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Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav will contest from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh. Party leader Azam Khan has been fielded from Rampur.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced that she will contest from the Anantnag seat. Her party, Peoples Democratic Party, will not contest the two Jammu seats to ensure “secular votes are not divided.”
9 pm: Here are the day’s main developments.
- Congress fielded former finance minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram from Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu. He is an accused in the INX Media money laundering case and the Aircel-Maxis scam.
- Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav will contest the Lok Sabha elections from his father’s Azamgarh seat.
- Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday announced that she will contest from Anantnag seat in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Bharatiya Janata Party MP Subramanian Swamy on Sunday made a casteist comment when he said that he cannot be a chowkidar (watchman) because he was a Brahmin.
8.45 pm: BJP chief Amit Shah says the Opposition has no prime ministerial candidate. “No one is willing to fight the elections,” says Shah at a rally in Agra, reports Hindustan Times. “Maywati wants Narendra Modi defeated as Prime Minister but she is not willing to fight elections. Neither is Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee or Stalin.”
8.16 pm: Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik announces candidates for nine Assembly constituencies.
The Assembly elections in Odisha will be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29.
8.10 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath claims the Opposition parties “offered biryani to terrorists”, while the Modi government fed them bullets, PTI reports. He termed Congress candidate from Saharanpur constituency, Imran Masood, the “son-in-law of Azhar Masood”. “You people have to ensure that the person who speaks the language of Azhar Masood is defeated in the Lok Sabha elections,” he alleges, according to PTI.
The BJP leader also takes a jibe at the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance in the state. “People who are contesting 37-38 seats are think of becoming prime minister,” he says.
8 pm: Goa BJP leader Sudhir Kandolkar, who resigned from the party earlier in the day, joins the Congress, ANI reports.
7.50 pm: Former Odisha Directorate General of Police Prakash Mishra joins BJP in the presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in Bhubaneswar, ANI reports. “Governance in the state has touched a new low. It is time to build a new Odisha by changing the government,” he says, according to PTI.
In July 2014, Mishra had been removed as the Odisha Police chief. A few months later, the police officer faced a vigilance case. In June 2015, the Orissa High Court, however, quashed the charges against him.
6.45 pm: Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hits out at the Congress for allegedly not respecting the armed forces. “None of their [Congress] alliance partners be it from the Communists to the regional parties who are their friends today could even say please don’t insult our armed forces,” Sitharaman alleges, according to PTI. “Today they shed crocodile tears for Pulwama.”
“The brave soldiers and air warriors go there to perform the task and not to take selfies. They don’t need to come and show you [evidence],” she says. “That’s not the business of a soldier. He goes, finishes his task and gets back in safety to his country.”
6.40 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claims that if BJP forms the next government, then Narendra Modi remain prime minister of the country forever as there will be no election after the 2019 polls. The Modi government is following German dictator “Adolf Hitler’s tactics”, he adds.
“Today, every patriot should have only one motive to stop the Modi government from coming back to power again at any cost,” says the AAP chief. “If they [BJP] come to power in 2019, he [Modi] will be the prime minister forever.”
6.26 pm: The Samajwadi Party releases its list of star campaigners for the second phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh to be held on April 18. Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav’s name is included in this list. His name was missing in the first star campaigners’ list.
6.24 pm: Janata Dal (Secular) MLA KM Shivalinge Gowda has reportedly asked people to “slap” those seeking votes for Narendra Modi. Speaking at a gathering on Friday in Karnataka’s Arasikere, Gowda said Modi had failed to bring back black money stashed abroad.
“You [Narendra Modi] had promised to bring back black money and give each one of us Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh,” Gowda said, according to PTI. “...Whenever you come across someone seeking votes by chanting Modi, Modi, give him a tight slap.”
The BJP has condemned the statement.
6.10 pm: The BJP releases its list of nine candidates from Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Telangana and Maharashtra.
5.30 pm: The Congress Central Election Committee announces its ninth list of candidates. Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, will contest from Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu. The former minister and his son are being investigated in the Aircel-Maxis case by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate.
Meanwhile, Tariq Anwar, former Nationalist Congress Party leader, will contest from Bihar’s Katihar constituency. Mohammad Javed will be the party’s candidate from Kishanganj, and Uday Singh alias Pappu Singh from Purnea.
