After high-voltage campaign, it’s over to voters in Raj & T’gana
NEW DELHI: All arrangements have been put in place for Friday's Assembly elections in Telangana and Rajasthan.
Over 2,000 candidates are in the fray for 199 assembly seats in Rajasthan, where polling will determine whether the BJP bucks anti-incumbency and increasingly aggressive opposition to return to power.
Votes will be cast at 51,687 polling booths, 259 of them managed exclusively by women officials and security personnel.
It is a seen as a straight fight between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress for about 130 seats.
In other constituencies, groups like the Bahujan Samaj Party and rebels who are contesting against official party candidates may queer the pitch.
Vasundhara Raje hopes to return as the state's chief minister.
If the Congress wins, it is expected to pick between former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and state party president Sachin Pilot for the top post in the state.
In the current House, the BJP has 160 seats and the Congress 25.
Raje is contesting from Jhalrapatan constituency, considered her bastion.
This time she faces BJP veteran Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra Singh who has defected to the Congress, complaining that his old party had hurt the pride of the Rajputs by ignoring his father in the last Lok Sabha election.
In Tonk, Sachin Pilot and Rajasthan Transport Minister and BJP candidate Yoonus Khan are face to face. Khan is the only Muslim candidate fielded by his party. Ashok Gehlot is fighting for the Sardarpura seat.
The polling caps a hard-fought campaign between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed 12 major rallies and Congress president Rahul Gandhi nine in the state. Both sides fielded their top leaders in the campaign.
After a high-voltage campaign that witnessed a shrill war of words by contesting parties, Telangana is set for Assembly polls with the Congress-led alliance, the TRS and the BJP locked in a triangular contest.more than 1.50
lakh polling officials, including reserve staff, are in the process of giving final touches Thursday to make the election to the 119-member House a smooth affair.
A senior police official said security was beefed up at bordering areas which were identified as Left Wing Extremist affected regions.
The assembly polls in Telangana were initially scheduled to be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections next year, but the House was dissolved on September 6 as per a recommendation of the state cabinet.
It is to be seen if TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao's gamble to opt for early elections pays off.
The Congress has stitched together the 'Prajakutami' (People's Front) along with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) and the Communist Party of India (CPI), to take on the ruling TRS.
The TRS, seeking a second term in office, is going alone, as also the BJP.
While KCR was, without doubt, the star campaigner for the TRS, the Congress and the BJP fielded their bigwigs for the campaign.
Counting of votes in both states will be taken up on Tuesday along with Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram.
NEW DELHI: Retaliating to the BJP'S allegations of “links with Agustawestland middleman James Christian Michel”, the Congress on Thursday raked up Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's daughter's law firm being engaged by fraudster Mehul Choksi and alleged a “Bjp-agusta nexus” claiming it promoted the controversial Italian defence company.
Shortly after BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra accused the Congress of trying to save Michel by providing “three Congress lawyers”, Congress
leader Jaiveer Shergill hit back citing instances of Jait
ley providing legal services to scamster Ketan Parekh and his daughter's law firm being engaged by now absconding Choksi, a prime accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.
Questioning the Modi government's intention behind allowing “blacklisted Agustawestland to be part of Make in India and bid for 100 Naval Utility Helicopters, the Congress questioned why the Modi government did not appeal against Italian courts acquitting two prime accused in the bribery scandal.
“Will the CBI probe the Bjp-agusta nexus of quid pro quo, of accommodating and welcoming Agustawestland in India and aggressively promoting a blacklisted company? The CBI will never investigate this angle because it is a remotecontrolled hawk of the Modi government,” Shergill told the media here.
The Congress leader ridiculed the BJP for trying to establish Congress' links with Agusta through the now expelled youth Congress leader and advocate Aljo K. Joseph who represented Michel in a Delhi court after he was extradited to India on Tuesday night from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“The BJP bid to link Congress with Agusta on the basis of an expelled advocate (Joseph) is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. In that case, we would
like to know why Arun Jait
ley's daughter's law firm took money from Choksi to defend him,” he said.
“Will the BJP answer as to why (Rajasthan Chief Minister) Vasundhara Raje helped former cricket administrator Lalit Modi or explain why (Union Minister) Ravi Shankar Prasad was an advocate of Sahara chief Subroto Roy,” asked Shergill.
Citing Jaitley as an advocate “representing stock broker Ketan Parekh and giving
legal advice to Dow Chemicals”, Shergill said: “If Congress is linked to Agusta, then BJP is
linked to Parekh, Choksi and the Bhopal gas tragedy.”
The Congress leader also questioned the Centre's move to not appeal against two Italian courts earlier in the year acquitting two prime accused – Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini – in the VVIP chopper deal case.
“The BJP is a one-stop shop which provides services to scamsters and fraudsters by acting as their advisors, lawyers, boarding pass agents and police protection agents,” added Shergill.
Earlier, Patra, without taking names, targeted Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi saying the “Congress family was rattled and spending sleepless nights after Michel's extradition”.
Patra claimed that the Congress in its bid to save Michel has deputed three advocates, Joseph, Vishnu Shankar, son of a Kerala Congress leader, and Sriram Parakkat, who was ear
lier associated with the Congress student wing.
BJP is a onestop shop which provides services to scamsters and fraudsters by acting as their advisors, lawyers, boarding pass agents and police protection agents, says Congress
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Rahul Gandhi during the occasion of ‘Mahaparinirvan Diwas', to pay tribute to Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, at Parliament House Lawns in New Delhi, Thursday