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Congress set to form next govt in Himachal

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Hooda on Thursday said the Congress will form its government in Himachal Pradesh going by the present election result trends…reports Asian Lite News

Himachal Pradesh has followed the tradition of alternating governments in the past four decades and the Congress and the BJP were directly pitted against each other in the hill state. Congress is looking to form the next government in the 68 member state assembly as it was leading in 40 seats, according to data on the Election Commission website.

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Hooda on Thursday said the Congress will form its government in Himachal Pradesh going by the present election result trends.

“As per trends, we are going to form our government in Himachal Pradesh. I would be leaving soon for Shimla along with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and AICC in-charge for Himachal Pradesh Rajeev Shukla,” Hooda said.

The Congress has asked Hooda, Baghel and Shukla to leave for Shimla and keep its flock of MLAs together and hold consultations for government formation there.

The Congress had campaigned extensively in Himachal Pradesh, urging voters to maintain the tradition of voting out the incumbent.

The election observer of Congress for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls Bhupesh Baghel on Thursday expressed hopes of forming government in the hill state judging by the ongoing ECI trends.

Baghel, while addressing mediapersons also stressed his apprehensions of horse-trading of the Congress MLAs.

“Though Congress is leading in many constituencies in Himachal, there is a neck-and-neck competition at many others. We should wait till the election results are announced as the counting is still underway,” Bhupesh Baghel said in his address to mediapersons in Raipur.

While mentioning that he will go to the hill state via the national capital, Baghel expressed hopes and said their expectation of forming a government in Himachal “appears to be coming true”.

When asked if the Himachal MLAs will be brought to Raipur amid the apprehensions of ‘horse-trading’, Baghel said that they need to be cautious.

BJP crosses 150 mark in Gujarat

Bharatiya Janata Party is currently leading on 152 seats in the latest trends as the counting of votes is progressing, thus clearly indicating that the party is simultaneously breaking its own record of 127 seats and also shattering the highest previous electoral record of 147 achieved by the Madhav Singh Solanki Congress government in 1985.

The BJP is leading on 152 seats, according to the latest trends on all the 182 seats by the Election Commission till 11 am. The BJP, if manages to win 152 seats in the state, will not only thrash its own record of winning the highest ever by the party in the 2002 Assembly elections with 127 seats but also break record of getting the highest number of seats in the Gujarat Assembly elections in 1985 by the Congress’ Madhav Singh Solanki government which had won 149 seats.

The exit polls had suggested that the BJP will come to power for the seventh time in the state with a thumping majority.

The counting of votes for the Gujarat Assembly elections began on Thursday at 8 am.

The counting in Gujarat began at 37 centres in 33 districts.

Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer P Bharathi said that 182 counting observers, 182 election officers and 494 assistant election officers are on duty for the counting process. There will be an additional 78 Assistant Election Officers for the counting of votes. In addition, 71 additional Assistant Election Officers have been assigned responsibility for the electronically transmitted postal ballot system in the previous polls

Assembly elections in Gujarat were held in two phases on December 1 and 5 respectively.

The approximate voter turnout in Gujarat by the end of the second phase of the Gujarat elections was recorded at 59.11 per cent.

During the first phase of polling on December 1, Gujarat saw an overall turnout of 63.14 per cent. While polling for 68 assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh was held on November 12.

Meanwhile, the exit polls have indicated a clear win for the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat.

BJP has been in power in Gujarat for 27 years with Prime Minister Narendra Modi remaining in the Chief Minister’s post for the longest time before becoming the Prime Minister. Congress gave a tough fight to the ruling BJP in the last assembly elections in 2017. However, AAP may spoil the game for Congress by taking away a significant vote share in their favour. (ANI)

ALSO READ-EXIT POLLS: BJP to sweep Gujarat; tight race in Himachal

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Democrats under dilemma on publishing Trump’s tax records

If the Democrats enjoying majority in the outgoing House don’t do it immediately, they can never after Republicans take over the House in January 2023, a report by T.N. Ashok

The Democrats face a serious dilemma on whether or not to publish former US President Donald Trump’s tax records through the Congress, as the Supreme Court has denied Trump’s appeal against it, and if the Democrats enjoying majority in the outgoing House don’t do it immediately, they can never after Republicans take over the House in January 2023.

