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Milestone in Mizoram: Three Women Emerge as MLAs

In the November 7 Assembly elections, 174 candidates, including 16 women, fought the polls while in the last Assembly elections in 2018, a total of 209 candidates, including 18 women, contested…reports Asian Lite News

Mizoram scripted history on Monday as for the first time, three women candidates were elected to the 40-member Assembly in one go.

Poll winner Zoram People’s Movement (ZMP) candidate Lalrinpuii won from Lunglei East constituency and her party colleague and television presenter Baryl Vanneihsangi was elected from Aizawi South-3 seat.

Pravo Chakma of the Mizo National Front (MNF) won from West Tuipui seat.

Lalrinpuii and Chakma defeated their male Congress candidates while Baryl Vanneihsangi beat her MNF opponent.

With Christian-dominated (87 per cent) Mizo society being traditionally following by the patriarchal culture, Mizoram’s main political parties hardly had nominated women candidates in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

In the November 7 Assembly elections, 174 candidates, including 16 women, fought the polls while in the last Assembly elections in 2018, a total of 209 candidates, including 18 women, contested.

In the 2013 assembly polls, 136 candidates including six women aspirants contested the polls.

None of the women candidates had won in the 2013 or the 2018 polls.

In Mizoram, the first woman elected to the legislature (Mizoram was elevated to Union Territory-status in 1972 with a 30-member legislature) was L. Thanmawii of People’s Conference (PC), led by former Chief Minister Brig. T. Sailo (retd), from Serchhip constituency in 1978.

K.Thansiami of the same party was the second woman elected to the Assembly in 1984, followed by Lalhlimpuli of the MNF who was inducted as the first woman minister in 1987 in the government headed by the then Chief Minister Laldenga, a militant leader-turned-politician.

Lalhlimpuii was a minister for 19 months before the government was toppled in the later part of 1988.

In 2014, Vanlalawmpuii Chawngthu was elected in the by-election from Hrangturzo Assembly seat and ikn 2017, she was inducted as a minister of state in the Congress government headed by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who was headed Mizoram government in different terms for more than 22 years.

In the November 7 election, 1.21 per cent more women voters exercised their franchise than their men counterparts. Female voters’ turnout was 81.25 per cent while 80.04 per cent male voters cast their votes across the mountainous state.

In the electoral lists of Mizoram, women always outnumber the male voters. Women are over 51.22 per cent of the total 8,57,063-strong electorate in Mizoram’s latest voters’ list. In all 4,39,026 women voters outnumbered the male electorate of 4,13,062 in the electoral rolls, which were published on October 4 after several month-long special summary revision of voters’ list with reference to October 1 as the qualifying date for inclusion of names.

Of the eleven districts in Mizoram, only in the minority community-inhabited Mamit district is the number of male voters (32,723) higher than their female (32,064) counterparts.

ALSO READ-Exit Polls Stumped as BJP Sweeps Hindi Heartland

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Modi 3.0

Modi speaking about the BJP scoring a hat-trick in next year’s Lok Sabha polls on the lines of hat-trick it scored in state polls…reports Asian Lite News

The Bharatiya Janata Party won a “historic” mandate in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh on Sunday as Congress ousted Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government in Telangana in the results of four states declared on Sunday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking about the BJP scoring a hat-trick in next year’s Lok Sabha polls on the lines of hat-trick it scored in state polls.

BJP ousted Congress from power in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and retained Madhya Pradesh.

The results in Hindi heartland states came as a shocker to Congress and a morale-booster to BJP. Congress leaders expressed happiness over victory in Telangana and said the results in the three states were disappointing and the party will rebuild itself in these areas.

Party chief Mallikarjun Kharge said that the party will overcome “temporary setbacks” and prepare fully for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections along with the INDIA parties.

The election results again showed Congress’ vulnerability to take on the BJP in a direct contest. In Telangana, the main adversary of Congress was a regional party.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a gathering at party headquarters on Sunday evening and spoke about the party scoring a hat-trick in next year’s Lok Sabha polls.

He said the mandate in the three states has proved that there is zero tolerance against corruption, appeasement and dynastic politics.

” Voter knows that when India moves ahead then states move ahead. Every family in the country benefits from it. This is why the voter is electing BJP again and again. Some people are even saying that today’s hat-trick has guaranteed the hat-trick of 2024,” he said.

