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Assembly polls 2022 highlights: EC continues ban on public rallies till Jan 22; Yogi to contest from Gorakhpur; SP MLA held under Gangster Act in UP

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Assembly elections 2022 LIVE: Here are the live updates from the campaign trail in five states — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur — that will go to the polls between February and March

Assembly polls 2022 highlights: EC continues ban on public rallies till Jan 22; Yogi to contest from Gorakhpur; SP MLA held under Gangster Act in UP
Political parties of all hues are in top election mode in five states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. The Election Commission today decided to extend the ban on public rallies and road shows till January 22. While announcing the poll schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur on January 8, the poll panel had taken an unprecedented step by banning public rallies, road shows and similar physical campaigning events till January 15 in view of rising COVID-19 cases. Separately, in a press release on Friday, the EC said it had, in consultation with Prasar Bharti Corporation, decided to double the broadcast/telecast time allotted to each national party and recognised state party of the five states. Meanwhile, the Congress on Friday released its first list of 125 candidates today with the party fielding 50 women as well. The Bharatiya Janata Party has released its list of 57/58 candidates for the first phase and 38/55 for the second phase. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will be contesting from Gorakhpur. Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya will contest from Sirathu in Prayagraj district.
Here are Saturday's highlights from the campaign trail in five states — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur — that will go to the polls between February and March:
#Punjab CM writes to EC to postpone polls by six days
#Poll panel cracks down on code violations in UP
#ECI seeks explanation for code violation at SP office
The Election Commission of India has asked the general secretary of Samajwadi Party (SP) to give an explanation on the alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct, Section 144, and COVID protocols by the party on January 14 by "organising public gathering" at its Lucknow office.
#Chandra Shekhar Aazad says efforts on to form third front in UP
Azad Samaj Party chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad on Saturday said efforts were being made to form a third front of several opposition parties for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls and if it did not materialise, his party would go it alone. He also targeted Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
"We thought this is a new Samajwadi Party and there will be some change in it. We can speak about social justice... We wanted unity of the bahujan and we were banking on him (Akhilesh Yadav), but yesterday we felt that our hopes had been shattered," he told reporters here. "I feel that Akhilesh-ji does not need us. All the best to him...we will fight our own polls," he added.
#Rahul posts Twitter poll to attack BJP
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday attacked the BJP government by posting an online Twitter poll asking his followers which are its biggest shortcomings. The four options were unemployment', tax extortion', inflation', and atmosphere of hatred'. At the time of this writing, the poll had elicited 1,22,000 votes, with almost half (49 percent) voting for the fifth option, indicating prevalence of hateful atmosphere was the central government's biggest failure. According to the post, the second biggest failure of the government was unemployment, with a 30 percent vote share.
#SP fostered 'ease of doing crime', says UP deputy CM
In an apparent attack at the Samajwadi Party, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma on Saturday alleged that there was "ease of doing crime" in the previous government, whereas the BJP facilitated "ease of doing business". "There was ease of doing crime, and criminals dominated the government of the rival parties, Sharma said in a tweet in Hindi.
"In the BJP government, there is ease of doing business. Investments are coming, and UP is getting decked up. Lakhs of crores of investment have come in the last four and half years," he continued in the same tweet. Sharma claimed BJP will come to power again in the state and will generate employment for youths.
#AAP's claim stands vindicated: Raghav Chadha after EC relaxes norms for registration of parties
A day after the EC reduced the period for registration of new political parties, the AAP on Saturday said its claim stood vindicated and accused the poll panel of relaxing the norms in the middle of the elections to damage the poll prospects of the Arvind Kejriwal-led party in Punjab "under a conspiracy". The AAP had on Thursday claimed that the Election Commission (EC) was going to register a new political party by bringing changes in its rules at the behest of the BJP in the middle of elections to stop the party from winning assembly polls in Punjab and forming its government in the state, an allegation the poll panel later dismissed, terming it "factually incorrect".
