The ruling Congress and Opposition BJP in Rajasthan have started the exercise for identifying candidates for by-elections to two Assembly seats — Mandawa and Khinvsar — scheduled for October 21. After facing defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the bypolls will be a challenge for the Congress, while the BJP pins its hopes on new State president Satish Poonia.The by-elections were necessitated after the sitting MLAs vacated the seats following their election to Lok Sabha. Mandawa MLA Narendra Khichar won as the BJP MP from Jhunjhunu, while Rashtriya Loktantrik Party MLA from Khinvsar, Hanuman Beniwal, won from Nagaur after his regional party entered into an alliance with the BJP and joined the NDA just before general elections.The candidates’ nominations can be filed till September 30 and the date for withdrawal of candidature will be October 3. After the polling on October 21, the results will be declared on October 24, according to the Election Commission.Impact on civic pollsThe by-elections are important for Congress because of their perceptible impact on the municipal polls due in November this year, for which the rival factions in the party wish to field their favourite candidates with the winning potential. Moreover, the party wants to send across a message of its effective governance even after its defeat at all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the State.For the BJP, the appointment of Mr. Poonia — a Jat leader with strong association with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh — as the party chief may help at the two Jat-dominated seats. The party is yet to make up its mind on entering into alliance with the RLP, though former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje may not play a major role in the candidates’ selection, unlike in the Lok Sabha polls.Mr. Beniwal said on Monday that the RLP-BJP alliance would contest both the Assembly seats and he would like to field his party’s candidate in Khinvsar. “We are willing to support the BJP candidate in Mandawa. The final decision will be take at a meeting of office-bearers of both the parties in a couple of days,” he said.The Congress, which has strengthened its position in the State Assembly after the recent merger of six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs, may give ticket to a member of Nagaur district’s influential Mirdha family. The party has lost the Khinvsar seat during the last three successive elections, as Mr. Beniwal won first on the BJP ticket in 2008 and later as an Independent in 2013 and as the RLP candidate in 2018.Mandawa was earlier considered a stronghold of veteran Congress leader Ram Narayan Chaudhary, who died in 2012. His daughter Rita Chaudhary defeated Mr. Khichar in 2008, but the latter emerged victorious as an Independent in 2013 and and as a BJP candidate in 2018.
Sebastian Vettel scorched his way to a comfortable victory from pole at the Indian Grand Prix while Force India earned four points through Nico Hulkenberg’s eighth-place finish here.Vettel faced no challenge whatsoever as the Red Bull driver led from start to finish to record his fourth win on the trot and extend his lead in the drivers’ championship to 13 points over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.Alonso, though, did his best to win the race, coming up from fifth position at start to overtake the two McLaren cars and then Mark Webber in the other Red Bull to take second position, keeping himself in the hunt for the drivers’ title.Fernando Alonso drove aggressively but could only climb up to second spot from a fifth-place start.Click here to Enlarge Vettel, though, was far ahead of the pack, dominating throughout the race — topping the timings in all FPs and the qualifying — and won on Sunday by a comprehensive margin of 9.4 seconds.Vettel, who was the defending champion here after winning the inaugural edition last year, now has 240 points, 13 more than Alonso with three races left in the season.”It has been incredible. To come here both years, get the pole and win the race is fantastic. It is a very special Grand Prix and I really like this circuit,” Vettel said after the win.Webber conceded his second position to Alonso but managed to finish third ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who was followed by teammate Jenson Button.Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren was unable to mount any serious challenge to the Red Bulls.Click here to Enlarge advertisementFelipe Massa was sixth in the second Ferrari, ahead of Kimi Raiokkonen, Hulkenbeg and teammate Romain Grosjean. Willams’ Bruno Senna took the last point available with 10th position.Home side Force India also bettered its result from two points last year to four this year, with Hulkenberg finishing eighth. The result helped Force India reduce the gap with Sauber to 23 points in the Constructors’ championship. India’s Narain Karthikeyan, who had brake problems early, finished 21st, down from 17th last year.Vettel is now the first driver since 1989 to lead every single lap in three consecutive races. The last man to do it was the legendary Ayrton Senna (at San Marino, Monaco and Mexican Grands Prix).When Vettel completed lap 42 of the 60-lap race, he surpassed Jim Clark on the all-time consecutive laps led list. Senna has the