The BJP got an absolute majority in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The next general elections are likely to be held in April-May next year.

The Prime Minister termed BJP’s victories in the three heartland states as historic and said various sections including the poor, farmers and tribal brothers and sisters were seeing it as their victory.

“Today’s victory is historical and unprecedented…The idea of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ has won today. Today’s victory is of a path towards developed India. It is a victory of our resolve towards Atmanirbhar Bharat. This is a victory of honest, transparent governance,” he added.

PM Modi said that the echo is these results will not be limited to Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan but will be heard all over the world.

“Today, we are seeing the results. There is no alternative to BJP in Madhya Pradesh. BJP has been in power for two decades and even after such a long time, people’s trust in BJP is increasing continuously…In the first public meeting in Chhattisgarh, I said that I had come here to invite the people of the state to our oath-taking ceremony after December 3 when we form the government here,” he said.

He said the voter needs a well-defined roadmap to improve his lifestyle.

“India’s voter knows that when India moves forward then the state moves forward and the life of every family improves. So, the voter is choosing the BJP continuously.”

Targeting Congress, he said it is his suggestion to the party and its allies “to stop doing politics that strengthen anti-national elements and ideas to weaken the country.”

Slamming opposition parties who have accused the government of misusing probe agencies, the Prime Minister said the campaign against corruption launched by the BJP’s central government in the country is getting huge public support.

“Those people who are working day and night to defame the investigating agencies which have come down hard on corruption should understand that this election result is also a public support for the fight against corruption,” he said.

Targeting the Congress and INDIA block, he said a lesson from the elections is that the country’s trust cannot be won just by a few family members coming together on the stage.

“These election results are also a big lesson for Congress and its ‘ghamandiya gathbandhan’. The lesson is that the country’s trust cannot be won just by a few family members coming together on the stage. The spirit of national service that should be there to win the hearts of the people of the country is not there in the ‘ghamandiya gathbandhan'”.

He accused opposition parties, specially Congress, of trying to divide the country based on castes.

“..In this election, there were efforts to divide the country based on castes. I kept saying that for me, four castes are important – Nari Shakti, Yuva Shakti, Kisaan aur Gareeb Parivaar,” he said.

“…I request all the BJP workers to move ahead of Modi’s guarantees from today…Jahan dusron se umeed khatam hoti hai wahan se Modi ki guarantee shuru hoti hai,” he said.

The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to women for their support to the BJP.

“I want to express my gratitude to the ‘Nari Shakti’ of the country. I would often say during my rallies that ‘Nari Shakti’ has decided that BJP’s flag will rise high in the elections,” he said.

PM Modi also said the party’s bond with the people of Telangana is “unbreakable”.  (ANI)

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Campaigning Ends in Telangana; KCR Eyes History

If K Chandrashekar Rao, widely known as KCR, wins another term in office, it will be the first occasion when a Chief Minister from a Southern state will get a third straight term in office…reports Asian Lite News

Campaigning for the high-stakes battle in Telangana ended on Tuesday with Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao seeking a third term in office on the basis of the party’s performance and promises over the past 10 years, Congress talking of momentum in its favour to form its first government in the state and the BJP also promising to end “misrule and corruption” of the ruling Bharatiya Rasthra Samithi.

The aggressive campaigning saw the Congress and BJP repeatedly raising issues concerning people, with the BRS leaders expressing confidence about the delivery of their programmes.

The three parties have made big promises in their manifestos. Polling in the state will be held on November 30 with counting of votes to take place on December 3 along with four other states.

If K Chandrashekar Rao, widely known as KCR, wins another term in office, it will be the first occasion when a Chief Minister from a Southern state will get a third straight term in office.

The Congress campaign in Telangana apparently picked up momentum after Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra and the party’s victory in assembly polls in neighbouring Karnataka.

The Congress chief in the state Anumula Revanth Reddy, 54, is seen as a leader who has taken on KCR and the party is keen to gain from the anti-incumbency against the government.

Congress leaders have been reminding residents of India’s youngest state of the role played by former party chief Sonia Gandhi in its creation in 2014.

Political analysts feel that the fortunes of BJP, which was emerging as an alternative to BRS with its victories in two by-polls and strong performance in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation election, dipped a few months ago.

