Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: Five names emerge in Cong for CM post

Raipur, November 30
As countdown to the election result began, Congress high command is engaged in dealing the toughest job, i.e. picking the most appropriate name from the list of probable for CM post. According to information, after considering all aspects including caste, experience, popularity, leadership skill and political acumen, the party’s national leadership has filtered five names as potential CM candidate. If Congress gets clear majority, one of these five is likely to get the coveted baton.
While BJP fought assembly elections in State under leadership of Raman Singh, the Congress refrained from doing so and maintained that its tradition was to select leader on the basis of consensus after victory. Although, the ruling party frequently mentioned Ajit Jogi’s name as hidden CM candidate during the hustings, the principal remained tightlipped over such surmises.
The party reportedly started working on list of probable for CM post when political analysts indicated swing in its side after first round of polls. The high command gave task to Chhattisgarh incharge BK Hariprasada, and AICC secretary Bhakta Charandas to prepare comprehensive report of the elections by highlight performance of the State leaders. The two were also asked to prepare a secret list of candidates who deserve becoming CM and reasons behind their candidature.
On the basis of the report and the secret list, the party came up with five names –AICC treasurer Motilal Vora, PCC president Charandas Mahant, Congress legislators’ party (CLP) leader Ravindra Choubey, former CM Ajit Jogi and his spouse Dr Renu Jogi.
Vora is one of the senior-most leader in the party. He is close to party supremo Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. He has been CM of undivided Madhya Pradesh, worked as union minister and held various other posts at State and national level in the party. Presently, he is said to be the most preferred choice for CM post as he enjoys respect of all factions and has capability to keep the party united under his leadership. The party had made him chairman of the poll campaign committee during elections. However, sources close to Vora say with general elections slated to be held in April-May 2014, Gandhis are less likely to relieve Vora from the post of treasurer.
PCC chief Charandas Mahant, who is also holding the portfolio of union minister of state, is the only Lok Sabha MP from the party in Chhattisagrh. The party made him State president after PCC chief  Nandkumar Patel was killed by naxals on May 25, 2013. Mahant always termed himself out of CM race but his supporters and the high command think that he had done commendable job after leadership crisis occurred in the party in wake of Darbha incident. He has also earned favour of Hariprasada and Vora.
Among three other candidates, former CM Ajit Jogi can be preferred for his vast experience as a skillful administrator and his closeness with Gandhi family. The name of his spouse Dr Renu Jogi too appears in the list as she is acceptable to all for her clean image. The party might also project her as a face of women power.
Among the five probable, CLP leader Ravindra Choubey has least chance of getting the CM post as he has less number of supporters in the party as compared to other four. However, the party can consider his experience as a minister under Jogi’s regime and in undivided Madhya Pradesh. His oratory skills and deep knowledge about the State too give his some edge. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: Sabotage complaints more in BJP than Cong

Raipur, November 29
After polls, State leaderships of BJP and Congress are identifying disgruntled partymen who were indulged in anti-party activities to defeat official candidates. On the basis of post-poll analysis by both the parties by far, number of saboteurs is more in BJP than Congress. Presently, the two parties are preparing list of saboteurs and have hinted of taking action against them after announcement of poll results on December 8.
In BJP, several candidates met CM Raman Singh and senior organisational leaders immediately after elections and informed them about sabotage in their constituencies. These candidates have also submitted list of dissenters who were involved in anti-party activities.
The party leadership then held one-to-one talks with each and every candidate about sabotage in their areas on November 28 and 29. The outcome was astonishing. The party discovered that sabotage was done in more than 35 constituencies.
The BJP had won 50 seats in previous elections. To counter anti-incumbency factor, the party dumped its 13 sitting MLAs. Besides, it denied ticket to several aspirants who were confident of their victory. The party had predicted damage in 15-18 seats, but was confident of winning almost all of them. The party is said to have incurred major damage in Bastar and Sarguja divisions were it had won maximum seats in last polls. Now, it is tensed after new revelation and is reassessing the seats where it will post victory despite sabotage.
State BJP president Ramsewak Paikra too admits of sabotage in several seats, however he refuses to tell the exact number. He also confessed that he too had faced resistance from dissenters in his constituency.
The story in Congress is completely different. Before polls, the party was divided into two major camps, one belonged to former CM Ajit Jogi while the other was of organisation itself. Suddenly Rahul Gandhi formula clicked in the last minute and the leaders who were at loggerheads called truce.
Besides, to minimise resistance, the party gave tickets to 35 out of its 38 sitting MLAs. Of the remaining three, while one was axed, the other two voluntarily cleared way for their kin. In addition, the party announced to establish Upper House in the State, i.e. legislative council after coming to power and promised berth to dissenters.
Although, State Congress president Charandas Mahant has learnt about anti-party activities in few constituencies including that of leader of the opposition in State assembly Ravindra Choubey, he claimed that his party fought 2013 polls united in all seats. According to information, the party is likely to incur damage in about 8-10 seats. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Four CRPF jawans killed in naxal firing

Raipur, November 27
After two rounds of peaceful elections in Chhattisgarh, Maoists came into action again in turbulent Bastar as they killed four CRPF jawans and injured three others in Bijapur district on Wednesday morning. The injured personnel have been admitted to district hospital in Bijapur.
ADG (naxal operations) RK Vij informed that the incident took place near village Nukanpal under Modakpal police station limit where insurgents, who had laid ambush on Murkinar-Cheramungi road, opened indiscriminate firing on road opening party of about 50 CRPF jawans of 168th battalion. The naxals then blasted landmines planted on either sides of the road in about 100 meter before jawans could comprehend the situation and start counter-firing.
Vij informed that the road opening party had been sent to clear the road as their battalion had civic action programme in Murkinar on Wednesday. He further told that the Maoists decamped with two rifles, one AK-47 and one grenade launcher of the deceased jawans.
He said additional forces had been immediately sent to Nukanpal area after the incident. Besides, the forces have also started intense searching operation in the region’s forests.    
Bijapur DSP Sukhnandan Rathore informed that the police recovered several bear bottles near the spot where incident occurred. He said the naxals had filled explosives in the bottles and blasted them during the incident.
The place where naxals had laid ambush is hilly and surrounded by dense forests. The area is close to Awapalli and Bhopalpatnam from where Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra border starts after some 30-35 km away. According to information, some 150 naxals were said to be present during attack. 

