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Oj Corner
Special column
by OJ George

Cheque facility won't be withdrawn, says the govt
It is a matter of relief that the Union Government has clarified that cheque facility won't be withdrawn.

There were stray reports that an overenthusiastic government favaouring total digitalisation may go in for banning the cheque books.

It is gratifying to note that the government won't proceed with the reforms this way.
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BJP retains Gujarat, wrests Himachal Pradesh:Congress increases its tally
The BJP has clinched its sixth consecutive victory in Gujarat, and ousted the ruling Congress from Himachal Pradesh.

BJP has thus increased the tally of states it is in power in to 19.

Morning trends in Gujarat showed the Congress give the ruling party a tough fight, with the party taking an apparent lead in the 182-member Assembly with 81 seats, as opposed to the BJP's 78.

However, the tide soon turned, the latest data from the Election Commission shows that the state's ruling party has so far won 95 seats and is leading in four others, thus securing a simple majority. The Congress has bagged 75 seats and is leading in two others.

The BJP has received 49.1 per cent of the total votes polled, a slight increase from last time. The Congress, too, has improved its vote share to 41.4 per cent.

Know how different communities voted in Gujarat since 1982
In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP won 32 seats and was ahead in 12 seats, while the ruling Congress won 17 and was ahead in four, in the 68-member Assembly.

Incumbent chief minister and Congress leader Virbhadra Singh won the Arki seat, defeating the BJP's candidate by over 6,000 votes.

However, in an unexpected upset for the BJP, its chief ministerial candidate for the state, Prem Kumar Dhumal, was defeated in Sujanpur constituency.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed his party's wins in the two states as victories for "politics of good governance and development," and credited the "hardworking BJP Karyakartas" for them.

BJP president Amit Shah said that the results of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections showed that the people had voted for "politics of performance," even as he blamed the Opposition's "divisive politics" for a drop in his party's seats in his home state.
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