Lok Sabha elections | From Congress-JD(S) seat-sharing pact to AGP's return to NDA fold: Politics, as it happened on March 13, 2019

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Congress, JD(S) seal seat-sharing pact in Karnataka, BJP may field a dozen Rajya Sabha members and Rahul Gandhi interacts with Chennai college students.

 

11. 30 pm

 

Congress to contest 11 seats in Bihar

The Opposition alliance in Bihar has been nearly sealed with the Congress agreeing to contest 11 seats, climbing down from its earlier demand of 14 seats. The decision has been taken at a meeting in New Delhi at Congress general secretary K.C. Venugopal’s residence. An official announcement is expected to be made by March 17.

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9.15 pm

 

Congress second list out

Congress central election committee has released the second list of candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Sushil Kumar Shinde returns to fight from Sholapur, Priya Dutt from Mumbai North Central and Milind Deora to fight from Mumbai South. The list has 16 names from U.P.. Raj Babbar has been nominated from Moradabad.

 

8.30 pm

 

Congress-JD(S) reach seat-sharing pact in Karnataka, 20 for Congress, 8 for JD(S)

The wrangling over seat-sharing between Karnataka’s ruling coalition partners — the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress — has finally came to an end with the Congress agreeing to cede eight of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the State to JD(S), including the Tumakuru seat that it holds.

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy with Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on August 30, 2018. Photo: Special Arrangement

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy with Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on August 30, 2018. Photo: Special Arrangement  

 

The deal has been finalised in Kochi after talks between Congress president Rahul Gandhi and JD(S) General Secretary Danish Ali. — Karnataka Bureau

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7.30 pm

Congress and its alliance blues

The Congress party’s reluctance to have an alliance with the AAP in Delhi is understandable to some extent. There are roadblocks for an agreement between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party-BSP coalition in U.P., which is also explicable.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav in November 2017. Photo: Twitter/@yadavtejashwi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav in November 2017. Photo: Twitter/@yadavtejashwi  

 

But the Congress demand that Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) give it 15 seats in Bihar, out of a total of 40 is not merely baffling, but also smacks of irresponsibility on the part of party’s decision-makers, writes Varghese K George.

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7 pm

 

BJP may field a dozen Rajya Sabha members

The BJP may field a dozen of them in the Lok Sabha elections, especially from States where it has adequate representation in the Assembly and will be able to replace them in the Upper House.

The Rajya Sabha MPs being considered by the party leadership include, Union Ministers Smriti Irani, Dharmendra Pradhan, Thawar Chand Gehlot, J.P. Nadda, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Chaudhary Birender Singh and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Ms. Irani, the Textiles Minister, may again be fielded from Amethi, the parliamentary constituency represented by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, sources say.

Petroleum Minister Mr. Pradhan has emerged a key BJP face in Odisha after he was made a Cabinet Minister in the Narendra Modi government. Mr. Pradhan started his big political career as an MLA from the Pallahara seat in 2000.

Mr. Gehlot, the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, one of the most recognised BJP faces from the Scheduled Castes in Madhya Pradesh, is likely to be fielded from a reserved seat in his home State. Mr. Gehlot, a four-time Lok Sabha MP from Shajapur constituency, was elected to the Rajya Sabha in May 2012.

Mr. Nadda did not contest the last Lok Sabha elections but may be fielded this time from Kangra, if party veteran Shanta Kumar decides not to contest.

Mr. Prasad is likely to be fielded from Patna Sahib, the constituency of rebel BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha. The seat has a sizable number of Kayastha voters.

Mr. Naqvi may be fielded from U.P.’s Rampur seat, which he had won in 1998. Mr. Goel could be fielded from Chandni Chowk, the seat represented by Union Minister Harsh Vardhan. Mr. Vardhan may be shifted to the East Delhi seat, represented by Mahesh Girri.

Besides these Union Ministers, some Rajya Sabha members may also be in the Lok Sabha poll fray.

Prabhat Jha, a former BJP president from MP, may be fielded from Gwalior, while actor-turned-politician Roopa Ganguly may get the party ticket from West Bengal, sources say.

Twelve of the 25 Ministers in the Modi Cabinet are Rajya Sabha members, some of whom entered the Upper House after losing the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The heavyweight Ministers who are Rajya Sabha members include, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, and Civil Aviation and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Jaitley is unlikely to contest the Lok Sabha polls for health reasons. Among the party’s top strategist, Mr. Jaitley lost his first Parliamentary election from Amritsar in 2014 against Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress. — IANS

 

6 pm

PDP, BJP want to influence Lok Sabha polls: NC

The National Conference has said the erstwhile coalition partners, PDP and BJP, want to influence the Lok Sabha polls by “deceit and deception” in Jammu and Kashmir as they are still in an “alliance” despite the fall of their government.

“We have credible information about the PDP soliciting the advice and direction of the BJP for fielding candidates, convenient to it, for Jammu-Poonch and Kathua-Udhampur parliamentary constituencies to facilitate division of anti-BJP votes to ensure the victory of BJP candidates,” the party has said in a statement in Jammu.

The statement, issued by senior party leaders, including Devender Singh Rana, has expressed surprise over the “clandestine PDP-BJP bonhomie” ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and said “the duo were still in an alliance and hand-in-glove to influence the polls by deceit and deception.” — PTI

5.30 pm

 

Declare West Bengal ‘super sensitive’, BJP to EC

The BJP hjas urged the Election Commission to declare West Bengal “super sensitive State” to ensure fair Lok Sabha polls and demanded that central forces be deployed at all polling stations in the State.

A BJP delegation, including Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman, J.P. Nadda and party’s general secretaries Bhupender Yadav and Kailash Vijayvargiya, has met top officials of the poll body and apprised them of their demands.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Mr. Prasad has said, “We have requested the Election Commission that the state of West Bengal should be declared as super-sensitive. And have also demanded that central forces should be deployed at all polling booths in the State.”

He has said the party has also requested the poll panel to transfer those police officers whose electoral impartiality is questionable as well as the withdrawal of former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar from election duty.

Mr. Yadav has said the delegation brought to the EC’s notice incidents wherein the State bureaucracy has become “completely subservient” to the TMC, negating the “very doctrine of impartiality and fairness“.

“The commission was apprised of the fact that General Elections 2014 & Assembly Elections 2016 reveal a pattern of intimidation, fear and violence, negating the very essentials of free and fair elections. (BJP) Urged EC for a fair environment for peaceful conduct of Lok Sabha polls,” he has tweeted. — PTI

4.30 pm

 

Arvind Kejriwal pitches for AAP-Congress-JJP alliance in Haryana

Aam Aadmi Party national convenor Arvind Kejriwal says that if the AAP, the Congress and the JJP (Jannayak Janta Party) fight the Lok Sabha election together, then the BJP will lose all the 10 seats in Haryana. " Congress president Rahul Gandhi should think about that," he adds. He, however, clarifies that there will be no alliance in Delhi. "The AAP is capable of defeating the BJP on its own [in Delhi]," he says.

Mr. Kejriwal's suggestion, however, didn't find much takers.

JJP national secretary K.C. Bangar says his party will not be a part of any alliance with the Congress as "their ideologies don't match."

Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar says there's no need for the Congress party to have any alliance in Haryana.

"The Congress is on a strong foot in Haryana and capable of winning all 10 seats. The AAP does not have any existence in Haryana. And as far as the JJP is concerned, they are yet to prove their mettle in the electoral fray," he tells The Hindu.

4:00 pm

Deve Gowda brings grandson Prajwal to electoral politics

Former Prime Minister and JD(S) chief H.D. Deve Gowda announces the political entry of his grandson Prajwal Revanna.

Former Prime Minister and JD(S) chief H.D. Deve Gowda announces the political entry of his grandson Prajwal Revanna.   | Photo Credit: Prakash Hassan

 

Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, his son H.D. Revanna and grandson Prajwal Revanna were all in tears as the entry of the third generation of the family into politics is formally announced at Mudalahippe in Holenarsipur.

An emotionally charged Deve Gowda, also in tears, maintains that his grandson had blessings of the God and he would require people's support.

"I have brought many people into politics and supported them. But, I don't know why find fault with me for bringing my family members into politics", he says.

As the announcement is, Mr. Prajwal turns teary-eyed and so was his father.

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2.15 p.m.