Chhattisgarh polls: Now BJP, cong jostle for 70,900 postal votes

Raipur, November 27
Polling in Chhattisgarh is not over yet. Though 77% voters have exercised their franchise by pressing the button on EVM in two rounds of polls in State, the postal ballot voters are yet to finish their job. This time, Election Commission had issued 70,900 postal ballots to government officials and employees. Considering significance of the postal electorate, especially in constituencies where victory margin was small in previous polls, the BJP and Congress are engaged in silent canvassing and offering bait to the voters as a quid pro quo for their precious votes.
The EC had engaged a total of 1.23 lakh government officials and employees in two-phased polls. Besides, 70,000 officials and security personnel from police and different armed units of State were pressed in election duty.
The commission had published about 1.25 lakh postal ballots. According to information, 70,900 postal ballots were sent to government staff who expressed their desire to cast their vote, while figures of postal ballots sent to police and other armed units have not been disclosed.
The postal votes will be accepted till December 8, the D-day when counting will be done and results will be announced. The postal voting process started on November 8.
The BJP and Congress could not approach the postal electorate as majority of them were busy in poll duty. After November 19, the candidates and workers of both the parties started contacting such voters.
In 2008, victory margin in five out of total 90 seats was by less than 1000 votes. These seats were Antagarh, Konta, Korba, Durg City, Ambikapur. This time too, the ruling and opposition parties are expecting neck and neck tussle in these as well as few more seats. Hence, they are fetching information about postal ballot voters and trying to influence them.
The BJP and Congress leaders accept that postal votes would be crucial in some seats but they deny of using any poll-stunt to woo voters. On the other hand, there are reports that the workers of these parties have tried to gain support of such voters by giving gifts and cash.
The EC officials, too, confirm that they have not received any such complaint by far. They said the expenditure of silent campaign and items distributed would be instantly appended to total expenses of the candidates who would be found violating code of conduct.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: Cong ready to forge post-poll alliance to form government

Raipur, November 26
Though both BJP and Congress are claiming to get clear majority in recently held assembly polls in State, the latter does not want to lag in number game during crucial hours and hence has started seeking post-poll alliance with the political parties and rebels of BJP who are likely to play vital role in formation of government.
According to information, senior Congress leaders have recently initiated talks with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) at New Delhi regarding post-poll scenario. They have reportedly told BSP representatives that Congress has fair chances of emerging as largest party in Chhattisgarh after declaration of poll results on December 8.
Besides, the party is also in contact with Chhattisgarh Swabhiman Manch (CSM), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Communist Party of India (CPI) apart from BJP’s rebellions who contested as independents.
After elections, State Congress president Charandas Mahant had confidently claimed that his party would win 54 seats. Former CM Ajit Jogi too had echoed Mahant’s statement but refused to disclose figures. Still, the party is not ignoring potential of non-Congress and non-BJP candidates in three-four seats.
The party estimates that BSP can pose tough challenge to it as well as BJP in six seats, i.e. Pamgarh, Sarangarh, Chandrapur, Bilaigarh, Kasdol and Balodabazar.
In addition, it thinks CSM is strong in Arang, Abhanpur, Gunderdehi, Durg Rural and Nawagarh seats. It further finds NCP in good position in Bharatpur-Sonhat and Khallari constituencies while CPI in Konta.
In Jashpur, Takhatpur and Khujji seats, the Congress feels the BJP rebels have capability to change equations, while in Kunkuri constituency it fears victory of its own rebel candidate.
The party recently took feedback from its candidates in Bastar, Rajnandgaon and Sarguja regions on its vice president Rahul Gandhi’s format. The candidates in these areas have given positive sign to the party.
The party has also completed analysis in Raipur, Dhamtari, Balodabazar, Korba, Champa-Janjgir, Durg and Mahasamund areas, however, it is yet to receive feedback from the candidates. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

12 killed as bus rams into tree

Raipur, November 25
At least 12 passengers were killed and 16 others got injured while a bus rammed into tree and turned turtle in Mahasamund district at Mumbai-Kolkata highway (NH-6) at about 12 pm on Monday. According to information, three out of seven critically injured passengers have been admitted to Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Hospital in Raipur while four have been admitted to government hospital in Mahasamund.
CM Raman Singh has expressed deep anguish over tragic road mishap and asked district administration to provide adequate medical facilities to the injured.
Mahasamund SP Deepak Jha informed that the incident took place at Darripadav between Patewa and Jhalap when a private mini bus carryng about 70 passengers was heading to Raipur from Narsinghnath (Odhisha).
It is learnt that one of the passengers immediately informed about the incident to Mahasamund police control room. Patewa police station incharge Rajaram told that the bus instantly overturned when it rammed into the tree.
The police had to use gas cutters to cut the bus and take out the passengers. The local villagers also helped police in rescuing the passengers.
The road traffic remained disrupted for a couple of hours due to mishap. The district police had to press additional force to normalise the traffic.

