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With the sudden slump in electoral fortunes of the BJP, 2019 is no longer a walkover for Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. The result is a fresh lease of life for the Congress which now has a stronger claim to leadership in the proposed grand alliance of non-BJP parties in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In Telangana, however, the party’s alliance with Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP has failed to dent K Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samiti which is zooming towards a thumping return to power. It’s a vindication for KCR who had called snap polls to capitalise on interim popularity. In Mizoram, the ruling Congress has lost out to Mizo National Front with CM Lal Thanhawla trailing.
The nail-biting battle for MP: The Congress on Tuesday staked claim to form the government in Madhya Pradesh in a nail-biting semi-final ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as the trends early on Wednesday morning placed the grand old party as the front-runner in 115 seats, just one step away from the magic figure of 116. Even as counting of votes was still on in MP early on Wednesday morning, the prime minister tweeted to congratulate the Congress on its victories and thanked the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for giving the BJP an opportunity to serve the states, which account for 65 seats in the Lok Sabha and voted overwhelmingly for the BJP in the 2014 polls.
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Congress president Rahul Gandhi congratulated party workers for the wins in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, and said a “resurgent Congress” would make it difficult for Prime Minister Modi to win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “I was telling my mother that the absolute best thing for me was the 2014 election. I learnt a lot from that election. I learnt that the most important thing is humility," said the Congress chief, who took a lot of the blame for the party's earlier election defeats.
While the voters were still queuing up at polling booths and candidates sweating it out to ensure a fair turn-out, Ashok Gehlot’s plane had landed in Delhi well before noon. After casting his vote in Sardarpura, the former Rajasthan chief minister was back at the Congress headquarters on Akbar road to manage party affairs. Gehlot perhaps has been one of the most under-estimated politicians in the contemporary Indian politics. The soft spoken Jadugar from Jodhpur (his father was a magician) is both a tough taskmaster and a hard bargainer — both within and outside his party. The margin of Congress win in Rajasthan has strengthened Ashok Gehlot's claim for CM chair.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday lost out on one of the biggest prestige battles for him. Unable to match up to the silent KCR wave in Telangana, the Mahakutami, an alliance that Naidu scripted, lost what could have been the stepping stone to an anti-BJP allied force. While the alliance’s campaigning was relentless, enough to unsettle KCR, Naidu still could not pull off a win. And now, Naidu has to fight yet another battle to stay relevant. What's next for Naidu? Probably, a very rocky road.
Three-time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief minister in Chhattisgarh, Raman Singh’s record run is all set to come to an end. Singh has, electorally, been the most successful BJP CM holding fort for the party for 15 consecutive years in Chhattisgarh. If electoral politics were about pure arithmetic, Raman Singh would have won the Chhattisgarh elections hands down. But that was not to be. The formation of the third front in Chhattisgarh with Ajit Jogi and Mayawati joining hands was widely expected to dent the Congress’s prospects in the tribal state. However, the Congress seems to have made up for this deficit by aggressively poaching on the BJP’s traditional backward votes in the state.
In other news,
Former finance secretary and current member of the finance commission Shaktikanta Das has been appointed the new Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor. This comes almost 24 hours after Urjit Patel on Monday resigned from his post on account of personal reasons, with immediate effect.
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in October at his country's Istanbul consulate, was on Tuesday named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" alongside several other journalists.
In an incident that has gone viral recently, a Zomato delivery man was caught on tape while he was hogging on some food before repackaging it and keeping it back in the delivery bag. The two-and-half minute video first surfaced on Facebook which shows the man wearing a red Zomato t-shirt as he pulls out a food box from his bag, takes a couple of bites and reseals it before leaving for his delivery location. Zomato has now responded to it following the online hate.
At least one person was killed and 10 people were wounded in a shooting near a Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg on Tuesday, the local prefecture said. Police locked down the area and launched a hunt for the shooter, who fled the scene, the police sources said. They said the gunman had been identified.
Congress returned to power in Rajasthan after early leads on Tuesday morning handed the party an upper hand in the state. We have listed the reasons that led to Congress' win.
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