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Denied LS ticket by BJP, Jaswant Singh says will file nomination on Monday

Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who is upset at being denied a ticket by the party to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from his home town of Barmer, confirmed on Sunday that he would file his nomination from there on Monday, presumably as an independent candidate.

Not furniture that BJP can adjust me: Jaswant
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh, who is upset at being denied a party ticket to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from his home town of Barmer in Rajasthan, today confirmed that he would file his nomination from there tomorrow, presumably as an independent candidate.
 
At the same time, he ruled out joining the Congress or any other party, saying it was insulting to him for any party to even think on such lines.
 
Reacting to media reports that the Congress might try and rope him in, Mr Singh, 76, told newspersons in his village that he had spent his entire political life in the BJP and had never thought of joining any other party.
 
"If the Congress is thinking along those lines, it is a waste of their time," he said.
 
But, despite repeated queries, he refused to confirm or deny whether the Congress had, in fact, made any overtures to him or not.
 
To another question, Mr Singh said he would go to Barmer tomorrow and file his nominations. "I will go to Barmer, will discuss the issue with others and act accordingly," he said.
 
Asked if he would resign from the party before filing his nomination, he said these things would be known tomorrow.
 
Mr Singh was particularly unhappy with senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley's statement that the party could not "adjust" Mr Singh in its list of candidates and that it would find other ways of using his abilities.
 
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"I saw on television a party leader saying that the could not 'adjust' me. The choice of words shows their way of thinking and their arrogant nature. It is insulting to me. I am not a piece of furniture, a chair or a table, which can be moved to some other part of the room if it does not fit in one place.
 
"I don't want to be 'adjusted'," he said. "All my life, I have worked for the party, in its best interests, to the best of my ability," he said.
 
About Barmer, he said it was the place where he was born and where he had grown. "All that I know today, I learnt from here," he said.
 
Asked about the caste equations in the area, Mr Singh regretted that the social fabric of the region was being torn by such considerations. He said he had never practised such politics. "You cannot divide society and people in this manner. If we persist in doing so, the state will end up as a second-rate UP, a third-rate Bihar," he said.
 
The BJP had, on Friday, announced that its candidate from Barmer would be Col Sonaram Chaudhary, a former MLA, who had recently joined it after resigning from the Congress, ignoring Mr Singh's claims and his wish that he be allowed to contest what could possibly be his last election from his home turf.
 
Reacting to the move, Mr Singh had hit out at the party yesterday, saying that it had been encroached upon by "outsiders", an obvious reference to the fact that it had given tickets to several people who had joined it in recent weeks, ignoring the claims of party loyalists.
 
He also made it clear to journalists at Jodhpur on his way to barmer that he would not indulge in any kid of bargaining with the party for post-election positions or any other officers from it.
 
"My sense of honour is not subject to trading," he said, even as Mr Jaitley and BJP President Rajnath Singh said that the party would utilise Mr Singh's abilities in some other way.
 
Mr Rajnath Singh said the importance that the BJP acccorded to Mr Singh could not be judged on the basis of an election ticket alone. "He is far above that," he said.
 
"The challenge today is between the real BJP and the fake BJP," Mr Singh said. "Only the people can decide on the difference between the two," he said.
 
He said he had lived and struggled all these years to uphold the principles on which the BJP was founded and it was important that he continued to do so.
 
He said it was for the BJP to realise what would add value to the party, to India and to the people of India.
 
The BJP's decision to deny the ticket to Mr Singh is being seen as yet another indication that the old order in the party is being forced to yield place to the new.
 
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According to media reports, Mr Singh had conveyed to the BJP leadership that he would contest the election from Barmer as an independent candidate if the party decided against nominating him.
 
He has never contested from Barmer, having been elected to the Lok Sabha from Chittorgarh in Rajasthan in 1991 and 1996, and from Darjeeling in West Bengal in the last general elections in 2009.
 
According to sources, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had pushed for a ticket for Col Choudhary, a Jat leader, after he joined the BJP some time ago.
 
Col Choudhary had lost the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Barmer to Mr Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra Singh, who now represents Sheo - a part of the Barmer Parliamentary constituency - in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.
 
The move to deny Mr Singh a ticket has also upset a section of BJP workers in Barmer, who staged protests and tore party posters to express their anger.
 
The denial of the party nomination to Mr Singh came just a day after the BJP had, on Thursday, managed to mollify its veteran leader Lal Krishna Advani into accepting the party's decision to field him from Gandhinagar in Gujarat, though he had expressed his wish to shift to Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
 
Earlier, another party veteran, Murli Manohar Joshi, was reportedly upset after he had to make way for BJP Prime Ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who wanted to contest the Lok Sabha elections from his constituency of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. He was persuaded finally to move to Kanpur.
 
Another senior leader, Lalji Tandon, had to give up his claim over Lucknow, the seat held by him, to accommodate Mr Rajnath Singh, who decided against contesting from Ghaziabad, the seat he had won the last time.
 
In Punjab, three-time MP and former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu had to make way in Amritsar for senior leader Arun Jaitley.
 
Yesterday, the BJP denied renomination to seven-time MP Harin Pathak from Ahmedabad East and fielded well-known actor Paresh Rawal as its candidate from the constituency. Mr Pathak is known to be close to Mr Advani and was reportedly not on very good terms with Mr Modi.
 
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Foundation stones laid for Dwarka Expressway and Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, Jaipur Ring Road inaugurated

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stones for development of the 8-lane access controlled Dwarka Expressway and Delhi-Mumbai Expressway here yesterday. 
 
The ministers also inaugurated the Jaipur Ring Road through a video link on the occasion. 
 
