Election watch: BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi’s Kanpur seat goes to UP minister
The day’s Lok Sabha poll campaign updates, as they happened.
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The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday announced that Uttar Pradesh minister Satyadev Pachauri will be fielded from Kanpur constituency, which is currently held by party veteran Murli Manohar Joshi. Joshi had won the seat in 2014 by a huge margin.
The Congress on Tuesday said the minimum income scheme it announced was not a ‘top up scheme’ and described it as ‘woman-centric’.
10 pm: Here are the day’s top developments.
- The Bharatiya Janata Party released its tenth list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. Union minister Maneka Gandhi and her son Varun Gandhi will contest from each other’s constituencies in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Maneka Gandhi currently represents the Pilibhit constituency and Varun Gandhi is an MP from Sultanpur, but they have swapped their seats.
- Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi will not contest the Lok Sabha elections from his Kanpur constituency this time as the party named sitting MLA and state minister Satyadev Pachauri from the seat.
- Actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada joined the BJP on Tuesday, and was named the party’s candidate from Rampur constituency hours later. She was elected in 2004 and 2009 from Rampur on a Samajwadi Party ticket. She will now be contesting against Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan and the Congress’ Sanjay Kapoor.
- Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shatrughan Sinha is likely to join the Congress on March 28. Bihar Congress election campaign committee chairperson Akhilesh Prasad Singh said Sinha will get a Lok Sabha election ticket from the Patna Sahib constituency..
- The Bharatiya Janata Party has named lawyer and Yuva Morcha activist Tejasvi Surya its candidate for the prestigious Bangalore South seat in Karnataka. The seat was previously held by late Union minister Ananth Kumar.
- Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressed his party’s Jan Sankalp Rally in Rajasthan, and claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to create two Indias for the last five years. He said his party’s promised minimum income scheme will be a “surgical strike” on poverty.
7.50 pm: West Bengal minister Rabindranath Ghosh of the Trinamool Congress says he has written to the Election Commission to seek the arrest of Nisith Pramanik, who is the BJP’s candidate from the Coochbehar Lok Sabha seat, reports PTI. In his nomination papers, Pramanik has declared that he has 11 cases pending against him. He was earlier a Trinamool member.
7.49 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party leader AS Mottan joins the Congress in Jammu, reports PTI.
7.40 pm: The BJP’s Arjun Singh claims that about 100 Trinamool Congress legislators are ready to switch over to his party in West Bengal, reports the Hindustan Times. Singh had quit the Trinamool to join the BJP earlier this month, and is the party’s candidate from Barrackpore.
7.36 pm: In Mangaluru, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says the Congress is still relying on the “Garibi Hatao” slogan coined by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1971, as the party was unable to drive away poverty during its rule, reports PTI.
7.30 pm: Former BJP leaders Ghanshyam Tiwari and Surendra Goyal join the Congress in the presence of party chief Rahul Gandhi, ANI reports.
7.07 pm: Rebel Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shatrughan Sinha will join the Congress on March 28, PTI reports, citing Congress leader Akhilesh Prasad Singh. Sinha has been with the BJP for about three decades but has been critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah over the last few years.
“Shatrughan Sinha will join Congress in New Delhi on March 28 at 11.30 am. He will be our candidate from Patna Sahib,” Singh says. BJP earlier this week dropped Sinha, who is a two-term Lok Sabha MP from Patna Sahib, and instead fielded Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
7.04 pm: Congress’ Naresh N Maheswari will contest from Gujarat Kachchh constituencyand Dharmesh Bhimbhai Patel will fight from the Navsari seat. The party has fielded Sanjay Kapoor from Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, ANI reports.
7.02 pm: Samajwadi Party releases list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. Devendra Yadav will contest from Etah, Hemraj Verma from Pilibhit and Anand Sen from Faizabad.
6.54 pm: Several reports over the last few weeks have said the BJP is not giving tickets to politicians who are over 75 or 80 years of age. Murli Manohar Joshi, who lost the Kanpur seat on Tuesday, is 85.
6.42 pm: BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi’s Kanpur seat goes to Satyadev Pachauri. He is a Uttar Pradesh government minister, PTI reports. Earlier on Tuesday, reports emerged that Joshi had written to voters in Kanpur, his parliamentary seat, saying he has been benched.
In an undated letter, Joshi told voters of Kanpur that BJP’s National General Secretary (Organisation) Ramlal told him that he “should not contest the ensuing parliamentary election from Kanpur and elsewhere”. In 2014, Joshi had vacated his Varanasi seat for Modi and contested from Kanpur instead.
6.16 pm: Actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada will contest the elections from Rampur in Uttar Pradesh. She joined the Bharatiya Janata Party earlier on Tuesday. She was elected in 2004 and 2009 from Rampur on a Samajwadi Party ticket. She will now be contesting against Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan.