Chhattisgarh polls: If Cong wins, top cops may face music into Darbha case

Raipur, November 23
After persistently galling ruling BJP for six months, especially during recent polls, the ghost of May 25 Darbha case is out again and this time it is haunting IPS lobby that looks uptight ever since Congress indicated of taking stringent action against those cops, who were directly or indirectly responsible for the occurrence of the gory incident, if power changes in State.
The Congress has already expressed its displeasure over action taken by ruling BJP in wake of Darbha incident in which Maoists had killed its top-rung opposition leaders.
Post incident, the State government ordered judicial probe and removed two IPS officials for failing to provide adequate security to Congress leaders during their parivartan yatra in Bastar. The two officials were IG Bastar Range Himanshu Gupta who was attached to police headquarters (PHQ) and Jagdalpur SP Mayank Shrivastava who was suspended.
The opposition gathered factual reports instantly after the incident by sending a probe team to ground zero. The report contains significant points like negligence by local police station, district headquarters and PHQ. The report also says that several officials were trying to save their faces on pretext of rules. The party is said to have submitted a copy of this report to national investigation agency (NIA).
The Congress is also upset with the police. It says that the police are expected to reach to some concrete conclusion about root cause of the incident now, but they still seem groping in the dark.
The party further expresses its surprise over lack of coordination between the PHQ and district police during VIP movement in Bastar. It thinks besides, security lapse, there was failure in exchange of information and monitoring too.
When CM Raman Singh admitted that the incident happened due to security lapse the Congress asked it to fix responsibility and take action against the cops who were responsible for it. The government, however, did not entertain the Congress’ demand.
The party says it wants justice for its deceased leaders. It is now eagerly waiting for poll results to be announced on December 8. If it comes to power, it is less likely to spare the responsible officials. Knowing that the Congress would pose unrelenting face towards them, some of the IPS officials are reportedly attempting to go to Centre on deputation.  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: Candidates exploring ways to meet spending cap norm

Raipur, November 23
While assembly polls are over in Chhattisgarh, the candidates are now busy in preparing their expenditure report to be submitted to Election Commission (EC) to obtain its green signal that they have not violated any code of conduct by crossing the spending cap or by providing misleading figures. In doing so, several candidates are exploring loopholes to keep their poll expenses within the bracket of given norm.
According to information, the EC has already served notices to two BJP candidates Brijmohan Agrawal and Rajesh Munat and one Congress candidate Vikas Upadhyay for impinging on the code. While Agrawal came under EC radar for spending beyond upper limit of Rs 16 lakh, Munat and Upadhyay have reportedly startled observers with their low poll accounts.
In previous elections, the commission had disqualified more than 250 candidates either for spending inordinately or submitting wrong expenditure figures. Surprisingly, none of the BJP or Congress candidate figured in list of disqualified lot.
In five years, the EC evolved as ruthless monitor for code violators as was evident by strict enforcement of spending limit of candidates in State during recent polls. Knowing that the commission was keeping record of every single penny spent by them, the candidates even refrained from moving with the crowd or convoy for canvassing and rather preferred door-to-door campaign.
Still, many, including ministers and sitting MLAs, adopted novel techniques to distribute gift coupons, cash and other items to voters to counter anti-incumbency factor against them, although they could not escape vigilant eyes of EC’s observers and videographers. Now they are digging out methods to justify in figures that they never went astray and complied with the code.
Besides, there are candidates who were unaware of dos and don’ts of poll expenditure and now they are unable to fill correct detail in their report according to prescribed ceiling.
There were a total of 986 candidates in fray in two rounds of polls. It is learnt that the expenditure observers have zeroed in about 150-200 candidates whose might provide fabricated report. The observers shortlisted these candidates on the basis of their day- to-day poll expense account. According to norm, a candidate has to submit the register, in which he/she maintains poll account, at least three times during the campaign period.
The candidates will have to submit true account of their elections expenses within 30 days from the date of declaration of result of the election. In the computation of this 30-day period, the date of declaration of result of election is excluded.

Friday, November 22, 2013

BJP, Congress bigwigs prepare pitch for LS battle

Raipur, November 22
When BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi kick-started poll campaign of their parties in State by holding rallies in Bastar, it was expected that the two would talk about Chhattisgarh, but both seemed disenchanted by local battle because their eyes were fixed far away at New Delhi, the power centre, for which they had come to slug it out in neglected tribal zone. Their agenda was clear – to prepare pitch for general elections in Chhattisgarh and head on to other poll-bound states to do the same. The remaining job was left with other star campaigners who set up tempo of their partymen for ultimate war for power in April-May 2014.
The BJP and Congress conducted over 300 rallies in the State. Almost half of these rallies were addressed by star campaigners while the rest were held by local leaders. The difference in star-studded rallies and desi public meetings was perceptible. While the invited orators adhered to terminologies like Modi, Sonia, Rahul, price rise, corruption, NDA, UPA, etc the local lot focused on Maoism, development, law and order, pro-incumbency and anti-incumbency.
Apparently, the State witnessed two types of poll campaigns, one for Vidhan Sabha and other for Lok Sabha. Though, the rhetoric of star campaigners and local leaders was beyond endurance limit of the common mass, the BJP and Congress had not choice than to continue the show as objectives of assembly as well as general elections were fulfilling in one go.
Politically, Chhattisgarh is a small State with 90 assembly and 11 Lok Sabha constituencies. The BJP has 10 LS seats while the Congress has one. Since both the parties want larger pie in general elections, none is letting any stone unturned in canvassing for it.
The BJP and Congress are adopting same formula in other poll-bound states too. Of 543 LS seats, Madhya Pradesh has 29, Rajasthan 25, Delhi 7 and Mizoram 1. Including 11 LS seats of Chhattisgarh, the five states have total 73 seats. Both the parties are concentrating least in Mizoram and more in other four states. The objective of both the parties is to save time as the star campaigners have to travel across the country in remaining five months.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: Congress confident, BJP anxious

