UPA regime had sent Amit Shah, cops to jail to topple my Govt: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the then UPA government arrested BJP president Amit Shah and some police officers in Gujarat to topple the State government then headed by him.
Speaking at a poll rally, Mr. Modi also said this election will decide if nationalist forces will rule the country or those who want to help the “tukde tukde gang” by scrapping sedition law.
“From 2004 to 2014, there was a ‘remote control government’ and you know who was in control. In those 10 years, those sitting in Delhi tried to damage the interest of Gujarat and acted as if the state is not in India,” Mr. Modi said.
“Our police officers, and even Amit Shah, were thrown behind bars. They (UPA) employed all means to break the Gujarat government,” Mr. Modi said, alluding to the time when he was Chief Minister of the state.
“Now should we give them a chance to destroy Gujarat once again? They (Gandhi family) are more angry as they are out on bail. They are thinking that they were ruling this country for four generations and this Gujju, this chaiwala forced them to go to the court and seek bail,” he said.
Mamata supports Kanimozhi, says Modi trying to threaten Opposition parties
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday came out in suppport of DMK leader Kanimozhi, whose residence was searched by central agencies and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to threaten parties opposed to him.
Ms. Kanimozhi is being harassed as DMK is opposed to BJP’s divisive politics in south India, she said.
Charging Mr. Modi with ruling India by the “decree of fear”, Ms. Banerjee said that the country has never seen such a Prime Minister who is feared by everyone “instead of being loved and respected“.
“It is a shame that BJP is using central agencies against opposition leaders and parties to harass them.
“On Tuesday, the Income Tax(department) without any reason raided Ms. Kanimozhi’s house. Just because DMK and its leader M K Stalin are opposed to Narendra Modi and BJP, they (DMK leaders) are being unneccessarily harrassed,” Ms. Banerjee said at a rally.
Ahead of the April 18 Lok Sabha polls, election officials assisted by those from the I-T department on Tuesday held searches at the residence of DMK leader Kanimozhi in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu from where she is contesting.
DMK president M K Stalin in a statement at Chennai said the raids were an outcome of “fear of a damning defeat,” for BJP’s candidate Tamilisai Soundararajan in Tuticorin.
“For us a leader is such a person who is loved and respected by people from various sections of the society. But for the first time since Independence, we have a leader like the prime minister who is ruling the country by a reign of fear,” Ms. Banerjee said.
She alleged that Modi is threatening everybody and everybody is afraid of him and added “It is a shame that a person who was baptized in politics through riots is leading the country”.
BJP fields Sadhvi Pragya from Bhopal against Digvijay Singh
The BJP on Wednesday fielded Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, facing trial in Malegaon blast case, in Lok Sabha elections from Bhopal seat, where she is set to have a direct contest with Congress heavyweight and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh.
Ms. Thakur, who is out on bail, had joined the BJP only hours before her name was announced as its candidate, underscoring the saffron party’s attempt to bring the Hindutva plank at the centre stage of polls in the high profile constituency, which has been its bastion for many elections.
An NIA court had dropped charges against her under the stringent MCOCA but she and other co-accused are still facing other charges in the Malegaon case.
Among other candidates, K P Yadav will be the BJP nominee from Guna, which is held by senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia who is contesting again.
The BJP has named Raj Bahadur Singh and Ramakant Bhargav as its nominees from Sagar and Vidisha respectively.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had won from Vidisha in 2014 but she had announced that she will not fight polls this time due to health reasons.
Modi’s is ‘government of rhetoric’, its exit imminent: Gehlot
Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government a “government of rhetoric”, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday claimed its exit is imminent in the Lok Sabha elections.
He said the BJP’s “rhetoric” will sink the Modi government.
“Rhetoric will sink the Modi government. It will be one reason and the other would be the weakening of constitutional institutions. People have gradually understood that it is a government of rhetoric,” Mr. Gehlot said at a press conference.
“Modi ji did not give good governance and now his government’s farewell is imminent. People will see that that they will be wiped out in the upcoming elections,” he added.
Replying to an allegation against the Union minister and BJP nominee from Jodhpur Gajendra Singh Shekhawat threatening government officials during electioneering, Mr. Gehlot said he did not expect this from him.
“Now, the people in the country are going to hang their government at the Centre upside down,” he said.
Mr. Shekhwat had allegedly threatened government officials for filming vehicles used in his campaign during his election meeting in Pokharan on Sunday. The officials had been filming vehicles to estimate Mr. Shekhawat’s poll expenditure.
“This is not the last election. I have details of all officials. The government would change after five years. I would hang all of them upside down then,” Mr. Shekhawat had purportedly said.
A complaint was lodged later against him with the district election officer.
Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya joins BJP
Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the party office here on Thursday.
“I have formally joined the BJP; I will contest the elections and win,” she told to the media.