Speaking on the occasion, Swaraj said the three projects are a gift for Delhi and Haryana. The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will change the future of the Mewat region and will bring it on the industrial map of the country, she said.
 
She expressed appreciation for the proposal to plant more than two million new trees on these roads. 
 
Jaitley said the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will link two most important freight centres of the country, boost economic activity and generate employment opportunities. He extended compliments for Gadkari’s efforts in developing the National Highway network in the country. He has successfully brought up this sector to the building of 29 km per day against a mere seven km earlier. Nearly 91% of the country’s villages are now linked with main roads, he said.
 
Gadkari said that, while developing expressways and highways, full attention is being given to minimising pollution levels. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway, Dhaula Kuan flyover and others will definitely reduce traffic congestion thereby improving the air quality in the city. 
 
The Delhi- Mumbai Expressway will also speed up the development and smart cities will develop along them, generating vast employment opportunities for the local people. Projects worth over 15 lakh crore are underway in the Ministry and these are being taken up with full transparency, in a corruption-free atmosphere. All projects are being completed within the time schedule.
 
The Delhi-Vadodara-Mumbai Expressway is conceived as a 1320-km greenfield project with an estimated cost of Rs 90,000 crore. The existing Delhi-Mumbai National Corridor (NH-8 section of the Golden Quadrilateral) is one the busiest and most critical routes of the national highways network, witnessing average traffic of more than 80,000 CPUs per day. 
 
Considering the present traffic scenario, it was decided to develop an alternative alignment connecting Delhi with Vadodara, which on linking up with the proposed Vadodara-Mumbai Expressway, would create seamless connectivity between Delhi and Mumbai and improve the efficiency of this busy National Corridor. 
 
The proposed Delhi-Vadodara-Mumbai road will result in an overall reduction of about 150 km in the present distance between Delhi and Mumbai. In addition, Delhi-Vadodara expressway would also act as an expressway to Jaipur via the already developed Jaipur-Dausa NH-11. 
 
The expressway will also reduce the distance to other important economic centres of Kota, Bhopal and Indore from Delhi (through spurs of intersecting NHs being developed under Bharatmala) by about 100 km.
 
The Delhi-Vadodara Expressway is being taken up in 5 phases at a cost of Rs 45,000 crore. Bids have been invited for all these phases and are at various stages of finalization. Work has been awarded for a part of Phase I and will be done for the remaining phases this year.
 
The 29 km Dwarka Expressway (NH-248BB) being built at a cost of Rs 9,000 crore will start from Shiv Murti to terminate near Kherki Daula on NH-8. This section of NH-8 is a part of Delhi-Jaipur-Ahmedabad-Mumbai arm of Golden Quadrilateral and Delhi-Gurgaon section is presently carrying traffic of over 3 lakhs PCUs, much beyond the designed capacity of this highway, leading to severe congestion. 
 
Keeping this in view, Dwarka Expressway has been conceived as a bypass of Gurgaon. This Expressway stretches 18.9 km in Haryana and 10.1 km in Delhi. It is also proposed to provide western connectivity to Indira Gandhi International Airport from Dwarka side from this expressway, providing alternate connectivity to the airport for west Delhi and Haryana. 
 
The expressway will also provide direct access to upcoming Exhibition-Cum-Convention Centre in Sector 25 of Dwarka.
 
The 57-km long six-lane Jaipur Ring Road has been completed at a cost of Rs 1,217 crore. It connects NH-11 (Agra Road), NH-8 (Ajmer Road), NH-12 (Tonk Road), and NH-12 (Malpura Road). 
 
The project involved the construction of two road overbridges (ROBs), a flyover, two major bridges, 20 minor bridges, 32 Vehicular Underpasses (VUPs) and 31 culverts. The project envisages a considerable reduction in traffic congestion and pollution in Jaipur city.
 
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Robert Vadra, mother Maureen appear before ED officials in Jaipur

Robert Vadra (Photo: Facebook)
Robert Vadra (Photo: Facebook)
Businessman Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, and his mother Maureen Vadra appeared before officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here in connection with its investigations into an alleged land scam in Bikaner district of Rajasthan.
 
Vadra and his mother had arrived in Jaipur yesterday afternoon. They were joined late in the evening by his wife Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the sister of Rahul Gandhi, who flew in from Lucknow, where she had made her debut in active politics with a massive roadshow earlier in the day.
 
Ms. Vadra accompanied her husband and mother-in-law to the ED's office before leaving the city, just as she had done when he had made his first appearance before ED officials in Delhi last week in another case related to alleged money laundering.
 
Vadra, 50, was grilled by ED officials in Delhi for long hours on three days last week in connection with a case of money laundering, in which he is alleged to own illegal properties in London bought with amounts received as kickbacks in defence and petroleum deals during the tenure of the previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.
 
Rajasthan High Court had asked Vadra and his mother to cooperate with the ED in the Bikaner case after they had approached it to ensure that no coercive action was taken against them by the agency.
 
In the money-laundering case, Vadra has been granted anticipatory bail until February 16 by a Delhi court.
 
The ED had registered a criminal case in connection with the Bikaner land deals in 2015 on the basis of FIRs and chargesheets filed by the Rajasthan Police. The tehsildar of the area had filed a complaint about alleged forgery in the allotment of land in the area.
 
Sources said Vadra will be questioned about the role of one of his firms which had reportedly purchased land in the area.
 
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Earlier this morning, before reaching the ED office here, Vadra posted a picture of himself with his mother and alleged that the Government was being vindictive by harassing a senior citizen.
 
