Archive for ‘state polls’


Mamata Banerjee accuses government of trying to create ‘war hysteria’ after Pulwama attack

Mamata Banerjee claimed that her party Trinamool Congress(TMC) will win all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the polls.

INDIA Updated: Feb 25, 2019 16:35 IST

Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Jaish-e-Mohammed,Narendra Modi,Lok Sabha polls
Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee during a press conference at Press Club of India, in New Delhi, on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (HT Photot)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee Monday alleged that though the Modi government had intelligence inputs about the Pulwama attack, it did not take any step as it was more keen on “playing politics over the dead bodies of jawans”.

Banerjee, while addressing the Trinamool Congress’s extended core committee meeting in Kolkata, vowed to oust the “dictatorial Narendra Modi government” from power in the upcoming general election.

She claimed that her party Trinamool Congress(TMC) will win all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the polls.

“The central government was aware that such an attack can take place, there were intelligence inputs. Then why didn’t the government take action to protect our jawans. The government allowed them to die so that they can do politics over the dead body of jawans in the elections,” Banerjee said.

They want to create a “war hysteria” ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the TMC president alleged.

The central government is functioning in a peculiar way and union ministers are not aware of important decisions, Banerjee claimed.

“This government is being run by two brothers (Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah), who have blood of innocents on their hands,” she said.

“Our party workers and cadre should be cautious as efforts are on to tamper EVMs (electronic voting machines) during the Lok Sabha polls. You all have to thwart those efforts,” she said. On February 14, 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir after a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into their bus in Pulwama district.

Source: Hindustan Times


India’s Modi suffers biggest state election loss, boosting opposition

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s ruling party lost power in three key states on Tuesday, dealing Prime Minister Narendra Modi his biggest defeat since he took office in 2014 and boosting the opposition ahead of national polls next year.

The results in the heartland rural states of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh could force the federal government run by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to raise spending in the countryside, where more than two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people live.

Political analysts said the BJP’s defeat would underscore rural dismay with the government and could help unite the opposition led by the Congress party. Modi is personally popular but has been criticised for failing to deliver jobs for young people and better conditions for farmers.

Reacting late on Tuesday to the results, Modi wrote on Twitter: “Victory and defeat are an integral part of life. Today’s results will further our resolve to serve people and work even harder for the development of India.”

The results came as a shot in the arm for Rahul Gandhi, president of the left-of-centre Congress, who is trying to forge a broad alliance with regional groups and present Modi with his most serious challenge yet in a general election that must be held by May.

Congress has ruled India for most of its post-independence era after 1947 but was decimated by Modi’s BJP in national polls in 2014. Since then, it had struggled to make major inroads, even in state polls.

Gandhi, the fourth generation scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, has sought to build a coalition of regional groups.

On Tuesday, celebrations erupted outside the Congress party headquarters in New Delhi, with supporters dancing, setting off fircrackers and brandishing posters praising Gandhi.

“We are going to provide the states with a vision and a government they can be proud of,” Gandhi told reporters.

“There is a feeling among people that the promises made by the prime minister … have not been fulfilled.”

In Chhattisgarh, Congress was ahead in 68 of the 90 seats at stake, with the BJP on 16, according to data from the Election Commission. In Rajasthan, the Congress was leading in 99 of the 199 seats contested, against 73 for the ruling BJP.


In Madhya Pradesh, the most important of the five states that have held assembly elections in recent weeks, Congress was leading with 113 seats while the BJP had 110 out of 230.

Slideshow (9 Images)

Regional parties were leading in two smaller states that also voted, Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

Congress said it was confident it could form governments in all three big states. The BJP previously ruled all three, for three terms in two of them.

The BJP said the state results would not necessarily dictate what happens in next year’s general election.

Investors said the BJP had not fared as badly as feared, and nationally would still likely have an edge over an opposition coalition in the general election.

“A disappointing set of state election results … suggests that the ruling national party has lost some goodwill,” London-based economic research consultancy, Capital Economics, said in a note.

“That said, we maintain our view that the BJP will secure victory in the general election, which would allow PM Modi to get his reform agenda back on track after a lacklustre 2018.”

Markets recovered from sharp early losses and ended marginally higher, though the central bank governor’s sudden resignation on Monday kept investors nervous.

A lawmaker for the BJP said it had erred in focusing its campaign on partisan themes, such as the building of a Hindu temple at a site disputed by Muslims, instead of offering jobs and growth.

“We forgot the issue of development that Modi took up in 2014,” said Sanjay Kakade.


India state elections: Setback for Modi’s BJP in three key states

Supporters of India's main opposition Congress party celebrate after the initial poll results at the party headquarters in New Delhi, India, December 11, 2018Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionCongress supporters celebrate initial poll results in Delhi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-wing BJP party appear to be facing a political setback, with swings against it in three key state elections.

