10.25 pm: The Election Commission says more than 2.25 lakh banners have been removed all over Delhi while 74 FIRs and complaints have been registered for violation of Model Code of Conduct, PTI reports.

10.15 pm: All India United Democratic Front chief Badruddin Ajmal files nomination papers for the Dhubri Lok Sabha seat, PTI reports. In 2014, Ajmal had won from the seat with a margin of 3.63 lakh votes. The three-phase voting in Assam will take place on April 11, 18 and 23.

9.52 pm: NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar has sought time till April 5 from the Election Commission to respond to a show cause notice issued to him for his remarks against the Congress’ minimum guarantee scheme, PTI reports. Kumar was asked to respond to the notice by Thursday evening.

9.30 pm: Congress leader Divya Spandana writes to the Election Commission against social media pages that allegedly entice voters to vote for Modi with “free gifts such as badges, bags, t-shirts, phone covers”. “The gifts are also available for sale” online, she writes in her letter, adding that this amounts to bribery.

8.40 pm: DMK chief MK Stalin says Modi visits Tamil Nadu only during elections. “Narendra Modi came to Madurai a few weeks back just for the sake of elections,” Stalin says, according to The Indian Express. “He is being hailed as the AIIMS hero, but he hasn’t done anything. He just laid the foundation stone, his government hasn’t allocated any funds. How can they build the institute without funds?”

8.30 pm: Hours after announcing that he will soon join the Congress, rebel BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha tweets, “Painfully....on the way out of BJP....But hopefully in the best direction under the dynamic leadership of my dear friend Lalu Yadav and the desirable, most talked about leader from the Nehru Gandhi family... the true family of nation builders.”

8.28 pm: Posters against Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were seen in Uttar Pradesh’s Raebareli, which is her mother Sonia Gandhi’s parliamentary constituency.

8.23 pm: HD Devegowda says the BJP tried to persuade Karnataka Chief Minsiter Kumaraswamy to form government with the support of BJP, ANI reports. “Before the election they extended huge money for the expenditure of JD(S), they tried to persuade him to meet them in Mumbai where money was kept but Kumaraswamy refused to budge,” Devegowda tells ANI.

7.10 pm: Former Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Laxman Seth joins Congress along with his supporters, PTI quotes West Bengal Congress unit chief Somen Mitra as saying. Seth is being fielded from his home turf of Tamluk constituency.

7.05 pm: A Kerala court orders judicial remand of BJP candidate from Kozhikode constituency Prakash Babu fo a period of 14 days in connection with the violence that broke out at Sabarimala last year. Babu, Kerala president of the BJP’s youth wing, is accused of attacking a woman devotee visiting the temple.

6.59 pm: The National Commission for Women serves notice to Samajwadi Party leader Firoz Khan over his derogatory remarks about former party colleague Jaya Prada, who joined the BJP earlier this week, ANI reports.

6.49 pm: Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tej Pratap Yadav resigns as chief of the party’s student wing. “Those who consider me naive are naive themselves...I know who has what standing in the party,” he says on Twitter.

6.30 pm: Bihar’s BJP unit chief Nityanand Rai allegedly gets mobbed and heckled by supporters of a party rebel Ashok Kumar Agarwal, PTI reports. The rebel leader, a BJP MLC, has filed nomination as an Independent candidate from Katihar Lok Sabha constituency, though the seat has been allotted to NDA ally Janata Dal (United).

Rai was heckled outside Agarwal’s home after he tried to persuade him to withdraw his nomination.

6.26 pm: Congress workers in Dhaurahra in Uttar Pradesh staged a demonstration demanding that Jitin Prasada be given ticket from the constituency, ANI reports. “I have worked for 15 years with the people of Dhaurahra, this is a deep and unbreakable relation,” Prasad says. “Respecting the feeling of the people and workers, I will talk with the leadership and insist.”

5.53 pm: The prime minister claims that the Congress, National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party are responsible for the situation in Jammu and Kashmir at present. “These parties are responsible for the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits,” Modi alleges. “They are also responsible for the poison of terrorism which has spread in Kashmir.”

Modi says that supporters of terrorism will pay for their anti-India activities, irrespective of whether they operate from within the country’s borders or from outside.

5.45 pm: Narendra Modi is now addressing a rally in Jammu’s Akhnoor. “Those who run terror factories across the border are afraid today,” he claimed according to a tweet by BJP. “For the first time, terrorists who cross the border to attack India reconsider their plans.”

5.35 pm: “I have come here to make an appeal to the people of Andhra Pradesh that they should vote for Chandrababu Naidu,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says in Vijayawada, ANI reports.

5.30 pm: Rahul Gandhi claims new entrepreneurs will get easy access to credit if the Congress comes to power, PTI reports. “New ventures by youth will not require any permission to operate for three years,” he tells the agency.

5.17 pm: The Nationalist Congress Party says it will contest on all 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, ANI reports.

5 pm: “Congress party’s Sam Pitroda wanted us to engage in dialogue with Pakistan,” Amit Shah claims in Assam. “We will not tolerate terrorism of any kind in the country. The opposition that doesn’t have a PM candidate or a policy can’t develop the country or work for the welfare of the people.” He says the BJP-led alliance will win 14 seats in the state.