"So here we are my 75 year old mother n me in Jaipur to depose in front of the Enforcement Directorate. Not understanding the lows of this vindictive government to be harassing a senior citizen, who the world knows has lost her daughter in a car crash, her ailing son to diabetes, and her husband as well. Three deaths n all I did was to ask her to spend time with me in my office, so I can look after her and we both could grieve on our losses, while spending time together. 
 
"Now she is being accused, maligned and called to be interrogated, for spending time in my office. Since I have already been interrogated for 3 days in Delhi’ headquarters, of the Enforcement Directorate. If there was any issue or any illegality, which was found by government, why did it take them 4 years n 8 months, to call me a month before campaigning begins for the General elections. Do they think people in India do not view it as an election gimmick ?! As I always have adhered to rules and overall being a disciplined person, I have the ability to sustain any amount of hours of questioning and having nothing to hide, I will answer every question with respect n dignity.
 
"This too shall pass and will make me stronger.  What goes around comes around. God is with us !!" he said.
 
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Vadra, mother reach Jaipur to appear before ED in Bikaner land deal case

Robert Vadra (Photo: Facebook)
Robert Vadra (Photo: Facebook)
Businessman Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, arrived here today along with his mother Maureen to appear before officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with their investigations into an alleged land scam in Bikaner, Rajasthan.
 
Vadra, 50, was grilled by ED officials in Delhi for long hours on three days last week in connection with a case of money laundering, in which he is alleged to own illegal properties in London bought with amounts received as kickbacks in defence and petroleum deals during the tenure of the previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.
 
Rajasthan High Court had asked Vadra and his mother to cooperate with the ED in the Bikaner case after they had approached it to ensure that no coercive action was taken against them by the agency.
 
In the money-laundering case, Vadra has been granted anticipatory bail until February 16 by a Delhi court.
 
The ED has registered a criminal case in connection with the Bikaner land deals in 2015 on the basis of FIRs and chargesheets filed by the Rajasthan Police. The tehsildar of the area had filed a complaint about alleged forgery in the allotment of land in the area.
 
Sources said Vadra will be questioned about the role of one of his firms which had reportedly purchased land in the area.
 
Vadra flew to Jaipur with his mother even as his wife Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, made her debut today in full-time active politics with a massive roadshow in Lucknow, along with Rahul Gandhi and senior party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.
 
Ms. Vadra and Mr. Scindia have been appointed as the General Secretaries of the party in charge of Uttar Pradesh East and Uttar Pradesh West, respectively.
 
"My Best wishes to you P, on your new journey of working in Uttar Pradesh and serving the people of India," Vadra said in a message on his Facebook page.
 
"You have been my best friend, a perfect wife and the best mother to our Children. 
 
"There is a very Vindictive and vicious political atmosphere... But I know, it’s her duty to serve the people and Now we hand her to the people of India. Please keep her safe," he added.
 
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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. 
 
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Rajasthan: Gehlot allots portfolios to his Ministers, keeps Home, Finance

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Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh on early Thursday allocated portfolios to the Council of Ministers, three days after 23 ministers took oath, with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot keeping key departments including Home, Finance and Personnel.
 
The allocation of portfolios took place at 2 a.m., a statement said. 
 
Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot gets PWD and Rural Development, the statement said.
 
General Administration, Information Technology and Telecommunications are also with Gehlot while Science and Technology, and Statistics have been allotted to Pilot.
 
B.D. Kalla has been given Power, Public Health Engineering, Culture and Archaeology, while Pratap Singh Khachariyawas got two departments -- Transportation and Soldiers' Welfare. 
 
Shanti Dhariwal has been given the Urban Development, Housing and Legal departments.
 
Raghu Sharma has got the Medical and Health, Ayurveda, ESI, Information and Public Relations departments. 
 
Parsadi Lal was allotted Industries and State Ventures while Master Bhanwarlal has been given Social Justice and Empowerment and Disaster Management. 
 
Lalchand Kataria gets Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, while Pramod Jain Bhaya has received Mining and the Cow Ministry.
 
Vishwendra Singh will look after Tourism Ministry, while Harish Chaudhary has got Revenue and Irrigation.
 
Ramesh Chand Meena has been given the Food and Civic Supplies department, Udailal Anjana has got Co-operative and Indira Gandhi Canal Project while Saleh Mohammad gets the Minorities and Waqf departments.
 
Govind Singh Dotarasa has got Education, Mamta Bhupesh has been allotted the Women and Child Development department and Arjun Sungh gets the Bamania Tribe Regional Development Department. 
 
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Bhanwar Singh Bhati has got the Higher Education department (independent charge), Sukhiram Vishnoi has Forest department (independent charge), Environment, Department of Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs. 
 
Ashok Chandna gets the Youth and Sports department, Tikaram Juli has been given the Labour department (independent charge), Bhanjanlal Jatav gets the Department of Home Defence and Civil Defence (Independent charge) and Department of Printing and stationery (Independent Charge).
 
Rajendra Singh Yadav has been allotted Planning (Manpower), (Independent Charge), State Motor Garage Department (Independent Charge) Language Department (Independent Charge), Social Justice and Empowerment and Disaster Management and Assistance. 
 
Earlier, throughout Wednesday, the files related to portfolios were being transferred from Delhi to Jaipur and vice-versa due to difference of opinion between the Congress members. 
 
On Wednesday morning, Pilot met Congress President Rahul Gandhi while in the later half, Gehlot went to Delhi with the files. 
 
After an eight-hour long meeting in Delhi, the portfolio distribution process was eventually completed around 2 a.m. on Thursday.
 
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Rajasthan Cabinet portfolios allocated, Gehlot keeps Home, Finance

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Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh on early Thursday allocated portfolios to the Council of Ministers, three days after 23 ministers took oath, officials said.
 