Raipur, November 21
After heavy turnout in two rounds of assembly polls in State, the ruling BJP and principal opposition Congress are busy in seat calculations, though the latter is brimming with confidence and hopes to form government this time while the former looks anxious and waiting with bated breath whether people would accept its development card and give it clear mandate or not. However, controlling their emotions, the leaders of both the parties claim to win over 50 seats of 90-member legislative assembly. The verdict of Chhattisgarh and four other poll-bound states will be announced on December 8.
Before polling, both BJP and Congress had claimed of swinging the electorate in their favour. The BJP banked on pro-incumbency factor while the Congress hoped of miracle earning it power with sympathy wave in its side in wake of May 25 Darbha incident and prevalence of anti-incumbency factor.
The turnout in 18 constituencies in first phase was 75.53%. The BJP was taken aback by high voting percent as it knew that people in such number would never vote in its favour when development in their region was proportionately much less than other parts of the State.
The congress, on the other hand, termed heavy turnout under tight security sans naxal violence as an indication of its victory. Of 18 seats in first phase, the BJP has 15 and Congress has three. After polls, the BJP is estimating loss of three to four seats while Congress is counting gain of five. The major reason behind confidence of Congress is AICC secretary and spokesperson Bhakta Charandas who stayed in Bastar region for almost one month and canvassed intensely.
The BJP started second phase of campaigning with amended tactics. This time, it kept state affairs at bay and raised Central issues. In addition, the BJP dubbed former CM Ajit Jogi as hidden CM candidate of Congress and simultaneously asked it to project its leader. The objective was to take psychological advantage of polarised Congress that had somewhat managed to cope with infighting just before polls. Contrarily, the Congress kept on hitting the ruling party on State issues.
Consequently, the voting in second phase jumped to 78.50%. Of 72 seats in second round, the BJP has 35, Congress 36 and BSP one. The BJP says the seat-loss it incurred in Bastar and Rajnandgaon in first phase will be compensated by seat-gain in Mahasamund, Dhamtari and Durg districts. The Congress too hopes of taking lead in Koria, Jashpur, Korba and Raipur districts.
Of total 90 seats, statisticians of BJP hope to get 51 while that of Congress are expecting to win 54. The political pundits, on the other hand, think that both the parties would get around 44-46 seats while a couple will go to third party. The BJP is tensed by such conjectures while Congress is smiling. 

Chhattisgarh records 77% total turnout in two phases

Raipur, November 21
Chhattisgarh has recorded 77% total turnout in two rounds of polls held in 90 assembly constituencies onNovember 11 and 19. In the first phase, the State had witnessed 75.53% turnout while the voting in second round reached to 78.50%. Though re-polling would be done in a couple of polling stations, the officials of Chief Electoral Officer say the final voting percent would not fluctuate too much.
The 2013 assembly polls turnout created history in 13-year-old State as it is seven percent higher than 2008 polls and six percent higher than 2003 polls. The voting in 2003 and 2008 was 71% and 70.34%. Interestingly, the polling in 2008 dipped by 0.66% as compared to 2003 despite the BJP coming power for second consecutive time.
While the Congress terms rise in turnout as impact of anti-incumbency factor, the BJP claims that it was pro-incumbency factor that prompted people to come out of their homes and vote for it again.
Among 90 constituencies, Kurud marked highest voting with 88.31% while Konta recorded lowest turnout, i.e. 48.36%. The 2013 polls in State is significant for Election Commission too as its preparations helped it achieving over 70% turnout in 75 constituencies. The voting percent in rest of 15 constituencies too remained satisfactory as compared to previous two polls.
The turnout gap between rural and urban areas too shrunk this time as urbanites displayed extra bit of enthusiasm in exercising their franchise, though villagers outnumbered them again. One major reason behind marked rise in urban turnout was young voters who cast their vote for the first time.
In the first phase, polling in two booths of Antagarh constituency, Chhote Pakhanjoor and Sitaram, could not be done as the polling parties returned from the midway after naxal firing. Now, the EC will conduct re-polling in these booths on November 23. The polling will be done from 7 am to 3 pm. Except these booths, the turnout in Antagarh was 76.49%.
The EC is also likely to announce re-polling in Kamreed and Bamhanipali polling stations of Sarangarh constituency and Bhinderwani booth of Saja constituency. The polling was done in both the constituencies in second phase. However, zero voting was recorded in Kamreed and Bamhanipali booths as the voters had boycotted polls while polling in Bhinderwani was adjourned after tension gripped the area when a miscreant became victim of police firing.

छेड़खानी के बाद माफी? सवाल ही नही उठता..

