid to check outsiders from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh taking away jobs here.
 
The remarks triggered a storm with leaders including those belonging to Congress allies like SP and RJD attacking him saying it was wrong and unfortunate. BJP leaders also joined in the attack and demanded Congress President Rahul Gandhi's apology.
 
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Kamal Nath waives farmers' loans soon after taking over MP's rein

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Immediately after taking over as the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath on Monday waived loans of farmers to the tune of Rs 2 lakh each, delivering on the Congress pre-poll promise of cancelling farm loans within 10 days of coming to power.
 
"The Madhya Pradesh government hereby takes the decision of waiving of loans taken by farmers up to Rs 2 lakh from nationalised and cooperative banks," read the letter signed by Rajesh Rajora, Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Horticulture and Food Processing.
 
Kamal Nath, who was instrumental in the Congress' victory in Madhya Pradesh, was on the day sworn in as its 18th Chief Minister, bringing to an end 15-year Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule in the central state. 
 
Riding on its promise of farm loan waiver, the Congress won 114 seats, two seats short of majority in the 230-member House. 
 
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Kamal Nath takes oath as MP CM, ends 15-year-old BJP rule

 
Kamal Nath takes oath as Chief Minister of MP
Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath, who steered his party to victory in Madhya Pradesh, was on Monday sworn in as its 18th Chief Minister, bringing to an end 15 years of BJP rule in the state which had become the saffron party's stronghold.
 
The nine-time MP and former Union Minister was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Anandiben Patel at a function held at the Jambori Maidan on a day the Delhi High Court convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, sparking calls that Kamal Nath should not be made Chief Minister. 
 
Accusing him of having had a hand in the riots in Delhi, the BJP and Akali Dal demanded that Kamal Nath should not be made the Chief Minister.
 
Asked about the demand, he told the media that he had been a Minister at the Centre in 1991 and later too but wondered why demands were being made now. "There has been no charge. There has been no case. Why now? I see a hidden hand."
 
The 72-year-old Kamal Nath, who represented Chhindwara for nine terms in the Lok Sabha, was the only one to take the oath even as the other contender to the Chief Minister's post, Jyotiraditya Scindia, was present. The ceremony was held an hour behind schedule at 2.30 p.m. 
 
The brief ceremony was attended by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and H. D. Deve Gowda, outgoing Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, another former BJP Chief Minister Babulal Gaur and a galaxy of national leaders in a show of opposition unity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
 
Among the opposition stalwarts present were NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and his Karnataka counterpart H. D. Kumaraswamy, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi, JMM chief Hemant Soren, DMK leaders M. K. Stalin, T. R. Baalu and Kanimozhi, Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and MP Raju Shetti.
 
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Congress leaders who were present included Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, his deputy Sachin Pilot, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, Puducherry Chief Minster V. Narayanaswamy, former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Minister D. K. Shivakumar, Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, UP Congress President Raj Babbar and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda 
 
BSP chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, whose parties have extended support to the Congress government, were conspicuous by their absence. 
 
Earlier, Kamal Nath told the media that he had invited West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee personally but she expressed her inability because she was occupied with the rituals in connection with her mother's death anniversary.
 
Before the ceremony started, Kamal Nath greeted the leaders on the stage and held Shivraj Singh Chouhan's hand and greeted the people in which Scindia also joined. The scenes were lapped up by the hundreds of Congress activists and supporters gathered there. 
 
Representatives of various religions including saffron-clad saints were present at the function. Among them was the 'computer' baba who was offered a Minister of State status by the Chouhan government.
 
IANS
 

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Kamal Nath sworn in as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh

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Congress veteran Kamal Nath was on Monday sworn in as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh after his party won the Assembly elections, ending 15 years of BJP rule.
 
Attending the event were former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Rahul Gandhi as well as former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who warmly held Kamal Nath's hand as they waved to the crowds.
 
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Kamal Nath to be sworn in as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh on December 17

File photo of Kamal Nath
File photo of Kamal Nath
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister-designate Kamal Nath will be sworn in at a ceremony here on December 17.
 
This was announced by the 72-year-old veteran Congress leader himself, outside Raj Bhavan here as he came out after meeting Governor Anandiben Patel.
 
