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BJP is eyeing pan-India dominance as it has targeted to make inroads in states like West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. But the party has so far failed to achieve its targeted number of full-timers to work in these states, according to Indian Express report. The ruling party at the Centre wanted to gain in the aforementioned states so that if it suffers losses in the Hindi belt, it will still be able to maintain upper hand in the Lok Sabha. BJP has started Vistarak (expansion)’ drive. But data on BJP chief Amit Shah-led ‘Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Karya Vistar Yojana’ shows that the party has not been able to achieve its targeted number of full-timers to work in the constituencies of these states. The party could rope in just 470 full-timers, to work dedicatedly for six months to one year for the 1,109 constituencies in West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The data were presented during the recent party conclave late last month.

Shah himself had went on an intense 95-day nationwide campaign (April to September this year) on the Vistarak programme to mark the birth centenary year of Deendayal Upadhyay, wanted a full-timer for each Assembly constituency. According to the data, in poll-bound Karnataka — where the BJP is considered to have a strong organisational base — the party got only 51 full-timers for the 224 Assembly constituencies. Among them, only three are women, while it didn’t get a single minority member, either Christian or Muslim, for its campaign. The data says it needs at least 200 more full-timers in the state, scheduled to go to polls early next year.

In Andhra Pradesh, which has 175 constituencies, the party got only 16 full-timers for a year, and two for six months. For Telangana, (119 constituencies), the figure is 91; in Kerala (140 constituencies), which is considered a prestige battleground for Shah and the RSS, the party roped in just 31 full-timers for one year, and 10 for six months. For the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly, the party got 108 full-timers for one year, but data says the party requires 84 more. In West Bengal (294 Assembly constituencies), the party recorded only 93 full-timers. The BJP’s campaign in Odisha has yielded better results: it has got 119 full-timers to work for the party for six months to one year, the IE report says.

Shah is expected to draw full-timers to work until 2019 elections from those who had volunteered to dedicate six-12 months to party work as part of the Deendayal Upadhyay Vistarak project announced at the party’s national executive meeting in September last year.

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Patidar stir leader Hardik Patel on Monday called the Congress a “chor” (thief) and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party a “mahachor” (super thief) and said he will support the grand old party in order to defeat the saffron outfit in Gujarat, where the crucial assembly elections are due later this year.

“But have patience. Do not support (Congress) just now,” Patel said addressing a public rally at Mandal in north Gujarat, where he reached a couple of hours late on Monday night.

He also admitted he was present at a luxury hotel in Ahmedabad at the same time when the Congress’ vice president Rahul Gandhi checked into the premises but said he did not meet him amid swirling speculations they spoke to each other.

Patel, the face of influential Patidar community’s agitation for reservation in government jobs and admission to educational institutes, claimed he gave the meeting with Gandhi a miss owing to his busy schedule that included a roadshow and public rallies in north Gujarat.

Local television channels ran close-circuit television (CCTV) footage, which is available with the Hindustan Times, that showed Patel entering the Ummed Hotel late on Sunday night, and leaving through the back door in a brand new car without a registration plate at around 4pm the next day. Gandhi arrived at the same establishment around 1pm on Monday.

“After the Congress’s invite, I reached the hotel on Sunday at 3am. I met their (Congress) Gujarat in-charge (Gehlot). As it was too late, I decided to stay back at the hotel … But they (Bharatiya Janata Party) got the CCTV camera clips leaked because everything here (in Gujarat) is their (BJP) property,” the 24-year-old said.

“I can also explain why I reached so late here. I could not come out (of the hotel) due to media’s presence. I had not met Rahul Gandhi but the media would have claimed otherwise. But I did not meet (Pakistan’s Nawaz) Sharif at midnight like (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi,” he added.

The Congress had invited three young community representatives – OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani and Patel – for talks with Gandhi during his visit to poll-bound Gujarat. While Thakor officially joined the Congress at a rally held in Gandhinagar, Mewani gave the event a miss.

The grand old party offered tickets to all the three youth leaders but Patel said he has no intention of contesting the polls. Sources say he is wary of siding with the Congress because it would provide the BJP with an opportunity to counter his influence on the politically significant community.

After the CCTV footage showing Patel’s presence at the hotel emerged, both the Patidar leader and Gujarat Congress in-charge Ashok Gehlot confirmed they met but said Gandhi was not present during their meeting.

Congress state president Bharatsinh Solanki told reporters that the meeting between Gandhi and Patel and Mewani was postponed and was likely to be held either on November 1, 2 or 3 when he will be back in Gujarat for Navsarjan Yatra.

Gehlot in a series of tweets also took a dig at the BJP government for the leak of CCTV camera clips.