Yogesh Mishra 

Raipur November 21, 2013 

अप्रिय तरुण तेजपाल

तुम तहलका के प्रमुख संपादक हो। सर्वोच्च पद पर रहते हुए भी तुमने पहले अपनी कनिष्ठ महिला पत्रकार का यौन उत्पीड़न किया और अब बिना सज़ा भोगे माफी माँग रहे हो। क्यों? क्या यही हरकत कोई अंजान व्यक्ति तुम्हारी माँ, बहन, बहू अथवा बेटी के साथ करता तो तुम उसे माफ़ कर देते? कभी नही। तुम तो तहलका मचा देते। तुम न्याय की बात करते, क़ानून की बात करते, अदालत की बात करते और समाज के गिरते हुए स्तर की बात करते। लेकिन जब बात तुमपर बन आई है तो किसी तरह से इस मामले को रफ़ा-दफ़ा करना चाहते हो।

यह दोगलापन क्यों? तुम्हें इतना ही प्रायश्चित करने का शौक था तो पुलिस थाने जाते और अपना अपराध स्वीकार करते, न्यायालय मे कड़ी से कड़ी सज़ा माँगते ताकि समाज मे छिपे तुम्हारे जैसे सफ़ेदपोश चरित्रहीन लोग ऐसी हरकत करने की जुर्रत ना करते। परंतु तुमने तो बिल्कुल ही आसान रास्ता अख्तियार कर लिया - यौन शोषण करो, माफी माँगो और फिर यौन शोषण करो, माफी पुनः मिल जाएगी। इस तरह तो तुमने चरित्रहीनों के लिए नया मार्ग खोल दिया, नयी परिपाटी की शुरुआत कर दी।

वाह रे ईमानदार खोजी पत्रकार, तुम्हारी चरित्रहीनता ने फिर यह सिद्ध कर दिया कि बड़ी बड़ी संस्थाओं मे उच्च पदों पर आसीन व्यक्ति अपनी वासनापूर्ति के लिए कैसे प्रलोभन देकर महिलाकर्मियों का शोषण करते हैं। तुम जैसे वहशी दरिंदों की वजह से ही छोटे शहरों मे रहने वाले लोग अपनी लड़कियों को बड़े शहरों मे नौकरी करने नही देते।

इसलिए तुम्हारी सज़ा तो बनती है। क़ानून की नज़रों मे तुम अपराधी हो और जनता की आँखों मे विश्वासघाती क्योंकि तुमने स्वयं को लोकतंत्र के चौथे स्तंभ का प्रतिनिधि बताकर समाज को दूषित किया है। तुम कठोर से कठोर सज़ा के हकदार हो।

मेरा सुझाव है कि तुम्हे पहले पीड़ित लड़की के परिवार वालों से पिटवाया जाए फिर जनता पिटाई करे और अंत मे पुलिस तुम्हारी मर्दानगी को अंतिम विदाई दे। इसके बाद भी सज़ा की गुंजाइश बचती है क्योंकि तुम एक पढ़े-लिखे ज़िम्मेदार व्यक्ति हो।

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Modi was main target of nabbed SIMI operatives

Terrorists did recce of Modi’s Kanpur, Delhi, Ambikapur rallies
Raipur, November 20
Chhattisgarh police on Wednesday claimed that recently arrested eight operatives of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had planned to attack on BJP leader Narendra Modi’s Kanpur, Delhi and Ambikapur rallies but could not do so due to heightened security in wake of October 27 Patna blasts.
“During interrogation, Umer Siddiqui, who is leader of the arrested terrorists, admitted that he wanted to kill Modi. He had also done recce of Modi’s Kanpur, Delhi and Ambikapur rallies and prepared map of the areas,” said DGP Ramnivas.
“Siddiqui changed his plan when he found enhanced security in the three cities for Modi’s rallies. He then hatched alternate plan under which he first wanted to trigger stampede in the three rallies through blasts and then use suicide bomber to kill Modi,” he added.
He told that Siddiqui framed the plan with the help of Abdulla alias Haider Ali, an alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative and one of the four accused in Patna blasts. Abdulla had also arranged explosives and other essential items from Mirzapur (Uttar Pradesh) for terror attacks in Kanpur, Delhi and Ambikapur rallies.
Siddiqui has also masterminded July 7 Bodh Gaya blasts. Besides, he told the police that he was part of team that architected Patna blasts. “Siddiqui informed us that Abdulla and other three IM operatives Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu, Numan Ansari and Taufeeq Ansari will stay at Raipur after Patna blasts. He further admitted that all the four absconders were involved in Hyderabad blasts,” said Ramnivas.
The four accused of Patna blasts had play to stay long at Raipur but escaped on November 9 when they learnt about police raid in their rented house.
Ramnivas informed that the State intelligence department had kept an eye on suspicious activities of Siddiqui and other seven arrested terrorist for the past three years.
“The terrorists were operating very cautiously in the State. They used all tricks to deceive us like leaving phone in “calling mode” at one place and moving to phone booths to contact their colleagues. They also used letters to exchange information. We have alerted Intelligence Bureau about their activities on August 17. Eventually, we arrested them on November 14,” he said.
He claimed that with the arrest of eight terrorists, the police had completely destroyed SIMI network in Chhattisgarh.
Asked whether Siddiqui was a SIMI member or IM operative, Ramnivas said Siddiqui had links with both the terror outfits but he seemed to have established his own module in Raipur as other arrested terrorists used to address him aamir (chief).
“Siddiqui accepts that he had connection with wanted terrorist Abdul Subhan Taukeer till 2009. Taukeer is not in Pakistan. We are also inquiring whether Siddiqui’s module is connected to Bhatkal module, Darbhanga module and other terror outfits or not,” he added.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: State witnesses 75% turnout in second phase