BJP leaders have been strongly attacking the KCR to fend off any perception of the party being soft towards the ruling party in Telangana. They have accused the Chief Minister of being “inaccessible” and ruling from a “farmhouse”. BJP leaders have also accused KCR of propagating dynastic politics and said that suggestions by KCR to join NDA were not accepted. BRS leaders have refuted the suggestions about their intention to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

One of the key BJP promises is to make a person from the Backward Class community a Chief Minister if the party gets support from the people of the state to form a government.

The party has also reached out to various communities and the BJP-led government last week set in motion the process of setting up a committee that will go into the issue of sub-categorisation of the Madiga community within the Scheduled Castes. It has been a long-pending demand of the community.

BJP has promised in its manifesto to implement the Uniform Civil Code and quash 4 per cent reservation for Muslims and instead increase the quota for OBCs, SCs and STs in the state.

The party said that a committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge will investigate all “corruption cases” against the ruling BRS.

It has promised four free LPG cylinders per year to poor families, Rs 2 Lakh to every girl child from a poor family after she attains the age of 21, providing 2.5 Lakh government jobs in five years, procuring paddy at Rs 3100 per quintal, and reducing the price of petrol and diesel.

The party has said that free arrangements will be made for senior citizens keen to visit the Ram Temple in Ayodhya for the pran prathistha ceremony on January 22.

The BJP has alleged several scams in the state including that related to the Kaleshwar Dam scam and liquor poultry apart from several cases of paper leak.

It said September 17 will be celebrated every year as Hyderabad Liberation Day to mark its freedom from Nizam’s rule and August 27 will be observed as Razakar Horrors Remembrance Day.

Congress has sought to outdo the BRS in its poll promises and has announced six guarantees.

Under the Mahalakshmi scheme for women, the Congress has promised Rs 2,500 monthly financial assistance, LPG cylinders at Rs 500; and free travel for women in state-run buses.

The party has promised that Rs 15,000 per acre will be paid to farmers and Rs 12,000 will be given to tenant farmers. The party has promised a bonus of Rs 500 per quintal for paddy.

It said that families not owning a house will be provided a site for one and Rs 5 lakh for construction. Families of those killed during the Telangana Movement will be provided 250-square-yard plots.

The party said that students with Vidya Bharosa cards will receive Rs 5 lakh and Telangana International School will be opened in every manda.

The party has promised up to 200 units of free electricity to households, Rs 4,000 monthly pension will be paid to vulnerable sections.

The party will have promised that Rajiv Aarogyasri will provide health insurance up to Rs 10 lakh.

The Congress announced that it would waive crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh and promised a caste survey within six months of forming the government.

The party promised a judicial inquiry into “irregularities and corruption” in the construction of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

The Congress said it would name a district after former PM PV Narasimha Rao.

Among the BJP’s strong push to get the support of OBCs, the Congress has also made many promises including increasing reservations for the community

Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leaders point out that the state’s per capita income has seen a significant rise in the last 10 years due to efforts of the government and various welfare and development schemes will continue.

The party has promised LPG cylinders at Rs 400 each, below-poverty-line (BPL) families would be enhanced health insurance coverage, social security pension would be increased to Rs 5,000 a month from Rs 2,106 and there will be an increase in disability pension.

The party said under ‘Rythu Bandhu’ scheme, under which farmers get Rs 10,000 per annum per acre, would be enhanced gradually to Rs 16,000 per annum in the next five years.

KCR is contesting from two seats – his original seat Gajwel and Kamareddy. While he is facing BJP leader Etela Rajender in Gajewal, Congress leader Revanth Reddy is taking him on in Kamareddy.

Both Etela and Revanth Reddy are also contesting from two seats.

In the 2014 assembly polls to a united Andhra Pradesh, the then-incumbent Congress got 25.20 per cent votes and BRS (then TRS) got 34 percent in the Telangana area.

Senior leaders of all parties including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda, Congress leaders Mallikurjan Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, TRS’ KCR, KT Rama Rao and K Kavitha and AIMIM Asaduddin Owaisi ran strong campaigns in the state.

Congress accused the BJP and BRS of having a “strategic alliance” with BJP leaders accusing Congress and BRS of dynastic politics.

In 2018, BRS (then Telangana Rashtra Samithi) won 88 of the 119 seats and had 47.4 per cent of the vote share. The Congress came a distant second with just 19 seats.

