Congress, AIUDF in unholy alliance: Ram Madhav
Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Ram Madhav on Sunday said the Congress has forged an “unholy alliance” with perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) to stop the BJP in Assam.
He also said that the BJP and its allies would win 20 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats across eight States in the northeast and that the saffron party would form its first elected government in Arunachal Pradesh. The BJP has ruled the frontier State twice after takeovers — once for eight months in 2003 and since December 2016.
Congress to give final shape to manifesto at CWC meeting
The top Congress leadership will on March 25 discuss and give a final shape to the party’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha election starting April 11.
According to sources, the contents of the manifesto will be discussed at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) at party’s Akbar Road headquarters.
The CWC is the highest decision-making body of the party and is chaired by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Top Congress leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, A.K. Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P. Chidambaram, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ambika Soni and Anand Sharma, will be present at the meeting.
Former Chief Ministers Siddharamaiah, Oomen Chandy, Tarun Gogoi and Harish Rawat will attend the meeting.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia, who took charge in February as AICC general secretary for U.P. East and U.P. West respectively, will also be present.
The Congress’ young brigade, who have been given the charge of various States, are also likely to be present at the meeting.
The party manifesto for the Lok Sabha election is being framed by a committee headed by P. Chidambaram.
The Congress has already launched an exercise to involve people from different sections of the society and held several rounds of consultations with them across the country, to include their views in the manifesto. It has also launched an online portal to seek views and expectations of people from the grand old party ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The top party leaders have promised to make the manifesto a comprehensive document that will include views of all sections.
BJP announces names for nine more seats
The BJP has released a list of its nine more Lok Sabha election candidates, taking the total number of names announced by it to 306.
Six candidates are for Chhattisgarh and one each for Meghalaya, Maharashtra and Telangana.
The party had earlier announced that none of its nine sitting Lok Sabha members from Chhattisgarh will be fielded in the polls, a move aimed at any perceived anti-incumbency they may have after the saffron party suffered a big defeat to the Congress in the Assembly polls.
Putting to rest speculation on whether former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh will be fielded from his home constituency Rajnandgaon, the BJP named Santosh Pandey its candidate from the seat.
It has fielded Jyoti Nand Dubey from Korba, Arun Saw from Bilaspur, Vijay Baghel from Durg and Sunil Soni from Raipur in the State.
Poll officials stop Kamal Haasan’s interaction with partymen
The election flying squad has stopped an interactive session in Coimbatore by Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) leader Kamal Haasan midway as the party had not sought permission to use the public address system, party sources say.
Election department sources say the squad intervened and stopped the session of the actor-turned-politician with partymen in a hall of a school as there was no permission to use the mike.
The MNM sources say Mr. Haasan, however, carried on with the session without the microphone.
Singer-dancer Sapna Chaudhary denies joining Congress
Within hours of Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar welcoming her into the party fold, Haryanavi singer-dancer Sapna Chaudhary has claimed she has not joined the Congress and accused it of using her old pictures with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Mr. Babbar on March 23 night welcomed Ms. Chaudhary into the party and posted a picture on Twitter of the dancer with Ms. Vadra.
“I welcome Sapna Chaudhary ji in the Congress family,” Mr. Babbar tweeted.
Mr. Chaudhary has also said she will not campaign for any political party in the Lok Sabha election.
“I have not joined the Congress party. My pictures with Priyanka Gandhi are old, as I have met her many times in the past. These pictures are old. The biggest issue is that I have not joined any party,” she has told reporters.
When confronted by reporters about her pictures filling up forms of Congress membership, Mr. Chaudhary has said if her old interview can be aired, why cannot her pictures be passed of as new.
A close aide of Mr. Babbar, who was seen in the picture with Mr. Chaudhary on March 23 evening, has nothing to say on the singer taking a U-turn. He has also displayed the membership form she had apparently filled up on her joining the party.
Sources say Ms. Chaudhary was keen to contest from Mathura, where the BJP has fielded Bollywood actor Hema Malini.
However, the Congress has declared Mahesh Pathak as the party candidate from Mathura.
Congress releases ninth list of 10 candidates for Lok Sabha polls
Congress fields Karti Chidambaram from Sivaganga seat in Tamil Nadu and B.K. Hariprasad from Bangalore South. The ninth list has four names from Maharashtra, three from Bihar and one each from Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Former NCP leader Tariq Anwar, who joined the Congress in 2018, is fielded from Bihar’s Katihar seat. He won this seat in 2014 on an NCP ticket.
In Maharashtra’s Chandrapur seat the party has replaced Vinayak Bangade with Suresh Dhanorkar.
EC orders 26 lakh bottles of indelible ink for LS polls
Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission has ordered 26 lakh indelible ink bottles worth ₹33 crore.
The seven-phase election will begin on April 11 and conclude on May 19.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the poll panel had bought 21.5 lakh phials, 4.5 lakh less than this year.
Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd, a government of Karnataka undertaking, is the only authorised manufacturer of indelible ink for the EC.
Managing Director, Mysore Paints, Chandrashekhar Doddamani told PTI that the company has received an order for 26 lakh phials of 10cc each from the EC.
“The expected turnover is approximately ₹33 crore,” he said.
The order, Doddamani said, is higher than the last general elections by 4.5 lakh phials. In this election, nearly 90 crore people are eligible to case their votes for which the EC will set up nearly 10 lakh polling stations across the country.
In 1962, the Election Commission, in collaboration with the Law Ministry, National Physical Laboratory and National Research Development Corporation, had made an agreement with Mysore Paints for supply of indelible ink for Lok Sabha and assembly elections.
Since then, it has been supplying the ink for elections in India.
A bottle of indelible ink contains 10 cubic centimetres (cc). As per modern measurement methods, one cubic centimetre is equivalent to one millilitre.
Mysore Paints exports indelible ink to more than 30 countries across the globe.
Soon after the note ban, the company was asked to provide indelible ink to banks to mark customers exchanging defunct currency notes to check suspicious deposits.
Grappling with unending queues and frayed tempers in banks and to check operation of syndicates after the note ban, the government had introduced the system of marking customers exchanging defunct currency notes with indelible ink.
RJD announces names of candidates for two LS seats for 2nd phase
The opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar on Sunday announced the names of five Lok Sabha seats which will be contested by the RJD and the Congress in the second phase of polling on April 18.
The Congress will put up candidates from Kishanganj, Katihar and Purnea, while its ally the RJD will field its nominees from Banka and Bhagalpur Lok Sabha seats.
While the RJD has announced the names of the two candidates, the Congress is likely to make an announcement by this evening.
The last date for filing nominations for the second phase of polling is March 26.
“Of the five seats where polling will take place in the second phase, Kishanganj, Katihar and Purnea have gone to the Congress kitty while the RJD will contest from Banka and Bhagalpur,” Bihar unit RJD president Ram Chandra Purvey told reporters in Patna.
Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav and Shailesh Kumar alias Bulo Mandal, both sitting MPs of the RJD, have been fielded by the RJD from Banka and Bhagalpur respectively, Purvey said.
The Congress candidates for the three Lok Sabha seats will be named by late evening, Bihar Congress spokesman Harkhu Jha, who was also present at the press meet, told reporters.
“A meeting of the partys central election committee is going on in New Delhi and the names of the candidates for the three seats (Kishanganj, Katihar and Purnea) are likely to be announced after the meeting, probably in the evening or late evening,” Jha said.
The opposition ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in Bihar on Friday had announced its seat-sharing formula for the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state, half of which will be fought by Lalu Prasad’s RJD and nine by Congress.
As per the formula, Upendra Kushwahas RLSP would field candidates in five while former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhis HAM(S) and Mukesh Sahnis VIP will be fielding their candidates on three seats each.
The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases in Bihar.
Former Odisha DGP Prakash Mishra joins BJP
Inspired by the Narendra Modi Government’s response to Pulwama attack, “I have joined Bharatiya Janata Party,” said Prakash Mishra, former Odisha DFP and Director General of CRPF after joining the saffron party in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.
Excise Dept warns liquor shops against selling on the basis of coupon or token
To curb distribution of alcohol to influence voters during elections in Delhi, the Excise Department has warned liquor shops against selling it on the basis of “coupon or token” in New Delhi.