The EC on Friday announced the reduction of notice period for registration of new political parties in the five poll-going states from 30 days to 7 days, keeping in view difficulties caused by COVID-19-induced curbs. "With this, the AAP's prediction, apprehension, suspicion, information has turned into belief," the AAP leader said, terming the Commission's notification "documentary evidence" of the claims that AAP had made in this on Thursday. Raising objections to the Election Commission's decision, Chadha, who is co-in charge of the AAP's political affairs in Punjab, alleged that the EC has brought in changes in its rules to register a new political party "under a conspiracy" to defeat "the AAP and Arvind Kejriwal's honest politics" in the assembly polls.
"Under a big conspiracy, a new political party is being registered, perhaps to cut the votes of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)... This is our apprehension. It is bothering us," he said.
#Another defection from Congress in Punjab
Dr Harjot Kamal, Punjab Congress MLA from Moga, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in the presence of Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in Chandigarh today.
#Election Commission further bans poll rallies & roadshows in poll-bound states till 22nd January
ECI allows political parties to hold indoor meetings with a maximum of 300 persons or 50% of the capacity of the hall.
#Rashtriya Lok Dal announces second list of seven candidates for UP polls
#Cong, BJP trade barbs over actor Archana Gautam's candidature in UP
The Congress' decision of fielding actor-model Archana Gautam from Hastinapur constituency in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly polls has kicked up a controversy, with the BJP accusing the grand old party of indulging in cheap publicity. The Congress, however, has maintained that it has given an opportunity to an artiste to enter political space.
"The Congress is not having candidates, and is ready to field any candidate to garner cheap publicity and headlines," UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said. His remarks come after bikini pictures of the Congress candidate, who has been a beauty pageant winner, surfaced on social media.
Hitting back at the ruling BJP in the state, UP Congress spokeman Ashok Singh said, "Is there any harm in fielding an artist as a candidate if she is interested to enter politics? As far as the BJP is concerned, it has a number of artists, and one of them is a minister."
Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha and Sant Mahasabha chief Swami Chakrapani also hit out at the Congress candidate from Hastinapur (SC) assembly constituency in Meerut district, saying nothing can be expected from a party which has gone mentally bankrupt. "If any person is entering social life, then he/she should be one who respects our culture. But, the Congress differentiates between Hindu' and Hindutva'. Nothing should be expected from the leaders of a party which has gone mentally bankrupt, he said..
#SP MLA Nahid Hasan arrested under Gangster Act 
Samajwadi Party MLA and candidate from Kairana Nahid Hasan has been arrested by the police under the Gangster Act. Hasan has been sent to 14-day judicial custody by a Kairana court.
#Former UP minister and BSP MLA Ramveer Upadhyay joined BJP
"My father has joined BJP. We will (help) BJP come into power again. My father has applied for a ticket from the Sadabad constituency in the Hathras district, but it is for the party to decide," Chirag Upadhyay, son of former UP minister and BSP MLA Ramveer Upadhyay, said.
#Amid mass defections, Mayawati calls SP 'anti-Dalit' party
As several leaders from the BJP shifted allegiance to the Samajwadi Party (SP) saying it worked for the Dalits and backward classes, BSP supremo Mayawati on Saturday pooh-poohed the claim saying the party's past record shows its "anti-Dalit" approach. Mayawati also clarified that she would not contest the Assembly elections, but take the legislative council route, if her party is voted to power.
Addressing a press conference on her birthday, she announced names of 53 BSP candidates for constituencies that would go to the polls in the first phase on February 10. "The SP's past record shows it always took an anti-Dalit approach," Mayawati said. She sought to know why the Akhilesh Yadav-led party renamed Sant Ravidas Nagar to Bhadohi soon after assuming power in 2012. "Wasn't this due to its anti-Dalit thinking," she asked.
The BSP chief's remarks come a day after former cabinet minister and prominent OBC leader Swami Prasad Maurya joined the SP along with another rebel minister Dharam Singh Saini. A considerable number of MLAs from the BJP and Apna Dal (Sonelal) also joined the SP alleging that the Yogi Adityanath government had ignored the interests of Dalits and backward classes.
They also levelled similar allegations against Mayawati. With several such defections, including a large number of MLAs from her own party, Mayawati stressed on strengthening the anti-defection laws.