all-time record of leading 264 consecutive laps.Alonso, who had promised to attack, was aggressive as he straight away targeted the two McLarens ahead of him. He first passed Hamilton and then used the DRS in lap three to zip ahead of Button.”I never give up. We will never give up. We congratulate Red Bull but we want to be happy today. We were quite fast on the straight line. Today we have to thank the team for this speed. The track gave us some overtaking manoeuver”, Alonso said.Vettel though was cruising in his Red Bull and gradually increase the gap from Webber to three seconds. Mark Webber also put up a creditable show to take the third place in the action-packed race.”I had to work hard to be on the podium today in third. I enjoyed the race today. It was very difficult race. We had some problems on the car. A great Grand Prix. Lewis and Button gave me a hard time and without KERS it was a difficult time”, Webber said.The second Force India driver Paul di Resta finished 12th after starting from the 16th position.Former champion Michael Schumacher had the worst possible start as he suffered a rear-right tyre puncture after a contact with Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso. Hulkenberg had a close fight with Perez and on the long straights he past the Sauber driver in the DRS zone to move up to eighth.Perez also suffered a tyre puncture when he tried to ovetake Daniel Ricciardo at turn four in lap 19. He re-joined the race after changing the tyres but quit after two laps.Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen chased down Massa but ultimately could not get his way past the Brazilian. Alonso put Webber, who had KERS problem, under a lot of pressure and zoomed past him as the Australian was unable to defend in lap 48.DRIVERS’ STANDINGS (After Sunday’s race)Sebastian Vettel 240Fernando Alonso 227Kimi Raikkonen 173Mark Webber 167Lewis Hamilton 165Jenson Button 141Nico Rosberg 93Romain Grosjean 90Felipe Massa 89Sergio Perez 66Kamui Kobayashi 50Nico Hulkenberg 49Paul di Resta 44Michael Schumacher 43Pastor Maldonado 33Bruno Senna 26Jean-Eric Vergne 12Daniel Ricciardo 9Timo Glock 0Heikki Kovalainen 0Vitaly Petrov 0Jerome D’Ambrosio 0Charles Pic 0Narain Karthikeyan 0Pedro de la Rosa 0advertisement
Raising the pitch on their three-point demand, city giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan on Saturday formed a common front against the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and warned that they would not allow the money-spinning Indian Super League (ISL) to be staged here without their participation.In a sharp attack on the AIFF — the game’s apex governing body in the country — the two clubs raised the slogan “No Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, no ISL”, days after the AIFF’s suggestion that the ISL and the I-league could run parallel to each other.”The AIFF is torturing us. We won’t take that any more. Today we have taken one simple decision — No Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, no ISL. We won’t allow the ISL to be staged here. Football cannot be a money-spinning business. We won’t allow that. Football should be played in its true spirit,” Mohun Bagan general secretary Anjan Mitra told mediapersons after a joint meeting among his club, East Bengal and the state’s top supervisory body Indian Football Association.The clubs have demanded that the ISL waive the franchisee fee of Rs 15 crore for them and they be allowed to play the tournament in Kolkata. The two clubs have also asked for money from the central pool.Both city giants have not submitted the bid document for joining the ISL.Both clubs also turned down the AIFF’s suggestion of a parallel tournament, saying the top governing body was only promoting the ISL in a big way.advertisementDescribing AIFF President Praful Patel as the “main hurdle” for their entry into the ISL, East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar said: “Had Praful Patel wanted, we could have taken part in the ISL. But he doesn’t want us there, so we can’t play. He is the sole hurdle, but that is my personal opinion.””In the given situation, holding the ISL and the I-League is meaningless. They (AIFF) are only diluting the I-League,” he added.However, Mohun Bagan Financial Secretary Debasish Dutta made it clear that waiver of the franchisee fee was their main demand.”Our primary demand is the money waiver. As for the venues, recently (West Bengal) Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has assured us that she would talk to the three of us (East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Atletico de Kolkata) and find out an acceptable solution. We have faith in her. So venue is not a problem,” he said.The two clubs said they were yet to take a final decision on taking part in a stakeholders’ conclave about zeroing in on a roadmap for Indian football convened by the Asian Football Confederation in Kuala Lumpur on June 7.IFA Secretary Utpal Ganguli said the AFIC need not come into the picture at this stage. Ganguly said he would write to the AIFF on Monday asking for a roadmap for promoting Indian football.Patel had held a meeting with the two clubs on May 7, promising to come out with a note on the roadmap for Indian football.Ganguli said in his letter he would request AIFF to share its take on the roadmap.