The ceremony will be held at the Lal Parade Ground here.
 
The party won 114 seats in the 230-member House, two short of a simple majority, but secured support of a total of 121 MLAs, including Samajwadi Party - one, Bahujan Samaj Party - two, and four Independents.
 
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Scindia, Gehlot, Pilot meet Rahul ahead of CM decision

Hectic parleys were on at Congress President Rahul Gandhi's residence on Thursday to choose the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where the party dislodged the BJP from power in the Assembly elections.

Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi
Hectic parleys were on at Congress President Rahul Gandhi's residence on Thursday to choose the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where the party dislodged the BJP from power in the Assembly elections.
 
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were also present during the consultations when party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is a contender for the Chief Minister post in Madhya Pradesh, met Rahul Gandhi.
 
Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, who are aspirants in Rajasthan, also met Rahul Gandhi.
 
Gehlot and Pilot reached Gandhi's residence one after the other to apprise the party chief of their views. Central party observer for Rajasthan K.C. Venugopal also met Gandhi. 
 
The meetings came a day after newly-elected Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh passed unanimous resolutions authorising Rahul Gandhi to take a decision on who will lead the legislature party in the these states.
 
Scindia and Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath are contenders for the post of Chief Minister in Madhya Pradesh.
 
The Congress, which fell two short of the majority mark in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly, has staked claim to form the government with the support of Independents 
(Congress rebels), Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party MLAs. 
 
In Rajasthan the party got 99 seats and crossed the halfway mark with its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal in the 200-member Assembly
 
The Congress has registered a landslide victory in Chhattisgarh.
 
IANS
 

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Rahul to announce MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan CM names

Amid intense negotiations, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that he will soon announce the names of Chief Ministers for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi
Amid intense negotiations, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that he will soon announce the names of Chief Ministers for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
 
"We are taking inputs from different people in the party -- from party workers, MLAs... 
 
"We are getting a comprehensive answer to what the Congress party and others feel... of course you have to see a Chief Minister soon," he told reporters outside Parliament, as he left for his party office to meet Rajasthan contenders Sachin Pilot and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who reached New Delhi earlier in the day. 
 
In Madhya Pradesh, state Congress chief and veteran MP Kamal Nath and Jyotiradhitya Scindia are the two contenders for the hief Ministerial post, while Bhupesh Baghel has emerged as the front-runner in the race in Chhattisgarh, where the Congress won a landslide victory.
 
On Wednesday, Gandhi through an audio message, congratulated the party workers for the victory in the assembly elections in the three states and urged them to reveal their choice of Chief Minister.
 
"I want to ask you an important question: Who should be the chief minister? Please mention just one name. I'm the only person who would know whom you are naming. No one in the party will know. Please speak after the beep," he was heard saying. 
 
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Rahul to decide on CMs in MP, Rajasthan

The newly-elected Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan on Wednesday left to Congress President Rahul Gandhi the issue of deciding as to who will be the Chief Ministers in the two states.

Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi
The newly-elected Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan on Wednesday left to Congress President Rahul Gandhi the issue of deciding as to who will be the Chief Ministers in the two states.
 
A resolution to this effect was passed at a meeting of the respective legislature parties in the presence of central observers and the Chief Ministerial aspirants -- Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia in Madhya Pradesh and Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan.
 
Congress leader Shobha Oza told reporters in Bhopal that the newly-elected MLAs passed a resolution urging Gandhi to take a call on the Chief Minister's name. The meeting was presided over by central observer A. K. Antony.
 
Similarly, the newly-elected legislators in Rajasthan also met in the presence of central observer K. C. Venugopal and adopted a resolution leaving the final decision to the party President.
 
While Gehlot and Pilot contested and won the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, both Nath and Scindia are members of Lok Sabha and did not contest the Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh.
 
In both the states, the party had not named any chief ministerial candidate ahead of the elections.
 
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Kamal Nath stakes claim to form government in MP

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Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath met Governor Anandiben Patel on Wednesday and staked his party's claim to form the next government in the state.
 
"We have staked claim," he told reporters after the meeting at Raj Bhavan. Asked who would be the Chief Minister, Kamal Nath shot back: "I don't know."
 
Late on Tuesday, Kamal Nath wrote to the Governor urging her to give him an appointment so that he could stake claim as the Congress had emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly with "majority support". 
 
