Modi could not become the PM of the nation; he remained the PM of BJP: Ajit Singh
Speaking at a rally along with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, Rashtriya Lok Dal Ajit Singh said that this election will decide the future of India.
“The poor person can bring change through vote,” said Mr. Singh. He said that the institutions of the country have been “weakened” during Modi’s tenure.
“The BJP promised that it would implement the Swaminathan report, but the did not,” he said, and criticised the government for making tractor a commercial commodity. “When farmers went pleading to Delhi for an increase in cane prices, they were stopped at the border,” he said.
“Modiji could not become the Prime Minister of the nation… he remained the PM of BJP,” Mr. Singh said.
BJP following ‘divide and rule’ police: Akhilesh Yadav
“It is time to make history,” Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said on Sunday, at a rally in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh along with BSP chief Mayawati.
Describing Deoband as a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity, Mr. Yadav said that the “rivals are running a campaign of hate.”
“Last time, Modiji presented himself as chaiwala (tea seller), now he is presenting himself as chowkidar (watchman),” he said. Mr. Yadav added that the BJP is following the policy of “divide and rule” and appeals the BJP to “not spread lies.
“Our borders are still not secure,” he said. He also criticised the BJP government for “not paying the dues of cane farmer.”
“It is an election of the future, it is an election of burying the differences. The gathbandhan will give the new Prime Minister,” he said. Mr. Yadav also referred to the the development projects that he initiated in Uttar Pradesh.
The former CM of UP invoked Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and veteran leader Ram Manohar Lohia in his speech.
“There is no difference between the policies of Congress and the BJP,” Mr. Yadav said. “We want to make the nation, but the Congress wants to rebuild itself in UP,” he added.
Modi’s big or small chowkidars will not be able to save the BJP fort: Mayawati
BSP chief Mayawati on Sunday said the BJP will be going out of power unless it tampered with the EVMs, criticising the party for its “casteist” and “manuwadi” politics.
“Jumlas will not be able to save Modiji,” she added, addressing a rally in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh along with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
In an apparent reference to the BJP’s ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign, Ms. Mayawati said that PM Modi’s big or small chowkidars will not be able to save the BJP fort.
Achche din (good days), which was BJP’s campaign slogan during the 2014 election, remains an election promise, said the BSP leader. “Joblessnes is staring at the youth, and meanwhile, the PM is misguiding them in the name of nationalism. He is again making promises close to elections, I caution you,” she said.
The four-time UP Chief Minister was greeted with loud cheers as she raised the issue of stray cattle and farm distress. She went on to criticise BJP for implementing demonetisation and GST without thought.
“The BSP believes in getting things done rather than making tall promises,” she said. She promised to give ₹6,000 rupees per month for the poor if voted to power.
In her speech, Ms. Mayawati did not spare Congress either, criticising the party for its “wrong policies” and for putting up candidates that could cut the vote share of gathbandhan. She appealed to the Muslim voters to not allow their votes to be divided.
Mamata on shaky grounds in Bengal: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a scathing attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and said the ground beneath her feet was shaking.
“The ‘speed breaker’ Didi of Bengal is unable to sleep, she is venting all her anger on her officials and the Election Commission. If someone wants to understand what shifting of political grounds feels like, they can understand from her anger and frustration,” Mr. Modi said, while addressing a rally at Cooch Behar in north Bengal.
Unlike previous election rallies in Bengal, where Mr. Modi had targeted both Congress and the Trinamool Congress (TMC), on Sunday the Prime Minister’s attack was directed only at Bengal’s ruling party. During his 40-minute speech, Mr. Modi accused the West Bengal Chief Minister of standing with those wanted to divide the country and wanted “two Prime Ministers”.
– Special Correspondent, Kolkata
S.S. Ahluwalia declared BJP’s candidate for WB’s Burdwan-Durgapur
Minister of state for information technology S.S. Ahluwalia has been declared the BJP candidate from the Burdwan-Durgapur seat in West Bengal.
The decision was announced by the BJP today, after Mr. Ahluwalia, a sitting MP from Darjeeling was denied a ticket from that seat because of lack of support from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). The party had instead supported Raju Bista, again from the BJP.
For Mr. Ahluwalia it will be a homecoming of sorts as he was born in Burdwan in 1951. Mr Ahluwalia has been a four time member of the Rajya Sabha representing Bihar and Jharkhand and represented Darjeeling in the 16th Lok Sabha.
– Special Correspondent
Political ad spending on Facebook crosses ₹10 crore; BJP supporters continue to lead
With elections drawing closer, campaigning on social media platform Facebook is also picking up pace with political parties and their supporters spending well over ₹10 crore on advertisements in February-March this year.
According to Facebook’s Ad Library Report, there were 51,810 political ads with a total spending of more than ₹10.32 crore between February and March 30 this year, with a major chunk coming in from BJP and its supporters.
Till the previous week (ending March 23), the number of such ads was 41,974, while the total spending was ₹8.58 crore.
Facebook said these ads were related to politics and issues of national importance.
Congress unveils campaign slogan ‘Ab hoga nyay’
Five days before the first phase of voting for Lok Sabha 2019, the Congress on Sunday unveiled its campaign slogan Ab hoga nyay (Now, there will be justice) that seeks to play on the Hindi acronym for the party’s minimum income guarantee scheme or Nyuntam Aay Yojana.
Congress strategists say the tagline is based on the positive feedback it received around the concept of NYAY.
“We are seeking justice or Nyay against the injustices committted in the past four years. Those who promised Acche Din only delivered anyay (injustice),” said Anand Sharma, chairman of the Congress Publicity Committee.
Nitish Kumar dissolves JD(U)’s UP unit
JD(U) president Nitish Kumar has dissolved party’s Uttar Pradesh unit reports our correspondent Amarnath Tewary from Lucknow.
The gate of party office in Lucknow is currently locked.
The move allegedly comes on the heels of local JD(U) leaders exploring options in other parties for tickets and alliance.
Maharashtra: Ruling, opposition alliances in direct fight in 1st phase
The first phase of Lok Sabha elections covering seven constituencies in Maharashtra will see a tough contest between the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena and the opposition Congress-NCP alliances.
The Congress is in a direct fight with the BJP in four of these constituencies and with the Shiv Sena in two others.
Besides, the NCP is locked in a battle with the BJP in one seat.
There are 116 candidates in fray and over 1.30 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise at 14,919 polling centres.
Of the total voters, 66.71 lakh are men, 63.64 lakh women, and 181 belong to the third gender category.
Voting for 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state will be held in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.
Naveen Patnaik, sole face of BJD, turns to tech to widen campaign
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik has an unenviable task as his party faces a stiff fight in the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections this time.
With the 72-year-old bachelor politician hard pressed to reach out to the voters in all constituencies, the party has embarked upon a well-designed campaign adopting new technology, a new approach and massive social media outreach to counter the Congress and the BJP.
For the first time, the BJD is using hologram technology to make Mr. Patnaik’s campaign more effective and widespread. An automated voice call, in which Mr. Patnaik addresses mobile phone users by their name before delivering his campaign message, has added an interesting dimension to his campaign.
In Kerala, a queer shift on the poll scene
On Thursday, Chinju Ashwathi filed nomination papers from Ernakulam to become the first openly intersex and transgender to contest the Lok Sabha elections in the State.
This significant step in ‘other’ gender representation in politics is accompanied by a statistic that signals the winds of change – there are 174 registered transgender voters in the State this year.
This is up from the 2016 Assembly polls when there were only two registered transgender voters.