Raipur, November 19
After record 75.53% turnout in first phase of polling in 18 constituencies including 12 of naxal-hit Bastar division and six of Rajnandgaon district, Chhattisgarh witnessed 75% voting in second and final round in 72 constituencies under 19 districts on Tuesday. The polling held peacefully across the State except some events including one in Saja constituency where one person got killed and three injured when CRPF personnel opened fire on miscreants who tried to disrupt polling process.
A total of 843 candidates including State assembly speaker, deputy speaker, nine ministers and heavyweight Congress leaders were in fray in the second phase. The Election Commission (EC) had pressed over one lakh security personnel across the State to smoothly conduct last round of polling. In ten booths, technical snag in EVMs led to delayed polling process.
The highest voting was recorded in Kurud where turnout was 88% while lowest turnout was in Manendragarh and Vaishalinagar, i.e 60%.
The highlight of the second phase was big bunch of young voters who ardently participated in the polling process for the first time. Avid to become decisive factor in the polls, the young brigade thronged several polling stations even before commencement of polling. Old-age people waiting for their turn in long queues too indicated how much importance they give to their vote in democratic process of electing candidates.
With government announcing holiday on Tuesday and Chhattisgarh Chamber of Commerce and Industries appealing business establishments to start their work after 1 pm due to polls, roads and streets in major parts of the State wore deserted look in the first half while the ambience of polling stations remained crowded throughout the day.
The polling began at 8 am. The turnout in the first hour was modest 15%, but it gradually increased as the mercury rose in subsequent hours. While, polling in majority of the polling stations concluded at scheduled time 5 pm, a good number of last minute entrants in some booths managed to obtain tokens within the given time frame to exercise their franchise. According to EC’s directives, these token holders were allowed to cast their vote even after 5 pm.
In first three hours, 25% turnout was recorded in all 72 constituencies. In the State capital Raipur, Governor Shekhar Dutta cast his vote in Raipur City North constituency at Civil Lines-based polling Station at morning. CM Raman Singh, accompanied by his family, exercised his franchise at his hometown Kawardha.
In Saja constituency under Bemetara district, scuffle broke out between miscreants and CRPF personnel at Bhindarwani poll station when the former in boozed state reach there and created scene. A CRPF jawan opened fired when situation went out of control and miscreants including Ashok Sen, Ramavtar Verma and Dilip Nehar became violent. In firing, Sen died on the spot while Verma and Nehar received injuries. One voter Khileshwar Sahu too received minor injuries. All the injured have been admitted to local hospital. DGP Ramnivas has ordered magisterial probe into the matter.
In Jainagar polling booth under Surajpur district, one presiding officer was arrested after he was found drunk.
In Sarangarh, the voters of villages Kamreed (booth number 253) and Bamhanipali (booth number 259) boycotted polls in protest of lack of basic amenities in their areas. Since morning onwards, the villagers mustered near the two polling centres but did not exercise their franchise. Though the SDM tried to convince them to express their feeling by giving vote to their favourite candidate, they refrained from doing so.
In Raipur City South, BJP candidate and PWD minister Brijmohan Agrawal alleged that polling officials favoured Congress candidate and Raipur mayor Kiranmayi Nayak and deliberately removed names of 7000 voters from the list. He said he would lodge complain about it to the EC and even knock doors of Supreme Court.
In Dhamtari, about 30-40 Maoists were reportedly seen near Khallari village but they disappeared soon when the police forces learnt about them and took their position. However, Dhamtari DSP Vijay Katare and ASP Ashok Deepre rubbished the report and said the region was heavily guarded and polling was done peacefully.
The turnout in 72 constituencies was - Bharatpur-Sonhat – 64%, Manendragarh – 60%, Baikunthpur – 70%, Premnagar - 80%, Bhatgaon - 82%, Pratappur - 82%, Ramanujganj - 83%, Samri - 78%, Lundra - 75%, Ambikapur – 70%, Sitapur - 74%, Jashpur – 76%, Kunkuri – 74%, Paththalgaon – 75%, Lailunga – 72%, Raigarh – 70%, Sarangarh - 74%, Kharsia – 76%, Dharamjaigarh - 71%, Rampur - 78%, Korba - 74%, Kathghora - 72%, Pali-Tanakhar - 75%, Lormi – 68%, Mungeli – 72%, Takhatpur - 76%, Bilha - 72%, Bilaspur – 63%, Beltara - 70%, Masturi  -68%, Marwahi – 80%, Kota - 76%, Akaltara - 68%, Janjgir-Champa - 67%, Sakti - 65%, Chandrapur - 70%, Jaijaipur - 69%, Pamgarh  -70%, Saraipali - 75%, Basna - 76%, Khallari - 74%, Mahasamund - 74, Bilaigarh - 68%, Kasdol - 73, Balodabazar - 72%, Bhatapara - 73%, Dharsiva - 74%, Raipur Rural – 65%, Raipur West - 62%, Raipur North – 63%, Raipur South – 64%, Aarang - 76%, Abhanpur - 74%, Rajim - 77%, Bindranawagarh - 76%, Sihawa - 83%, Kurud - 88%, Dhamtari – 82%, Sanjari-Balod - 83%, Doundilohara - 84%, Gunderdehi - 85%, Patan – 74%, Durg Rural - 71%, Durg City - 65%, Bhilai Nagar - 66%, Vaishalinagar – 60%, Ahiwara - 71%, Saja - 74%, Bemetara - 71%, Nawagarh  -68%, Pandaria - 79%and Kawardha - 78%. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: Final battle for power today

Raipur, November 18
The second and final round of polls will be held in 72 constituencies of Chhattisgarh on Tuesday. In these seats, the reputation of State assembly speaker, deputy speaker, BJP’s nine ministers and opposition’s bigwigs is in stake. Though BJP and Congress claim of straight fight between them, 23 out of 72 seats are likely to witness triangular tussle.
Among 72 constituencies, 35 belong to BJP and 36 to Congress while one seat is occupied by BSP. Interestingly, the BJP has fielded nine female candidates while Congress has given opportunity to 11 in second phase.
State assembly speaker Dharamlal Kaushik, who hopes to win from Bilha constituency for third consecutive time, is said to be facing tough challenge from his own relative and Congress candidate Siyaram Kaushik. Deputy speaker Narayan Chandel too is reportedly facing anti-incumbency factor in Janjgir-Champa constituency.
The nine ministers whose fortune will be locked in EVMs are PWD minister Brijmohan Agrawal from Raipur City South, home minister Nankiram Kanwar from Rampur, health minister Amar Agrawal from Bilaspur, WRD minister Ramvichar Netam from Ramanujganj, rural development minister Hemchand Yadav from Durg City, agriculture minister Chandrashekhar Sahu from Abhanpur, housing and environment minister Rajesh Munat from Raipur City West, revenue minister Dayaldas Baghel from Nawagarh and food minister Punulal Mohle from Mungeli.
More importantly, these ministers realised beforehand that victory would not be easy ride for them this time and hence they threw their full might to save their seats.
The bigwigs from Congress in fray are CLP leader Ravindra Choubey from Saja, former minster Satyanarayan Sharma from Raipur Rural, deputy CLP leader Rampukar Singh from Paththalgaon, veteran leader Bodhram Kanwar from Katghora, Dr Renu Jogi from Kota, former minister Bhupesh Baghel from Patan and former minister Mohammad Akbar from Kawardha.
The candidates who are forming third angle in 23 seats are either rebels from BJP and Congress who are contesting as independents or from Chhattisgarh Swabhiman Manch, BSP and other parties.
Former BJP minister Ganesh Ram Bhagat was strong contender from Jashpur seat but the party gave ticket to Ramsharan Bhagat. Upset by party’s attitude, Ganesh Ram Bhagat decided to contest as independent candidate from the area. The Congress has fielded Sarhul Ram Bhagat from this seat.
The BJP and Congress are also alter in Sarangarh, Mungeli, Takhatpur, Masturi, Pamgarh and Bilaigarh seats where BSP is reportedly giving them tough challenge.
In Mahasamund, BJP and Congress have fielded Poonam Chandrakar and Agni Chandrakar respectively. Since this is a kurmi-populated region, both the parties have played Chandrakar card. However, independent candidate Dr Vimal Chopra has emerged as potential winner in the area.
In Sakti, former minister Surendra Bahadur Singh from Congress is trying his luck as GGP candidate. While Congress has given ticket to sitting MLA Saroja Rathore from this seat, the BJP has fielded Khilawan Sahu.
The other seats where triangular tussle has increased heartbeats of Congress and BJP candidates are Balodabazar, Durg City, Durg Rural, Gunderdehi, Arang, Nawagarh, Patan, Ahiwara, Rampur, Pali Tanakhar, Pandaria, Rajim and Sihawa. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cong discloses Rs 20000 cr power purchase scam

Raipur, November 17
Congress on Sunday alleged that BJP government had done power purchase scam worth Rs 20,000 crore to benefit private players and dented pockets of common people by hiking power tariff. State Congress president Charandas Mahant has directly held CM Raman Singh for this eye-opening scam as he has kept energy portfolio with him.
“We were expecting complete transparency and corruption-free atmosphere in departments held by the CM, but the latest scam in energy department is a shocker for us as well as the common mass,” Mahant said.
“The scam was done in a planned manner. The government first purchased power from the private power generating units and then entered into agreement on rates, conditions, etc after one and a half year,” he said.
“More importantly, instead of making payment on the basis of rates fixed in agreement, the government paid higher rates. The government actually purchased power during normal hours and did payment of peak hours,” he told. The private players usually charge three to four times of normal rate during peak hours, i.e. from 6-11 pm.
Questioning CM Raman Singh’s credibility in wake of Rs 20,000 crore power purchase scam, Mahan asked why he did not take initiative to restart State’s closed down power generating units.
“The power tariff in power surplus State went up due to CM’s inability to handle energy department efficiently and his silent consent to corruption,” he charged.
He said due to power purchase scam the loss of Chhattisagrh State Power Distribution Company Limited (CSPDCL) had increased from Rs 539 crore in 2011 to Rs 1973 crore in 2013.
“The CSPDCL was a self-reliant company but few people in the government put it in loss to inflate their finances. This has deeply affected people’s monthly budget, but the ruling party is least bothered about them,” he said.