The Congress won 114 seats, two short of a majority in the 230-member house. 
 
After the meeting with the Governor, Lok Sabha member and Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said, "Of course it would be a privilege" when he was asked whether he would like to be the Chief Minister.
 
He said the Congress, which has won 114 seats, has the legislative majority with the backing of all four Independents and three MLAs of BSP and SP.
 
Scindia, one of the contenders for chief ministership, also attacked outgoing Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
 
"You were claiming that BJP is going to win 200 seats this time. Even if we count all the BJP seats in all five states, the party has not crossed the 200 mark," he said.
 
Earlier on Wednesday, Kamal Nath said the top priority of new Congress government will be to work for "farmers and unemployed youth".
 
He said this after meeting the outgoing Chief Minister.
 
He added: "We have to create a new environment of trust in Madhya Pradesh." 
 
Asked about the farm loan waiver promised by the party within 10 days of taking power, he said: "Let the government be formed first."
 
Before meeting the Governor, Kamal Nath described Chouhan as "my friend" and said "he fought a good election".
 
Meanwhile, Chouhan tendered his resignation to the Governor taking moral responsibility for the party's electoral loss in the state.
 
"Ab mai mukt hoon. (Now I am free)... The responsibility of defeat is totally mine," Chouhan said.
 
"No one has got the mandate. Since we have also not got the mandate, we did not stake claim to form the government," Chouhan added. 
 
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Congress to form MP government as BJP concedes defeat; CM resigns

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The Congress is all set to form the government in Madhya Pradesh with the support of three MLAs of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) and four Independents.
 
Madhya Pradesh Congress President Kamal Nath would be meeting Governor Anandiben Patel to stake claim to form the new government.
 
Earlier, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, conceded defeat and resigned from his position.
 
After submitting his resignation to the Governor, Chouhan said: "I have tendered my resignation to the Governor. The responsibility of defeat is totally mine."
 
The Congress fell two short of the halfway mark when it won 114 seats as the battle went to the wire on Tuesday, with the BJP securing 109 seats in the 230-member Assembly. 
 
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party, which contested on their own, bagged two and one seats, respectively, in the final tally in Madhya Pradesh. 
 
Four Independent candidates, most of whom were Congress rebels, also won the election.
 
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Shobha Oza told reporters that the party has the support of 121 MLAs, including two BSP, one SP and four Independent MLAs.
 
IANS
 

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Congress to form MP government as Shivraj Singh Chouhan resigns

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The path for the formation of a Congress government in Madhya Pradesh was cleared with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan resigning from the post on Wednesday declaring that the BJP was not going to stake claim.
 
"As we have not got clear majority, we are not going to stake claim to form the government. And I am going to the Governor to resign as the Chief Minister," Chouhan said here.
 
Meanwhile, reports have emerged that Governor Anandiben Patel has invited Congress leader Kamal Nath, who on Tuesday night wrote to her that his party has emerged as the single largest party in the state and has majority support in the 230-member Assembly, staking claim.
 
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, whose party won two seats in the state, announced its support to the Congress on Wednesday. 
 
The Samajwadi Party (SP) which won one seat in the state also extended its support to the Congress. The announcement was made by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.
 
"The Samajwadi Party extends its support to the Congress to form a government in Madhya Pradesh," Yadav tweeted in Hindi on Wednesday.
 
According to the Election Commission, the final tally for the 230-seat Madhya Pradesh Assembly showed Congress with 114 seats, while the ruling BJP came close with 109 in a battle that went to the wire on Tuesday.
 
IANS
 

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BSP to support Congress in Madhya Pradesh

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The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has decided to extend support to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh where the latter emerged as the single largest party but fell short of majority by two seats, party chief Mayawati said here on Wednesday.
 
She said the BSP would also support the Congress in Rajasthan to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out if the need arises.
 
"Our party fought this election to keep the BJP out of power. Sadly, our party did not succeed in this objective and I have been told that the BJP is still trying everything to come to power in Madhya Pradesh," she said at a press conference here. 
 
"To stop this, our party, despite its ideological disagreements with the Congress, has decided to support it to form the government in Madhya Pradesh.
 