The allocation of portfolios took place at 2 a.m., a statement said. 
 
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has kept key departments including Home, Finance and Personnel with him, while Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot gets PWD and Rural Development, the statement said.
 
General Administration, Information Technology and Telecommunications are also with Gehlot while Science and Technology, and Statistics have been allotted to Pilot.
 
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Right wing protestors force Naseeruddin Shah to give Ajmer Literature Festival a miss

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Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah on Friday gave the Ajmer Literature Festival a miss due to strong protests by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and other right wing associations for his controversial statements.
 
In a TV interview, Shah had said that he fears for his children in this country. He has reportedly said, "In some areas killing of a cow receives more importance than lynching of a police officer..."
 
Meanwhile, the Bollywood actor told the media that he loves the country he resides in. "What mistake did I make by expressing my thoughts," he asked.
 
Police officials in Ajmer confirmed that right wing demonstrators did protest against Shah. However, no FIR has been lodged. 
 
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Gehlot sworn in as Rajasthan CM, Pilot as Deputy CM

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Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot was sworn in as Chief Minister of Rajasthan for a third time while Sachin Pilot took oath as Deputy Chief Minister at the Albert Hall here on Monday.
 
Governor Kalyan Singh administered the oath of office and secrecy to them in the presence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
 
Among those who were at the venue were NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Chief Ministers N. Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh), H.D. Kumaraswamy (Karnataka) and V. Narayanasamy (Puducherry), former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, DMK leader M. K. Stalin, JMM leader Hemant Soren and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha chief Babulal Marandi.
 
Former Rajasthan Chief Minister and BJP leader Vasundhara Raje also attended the event along with Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kumari Selja, Jitin Prasad and Navjot Singh Sidhu.
 
The Congress rode to power in Rajasthan after five years, defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party in Assembly elections.
 
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Gehlot sworn in as Rajasthan CM, Pilot Deputy CM

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Congress leader Ashok Gehlot was sworn in on Monday as the 12th Chief Minister of Rajasthan, while the party's state president Sachin Pilot took oath as his deputy at a ceremony here.
 
It is Gehlot's third innings as Chief Minister.
 
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Nationalist Congress Party's chief Sharad Pawar were some of those who attended the ceremony in Albert Hall.
 
Former Chief Minister of Rajasthan and BJP leader Vasundhara Raje was also present at the event.
 
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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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CLP meet begins in Rajasthan to elect leader

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Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and state Congress president Sachin Pilot reached the Pradesh Congress Committee office on Wednesday to attend a meeting which will choose the leader of the Congress Legislature Party, who will be the Chief Minister.
 
Both Pilot and Gehot are leading contenders for the top post.
 
Newly-elected Congress MLAs from across the state are attending the meeting.
 
IANS
 

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Majority of Rajasthan ministers lose in Rajasthan Assembly elections

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The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) faced a major embarrassment in Rajasthan when 17 of its ministers lost their seats, though Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje managed to win in Jhalrapatan with a margin of 34,980 votes.
 
Raje defeated her Congress rival and veteran BJP leader Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra Singh, who had switched sides from the BJP just before the elections and contested against her.
 
Of the 17 BJP Ministers, state Agriculture Minister Prabhu Lal Saini lost Anta seat to his nearest rival Pramod Bhaya of Congress, who got 97,160 votes with a winning margin of 34,063 votes.
 
Sports Minister Gajendra Singh Khivsar also lost from Lohwat seat to his Congress rival Kishana Ram Vishnoi. Public Works Department Minister Yunush Khan, who was pitted against state Congress President Sachin Pilot from Tonk constituency, too, had to face defeat. Pilot secured 1,09,040 votes and won with a margin of 54,179 seats. 
 
Tribal Area Minister Nandlal Meena's son Hemant Meena lost the Pratapgarh seat to Congress's Ramlal, who bagged 1,00,625 votes and won with a margin of 16,668 votes.
 
Industy Minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat lost Jhotwara seat to Congress's Lalchand Kataria, who secured 1,27,185 votes, securing victory with a margin of 10,747 votes. Water Resources Minister Rampratap lost Hanumangarh seat to his Congress rival Vinod, Kumar who secured 1,11,207 votes, emerging victorious with a margin of 15,522 votes. 
 
Minister Hem Singh Bhadana lost from Thangazi constituency. He was defeated by Independent candidate Kanti Prasad, who secured 64,079 votes and won with a margin of 29,350 votes. Bhadana was contesting as an Independent candidate after quitting BJP a few months ago.
 
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Minister Ajay Sigh Kilak lost Degana constituency to his Congress rival Vijaypal Mirdaha, who got 75,362 votes and won with a margin of 21,538 votes. Social Justice and Minority Affairs Minister Arun Chaturvedi lost Civil Lines to Congress's Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, who secured 87,937 votes and won with a margin of 18,078 votes.
 
Urban Development Minister Shrichand Kriplani lost Nimbahera seat to Congress's Anjana Udailal, who got 1,10,037 votes and had a victory margin of 11,908 votes. Revenue Minister Amra Ram lost Pachpadra seat to Congress's Madan Prajapat, who polled 69,393 votes and won with a margin of 2,395 votes. Art and Culture Minister Krishnendra Kaur (Deepa) lost Nadbai seat to her BSP rival Joginder Singh Awana, who got 50,976 votes. 
 
Mines Minister Surender Pal Singh lost Karanpur seat to Congress's Gurmeet Singh Kooner (73, 896 votes) with a margin of 28,376 votes. State Minister Otaram Devasi faced defeat in Sirohi constituency from Independent candidate Sanyam Lodha, who got 81,272 votes and won with a margin of 10,253 votes.
 