An official said the department has issued a circular, directing liquor outlets across the national capital to strictly follow opening and closing time of their establishments.
The seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi will go to polls on May 12.
In its circular, the department asked these establishments that all the sale of liquor will be done only through scanner.
According to the official, any violation of the order will be viewed seriously and strict action taken against liquor shops as per the Delhi Excise Act, 2009 and the Delhi Excise Rules 2010.
“Liquor outlets have also been asked to maintain up to date brand-wise stock register. Also, no sale will be done on the basis of coupon or token,” he said.
The circular stated in view of the Lok Sabha polls, the licensee such as L-6 (liquor shops), L-7 (retail vend of Indian liquor in private sector), L-10 (retail vend of Indian liquor to holders of license shopping malls and shopping complex at airport).
The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) office had on March 19 said a total number of 257 FIRs were registered in the Excise Act and 263 persons were arrested in the Act.
“Till date, two litre, 257 bottles, 33,385 quarters of Indian Made Foreign Liquor and 223 bottles, 131 half, 64,908 quarters of country liquor and 412 bottles of beer were seized,” the CEO office said in its statement.
Where were farmers’ well-wishers when they faced starvation, asks Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday asked the Congress where were the well-wishers of farmers during 2012-17 when they faced starvation.
The chief minister posed the query shortly after Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra launched a blistering attack on the UP government over alleged unpaid dues to the tune of ₹10,000 crore to sugarcane farmers.
“When our government was formed, the pending cane dues were around ₹57,800 crore. The amount was bigger than the budgets of many states. But we paid it,” asserted Adityanath.
“In the previous regimes of the SP and BSP, nothing was done for the sugarcane farmers, (and) as a result, they died of starvation (bhukhmari),” he added.
Earlier during the day, Priyanka Gandhi had attacked the state government over the alleged unpaid dues of sugarcane farmers, claiming in a tweet that ‘chowkidars’ (watchmen) were only working for the rich, not for the poor.
The UP chief minister struck back and asked, “Where were the so-called well-wishers of the farmers from 2012 to 2017, when the farmers were on the brink of starvation. Why have they woken up from their slumber now?”
Seeking to put the records straight, he said, “The sugarcane cultivation area in the state has increased by 22 per cent to 28 lakh hectare, and a number of closed sugar mills have been restarted. The farmers are happy (khushaal) now.”
It is for Advani to clear the ‘mist’, says Uma Bharti
BJP leader and Union minister Uma Bharti on Sunday said it is for the senior leader L K Advani to clear the “mist”, after he was not named as a party candidate for the Lok Sabha elections, and asserted that his stature was not affected by contesting or not contesting any poll.
Heaping praises on the 91-year-old leader, Ms. Bharti said it was Mr. Advani who played the central role in bringing the party to such a position that Narendra Modi is Prime Minister today and added that he never craved for any position in his long political career.
“The only person who should comment right now to clear the air, all these things — the mist around — is Advani ji,” she told PTI, adding that it would not be proper for others, including her, to comment on the matter.
She was responding to questions on the party’s decision to not nominate him from Gandhinagar, a seat he had been winning since 1998. The BJP president Amit Shah will contest from the seat in the coming general election.
There has been no official word from the party or the 91-year-old leader, who was its longest serving president, on his name not finding a place among the BJP’s candidates for the poll.
A number of veteran leaders, including Shanta Kumar, B C Khanduri and Kariya Munda — all in their 80s — have not been fielded by the BJP in the polls, seen as part of its strategy under Modi and Shah to ease them out and groom younger leaders in their place.
Some of them had expressed their wish to not fight the coming polls.
Ms. Bharti said there cannot be a principle regarding not giving election tickets to leaders above a certain age and noted that many young MPs were also dropped by the party.
Fifty-nine-year-old Ms. Bharti herself is not contesting the Lok Sabha polls and said she had conveyed such a wish to the party leadership long back.
She said she plans to go on an 18-month-long journey on foot along the shores of the Ganga from May.
Ms. Bharti was on Saturday appointed as a party vice president.