"If the Congress needs our support to form the government in Rajasthan, we will do it to keep the BJP out," she added.
 
The Congress on Wednesday emerged as the largest party in Madhya Pradesh winning 114 seats, but missed securing the absolute majority by two seats in the 230-member Assembly. 
 
The ruling BJP came close with 109 in a battle that went to the wire on Tuesday. The BSP won two seats and the Samajwadi Party bagged one seat in the final tally.
 
Likewise, in the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, the Congress bagged 99 seats, while its pre-poll ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) won one. The BJP was far behind with 73 seats. 
 
The BSP won six seats in Rajasthan.
 
IANS
 

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Congress seeks meeting with Governor in MP to stake claim

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In a bid to outwit possible BJP moves, the Congress in Madhya Pradesh moved swiftly, seeking a meeting with the Governor claiming it has got majority support and should be invited to form the next government.
 
Madhya Pradesh Congress President Kamal Nath wrote a letter to Governor Anandiben Patel late on Tuesday and sought an early response from her. 
 
In his letter, he has said the Congress party as emerged as the single-largest party with majority support. "All the Independents have in addition assured support to the Congress party," he said.
 
"As President of the Pradesh Congress Committee I seek an appointment with your excellency late tonight as soon as the results are officially declared along with my senior leaders to apprise you and seek your permission to form the government in the state of Madhya Pradesh. I would be grateful for an early response to this communication."
 
In the 230-member Assembly, the Congress has won 77 seats and was leading in 37 seats. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 74 seats and was leading in 35 others. 
 
The Bahujan Samaj Party was leading in two seats and the Samajwadi Party won one seat. Independents, most of whom are Congress rebels, have won in three seats and leading in one. 
 
IANS
 

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Congress team meets EC, claims conspiracy and poll violations in MP, Chhattisgarh

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Days after Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh voted to elect their new assemblies, a Congress delegation on Saturday met the three-member Election Commission here alleging a conspiracy to distort election results in the two states, expressing "grave concern" over the safekeeping of EVMs.
 
The Congress also alleged an organised attempt by the BJP to try and subvert the mandate of the people and urged the poll panel to take cognisance of these "extremely alarming incidents".
 
In two separate memoranda submitted to the Commission, a party delegation led by Abhishek Singhvi and Manish Tewari demanded that necessary steps be taken for preventing manipulation of results and to ensure that the counting of votes and other related processes are free from interference in the two states.
 
The party alleged there was a larger conspiracy related to EVMs in Madhya Pradesh to distort the results of the elections. 
 
It alleged that 48 hours after the close of polling in the state, a school bus carrying EVM machines without the registration plate reached the Sagar District Collector's office "ostensibly" to deposit those machines.
 
"This incident is a clear case of certain parties and individuals engaging in corrupt practices to manipulate the outcome of the recently concluded election," the party said, demanding an inquiry and segregation of those machines from the rest.
 
"Furthermore, following the failure and malfunctioning of the EVMs during the elections, there is a clear case to be made of a larger conspiracy to distort the results," the memorandum submitted to the poll panel said. 
 
The party also expressed concern over the security of election strongrooms saying the presence of unauthorised individuals in and around the strongrooms leaves the machines and the result vulnerable to manipulation.
 
It also called for segregation of used and unused EVMs, recommending that unused ones should be kept off campus if possible, or at least in separate sealed rooms.
 
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The delegation also alleged "unlawful meetings" between the Chief Ministers and District Collectors during the operation of the model code of conduct. 
 
"It has been observed in the ongoing Chhattisgarh state assembly election that the District Collectors have been operating mobile phones and other electronic devices inside the counting room," the delegation said.
 
"We hope that the commission will issue clear and strong directions to ensure that the sanctity and integrity of the recently concluded polls is maintained."
 
Later in the day, addressing a press conference, Tewari said, "It was a very desperate attempt by the BJP to try and subvert the process of democracy."
 
Showing some video clips of the EVMs in a hotel room, in a school bus and people entering the strong room, the former Union minister said, "The second issue which is extremely serious is that the EVMs were found in the hotel rooms. 
 
Raising question over the Election Commission, he said, "On the one hand the Commission says the officers responsible have been suspended and the the state Commission is saying that the EVMs have not been tampered with. 
 
