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People will predict here who will be make government BJP-Congress after General elections?

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With an upswing of about 4 per cent in vote share, as reported in recent polls/surveys, can the Congress tide over its lowest ebb (44 MPs in the 16th Lok Sabha) and dethrone the incumbent? Perhaps a deep dive into two latest surveys — CSDS-Lokniti and Times Now-VMR — will serve the purpose.

The first votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be polled on April 11. Both the principal parties — the BJP and the Congress — are entering into the general elections with a likely 4 percentage point increase in their vote shares. However, as per CSDS-Lokniti pre poll survey, this increase in the BJP’s vote share appears to be largely at the cost of the non-United Progressive Alliance (UPA) parties. Thereby, this increase vote share is unlikely to fetch more seats for the BJP.

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Does that mean the GOP, like they usurped the reins in 2004 general elections from the popular Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government, will form the union government with its alliance partners in 2019? According to Sanjay Kumar, director CSDS, 2004 and 2019 general elections cannot be compared as the voter base for the Congress party between the two elections are remarkably different.

“2004 and 2019 not comparable. The support base are different. Before 2004 Elections Cong had 28.5% votes, before 2019 Cong has 19.6% votes,” Kumar tweeted.

The Congress party sure has its task cut out. In the BJP won 207 parliamentary constituencies with a margin well over one lakh votes (see box 1). The Congress was routed. The party endured a 9.03 per cent negative swing, lost 162 MPs – from 206 MPs in the 15th Lok Sabha to just 44 MPs in the 16th Lok Sabha – and its vote share was reduced to a measly 19.6 per cent.

Will a 4 percentage point increase in vote share suffice then? According to Kumar even if the party pulls off about 7 per cent increase in its vote share the Congress is unlikely to win over 100 seats in the 2019 general elections.

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There is no “Modi wave” — is perhaps the only silver lining for the opposition parties. Most surveys predict advantage BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, but add a rider that the alliance could just fall short of a majority.

Though Times Now – VMR latest survey points at a close contest between the NDA and the UPA, predicts Congress-led UPA will finish a distant second.

According to the survey NDA will get 2.6 per cent more votes than in 2014 but the alliance will lose 57 seats and will be reduced to slender majority with 279 MPs in the 17th Lok Sabha. The UPA with 30.7 per cent vote share, as per the poll, is likely to add 89 MPs to its 2014’s tally and take 149 seats (see Box 2).

The results for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be declared on May 23, the jury is out till then!

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National commission for women seeks report from UP DGP on Unnao rape case

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Lucknow: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken suo motu cognisance of the case. In a letter sent to UP DGP O.P. Singh, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma has sought a detailed report of the incident and the action taken.

She has also sought to know what action has been taken against officials who failed to provide protection to the victim.

The NCW has also wanted to know the number of heinous crime cases against women in UP and the number of cases in which the accused had been granted bail in the last three years.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, meanwhile, directed that the cost of the treatment of the victim would be borne by the state government. He directed top police officials to monitor the action being taken in the case and submit their report to him by the evening.

The Samajwadi Party has demanded the resignation of the Yogi government over moral responsibility for the Unnao incident.

Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav also asked the judiciary to take suo moto cognisance of the incident and initiate action. “The government has lost the moral authority to remain in power,” he said.

SP MLC Sunil Kumar Sajan alleged that the accused enjoyed the patronage of BJP leaders.

The victim had been gang raped by the accused in December last year but the FIR was registered in Rae Bareli only in March this year on the intervention of a local court.

On Thursday morning, when the victim was on her way to Rae Bareli district court for the hearing of her case, she was attacked by the accused and set ablaze.

In Lucknow, the victim gave a statement to Sub Divisional Magistrate Dayashankar Pathak saying that Hari Shankar Dwiwedi, Shubham Dwiwedi, Shivam Dwiwedi, Ram Kishore Trivedi and Umesh Bajpai had attacked her and set her afire.

After she was set on fire, she tried to run and some villagers saw her and came to her aid, the police said.

She further alleged that Shivam and Shubham Dwiwedi had abducted and raped her in December 2018. However, the FIR was registered in March this year.

S.K. Bhagat, Inspector General, Lucknow Zone, said: “In her FIR, the woman said one of the accused was in a relationship with her in 2018 but he physically exploited her after luring her with a marriage proposal. Later, he refused to get married and raped the woman with another friend.”

UP DGP O.P. Singh said: “Our first priority is to save the woman. The criminal justice system has three-four compartments but we do not work like that. I do not want to blame anyone. The fact is that we did arrest one of the accused. I will get more facts on the case but I am sure that the local police would have opposed the bail application of the rape accused.”

The DGP described the incident as unfortunate and said that every effort would be made to save the rape survivor.

The victim has suffered 90 per cent burns and doctors say that her survival would be a “miracle”. The two rape accused had been released on bail on November 30.

The incident took place in Hindu Nagar village under Bihar police station of Unnao where the minor had been gang raped in March.

The rape survivor was on her way for hearing in her court case when she was accosted by the accused. They took her to a secluded spot, doused her with kerosene and set her ablaze.

Seeing the girl in flames, panic stricken villagers informed the police which first took the rape survivor to the district hospital from where she was referred to the trauma centre of King Goerge Medical University in Lucknow.

Reacting to this fresh case of rape, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Chief Minister for lying regarding the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh.

In a tweet, she said, “Seeing such incidents occur on a daily basis saddens one’s heart. BJP leaders should now come out of their false propaganda.”

It may be recalled that last year, another rape case of a minor in Unnao had hit national headlines.

A minor girl had been gang raped in 2017 reportedly by former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his associates. The case was not registered. The rape survivor’s father was implicated in a false case and died of beating in police custody.

Following a public outcry, the Allahabad High Court had ordered a CBI probe and Sengar was arrested.

In July this year the rape survivor’s car was mysterious hit by a truck, killing two of her aunts and seriously injuring her and her lawyer. Both were airlifted to AIIMS on court orders.

Following this the Supreme Court transferred the case to Delhi and ordered for a safe home for the rape survivor and her family. Sengar is now lodged in Tihar jail.

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