Chhattisgarh polls: 1.40 cr voters to decide fate of 843 candidates in 2nd phase

Raipur, November 17
After successfully conducting first round of assembly polls in naxal-infested Bastar division and Rajnandgaon district, the Election Commission (EC) will hold second and final phase of elections in 72 constituencies under 19 districts on November 19. A total of 1,39,75,470 voters will decide fate of 843 candidates in the second round. The polling time will be from 8 am to 5 pm. Besides police and paramilitary forces, the commission will monitor polling through 3000 camerabs.
Considering expanded naxal domain in Surajpur and Balrampur districts of Sarguja division and Mahasamund, Gariyaband, Dhamtari and Balod districts, the EC has pressed additional forces in these areas.
The poll campaigning for second phase in State concluded at 5 pm on Sunday, i.e. 48 hours before polling day. The political parties have now started the door-to-door campaign to woo voters.
Among 72 seats, 46 belong to general category, 17 are reserved for ST and nine for SC. Of the total 1,39,75,470 voters, 71,39,631 are male and 68,30,179 are female. The chief electoral officer Sunil Kujur informed that on the basis of census 2011, the EC had estimated 2,21,83,167 population of 72 constituencies in 2013. The electoral population (EP) ratio of the projected population is 62.97.
Kujur further informed that 99.76% voters had been distributed Electors Photo Id-Card (EPIC) while percentage of photo elector rolls was 99.91 in 72 Vidhan Sabhas.
The number of female contestants out of total 843 candidates is 75. There are 236 candidates from recognised national political parties, 289 from registered political parties and 318 independents.
The maximum number of candidates in fray is in Raipur City South, i.e. 38 while minimum number is in Saraipali, i.e. five. There are total 11 constituencies where number of candidates is more than 16. These areas are Kota, Lormi, Takhatpur, Beltara, Chandrapur, Kasdol, Raipur City South, Durg City, Bhilai Nagar, Vaishalinagar and Bemetara. The EC has provided two ballot units (BU) in ten of these areas and three BUs in Raipur City South.
There are total 18,015 polling stations of which 665 are auxiliary booths. The commission has declared 4594 polling centres as sensitive and 1398 as hyper sensitive.
The EC has constituted 20,000 polling parties to smoothly conduct polls. The total number of polling staff engaged in second phase is 80,000. There are 18,015 control units (CU) and 20,957 BUs.
To keep hawk’s eye on polling procedures, the EC has appointed 4675 micro-observers, 19 police observers, 22 expenditure observers, 72 assistant expenditure observers and 72 general observers. Besides, 216 flying squads, 216 statistics teams, 75 video monitoring teams, 75 video surveillance teams and 19 media certification and monitoring committees (MCMC) too have been constituted.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: Violence in Chhattisgarh more than J&K - Rahul

Raipur, November 16
Castigating BJP government for failing to contain Maoism, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday compared Chhattisgarh with Jammu and Kashmir and said while violence and fear was much more in tribal-populated State than in valley.
“The BJP leaders talk of terrorism in the country, but pose mysterious silence over Maoism in State. Fear has pervaded the entire region. The amount of violence here is much more than any other state in the country. Majority of its districts are affected by insurgents. It is surprising that the BJPians cannot see this glaring fact,” said Gandhi while addressing huge crowd at Budhapara-based outdoor stadium in Raipur.
Gandhi, who reached State capital almost three and a half hour late by scheduled time of 1:30 pm after holding two rallies in Kharsia and Surajpur, looked impressed by the turnout in his rally and hence straightaway raised May 25 Darbha incident in Bastar and said several frontline leaders of his party became victim of naxals due to BJP government’s negligence towards their security.
Alluding to BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi’s development talks he said it was an irony that the top brasses of saffron party never utter anything about terror in the State and prefer to cling to development rhetoric.
He further said the BJPians shout aloud of corruption at Centre but never see even an iota of it in Chhattisgarh. “Let them ignore these happenings but the people here are observing everything from coal blocks allocation to women harassment cases to unemployment,” he added.
He pointed that corruption loomed so large in the State that chief secretary had to express his annoyance overtly and point fingers at one minister.
He alleged that the BJP was against Centre’s ambitious new land acquisition bill and it even tried to dissuade the government from tabling the bill in the parliament. “A rich person can get market rate of his land, but not a poor man. Through new land acquisition law, we wanted the poor to get his fair share. Now the poor and farmers will get fourfold of their land rates,” he added.
He said Right to Information (RTI) was another revolutionary bill passed by the UPA government in the parliament. “The RTI enables a person to ask anything from the government. Now the close door talks of the government are open for public through this law,” he stated.
He said the Congress wanted to build roads, bridges, airports but not at the cost of dignity of the people.
Interacting with the crowd he asked whether the youth in the State got job under two terms of BJP and the answer was “no”.
He said with second phase of polls in State scheduled on November 19, the Congress would form government of aam aadmi, youth and women. “We will bring your money and lands back,” he said.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: Modi targets PM, Sonia, Rahul

Raipur, November 14
BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi seems to have decided to take a jab on top three Congress leaders– PM Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi simultaneously in his every rally as his did it again at Raipur on Thursday while addressing a massive crowd by taunting the trio and appealing to rid the nation from Congress. “The root cause of all problems is Congress led by these three leaders. Reject this party and make the country problem-free,” he said.
Jeering at the PM for addressing Congress workers’ rally at indoor stadium in Raipur recently, Modi said the economist-turned-politician could not understand public problem because he likes to play indoor games. “The PM does not know public pulse. This is the reason he, as a chairman of planning commission, feels that a person earning Rs 26 a day is not poor. He is a politician who has not won a Lok Sabha election. The root of the democracy is general elections and if the nation’s leader will assume the top office through Rajya Sabha then how would he set example,” he asked.
Lashing at UPA government’s economic policies he said the Rupee was in ICU due to policy paralysis. “There is no capital investment, corruption is in full bloom at Centre, Supreme Court is hitting the government almost on daily basis, the officers and ministers are going to jail on graft charges. Will the future of the country be safe in hands of the party represented by such people,” he questioned.
He said during their Chhattisagrh rallies, neither the PM nor Sonia and Rahul Gandhi mentioned about reasons of price rise in the country. “They should have told people what went wrong for which people had to face such grim situation,” he said.
Castigating Congress scion Rahul Gandhi, Modi said the Shahjada (prince) did not know anything about poor and hence say utter words like “poverty is a state of mind”. “Rahul must know that the people who die in floods, draught, due to extreme weather conditions and epidemic are poor,” he said.
Further pointing at Sonia Gandhi he said madam raised land acquisition cases in Chhattisgarh prominently but never dare to do so in Haryana or Rajasthan. “I advise Sonia Gandhi to deliver such speeches in a seminar in presence of haryana’s IAS officer Ashok Khemka,” he said.
He urged people not to get deceived by Congress and give vote to BJP in Chhattisgarh. “You give mandate to BJP and take assurance of your future,” he said.

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