"How has the state EC come to the conclusion that those EVMs have not been tampered with?" he asked, adding that those EVMs belonged to a particular polling booth and were found at an unauthorised position.
 
He also demanded that repolling should be done for the booths where these EVMs were found. 
 
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel also demanded that the representatives of all political parties should be allowed while transporting EVMs to counting centres from strongrooms. 
 
It also should be cross-checked if postal ballots were received from eligible voters. The Rajya Sabha MP said, "The conduct of top officials in three districts -- Rajnandgaon, Kondagaon and Bilaspur should be reviewed and a second round of counting should be initiated only after completion of the counting of the first round," he said. 
 
IANS
 

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IndiGo adds Bhopal and Jabalpur as new destinations

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Low-cost carrier IndiGo has announced plans to introduce non-stop flights on the Bhopal-Hyderabad and Jabalpur-Hyderabad routes with effect from January 2019.
 
A press release from the airline said it would also introduce a fourth daily return flight between Hyderabad and Tirupati.
 
Bhopal and Jabalpur will be the airline's 65th and 66th destinations and the third city in Madhya Pradesh after Indore that it will fly to.
 
Mr William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to announce Bhopal and Jabalpur as our 65th and 66th destinations effective January 2019. We will operate daily non-stop flights from Bhopal and Jabalpur to connect these cities with Hyderabad. We will also be introducing a 4th daily return flight between Hyderabad and Tirupati.” 
 
“IndiGo will continue to expand its network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers wherever they demand it. It is our constant endeavour to provide more flexibility of choice to our customers...," he added.
 
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Assembly polls: Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram witness 75% polling

 
MP Assembly Elections: 5 cr voters to decide fate of state as polling begins
More than 75 percent of the electors in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram voted amidst tight security today to choose new legislative assemblies in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram -- two of the five states where crucial elections are being held just months of the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
 
Election Commission of India (ECI) officials said in New Delhi that 75% polling was recorded till 6 pm in 227 of the 230 constituencies as compared to 72.13% in the 2013 Assembly elections.
 
In the three Left-wing extremism (LWE)-affected constituencies of Baihar, Lalji and Paraswada, where polling was held from 7 am to 3 pm, the percentage of polling was reported as 78%, 79% and 80.06%, respectively.
 
The officials said that Mizoram recorded 75% voting by the close of polling at 5 pm. The state had recorded 83.41% polling in 2013.
 
The final voting figures in both states could go up slightly after information from all the polling booths in all the constituencies become available, they said. 
 
In Madhya Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office and the Congress is making a strong bid to return to power after a gap of 15 years.
 
In Mizoram, the Congress is looking for a third successive term in the face of a stiff challenge from the Mizo National Front.
 
Polling began at 7 a.m in three constituencies of Maoist-affected Balaghat district in Madhya Pradesh amid tight security, while in the remaining 227 of the 230 Assembly seats polling began at 8 a.m.
 
The polling will end in the three constituencies -- Baihar, Lanji and Paraswada -- at 3 p.m, while it will continue till 5 p.m in all the other constituencies.
 
In Madhya Pradesh, though the contest is mainly between the BJP and the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) are also in the fray. 
 
Among the 2,907 candidates in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has fielded candidates in all 230 seats, while the Congress is contesting in 229 seats leaving one seat, Jatara in Tikamgarh district, for the Sharad Yadav-led Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD).
 
The BSP has fielded 227 candidates and the SP is contesting in 51 seats. There are 1,102 independent candidates.
 
In the last polls, of the 230 seats, the BJP won 165, Congress 58, BSP four and Independents three. 
 
Over five crore registered voters in Madhya Pradesh -- 2,63,01,300 men, 2,41,30,390 women and 1,389 of the third gender -- are eligible to vote in today's polls.
 
In Mizoram, 768,181 voters, including 393,685 women, would decide the electoral fate of the 209 candidates in the state, of whom 15 are women. In 2013, only six women had contested and none were successful. 
 
According to senior police officials, around 11,100 security personnel comprising central paramilitary and state security forces were deployed across the state to ensure smooth polling and prevent any untoward incident.
 