The unusual situation has arisen with the Supreme Court’s decision recently to deny the motion by Trump’s legal team to block public disclosure of Trump’s tax records citing executive privilege of a former President. As the apex court cleared the way, the Democrats had already lost the majority in the House of Representatives where Republicans hold 222 seats against 213 seats of the Democrats — pre-midterms it was 220 vs 212 seats as the matter was pursued.

Public disclosure of Trump’s tax records follows relentless investigation by the office of the Attorney General Letitia James and her predecessor Cyrus Vance, who has sued Trump for $250 million in punitive charges plus recovery of unpaid taxes over a period of 10 years when Trump Business systematically evaded taxes, inflating property values to obtain loans fraudulently from banks (Deutsche bank) and advantaging loopholes in tax laws to pay little or no taxes at all while showing a different value of properties in the tax books.

CNN, often described by Trump as Clinton News Network, for its liberal bias, in its report quoting experts said experts have travelled down this road several times before.

Attorney General Letitia James

“Many times. Remember 2016, during Trump’s first presidential run, when the man himself told us that we would see his returns “as soon as the audit was over”? The audit never seemed to end, and an audit would not prohibit him from releasing the returns in any event.”

The former Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, who first subpoenaed Trump’s tax returns from the accountant Mazars in 2019, and actually got them years — and multiple legal cases — later.

The Trump tax returns case is now a battle with the Democratic-controlled Congress which will change to Republican hands in January 2023.

Since 2019, the Democrats House Committee on Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal relentlessly tried to to get Trump’s returns under a statute which empowers him to obtain just that.

“No judge — not even Trevor N. McFadden, the lower court-Trump appointee, who delayed the matter and gratuitously suggested that Congress could, but should not, publish the returns — has ever disagreed,” the CNN reported.

As Congressman Bill Pascrell said, “Trump’s legal team just about managed to delay and drag the matter for 1,329 days since the committee sought the former President’s tax returns, nearly as long as the American Civil War.”

The matter has now come to fruition with the Supreme Court — without opinion or dissent — has summarily rejected Trump’s request to block the release of his tax returns.

Congress should have either got the returns by now or is in the process of getting it, reports say. The Democratic majority in the House now is legally entitled to publish Trump’s returns. But the Democrats are not the Republicans and are not used to taking hasty decisions. The Democrats are hoping against hope to avoid hasty and vindictive probes from the incoming Republican House, the CNN report said.

U.S. President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn before departing from the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Oct. 22, 2018.(Xinhua/Ting Shen/IANS)

The New York Times has been vigorously pursuing Trump’s tax information through journalistic means and published a detailed analysis of 20 years’ worth of the former President’s returns, showing that he paid little or no taxes in most years.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s contention is that Trump Business engaged in clear and obvious tax fraud, paying its Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg in untaxed, unreported forms, such as through private school tuition payments for his grandchildren.

The Attorney General has argued that there was a pattern to the tax fraud as it was consistent with decades of Trump family’s aggressive tax avoidance. The Trump Organisation has rejected claims by the Attorney General’s office of Letitia James, a Democrat, as being part of a “witch hunt” by the Democrats.

Weissleberg has confessed to tax frauds in the Trump Business without implicating Trump. He has promised to testify in the case — it remains to be seen if he will implicate Trump and his grown-up children accused of tax fraud.

If the Democrats don’t move against Trump now by publishing his tax returns obtained under the legal process of a Supreme Court ruling, then it’s a major opportunity lost, say political observers.

