Tuesday Morning News Brief, December 19

Tuesday morning brief Dec 19 2017
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
J P Nadda and Jai Ram Thakur are being seen as the frontrunners for the post of Himachal Pradesh CM. If BJP finally considers scouting for a Rajput leader given that this was a consideration in Dhumal’s selection, then Thakur, a five-term MLA, is the obvious choice. Nadda, who has served in the Himachal Pradesh cabinet earlier, is seen as a steady and competent hand, who has kept controversy at bay. Read.
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The number of women MLAs in the Gujarat assembly has gone down from 16 in 2012 to 13 in 2017. The strike rate of women, however, is higher in 2017 with 59% of the 22 candidates winning seats as compared to 2012, when 51% of the 31 women candidates had won. Out of 12 women candidates fielded by BJP, nine won. Among the 10 women candidates fielded by Congress, four won.
5.5 lakh voters across Gujarat picked the Nota option, making it the third largest ‘party’ in these polls. The Nota (none of the above) option made its presence felt quite significantly, exceeding the margin of victory or defeat in 29 constituencies, which is about one out of six. The most high-profile seat in which Nota exceeded the victory margin was Porbandar, where Congress’s Arjunbhai Modhwadia lost by 1,855 votes to BJP’s Babubhai Bokhiriya, his longstanding rival.
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BJP won Gujarat but its winning tally won’t help the party retain all its Rajya Sabha seats from the state. Four of the party’s RS members from Gujarat will retire on April 2, 2018. Having bagged 99 assembly seats, the party will be able to retain only two seats (36 MLAs vote for one RS seat) with the remaining two going to Congress. At present, nine out of the 11 RS members from the state are from BJP. After next year’s biennial election, its tally will be reduced to seven.
Amit Shah blamed “low level” of campaign and casteist politics by Congress for BJP’s lowest tally in Gujarat in 20 years. Without naming Congress or any of the other players in Gujarat, Shah told a press conference that BJP “had not factored in that the level of campaign by its rivals would stoop to such low levels, especially the kind of language that was used against Prime Minister Narendra Modi”, an obvious reference to the ‘neech’ remark by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyer.
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