Besides the two national parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), many regional and local parties have fielded candidates in most of the 40 assembly constituencies. They include the main opposition Mizo National Front (MNF), People's Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM), Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) and Meghalaya-based National People's Party (NPP). 
 
However, the main contest is likely to be between the ruling Congress and the MNF. Both the parties have fielded 40 candidates each. 
 
The BJP, which is trying to make inroads in the state, has fielded candidates in 39 constituencies. 
 
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Except for 10 years -- 1998-2003 and 2003-2008 -- the Congress has been in power in Mizoram since it became a full-fledged state in 1987. 
 
Counting of votes in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram will be taken up on December 11 along with Chhattisgarh, where polling was held on November 12 and 20, and Rajasthan and Telangana, where voting will be held on December 7.
 
The term of the Assembly in Chhattisgarh is due to expire on January 5, 2019; Madhya Pradesh on January 7, 2019; Rajasthan on January 20, 2019 and Mizoram on December 15, 2018.
 
In Telangana, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) decided to go in for early polls and, accordingly, the Governor of the State had dissolved the Assembly with immediate effect on September 6, 2018, nearly nine months before its term was to end.
 
IANS adds:
 
Officials said the highlight of the day in Mizoram was that over 10,000 elederly voters exrcised their franchise with a 108-year old man, 106-year old woman on wheel chair and 103-year-old man coming out to vote. 
 
In the case of Madhya Pradesh, violence was reported in a few places in Bhind district. 
 
Two persons were arrested in a firing incident near an election booth in Bhind, police said. 
 
Several Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) malfunctioned, which were replaced by the poll panel officials. The Election Commission also announced that Rs 10 lakh each would be paid to its officials who died during the voting exercise. 
 
The highlight of the day in Madhya Pradesh was the voting by a 101-year-old woman, who exercised her franchise in Agar Malwa district.
 
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Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram to vote on Wednesday

Madhya Pradesh will vote on Wednesday to either give the BJP a fourth successive term in power notwithstanding anti-incumbency or give a chance to the challenger Congress to break the saffron party's monopoly over power for the last 15 years.

Polling officials checking Electronic Voting Machines on the eve of Mizoram Assembly elections, at a distribution centre at Pachhunga University College in Aizawl, Mizoram on November 27, 2018.
Polling officials checking Electronic Voting Machines on the eve of Mizoram Assembly elections, at a distribution centre at Pachhunga University College in Aizawl, Mizoram on November 27, 2018.
Madhya Pradesh will vote on Wednesday to either give the BJP a fourth successive term in power notwithstanding anti-incumbency or give a chance to the challenger Congress to break the saffron party's monopoly over power for the last 15 years.
 
Similarly, voters in Mizoram will also exercise their franchise on Wednesday to elect a new Assembly in which the Congress is striving for a third successive term against a stiff challenge from the Mizo National Front headed by former Chief Minister Zoramthanga. 
 
Mizoram, one of the four states where the Congress is in power at present besides Punjab and the Union Territory of Puducherry and part of a coalition in Karnataka, is the last remaining bastion for Congress in the northeast.
 
The campaign has been high decibel, often marked by bitter personal attacks, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi leading the charge of their parties. 
 
In Madhya Pradesh, the contest is mainly between the BJP and Congress though the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party are also in the fray. 
 
Apart from Modi's appeal, the BJP is banking on the image of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and its organisational structure. Party President Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley campaigned in the state. 
 
The Congress put up a spirited fight by raising issues concerning people and putting up a united fight by keeping the issue of leadership at bay. 
 
Rahul Gandhi sought to rejuvenate the state unit by appointing Kamal Nath as the party chief in April this year and naming Jyotiraditya Scindia, MP, as the campaign chief. 
 
Congress leaders have sought to highlight the problems of farmers, the poor, middle class and youths in their rallies holding, especially holding demonetisation and GST as the reasons for the agrarian distress and traders' plight. 
 
Rahul Gandhi attacked Modi and his government on issues of corruption and promises made in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and by Shivraj Chauhan in the 2013 elections. He has promised a farm loan waiver within 10 days of Congress coming power. 
 
National issues issues like surgical strike, construction of Ram temple, caste and dynasty were raised with the campaign barely revolving around the issue the development. 
 