The entire drama of Trump’s tax fraud actually calls for wide ranging reforms to plug loopholes in the taxation system, taxation experts say. The House Ways and Means Committee has relied heavily on its roles to monitor the executive branch’s administration of the tax laws and on its legislative responsibilities.

The debate is now about what new laws are needed to avoid the Trumpian tax saga. The moral question for the American citizen is, is there something wrong with the tax administration system that a billionaire President can pay no taxes. However, high the post, even if it be President, the American citizen would agree that they should be held accountable.

Tax returns of all Presidents and Vice-Presidents are subject to annual audits under a law passed in 1977 by the Congress.

Did an audit of Trump’s tax returns reveal anything? Was Team Trump pressed to defend all of their tax positions? Were adjustments made? Why or why not? What, planning –alleged fraud in the Weissenberg case — not been checked over the decades? Why did it take the Manhattan District Attorney to find what the IRS did not? These are questions Congress should ask, The CNN said, reflecting largely what it felt was the public perception on the matter.

ALSO READ: Democrats to face acid test on ongoing probe against Trump

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BJP campaign across 93 seats today

Shah will address four rallies in Khambhat, Sabarmati, Tharad and Disha. Nadda will address four rallies in Shahera, Chanasma, Siddhpur and Nikol assembly seats…reports Asian Lite News

The Bharatiya Janata Party will organise a second campaign outreach programme in Gujarat with 93 election rallies in 93 assembly seats today after the saffron party had organised 89 such rallies in 89 assembly seats on November 18, media reported.

The saffron party is targeting a record win in Gujarat as top leaders of the party, including PM Modi, home minister Amit Shah, BJP national president JP Nadda and other leaders are campaigning in the state.

The senior leaders will cover 93 assembly seats with a rally in each constituency today.

Among the leaders, home minister Amit Shah, BJP national president JP Nadda, state union minister Gajendra Shekhawat, party general secretary Vinod Tawde will address four rallies each.

Shah will address four rallies in Khambhat, Sabarmati, Tharad and Disha. Nadda will address four rallies in Shahera, Chanasma, Siddhpur and Nikol assembly seats.

Himachal Pradesh CM Jairam Thakur, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and Maharashtra deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis will address three rallies each in Gujarat on Tuesday. Union ministers Arjun Meghwal, Kailash Chaudhary, Ajay Bhatt, party MP Manoj Tiwari and Ravi Kishan are some of those who will address two rallies each, it was reported.

Rebels suspended

 In the poll-bound Gujarat, state BJP Chief C R Patil on Sunday suspended seven rebels from Saurashtra and South Gujarat for filing their nomination as independent candidates.

Party media coordinator Yagnesh Dave said the party has suspended Harsad Vasava (Nandod constituency- Narmada district), Arvindbhai Ladani (Keshod- Junagadh), Chhatrasinh Gunjarsaria (Dhrangadhra – Surendranagar), Ketan Patel (Pardi – Valsad), Bharat Chavda (Rajkot rural – Rajkot), Uday Shah (Veraval – Gir Somnath) and Karan Baraiya from Rajula in Amreli district for anti-party activities.

This time the BJP is facing more revolts on many seats as compared to the Congress, said Dilop Patel, a political analyst.

Madhu Srivastav is contesting from Vaghodia (Vadodara), Dinesh Patel from Padra, Dhavalsinh Zala from Bayad and cooperative leader Mavji Desai from Dhanera.

On many seats, workers are contesting against party candidates like Rajulben Desai has filed nomination from Deesa seat, Alpesh Thakor from Gandhinagar South, Shankar Chaudhhary from Tharad, V D Zala’s from Himatnagar.

The rebels are calling them parachute candidates and are of the view that the party should have fielded only local candidates.

Some more suspensions are likely this week, as those who are contesting as independent and have not resigned from the the BJP, are likely to face action, said sources.