She also expressed confidence that Mr. Modi will return as prime minister with a thumping victory in the polls, asserting that there is no alternative to him.
“I have been praying to God that Modi become prime minister again. It will do the country and its poor a lot of good,” she asserted.
Modi contesting from Bangalore is a rumour
Union Minister Harsha Vardhan has dismissed reports of Prime Minister Narendra Modi contesting from Bangalore as mere rumours.
Speaking to media persons after inaugurating the party campaign office on Sunday, he said there was no truth in those reports.
Asked about the allegations that former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa paying bribes to his party bosses during his chief ministership, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the diaries presented by Congress as proof of the payment had been proved as fake and that there was no point talking to the allegations against BSY now.
Later, at a meeting with intellectuals, at the KLE society, the minister sought the support of various sections of the people for Suresh Angadi, the party nominee for the Lok Sabha polls. BJP will win the elections and
Mr Modi will come back to power again. This is a fact, he said.
He described Mr Angadi as a disciplined soldier of the party.
He asked party workers to make use of all available platforms to spread word about the “good work done by the Modi government” among their friends and acquaintances. Mr Angadi, Rajya Sabha member Prabhakar Kore, party leaders like R S Mutalik, Raju Chikkanagoudar, MLAs and others were present. — Belagavi Correspondent
Good performance in new territories would push BJP’s tally to 300, says Yeddyurappa
The BJP is optimistic about performing well in states where the party did not have much presence earlier which will help push its overall tally to 300 in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the party’s Karnataka unit president B S Yeddyurappa said in Bengaluru.
In Karnataka too, the BJP is “doing well” in Hyderabad-Karnataka region and “already has good presence” in Mumbai-Karnataka and Central Karnataka, the former chief minister said, and claimed if the party wins 20 to 22 seats in the state, it would lead to collapse of Congress-JD(S) coalition government due to infighting.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP won 17 seats out of 28, Congress bagged nine seats while the JD (S) got two seats. The Congress and the JD(S) are fighting in alliance this time, with the two parties agreeing to contest 20 and eight seats respectively.
“There is a positive atmosphere across the country. Narendra Modi’s wave has only increased manifold compared to the last Lok Sabha elections. We are expecting to win seats from new territories like West Bengal, Odisha and other North-Eastern states. This would push BJP’s overall tally to 300 Lok Sabha seats,” he told PTI in an interview here.
The party is also expecting to improve its tally in Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Yeddyurappa said, and expressed confidence that the party would open account in Kerala.
Though the BJP lost Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan assembly elections, the party is going to repeat its 2014 performance in Lok Sabha polls, he asserted.
The BJP’s prospects are good in Karnataka as it is expecting to do well in Tumkuru and Mysuru, and put up a fight in Ramnagara and Hassan, which are JD(S) bastions, he added.
Yedyurappa also claimed that Congress strongman Mallikarjun Kharge is in a difficult situation in Hyderabad-Karnataka region after his supporters – Mallikayya Guttedar, Umesh Jadhav, Baburao Chinchunsur and Malaka Reddy – deserted him to join BJP.
“I am very optimistic of the BJP doing well in Hyderabad-Karnataka region, especially Kalaburgi. I am sure the entry of Guttedar, Jadhav, Chinchunsur and Reddy, can turn the tables on Kharge. The Congress leader is in a lurch by missing these leaders who made possible his victories,” he said.
AAP releases first list of candidates in UP
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday released its first list of candidates in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha elections.
Rajya Sabha MP and AAP state in-charge Sanjay Singh said the party has fielded Yogesh Dahiya from the Saharanpur parliamentary seat and Shweta Sharma from Gautam Buddh Nagar.
Satish Chandra Sharma is the AAP’s candidate from Aligarh, he said.
The party is likely to contest the polls from 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
For rest of the seats, the process to select candidates is in the final stage, Mr. Singh said.
Delhi to vote for full statehood this election: Atishi
AAP leader Atishi.
People this time will vote for Delhi’s full statehood as not having the status is directly linked with concrete issues such as unemployment, women’s safety and lack of opportunities in higher education, AAP leader Atishi has said.