While the BJP has an ambitious goal of seeing its first government in Telangana, the Congress is hoping to come to power on the basis of the “momentum” of the past few months. But the party has a huge, almost 18 per cent gap to cover in terms of voting percentage of previous assembly election. (ANI)

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Dutch exit poll suggests Wilders’ far right wins vote

Born in 1963 in southern Venlo, close to the German border, Wilders grew up in a Catholic family with his brother and two sisters…reports Asian Lite News

Known as the “Dutch Trump” both for his bouffant dyed hair and firebrand rhetoric, Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam, anti-immigrant and anti-EU message seems to have finally swept him to first place at the polls.

From calling Moroccans “scum” to holding competitions for cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, Wilders has built a career from his self-appointed mission to stop an “Islamic invasion” of the West.

He has remained defiant despite brushes with the law — he was convicted for insulting Moroccans — and death threats that have meant he has been under police protection since 2004.

“I don’t regret fighting for freedom,” Wilders told AFP in an interview ahead of elections in 2021. “Of course I take a stand, I am under attack, my country is under attack.”

Nevertheless, at the sixth time of asking, Wilders appears to have finally triumphed in the polls by toning down some of his populist rhetoric and focusing on voters’ other concerns.

There are “bigger problems than fighting against the flood of asylum-seekers and immigrants,” he said in one of the final election debates, adding he was prepared to put his views on Islam “in the freezer” to govern.

The Dutch people still cared about crimping immigration but more about “whether they have more money left in their wallets.” His focus was on “security and health care” more than opposing Islam.

Yet the manifesto of his PVV (Freedom Party) retained the sharp anti-immigrant tone that has become his hallmark.

“Asylum-seekers feast on delightful free cruise-ship buffets while Dutch families have to cut back on groceries,” the manifesto reads.

Proposed immigration measures include: restoring Dutch border control, detaining and deporting illegal immigrants, returning Syrian asylum-seekers and re-introducing work permits for intra-EU workers.

As for Islam, the PVV manifesto says: “the Netherlands is not an Islamic country. No Islamic schools, Qur’ans and mosques.” He proposes banning the headscarf in government buildings.

On foreign policy, the PVV proposes a “Dutch first” approach that includes closing its representation in Ramallah and strengthening ties to Israel, including moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

A “binding referendum” on a “Nexit” — the Netherlands leaving the EU — is also in the manifesto, along with an “immediate halt” to development aid.

Born in 1963 in southern Venlo, close to the German border, Wilders grew up in a Catholic family with his brother and two sisters.

His mother was half-Indonesian, a fact Wilders rarely mentions.

He developed an interest in politics in the 1980s, his older brother Paul told Der Spiegel magazine.

“He was neither clearly on the left or the right at the time, nor was he xenophobic. But he was fascinated by the political game, the struggle for power and influence,” Paul Wilders said.

His hatred of Islam appeared to have developed slowly. He spent time in Israel on a kibbutz, witnessing first-hand tensions with the Palestinians.

He was also shocked by the assassinations of far-right leader Pim Fortuyn in 2002 and the radical anti-Islam filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004.

When he heard the news of Van Gogh’s murder: “I remember my legs were shaking with shock and indignation,” he wrote in a 2012 book. “I can honestly say that I felt anger, not fear.”

Wilders entered politics in 1998 in the Liberal VVD party. During his early days in politics he started dying his brown hair blonde and learned his media-savvy ways, even as his views became increasingly silenced.

Over the years he vowed not to be silenced, despite being convicted of insulting Moroccan-Dutch citizens.

Indeed, that high-profile trial boosted his visibility only months after Brexit and just as Donald Trump won the US presidential race.

In 2006 he quit the VVD to found his own party and in 2017 it became the second largest in parliament, falling back to third largest in 2021.

By tapping into a seam of Dutch discontent Wilders also managed to push the political discourse in the Netherlands to the right.

But Wilders also cut an isolated figure.

He was married to a Hungarian woman, but they had no children. When not posting anti-Islamic invective on his one social media account, he posted pictures of their cats on another.

His party consisted of just one person: himself. And his security meant he had little contact with the outside world.

“Geert’s world has become very small,” his brother told Der Spiegel. “It consists of the parliament, public events and his apartment. He can hardly go anywhere else.”

