General election 2019 live | BJP fields Gautam Gambhir from East Delhi; Narendra Modi to file nomination on April 26

Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir with Union Minister Arun Jaitley as he joins the party in the New Delhi on March 23, 2019.

Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir with Union Minister Arun Jaitley as he joins the party in the New Delhi on March 23, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Here are the day’s election-related developments at a glance.

 

New Delhi

Modi to file nomination on April 26

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will file his nomination from Varanasi on April 26 and will be accompanied by the party’s top brass, including BJP national president Amit Shah.

Party sources said a road show will be held in Varanasi on April 25.

Various leaders of the National Democratic Alliance including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are slated to attend the road show, the sources said.

“Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be filing his nomination later this week and given his track record as a Member of Parliament and Prime Minister, Varanasi will be looking forward to welcoming him,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.

Varanasi votes on May 19.

New Delhi

 

Election Commission gags Sidhu for 72 hours

The Election Commission has censured Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu and barred him from campaigning for 72 hours for alleged communal remarks during an election rally in Bihar.

The ban comes into force from 10 a.m. on April 23.

Addressing an election rally at Katihar in Bihar, the cricketer-turned-politician had stoked a controversy when he urged Muslim voters to vote en bloc and defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At the time Mr. Sidhu was canvassing in support of veteran Congress leader and former union minister Tariq Anwar. 

Delhi

BJP fields Gautam Gambhir from East Delhi

The BJP has fielded former cricketer Gautam Gambhir from the East Delhi constituency and renominated Meenakshi Lekhi from New Delhi.

The party has so far announced its candidates for six of the seven seats in the national capital.

Mr. Gambhir has replaced Maheish Girri as the party’s candidate and will take on Arvinder Singh Lovely of the Congress and Atishi of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Ms. Lekhi is pitted against AAP’s Brajesh Goel and Ajay Maken of the Congress.

The BJP on April 21 fielded its four sitting MPs from Delhi — Harsh Vardhan from Chandni Chowk, Manoj Tiwari from North-East Delhi, Pravesh Verma from West Delhi and Ramesh Bidhuri from South Delhi.

The party is yet to name its candidate for the North-West Delhi constituency.

The BJP had won all seven seats in the national capital in the last election.

Jaipur

Congress has weakened India’s stand on terrorism on several occasions: Rajnath

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said India’s stand against terrorism has been weakened on several occasions by the Congress party.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Singh said, “They [Congress] have given a new theory of Hindu terrorism. There is no religion or caste of terrorism. Their new theory weakened India’s stand against terrorism.”

He said repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was another such case which undermined India’s stand.

“In 2004, India had an agreement with Pakistan in which its former Army chief had assured that the country will not provide shelter and allow terrorism to flourish on its soil, but the Congress tried weakening India’s stand, saying Pakistan was also a victim of terrorism,” he said.

The Home Minister said the Opposition was doing politics over issues which should not be politicised.

Instead of praising the defence forces after the air strike in Balakot of Pakistan, the Opposition parties questioned it with queries on number of terrorists killed, he said.

“When such types of questions are asked, it weakens India’s stand against terrorism,” he said.

Speaking on the Congress’ election manifesto promising to scrap the sedition law, Mr. Singh said the law should be further strengthened but it should not be misused.

Talking about Articles 370 and 35A for Jammu and Kashmir, he said it was a temporary arrangement and it was time to review it.

“How much the entitlement benefited Jammu and Kashmir? When a few people are raising questions there should be two prime ministers in the country then what is the significance of Article 370 and 35A,” Mr. Singh asked.

He exuded confidence that the first two phases of Lok Sabha elections reflected a wave in favour of the BJP, and there was no doubt the party will get a clear majority and possibly the NDA will achieve 3/4th majority. — PTI

Jammu and Kashmir

Mehbooba hits out at PM for bringing nuclear bombs in political discourse

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday hits out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bringing nuclear bombs in the political discourse, saying if India has not kept the nuclear bomb for Diwali, Pakistan has not kept its for Eid.

During a rally in Rajasthan’s Barmer Sunday, Mr. Modi had said India is no more afraid of nuclear threats of Pakistan.

“Otherwise every other day Pakistan used to give nuclear threats. What do we have? Have we kept it for ‘Diwali’? (Warna aay din nuclear button hai, ye kehte the. Hamare paas kya hai? Ye diwali ke liye rakha hai kya),” he asserted.

Ms. Mufti tweeted, “If India hasn’t kept nuclear bomb for Diwali, it’s obvious Pakistan’s not kept theirs for Eid either. Don’t know why PM Modi must stoop so low & reduce political discourse to this.”

Amethi

Rahul’s nomination for Amethi LS seat found valid: Returning officer

The returning officer (RO) of Amethi on Monday set aside objections on Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s nomination papers filed for the seat and held the document valid, after scrutinising allegations of discrepancies over citizenship and other issues.

After hearing K C Kaushik, the Congress leader’s counsel, RO Ram Manohar Misra declared Gandhi’s nomination papers for the Amethi Lok Sabha seat as valid.

An Independent candidate and three others had on Saturday raised objections over the Congress president’s nomination from the constituency, alleging discrepancies over citizenship and educational qualifications in his election affidavit.

“There is no relevance for rejecting the nomination papers and therefore all the objections are being rejected,” Mr. Misra said in his order issued Monday.

Complainant Dhruv Lal’s lawyer Ravi Prakash had also submitted before the RO purported copies of a certificate of incorporation of a UK-registered company in which the Congress leader is stated to be a British national.