“I met Hardik n Jignesh in Ummed Hotel. IB, Police are chckng hotel rooms. @PMOIndia @narendramodi ji Wat is happening in Gandhiji’s Gujarat? …The rooms which hv been booked in my name are being checked. We are openly saying, we have met them n will keep meeting them in future too (sic),” he said in another tweet.

While senior Patidar leaders and religious organisations have accepted the BJP’s initiative to form the Non Reserved Category Educational and Economic Development Board and Commission against their demand of an OBC status, Patel has maintained that the agitation for the status would continue.

Though Patidars are traditional supporters of the BJP, Patel’s rallies against the Gujarat government have so far received a good response from community members.

With Thakor, an OBC leader who was opposed to the Patidar agitation, joining the Congress, the community that either wants an OBC status or the quota system to be abolished, may go against Patel’s plan to join hands with the grand old party, if he has any.

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Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday evening attempted to link two terror suspects arrested recently to senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, saying one of the terror suspects worked as a lab technician at a hospital where Mr Patel had been a trustee. “This is a serious issue,” Mr Rupani said, because “the terrorist was arrested from a hospital which is being run by Mr Patel”.

Mr Patel and the Congress have brushed aside the charge and demanded “strict and speedy action” against the terror suspects, hinting that Mr Rupani was attempting to polarise the Gujarat elections to be held in December. “Let’s not divide peace-loving Gujaratis while fighting terrorism,” Mr Patel said.

This week, the Election Commission announced assembly elections would be held in Gujarat on December 9 and 14. The BJP, which is seeking a record fifth straight term in power, has targeted 150 out of the 182 seats but the Congress wants to make the BJP sweat for every seat.

Addressing a rare media briefing on the arrests made three days earlier, the Chief Minister said Mr Patel should resign.
“Imagine what would have happened if these two terrorists were not arrested… Patel, Rahul Gandhi and the Congress must come clean on the issue,” he demanded.

Congress leaders suggest Mr Rupani’s primary attempt was to shift the discourse BJP’s election plank from development to security matters.

In Delhi, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said if anyone had to respond to allegations of a political party failing on security, it was the BJP.

“BJP and its Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, to hide their failures, are issuing these kinds of absurd statements,” he said, pointing that it was BJP leaders who had been caught for being Pakistan ISI moles in Madhya Pradesh.

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 Women voters 

उत्तर प्रदेश के नगरीय निकाय चुनाव की अधिसूचना शुक्रवार को जारी हो गई. सभी प्रमुख दलों के अपने चिह्न पर लड़ने के एलान के कारण बेहद महत्वपूर्ण हो चुके ये चुनाव अगले महीने के दूसरे पखवाड़े में तीन चरणों में होंगे.राज्य निर्वाचन आयुक्त एस. के. अग्रवाल ने यहां संवाददाताओं को बताया कि नगरीय निकाय चुनावों की अधिसूचना के तहत तय कार्यक्रम के मुताबिक 22 नवम्बर को 24 जिलों, 26 नवंबर को 25 तथा 29 नवंबर को 26 जिलों में मतदान होगा.

उन्होंने बताया कि चुनाव प्रक्रिया में केन्द्रीय अर्धसैनिक बलों को नहीं तैनात किया जाएगा. राज्य पुलिस बल की ही तैनाती रहेगी. अग्रवाल ने बताया कि 16 नगर निगमों, 198 नगर पालिका परिषद और 438 नगर पंचायतों के चुनाव की मतगणना एक दिसंबर को होगी.

उन्होंने बताया कि कुल 36, 269 मतदान बूथ और 11, 389 मतदान केंद्र बनाये जाएंगे. कुल 3. 32 करोड़ लोग अपने मताधिकार का इस्तेमाल कर सकेंगे. अलग-अलग चरणों का ब्यौरा देते हुए अग्रवाल ने बताया कि पहले चरण में 24 जिलों में मतदान होगा. इसमें पांच नगर निगम, 71 नगर पालिका परिषद और 154 नगर पंचायतें शामिल हैं. दूसरे चरण में 25 जिलों में मतदान होगा. इसमें छह नगर निगम, 51 नगर पालिका परिषद और 132 नगर पंचायत शामिल हैं. तीसरे चरण में 26 जिलों में मतदान होगा. इसमें पांच नगर निगम, 76 नगर पालिका परिषद और 152 नगर पंचायत शामिल हैं.