Of the 19 MLAs who had won the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls on BSP tickets, 13 have quit the party.
#Uttarakhand CM to contest from Khatima constituency
I will contest the election from the Khatima constituency. We all are together and ready to contest polls. This time, we have given a slogan 'Abki Baar 60 Paar'. The candidates' list will be announced soon: Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami after the BJP Core Committee meeting today.
#Kejriwal launches door-to-door campaign in Goa
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) National Convener & Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal launched a door-to-door election campaign in the St Andre assembly constituency in North Goa.
#Yogi Adityanath confident of 'full majority'
"I am thankful to PM Modi, BJP chief JP Nadda, and the central parliamentary committee for fielding me from the Gorakhpur constituency. BJP works on the model of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'. BJP will form govt in UP with full majority," UP CM Yogi Adityanath said today in Gorakhpur.
#SP chief reacts to Azad's remarks on breakdown of seat-sharing talks
"I told him (Azad) I can give 2 seats.. but later with discussions with his party, he said can't fight polls, my party not satisfied over seats....Told him that I can't give (seats) beyond this. It's a conspiracy," Akhilesh Yadav said.
#Let me tell BJP that I will not take any BJP MLA, minister anymore. They can deny tickets (to their leaders) if they wish to: SP chief Akhilesh Yadav
#Akhilesh Yadav takes a dig at Yogi
"I'm thankful to BJP. They have sent him (Yogi Adityanath) home even before (polls), though people would have done it... Speculation was rife over Yogi Adityanath contesting from Ayodhya, Prayagraj... and then this," SP chief Akhilesh Yadav on UP CM's candidature from Gorakhpur.
#10 seats for women, 44 seats for OBC candidates and 19 seats for SC, in upcoming UP assembly polls: BJP
#Congress announces candidates 
The Congress has released its first list of 86 candidates for the upcoming assembly elections in Punjab, fielding Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi from Chamkaur Sahib and PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu from Amritsar East. The party has also fielded Punjab deputy chief ministers Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa from Dera Baba Nanak and Om Prakash Soni from Amritsar Central, seats they already represent. Controversial Punjabi singer Sidhu Mussewala will contest from Mansa and actor Sonu Sood's sister Malvika Sood from Moga. The party's Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa will contest from Qadian assembly seat in Gurdaspur. Former PCC president and campaign committee chief Sunil Jakhar will not contest the assembly polls; his nephew Sandeep Jakhar will contest the Abohar assembly seat instead. Similarly, Punjab minister Brahm Mohindra will not contest; his son Mohit Mohindra will contest from Patiala rural assembly seat in his place.
Among other sitting Punjab ministers, Manpreet Singh Badal will contest from Bathinda Urban, Vijay Inder Singla from Sangrur, Razia Sultana from Malerkotla, Gurkirat Singh Kotli from Khanna, Rana Gurjit Singh from Kapurthala, Tript Rajinder Bajwa from Fatehgarh Churian, Randeep Singh Nabha from Amloh, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring from Gidderbaha, Pargat Singh from Jalandhar Cantt. Other ministers like Sangat Singh Gilzian has been fielded from Urmar, Raj Kumar Verka from Amritsar West-SC, Sukhbinder Sarkaria from Rajasansi, Bharat Bhushan Ashu from Ludhiana West.
Former deputy chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has been fielded from Lehragaga. The list was released after the party's central election committee chaired by party chief Sonia Gandhi cleared the names in its meeting held on Thursday.
#Two sitting BJP MLAs will contest to retain seats 
Tejpal Singh Nagar from Dadri and Dhirendra Singh from Jewar were part of the list announced by BJP today.
#NCP holding seat-sharing talks with SP for UP polls, one seat decided so far: NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik on Saturday said his party is in talks with the Samajwadi Party (SP) over the seat-sharing formula for the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh, and so far one seat has been decided for the NCP. He also said the current situation in Uttar Pradesh is similar to that in 1993 when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was stopped from occupying power in that state. "The NCP and the Samajwadi Party have decided one seat, which we (NCP) will be contesting. Talks about other seats are going on. The current situation in Uttar Pradesh is similar to 1993, when BJP was ousted from power." In 1993 Uttar Pradesh elections, SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav had joined hands with the then Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Kanshi Ram to give a jolt to the BJP. The SP-BSP combine formed the government with the support of other parties, even as the BJP had emerged as the single largest party at that time.