State Minister Banshidhar Bajiya lost Khandela seat to Independent candidate Mahadeo Singh, who got 53,864 votes and won with a margin of 4,348 votes. State Minister Sushil Katara lost Chorasi seat to Bhartiya Tribal Party candidate Rajkumar Roat, who got 64,119 votes and won with a margin of 12,934 votes. 
 
State Minister Kamsa also lost Bhopalgarh seat to his Rashtriya Loktantrik Party rival Pukhraj, who got 68,386 votes. His won by a margin of 22,584 votes.
 
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Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje concedes defeat

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Tuesday conceded BJP's defeat in the Assembly elections and hoped the Congress would take forward the policies her government had implemented in the last five years.
 
She said her party will raise issues of public importance while sitting in the opposition in the Assembly.
 
"I accept this mandate by the people. BJP has worked a lot for them in these five years, I hope the next party takes those policies and works forward," Raje said while addressing a media briefing. 
 
Raje said the BJP will raise issues of public interest and will take positive steps in their favour while sitting in the opposition in the Assembly. 
 
She congratulated the Congress for their victory in the state and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, senior party leaders and all the party workers for their guidance and support. 
 
In a closely fought battle the Congress is all set to form a new government ousting the BJP from power.
 
IANS
 

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Congress Legislature Party to meet on Wednesday

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The Congress said on Tuesday after winning the Rajasthan Assembly election that it has called a meeting of its newly elected legislators on Wednesday to decide who the new Chief Minister should be.
 
AICC General Secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pandey and AICC General Secretary K. C. Venugopal said here that the newly elected Congress MLAs would meet at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. 
 
Pandey said he and Venugopal would also individually meet each MLA to know his opinion. They would also speak with senior leaders in the state.
 
"After that we would apprise the Congress President of the situation. The final decision would be of the Congress President," Venugopal said.
 
State Congress chief Sachin Pilot and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot were also present at the press conference. 
 
The party is poised for a majority in the state with trends indicating it would bag 97 of the 199 seats for which elections were conducted. 
 
IANS
 

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Ballot unit box found on Rajasthan highway

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A ballot unit box was found lying unattended on National Highway 27 near Shahabad town in Rajasthan's Baran district on Friday night, police said on Friday.
 
Villagers who spotted the box alerted the police. The ballot unit had Kishanganj 194 and R-149 written on it.
 
District Election Officer S. P. Singh said two officials, Abdul Rafeeq and Naval Singh, were found guilty and suspended following the episode.
 
As per protocol, the machine was to be sent to the district headquarter to be kept in the strong room, he said. 
 
Rajasthan voted on Thursday to elect a new state Assembly. The two main contenders for power are the ruling BJP and the main opposition Congress.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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72.62% voting in Rajasthan, 67% in Telangana as Assembly polls end

More than 72.62% of the electorate in Rajasthan and 67% in Telangana turned out to exercise their franchise amidst tight security today, bringing the curtains down on crucial Assembly polls in five states just months ahead of the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Voters queue up outside a polling booth in Warangal district of Telangana in the State Assembly elections on December 7, 2018.
Voters queue up outside a polling booth in Warangal district of Telangana in the State Assembly elections on December 7, 2018.
More than 72.62 percent of the electorate in Rajasthan and 67 percent in Telangana turned out to exercise their franchise amidst tight security today, bringing the curtains down on crucial Assembly polls in five states just months ahead of the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The final voting figures in both states are likely to be slightly higher as Election Commission officials collate numbers from polling booths in remote areas.
 
Polling was held on November 28 in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram and in two phases on November 12 and 20 in Chhattisgarh.
 
Counting of votes in all five states will be taken up on December 11 and all results are expected to be available by that evening.
 
In Rajasthan, where voting began at 8 am and will continue till 5 pm, the Congress is making a strong bid to unseat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Vasundhara Raje that has been in power since December 2013.
 
About 4.74 crore voters were eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 2,274 candidates in the fray for the 200-member Assembly. 
 
Out of 2,274 candidates, 189 women were in the fray in 199 out of the 200 assembly constituencies. The BJP contested all seats, while the Congress had left five seats for its allies. 
 
The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) fielded 190 candidatesm the Communist Party of India-Marxist 28 and the Communist Party of India 16.  There were 830 independent candidates. 
 
The election in Alwar district's Ramgarh constituency was postponed due to the death of BSP candidate Laxman Singh. 
 
In Telangana, polling began at 7 am and ended at 5 pm in 106 constituencies. In 13 Left-wing extremism (LWE)-affected constituencies, polling ended an hour earlier at 4 pm.
 
There were long queues of voters outside many polling booths at the close of polling hours, and all of them were allowed to vote as per the procedure.
 
Around 2.8 crore electors were eligible to decide the fate of 1,821 candidates in Telangana in the first election after the state was formed. In the 2014 elections held in united Andhra Pradesh, Telangana had registered a voter turnout of 68.9 percent.
 
The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), led by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, which is seeking a second consecutive term in power, is up against a resurgent Congress-led People's Front.
 
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. The TRS move was aimed at catching the Opposition parties unawares but the Congress threw a surprise by coming up with an alliance in a bid to oust the ruling party. 
 
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The Congress had tied up with TDP, CPI and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), a new party floated by M. Kodandaram, who was once Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao's friend in the Telangana movement.
 
Telangana had 51,796 polling stations, an increase of 14.25 per cent over the previous election in 2013. 
 
The term of the current 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.
 
IANS adds:
The polling in Telangana, which began on a dull note at 7 a.m., picked up after 9. Long queues of voters including women were seen especially in rural areas.
 