No Lok Sabha poll duty for SSC, HSC teachers in Maharashtra

Over 50,000 teachers of class 10 and class 12 in Maharashtra will no longer be enrolled for Lok Sabha election duties, as per the Election Commission.

Assistant Chief Electoral Officer A.N. Walvi on Wednesday issues a circular excluding teachers of class 10 (SSC) and class 12 (HSC), whose number is estimated to be over 50,000, from poll duties.

The exams are conducted by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education.

Flagging the issue before State Chief Electoral Officer, Shikshak Bharati, an organisation of primary and secondary teachers, had feared delay in declaration of results, in case the teachers are drafted in for poll duty.

After holding talks with various departments, the electoral office decided to exclude these teachers from election duties.

Teachers of other classes will, however, are not excluded from this task.

- PTI

1:45 pm

PM urges personalities from various fields to encourage people to vote in large numbers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi describesg voting as a “prime” duty and urges personalities, including Pranab Mukherjee, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Ratan Tata and P V Sindhu, to encourage people to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha election beginning April 11.

In a series of tweets and a blog post, he says voting is among a citizen’s prime duties.

“I appeal to @RahulGandhi, @MamataOfficial, @PawarSpeaks, @Mayawati, @yadavakhilesh, @yadavtejashwi and @mkstalin to encourage increased voter participation in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. A high turnout augurs well for our democratic fabric,” Mr. Modi wrote on his personal Twitter handle.

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12:45 pm

Rahul Gandhi interacts with college students in Chennai

Congress president Rahul Gandhi interacts with students of Stella Maris College in Chennai. The meeting, is being live streamed by the party's official Youtube handle. Mr. Gandhi takes questions from students on various issues, including about his brother-in-law Robert Vadra, who is being interrogated by the CBI and the ED in a money laundering and land grab cases. "Law must apply to everybody, not be applied selectively," he replies.

Mr. Gandhi went on to say the Congress will change the mood of the country, make people feel happy and empowered, if voted to power. He also says his mother Sonia Gandhi taught him humility and love.

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12:30 pm

26 teachers in Maharashtra booked for refusing election work

At least 26 teachers from Palghar district in Maharashtra have been booked for allegedly refusing to do election duty, say police.

The teachers from a school in Nallasopara area were last year appointed as booth-level officers to update the voters’ list and undertake other poll-related works, Palghar police spokesperson Hemant Kumar Katkar says.

They were supposed to carry out works between June 2018 and February this year, he says.

However, since the 26 teachers did not turn up for the work, an electoral registration officer in-charge of the area complained to the police, he says.

Based on the complaint, the teachers were on March 12 booked under Section 32(1) (breach of official duty in connection with preparation of electoral rolls) of the Representation of People Act, Mr. Katkar says.

11:40 am

Leave of U.P. police personnel stopped

The leave of all Uttar Pradesh police personnel have been stopped by the State authorities due to the Lok Sabha election.

According to a directive from the Director General of Police O.P. Singh to all the district police chiefs, leave of all types of police personnel is stopped from March 15 till further order in view of the general election.

Leave may be sanctioned by the officers concerned in special cases, says the directive.

11:15 am

BJP-AGP alliance back on track in Assam

BJP leader Ram Madhav. File

BJP leader Ram Madhav. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

Two months after breaking off over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bharatiya Janata Party are back as allies in Assam.

“After a prolonged discussion with senior AGP leaders, we have decided to work together for the Lok Sabha election in Assam to defeat the Congress. The Bodoland People’s Front will be the third partner in the alliance,” senior BJP leader Ram Madhav says.

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10:50 am

Reports of quitting Cong. not true: Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil

Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. File

Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. File   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

 

Amid speculations that he may resign after his son Sujay Vikhe Patil joined the BJP, Maharashtra senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who is also the Leader of the Opposition, tells The Hindu that such reports are not true.

In a clarification, he denies that no such decision has been taken by him. “No, it is not true,” he says when asked whether he will submit his resignation today. He does not reply to a query on whether the Congress leadership has asked him to resign.

Ever since his son joined the BJP to contest from the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha constituency, rumours about Mr. Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil’s resignation had been rife.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:30:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/lok-sabha-elections-live-updates-march-13-2019/article26519285.ece

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