Ms. Atishi is one of the seven candidates fielded by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi.
The AAP is contesting the elections with the slogan ‘Poorna Rajya Banao Jhadu ka Button Dabao’, telling people that Delhi will get full statehood if they vote for the party.
In an interview to PTI, the Aam Aadmi Party’s Lok Sabha candidate for the East Delhi constituency said the party is “talking of concrete issues of lack of safety and security, cleanliness and employment that is linked to Delhi not having full statehood“.
“People in Delhi this election are going to vote on these factors,” Ms. Atishi said.
Noting that there is “no narrative” this election and people would vote based on local issues affecting them, she said, “Like in 2014, there was ‘Abki Baar Modi Sarkar’, in 2015, there was narrative to make Mr. Kejriwal as the Chief Minister but if you see in this election there is no narrative across the nation either in favour of anyone or against anyone“.
She added that a lot of people who voted for the BJP in 2014 were “not natural BJP voters” but the ones hoping for change in favour of development.
CPI fields Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai
The Communist Party of India announced former JNU student’s Union president Kanhaiya Kumar’s candidature from Begusarai in Bihar on Sunday.
After being left out of the opposition alliance by RJD and Congress, the CPI has decided to go alone. For now only Begusarai has been cleared in a meeting of state executive in Patna. Though according to sources, the party may fight couple of other seats too.
While the Congress was keen to accommodate Mr. Kumar, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) patriarch Lalu Prasad Yadav who negotiated the alliance was vehemently against his candidature.
Begusarai is also known as Leningard of Bihar due to influence of the CPI in the State. In 2014 elections when there was a wave in favour of BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the CPI got 17 percent of vote share.
Now, Mr. Kumar faces Union Minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh in the seat. The RJD-Congress combine is yet to announce a candidate in Begusarai.
Other than Begusarai, CPI had shortlisted Khagaria, Motihari, Banka, Madhubani and Gaya The party will take final call on how many seats to contest in Bihar by Sunday evening.
Modi remembering chowkidars after forgetting chaiwalas, says Sibal
Congress leader Kapil Sibal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has forgotten about his bonhomie with “chaiwalas”, is now remembering “chowkidars”, and will focus on somebody else the “next time” for political gains, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal has said, taking a swipe at the PM’s ‘main bhi chowkidar’ campaign.
The former Union minister also accused Mr. Modi of politicising the Balakot air strikes and asked whether the ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) was sleeping when terror attacks took place in Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Uri, Baramulla, and Pulwama.
On the Prime Minister’s ‘main bhi chowkidar’ campaign to counter the Congress’ ‘chowkidar chor hai’ barb, Sibal said: “First of all he has forgotten about the chaiwalas (tea sellers). He now remembers the chowkidars (watchmen). Next time he will remember somebody else and forget the chowkidars.”
“The sad part of it is that he was sleeping while we were attacked at Gurdaspur, at Pathankot, at Uri, at Baramulla, at Pulwama. What was the chowkidar doing, was he sleeping. What happened to the slogan ‘main bhi chowkidar’ at that point in time,” the 70-year-old Rajya Sabha MP told PTI in an exclusive interview.
’Chowkidars’ only working for rich: Priyanka Gandhi
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday attacked the Uttar Pradesh government over unpaid dues of sugarcane farmers and alleged that ‘chowkidars’ (watchmen) were only working for the rich, not for the poor.
She shared a media report on Twitter that claimed the dues of sugarcane farmers had crossed Rs 10,000 crore in the State.
“The families of sugarcane farmers toil day and night but the Uttar Pradesh government does not even take the responsibility of paying their dues,” Priyanka said.
“Rs 10,000 crore of farmers’ dues means everything, including their children’s education, food, health, and the next produce comes to a standstill. These chowkidars only work for the rich and do not care about the poor,” she claimed.
Priyanka Gandhi was recently appointed the Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East.
Digvijaya, Meenakshi Natarajan in Congress’ first list of nine in MP
The Congress has declared its first list of nine candidates for Lok Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh which includes party veteran Digvijaya Singh and Meenakshi Natarajan.
