As it happened: General Election 2019 live | Proud that greats like Advani have strengthened BJP: Narendra Modi reacts to Advani’s remarks

'We have never regarded our political opponents as anti-nationals,' writes L.K. Advani in blog post, Rahul Gandhi files his papers in Wayanad, Rahul has rejected blessings of Amethi voters, says Smriti Irani and more election-related developments of the day at a glance.

April 04, 2019 09:36 am | Updated 11:07 pm IST

Narendra Modi with L.K. Advani in Nagpur in 2009.

Narendra Modi with L.K. Advani in Nagpur in 2009.



Modi reacts to Advani comments

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reacted to senior leader L.K. Advani's blog post . “Advani ji perfectly sums up the true essence of BJP, most notably the guiding Mantra of ‘Nation First, Party Next, Self Last.’ Proud to be a BJP Karyakarta and proud that greats like LK Advani ji have strengthened it.”


Narendra Modi biopic postponed till further notice, says producer

The release of PM Narendra Modi , a biopic on the Prime Minister, has been postponed till further notice, its producer Sandip Singh has said.

“This is to confirm, our film ‘PM Narendra Modi’ is not releasing on 5th April. Will update soon,” Mr. Ssingh has tweeted.

The Congress has complained to the Election Commission of India over the release of the film on April 5, just a week before the first phase of polls.

Opposition parties, including the Congress, have alleged the film will give undue advantage to the BJP in electioneering and its release should be deferred till the elections are over.


L.K. Advani blogs

L.K. Advani writes to BJP workers ahead of party’s foundation day 

Veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani has written a blog post on the occasion of the BJP's foundation day. “Right from its inception, the BJP has never regarded those who disagree with us politically as our ‘enemies’, but only as our adversaries. Similarly, in our conception of Indian nationalism, we have never regarded those who disagree with us politically as ‘anti-national’. The party has been committed to freedom of choice of every citizen at personal as well as political level,” he wrote.

Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the party’s national executive meeting on September 8, 2018 in New Delhi.

Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the party’s national executive meeting on September 8, 2018 in New Delhi.



Mallikarjun Kharge files nomination

A day after the BJP’s mammoth rally, organised for the filing of nomination papers of its candidate Umesh Jadhav, the Congress responded with a similar show of strength in Kalaburagi for the filing of nomination papers of its candidate M. Mallikarjun Kharge.

Kalaburagi was stuck with traffic diversions and jams for the whole day as heavy crowd filled all the arterial roads. The scorching summer heat was not a deterrent to supporters of Mr. Kharge. They raised slogans and waved party flags in a 7-km procession from Nagareshwar School to SVP Chowk.

Mr. Kharge prepared for the rally previous night by visiting Hazrat Khwaja Banda Nawaz Dargah and Sharana Basaveshwara Temple, the religious landmarks of the city.

A host of leaders, including KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre, Ministers Rahim Khan, Rajashekhar Patil Humnabad and Priyank Kharge, MLAs Ajay Singh, M.Y. Patil, B. Narayana Rao, Kaneez Fatima, former minister Sharan Prakash Patil, party leaders Allamaprabhu Patil, Tippannappa Kamaknoor, Baburao Chowhan, K.B. Shanappa, participated in the rally. Party workers welcomed Mr. Kharge and other leaders as they approach Jagat Circle by offering a gigantic apple garland.


Jammu and Kashmir

ECI appoints 36 observers for 4 J&K seats

For the smooth conduct of the Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has appointed 36 observers for four parliamentary constituencies, officials said Thursday.

The observers, including 28 general, six expenditure and two police, have been appointed for the Baramulla, Jammu, Srinagar and Udhampur constituencies, they said.

The State has six Lok Sabha seats. The observers for Ladakh and Anantnag constituencies will be appointed later.

The parliamentary constituencies are scheduled to go to the polls on April 11 and April 18, respectively, the officials said.

According to a communication from the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, these observers have reached their places of service and are available for the general public and political parties.

The State will go to polls in five phases: April 11, 18, 23, 29 and May 6.

Uttar Pradesh

Rahul has rejected blessings of Amethi voters, says Smriti Irani

Attacking Rahul Gandhi in his Amethi constituency, Union Minister and BJP candidate Smriti Irani said this is a coincidence that “didi” came and the “missing MP” reached Kerala.

Terming herself ‘didi’ (elder sister), Ms. Irani told a gathering in Parsadepur, “This is a coincidence, indication of God that ‘didi’ arrived in Amethi and the missing MP reached Kerala. I have come to take [people’s] blessings and he [Rahul] rejected the blessings.”

This was her first visit to Amethi after the Lok Sabha elections were announced last month.

“While the BJP workers are working with devotion to make the country capable and strong for which we all have to support, the missing MP files nominations from another place with blessings of those who want to divide the country,” she said.

Referring to excessive heat, Ms. Irani said, “Today there is rise in temperature. But it had already risen in 2017 when the BJP won in four Assembly segments of the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency and in another segment [won by the SP] the Congress could not win.”

She said that those who took the name of family and give example of their relation with the constituency but deprived it of development for the past 15 years, have realised that on May 6, the people of Amethi would press the “lotus” button and ensure the 'victory of development'.

“The ‘vanvas’ [exile] of Lord Ram was of 14 years and this constituency is facing the same for past 15 years. People here will celebrate Diwali on May 23 and end ‘vanvas’ and march towards path of development,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Irani told reporters in Lucknow that Mr. Gandhi's decision to contest from Wayanad was an insult to the people of Amethi. “He is filing his papers from another Lok Sabha seat. This is an insult to Amethi and a betrayal of its people. The people will not tolerate this,” she said.  


Madhya Pradesh

Congress names Kamal Nath's son Nakul for Chhindwara

In a press release, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) announced 12 more candidates in Madhya Pradesh.

Following is the list:

SagarPrabhusingh Thakur
DamohPratap Singh Lodhi
SatnaRaja Ram Tripath
RewaSiddharth Tiwari
SidhiAjay Singh Rahul
JabalpurVivek Tankha
Mandla-STKamal Maravi
ChhindwaraNakul Nath
Dewas - SCPrahlad Tipaniya
Ujjain - SCBabulal malviya
Khargone - STDr. Govind Muzaalda
KhandwaArun Yadav



Thangkabalu is Congress's Wayanad poll in charge

Former Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K V Thangkabalu has been named the party's poll in charge of the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency from where party chief Rahul Gandhi is seeking election for the first time.

A party release said the decision was taken by the All India Congress Committee.

“Thangkabalu will stay put in Wayanad till the completion of polls. He has made arrangements for holding a rally in which top Congress leaders will participate,” the release by the TNCC media department in Chennai said.

He was present in Wayanad on Thursday to receive Mr. Gandhi when the latter arrived to file his nomination for the election.

Mr. Thangkabalu is a senior leader who has held various positions, including that of State general secretary of the party. He had twice served as the president of the TNCC. He is also a former Union Minister.

West Bengal

If Modi is re-elected, he will do everything to defy Constitution, says Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said if Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to power, he would throw away the Constitution and change the country from a democracy to a totalitarian regime.

Mr. Modi has three slogans: “loot”, “riots” and “kill people”, she said at a rally in Cooch Behar.

She claimed that it was her government that solved the six decade-old enclave issue with Bangladesh in 2015. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was an attempt by the BJP to turn legal citizens of the country into refugees, she alleged.

“We [the TMC] will never allow the NRC [National Register of Citizens] in Bengal. Modi is no one to decide who will stay and leave the country. The Citizenship [Amendment] Bill is another ploy to turn legal citizens of this country into refugees. We should be careful of their [BJP’s] sinister plot,” she said.

Mocking Mr. Modi for his ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign, she said the ‘chaiwallah’ (tea seller) who failed to fulfil promises made during the 2014 Lok Sabha election has now turned into a ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) to fool people.

New Delhi

SC dismisses plea seeking rescheduling of polling date in T.N., Puducherry

The Supreme Court asked how long does it take to vote and why voters can’t cast vote on a holy day, as it refused to accord urgent hearing of a plea seeking rescheduling of the polling date in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on April 18.

A Christian body had moved the court seeking urgent listing of its plea in which it said the scheduled date fell within the holy period of Good Friday and Easter.

“You can’t cast your vote on a holy day?” a bench headed by Justice S A Bobde asked the petitioner’s counsel.

“How long does it take to vote?” a Bench of the court said, adding, “We don’t want to advise you how to pray and how to cast vote“.

The petitioner’s counsel told the court that the Madras High Court dismissed their plea on March 22 and they had moved the apex court against it.

The Bench, however, said there was no urgency in hearing the matter.


Photographer injured as barrier on Rahul roadshow vehicle collapses

Congress president Rahul Gandhi with presspersons who were injured after the barricade of his roadshow vehicle in Wayanad collapsed on Thursday.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi with presspersons who were injured after the barricade of his roadshow vehicle in Wayanad collapsed on Thursday.


A press photographer was injured when the barricade of the vehicle that Congress president Rahul Gandhi was using for his roadshow in Wayanad collapsed. Supriya of television channel TV9 said the rope of the vehicle severed and three perons fell on her.

A few congress workers climbed on to the vehicle and held on to the rails of the moving vehicle. The injured photographer was taken to a nearby hospital. The roadshow lasted 35 minutes.


Rahul Gandhi submits nomination in Wayanad

Congress president Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination for the Wayanad constituency. He is also contesting in his traditional seat, Amethi. He was accompanied by his sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

“We had conveyed to Rahulji that it would not have been correct to ignore the sentiments of the Congress workers from southern States,” said senior leader A.K. Antony, who had formally announced the decision.



Ahmed Patel to not contest from Bharuch

The Congress announced that Sherkhan Abdul Shakur Pathan will contest from the Bharuch constituency in Gujarat. There was speculation that senior leader Ahmed Patel will contest from that seat as he had represented it three times.



BJP-RLP alliance in Rajasthan

In Rajasthan, the BJP has entered into an alliance with Hanuman Beniwal's Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP). The BJP will not field a candidate in Nagaur and Mr. Beniwal will contest the polls there. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is BJP's campaign in charge in the State, said the RLP would be a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance.

Mr. Beniwal was a BJP MLA, but he was terminated from the party after he fell out with former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. He had won twice from Khinvsar in Nagaur district.


In Palakkad, stage set for a fight among three friends

Palakkad is witnessing a triangular fight among three friends. But friendship apart, they are fierce electoral adversaries fighting tooth and nail to get the maximum share of the nearly 13 lakh votes spread across the Assembly segments of Pattambi, Shoranur, Ottappalam, Mannarkkad, Kongad, Malampuzha and Palakkad.

M.B. Rajesh is seeking re-election for a third term on the Left Democratic Front (LDF) banner, while his friend and District Congress Committee (DCC) president V.K. Sreekantan is the United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate.

And the BJP candidate is C. Krishnakumar.


Mumbai North East: speculation ends as BJP dumps Somaiya, picks Kotak

The BJP has replaced MP Kirit Somaiya with three-time Brihanmumbai   Municipal Corporation (BMC) corporator from Mulund Manoj Kotak as its candidate for the Mumbai North East constituency.

Mr. Somaiya’s name was hanging fire after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray took objection to the allegations of corruption against him made by Mr. Somaiya, a two-time lawmaker. The BJP on Wednesday announced Mr. Kotak’s candidature after days of speculation and parleys with Sena leaders.

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