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EC bars two BJP newspaper ads after Grand Alliance’s complaint

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New Delhi: The Congress and Janata Dal-United, who are a part of Grand Alliance in Bihar, and the BJP on Friday approached the Election Commission accusing each other of disturbing the communal harmony in the state during the ongoing five-phased assembly polls.

The former alleged that the BJP was “promoting lies, false propaganda and communal tension” through advertisements in the ongoing Bihar elections.

Meanwhile, acting on the Grand Alliance’s complaint, the poll panel on Friday barred two newspaper advertisements of the BJP.

“In the ongoing Bihar elections, the BJP has been promoting lies, false propaganda, and communal tension through advertisements. This has vitiated the electoral process by promoting communal tension,” said a memorandum submitted to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi by Congress leaders Randeep Surjewala and Ajoy Kumar and JD-U’s K.C. Tyagi.

To buttress the claim, the memorandum included texts of some of the advertisements.

“As you will see from these ads, it is a shameless attempt at spreading false propaganda and creating communal tension by the use and misuse of select words in ambiguous contexts, that could be interpreted by multiple factions for inciting violence between communities,” said the memorandum.

Giving examples, the memorandum said: “An ad states that the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal-United, and Congress leaders are giving sanctuary to terrorists to appease a particular community for votes. The name of the particular community becomes clear when seen in the context of a previous advertisement that spoke about the Muslim community’s appeasement by the RJD, JD-U and Congress by robbing the plate of Dalits.”

“The advertisement further alleges Bihar government’s role in the delayed arrest of (Indian Mujahideen’s alleged terrorist) Yasin Bhatkal from the Nepal border. It questions if the delay was to allow a national traitor to escape or to make a particular community feel the government’s benevolence. The connection between letting Bhatkal escape and a community is done only to connect Bhatkal with the Muslim community,” the memorandum added.

“The advertisement alleges that due to the negligence of JD-U leaders, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) terrorists are thriving in Bihar. The usage of the word thriving again may be called innocuous, but reeks of an intentional ambiguity to label all minority population of Bihar as being those of LeT and ISI allegiance,” it added.

Meanwhile, the BJP on Friday knocked on the doors of the Election Commission blaming the JD(U)-RJD-Congress of making attempts to disturb communal harmony in Bihar during the ongoing five-phased assembly polls.

The memorandum blamed Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Janata Dal-United’s Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad for flaring up communal sentiments in the state.

“The RJD-JD(U)-Congress are trying to disturb communal harmony in Bihar Assembly elections for last several days,” a memorandum submitted to the Election Commission by BJP said.

The memorandum was signed by union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP General Secretary Arun Singh, Sudhanshu Trivedi, Sambit Patra and Siddharth Nath Singh.

The letter quoted Rahul Gandhi saying in an election rally: “The BJP wants to get votes by making Hindu and Muslims fight each other.”

It also blamed RJD chief Lalu Prasad, and JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

“Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar have been making provocative and personal statements against the BJP leaders to communally polarize the situation in Bihar,” it said.

BJP also took on Lalu Prasad for calling BJP president Amit Shah a “man-eater”.

“Statements of Lalu Yadav against Amit Shah that “man-eater has become mad”, calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi “brahma-pishach” are highly condemnable and such statements violate election code of conduct and provisions of the Representation of the People Act,” the BJP said.

“These statements are a conspiracy to disturb communal harmony in the state.”

The BJP urged the Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections in Bihar and monitor the conspiracy of the RJD-JD(U)-Congress behind such statements.

“The Election Commission should take strict action against such statements,” it added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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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)