According to a report, she has met former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and other senior BJP leaders at the party office in Bhopal.
Sadhvi Pragya was charged in the Malegaon blast case that killed seven people in Maharashtra in September 2008. She spent nine years in jail in connection with the case and is presently out on bail.
AIADMK files complaint against Stalin for violating model code
The ruling AIADMK on Wednesday approached the Election Commission with a complaint of violation of model code of conduct against DMK president M.K. Stalin for addressing the media during the “silence period,” saying it was an attempt at “indirect canvassing.”
The party also filed a number of other complaints with Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo, including seeking action against MNM founder Kamal Haasan for a specific advertisement put out by it.
Mr. Stalin was giving interview to private channels and criticising the leaders of other parties and this was clear violation of the model code of conduct, the complaint filed by party spokesperson and advocate R.M. Babu Murugavel said. The “silence period” had come into effect from 6p.m. since Tuesday under the MCC, he said in an apparent reference to campaigning for Thursday’s Lok Sabha polls to 38 seats in the state coming to an end.
“The intention of Stalin is to canvas indirectly by way of addressing the press, which is against and violation of the Election Code of Conduct/Rules,” the complaint said. The AIADMK requested the CEO to take action against the DMK chief by “issuing show cause notice for violating MCC” and also file a case against him.
BJP won’t allow two Prime Ministers in India: Shah
Kashmir is an integral part of India and it would continue to remain so as long as the BJP exists, party president Amit Shah said in Tasgaon on Wednesday.
Mr. Shah’s remarks came at a poll rally, in response to National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah’s recent suggestion of having a separate Prime Minister for Kashmir.
“No one can take away Kashmir from us. As long as the BJP exists, Kashmir will continue to be an integral part of India,” Mr. Shah told the rally in western Maharashtra.
“We will never allow two prime ministers in India,” Mr. Shah said. The Congress wants to separate Kashmir from India, he added.
Mr. Abdullah’s comment that Jammu and Kashmir bargained for a separate Prime Minister and President and hopefully they would have it, has also drawn a strong response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who demanded during a series of poll rallies that the Congress explain its ally’s comment.
EC officials likely to watch Modi biopic today
Officials of the Election Commission, drawn from its model code and legal divisions, are likely to watch the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday on the directions of the Supreme Court.
The EC has asked the producers of the film to arrange for a screening for a committee set up for the purpose. The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Commission to watch the full biopic on Modi and take an informed decision on banning its pan India release by April 19.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also directed the poll panel to submit its decision to the court in a sealed cover and said it will consider the matter on April 22.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for film producers who challenged the EC’s ban on the release, said the poll panel banned it just by watching the promo and did not watch the full movie.
Not here to make false promises, committed to resolving issues: Rahul
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday reached out to the people of Wayanad, saying he did not want to make false promises,but was committed to resolving their issues after hearing their “heart and soul”.
Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Gandhi said he was not here to tell his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ but to understand the difficulties, including the night travel ban, man-animal conflicts and lack of medical facilities, being faced by the people.
“I am not like the Prime Minister.. I am not here to tell you that I will give you 2 crore jobs, ₹15 lakh in bank accounts. I will give farmers and give them whatever they want.. I am not going to lie to you.. Because I respect your intelligence.. your wisdom,” Mr. Gandhi told a rousing crowd of thousands in Sulthan Bathery.
Congress has insulted backward castes of this country, alleges Modi
The Congress and their supporters have never hesitated in making derogatory remarks about my caste, alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, accusing the Congress of insulting the backward castes of the country with their ‘watchman is a thief’ poll slogan.
“The Congress says that chowkidar chor hai [the watchman (read Mr. Modi) is a thief]…While I can bear all the insults hurled at the Congress at me, they have insulted the backward communities of this nation by dubbing them as ‘thieves’,” Mr. Modi said, projecting himself as a true servant of the country and remarking that the Congress was incapable of showing any sensitivity towards the Dalits and the socially backward people of the country.
The Prime Minister was addressing a massive rally at Akluj in Solapur district which saw estranged Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and the sitting MP from Madha, Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, sharing the stage with Mr. Modi.
Chidambaram slams Income Tax officials for “partial” action
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday accused the Income Tax department of taking “autocratic and partial” action in Tamil Nadu in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections.
A day after I-T sleuths along with poll flying squad carried out raids at the residence of DMK leader Kanimozhi at Tuticorin, Mr. Chidambarm in a series of tweets said, “the news,” is that nothing was found during searches in her residence.
“How is it that tip off on Opposition leaders alone is received (by officials),” he wondered in his tweet in Tamil.
He also said, “The marker of the 2019 Parliamentary elections in Tamil Nadu is the Income Tax department’s autocratic and partial steps.”