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Second phase of polling in Chhattisgarh  

Over 18,800 polling stations have been set up for the voting that commenced from 8 a.m. and will continue till 5 p.m…reports Asian Lite News

The voting for the second and final phase of the elections in Chhattisgarh was underway on Friday for the remaining 70 seats in the 90-member Assembly.

The electoral fate of many prominent candidates, including the Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, his deputy T.S. Singh Deo, and BJP state president Arun Sao will be determined in this phase.

Over 18,800 polling stations have been set up for the voting that commenced from 8 a.m. and will continue till 5 p.m.

However, voting in nine polling booths — Kamarbhaudi, Amamora, Odh, Bade Gobra, Ganwargaon, Gariba, Nagesh, Sahbinkachhar, and Kodomali — in the Maoist-affected Bindranawagarh seat in Gariaband district will take place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. due to security reasons.

A total of 958 candidates are in the fray across the 70 seats, including CM Baghel, deputy CM T.S. Singh Deo, eight state ministers, and four members of Parliament.

Like in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh is also witnessing a bipolar contest between the BJP and Congress.

The BJP’s campaign was largely spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who addressed four rallies in the state where he targeted the current Bhupesh Baghel-led government — especially over the issue of corruption and the alleged Mahadev betting app scam.

Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge along with state party leaders, including CM Bhupesh Baghel did extensive campaigning.

The first phase election for 20 out of 90 Assembly seats was conducted on November 7, which saw 78 per cent voter turnout. The counting will be held on December 3 along with four other poll-bound states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram.

The BJP, which ruled the state continuously between 2003 and 2018, is seeking to replace the Congress government led by Chief Minister Bhupesh Bahgel.

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Ex-BJP MP Joins Congress Ahead of Rajasthan Polls

Ram, who is a four-time MP and one-time MLA has returned home to Congress after nine years as he left Congress and joined BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha Election…reports Asian Lite News

Ahead of the Rajasthan Assembly Election, former MP Colonel Sona Ram returned to Congress on Sunday, nearly nine years after he had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Ram took membership of Congress in the presence of state Congress in-charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.

Ram, who is a four-time MP and one-time MLA has returned home to Congress after nine years as he left Congress and joined BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha Election.

Ram joined Congress after meeting Congress National President Mallikarjun Kharge in Delhi and It is almost certain that Ram will be contesting on Gudamalani seat from Congress ticket.

The Congress has released its seventh list of 21 candidates for the Rajasthan assembly polls on Sunday, fielding state minister Shanti Dhariwal from the Kota North seat.

The last date for filing nominations is November 6. Rajasthan is among five states that will go to the polls next month.Rajasthan will go to the polls on November 25, the counting of which will take place on December 5, along with four other state assembly elections. (ANI)

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NC-Congress combine sweeps Ladakh-Kargil polls

The National Conference emerged victorious as the single largest party winning 12 seats while Congress secured 10 seats in the first-ever polls held since Ladakh was carved out as a Union Territory  in 2019…reports Asian Lite News

The alliance of the National Conference and the Congress won the 5th general elections of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) on Sunday with an absolute majority.

The National Conference emerged victorious as the single largest party winning 12 seats while Congress secured 10 seats in the first-ever polls held since Ladakh was carved out as a Union Territory (UT) in 2019, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council said.

The results of the 5th general elections of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) are a boost to the INDIA bloc as this is the first election in Kargil post the formation of the alliance which has been formed to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls scheduled to be held in 2024.

The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) won 2 seats and INDP won 2 seats, officials said on Sunday. The fifth Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)-Kargil election was conducted on October 4.

The National Conference (NC), Congress, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were in a tight contest. The administration nominates four members with voting rights to the 30-member Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)-Kargil.

Congratulating the party on their ongoing lead in the LAHDC election, Congress General Secretary in Charge of Communications Jairam Ramesh on Sunday said that the results coming in the council election are a direct impact of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra outreach in Ladakh in September.

“The national media of course will blank it out, but trends coming in show Congress leading convincingly in the elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Kargil with an almost complete wipeout of the BJP. This is a direct impact of Rahul Gandhi continuing Bharat Jodo Yatra in Ladakh last month,” Ramesh posted on X.