Chief Electoral Officer Rajath Kumar said barring sporadic incidents, the polling was peaceful and smooth in all 32,815 polling stations across 31 districts.
 
In some polling centres, the process started late due to technical glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
 
Of the total electorate, nearly half are women. There were 1,821 candidates, including Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and his 14 cabinet colleagues.
 
Congress candidate Vamshichand Reddy was injured in stone pelting by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Nagarkurnool district. He was admitted to a hospital.
 
Tension prevailed in Kodangal constituency where the midnight arrest of Congress Working Ptesident Revanth Reddy on December 4 had triggered a huge row, leading to transfer of Vikarabad District Superintendent of Police by the Election Commission.
 
Voters at several places complained that their names were missing from the voters' list. Some voters staged protests after officials did not allow them to exercise their franchise in the absence of voter slips.
 
Prominent people whose names were missing from the voter's list include family members of Finance Minister E. Rajender. Badminton player Jwala Gutta tweeted that her name was missing from the list.
 
Many celebrities including superstar Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Junior NTR, tennis star Sania Mirza and ace shuttler P. V. Sindhu voted but this failed to enthuse the voters as overall turnout remained less than 40 per cent by 3 p.m.
 
Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) President cast his vote in his village in Siddipet district and exuded confidence that his party will retain power with a huge majority.
 
Over 50,000 security personnel, including 18,860 from neighbouring states and central forces, were deployed as part of the security arrangements.
 
Over 1.50 lakh polling personnel were on duty to conduct the polling process. As many as 55,329 EVMs and 39,763 control units were in use.
 
For the first time, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) were installed across the state.
 
The BJP was the third key force in some constituencies. The Bahujan Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also contested majority of the seats.
 
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) contested eight seats in Hyderabad.
 
In Rajasthan, too, the elections were largely peaceful barring a few sporadic incidents of violence.
 
The voting was quite low at the start, but it picked up pace gradually. In all, 41.33 per cent votes were cast till 1 p.m, which touched around 60 per cent by 3 p.m and went up to 72.65 per cent by 5 p.m.
 
The Congress, meanwhile, has complained to the Election Commission (EC) about malfunctioning of around 400 VVPAT machines. The party workers also complained of slow voting and requested the Commission to extend the voting time.
 
A total of 1.44 lakh constables, head constables and 1,500 police officials were deputed for election duties, while a total of 640 companies were monitoring at different polling centres. Strict vigilance was maintained at 11,000 booths with the help of web casting, videography and micro-observers.
 
Early in the morning, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje voted at a polling booth in her Jhalrapatan constituency in Jhalawar district, while Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Congress leader Sachin Pilot voted at a polling booth in Jaipur.
 
"I think people have seen the kind of work that has taken place in Rajasthan and I think they will go out and vote for development," Raje said after casting her ballot.
 
The Congress' key candidate, Pilot, who is fighting an Assembly election for the first time, said: "There are people who never visited the state and have come only for campaigning. The state has suffered a lot under Raje."
 
In wake of technical faults reports in many polling stations, Jalore District Collector B. L. Kothari said: "Around four EVMs had technical glitch in Ahore constituency. However, within a few minutes, these machines were replaced and smooth polling started in there. This was in early morning owing to poor connections but they were rectified immediately as we had extra machines at the centre."
 
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Polling begins in Rajasthan, Telengana to elect new Assemblies

Polling began on Friday morning amidst tight security in Rajasthan and Telangana to elect new legislative assemblies -- the last two of five states that have gone to the polls just months ahead of the all-important 2010 Lok Sabha elections.

Voters queue up outside a polling booth in Warangal district of Telangana in the State Assembly elections on December 7, 2018.
Voters queue up outside a polling booth in Warangal district of Telangana in the State Assembly elections on December 7, 2018.
Polling began this morning amidst tight security in Rajasthan and Telangana to elect new legislative assemblies -- the last two of five states that have gone to the polls just months ahead of the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Voting was held on November 28 in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram and in two phases on November 12 and 20 in Chhattisgarh.
 
Counting of votes in all five states will be taken up on December 11 and all results are expected to be available by that evening.
 
In Rajasthan, where voting began at 8 am and will continue till 5 pm, the Congress is making a strong bid to unseat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Vasundhara Raje that has been in power since December 2013.
 
About 4.74 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 2,274 candidates in the fray for the 200-member Assembly. 
 
Out of 2,274 candidates -- 189 women are contesting for 199 out of the 200 assembly constituencies. 
 
The BJP is contesting on all seats while the Congress has left five seats for its allies. 
 
The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded 190, the Communist Party of India-Marxist 28 and the Communist Party of India 16 candidates. There are 830 Independent candidates. 
 
The election in Alwar district's Ramgarh constituency has been postponed due to the death of BSP candidate Laxman Singh. 
 
In Telangana, polling began at 7 am and will end at 5 pm in 106 constituencies. In 13 Left-wing extremism (LWE)-affected constituencies, polling will end an hour earlier at 4 pm.
 
Around 2.8 crore electors will decide the fate of 1,821 candidates in the first election after Telangana was formed.
 
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The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), led by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, which is seeking a second consecutive term in power, is up against a resurgent Congress-led People's Front.
 
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. The TRS move was aimed at catching the Opposition parties unawares but the Congress threw a surprise by coming up with an alliance in a bid to oust the ruling party. 
 
The Congress has tied up with TDP, CPI and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), a new party floated by M. Kodandaram, who was once Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao's friend in the Telangana movement.
 
Telangana has 51,796 polling stations, an increase of 14.25 per cent over the previous election in 2013. 
 
The term of the current 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.
 
(With inputs from IANS)
 
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Rajasthan, Telangana will vote to elect new Assemblies on Friday

Rajasthan and Telangana will go to the polls on Friday in a high-stakes battle to elect new legislative assemblies, the results of which along with those in three other states can be a pointer to which way the wind is blowing ahead of next year's general elections.

Polling officials wait in queues to collect Electronic Voting Machines from a distribution centre before leaving for their polling stations, on the eve of Rajasthan Assembly elections, in Jaipur on December 6, 2018. (Photo: Ravi Shankar Vyas/IANS)
Polling officials wait in queues to collect Electronic Voting Machines from a distribution centre before leaving for their polling stations, on the eve of Rajasthan Assembly elections, in Jaipur on December 6, 2018. (Photo: Ravi Shankar Vyas/IANS)
Rajasthan and Telangana will go to the polls on Friday in a high-stakes battle to elect new legislative assemblies, the results of which along with those in three other states can be a pointer to which way the wind is blowing ahead of next year's general elections.
 
The BJP and the Congress are locked in a tough fight in Rajasthan, which has not voted the same party to power for more than one term in the last 20 years, while in Telangana the ruling TRS is facing a resurgent Congress-led People's Front in its bid for a second term.
 
The contest is largely bipolar between the BJP and Congress for the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly but is expected to be triangular, especially in some seats, for the 119-member Telangana assembly where the Congress has tied up with unlikely ally TDP, CPI and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), a new party floated by M. Kodandaram, who was once Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao's friend in the Telangana movement.
 
The campaign in both the states has been bitter with personalized attacks by leaders of various parties. 
 
In Rajasthan, the BJP is fighting anti-incumbency to retain power. 
 
While over 4.74 crore people are eligible to vote in Rajasthan, there are over 2.80 crore voters in Telangana. 
 
The voting will start at 7 a.m. in Telangana and at 8 a.m. in Rajasthan and VVPATs (voter verifiable paper audit trail) will be used in all the constituencies. Voters will also have NOTA (none of the above) option. 
 
Tight security has been made in both the states and the results will be declared on December 11 along with those of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram.
 
Telangana has 51,796 polling stations, an increase of 14.25 per cent over the previous election in 2013. 
 
In Telangana, the political fortunes of 1,821 candidates will be decided in 119 constituencies in the first election after Telangana was formed.
 
Election authorities have made elaborate arrangements for a smooth conduct of the polling process in 32,815 polling stations.
 
According to Telangana's Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar, polling will be held from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in 106 constituencies while in 13 Left Wing Extremism affected constituencies polling will conclude at 4 p.m.
 
As the Communist Party of India-Maoist has given a call for boycott of elections, the police heightened vigil in areas bordering Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
 
The TRS government dissolved the dssembly about eight months ahead of schedule in the hope of taking the opposition parties by surprise but the Congress threw a surprise by coming up with an alliance in a bid to oust the ruling party. 
 
IANS
 

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BJP failed to deliver double-digit growth: Chidambaram

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The Narendra Modi-led central government has failed to deliver on its promise of a double-digit growth in the last four years and it will not manage it even in the remaining six months of its term, Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Saturday.
 
"This government promised a double-digit growth rate. They have not achieved that growth rate in any of the four years. And they will not achieve it in the last year also," he said at a press conference here.
 
The senior Congress leader said there was a sense of crisis in every sector, be it banking, industry, construction or real-estate.
 
Chidambaram's remarks came a day after official data showed that India's GDP growth rate declined to 7.1 per cent during the July-September quarter, compared to April-June's 8.2 per cent.
 
Earlier, in a series of tweets, he said the GDP growth in Q2 of 2018-19 was a good 1 per cent lower than in Q1.
 
He said the 8.2 per cent growth rate in April-June quarter was on a very low base in the previous year and did not warrant the jubilation of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
 
"Going forward, it is likely that Q3 and Q4 will register similar growth rates unless there are unexpected shocks. The new normal for the Indian economy is 7 per cent and 2018-19 will be a normal year," Chidambaram said.
 
"More and more large companies are going bankrupt today than ever before. More and more projects are stranded than ever before. More and more accounts turned NPA (non-performing assets) than ever before. More banks have been restrained from lending than ever before. There is a sense of crisis everywhere," he told the media here in poll-bound Rajasthan.
 
IANS
 

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BSP candidate dies, polls deferred in Rajasthan's Ramgarh seat

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The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday postponed elections in Ramgarh Assembly constituency under Alwar district of Rajasthan following the death of Lakshman Singh, a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate.
 
Singh died of heart attack in the wee hours of Thursday.
 
According to Election Commission officials, the state shall go to polls for 199 seats out of the total 200 seats on December 7. The date for election in Ramgarh will be declared later, said the official.
 
The Congress party's Safiya Khan is contesting from Ramgarh, while the Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Sukhwant Singh for the ensuing Assembly elections in the state.
 
IANS
 
 
 

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Rajasthan Congress manifesto: Farm loan waiver, free education for women and jobs

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The Congress on Thursday promised a loan waiver for Rajasthan farmers, free education for women and right to health in its manifesto released in the state capital for the ensuing assembly polls due on December 7.
 
Claiming it to be a "people's manifesto", the party named it as the Rajasthan Jan Ghoshna Patra, saying it has been finalised after going through over 2 lakh suggestions and opinions, said Sachin Pilot, state Congress president.
 
The party also promised pension for farmers and removal of agricultural equipment from the purview of GST. 
 
Party president Rahul Gandhi during his visit to Rajasthan had already promised a loan waiver to the farmers "within 10 days of coming to power" in the state, Pilot said.
 
He said the manifesto is not just a document, but a commitment to public. "We have plans for its time-bound implementation and the party will bring an accountability bill within 30 days," he added.
 
