The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | 16-01-2023 | 11:45 am
The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday showcased the prototype of the remote electronic voting machine for migrant voters to the representatives of political parties.The poll panel, when announcing the decision to rollout the machine, had said: “Migration based disenfranchisement is indeed not an option in the age of technological advancement. The voter turnout in General Elections 2019 was 67.4 % and the Election Commission of India is concerned about the issue of over 30 crore electors not exercising their franchise and also differential voter turnout in various states/UTs.”Delhi | Election Commission of India showcases the remote electronic voting machine prototype for migrant voters, to the representatives of political parties. pic.twitter.com/Lv8DOnjx0C— ANI (@ANI) January 16, 2023“It is understood that there are multifarious reasons for a voter not opting to register in a new place of residence, thus missing out on exercising the right to vote. Inability to vote due to internal migration (domestic migrants) is one of the prominent reasons to be addressed to improve voter turnout and ensure participative elections,” the EC had added.The commission had stated that the machine will be able to handle multiple constituencies from a single remote polling booth.
PUNE: There is a cold wave expected between 1st-4th Feb over Maharashtra, Mumbai will experience temperatures way below 0 degrees for the first time ever." This was among thousands of forwarded messages, including "The reintroduction of Rs 1000 notes into circulation is scheduled for February 1, 2023" and "Crypto currency is now a legal instrument of payment in India " that TOI recently busted as fake.Under the Times Verified campaign, readers send any suspicious messages then see circulating on social media to this paper on the WhatsApp number 9819888887. To verify their credibility, our expert panel - comprising reporters, editors and representatives from the municipality and government - taps into its carefully-cultivated network of trustworthy sources.Launched nationally on November 21 last year, the Times Verified initiative aims to break the chain of viral misinformation and disinformation that has been infecting social media groups. Since the launch, TOI's editorial team has received close to 1.2 lakh messages, half of which turned out to be false. Besides misleading headlines like "The retirement age for all Govt employees increased to 67 from 15th Jan 2023" and "12 passengers of Yeti Airlines that crashed, have survived and are getting treated at a local medical Center in Nepal", the fake news included panic-inducing messages like "Meta announces major down time of 3 days for all its social media platforms starting 3rd Feb 2023, resulting out of scheduled maintenance."Recently, at the Election Commission of India's international conference on the use of technology election integrity in Delhi, Anthony Banbury, president of the US-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems, stated that misinformation was one of the biggest threats to democracy and electoral integrity. Banbury said technological tools were being developed and made available to individuals, candidates, political parties and "malign actors". "More and more companies are willing to sell commercial services to candidates, parties or nefarious actors who want to influence election outcomes to spread misinformation campaigns, to attack political opponents. And where those attacks are coming from are not seen by those consuming the information via social media," Banbury added.In this scenario, the job of our chain-breakers - readers who have been forwarding dubious messages to help identify red flags - is significant. Among these fake news chain-breakers today are readers like Karnataka's Rathnakar Holla, West Bengal's Tapas Das and Maharashtra's Vivek Amonkar, Subhash Bahulekar and Atul Bag. To join them in the war on misinformation, all you have to do is send anxiety-causing headlines doing the rounds of social media networks to our expert panel.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis speaking at an election rally in Aurangabad.Aurangabad: A month after he said the Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra has no plans to restore the Old Pension Scheme, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today spoke of a possible rethink."Let me be clear, we are not negative about it (OPS). We will discuss it with finance and other departments. But whatever be the solution, it has to be long-term, not short-term," the BJP leader said, mirroring the rather ambiguous position taken by his party in other states as well.The Congress and other Opposition parties have recently reverted to the OPS — phased out in early 2004 — in states they govern, such as Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. The BJP has been against it, citing huge financial burden on governments, but its leaders have added a may-consider-it caveat.The OPS gave employees with 20 years of service at least 50 per cent of their last salary as pension, but the burden was entirely on the government and there was no corpus collected from the staff. Under the New Pension Scheme (NPS), government and staff both contribute — 10 and 14 per cent of the salary, respectively — towards a fund from which the pension is later drawn.Mr Fadnavis was speaking at a rally ahead of the January 30 Legislative Council polls, seeking votes for BJP's Kiran Patil from Aurangabad Division Teachers' Constituency. Mr Patil is hoping to unseat the NCP's Vikram Kale, who has raised the OPS demand."These people only talk (about OPS)," Mr Fadnavis said in a reference to the NCP, "But if there is going to be a change in the present pension scheme to the old one, only we (BJP) have the courage to do that; not these people."PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comHis comment comes less than two weeks after Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, too, said the his government is "positive" on this issue. He, too, was speaking at an election rally in support of a BJP candidate in a teachers' constituency.In December, however, responding to a BJP MLA's question in the assembly, Mr Fadnavis had said, "The government will not revive the old pension scheme. It will put an additional burden of Rs 1.1 lakh crore on the state exchequer."