On the elections in other states, he said the NCP has formed an alliance with the Congress in Manipur, but there is no progress on seat-sharing talks in Goa. "Therefore, NCP is considering going solo in Goa elections like last time," he said.
#Akhilesh Yadav urges SP workers to follow Code of Conduct
"I appeal to the leaders and party workers to abide by EC guidelines, COVID protocols whenever they come to the office... I have also heard that a notice was also put up at our office today," SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said.
#73 Odisha cadre officers attend ECI training programme
At least 73 officers of Odisha cadre have attended a virtual training programme conducted by the Election Commission for central observers in upcoming assembly polls in five states, an official said on Saturday. These officers will be deployed in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand during the assembly elections. Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey were present at the programme and urged the officers to ensure that all COVID protocols are followed during the polling. The commission also emphasised on the role of central observers for free and fair elections, the official said. The poll panel asked them to be impartial and to help local administrations to ensure smooth conduct of the elections. Senior EC officials made presentations on different aspects of elections during the pandemic situation.
#BJP names 107 candidates for UP polls
Apart from Adityanath, Maurya ans Singh, The BJP has announced candidates for the other 104 seats too for the first two phases. The list was released by the BJP's Uttar Pradesh in-charge and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan along with the party general secretary Arun Singh.
"The BJP has provided welfare and sensitive governance in Uttar Pradesh in the last five years. We are confident that the people of UP will again bless us in this great festival of 2022 with the same clarity," the BJP tweeted quoting Pradhan.
#BSP announces candidates for Noida, Dadri, Jewar seats
The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party has declared candidates for three assembly constituencies in Gautam Buddh Nagar for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh polls. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded Kriparam Sharma from Noida, Manveer Singh Bhati from Dadri and Narendra Bhati 'Dada' from Jewar, according to a list shared by the party. All three seats are currently held by BJP.
Noida has 6,90,231 voters, while Dadri has 5,86,889 voters and Jewar 3,46,425 voters. Dadri in Gautam Buddh Nagar district is also the home constituency of BSP supremo Mayawati.
#SP hit with notice over Model Code of Conduct violations
Ahead of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav's presser today, Lucknow Police puts up a notice outside their party office in view of violation of Model Code of Conduct, Section 144, COVID protocols by the party yesterday, January 14 pic.twitter.com/nTgPAZVTGr
#Defence minister Rajnath Singh's son Pankaj Singh will run for the Noida seat 
Singh is the incumbent, having won the election from Noida in 2017.
#Deputy CM Kesav Prasad Maurya to contest UP Polls from Sirathu in Prayagraj district.
#UP CM Yogi Adityanath to contest election from Gorakhpur.
#We are releasing list of candidates on 57/58 seats in first phase and 38/55 in second phase: BJP leader & Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
#Alliance talks fail between SP and Bhim Army
After all the discussions, in the end, I felt that Akhilesh Yadav does not want Dalits in this alliance, he just wants Dalit vote bank. He humiliated the people of Bahujan Samaj, I tried for 1 month 3 days but the alliance could not happen: Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad
#Former Punjab minister Joginder Mann joins AAP
Ahead of the Assembly elections, former Punjab minister Joginder Singh Mann has joined the Aam Aadmi Party, a day after snapping his 50-year-old ties with the Congress. AAP leader and Punjab co-incharge Raghav Chadha said that Mann's induction will give a huge boost to the party in the state.
"Inspired by Arvind ji's vision, Punjab's former cabinet minister and three-time MLA Joginder Singh Mann ji joins AAP ending his 50-year-old association with Congress. He was presently chairman of Punjab Agro Industries Corp. His induction will give a huge boost to the party's unit in Punjab," Chadha said in a tweet and also posted a photo showing Mann joining the AAP in the presence of the party's national convener Arvind Kejriwal.
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