Promising "sufficient employment opportunities" for the youth, he said loans will be given to those who want to start their own business. Unemployed youth will get a monthly allowance of Rs. 3,500. Free travel will be arranged for students taking tests in the state, the manifesto said.
 
A law for the protection of journalists in Rajasthan, agriculture loans at lower interest rates, creating a board to stop migration of labourers and setting up Industrial Training Institutes in all districts figure in the manifesto.
 
Senior Congress leaders including Pilot, former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and chairman of the manifesto committee Harish Chaudhary were present at the formal launch of the manifesto.
 
On Tuesday, the BJP had released its manifesto promising 30,000 new government jobs every year, 50 lakh employment opportunities over the next five years in the private sector and an allowance of Rs 5,000 for the educated jobless.
 
IANS
 

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GJC hosts Preferred Manufacturers of India in Jaipur showcasing exclusive designs

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The 4th edition of Preferred Manufacturers of India (PMI) opened in the pink city on Monday to showcase exclusive designs for country’s top 150 jewellery retailers.
 
The show is organised by the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC), the apex gem & jewellery trade body. 
 
PMI as an exclusive B2B marketing platform in the gem & jewellery sector provides a dedicated forum for focused business from November 26-28 at Hotel Jaipur Marriott. Income Tax Commissioner Rolee Agarwal and Subhod Agarwal, Additional Chief Secretary, Higher and Technical Education Department, Government of Rajasthan were present as Chief guests and inaugurated the event.
 
Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, former Cabinet Minister and National Spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the guest of honour of PMI Jaipur. 
 
GJC chairman Nitin Khandelwal said, “GJC initiates various promotional activities to further the retail businesses as well as manufacturing segments through various dedicated platforms. PMI is such an initiative where we are providing a luxury podium for the manufacturers and retailers for focused business.  
 
“Today, PMI is known for its commitments towards providing fine platform where the buyers and sellers get maximum time to understand each other.  I think there is a need to evolve every trade exhibition by setting PMI as a model for doing business as it beats all odds and builds stronger bond amongst the buyer and seller,” he added.
 
GJC Vice-Chairman N Anantha Padmanaban said, "The PMI program is our exclusive B2B marketing platform for manufacturers. Our aim is to help participants by fulfilling their business objectives while combining business and leisure. PMI is a well-known name and brand in the industry now and it has helped many businesses to grow by leaps and bounds."
 
GJC’s PMI provides 360 degree solutions to participants by fulfilling several business objectives such as increasing profitability by offering them a competitive advantage. PMI is one of the very few events carefully curated for the business of gold and diamonds, a press release from GJC said.
 
PMI participants get to engage with leading retailers from across the country as select retailers are invited to these exclusive shows and are hand-picked to ensure the best matching of buyer-seller profiles with the aim of ensuring successful and mutually beneficial relationships. Scintillating fashion shows and gala nights are the icing on the cake.
 
Sumeet Anand, Convener-PMI, GJC, said, "PMI is a programme which is conceptualized and curated for promoting trade across the nation. Besides, it provides a 5-star experience and helps jewellers connect with the best and gain new perspective while presenting their latest trendy designs. 
 
“We have combined best in class manufacturers from the country on one platform for the retailers to pick their purchases just like any jeweller picks his jewels and pearls to make a beautiful string to help create a memorable PMI experience,” he added.
 
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Minorities Front quits Rajasthan polls, supports Congress

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The All India Minorities Front (AIMF) on Sunday decided to withdraw the nominations of its candidates in the upcoming Assembly polls in Rajasthan to help the "secular forces" defeat "communal elements" led by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
 
At a meeting of the party's Parliamentary Board chaired by National President S.M. Asif, it was felt that fielding candidates may result in a division of secular votes. So, the party decided to extend support to the Congress.
 
The AIMF chief appealed to the voters to defeat "fundamentalist and communal forces".
 
The party underlined that minorities, SCs, STs and OBCs had suffered the most under the BJP government. It also cautioned the members of the SC and ST communities against the designs of the BJP that was aiming at splitting SC and ST votes in the reserved constituencies.
 
Rajasthan goes to polls on December 7 to elect a 200-member Assembly. Counting of votes and the declaration of results are scheduled for December 11.
 
IANS
 

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Another BJP MLA joins Congress in Rajasthan

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Giving a major jolt to the ruling party in Rajasthan, Habibur Rehman, a BJP MLA from Nagaur, joined the Congress on Wednesday.
 
Rehman switched sides at the Pradesh Congress Committee office here soon after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Dausa, Harish Chandra Meena, joined the Congress in New Delhi earlier in the day.
 
Rehman joined the party in the presence of Ajmer MP Raghu Sharma.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Sharma said that the BJP party workers are feeling suffocated and hence are joining Congress to breathe easy.
 
With Habibur Rehman re-joinining Congress after 10 years, he said that the party welcomes him with open heart on his 'ghar vapasi'.
 
Rehman said that he had joined Congress without setting any terms and conditions and would work for strengthening the party.
 
"I have been connected with Congress since 1959 when my father was 'sarpanch' and he won assembly elections in 1962. I am happy to be back in my family, he added.
 
Rehman has been a minister in the Rajasthan cabinet earlier during Congress government. However, in 2008, he was denied ticket by the Congress and eventually joined BJP.
 
Thereafter, he contested the 2008 and 2013 elections as a BJP candidate and emerged winner in consecutive elections. 
 
However, on Sunday, when his name did not appear in the BJP's list of candidates, he sent his resignation to state party president Madanlal Saini.
 
The BJP has given his ticket to Mohan Ram Choudhary from Nagaur. 
 
IANS
 

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