Questions over whether Uddhav Thackeray would continue to remain the president of Shiv Sena abounds as the Election commission has not yet given the go-ahead for the camp to hold its national executive meet where they could relect him.Thackeray's term as president of the party ends on January 23. While the Sena canp had petitioned the Election Commission to allow it to hold its national executive the EC has not yet decided on petition. The faction loyal to Uddhav and experts however claim that even without the EC nod Uddhav would continue to remain the Shiv Sena president."The party will decide who the party president is and for our party it will be Uddhav Thackeray," said Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut while speaking to reporters in Jammu.In Maharashtra too, other leaders of the Uddhav faction like Shiv Sena MLA Bhaskar Jadhav and the Shiv Sena's Opposition leader of the Legislative council Ambadas Danve claimed that Uddhav would remain the party president even without the elections.ET spoke to Professor Ulhas Bapat an expert on constitution law, Bapat claimed that Uddhav would remain the Shiv Sena President even after his term ends.
As per the annual reports of political parties released by the Election Commission (EC) Tuesday, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has shown total receipts of Rs 1,917.12 crore and expenditure of Rs 854.46 crore in Financial Year 2021-’22. It received contributions through electoral bonds to the tune of Rs 1,033.7 crore.The Congress in its annual audit report for Financial Year 2021-22 has shown its expenditure at Rs 400.41 crore and receipts of Rs 541.27 crore. It has shown grants, donations and contributions to the tune of Rs 347.99 crore.The 2019 to 2020 financial year, which saw the previous Lok Sabha polls, saw the highest income and spending by parties over the last five years. In this period, the BJP’s income touched Rs 3,623.28 crore, as per the Election Commission reports. That year, it declared its expenditure as Rs 1,651.02 crore. The Congress also saw its income go up to Rs 682.2 crore, while its expenditure was Rs 998.15 crore.Analysis of data over the last five years shows that there has been a fluctuation in the incomes and expenditures of the two parties. Besides the poll year, the BJP’s income in the year 2017-’18 was relatively high at Rs 1027.3 crore. The following financial year, 2018-’2019, it was the lowest at Rs 241 crore.A look at how the two parties income and expenditure fared in the previous years:BJP Income over the yearsCongress income over the years
With more than a month to go for the Kasba Assembly bypoll in Maharashtra, all eyes are on the BJP, which is yet to announce its candidate. The bypoll was necessitated due to the demise of sitting BJP legislator Mukta Tilak. While a few local BJP leaders have demanded that the party field a member of the Tilak family to enable an unopposed election as a tribute to Mukta Tilak, a former Pune mayor, other aspirants are waiting in the wings.After Tilak succumbed to cancer last month, BJP leader Ujjwal Keskar publicly made a statement urging the party to consider her husband Shailesh or son Kunal as their candidate for the bypoll scheduled on February 27.“The Kasba bypoll should be unopposed as a tribute to Mukta Tilak and the party should support a member of the Tilak family. Thus, a request has been made to BJP leaders to provide a ticket to a Tilak family member,” said Keskar.According to BJP sources, while the party is yet to take a decision, the Tilak family is not averse to contesting the election if a family member gets a party ticket.However, as the Tilak family members lack political experience, this has raised hopes among other aspirants, including Ganesh Bidkar, Hemant Rasane and Dheeraj Ghate. The name of Medha Kulkarni, former BJP legislator from Kothrud Assembly seat, is also making the rounds. She was asked to refrain from contesting elections to make way for then state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil to contest from the Kothrud seat, which was considered to safe seat for BJP. Kulkarni had registered her protest but was later pacified and made vice-president of the national unit of the BJP women’s wing.From the Opposition, Congress leader Arvind Shinde, the city unit chief who lost to Mukta Tilak in 2019, said he has already conveyed to the party that the local unit was ready to contest the seat. The Congress also has another aspirant, Ravindra Dhangekar, who contested the seat as a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate in 2014 and lost to Girish Bapat.Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Rupali Patil Thombare, who recently switched sides from MNS, has also expressed her wish to contest the Kasba bypoll if her party permits. Thombare had pointed out that the BJP has been fielding candidates in bypolls for seats that were vacated due to the demise of other politicians. However, she was pulled up for going public with her wish to contest.Local Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders have also conveyed their readiness to contest the Kasba bypoll.The Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance is likely to come up with a strategy for the bypoll elections. They are presently contesting state Legislative Council seats as an alliance.