BJP poised for all-time high record in Gujarat; Cong show is worst ever as AAP cuts into its votes

News Network
December 8, 2022

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Ahmedabad, Dec 8: The BJP leads in Gujarat has crossed 150 -- a record in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, surpassing the Congress score of 149 in 1985. Back then, Madhavsinh Solanki rose the social coalition KHAM (Koli Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi and Muslim). Today, the Grand Old Party might be headed for its worst score ever, confined to teens by the massive BJP surge.

Gujarat has 182 Assembly seats and the majority mark is 92.

The lion's share of AAP's increase in vote share in Gujarat appears to have come at the expense of the Congress rather than that of the BJP. Congress witnessed a severe drop in vote share, matched by an even more drastic rise in vote share for the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party.

While the BJP score appeared to bear out speculation that AAP's entry had acted as a catalyst, cutting into Congress votes, BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya rubbished the possibility.

The BJP's best score was 127 in 2002 assembly elections, held months after the post-Godhra riots. Since then, the party had been on a downward spiral. In 2017, it was confined to a below-100 score (99) by a resurgent Congress.

This time, the party has done well in every region of Gujarat. So far, the BJP has received 55 per cent vote share, the Congress 27 and AAP 13.3 per cent.

The BJP's former state minister Jai Narayan Vyas, however, sounded a discordant note. "BJP winning in Gujarat was not unexpected, the question was how many seats it will get. My personal belief is the BJP will climb down to 125 seats and the rest of the seats will go to Congress and AAP. But the BJP has done very well," he told reporters.

AAP, which had conducted an all-out campaign and won the civic polls in Delhi in a straight fight with the BJP, appears set to open account in Gujarat, barely. While party chief Arvind Kejriwal had predicted an out and out victory yesterday, after the civic poll results were declared, so far, AAP leads have practically been confined to single digits.

The BJP had earlier brushed off the AAP challenge, saying they will figure nowhere in the election. In his rallies, PM Modi has made no reference to AAP.

The Congress has been battling factionalism and lack of direction since the death of Ahmed Patel -- its pointsman in the state -- in 2020. The party had carried out a low-key campaign, for which Rahul Gandhi spared a day from his Bharat Jodo Yatra.

The door-to-door push, which the state Congress conducted, was poles apart from the BJP's supersize, glitzy campaign.

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News Network
January 19,2023

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New Delhi, Jan 19: The country's top wrestlers on Thursday vowed to intensify their protest, saying the government has given them an assurance but no "satisfactory response" and they will lodge multiple FIRs against WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh if the Wrestling Federation of India is not disbanded immediately.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is a prominent leader of BJP and Member of the Parliament from Kaiserganj constituency.  

The wrestlers, who have accused the WFI President of sexual exploitation and intimidation, continued their dharna for the second day as more grapplers joined them in what they called was a fight to give "a new life to Indian wrestling."

Three-time CWG medallist and BJP leader Babita Phogat came to the protest site with a "message" from the government and assured the grapplers that their demands will be met as the athletes took turn to share their bad experiences.

Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Ravi Dahiya pleaded for more support while young Anshu Malik narrated how WFI President's presence in the players' hotel in Bulgaria during the world junior championship last year made the women wrestlers uncomfortable.

It may be noted that 21-year-old Anshu had not competed in that championship as she was injured.

A team of wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Anshu, Sakshi Malik, and her husband Satyawrat Kadiyan, was then called for a meeting with the government as they discussed their issues with Sports Secretary Sujata Chaturvedi, Director General SAI Sandip Pradhan and Joint Secretary (Sports) Kunal.

During the one-hour meeting, the wrestlers were asked to end their protest and assured that their grievances will be addressed.

However, the wresters wanted a concrete and immediate action and decided to continue their protest unless WFI President is removed and the national federation is disbanded along with all the state wrestling associations in the country.

Later addressing the media, Vinesh did not disclose what transpired at the meeting but said, "Unfortunately we did not get a satisfactory response."

"Yesterday, we had 1-2 victims amongst us but now we have 5-6 wrestlers, who were harassed (sexually). We can't name them now, after all they are daughters and sisters of somebody. But if we are forced to disclose their identity, it will be a black day," said Vinesh, the two-time World Championship medallist.

"It's not just about his (Brij Bhushan) resignation. We will send him to jail. We did not want to take the legal route, because we had hoped for resolution but if a proper solution is not provided, we will lodge FIRs against the President.

"We are World Championship and Olympic medallists, don't suspect us, we are telling the truth, believe us."

WFI Emergency General Council in Ayodhya

It has been learnt that the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has called for an Emergency General Council in Ayodhya on Sunday to discuss the issue.

"Yes, a meeting has been called and future course of action will be discussed. I can't say if WFI President will resign or not. It needs to be discussed," said a WFI official.

