2 Indian states hold elections Modi’s party expected to win

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) shakes hands with Hindu right-wing party Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray (2R) as they attend a public rally in the run up to the Maharashtra state assembly elections, in Mumbai on October 18, 2019. (File/AFP)
Updated 21 October 2019

2 Indian states hold elections Modi’s party expected to win

  • The Bharatiya Janata Party is expected to win the elections in Maharashtra in the west and Haryana in the north
  • Modi took to Twitter to urge voters to participate in large numbers and exercise their right to vote

NEW DELHI: Voters cast ballots Monday in two Indian states where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party is seeking a second consecutive term.

The Bharatiya Janata Party is expected to win the elections in Maharashtra in the west and Haryana in the north after its dominant victory in national elections earlier this year.

Modi took to Twitter to urge voters to participate in large numbers and exercise their right to vote and “enrich the festival of democracy.”

The BJP’s high-voltage election campaigning aggressively raised the nationalism plank by focusing on the government’s scrapping of disputed Kashmir’s special status in early August and it targeted the opposition on national security and corruption.

In Maharashtra, where the BJP and Shiv Sena coalition is expected to retain power according to opinion polls, the BJP has pledged to work toward making the state drought-free.

Opinion surveys predicted a BJP romp in Harayana too, where its main opposition, the Congress party, could face a near decimation. Congress, however, is hoping to recover from its national election rout last spring and make a comeback in the state.

The traffic in Haryana was scanty as most people remained indoors. Voters said they were voting for issues related “employment.”

“We want someone who is educated to rule our state and fix our problems,” said Mohamad Sajid, a voter in Mewat district.

The opposition tried to corner the BJP governments in the two states on the handling of the economy, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi blaming the ruling party for an economic slowdown and unemployment. But the opposition campaigns were lackluster due to infighting and desertions in the run-up to the vote.

The Congress party is going through a tough phase after it won only 52 of 542 parliamentary seats in the nationwide polls this year, compared to 303 won by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

Votes in Haryana and Maharashtra will be counted on Oct. 24.


Poland seizes two for plotting Breivik-style attacks on Muslims

Updated 37 min 36 sec ago

Poland seizes two for plotting Breivik-style attacks on Muslims

  • The two suspects were taken into custody on Sunday in the capital Warsaw and the northern city of Szczecin
  • Breivik, an anti-Muslim neo-Nazi, massacred 77 people in Norway’s worst peacetime atrocity in July 2011

WARSAW: Polish agents arrested two people accused of planning attacks against Muslims inspired by Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik and suspected white supremacist Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand, the security service said on Wednesday.
The arrests follow a spate of attacks involving white supremacists targeting ethnic and religious minorities across the globe. Far-right groups have grown in strength in Poland, the largest of the European Union’s post-communist states.
The two suspects were taken into custody on Sunday in the capital Warsaw and the northern city of Szczecin.
“The arrests are the result of information collected earlier by the Internal Security Agency (ABW) about an extremist group whose aim was to intimidate Muslims living in Poland,” the statement said.
“The materials gathered during the investigation show the group modelled itself on terrorist attacks carried out by extremists including Anders Breivik (in 2011 in Norway) and Brenton Tarrant (in 2019 in New Zealand).”
The group intended to carry out attacks using firearms and explosives, the statement said, and during one search of a house in the Warsaw suburb of Wlochy, ABW agents found materials for making large quantities of explosives, guns and ammunition.
Breivik, an anti-Muslim neo-Nazi, massacred 77 people in Norway’s worst peacetime atrocity in July 2011.
Tarrant has been charged with an attack broadcast live on Facebook in 2019 on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 51 people and wounded dozens.