The opposition Congress Party looks set to form governments in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, while Madhya Pradesh heads for a photo-finish.

Correspondents say a win for the depleted Congress in at least two states will see it regain credibility.

General elections are due in 2019.

Early results in the central state of Madhya Pradesh put the Congress well ahead, but the BJP has been making a late comeback. It is still unclear which of the parties will eventually form the government there.

However the opposition, headed by Rahul Gandhi, has a clear lead in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which are former BJP strongholds.

Mr Modi, whose brand of Hindu nationalism helped him come to power in 2014, campaigned aggressively in all three states.

A shot in the arm for the opposition?

Soutik Biswas, BBC News, Delhi

This is the last round of state polls before general elections, which will be held in the next few months.

The Congress’s vastly improved performance in the three key heartland states will help change the perception that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP is invincible, boost the morale of Congress party workers and make it more acceptable to sceptical regional allies in the run-up to general elections. It will also help raise the profile of the Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi, who led a spirited campaign in the three states.

In 2014, the BJP won 62 of the 65 parliamentary seats in these three states.

Tuesday’s performance will be a shot in the arm for the Congress, which has consistently lost state elections since 2014 – the party rules in only two major states.

But state polls are often a poor predictor for the general elections.

It will take a lot more – including a powerful counter narrative and wider voter acceptability – for the Congress to mount a serious challenge to Mr Modi next year.

The good news is that politics in India is beginning to look competitive again.

Election results are also being declared for the southern state of Telangana and the north-eastern state of Mizoram.

Regional parties – the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and the Mizo National Front (MNF) – are headed for a landslide victory in these states.

Image captionThe regional Telangana Rashtriya Samiti has won a landslide in the southern state

The Congress was widely expected to win in the northern state of Rajasthan, while Madhya Pradesh was always seen as a close contest between the two parties.

But results in Chhattisgarh, where the Congress appears poised to win by a wide margin, have been the most surprising.

“The reason behind the Congress victory is anti-incumbency because people feel that there is a lack of development in most parts of the state despite 15 years of the BJP governing there,” reports BBC Hindi’s Salman Ravi from the state capital Raipur. “Farmers in particular, who have been angry about what they see as a lack of state support for their profession, voted for the Congress in large numbers. People in the state were clearly looking for change this time,”

An anti-incumbency vote against the BJP in the three key states had been predicted, and some analysts point out people vote differently at state and national level.

But the results so far suggest a very visible setback for the BJP, which had steadily increased its state footprint since coming to office in 2014.

And issues of rural discontent – such as unemployment, lack of development and farming distress – are being seen as issues that could affect ballots next year.

BBC Hindi’s Nitin Srivastava who is in Rajasthan, has been posting photos of the starkly different atmospheres at the BJP and Congress party offices in the state.


India’s ruling BJP seen losing ground in key state polls before national vote

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party is likely to lose two heartland states while a third is too close to call, exit polls showed on Friday in the final test of popularity before a national election due by May next year.

Surveys broadcast at the end of voting for five state assemblies showed the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) trailing behind the rival Congress party in some areas.

The actual votes will be counted on Tuesday, and exit polls have been wrong in the past, partly because of the sheer scale of Indian elections involving millions of votes.

Still, nearly all the polls showed that the Congress – led by Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family – will win a clear majority in western Rajasthan state and scrape through in eastern Chhattisgarh, according a survey of surveys pulled together by NDTV.

In Madhya Pradesh, the same polls suggested the BJP and the Congress were locked in a fight down to the wire.

The combined surveys showed the BJP winning 110 seats, the Congress 108, and smaller groups 12 in the 230-member house. To rule, a party requires 116 seats.

The three states are part of the northern Hindi belt, a bastion of the ruling Hindu nationalists.


“The BJP is struggling everywhere, for all its bravado,” said Juhi Singh, a spokesman of the regional Samajwadi Party.

Modi, who came to power with a sweeping majority in 2014, has been praised for improving governance and cutting some red tape, but has been criticised for failing to create enough jobs for the thousands of young people entering the jobs market every month.

He has also faced criticism for allowing hardliners in his party to undermine India’s secular foundations.

Foreign investors who largely remain bullish on India’s long-term prospects, are watching the state polls closely for clues to the national vote.

“The result would be consistent with what most polls are showing: that we are heading for hung parliament,” said Jan Dehn, head of research at emerging markets fund manager Ashmore.

“The market may discount the results a little bit given these are state elections and there are often protest votes.”

But a divided parliament would make it difficult for the incoming government to carry out reforms in the banking sector and other areas, he said.

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