First round to EC; fall in nominations
Nominations closed for 540 of the 543 elective Lok Sabha seats, with the process coming to an end yesterday in 209 constituencies spread over 13 states and union territories. Although the total number of nominations was still being computed by the Election Commission, reports from states indicated that the number of those contesting the election has shrunk to about one-third this time due to the steep increase in the security deposit which kept away non-serious candidates.
Arms off: Poll booths off-limits for security men, orders EC
The Election Commission has ordered that no armed security personnel will be allowed to accompany candidates in or around polling stations on election day. The EC stated that the order was binding even on the Prime Minister and persons entitled to a "Z Plus" security cover as well as those covered by the Special Protection Group (SPG).
"Daughter of India" asserts her identity
Countering the opposition propaganda against her, Sonia Gandhi yesterday categorically stated that now she was the "Daughter of India" and would remain so till her last breath. Sonia, who was addressing an election meeting at Udaipur in Rajasthan, further professed her undying love for India, while also claiming that only the Congress was capable of giving the the nation a stable government.
"Danger" in Valley drives Govt employees from election duty
The electoral process in the Kashmir valley suffered a set-back when 16 unions and federations of state government employees decided to "keep away" from the process for security reasons. In a joint statement after a meeting in Srinagar yesterday, the leaders of the unions said that it would not be possible to discharge election duties under circumstances prevailing in Kashmir.
BJD faces the wrath of women rebels
Another political upheaval is in the offing in Orissa with the resignation of eight party functionaries from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) yesterday. This latest move was in protest against the management of the BJD. The dissidents, mostly women, claimed that the BJD leadership did not attach importance to the party's women, citing the fact that the BJD had not fielded any women candidate for the forthcoming polls in support of their contention.
BJP gets "real", consensus is the buzzword now
Consensus-building is the new byword of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The new BJP attitude is also refelected in its poll manifesto which was released yesterday. Although BJP leaders have ruled out a pre-poll Common Minimum Programme, the BJP manifesto has provided for a possible post-poll CMP. The manifesto also stresses on the BJP's stand on issues like the Uniform Civil Code and Article 370 of the Constitution which accords special status to Jammu & Kashmir.