Kharge to campaign in Gujarat from Saturday

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge set to campaign in Gujarat from November 26 to 28, media reported.

Kharge will address a public meeting in Ahmedabad on November 26 and is likely to address a press conference the next day, PTI reported, citing sources.

He will address a public meeting in Indore after participating in the Bharat Jodo Yatra with Rahul Gandhi on November 27. The yatra enters Madhya Pradesh on November 23.

Kharge will address another public meeting near Gandhinagar on November 28, it was reported.

The Gujarat assembly elections will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5. Results will be declared on December 8.

Other details of Kharge’s poll meetings are being worked out, the sources said.

The new Congress president, who took over from Sonia Gandhi recently, had earlier addressed public meetings in Himachal Pradesh, where assembly elections were held on November 12.

ALSO READ-Gujarat polls: BJP nominates 17 turncoats, repeats 69

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Arun Goel appointed as new election commissioner

Goel, a retired IAS officer from Punjab Cadre of the 1985 batch, was appointed to the post by President Droupadi Murmu on November 19…reports Asian Lite News

Retired IAS officer Arun Goel on Monday took charge as the new Election Commissioner of India.

The poll body will now have its full strength after the third post of Election Commissioner had been been vacant for nearly six months.

After Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra retired in May this year giving charge to Rajiv Kumar, the poll panel has been a two-member body only.

Goel, a retired IAS officer from Punjab Cadre of the 1985 batch, was appointed to the post by President Droupadi Murmu on November 19.

“The President is pleased to appoint Arun Goel, IAS (Retd.) (PB: 1985) as the Election Commissioner in the Election Commission with effect from the date he assumes the office,” read an official communication from Ministry of Law and Justice issued on Monday.

Goel will join Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey in the apex poll body.

ALSO READ-Lower turnout in Nepal general elections

READ MORE-No clear winner in Malaysia elections

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Nepal all set for national elections

Nepal is all set to go to the polls on Sunday which will elect a total 825 representatives to the federal and provincial assemblies for a second time after the Himalayan nation adopted federalism in 2015.

“We have prepared all necessary preparations in order to hold the elections in a free, fair and transparent manner,” Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Thapaliya said.

The new government will be formed at the centre and in all seven provinces. Some high-profile appointments like that of a President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Speaker will be made following the results.

According to the Election Commission, a total 1,79,88,570 voters are eligible to elect the 165 federal and 220 provincial assemblies representatives through the first-past-the-post (FPTS) election system.

Another 110 seats of the federal parliament will be elected through the proportional representation system.

The strength of the House of Representatives is 275.

Similarly, for federal assemblies, the elections will be conducted for 330 seats under the FPTS system and 220 sets of candidates will be elected under the provision of proportional representation.

Home Secretary Binod Singh said that all required security arrangements are in place to ensure free, fair and transparent elections and urged the voters to cast their ballots without any fear and intimidation.

Around 300,000 security personnel including those from the Nepal Army, Armed Police Force, National Intelligence Department and temporary police will be deployed to guard the elections, according to the Home Ministry.

Addressing the media on Friday, the Home Secretary reiterated that any individual, group or organisation likely to jeopardise the election staffs, voters and ballot safety is under surveillance.

“Some sporadic incidents were reported ahead of the elections in the midst of election boycotts by some outfits. Those who have announced to boycott the elections do not impose any threat for holding elections successfully,” he added.

The Election Commission also stated that all managerial works related to election were completed.

Altogether 7,219 observers, national and internationals, have been deployed.

Additionally, representatives of 18 foreign diplomatic missions in Nepal will also monitor the election on voting day.

It is expected that results under the FPTS system will be announce within a few days, while vote count of proportional representation is expected to take some time, according to the Commission.

ALSO READ: In Nepal, Left parties battle ‘regressive’ forces

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Special counsel to oversee Trump investigations

The announcement on Friday came days after Trump launched his official third bid for the White House

US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the appointment of a special counsel to oversee investigations related to former President Donald Trump.

