Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday claimed that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has decided to contest elections from Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli constituency as he has sensed his defeat from Kerala’s Wayanad seat.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi filed his nomination from Rae Bareli. The Congress leader is also contesting the polls from Wayanad, from where he has been an MP since 2019.

In West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised Modi for his comments on the unrest at Sandeshkhali, questioning why he did not speak about the charges of sexual harassment levelled against Governor CV Ananda Bose.

Here’s a look at today’s top developments:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that there was no need for exit polls or opinion polls during the elections as he had already talked about the Congress’ defeat in Parliament, PTI reported. Modi, speaking at a rally in West Bengal’s Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha constituency, said: “When their [Congress’] senior leader quit her Lok Sabha seat and entered Parliament through Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan, it was evident that they sensed defeat.” The prime minister was referring to former Congress president Sonia Gandhi moving to the Rajya Sabha in February and announcing that she would not contest elections because of her age and health concerns. “Now, the shehzada [prince] of Congress, who went to Wayanad after losing the Amethi seat, is also contesting from Rae Bareli,” he said, referring to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. “He knows he would lose Wayanad this time.”
  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a rally in the Bardhaman city on Friday questioned Modi about his silence on the allegations of sexual harassment against West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose, NDTV reported. A day earlier, an employee at the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata alleged that she was sexually harassed by Bose, The Hindu reported. A complaint has also been filed at the Hare Street police station in Kolkata. “He [Modi] has given so many messages on Sandeshkhali,” Banerjee said, referring to the allegations of land grabbing and sexual harassment against suspended Trinamool Congress leader Shahjahan Sheikh at the Sandeshkhali village in the state’s North 24 Parganas district. “I did not let any untoward incident happen there,” she said. Referring to the allegations against Bose, the chief minister asked: “But what are you [Modi] doing?” She asked why the prime minister had not said anything about the allegations despite being in the state.  
  • Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Friday criticised the Congress for promising to conduct a caste census in the country, ANI reported. The chief minister, at a rally in the Sambhal district in the state, said that the Opposition aimed to create differences among communities and eventually extend reservations to Muslims. “Reservations based on religion was the reason behind the partition of this country,” he said, referring to the division of British India into the independent countries of India and Pakistan in 1947. “Do the Congress and the Samajwadi Party want the partition of the country?” he asked. “They say they’ll do a caste census for what? They will divide people based on caste and induce a fight amongst them and then they’ll say to the people that first you need to resolve this issue, and by that time they will give your reservations to Muslims.”
  • Former Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam on Friday joined Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s faction of the Shiv Sena. Last month, the Congress expelled Nirupam for a period of six years citing indiscipline and for making statements against the party. Nirupam had earlier been part of the undivided Shiv Sena. He had also served as the editor of ‘Dophar Ka Saamana’, the Hindi mouthpiece of the Shiv Sena then. However, he had left the party nearly two decades ago. “I have taken a decision to join [Shinde’s faction of the] Shiv Sena today,” Nirupam told reporters on Friday, according to The Times of India. “After 20 years, joining Shiv Sena is like a ‘ghar wapasi’ [returning home]…You know what is the condition in Congress today.”