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Congress demands Vasundhara Raje’s resignation over Lalit Modi controversy

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New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday demanded Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s resignation over allegations that she testified in favour of former IPL chief Lalit Modi’s British immigration application in 2011.

“The Chief Minister has no right to continue in office,” Congress Rajasthan Unit Chief Sachin Pilot said at a press conference in Delhi.

Pilot alleged that Raje helped Modi, who was facing investigations regarding alleged tax evasion.

Pilot said the Congress in the state would hit the streets on Thursday to press for her resignation.

The Congress has been demanding External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s resignation over her assistance to Modi to get travel documents from the British authorities after his Indian passport was revoked.

The Party’s Rajasthan unit on Wednesday passed a resolution at its executive meeting in Udaipur demanding Raje and Sushma Swaraj’s ouster.

“The resignations have been demanded from both of them (Raje and Sushma Swaraj) for allegedly favouring Lalit Modi,” Congress state unit spokesperson Archana Sharma told IANS over phone.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s State Unit President Ashok Parnami asked: “Why did the Congress, which was a ruling party both at the centre and in the state, not launch a probe at that time?”

“This clearly shows that the Congress is raising baseless allegations and is engaging in petty politics,” Parnami said.

Raje was hit by a controversy following revelation apparently made in a statement released by Lalit Modi’s legal team.

The statement said that Raje, who was then the Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan assembly, said she was in favour of Modi’s immigration application but on the strict condition that her name will not be revealed to the Indian authorities.

Raje, in a press note issued by her media advisor, on Tuesday said she knew Modi’s family but was not aware “which document people are talking about”.

In Delhi, Congress national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the party will pursue all remedies “legal or otherwise in the matter”.

Quizzed on Modi having named some senior Congress functionaries also in the list of people helping him, Surjewala said: “If Lalit Modi had been helped by the UPA then he would not have been in the situation that he is in now.”

“The senior leadership of the BJP lies exposed for having helped a fugitive wanted by law. Both Sushma Swaraj and Raje are guilty of constitutional impropriety,” he added. (IANS)

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Karnataka Polls: BJP On The Way to Win, Congress May Get Hard Defeat

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

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A state of 60 million people, Karnataka is home to the Information Technology hub of Benguluru and was ruled by the BJP once before.
Congress may have to taste defeat in Karnataka, VOA

The BJP was on Tuesday set to return to power in its southern bastion Karnataka as its candidates crossed the half-way mark in vote count, stunning and ousting the ruling Congress and leaving the JD-S at the third spot.

Noisy celebrations broke out in party offices in Bengaluru, New Delhi and across Karnataka as Bharatiya Janata Party nominees were on the victory lap in 118 of the 222 constituencies which voted on Saturday.

This was a dramatic jump from the 40 seats the BJP won five years ago.

The Congress, desperate to retain power in the state amid shrinking appeal nationally, suffered major blows and was ahead only in 62 seats, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trailing in both the constituencies he contested: Badami and Chamundeshwari.

The Congress leader was way behind G.T Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular in Chamundeshwari, Election Commission officials said. And after leading initially, Siddaramaiah fell behind B.R. Sriramulu of the BJP in Badami.

In contrast, the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was ahead of his Congress rival by more than 11,000 votes in Shikaripura.

Energy Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said that the numbers indicated that his party was on the way out after five years in power.

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

The BJP was overjoyed. “We are in a jubilant mood because we have crossed the half-way mark. We are confident of winning,” spokesman S. Shantharam told IANS.

BJP activists and leaders celebrated noisily in both Bengaluru and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting slogans hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their main vote-getter, and party President Amit Shah.

There were also celebrations outside the residence of Yeddyurappa, who has been Chief Minister earlier too.

Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
Karnataka Polls counting suggests big win for BJP, wikimedia commons

The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 40 seats — the same number it won five years ago.

As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in Karnataka while Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.

BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas.

Expectations of a BJP victory in Karnataka lifted the key Indian equity indices during the mid-morning trade session on Tuesday.

Modi’s Performance: Survey Reports That Significant Number of People Rate Performance of Modi Government as Below Expectations

According to market observers, broadly subdued Asian indices and disappointing macro-economic inflation data points released on Monday capped some gains.

Sector-wise, healthy buying was witnessed in banking, capital goods, metals, consumer durables and automobile stocks.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 35,993.53 points and a low of 35,498.83 points during the intra-day trade. (IANS)