Election officials had on Tuesday held searches at the residence of Ms. Kanimozhi in Tuticorin in south Tamil Nadu from where she is contesting.
Authorities conducted a search at a store in Theni Lok Sabha constituency on Tuesday night following inputs about suspected cash, during which police had to open fire in the air to disperse supporters of the TTV Dhinakaran-led AMMK, who objected to the action.
During the raids, cash to the tune of Rs 1.48 crore allegedly stashed to bribe voters was seized.
The store was believed to be run by a supporter of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK).
Tamil Nadu goes to polls tomorrow.
EC appoints special observer for West Bengal
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has appointed former Bihar Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ajay V Nayak as special observer for West Bengal, a senior official said in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Mr. Nayak may reach Kolkata on April 19, he said.
“He will be overseeing the last five phases of polls and directly report to the Election Commission in New Delhi on a daily basis,” the official said.
Mr. Nayak, a 1984-batch IAS officer, had retired last year.
The ECI had earlier appointed Vivek Dubey as a special police observer for the state.
Two Lok Sabha seats — Cooch Behar and Alipurduar — witnessed polling on April 11, while the rest of the 40 constituencies will go to polls in six phases.
‘Divisive politics’ of Modi biggest anti-national activity: Rahul
AICC president Rahul Gandhi has said that the ‘divisive politics’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the biggest anti-national activity that can destroy the nation.
Addressing the media in Kannur on Wednesday after attending a meeting of UDF leaders in Kannur, Kasaragod and Vadakara Lok Sabha constituencies, he said that dividing the country is the most anti-national activity. He was responding to a query on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s allegation during election rallies in Odisha and Chattisgarh on Tuesday that the Congress is supporting forces that are trying to break the country. He said that thousands of Congress workers had given their lives in Punjab and other places.
Mr. Gandhi said that Mr. Modi’s policies had crippled the agricultural system. The Rafael scam involved stealing of Rs. 30,000 crore and giving it to Anil Ambani, he said.
CSDS researchers detained in Sikkim for conducting post poll survey
Researchers from the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) have been detained over night in Sikkim for conducting a post poll survey in the State.
Mukund Giri, one of members of the research team involved in the exercise along another researcher have remained under custody at Gangtok Sadar police station since Tuesday evening. An officer of the police station said on Wednesday that the researchers have been detained after a complaint was received by Sub Divisional Magistrate. “There was some protests by locals about the survey and two people have been taken under preventive detentikn,” the officer said. Laterin the day they are likely to be questioned by senior administrative officials.
Mr Giri said that they have been conducting the survey in the state since Sunday but the problem started early on Tuesday.
I-T seizes Rs 1.48 cr cash suspected to bribe voters in Theni
The Income Tax Department on Wednesday said it has seized Rs 1.48 crore cash allegedly stashed to bribe voters in Tamil Nadu’s Theni district, where an assembly bypoll is scheduled on Thursday.
Unaccounted cash worth Rs 1.48 crore was seized. It was neatly packed in 94 packets and envelops on which the ward number, number of voters and the amount of Rs 300 per voter was written, I-T Director General (investigations) B Murali Kumar said, after the overnight raids concluded at 5:30 AM.
“All these wards are within the Andipatti assembly segment which is going to bypoll tomorrow,” the officer added.
Mr. Kumar added that the premises belongs to a functionary of the AMMK party.
Infact, the AMMK party office functions from the ground floor of the premises, he said.
Vellore parliamentary constituency polls rescinded
President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday rescinded the election to the Vellore Lok Sabha seat based on a recommendation of the Election Commission, following a detailed report on the use of money power to influence voters. The I-T Department had seized ₹11.48 crore from the house of an alleged associate of DMK treasurer Duraimurugan, whose son Kathir Anand is the party candidate for Vellore.
Women voters now matter much more than before: Prannoy Roy
Veteran journalist and psephologist Prannoy Roy recently co-authored a book, ‘The Verdict: Decoding India’s Elections’, with Dorab R. Sopariwala. In this interview, Mr. Roy talks about opinion polls, landslide victories and the problem of missing women voters in India.
Campaigning ends for second phase of Lok Sabha election
Campaigning ended on Tuesday evening for the second phase of the 17th Lok Sabha election in 97 constituencies, spread over 12 States and a Union Territory that will vote on Thursday. Counting of votes will take place on May 23, after all seven phases of voting are completed.
In the second phase, all 39 constituencies of Tamil Nadu, 14 in Karnataka, 10 in Maharashtra, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, 3 each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, two in Jammu and Kashmir and one each in Manipur, Tripura and Puducherry will be voting.
‘There is a pro-Modi wave in Odisha,’ says Dharmendra Pradhan
Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan speaks about the BJP’s electoral prospects in Odisha, where the party hopes to gain ground, and the induction of leaders from other parties, including the Biju Janata Dal.