उन्होंने बताया कि अधिसूचना जारी हो चुकी है. इस बार मतदाताओं को आयोग की वेबसाइट पर मोबाइल नंबर पंजीकृत करने का विकल्प दिया गया है. सभी सूचनाएं और परिणाम मोबाइल नंबर पर तत्काल उपलब्ध करा दी जाएंगी. ऐसा देश में पहली बार हो रहा है.अग्रवाल ने बताया कि दस प्रतिशत पोलिंग बूथ अत्यंत संवेदनशील श्रेणी में रखे गए हैं. वहां चुनाव प्रक्रिया की वीडियोग्राफी होगी और सीसीटीवी लगाए जाएंगे. उन्होंने बताया कि नगर निगम के मेयर और पार्षद पदों के चुनाव इलेक्ट्रानिक वोटिंग मशीन से होंगे, जबकि नगर पालिका परिषद और नगर पंचायत अध्यक्षों एवं सदस्यों का निर्वाचन बैलेट पेपर के माध्यम से होगा.

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कांग्रेस अध्यक्ष सोनिया गांधी की अचानक तबीयत बिगड़ गई है. जिस वक्त सोनिया की तबीयत बिगड़ी वो शिमला में थीं, उन्हें आनन-फानन में दिल्ली लाकर सर गंगाराम अस्पताल में भर्ती कराया गया है.

अस्पताल के चेयरमेन डॉ. डीएस राना के मुताबिक शाम पांच बजे सोनिया गांधी को भर्ती कराया गया है. उन्होंने बताया कि पेट में दिक्कत के चलते उन्हें लाया गया है. सोनिया गांधी को डॉक्टर अभी अपनी निगरानी में ही रखेंगे.

सोनिया गांधी की पिछले कुछ सालों में कई बार तबीयत खराब हो चुकी है. इसी वर्ष 8 मई को भी सोनिया को फूड प्वाइजनिंग के चलते सर गंगाराम अस्पताल में भर्ती कराया गया था. पिछले साल बनारस में एक चुनावी रैली के दौरान भी उनकी तबीयत बिगड़ गई थी.

शिमला में सोनिया की बेटी प्रियंका वाड्रा अपना मकान बनवा रही हैं. बताया जा रहा कि सोनिया बेटी का मकान देखने शिमला गई थीं. हिमाचल में चुनाव के ऐलान के चलते भी सोनिया पिछले कुछ समय में कई बार राज्य का दौरा कर चुकी हैं.

सोनिया के लगातार बीमार होने की वजह से उनकी राजनीतिक में सक्रियता कम होती जा रही है. जिस वजह राहुल गांधी को पार्टी की कमान सौंपने की बात भी हो रही है.

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New Delhi : Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi addresses at the party’s Jan Vedna Sammelan at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday in the wake of demonetisation. Rahul Gandhi presided over the convention sending yet another signal that his elevation to the post of party chief is just a matter of time. PTI Photo by Subhav Shukla (PTI1_11_2017_000072B)

As Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates across the country embark on the process to elect Rahul Gandhi as the new party president, the Gandhi family scion is likely to face no contest on his way to the top job. Even as the clamour for Rahul taking over the party’s reins gathered strength over the past few years, the Congress vice-president had insisted on fair elections, but with no challenger in sight, his elevation is a foregone conclusion.

As state units of the party pass resolutions proposing Rahul as the national president, the actual elections will be announced by the Election Commission next week. Following this, nominations for the top job will be open, though it is highly unlikely that any party leader will stand up for a contest. In the absence of a contender Rahul is set to be elected unopposed.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the longest serving party president and currently in her fourth term, was due to complete her tenure in 2015, which was extended by two years. Earlier the internal party polls were held every three years, but following a change in the party constitution it now mandates organisational polls every five years. The last time the party saw a real contest for the top job was in 1997, when ad hoc president Sitaram Kesri was faced with three other contenders – Rajesh Pilot, Sharad Pawar and AR Antulay.

Kesri, who had been at the helm of affairs, had made changes in the party’s organisation by then to favour his comeback, replacing five PCC chiefs by close aides, removing three AICC general secretaries and bringing in four trusted men into the Congress Working Committee. A year later, Sonia replaced him and in the internal polls in 2000, recorded a walkover against senior leader from Uttar Pradesh, Jitendra Prasad. Since then Sonia has never faced a contest for the post.

This week UP Congress Committee, Mumbai and Rajasthan state units proposed Rahul’s elevation. The state units also authorised the sitting party president and vice president to ‘elect’ the state chief.

A senior party functionary explained, “The same resolution proposing Rahul as the party president is being passed by one state unit after another. But this has no standing because the Election Commission will announce elections to the post by October 15, following which nominations will be open. While it is unlikely that there will be another contender for the post, to be elected unopposed is also an election in its true sense.”