Live | General elections 2019: Congress fields Ajay Rai in Varanasi


GST will be simplified if Congress is voted to power: Rahul

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of doing “injustice” to the people of the country in the last five years, saying the ‘acche din ayenge’ slogan has now been replaced by ‘chowkidar chor hai’ Gandhi was addressing an election rally at Jalore in Rajasthan.

“Demonetisation and GST were ways to rob poor, labourers, small traders, the Congress’ NYAY scheme will benefit them,” he said.

“Five years ago there was a slogan ‘acche din ayenge’ Now people say ‘chowkidaar chor hai’ everywhere in the country,” Gandhi said while addressing the rally here.

The Congress president said if his party is voted to power, GST will be simplified, 22 lakh government jobs will be given in one year and no permission will be required for three years for start-ups.

“Not a single farmer of the country will be jailed for not paying off bank loans if the Congress voted to power,” he said.

New Delhi

Congress picks Ajay Rai to contest from Varanasi

Congress party's Ajay Rai will contest from Varanasi

Congress party’s Ajay Rai will contest from Varanasi


Ending speculation about whether Priyanka Gandhi will contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi, the Congress party has picked Ajay Rai for the seat.

Speculation on Priyanka Gandhi making her political debut from Varanasi was fuelled after Congress president Rahul Gandhi, to a question on whether he planned to field his sister against PM Modi, said last week, “I will leave you in suspense. Suspense is not always a bad thing.”

The Congress fielded Ajai Rai against Modi in 2014 as well. He finished third in the contest, after Mr. Modi and Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal.


New Delhi

AAP bats for statehood

The Aam Aadmi Party released its manifesto for Delhi.

“If we get all seven MPs, then we will do whatever is needed to get full statehood,” AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said.

“The 2019 election is to save nation, save Constitution. We are Indians first, then Hindu or Muslim,” he said.

Mr. Kejriwal said his party will support any non BJP Government at the Centre after elections.



PM Modi rebuffs Opposition’s criticism about using national security to garner votes

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during an election rally at Darbhanga in Bihar on Thursday, April 25, 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during an election rally at Darbhanga in Bihar on Thursday, April 25, 2019.  
| Photo Credit: Ranjeet Kumar


Rebuffing the Opposition’s criticisms that the ruling NDA was using the national security issue for electoral gains, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said rooting out terror was essential so that the money could be used to improve the living conditions of the poor.

Addressing a rally in this north Bihar town, Mr. Modi also claimed that Congress-led opposition was in jitters after the “favourable response” to the NDA in the first three phases of elections.

He alleged, “The Mahamilavati gang has given up seeking proof of Balakot terror strikes and started finding fault with EVMs.”

In a veiled attack on Lalu Prasads RJD, the prime minister commended Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi, for bringing electricity to the remotest village in the state and making the ‘lantern’ the opposition partys poll symbol redundant in Bihar.



Parrikar’s son among 2 shortlisted by BJP for Panaji bypoll

Utpal Parrikar, the elder son of late Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, is one of the two persons shortlisted by the BJP to contest the upcoming bypoll in the Panaji Assembly seat, a party leader said on Thursday.

Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar on Wednesday held discussions with various party units, including the Panaji block committee, to discuss the names of probables, he said.

“Two names have been shortlisted, one is Utpal Parrikar and the other is Siddharth Kunkolienkar,” the senior BJP leader said on condition of anonymity.

Both the names would be sent to the party’s parliamentary board in New Delhi for a final decision, he added.

The Panaji Assembly bypoll, scheduled on May 19, was necessitated following the death of sitting BJP MLA and the then chief minister Manohar Parrikar last month.

Utpal Parrikar, 38, who has a Masters degree from the U.S. and is presently into business, had earlier said he would be ready to take any responsibility given to him by the BJP.

Mr. Kunkolienkar first won the Panaji seat during the 2015 by-election.

He again bagged the seat in the 2017 state Assembly polls, but vacated it later that year to make way for Manohar Parrikar to be inducted into the House.

The opposition Congress has already announced former state minister Atanasio Monserratte as its candidate for the Panaji Assembly seat, which comprises around 22,000 voters.

New Delhi

Cong slams government over issue of minimum support prices

The Congress on Thursday slammed the Modi government over the issue of minimum support prices (MSP), alleging that farmers were getting 20% less than MSP.

Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, citing a media report, said the promise made in 2014 was to give the farmers an MSP 50% over the cost of production, but they are getting 20% less than the MSP.

“This is Modi Ji’s injustice,” he said.

Mandi prices of four major rabi crops were 4-20% below their MSPs since the winter harvesting began from April 1, the report said, citing official data.

The Congress has been attacking the government, alleging largescale farmer distress, a claim strongly rejected by the government.


Crorepatis, criminals in fray for fourth phase

Of the 306 crorepati candidates in the fray for the fourth phase of the general elections, 109 are from Maharashtra.

A report by the Association for Democratic Reforms analysed affidavits of 928 of the 943 candidates in the fray across the country, of which 320 are from Maharashtra. This is the fourth and last phase of polls in the State, where 17 constituencies will go to polls, including six from Mumbai.



High voting rate in Thrissur leaves all parties optimistic

All the three fronts are claiming advantage over the increase of 5.69 percentage points in voting in the Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency, which witnessed a triangular tussle this time.

The United Democratic Front, Left Democratic Front, and National Democratic Alliance camps are busy evaluating various socio- politico- religious factors that contributed to the high voter turnout.

The final polling tally of Thrissur is 77.86%.


(With inputs from agencies)


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