He had claimed that the UK company had existed for five years and would have made some profit, but that has not been disclosed in the affidavit.

Taking to media persons, Kaushik, who appeared before the RO on Monday morning, said a point-wise reply addressing all objections has been submitted.

“We have requested the returning officer that the objections over citizenship have no basis and the issue of citizenship can only be looked into by a competent authority and not the RO,” he said.

On objections raised over the Congress president’s educational qualification, Kaushik said Mr. Gandhi did his M.Phil in 1995 from Cambridge University and a copy of it has been submitted. He had done his graduation in 1994, he added.

Responding to questions on objections with regard to the UK company, Kaushik said, “The said company was closed in 2009...and in Form 26 (details of Tax payment and TDS) of 2019, only the liabilities and assets of five years are mentioned.”

Prakash had said that he sought a clarification on Mr. Gandhi’s citizenship as being a UK citizen would bar him from contesting the Lok Sabha elections.

New Delhi

JJP fields Digvijay Chautala against Hooda from Sonipat

Jannayak Janata Party on Monday announced its three Lok Sabha candidates for Haryana, including Digvijay Chautala from Sonipat against former Haryana Chief Minister and Congress candidate Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

The party also announced Jai Bhagwan Sharma and Mehmood Khan as its candidates from Kurukshetra and Gurgaon, respectively.

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New Delhi

Dust settles on tough Phase 3 campaign

Campaigning for the third phase of polling in 116 Lok Sabha constituencies across 15 States and union territories ended on Sunday.

The third phase of voting on Tuesday will decide the fate of BJP president Amit Shah from Gandhinagar in Gujarat and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad in Kerala, his second seat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only talked about his government’s muscular approach to national security but while campaigning in Patan reached out to farmers as well.

“Addressed a massive rally in Patan. Gujarat has decided to give BJP a similar mandate as they did in 2014! Talked about measures taken for better irrigation, farmer welfare and Ease of Living,” tweeted Mr. Modi.

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Davangere | Karnataka

Congress hopes AHINDA can tide over Lingayat ‘backlash’

A change in caste arithmetic is the Congress’ gamble as it seeks to break into the Bharatiya Janata Party’s fortress in Davangere Lok Sabha constituency. After 23 years, the Congress has nominated a Kuruba candidate in a constituency where Lingayat politics has been in the forefront.

Since 1998, the electoral battle for the heart of Karnataka was between families of Congress’s Shamanur Shivashankarappa and the BJP’s incumbent MP and former Union Minister G.M. Siddeshwar. Both the families are influential Veerashaiva-Lingayat leaders.

This year too, it seemed like the pattern would continue. Mr. Shivashankarappa was announced as the candidate by March-end, but he rejected ticket a few days later. The Congress refused to renominate his son S.S. Mallikarjun, who has lost thrice in the parliamentary polls since 2004 and even in the recent Assembly elections. Eventually, former Zilla Panchayat president H.B. Manjappa, a Kuruba leader from Honnali whose candidature was proposed by the Shamanur family, was selected.

In some ways, the educational hub has seen low-key campaigning from national players. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in nearby Chitradurga constituency has galvanised workers here, for the Congress, the lone rally of note was from former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, whose visit on Saturday was aimed at consolidating AHINDA (Minorities, Backward Classes and Dalit) votes.

“It is after more than two decades that a Backward Classes leader has been given a chance. The AHINDA community has been mobilised in support, and so has the local farmers’ group (Raitha sangha). The anger over the Lingayat religion tag has subsided drastically and many from the community support us,” says Mr. Manjappa.

The Lingayat backlash could perhaps be seen in the 2018 Assembly election results. The Congress’ tally was reduced from seven Assembly segments in 2013 to just two in Davangere constituency, while the BJP’s has risen from none to six now.

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Kalpetta | Kerala

Ready to enter Varanasi fray if Rahul Gandhi asks: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with family members of Pulwama martyrs at Vazhakandi Kurma Colony in Wayanad on April 21, 2019.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with family members of Pulwama martyrs at Vazhakandi Kurma Colony in Wayanad on April 21, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

All India Congress Committee general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has said that she is willing to contest in the Varanasi parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh, from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking re-election.

Speaking to mediapersons just before concluding her two-day visit in Wayanad on Sunday, Ms. Vadra said she was ready to enter the fray if she was asked by her brother and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to contest in Varanasi.

“I will be happy to contest in Varanasi if my brother Rahul Gandhi insists,” Ms. Vadra said.

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Pathanamthitta | Kerala

High-pitched campaigning ends in Kerala

The pre-poll campaigning by the warring political camps came to a close with high voltage performance by each one of them in all the seven Assembly segments of the Parliament constituency that spreads across Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts on Sunday afternoon.

The warring political groups raised high-pitched slogans in support of their candidates.

The sound and fury of the poll campaign came to a halt when the clock bell chimed at 6 p.m.

As many as 42 persons, including four police personnel, were injured when the noisy culmination of the poll campaign by the opposing fronts ended in clashes between two groups in Thiruvalla town on Sunday afternoon.

The situation took a violent turn when the NDA workers took their vehicle to the SCS Junction which was totally occupied by the LDF workers in the afternoon. The NDA vehicle was attacked and workers of both the fronts were injured in the pelting of stones and glass bottles at each other that followed.

The NDA workers, led by its district leaders, staged a dharna before the Revenue Divisional Office in Thiruvalla later, demanding deployment of Central Forces in the constituency to ensure that Tuesday’s polling remained free and fair.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 4:16:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/general-elections-live-april-22-2019/article26908889.ece

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