Congress general secretary Mukul Wasnik released the list late Saturday night.
The State has 29 parliamentary seats.
As Chief Minister Kamal Nath had announced Saturday, Mr. Singh will be contesting from the State capital Bhopal, a BJP stronghold since 1989.
Meenakshi Natarajan, a close confidant of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, will again take on Sudhir Gupta, the sitting BJP MP, in Mandsaur.
Ms. Natarajan, former Mandsaur MP, had lost to Mr. Gupta by a huge margin in 2014.
The list has three other women candidates. Kavita Singh Natiraja will contest from Khajuraho, Kiran Ahirwar from Tikamgarh and Pramila Singh from Shahdol.
Shailendra Diwan will contest from Hoshangabad, former Union minister and sitting MP Kantilal Bhuria from Ratlam, Ramu Tekam from Betul and Madhu Bhagat will fight the election from Balaghat.
Maharashtra: EC seeks to make election `accessible’ for over 2 lakh Divyang voters
Over two lakh disabled or `Divyang’ voters in Maharashtra can use a specially designed mobile app to seek special facilities at polling booths during the next month’s Lok Sabha elections.
Facilities such as wheelchairs, ramps and transport from home will be rolled out for 2,24,162 registered Divyang voters in the state, an Election Commission official said.
“Accessible Elections” is the EC’s slogan, he said.
The largest group — 37,324 — among Divyang voters are those suffering from visual impairment, while 18,022 voters suffer from handicaps of limbs (such as not being able to walk), the official added.
Maharashtra will witness voting in four phases, starting from April 11.
To make voting easier for Divyang voters, the Election Commission has come up with a mobile application called “PWD”.
The app, available on Google Play store, provides information such as the location of voting booth and the facilities available there.
More importantly, a Divyang voter can seek free transport from home to booth through the app.
At the polling booth, Divyang voters will not need to wait in a queue.
Ramps, voting rooms with doors large enough to allow movement of wheelchairs and special parking space would be provided wherever needed, the official said.
As the administration is gearing up for elections, the Election Commission undertook a special drive this time to ensure that district collectors provide necessary facilities for Divyang voters, he said.
Mulayam’s name not in list of SP star campaigners
The Samajwadi Party on Sunday released its list of 40 star campaigners in which there was no mention of party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The list was released by senior SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav.
It carried the names of party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Azam Khan, Dimple Yadav and Jaya Bachchan among others, besides Ram Gopal Yadav himself.
The Samajwadi Party has fielded Mulayam Singh Yadav from Mainpuri which is described as its “safest” seat.
At present, the SP patriarch represents Azamgarh constituency. He had represented Mainpuri three times earlier in 1996, 2004 and 2009.
In the 2014 polls, Mulayam Singh Yadav contested from two constituencies, Azamgarh and Mainpuri, and won both.
Akhilesh Yadav to contest from Azamgarh LS seat
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav will contest from Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh, the party announced on Sunday.
An SP release also said the party will field senior leader Mohd Azam Khan from Rampur.
Brinda Karat for bigger presence of Left parties to take up people’s issues
CPI (M) leader and Rajya Sabha member Brinda Karat on Sunday said people should ensure a bigger presence of Left parties in Parliament to effectively act as their voice and take up the issues concerning them.
Ms. Karat, who was in Visakhapatnam to campaign for party’s Jana Sena-supported candidate for Araku Valley Assembly constituency Killo Surendra, told reporters that only the red flag could vouch the cause of working class, farmers, employees and other sections. “We have proved that only we can spearhead people’s struggles over land rights/reforms, disinvestment, contract employment, minimum wages, social security measures and democratic rights,” she commented.
Referring to the BJP-led NDA Government, she said Prime Minister Narendra Modi during past five years had functioned in a highly discriminatory manner trying to assault on the democratic institutions defying the constitution. She said Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had also aligned with the BJP for four years and later severed the relationship realising his support base was on the wane due to his association with Mr. Modi.
Manipur Cong accuses BJP of putting up insurgent-backed candidate
Congress’ Manipur unit has accused the BJP of putting up an insurgent-backed candidate for a Lok Sabha seat in Manipur and compromising national integrity in a bid to win the upcoming elections at any cost, a charge rejected by the latter as an attempt to malign the party.
