Himachal polls on Nov 9, Guj dates soon: EC
However, the elections for the 68-member Himachal assembly and the 182 member Gujarat assembly could become a test of public support for the goods and services tax (GST) that triggered protests by traders in Gujarat.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has given indications of the party’s poll planks, attacking the NDA government over an economic slowdown, lack of employment opportunities, hasty rollout of the GST and the plight of farmers, labourers and small traders and businessmen.
Also, talk has gathered pace about Rahul Gandhi taking over as the president of the Congress after Diwali.
Should that happen the two states will be his first formal leadership test.
The BJP has put up a brave front citing how the Indian economy is the fastest-growing in the world and obliquely hinted at its return to old themes.
Victories for the BJP could embolden the Centre to stick to its fiscal consolidation path and go for other bold reforms, especially in the labour sector, an adverse poll outcome could put pressure on the government to opt for populism, especially with eight states going to polls next year that would set the momentum for 2019 general elections.
In Himachal, the odds are stacked against the Congress, with chief minister Virbhadra Singh facing charges of corruption and a recent incident of rape of a minor girl on the outskirt of Shimla raising questions about the government’s handling of the law and order situation.
The grand old party has a more daunting task in Gujarat where it won its last assembly elections in 1985.
The party suffered a big jolt recently when Sankarsinh Vaghela, a powerful regional satrap, quit t he Congress recently to launch a third front in the state.
Jail officials at Dasna said the couple were praying since the morning and burst into tears as soon as the judgment was announced.
“When we went to Rajesh, he hugged me and burst into tears. He said that justice has been delivered,” said DR Maurya, jail superintendent. He said the couple was likely to be released on Friday after the prison authorities received a copy of the court order.
Sources in the CBI said they would decide the next course of action after studying the verdict.
The high court verdict caps a series of twists and turns in the trial of a case that gripped the nation. Within weeks of the murder, the Uttar Pradesh police drew flak for doing a shoddy job and allegedly tampering evidence. Then chief minister Mayawati then handed over the case to the CBI.
Two CBI investigators reached differing conclusions on the basis of more or less the same evidence.
The first team led by Arun Kumar claimed a breakthrough on the basis of “scientific evidence”, primarily narco-analysis test reports, and arrested three men— Talwar’s compounder Krishna and two domestic helps working in the neighbourhood, Rajkumar and Vijay Mandal. But the agency eventually failed to build a case against them.
Another team probed the parents but it too failed to build a case, filing a closure report in 2009 that named Rajesh Talwar as the sole suspect based on circumstantial evidence but refused to charge him due to lack of evidence.
But a special CBI court rejected the federal agency’s claim that there was not enough evidence, and ordered proceedings against the Talwars.
In a 208-page order on November 25, 2013, CBI judge Judge Shyam Lal pronounced the Talwars guilty of both murders and destruction of evidence. That verdict was reversed on Thursday.