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EC wants to set new precedent of ‘dark secrets’, ‘secluded chambers’: Cong

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi: A day before the counting of the votes polled in the Lok Sabha election, the Congress on Wednesday termed as “constitutional travesty” the EC’s rejection of Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s demand that dissent notes should be recorded and alleged that the poll watchdog wanted to set a new precedent of “dark secrets” and “secluded chambers” in performing its duties.

“A Constitutional travesty! ECI wants to set a new precedent of ‘dark secrets’ & ‘secluded chambers’ in doing its constitutional duties. If CEC can’t play fair in its functioning, can it play fair in ensuring a free & fair election?,” Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wrote on Twitter.

His comments came a day after the Election Commission (EC) decided not to record the dissents put forward by the members of the “full commission”, overruling Lavasa.

 

On Tuesday, the poll panel rejected with a majority vote Lavasa’s demand that dissent notes should be recorded in its orders on model code violations, days after the simmering tension within the EC over the issue came out in the open.

The “full commission” of the panel, comprising Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and two other members — Lavasa and Sushil Chandra — deliberated on the contentious issue, after which the EC said dissent notes and minority views would remain part of the records but would not be part of its orders. Lavasa had dissented on a series of clean chits given by the EC to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah on their speeches during the election campaign.

As his demand for recording his dissent notes in EC’s orders was not met, Lavasa recused himself from cases relating to violations of the Model Code of Conduct. The counting of votes for the just-concluded, seven-phased Lok Sabha polls will be taken up on Thursday.


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National

Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

Agencies

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Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.

 

According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

Agencies

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Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.

The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.

“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.

With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.

 

Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.

However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.

The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.

The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.

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