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Gujarat local body polls acid test for Anandiben

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Gandhinagar: With more than half its population of 63.8 million going to the polls on November 22 and 29, the elections to 323 local self-government bodies in Gujarat will be a major popularity test for Chief Minister Anandiben Patel.

Anandiben Patel will face her first full-scale election after taking over as chief minister from her mentor and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014. There were some assembly and local body by-elections last year, which produced a mixed bag of results.

The local body elections will be held with the state’s first woman chief minister in office for close to two years. Since the electorate of 35.5 million will be from both urban and rural areas, the results will be a referendum on her rule without Modi around. The term of the present state assembly expires in December 2017.

Agreeing that the elections will be a true test, the seniormost minister and government spokesperson Nitin Patel told IANS: “Every election is an acid test. Our party has begun preparations for the polls and has started the process to select candidates.”

Anandiben Patel is confident that people will again repose faith in the Bhratiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Congress however seems confident of overcoming the BJP challenge.

Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki says: “We are exposing the failure of the BJP in municipalities. There is dirt, filth, corruption, everywhere. These are the real issues.”

Another task was to consolidate the Congress rank and file and iron out differences,says Solanki

According to State Election Commissioner Varesh Sinha, polling will be held first on November 22 for the municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar, all of which are controlled by the BJP, and have 9.49 million eligible voters. The votes will be counted on November 26.

The terms of two other newly-created municipal corporations of Gandhinagar and Junagadh, also under BJP rule, expire after six months and four years respectively.

The November 29 voting will be for 230 taluka (tehsil) panchayats, 56 nagarpalikas (municipalities) and 31 district panchayats. The vote count is due on December 2.

There are 3.66 million voters in the municipalities, while the taluka panchayats account for the largest electorate of 22.3 million voters. The mandate from the taluka panchayat areas is considered crucial since they comprise a mix of urban and rural population.

At present, the BJP controls 150 taluka panchayats, 42 municipalities and 30 district panchayats, excluding that of tribal-dominated Tapi in south Gujarat which is with the Congress.

The uncanny nervousness in the BJP government was evident when it promulgated an ordinance postponing the local body elections citing law and order concerns in the wake of the agitation by the Patel community.

The BJP had to face these elections after the State Election Commission was pulled up by the Gujarat High Court, which described as unconstitutional the move to put off the electoral process. It wondered why elections to local bodies could not be held when polling could be conducted in strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.

(Darshan Desai,IANS)

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At Least 883 Candidates Are Crorepatis and 645 Faces Criminal Cases in Karnataka Polls

Of the 220 candidates analysed from the ruling Congress, a total of 59 (27 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits, while 32 (15 per cent) have serious criminal cases against them.

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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

Of the 2,654 nominations 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).

“The average assets of the 883 (35 per cent) crorepati candidates are worth Rs 7.54 crore. Of the 645 contestants, 254 (10 per cent) face serious criminal cases and 391 (15 per cent) face criminal cases,” revealed a study by the Karnataka Election Watch and Delhi-based Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) ahead of the polls in the 223 constituencies across the state.

Of the 225-member lower house, including one nominated, election to the Jayanagar seat in the capital has been countermanded due tothe death of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate B.N. Vijaya Kumar on May 4.

Of the total candidates, the watchdogs could not analyse details of 95 candidates belonging to national, regional, local and fringe parties, as their affidavits were badly scanned or were incomplete on the websites of the poll panel and the Chief Electoral Officer of the southern state.

Affidavits of all the contesting 223 BJP candidates were analysed. Two hundred and eight (93 per cent) of the 223 candidates in fray from the BJP have declared assets worth over Rs 1 crore, the highest number among all the parties contesting.
Election Commission of India, IANS

Affidavits of all the contesting 223 BJP candidates were analysed. Two hundred and eight (93 per cent) of the 223 candidates in fray from the BJP have declared assets worth over Rs 1 crore, the highest number among all the parties contesting.

A total of 207 (94 per cent) of the 220 candidates from the ruling Congress, 154 (77 per cent) of the 199 candidates from Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and 199 (18 per cent) of the 1,090 Independents have declared assets more than Rs 1 crore.

The BJP candidates were found to be with the highest number of criminal cases against them, with 83 (37 per cent) of the 223 candidates in fray having criminal cases against them and 58 others (26 per cent) having serious criminal cases against them including murder.

Of the 220 candidates analysed from the ruling Congress, a total of 59 (27 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits, while 32 (15 per cent) have serious criminal cases against them.

Of the 199 JD-S candidates analysed by the study, 41 (21 per cent) have criminal cases, and 29 (15 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases in their poll affidavits.

Of the total 1,090 Independents analysed, 108 (10 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves, and 70 (6 per cent) are accused of serious criminal charges.

Also Read: Modi Urges Karnataka BJP Women to Popularise His Schemes

The top three candidates with highest assets among all the candidates in fray belong to the ruling Congress — Priyakrishna, from Govindarajanagar constituency with Rs 1,020 crore worth total assets, N. Nagaraju from Hosakote Assembly seat with assets valued at Rs 1,015 crore and the state Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar from Kanakapura segment with Rs 840 crore assets.

Polling will be held in a single phase on May 12 for the 223 constituencies, including 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 15 for Scheduled Tribes.

The votes will be counted on May 15. (IANS)