5.15 pm: The BJP in Tripura has lodged a complaint with the state electoral officer against Congress President Rahul Gandhi for allegedly referring to BJP Chief Amit Shah as a “murder accused”, PTI reports. Gandhi has violated the Model Code of Conduct, says BJP Tripura spokesperson Ashok Sinha.
“A false case of murder was filed against Amit Shah during the Congress-led UPA regime, which was dismissed by the Supreme court in 2014 itself,” Sinha says. “Gandhi distorted facts for the sake of political mileage at a rally at Khumulwng.”
4.40 pm: UP Congress secretary Narendra Rathi tells ANI that Haryana folk singer and dancer Sapna Chaudhary filled the membership form on Saturday. “Her sister also joined the party yesterday, we have both of their forms,” he says.
Chaudhary, who was earlier in the day reported to have joined the Congress, denied reports saying she will not be campaigning for any party.
4.38 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath takes on the Congress after Priyanka Gandhi Vadra criticised the state government over alleged unpaid dues to the sugarcane farmers. “Where were the so-called well-wishers of the farmers from 2012 to 2017, when the farmers were on the brink of starvation. Why have they woken up from their slumber now?” Adityanath asks, according to PTI.
Adityanath claims the sugarcane cultivation area in the state has increased by 22% to 28 lakh hectare, and a number of closed sugar mills have been restarted.
4.34 pm: Union minister Jayant Sinha says the NDA government has turned Opposition’s “politics of destruction into politics of development” in the last five years, PTI reports. The minister of state for Civil Aviation said the Opposition parties have come together against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their “desperate attempt to grab power”.
“The Modi-led government has closed shops of the opposition parties during its tenure,” Sinha said while addressing BJP workers at the “Vijay Sankalp” event in Jharkhand’s East Singhbhum district. “They [opposition] are now forming an alliance out of fear of Modi, but the people of the country will give them a befitting reply.”
Sinha is contesting from Hazaribagh Lok Sabha seat in Jharkhand.
4.25 pm: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha Hemant Soren says his party will contest on four seats in the state, while the Congress will contest on seven seats. The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha will contest on two seats, he adds. “Talks are still going on with the Rashtriya Janata Dal, they have not yet agreed,” Soren says, according to ANI. “Everyone will support RJD in Palamu [Lok Sabha constituency seat].”
4 pm: Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Shailesh Kumar to contest from Bhagalpur, says party leader Ram Chandra Purve. Jayprakash Narayan Yadav will contest from Banka for the party, ANI reports.
The Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal have joined hands for the Lok Sabha elections in Bihar. Other parties that have joined the grand alliance or the mahagathbandhan in the state are Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha and Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insaan Party.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal, led by former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, will contest from 20 out of 40 seats in the state, while the Congress will contest from nine seats.
3.42 pm: Folk singer and dancer Sapna Chaudhary, who was earlier on Saturday reported to have joined the Congress, denies reports. “The photograph with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is old. I am not going to campaign for any political party,” ANI quotes her as saying.
3.10 pm: BJP leader Ram Madhav alleges that the Congress is “banking on lies” and Pakistan. “Ot might win elections in the neighbouring country if it contests there,” he says, according to PTI.
3.02 pm: Days after LK Advani was not named the party candidate from Gandhinagar seat in Gujarat, Union minister and BJP leader Uma Bharti says it is for the senior party leader to clear the air. Bharti praises Advani saying he played a central role in developing the party and bringing it to such a position that Narendra Modi is prime minister today. “The only person who should comment right now to clear the air, all these things- the mist around- is Advani ji,” she tells PTI.
Advani had been winning the Gandhinagar seat since 1998. The BJP has fielded party president Amit Shah from the seat this time.
2.50 pm: In Bihar, AAP has fielded Aleemuddin Ansari from Kishanganj and Satyendra Kumar from Bhagalpur. Raghunath Kumar will contest from Sitarmahi.
2.30 pm: BJP’s Karnataka unit president BS Yeddyurappa is optimistic that the party will perform well in states where it did not have much presence earlier. “There is a positive atmosphere across the country,” Yeddyurappa tells PTI. “Narendra Modi’s wave has only increased manifold compared to the last Lok Sabha elections. We are expecting to win seats from new territories like West Bengal, Odisha and other North-Eastern states. This would push BJP’s overall tally to 300 Lok Sabha seats.”