The announcement on Friday came days after Trump launched his official third bid for the White House, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election, and the sitting president’s stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel,” Garland said in a statement.

President Joe Biden has said that he intends to seek re-election and that he would likely make an official decision “early next year”.

Garland said Jack Smith, a former career prosecutor, will be the special counsel “to oversee two ongoing criminal investigations”.

The first is an investigation into whether any person or entity unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election or the certification of the Electoral College vote held on or about January 6, 2021.

The second is an ongoing investigation involving classified documents and other presidential records at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, as well as the possible obstruction of that investigation.

“I will ensure that the special counsel receives the resources to conduct this work quickly and completely,” Garland said.

Smith has resigned as chief prosecutor for the special court in The Hague to take the new role.

Trump has lashed out at the series of investigations involving him, alleging that they are politically motivated.

ALSO READ: Trump’s 2024 bid ‘dicey’ despite some support

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BJP wins 4 seats, Cong draws blank in bypolls  

Congress also lost Telangana’s Munugode seat to Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)…reports Asian Lite News

The by elections on seven seats spread across six states have come as a setback for the Congress which lost both its two seats in Telangana and Haryana, while the BJP managed to gain one seat and managed to win four seats on offer.

While the BJP bagged four seats, the RJD, TRS, and Udhhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena faction won one seat each.

BJP retained Uttar Pradesh’s Gola Gokarannath seat, Bihar’s Gopalganj and Odisha’s Dhamnagar seats. It also added Haryana’s Adampur seat to its tally, which it wrested from the Congress.

Congress also lost Telangana’s Munugode seat to Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

The Tejashwi Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal has won in Bihar’s Mokama and the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction won in Mumbai’s Andheri East seat.

None of these contests though are likely to upset the equations for current state governments.

However, with the regional parties looking to put together a united front for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, which are just 18 months away, the results may serve as a shot in the arm for them.

Prior to the by elections, the BJP held three, the Congress two, while the Shiv Sena and the RJD had won one seat each.

BJP candidate Bhavya Bishnoi won with a lead of over 15,000 votes over his nearest rival and Congress candidate Jai Prakash in Adampur.

In Odisha’s Dhamnagar by-poll, BJP’s Suraj Suryabanshi won.

TRS’ Prabhakar Reddy defeated Rajagopal Reddy of BJP by a margin of over 10,000 votes at Telengana’s Munugode seat.

BJP candidate Kusum Devi won the Gopalganj by poll in Bihar. She defeated RJD candidate Mohan Prasad Gupta in a tight contest by just over 1,700 votes.

RJD candidate Neelam Devi, wife of Anant Singh who was disqualified after being convicted of illegally keeping guns, won in Bihar’s Mokama.

Uddhav Thackeray’s faction won its first election today. Rutuja Latke, the candidate of the Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray faction, won the by-election in Andheri (East) in Mumbai by a massive margin of over 66,000 votes.

The BJP retained Gola Gokarannath seat in Uttar Pradesh, which fell vacant after the death of its MLA Arvind Giri on September 6.

The BSP and Congress kept away, resulting in a direct fight between Arvind Giri’s son Aman Giri (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party’s Vinay Tiwari, a former MLA.

ALSO READ-Critics blame BJP for stoking the fires of vigilantism in Karnataka

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Shehbaz urges Chief Justice to probe Imran’s allegations

Shehbaz Sharif wrote a letter to the Supreme Court to constitute a full-court bench to investigate the allegations and also the investigation of the Arshad Sharif murder case.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday slammed Imran Khan for undermining national institutions and requested the Chief Justice of Pakistan to form a full court commission to investigate his allegations.

“Imran Niazi habitually uses baseless allegations and lies to spread anarchy. Government has decided to request the Chief Justice of Pakistan to form a full court commission to investigate his allegations. Let the people see through his game plan to undermine national institutions,” Shehbaz Sharif tweeted.

