General election 2019 live | Priyanka attacks UP govt. over unpaid dues of sugarcane farmers

New Delhi

Delhi to vote for full statehood this election: 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.

New Delhi

Modi remembering chowkidars after forgetting chaiwalas, says Sibal

Congress leader Kapil 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.


New Delhi

’Chowkidars’ only working for rich: Priyanka Gandhi

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi speaking to reporters during a campaign rally.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi speaking to reporters during a campaign rally.
| Photo Credit: AFP


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.

Madhya Pradesh

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

A disabled woman tests the EVM ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Photo used for illustration purpose only. File

A disabled woman tests the EVM ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Photo used for illustration purpose only. File
| Photo Credit: M. Moorthy


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.

Uttar Pradesh

Mulayam’s name not in list of SP star campaigners

Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav.
| Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena


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.

Uttar Pradesh

Akhilesh Yadav to contest from Azamgarh LS seat

Akhilesh Yadav

Akhilesh Yadav


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.

Andhra Pradesh

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

As Kerala heads for the April 23 Lok Sabha elections, it is evident that two key issues would dominate electioneering in the State.

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.


Tamil Nadu

‘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)


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