6.13 pm: Maneka Gandhi will contest from the Sultanpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh, while her son Varun Gandhi will fight from Pilibhit.
6.12 pm: BJP releases another list of candidates – 29 in Uttar Pradesh and 10 in West Bengal.
5.41 pm: “Just after the Congress comes to power, a minimum income line will be decided at Rs 12,000 per month,” Gandhi says. “Whoever is below this line, will get money in their account so that they are above this line. This is the Congress’ surgical strike on poverty.”
He says the minimum income scheme is not a free gift to the poor, it is justice, reports PTI.
5.30 pm: In a rally in Bundi, Rajasthan, Congress President Rahul Gandhi accuses Narendra Modi of opposing and weakening “all the schemes that helped the poor”. “He [Modi] referred to MNREGA as the worst scheme,” Gandhi claims. “He doesn’t understand that the MNREGA, food security and farm loan waiver schemes lifted 14 crore people out of poverty.”
5.26 pm: K Balakrishnan, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) secretary in Tamil Nadu, accuses the Election Commission of being a puppet in the hands of the ruling BJP, reports PTI. He claims cases were filed against Opposition parties for violating the code of conduct even if a candidate garlanded a statue.
Balakrishnan says his party will submit a memorandum to the chief electoral officer on the need to replace election officers who have worked for long in the same post.
5.10 pm: Ravinder Raina, the BJP chief in Jammu and Kashmir, claims over two lakh people will attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first rally in the state in Akhnoor on March 28, reports PTI. Jammu and Baramulla are among the constituencies that go to polls on April 11.
5 pm: Sheila Dikshit, the Congress Delhi chief, tells ANI that the decision on whether the party will ally with the Aam Aadmi Party will be taken by Rahul Gandhi. “When a decision will be taken then we will inform the media,” she says. “All will abide by what he [Rahul Gandhi] decides.”
4.18 pm: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah says he hopes that the new government at the Centre will be more receptive to peace talks with Pakistan. “One can only hope that in a post May 23rd India these steps will be reciprocated by the central government & we can move towards resuming the comprehensive dialogue between India & Pakistan,” Abdullah says.
4.13 pm: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan says the situation between India and Pakistan is not likely to improve till the Indian elections are over, Dawn reports. “The danger is not over,” he says. “The situation will remain tense till forthcoming general elections in India. We are already prepared to avert any aggression from India.” Khan adds that Narendra Modi was trying to cash in on the “anti-Pakistan narrative” during the election season.
4.07 pm: BJP leader Subash Chouhan resigns from party after he was denied ticket from the Bargarh Lok Sabha constituency, ANI reports.
3.51 pm: Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh declares movable and immovable assets worth Rs 16.61 crores in an affidavit, PTI reports. He filed his nomination papers at the Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh on Monday. Singh is the candidate for the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance.
The former Union minister declared moveable assets worth Rs 1,51,88,936 and immoveable properties worth Rs 15,09,36,666.
3.44 pm: Senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily says the Opposition parties will join hands after the Lok Sabha elections to form government, PTI reports. “Idea-wise, spirit-wise, they [opposition parties] are all united against [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi,” Moily says. “Common agenda is: he [Modi] should go.”
“There will be pre-poll alliance in some States, post-poll alliance in some other States. Such arrangement is not opposed to the principle of opposition unity,” he adds. “Common objective is to defeat BJP everywhere. There cannot be hard and fast rule in every State. It differs from State to State.”
3.37 pm: Telugu film actor Manchu Mohan Babu joins YSR Congress Party in Hyderabad.
3.35 pm: BJP releases list of 42 star campaigners for Bihar.
3.30 pm: Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit backs the party’s minimum income guarantee scheme. She says it is “the blueprint of a new India”.
3.10 pm: Sinha says the Congress’ scheme had rattled the BJP so much that they had called a press conference in a hurry to denounce the scheme as a bluff. “Would like to know from our learned friends / leadership – that when you announced various ‘jumlaas’....15 Lacs to every individual, farmers’ loan waivers & subsidies, more than 2 crore jobs for the youth every year, etc. etc...Was all this fair,” Shatrughan Sinha asked in another tweet.
3.08 pm: Rebel Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shatrughan Sinha on Tuesday praised the Congress’ minimum income guarantee scheme and called it a “masterstroke” by “master of situation” Rahul Gandhi.
2.58 pm: GoAir withdraws boarding passes that had photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, PTI reports. On Monday, Air India also rolled back similar passes amid concerns that they violated the Model Code of Conduct.