Shehbaz Sharif wrote a letter to the Supreme Court to constitute a full-court bench to investigate the allegations made by the PTI Chief Imran Khan and also the investigation of the Arshad Sharif murder case, ARY News reported.

He made these remarks while addressing a press conference in Lahore. This comes two days after Imran Khan was shot during his long march. Shehbaz wished Imran and others injured a speedy recovery however did not fall short of attacking him for Imran Khan’s “false and cheap conspiracies.”

Imran Khan. (Photo:Imran Khan/Instagram)

PM Shehbaz also urged the PTI chief to present evidence to support his allegations. “The attack is condemnable, however, when the nation is being pushed towards devastation by false narratives it is my responsibility that I play a positive role to protect the people,” Shehbaz said.

During the presser, Shehbaz Sharif played a video which showed Imran Khan making statements about the armed forces since 2011. In a strong statement, Shehbaz Sharif said that if Imran Khan succeeds in proving that he was behind the attack during his Haqeeqi march, then he would resign from his Prime Ministerial post immediately.

“Imran Khan’s tales are full of contradictions. I cannot, for even a moment, waste my time thinking that this man — who was granted a new life by Allah — is lying day and night. Today, he is attacking the Pakistan army in a way an enemy would do,” the PM said.

Condemning the PTI government, Shehbaz Sharif said, “He damaged institutions, the economy, and foreign relations. I have certain secrets regarding the country’s foreign relations buried in my heart which, if I share, would leave you shocked. But I will not talk about it because I am faithful. I will not sacrifice Pakistan’s interest for personal gains,” reported ARY News. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Pakistan Army asks govt to take legal action against Imran Khan

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Midterm polls: How bad is it for Biden and Democrats?

President Barack Obama had a word for it when it happened to him in 2010: “Shellacking” – a report by Yashwant Raj

The party in control of the White House is historically known to lose the US congressional midterm elections in the incumbent President”s first term.

President Barack Obama had a word for it when it happened to him in 2010: “Shellacking”.

The Democrats, with their man Joe Biden in the White House, are widely expected to lose the House of Representatives thus. The Senate, which is evenly split at present, could either way; both parties need to improve their tally by just one to take absolute control of the body.

Democrats currently control the White House, the House of Representatives (220 to 212, with three vacancies) and the Senate (50-50 and Democrat Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaker vote).

The White House is not on the ballot for the November 8 midterm elections. But all 435 seats in the House of Representatives are, as well as 35 of the Senate’s 100. Also in contention are Governorships and legislatures of 36 of America’s 50 states.

US President Joe Biden during a campaign rally in Florida with Charlie Crist, who is running for Governor and Val Demings, running for Senate.(Photo: Twitter@TheDemocrats)

“Midterms are usually a referendum on the sitting President,” said Doug Schwartz, Director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, whose election findings and forecast are followed closely in political circles. “Having said that, we have noticed that voters are distinguishing between incumbent Democratic Senators and the Democratic President.”

President Biden has been polling badly, and remains unpopular. His approval rating for October was 40 per cent – down from 44 per cent in August, which has been the highest he has reached, according to Gallup polls. Former President Donald Trump was at 42 per cent and Obama was 45 per cent at this time, in October of the second year of their first terms, 2018 and 2010 respectively.

Here is what happened in the 2010 midterm. Republicans wrested control of the House of Representatives from Democrats picking up 63 extra seats. The magnitude of their victory – and the Democrats’ defeat conversely – was summed up by Obama as a “shellacking”.

Trump fared better, but only marginally. In the 2018 midterm election, Democratic won back the House of Representatives with 41 more seats.

Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady of the United States, casts early vote for Midterm elections. (Photo: Twitter@TheDemocrats)

Biden and Democrats were in the shellacking-territory till some months ago, according to pollsters, buffeted by out-of-control inflation, which was exacerbated by oil prices surge due to the Ukraine war, and failure to deliver on his poll promises mainly because of differences amongst Democrats themselves. His approval ratings sank to 38 per cent in July.

Then came a string of legislative victories, headlined by the sweeping Inflation Reduction Act, which cut prescription drugs costs, extended healthcare and marked the most aggressive action taken on climate change ever. And it raised taxes levied on those making more than $400,000 a year.

“Today offers proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright and the promise of America is real,” Biden said at an event to celebrate the Act a month after.

Biden’s popularity went up to 44 per cent in August.

Democratic party’s fortunes saw an uptick at the same time because of a completely unrelated development: the Supreme Court’s ruling ending abortion as a constitutional right of 40 years. Even Republicans – some, not all – were appalled. Kansas, a solidly Republican state, voted to protect abortion, defeating a measure that could have restricted or outlawed it.

Joe Biden and Barack Obama (Photo Instagram)

Democrats now had a national issue, and suddenly it seemed they were ready to beat the precedent of the ruling party losing the midterms. “Pollsters started seeing conditions improving for Democrats, making races more competitive,” Schwartz said, adding, “the abortion issue became a key factor in some special elections favouring Democrats”.

And that proved to be a short lived bump. FiveThirtyEight, a well-regarded poll aggregator and forecaster noted that Republicans have since “regained much of the advantage they had before” the ruling. And now, the Republican party has roughly a 4-5 chance of winning the House.

The bulk of the 36 states going to polls are expected to re-elect the incumbent Governor or the nominee of the party currently in power. But there are exceptions. Some states could flip. Maryland and Massachusetts are likely to pass from Republican to Democrat Governors, and Republicans could pick up Nevada, Wisconsin, and Oregon.

The most watched gubernatorial races include Governor Ron DeSantis’s run for a second term in Florida. He is widely seen as preparing for a White House run for 2024 and a defeat now will be suicidal. The other interesting contest is in Georgia, a solidly Republican state that voted to Biden in 2020 – incumbent Brian Kemp is running for a second term. His challenger is Democrat Stacey Abrams and, to an extent, former President Donald Trump who has openly called for his defeat for refusing to help him overturn the Georgia vote in the 2020 presidential election.

ALSO READ: Poll finds record-high interest ahead of midterms in US

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Pakistan Army asks govt to take legal action against Imran Khan

Imran Khan alleged that three people — Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and a senior officer of the Pakistan Army — were involved in plotting his assassination bid on Thursday, reports Asian Lite News

 The Pakistan Army has reacted strongly to allegations made by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan against the institution and requested the federal government to initiate legal action against those responsible for defaming the institution and its officials without any evidence.

On Friday, Khan alleged that three people — Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and a senior officer of the Pakistan Army — were involved in plotting his assassination bid on Thursday, The News reported.

A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army’s media wing, said: “Keeping this in view, the government of Pakistan has been requested to investigate the matter and initiate legal action against those responsible for defamation and false accusations against the institution and its officials without any evidence whatsoever.”

The statement said that no one would be allowed to defame the institution or its soldiers with impunity.

“Baseless and irresponsible allegations by chairman PTI against the institution and particularly a senior army officer are absolutely unacceptable and uncalled-for,” it added.

The military’s media wing said the Pakistan Army prides itself on being an extremely professional and well-disciplined organisation with a robust and highly effective internal accountability system applicable across-the-board for unlawful acts, if any, committed by uniformed personnel, The News reported.

“However, if the honour, safety and prestige of its rank and file are being tarnished by vested interests through frivolous allegations, the institution will safeguard its officers and soldiers no matter what.”

It added that the “baseless allegations hurled at the institution/ officials are highly regrettable and strongly condemned. No one will be allowed to defame the institution or its soldiers with impunity”.

ALSO READ: Four people plotted to kill me, claims Imran