BJP’s candidate H Shukhopao Mate for the Outer Manipur parliamentary constituency, which goes to polls on April 11, has been accused of being backed by insurgent groups in the state — Zomi Re-unification Organisation (ZRO) and Kuki National Organisation (KNO).
The two outfits, which have signed “suspension of operation” agreement with Government of India (GOI) and are currently in peace talks, are reported to have written separate letters to BJP president Amit Shah, asking Mr. Mate be given the party’s ticket.
Mr. Mate is vice-president of the BJP Manipur unit and is incharge of the party’s Scheduled Tribe Morcha.
“It is not just the Congress but everyone in the state is aware that he (Mate) is backed by insurgent groups. He has been chosen based on just winnability factor and to win at any cost by the BJP,” Congress Manipur spokesperson M Prithviraj told PTI.
He further accused the BJP of “compromising on the principle of national integrity” by succumbing to pressure from insurgent groups.
“The BJP giving the ticket to Mate shows that they don’t have any such principle and all that they want is to win at all costs, irrespective of the background of the candidate,” Prithviraj added.
The BJP, however, denied the allegations saying that media reports of Mate being backed by insurgent groups were an effort of “some vested interest” trying “to malign the image of the party intentionally“.
“As of now, whether insurgents supported who or whom is not an issue for us. Above that the party did not have any knowledge about issues which you wish to have views of,” BJP Manipur spokesperson Ch Chidananda Singh said when reached for comments on the Congress’ allegations.
While the Congress is yet to announce its candidates for the two Lok Sabha seats in Manipur, the BJP has made the announcement for both. RK Ranjan has been named as the BJP’s candidate for the Inner Manipur parliamentary constituency.
Kerala’s campaign rhetoric: A flood, a temple, and the cult of political violence
In the Central Travancore belt in southern Kerala, the entry of women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala shrine and the agitations against the State Government’s attempts to implement the Supreme Court verdict is expected to dominate the campaign rhetoric. Though to a lesser degree, the issue of the big flood that affected the area and post-flood development is also expected to figure prominently. In north Kerala, however, the cult of political violence and murders would dominate the debate given that the impact of the Sabarimala issue would, largely, be marginal.
Central Travancore is set to be the epicentre of the electoral battle as all the three coalitions — the Left Democratic Front (LDF), the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) — have concentrated their energies in this region’s seats, which were traditionally reckoned as the core electoral base of the UDF. The constituencies in this belt have a unique brand of politics, enmeshed as it is in caste and religious denominational propensities. The UDF has traditionally derived its strength from the Nair-Christian combination, which included steadfast support of the smaller denominations.
LS polls: Tumakuru, a new test pitch for Deve Gowda
Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) patriarch H.D. Deve Gowda, who has won from Hassan five times, is testing new waters this time from Tumakuru. Though part of the south Karnataka belt, Tumakuru is not a typical Vokkaliga belt as it has a reasonably big and dominant Lingayat population as well.
The choice was necessitated after Mr. Gowda bequeathed Hassan constituency to his grandson Prajwal Revanna, son of Public Works Minister H.D. Revanna.
‘Modi is chowkidar for AIADMK’
DMK leader M.K. Stalin charged that ‘Chowkidar’ Narendra Modi was actually the ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) for the “corrupt and minority” AIADMK government headed by Edappadi K. Palaniswami.
Alleging that the BJP and AIADMK had aligned only on the basis of fear (of prosecution) and money, he said in Dharmapuri that “there’s no reason why AIADMK would ally with the BJP that competed with NOTA votes”.
At a public meeting, Mr. Stalin harped on how in early 2017 AIADMK coordinator O.Panneerselvam had launched his ‘Dharma Yudham’ against the Palaniswami faction before joining hands with him. He recalled that PMK founder S. Ramadoss, now an ally of the AIADMK, had written a book on the AIADMK and corruption. “That book has not come in handy for us. Mr. Ramadoss had said in the book that under the AIADMK regime a loot of ₹70,000 crore had happened,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)