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Polls over, parties hold strategy sessions to woo allies 14 May 2009, 1305 hrs IST, IANS

A day after televisions projected a badly fractured Lok Sabha, leading contenders for power discussed ways Thursday to woo new alliesand estranged partners in a bid to cobble a majority in parliament.

Leaders of the ruling Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the so-called Third Front held informal discussions and prepared to hold strategy sessions in the run up to the eagerly awaited vote count Saturday.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, touted as the BJP’s poster boy, flew into New Delhi to add strength to the party’s confidence levels.

The BJP’s core group is to meet at the residence of its prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani and follow it up with talks with smaller groups that are expected to play a key role in government formation.

Modi explained to reporters why he was in New Delhi: “We are here for political reasons and to discuss the post-poll scenario. It is no secret.”

The Congress will also meet later Thursday at party president Sonia Gandhi’s residence.

Party sources said the meeting will be attended by Digvijay Singh, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel and Janardhan Dwivedi.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who was the star campaigner in the staggered April-May election that ended Wednesday, is also expected to join the discussions.

“We will take stock of where we have done well and also chart out a future course once the results are out Saturday,” said a party leader.

Exit polls by television channels Wednesday predicted that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) would finish just marginally ahead of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Third Front, made up of Communists and regional parties, is tipped to win around 100 seats.

Leaders of smaller and regional parties are aware that they will end up playing a vital role in deciding who will get to rule India the next five years.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said: “We’ll sit together, talk and discuss everything. Our future course of action will be decided only after May 16 (Saturday).”

Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat has repeatedly said that the Third Front would not back either the Congress or the BJP.

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May 14, 2009 Posted by | Election, News, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Navjot Sidhu files nomination from Amritsar

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu (BJP) was among 34 candidates who filed their nominations on Wednesday for the nine
Lok Sabha seats in Punjab going to the polls on May 13.

Other prominent candidates who filed their papers were Om Parkash Soni (Congress), bureaucrat-turned-politician Som Parkash (BJP) and Gurcharan Singh Ghalib of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, a turncoat who deserted the Congress ahead of the polls.

While Sidhu and Soni jumped the poll fray from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, Som Parkash is trying his luck in Hoshiarpur (reserve) parliamentary constituency.

Ghalib, who quit the Congress ahead of polls and joined the SAD, filed his nomination papers for Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat.

With Wednesday’s nominations the total number of those entering the fray for the May 13 polls in the state has risen to 88, an election office spokesman said here.

The nine Lok Sabha seats going to polls in the second round of elections in the state are Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Khadoor Sahib, Jalandhar (reserve), Hoshiarpur (reserve), Anandpur Sahib, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib (reserve) and Faridkot (reserve).

The last date for filing of nominations for the May 13 polling in the state is April 24 whereas April 27 is the last date for withdrawals.

April 23, 2009 Posted by | Election, News, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

L K Advani to file nomination from Gandhinagar today

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate L K Advani will file his nomination papers from Gandhinagar constituency.

According to sources, L K Advani will be accompanied by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

L K Advani will be seeking a fifth term from Gandhinagar after his victory from this constituency in 1991, 1998, 1999 and 2004.

His main rivals are Congress nominee Suresh Patel and noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, who is making her electoral debut as an Independent. Patel is Congress MLA from Kalol for the second time.

The Gujarat police have already made tight security arrangements in view of L K Advani’s visit.

The collectorate’s office has been turned into a virtual fortress in preparation for L K Advani’s nomination filing.

Intelligence agencies have warned of increased threats to L K Advani.

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Election, News, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment