Day's political developments related to the elections at a glance.
Congress seeks Salman Khan’s help to capture Indore
The Madhya Pradesh Congress has requested Bollywood megastar Salman Khan’s help to breach the BJP’s Indore citadel.
The actor was born in Indore’s Palasia area in 1965 and has spent a substantial part of his childhood in that city before moving to Mumbai.
“Our leaders have already talked to Salman Khan to campaign for us in Indore. We are sure the actor would campaign for us,” MP Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi says.
Indore, Madhya Pradesh’s largest city and commercial capital, has been in the iron grip of the BJP ever since current Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan defeated former chief minister and senior Congressman Prakash Chandra Sethi in 1989.
Ms. Mahajan, affectionately called Tai (sister), has retained the seat since then and the BJP has also had a sizable share of victories in the district’s eight Assembly constituencies.
Mr. Khan is a huge crowd-puller and his contribution in the Congress poll campaign would change the party’s fortune in Indore, Mr. Chaturvedi asserts. “He spent his childhood in Indore. His grandfather was a senior police officer there.”
The actor, who generally keeps away from politics, campaigned and participated in a road show for the Congress’ Indore mayoral candidate Pankaj Sanghavi in 2009. However, the move did not pay off as senior BJP leader Krishna Murari Moghe managed to defeat Mr. Sanghavi.
Election Commission notice to Babul Supriyo for campaign song
The Election Commission has issued a show-cause notice to Union Minister Babul Supriyo for putting out a campaign song, composed and sung by him, without prior permission, officials said.
The music-video was posted in social media and some local TV news channels aired it without certification from the Election Commission, Additional Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal Sanjay Basu has said.
The singer-turned-politician, who is an MP from Asansol, has been asked to reply within 48 hours of receiving the notice, Mr. Basu says.
“Our media watch department found the song being aired and also on the social media. A complaint was also filed by All India Trinamool Congress ... We have examined it and found that the song came into the social media without certification,” the official has told reporters. — PTI
Bombay High Court stays bypoll in Katol
The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has granted a stay on the April 11 bypoll for the Katol Assembly seat.
A division bench of Justices S.B. Shukre and Pushpa Ganediwala has been hearing a petition filed by Sandeep Sarode, chairman of the Katol Panchayat Samiti through his counsel Shreerang Bhandarkar.
The bypoll was necessitated as MLA Ashish Deshmukh had resigned from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on October 3, 2018.
The petition said Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act 1951 mandates the Election Commission (EC) to fill casual vacancies in the Houses of Parliament and State Legislatures through bypolls within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy, provided the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is one year or more. However, the petition stated, that the six-month period since Mr. Deshmukh’s resignation ends on April 3, 2019 and the bypoll is being held after that.
Moreover, the petition contended that the MLA elected through the bypoll would have a term of just a few months since Maharashtra is scheduled to have Assembly elections later in the year. The petition claimed holding the bypoll would entail loss of public money under “unnecessary and unwanted” circumstances.
The HC has asked the Election Commission of India, the Maharashtra State Election Commission and Nagpur District Collector to file replies on the petition by April 2, 2019. — PTI
For Anantnag, National Conference chooses retired HC judge known for ruling on Article 370
The National Conference (NC) has fielded former Jammu and Kashmir High Court judge Hasnain Masoodi, known for his landmark judgement on Article 370 , from the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency.
The 65-year-old former judge, who retired from the Court in January 2016, is currently serving as the chairman of Selection-cum-Oversight Committee under the Juvenile Justice Act.
“The party has decided to field Justice [retd.) Hasnain Masoodi from the Anantnag-Pulwama parliamentary constituency,” NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar tells reporters at party’s head office at Nawai-Subha in Srinagar.
On Oct 11, 2015, Justice Masoodi ruled that Article 370, granting special status to the State, is permanent . “Article 370, though titled as ‘Temporary Provision’ and included in Para XXI titled ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’, has assumed place of permanence in the Constitution,” a Division Bench of Justices Masoodi and Janak Raj Kotwal ruled. “It is beyond amendment, repeal or abrogation, in as much as Constituent Assembly of the State before its dissolution did not recommend its Amendment or repeal,” the Bench said.
The NC is fielding party president Farooq Abdullah from the Srinagar-Budgam and senior leader and former Speaker of the Assembly Muhammad Akbar Lone from the Baramulla-Kupwara. — PTI
Deve Gowda ‘yet to decide on contesting’
Maintaining suspense over contesting the Lok Sabha polls, Janata Dal (Secular) patriarch and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda has said he is yet to decide and been thinking about his “usefulness” in the national capital.
Citing his age, the 85-year-old leader says he lacks the strength that he had in 1996, when he became Prime Minister, but there is “enthusiasm“.
“From where should I be contesting or not to, I think I have that much of basic freedom to decide. Let’s decide on it with in a few days, there is no problem. But, I’m thinking to myself about my usefulness in Delhi, I’m watching it. I will decide,” he says.
Pointing out that in his speech at the last session of Parliament he had indicated it was his last speech, he says, “But a few friends had asked him to contest this time. — PTI
Left Front in West Bengal announces candidates for 38 Lok Sabha seats
The CPI(M)-led Left Front in West Bengal announces candidates for 38 Lok Sabha seats. Its chairman Biman Bose, however, says it will wait till tomorrow for the Congress's response to an alliance, before declaring its nominees for the remaining constituencies.
“We announced a list of 38 candidates. We are not announcing the names of four seats, which the Congress won last time [in 2014]. We will wait till Wednesday evening for a response from the Congress. If there is no response, we will go ahead with the remaining four seats,” Mr. Bose tells reporters in Kolkata.
“We hope good sense will prevail and the Congress will realise the need for maximum pooling of anti-BJP and anti-TMC votes in the State. We will wait for their response,” he says.
The development comes a day after the Congress announced candidates for 11 constituencies, which includes the two which the CPI(M) won in 2014. The Left Front last week announced a list of 25 candidates in the State leaving aside 17 seats for the Congress.
But the Congress State unit took it as an insult and on March 17 evening decided to go it alone in the State. — PTI
Pawar trying to bring Congress, AAP together
The Congress is again mulling options to align with the Aam Aadmi Party in the national capital. And Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar is actively involved in getting them together. AAP leader Sanjay Singh meets Mr. Pawar at the latter’s residence and holds discussions on seat-sharing with the Congress and in taking steps to get all parties together and fielding a common candidate in all the seats to defeat the BJP.
Sources say the Congress leadership is also in talks with AAP leaders, and senior leaders within the party are trying to convince Delhi Congress leaders for an alliance with the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP.
The Congress had decided to go it alone in Delhi after talks with AAP failed and local leaders favoured that the party contest the LS polls alone. The Delhi Congress leaders felt that “saving” the party was crucial in view of the Delhi Assembly elections later this year.
The Congress has also failed to forge an alliance with Left parties in West Bengal and has been kept out of the ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) of the SP-BSP-RLD in Uttar Pradesh. It is learnt that the Congress-RJD seat-sharing is also in troubled waters as the two parties did not declare their candidates on March 17 as promised earlier.
AICC general secretary in charge of the Delhi Congress, PC Chacko, tells PTI :
“I am in consultation with Congress party leaders in Delhi on the possibilities of forging an alliance with the AAP.
“The Congress Working Committee has decided to align with like-minded parties across the country to defeat the BJP in Lok Sabha elections.
“I hope Delhi Congress leaders will also go by this sentiment and decide on an alliance with the AAP, but a final decision will be taken by the Congress president very soon.”
Mr. Chacko’s views are at variance with Delhi Congress president Sheila Dikshit's. She has made it clear that aligning with the AAP will not be in the party’s interests in view of the coming Assembly elections in the national capital. — PTI
Rant of nothing done in 70 years also has an expiry date: Priyanka
“There is a big difference between polls promises and fulfilling them. As far as the rant about [no development in] 70 years is concerned, it also has an expiry date. You [BJP] are in the government for the past five years, what have you done in five years?” Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra says at an interaction with mediapersons at the Sitamarhi guest house in Uttar Pradesh’s Bhadohi district.
Today is Ms. Vadra's second day of a three-day boat journey on the Ganga.
Delhi BJP to move ECI against AAP
The Delhi BJP says it will complain to the Election Commission of India that the Aam Aadmi Party is violating the Model Code of Conduct by trying to incite communal tensions.
Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta says the AAP’s Lok Sabha candidate Raghav Chadha has tweeted images of a cow and its calf standing at a doorstep and wrote ‘Door to door campaigning by BJP’ which was liked by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“We have taken an appointment with the Election Commission of India and will apprise them about how the AAP is politicising cow, which is a symbol of harmony and trying to create communal tension,” Mr. Gupta tells reporters.
Pawan Kalyan to contest from Gajuwaka & Bhimavaram Assembly segments
Jumping into the electoral battle for the first time, Telugu actor and Jana Sena founder Pawan Kalyan will contest the April 11 Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh from the Gajuwaka and Bhimavaram constituencies.
Gajuwaka is in Visakhapatnam district and Bhimavaram in West Godavari.
Modi to interact with people on ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign on March 31
As part of intensification of his ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ (I too am watchman) campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on March 31, will interact with people, who have pledged their support to the campaign, from 500 places across the country.
At a press conference, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says the campaign has become a “people’s movement” as the ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ hashtag has been tweeted 20 lakh times and had 1680 crore impressions.
TDP releases candidates’ list
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) releases its list of 25 candidates for the general election in Andhra Pradesh, retaining a majority of the sitting MPs while nominating the kin of the incumbents in a couple of constituencies.
Veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister V. Kishore Chandra Deo, who recently joined the TDP, has been given the ticket from the Araku (ST) constituency.
Former Union Ministers Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy and Panabaka Lakshmi, who too quit the Congress in recent days, have been nominated from the Kurnool and Tirupati (SC) seats respectively.
Nandamuri Balakrishna’s son-in-law, M Bharat, has got the Visakhapatnam ticket.
Former Union Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju has been re-nominated from Vizianagaram, while sitting MPs K Rama Mohan Naidu, Galla Jayadev, Kesineni Srinivas (Nani), Maganti Venkateswara Rao (Babu), Konakalla Narayana, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, Sriram Malyadri, Nimmala Kistappa and N Siva Prasad have been given ticket again.
FIR against Union Minister Jayant Sinha
An FIR has been registered against Union Minister Jayant Sinha for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct while addressing students at the convocation ceremony of a management institute in Ranchi, say police.
Mr. Sinha is the Minister of State for Civil Aviation and a BJP MP from Hazaribagh constituency in Jharkhand.
“As per a direction from the district administration, the FIR was filed against Jayant Sinha yesterday [Monday] under Section 188 [Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant] of the IPC and under Section 123 of the People’s Representation (PR) Act at the Khelgaon police station in Ranchi,” says a police officer.
Addressing the students of IIM-Ranchi on March 16, Mr. Sinha allegedly sought their “blessings” for another five years, says the officer.
All police stations have been asked to monitor violations pertaining to the model code of conduct.
Polling for 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand will be held in four phases from April 29.
AIADMK promises 'Amma poverty eradication scheme in its manifesto
The AIADMK releases its manifesto and party coordinator O. Panneerselvam reads out its salient features.
The party promises a ‘Amma poverty eradication scheme’ that would grant ₹1,500 a month for BPL families. The AIADMK vows to bring back Education to State list and get exemption to Tamil Nadu from NEET.
Statehood to Puducherry, implementation of the uniform civil code and an international probe into the alleged genocide and war crimes committed by Sri Lanka on Tamils during the Eelam War IV, also figure in the manifesto.
Separate agriculture budget, return of old pension scheme find place in DMK manifesto
Two days after announcing the candidates, the DMK releases its manifesto.
The DMK has promised to fight for the return of the old pension scheme, reintroduction of control prices of petrol, diesel and an end to toll fee on highways, among others.
The manifesto also pitches for a separate budget for agriculture and hiking the I-T exemption up to Rs. 8 lakh.
The DMK did not win a single seat in the 2014 general election. It is contesting in 20 out of 39 seats in Tamil Nadu this time, leaving the other seats to its allies.
Tripura BJP leader Subal Bhowmik quits party
Tripura BJP vice-president Subal Bhowmik has quit the party and is set to join the Congress, which is expected to nominate him as party candidate of the West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency.
Mr. Bhowmik’s dramatic decision preceded a midnight meeting with Pradesh Congress Committee president Pradyot Kishore Manikya. Mr. Manikya had reportedly agreed to nominate him to the West Tripura constituency.
“I am joining Congress today. Rahul Gandhi ji will announce my candidature from his rally at Khumulwng tomorrow,” Mr. Bhowmik tells The Hindu .
Jana Sena announces third candidates' list for Andhra Pradesh
Telugu actor Pawan Kalyan’s the Jana Sena party announces candidates for one more Lok Sabha seat and 13 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh.
However, Mr. Kalyan's name doesn't figure in this list too. He tweets that he will contest from two seats.
“General body is in their final discussion from which two constituencies , I should be contesting. Hopefully, they will let me know in an hour or later,” he says in the tweet.
Complaints against sitting MPs pour in at BJP feedback session
The BJP needs to get its act together in the two significant parliamentary constituencies of New Delhi and East Delhi in the run-up to the ensuing general election, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was told during a feedback session over the weekend.
Ms. Sitharaman, who is the party’s Delhi in charge of the Lok Sabha elections, met over 100 party office-bearers for a total of eight hours over two days to assess the performance of the BJP’s incumbent MPs in all the seven Lok Sabha seats.
According to sources, the feedback and suggestions given to Ms. Sitharaman, included not repeating candidates for the New Delhi and East Delhi seats, and issues such as lack of “public connect” marring the performance of the sitting MPs, some probable candidates and even the current State leadership of the party.
The current sitting MPs are Meenakshi Lekhi from New Delhi and Maheish Girri from East Delhi.