2.47 pm: A new PIL in the Bombay High Court seeks a stay on the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, News18 reports. The petition also wants the trailer of the movie to be removed from social media as it may influence voters. PM Narendra Modi will be released on April 5, a week before the elections begin on April 11. The last phase of the elections will be held on May 19 and the results will be declared on May 23.
A Congress delegation met Election Commission officials on Monday to seek the stalling of its release. Forty-seven retired civil servants on Tuesday urged the chief election commissioner to stall the release and pointed out that the release would be a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
2.42 pm: The Supreme Court refuses to direct the Election Commission to issue pressure cooker as the common election symbol to an unregistered outfit led by TTV Dhinakaran. It also asks the Election Commission to allot any one common or free symbol to the group’s candidates, adding that the winning candidates of Dhinakaran’s outfit will be treated as Independents for all practical purposes.
2.39 pm: National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah campaigns in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadap along with Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu.
2.37 pm: Communist Party of India member Kanhaiya Kumar compares Union minister Giriraj Singh’s alleged reluctance to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Bihar’s Begusarai to a child refusing to go to school because he has not completed his homework, PTI reports. “Watched the news on TV and learnt that the BJP minister known for sending off people to Pakistan on free of cost tours is not ready to come to Begusarai for contesting the polls,” Kumar says, without mentioning Singh’s name.
The union minister, who is currently a BJP MP from Nawada, is reportedly unhappy that his seat went to ally Lok Janshakti Party as part of the NDA’s seat sharing deal, and was asked to contest from Begusarai.
1.50 pm: Gandhi says the Congress will ensure poverty is eradicated and provide Rs 72,000 per year to the poorest under the minimum income scheme, reports The Indian Express.
“BJP government asks where will the money come from?” Gandhi says. “I won’t give crores to the rich but I will definitely help the poor reach the money like we waived off farm loan in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.”
1.46 pm: Gandhi says: “How many [chowkidar] are there at Anil Ambani’s home? There is a queue of chowkidar there. Narendra Modi did not tell you that he is not yours, but chowkidaar of people like Anil Ambani and Nirav Modi.”
1.44 pm: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi criticises Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “He [Modi] says ‘main chowkidar hoon’ [I am chowkidar],” ANI quotes Gandhi as saying in Rajasthan. “He didn’t say whose chowkidar he is? Have you seen a chowkidar at a farmer’s home? Have you seen a chowkidar at home of an unemployed youth? Have you seen a chowkidar at the home of Anil Ambani?”
Modi often refers to himself as “chowkidar” or watchman.
1.40 pm: Aam Aadmi Party announces candidates for eight of 13 seats in Punjab, reports The Times of India. Manish Sisodia, who is in charge of the party’s Punjab unit, says AAP was preparing to contest all seats alone.
1.34 pm: Former Lok Sabha MP Jaya Prada joins BJP. She says she is honoured to work under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.
1.08 pm: Actress and former MP Jaya Prada to join BJP, reports ANI.
1.06 pm: Kejriwal says the elders who built the home are now being thrown out. “One who can’t be loyal to his elders, who will he be loyal to? Is this the Indian tradition?” he says. “Hinduism doesn’t ask us to insult our elders. People of the country are discussing why Modi ji is insulting [LK] Advani, [Murli Manohar] Joshi and Sushma [Swaraj]?”
The BJP has fielded party president Amit Shah from LK Advani’s Gandhinagar seat in Gujarat.
1.02 pm: Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal responds to reports of veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi not contesting the elections. “The way Modi ji has insulted his elders —Advani ji and Murli Manohar Joshi ji — is completely against the Hindu traditions,” Kejriwal says on Twitter. “Hinduism teaches us to respect our elders.”
Joshi reportedly told voters in his Kanpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh that the party has asked him to not contest the elections.
12.50 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav says Nishad Party and Janvadi Party (Socialist) are a part of the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance in Uttar Pradesh, reports ANI.
12.47 pm: The Supreme Court refuses to direct the Election Commission to issue common symbol “pressure cooker” to the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam led by TTV Dhinakaran, reports ANI. The court, however, asks the poll body to give the outfit a common election symbol from among the free symbols available.
The top court says if a candidate of the outfit is elected, he or she will be treated as independent candidates. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi says its order asking the poll body to consider granting a common election symbol would not amount to granting recognition to his outfit as a political group, reports PTI.
12.40 pm: Directorate of Investigation of Income Tax Department, North-East region, seized over Rs 1.5 crore in cash over the past week, reports ANI.
12.34 pm: Union minister Rajnath Singh says “chowkidar is not a thief”, reports ANI. Prime Minister Narendra Modi often refers to himself as “chowkidar” or watchman.
“Chowkidar is pure,” he says. “It is sure that chowkidar will become PM again, it is the cure for the country’s problems”.