Modi attacked the Congress on corruption, dynasty politics and several other issues and gave accounts of the achievements of the state and his own government.
 
Among the 2,907 candidates in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has fielded candidates for all 230 seats while the Congress is contesting in 229 seats leaving one seat, Jatara in Tikamgarh district, for Sharad Yadav-led LJD.
 
The BSP has fielded 227 candidates and the SP is contesting 51 seats. There are 1,102 independent candidates.
 
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The keenly watched constituency will be Budhni, the home turf of Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The Congress has pitted former Union minister and former Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee chief Arun Yadav against him. 
 
In the last polls, of the 230 seats, the BJP won 165, Congress 58, BSP four and independents three. 
 
Over five crore registered voters in Madhya Pradesh -- 2,63,01,300 men, 2,41,30,390 women and 1,389 comprising the third gender -- will decide the fate of the candidates. 
 
In Mizoram, the fight is largely between the Congress and the Mizo National Front though the BJP is also seeking to make its presence felt. The BJP has made deep inroads in the northeast since the Modi government came to power at the Centre in 2014 and its performance in the Christian majority state will be keenly watched. 
 
In the battle for supremacy in the election to the 40-member Mizoram Assembly, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla of the Congress is seeking a hat-trick. He claims there is no incumbency against his government.
 
A total of 209 candidates are in the fray in Mizoram. 
 
The Congress has fielded 40 candidates while the BJP and MNF are contesting in 39 and 40 constituencies, respectively.
 
The Chief Minister is contesting from two seats -- Serchhip and Champhai South. The Congress has been in power since Mizoram became a full-fledged state in 1987, except for 10 years from 1998 to 2008. 
 
Around 7.7 lakh voters will decide the fate of 209 candidates.
 
Counting of votes in both the states, along with three other states -- Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana -- will be held on December 11.
 
IANS
 

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Shivraj didn't file defamation suit on scams in MP: Rahul

 
MP polls: Rahul Gandhi takes digs at Shivraj Chouhan
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday attacked Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan for filing a defamation suit against him after he mistakenly took his son's name in the Panama Papers case and said he did not file any case when he talked about Vyapam, e-tender and illegal mining cases asking whether these were "true".
 
"Last time I had said mistakenly that the name of Shivraj's son is there in the Panama Papers. I realised it and said that I committed a mistake as there are a number of scams," he said addressing a public meeting in Madhya Pradesh, where assembly polls will be held on November 28.
 
Gandhi said that within a few minutes, Chauhan said that as he had given a wrong statement he would file a defamation suit against him.
 
"Shivrajji tell me one thing. You filed a defamation suit against me over the Panama Papers issue. But on Vyapam scam, e-tendering scam and illegal mining you did not file a defamation suit on me. Are these scams true," Gandhi asked, questioning the Chief Minister's "silence" on these issues. 
 
He said that "there are elections in several states and in most of these states, BJP Chief Ministers are corrupt. In Rajasthan, the son of Chief Minister (Vasundhra Raje) took Rs 10 crore from Lalit Modi. In Chhattisgarh, Raman Singh's son name appeared in the Panama Papers. And here in MP, there is Vyapam scam, illegal mining scam and e-tendering scam cases," he said. 
 
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress leader said, before coming to power in 2014, in all his public meeting speeches he talked about "corruption, corruption and corruption". 
 
"But now look carefully to all his speeches now. Now there is no reference of corruption, employment and farmer issues," he said. 
 
Gandhi said Modi used to ask people then to not make him Prime Minister but a watchman. "But Modiji in his speech did not tell you that who he would be guarding whether Anil Ambani, Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi or Lalit Modi," he thundered. 
 
"Some took away Rs 10,000 crore and some Rs 30,000 crore from the country and the watchman after stealing the money from the pockets of the people put it in the pockets of an Indian industrialist," he said. 
 
Gandhi said that the UPA government's deal for 126 Rafale fighter jets with French government was changed by Modi to favour his industrialist friend. 
 
"Even former French President (Francois Hollande) has called our Prime Minister a thief," he said. 
 
The Congress leader also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre of not fulfilling its promises and said, "Modi had said we shall waive farmers loans but that has not been done yet. And once we are voted to power in the state, within 10 days we would waive the farm loans," he said. 
 
IANS
 

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