Congress leader KC Venugopal also extended his wishes to the winning candidates in the LAHDC Election adding that these results will mark the beginning of a new democratic dawn in Ladakh and Kargil. “We have registered a resounding victory in the Ladakh-Kargil Autonomous Hill Council elections after 10 years! Along with our INDIA partner National Conference, we have swept the entire region in its first election after the abrogation of Article 370,” Venugopal posted on X.

“Rahul Gandhi ji’s Bharat Jodo Yatra last month across the region has given the people of Ladakh and Kargil the faith that the Congress and INDIA have a deep concern about the issues they face and the need for their democratic sentiments to be given a voice. Congratulations to all victorious candidates and I am confident this will usher in a new democratic dawn in Ladakh and Kargil,” the Congress leader added.

The counting of votes started for LAHDC elections amid high-security arrangements on Sunday.

This time, 65 per cent of voters turned up in the Kargil district as per the cumulative figure of 3rd round of voting for the 5th LAHDC elections. (ANI)

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‘Labour on course for landslide win in next polls’

The general election poses a headache to pollsters and campaign strategists, as constituency boundaries are being redrawn for the first time in several election cycles…reports Asian Lite News

Keir Starmer is on course to clinch a landslide majority of 140 for Labour at the next UK general election, the first modelling based on a mega poll of new constituency boundaries suggests.

With the Conservatives still suffering from a large polling deficit, Labour’s support was found to be at about 35 per cent to 12 per cent ahead of Rishi Sunak’s party.

The results were revealed in an analysis of polling known as multi-level regression and post-stratification (MRP), and will boost Starmer’s hopes of victory as the long campaign in the run-up to the next election progresses.

John Curtice, a political commentator, said that since the sleaze scandals that engulfed Boris Johnson and Liz Truss’s mini-budget, there had been a “very substantial” drop in support for the Tories. Though Sunak had sought to steady the party, Curtice said there had been only “a bit of a narrowing” of Labour’s lead.

The general election poses a headache to pollsters and campaign strategists, as constituency boundaries are being redrawn for the first time in several election cycles.

In the first MRP based on the new boundaries, conducted by FocalData and presented by the Best For Britain campaign group, Labour’s potential success was said to be under varying degrees of risk, The Guardian reported.

If the Reform party – the reincarnation of the Brexit party – repeats the tactic used in 2019, of standing aside in Tory marginals, Labour’s seats would still be at a healthy 401, leaving the Conservatives on 202.

Another scenario has Labour winning 370 seats to the Tories’ 232, based on redistributing undecided voters by their education profile.

If both were combined, under what was billed as Labour’s “worst-case scenario”, the model predicts a hung parliament – with the party about a dozen seats short of a majority, with 316, leaving the Tories at 286.

The poll of 10,140 voters was undertaken between April 20 and May 9.

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Turkey opposition candidate pulls out of presidential polls

Muharrem Ince, the leader of the centre-left Homeland Party, was one of four contenders running for president in the May 14 election…reports Asian Lite News

Muharrem Ince, the leader of Turkey’s centre-left Homeland Party, has pulled out of the May 14 presidential election, giving a potential boost to incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s main challenger.

A candidate in Turkey’s presidential election announced Thursday that he is withdrawing from the race.

Muharrem Ince, the leader of the centre-left Homeland Party, was one of four contenders running for president in the May 14 election.

The move is likely to bolster President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s main challenger.

Ince had come under intense criticism for splintering the votes of the six-party Nation Alliance, which has united behind the candidacy of main opposition party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and for possibly forcing the presidential race into a second round.

“I am withdrawing from the race,” Ince told reporters. “I am doing this for my country.”

Several members of Ince’s party had resigned in recent days, concerned that his candidacy would prevent Kılıçdaroğlu from winning against President Erdoğan, in power since 2003.

Ince had polled around 8% of the votes when his candidacy was first announced, but his popularity ratings have since dropped to around 2%, according to opinion surveys.

Ince, however, said the Homeland Party, which he formed in 2021, would still run in the parliamentary elections, and he called for votes for the party “from each household.”

The 58-year-old former physics teacher whose name will still appear on Sunday’s ballot had previously run against Erdoğan in presidential elections in 2018 under the ticket of Kılıçdaroğlu’s main opposition party, CHP.

He had garnered around 30% of the votes but later broke away from the party.

The latest opinion poll made public on Thursday by the renowned Konda Institute credited 74-year-old Kılıçdaroğlu with 49.3% of voting intentions in the first round, against 43.7% for Erdoğan and 2.2% for Ince.