12.26 pm: 28-year-old Tejasvi Surya, who is BJP’s candidate from Bengaluru South, says BJP is the only party that recognises the potential of karyakartas, reports ANI.
On contesting from former Union minister Ananth Kumar’s seat, Surya says Kumar’s wife, Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, has given her blessings and has instructed karyakartas who were expecting her to be fielded from the seat to respect the party’s decision.
12.23 pm: Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, who is the wife of BJP leader and Union minister Ananth Kumar, says she stands with the party’s decision to field 28-year-old Tejasvi Surya from Bengaluru South seat, reports ANI.
“It’s shocking [but] I stand with the party’s decision,” she says. Let’s not start asking questions. If we have to contribute to the country then we have to work for Modi Ji.” Bengaluru South seat was held by her husband till his death in November 2018.
Also read: BJP fields 28-year-old lawyer from key Bangalore South seat that was held by Ananth Kumar
11.45 am: The BJP expels IP Singh for six years after he dubbed the party’s top leadership as “Gujarati thugs”.
11.38 am: Forty-seven retired civil servants urge chief election commissioner to stall the release of biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi till May 23. “It is necessary to examine whether the release of this biopic after the announcement of elections and the coming into force of the MCC [Model Code of Conduct] is consonant with the principles of a free and fair election,” they say in a letter to the poll panel chief Sunil Arora.
PM Narendra Modi will be released on April 5, less than a week before the elections begin on April 11.
11.29 am: Congress releases its list of star campaigners for the first and second phase of elections in Maharashtra.
11.10 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government’s priority has been people like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, Surjewala says. He was reacting to a survey by the Association for Democratic Reforms that said voters were disappointed with the government’s performance on matters like jobs, healthcare and drinking water in the last five years. The voters who were surveyed gave the government an average of 2.15-2.55 out of 5.
11.03 am: On speculation over Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from a southern seat, Surjewala says, “As and when there is an update, I will let you know.”
10.59 am: “The scheme will be implemented in cities and rural areas...This is the world’s biggest scheme for eradicating poverty,” Surjewala says.
10.55 am: Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala says the party’s minimum income scheme is not a “a top-up scheme”. “Poorest 20% families will get Rs 72,000 every year...there was some confusion over this yesterday,” he says.
No other scheme will be stopped, Surjewala says. “This scheme is women-centric as the amount will be deposited to the account of the woman of the family,” he adds.
10.30 am: Opposition leaders Farooq Abdullah, HD Devegowda and Mamata Banerjee are among those who will join a campaign rally for Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in Kurnool today, reports News18. Arvind Kejriwal, Sharad Pawar and Tejashwi Yadav are also expected to attend.
9.40 am: Union minister Nitin Gadkari says the BJP and its allies would win over 300 Lok Sabha seats in the elections. “The BJP would get at least 270 seats in the coming elections alone while our Sena-BJP alliance in Maharashtra would get around 40 seats out of 48,” he tells Hindustan Times.
He says this year he will win from Nagpur seat with five lakh margin. The Congress has fielded Nana Patole from the seat.
9.20 am: National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah criticises the BJP over Pulwama attack. “Before that strike in Balakot, it was temple, temple, temple. Who is talking of Ram today?” Abdullah says, according to ANI. “What they’re selling to people is that here is a man who is like Hanuman who can beat Pakistan. Has he beaten Pakistan? I don’t think so.”
He further says: “If 300 people have died [in Balakot air strike], would there not be an international cry as to what has happened? And anybody who questions this, he is anti-national, he is a Pakistani.”
9 am: BJP releases list of star campaigners for UP ahead of the elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Uma Bharti feature on the list of 40 star campaigners, ANI reports. LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi are missing from the list.
8.45 am: Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan says he will campaign for the Trinamool Congress in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
8.40 am: Here are the top updates from Monday:
- The Congress urged the EC to stop the release of the biopic on Narendra Modi ahead of elections, said the film was politically motivated.
- The Congress promised Rs 72,000 a year for the poor as part of its minimum income scheme. The scheme, which the Congress promised to launch if it comes to power, will be called ‘Nyoonatam Aay Yojana’. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called it a “bluff announcement”.
- The Supreme Court asked the Election Commission if it can increase the number of VVPAT machines. It asked the poll body to affidavit on whether they can increase the sample survey from one voting station in each Assembly segment in the polls.
- Former Prime Minister HD Devegowda filed his nomination for the Tumkur Lok Sabha constituency despite fissures in the coalition in the state.
- Milind Deora replaced Sanjay Nirupam as the chief of the Mumbai Congress, amid reports of infighting.
- Om Prakash Rajbhar of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party gave the BJP 24 hours to decide on the number of seats his party will contest as part of the alliance in the Lok Sabha polls.