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Assembly elections: BJP expects gains from note ban, Congress hopes for ‘free and fair’ polls

The Congress on Wednesday urged the Election Commission to ensure free and fair polls while the BJP exuded confidence of victory due to the positive undercurrent post demonetisation.

India TV Politics Desk, New Delhi [Published on:04 Jan 2017, 7:54 PM IST]
Election Commission today announced schedule of polls in
Election Commission today announced schedule of polls in five states

Welcoming the announcement of Assembly elections in five states, the Congress on Wednesday urged the Election Commission to ensure free and fair polls while the BJP exuded confidence of victory due to the “positive undercurrent” post demonetisation. 

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala described the polls to the five states including Uttarakhand and Manipur, where his party will try to retain power, as a ‘yagna’ of democracy and urged the EC to ensure “free, fair and independent polls”. 

“We also hope that the use of muscle power, abuse of government power and misuse of money power will be checked once and for all and it will be good for democracy,” he said, while welcoming the poll schedule. 

BJP cited the examples of the party’s impressive show in the recently held by-elections to draw a point that its fight against the black money will help in the upcoming elections.  

“State elections are fought largely on the state-level issues...(but) there is a positive undercurrent for BJP across the country which is what we have seen post-demonetisation. 

“There is a strong undercurrent. Therefore, we expect to win all the states...our stakes are the lowest, but our gains are going to be highest,” BJP national spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said. 

Rao cited the examples of the party’s impressive show in the recently held by-elections and civic polls, particularly in Gujarat and Maharashtra. He said BJP is now going to be an “important player” in the poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.

Stating that BJP did not enjoy a big strength in Manipur earlier, he said, his party has done really well in the by-elections there. 

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party is fancying chances of clinching power in Punjab and Goa, claimed the situation in the two states, where the BJP is in power or sharing it, is “bad” and people want to bring in an “honest” government led by his party in the upcoming polls. 

“Both in Punjab and Goa, the situation is bad. In Punjab, people want to throw the BJP coalition government and bring in an honest AAP government so that they get freed from drugs and corruption,” he said. 

Sanjay Raut, an MP from NDA constituent Shiv Sena, said poll preparations of the saffron party are “complete”, particularly in northern states and BJP-ruled Goa. 

“Shiv Sena is holding an important meeting chaired by party president Uddhav Thackeray where such issues will be discussed. Our preparations are complete for the polls,” he said. 

Naresh Agrawal, who was recently expelled by Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh in the midst of feud within the ruling party of Uttar Pradesh, insisted the EC to see the budget session announced by the central government be postponed to ensure that the voters do not get influenced. 

(With PTI inputs)