It may be noted that Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's third term as WFI President is ending soon and he is ineligible to contest again. He was elected WFI President for the third time in February 2019.

According to the National Sports Code, a person may serve as President, and thereby on the Board, of the NOC/NSF for up to three terms or 12 years with or without break, after the completion of which tenure as President, the person shall not be entitled to return as an office bearer or Board member of the NSF.

Trust us, we are not lying

Bajrang said,"The entire wrestling hub (fraternity) is here. We have proofs, we are not lying. We want wrestling to live, start a new life."

The 28-year-old Vinesh claimed that she has got calls of appreciation from Kerala and Maharashtra woman wrestlers for taking up the cause.

"At least 5-6 girls will lodge FIRs tomorrow and it will be a black day if it happens in a country like India where 'Durga' and 'Lakshmi' are worshipped. Then I would say that no woman is safe in this country and no daughter should be born to anyone."

Asked to give details of the meeting they had with the government representative, Vinesh said,"They did not give any time-frame, just gave assurances."

"Everything is at stake now. We have not even taken police protection and (are) sitting here. But where is the WFI President; his office (is) locked. Where are those eyes that used to scare us."

When reminded that London Olympics medallist Yogeshwar Dutt has backed WFI President along with Asian Championship medallist Divya Karan, Vinesh said, Yogeshwar is definitely sitting in the lap of the WFI and that Kakran herself spoke against the President in the past. We have proofs."

"All the videos (in support of WFI President) are being made where he has that "aatank ka adda' (hub of terror), people should come and make videos here at Jantar Mantar while sitting in front of the public.

"We want the government to take control of WFI and we will not compete in any competition under the current President."

Sakshi Malik said all state wrestling associations should be disbanded in the country because the WFI President has all his men in these sports bodies.

Brinda Karat asked to leave protest

Earlier in the day, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat, who arrived at the protest site in support of the wrestlers and wanted to speak, was asked to leave by the grapplers, saying they don't want anyone to give their campaign a political colour.

"We request you, madam, please don't make this political," Bajrang said.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) said that the wrestlers can approach it with their complaints.

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News Network
January 24,2023

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Jammu, Jan 24: Distancing his party from a controversial statement by a senior party leader, Rahul Gandhi today said the Congress disagreed with Digvijaya Singh's comments questioning India's surgical strikes and described the statement as "ridiculous".

"We disagree with Digvijaya Singh's views. The views of the party are above Digvijaya Singh's views," Rahul Gandhi said, responding to reporters' questions in Jammu on the sidelines of his Bharat Jodo Yatra.

"The views of the party are generated from a conversation. Digvijaya Singh's views are outlying views. They are not views held by the party. We are absolutely crystal clear - the armed forces do a job, and they do the job exceptionally well. They don't need to be providing proof," the Congress leader said.

Rahul Gandhi's clarification comes as the Congress faced massive criticism over Digvijaya Singh's comments at a Bharat Jodo Yatra rally on Monday.

"They talk about surgical strikes - that we killed these many people. But there is no proof. They are ruling by peddling a bundle of lies," Mr Singh had said.

Attempting damage control, the Congress said the remarks didn't reflect the party's views.

Mr Singh also said: "I have the greatest regard for the defence forces".

But the BJP seized on the comments and slammed him and the Congress as "anti-national" for questioning the army. The party also demanded Rahul Gandhi's apology.

"Congress leaders are doing Bharat Todo (divide India) on the instructions of Rahul Gandhi. Digvijaya Singh has become a symbol of venomous remarks. Trust in the Army is unbreakable and above politics. If the Army said there was a surgical strike, how can you ask for proof repeatedly. This shows that you do not have faith in our Army," said BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia.

"It has become a character of Congress to give irresponsible statements. But if they speak against the Indian Army, it won't be tolerated. It seems that Rahul Gandhi and Digvijaya Singh have been blinded by their hatred towards Narendra Modi," said the BJP leader.

India launched surgical strikes in 2016 days after 18 soldiers were killed in a terror attack on an army base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.

The February 2019 Pulwama attack on a security convoy was blamed on Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Days after the attack, India retaliated with air strikes in Pakistan's Balakot, which was followed by an aerial dogfight between the neighbours.

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News Network
January 22,2023

Mangaluru, Jan 22: A 35-year-old man was beaten up by a mob for allegedly misbehaving with a minor girl and was handed over to the police on Saturday.

The accused has been identified as a resident of Ullal, police said. The incident occurred at Kankanady on Saturday, when an eight-year-old girl was plucking fruits. 

She was reportedly harassed by the accused who was engaged in masonry work nearby.

Hearing the girl's screams, the public gathered at the spot, caught the accused, and thrashed him. He was later handed over to the police. 

Kankanady police, who arrested the accused, have taken up investigation.

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