He also says that the party would open its account in Kerala, and improve its tally in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
2.26 pm: The Aam Aadmi Party releases its first list of candidates in Uttar Pradesh. Yogesh Dahiya will contest from Saharanpur parliamentary seat and Shweta Sharma has been fielded from Gautam Buddh Nagar. From Aligarh, Satish Chandra Sharma will contest for the party.
1.15 pm: With the BJP not fielding a candidate from Mandya, Karnataka, Sumalatha Ambareesh, wife of late politician and actor Ambareesh, appears to have the support of the BJP in the seat.
Sumalatha Ambareesh is standing as an independent candidate. Her late husband was a Congressman, but the Congress-JD(S) coalition has given the Mandya seat to another candidate.
According to NDTV, Sumalatha Ambareesh is backed by “some of the biggest stars of the Kannada industry”. “The support of the Kannada film industry really has given me a lot of courage,” NDTV quoted her as saying.
1 pm: Congress leader Kapil Sibal claims the “BJP has destroyed institutions”, PTI reports. “If we are not able to ensure victory of liberal forces, country will be in deep trouble,” he says.
12.45 pm: Priyanka Gandhi criticises the government on Twitter, saying the “chowkidars” or watchmen of the country – as BJP leaders are calling themselves – are only catering to the rich and not for the poor.
12 pm: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor says Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s influence in the party will grow in the long term. “She [Gandhi Vadra] is a very impressive lady, who speaks well, speaks with confidence, idiomatic and fluent Hindi,” PTI quoted him as saying. “She is very comfortable in public gaze and reminds a lot of people of her grandmother... That’s on the very upbeat side. Perhaps more modestly one should say, she is at the moment general secretary for one-half of Uttar Pradesh. And that’s going to be her karma-bhoomi.”
He added, “That’s where she will be working in the immediate prospect. But in long term I think her influence in the party is bound to grow and her popularity among the people has already been established.”
11.30 am: The Congress Working Committee will meet Monday at 11 am, reports ANI. This comes amid speculation that the party will tie up with the Aam Aadmi Party, and that Rahul Gandhi will contest from a second seat – Kerala’s Wayanad.
11.05 am: Haryanvi folk singer and dancer Sapna Choudhary joined the Congress in Delhi on Saturday, reports Hindustan Times.
10.37 am: Samajwadi Party releases list of star campaigners, reports ANI. Akhilesh Yadav, Ram Gopal Yadav, Azam Khan, Dimple Yadav and Jaya Bachchan are included in the list. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s name does not figure in this list.
10.28 am: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav will contest from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, reports ANI. Azam Khan has been fielded from Rampur.
Azamgarh is Mulayam Singh Yadav’s constituency.
10.23 am: All India Congress Committee General Secretary PC Chacko says a decision on alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party may be finalised on Sunday, reports The Indian Express.
9.35 am: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tweets a short video on how he thinks the BJP government has changed the concept of governance in the country.
9.30 am: After alliance talks reportedly failed in Bihar, former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar gets a seat from the Left parties in Begusarai. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) criticised opposition alliance for not allotting them any seats, NDTV reports.
Union minister Giriraj Singh will be the BJP-JD(U) alliance candidate from Begusarai.
9.05 am: Congress releases eighth list of 38 candidates. Senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Digvijaya Singh, Harish Rawat, Ashok Chavan to contest elections.
The party has announced names for seats in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
9 am: Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti announced that she will contest from Anantnag seat in Jammu and Kashmir.
8.55 am: The Kerala unit of the Congress asked party chief Rahul Gandhi to contest from Wayanad as his second seat.
8.50 am: The Election Commission issued an advisory to the media saying exit polls can only be telecast after the final phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections ends on May 19.
8.45 am: Here are the top updates from Saturday:
- The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party finalised its seat sharing deal in Maharashtra on Saturday, with the Congress getting 24 seats and the NCP 20.
- Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah said Congress president Rahul Gandhi owed an apology to the nation for Sam Pitroda’s remarks on the Balakot air strike.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it is “ironical and reprehensible” that parties that claim to be followers of socialist ideologue Ram Manohar Lohia are desperate to form an alliance with the Congress.
- The National Democratic Alliance announced the names of its candidates for 39 of the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar. BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad will contest from Shatrughan Sinha’s Patna Sahib constituency.
- BJP released its third list of candidates, spokesperson Sambit Patra will contest from Puri.
- Congress leaders Renuka Choudhary and Raj Babbar were named in party’s seventh list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections.
- Farmers from Tamil Nadu have announced plans to contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from his Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.