The third candidate still in the running, Sinan Ogan, was credited with 4.8% of the vote.

According to a poll conducted on May 9 and 10 by the Metropoll Institute, nearly 50 per cent of Muharrem Ince’s supporters will shift their vote to Kılıçdaroğlu, compared to less than a quarter in favour of President Erdoğan.

“My appeal still stands. Let’s put aside old grudges,” Kılıçdaroğlu tweeted Thursday, calling on Muharrem Ince to join his coalition.

“His withdrawal is incomprehensible. Honestly, I am sad,” Erdoğan said at a rally in Ankara province.

“Let’s continue (…) What counts is the decision of my people,” added the 69-year-old head of state, who will face his most uncertain election since he took office on Sunday.

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Karnataka polls: BJP candidates to be finalised in April 9 meet

The assembly elections will be held in a single phase on May 10, with the counting of votes scheduled on May 13…reports Asian Lite News

The Central Election Committee of the BJP may hold a meeting at the party office on April 9 for finalising candidates for the Karnataka assembly elections, said party sources.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president JP Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP general secretary BL Santosh and members of the party’s Central Election Committee will be present at the meeting. According to party sources, the core group of the BJP in Karnataka has shortlisted three names for each Assembly seat which will be placed before the Central Election Committee. The party’s central leadership will then brainstorm over these names before locking the candidates.

On April 4, the BJP’s core group in Karnataka drew up a shortlist of candidates in a meeting with the party’s national general secretary Arun Singh, state election in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan, co-in-charge Mansukh Mandaviya, Central Election Committee member Annamalai, former chief minister BS Yediyurappa and his successor and incumbent Basavaraj Bommai.

The BJP emerged as the largest single party in the last Assembly elections, winning 104 seats, with the Congress winning 80 and the JD(S) 37 seats.

The assembly elections will be held in a single phase on May 10, with the counting of votes scheduled on May 13.

Congress’ second list

Congress on Thursday announced its second list of 42 candidates, for the Karnataka assembly elections but no decision has yet been taken on who would contest from Kolar even as former chief minister Siddaramaiah has expressed a desire to contest from the constituency.

The Congress has also accommodated candidates who switched to the party from the BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular). The party is seeking to wrest power from BJP in the state in the upcoming polls. In the Melukote constituency, the Congress has decided to back the Sarvodaya Karnataka Party candidate Darshan Puttannaiah, the son of famed K S Puttanaiah..

According to sources, the Congress top brass has asked Siddaramaiah to contest from his traditional stronghold of Varuna in the Mysuru district, where his son doctor Yatindra Siddaramaiah won in the 2018 Assembly Elections.

Sources said that earlier, amid disagreements between the party’s local leaders in Kolar, the Congress High Command had instructed the 75-year-old former chief minister to drop his plan to contest from the Kolar assembly segment

Meanwhile, former minister Vinay Kulkarni who has been named by Congress as its candidate from Dharwad constituency will have to campaign remotely since the Supreme Court has barred his entry into the district after the CBI named him in connection with the 2016 murder case of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker, Yogeeshgouda Goudar.

Kulkarni has been out on bail on the condition that he will not enter the district nor will do anything to tamper with the evidence in the murder case.

Kulkarni was allegedly involved in connection with the murder of Goudar, on June 15, 2016, after he defeated the rival Congress party candidate in the Zila Panchayat elections.

The party’s Central Election Committee will meet again today at 2:30 pm in the national capital. Of the 224 seats, 124 seats were announced in its first list, 42 seats were announced in the second list and according to sources the remaining will be decided in the meeting this afternoon.

On Tuesday, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said that the party will conduct an extensive discussion on candidates for the remaining 100 seats in the State.

The Congress had on March 25 announced its first list of 124 candidates for the polls, which included names of former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and State Party president DK Shivakumar.

Karnataka, which has 224 seats in the Assembly currently has 119 MLAs of the ruling BJP, while Congress has 75 and its ally JD(S) has 28 seats.

Political parties in the State including the ruling BJP, Congress and ally JD(S) are engaged in a spate of allegations and counter-allegations, with the latter attempting to corner the government over the issue of corruption.

The model code of conduct had come into effect after elections were announced in the State. (ANI)

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