4.50 pm: The Samajwadi Party releases a list of five candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh. Its leader Nasir Qureshi will contest from Moradabad, Bhagwat Sharan Gangwar from Bareily, Pooja Pal from Unnao, Shyam Sunder Yadav from Jhansi and Nathuni Prasad Kushwaha from Kushinagar.

4.41 pm: Several Congress leaders from Bihar have alleged that the party is not getting a fair deal in seat-sharing talks in the Opposition’s grand alliance, PTI reports.

“It is indeed very demoralising for the entire party, not just the prospective candidate, if one does not get a chance to contest one’s sitting seat,” Congress leader and former cricketer Kirti Azad says. “I would urge the top Congress leadership to think clearly and take some decisive steps.”

“A strong message must be sent that we are no pushovers,” Supaul MP Ranjeet Ranjan says. Congress state unit Working President Kaukab Qadri also alleges that the party is getting a raw deal. “We were deprived of a chance to contest Aurangabad, which was given to a nondescript outfit like the Hindustani Awami Morcha,” he says.

The Congress will contest nine out of the 40 seats in Bihar, the Rashtriya Janata Dal 20. A number of smaller parties will contest the remaining seats.

4.23 pm: Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala demands an apology from Modi for comparing Opposition parties to alcohol, PTI reports. “You should apologise to the country as you have insulted the poor by comparing opposition political parties to liquor,” he says. “Don’t make fun of the poor, the country will not forgive you. You have lowered political discourse in the country.”

4.21 pm: Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Girinath Singh joins BJP in the presence of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, ANI reports.

4.16 pm: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) releases its election manifesto at its headquarters in Delhi, The Hindu reports. The manifesto, released by party general secretary Sitaram Yechury, promises right to free healthcare, right to work, a universal public distribution system and 33% reservations for women in Parliament and state Assemblies.

4.13 pm: “If Modiji is elected again, we will ensure that every infiltrator is removed from Assam,” Shah adds. “Modi government allocated Rs 2.94 lakh crore for the development of Assam.”

4.06 pm: “Congress cannot protect the border of India, only BJP and Modi can,” Amit Shah says in Assam, PTI reports. “India has become the third country after the US and Israel to take revenge for their soldiers’ blood.”

4 pm: The Biju Janata Dal has written to the chief electoral officer of Bhubaneswar demanding action against BJP for alleged violation of Model Code of Conduct, ANI reports. The party claims that the BJP carried out surrogate advertising through a television serial, in which the characters talk about Atal Pension Yojana.

3.54 pm: BJP chief Amit Shah claims at a rally in Kalibor in Assam that the Congress settled “illegal immigrants” inside Kaziranga National Park, but the saffron party’s government in the state dared to evict them, PTI reports.

3.50 pm: Shatrughan Sinha meets Congress President Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi, ANI reports. “Whatever the situation, I will contest from that constituency only,” Sinha says when asked if he will be a candidate from Patna Sahib.

Shaktisinh Gohil, who is in charge of the Congress campaign in Bihar, says Sinha will formally join the party on April 6.

3.45 pm: National Conference leader Javed Ahmad Rana has said he would like to imprison Narendra Modi for “murdering” Kashmiris, ANI reports. Rana made the remark at a rally in Poonch on Wednesday.

3.42 pm: Shia Waqf Board chief Wasim Rizvi has been booked for describing Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi as “beautiful”, and saying that she should do films. “She is a beautiful lady. If she had come earlier, I’d cast her as a Muslim woman who is the wife of Jafar Khan in my film Ram Janmabhoomi,” Rizvi said on Wednesday, News18 reports.

3.40 pm: At a rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut earlier in the day, Modi has alleged that it did not take the Opposition long to go from UP ke do ladke (Congress-Samajwadi Party alliance) to Bua Babua (Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party tie-up). He has advised people to keep away from SaRaB (an acronym for Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party, which also means alcohol in Hindi), the Hindustan Times reports.

3.31 pm: BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha tells reporters he will join the Congress soon. “Joining will happen soon, we will give you a positive news during Navaratri,” he says. “I will join Congress now.”Sinha has been very critical of the BJP and Modi in the recent past.

3.22 pm: We have filed our detailed response to the show cause notice received from the Election Commission,” Vivek Oberoi’s lawyer Hitesh Jain tells reporters, ANI reports. “We have submitted that biopic ‘PM Narendra Modi’ is not in violation of model code of conduct.”

3.16 pm: Meanwhile, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tells PTI that the Nyootama Aay Yojana of the Congress has “thrown the BJP into disarray”. “What the PM has done over the past five years is to remove all money from the economy with failed policies like demonetisation and a poorly executed Gabbar Singh Tax [Goods and Services Tax],” he says. “The aim of the ‘Nyay’ scheme is two-fold. First is to guarantee a minimum income to the bottom 20 per cent families. The second is to remonetise the economy that has been demonetised by Modi.”

3.10 pm: “Every vote you cast will be in the name of development, for your trust in the chowkidar,” Modi says. “When you press the lotus button [lotus is the BJP’s election symbol], the vote will go straight to Modi.”

3.08 pm: Modi alleges that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government sat on the Rafale deal, eyeing kickbacks, PTI reports. He says the Congress was more focused on commissions from defence deals.

3.05 pm: “On one side, you see a decisive government, on the other, a party that failed to take decisions for decades,” Modi says. “On one side, [we uphold] Indian traditions while on the other, they indulge in nepotism and corruption.”

2.58 pm: The prime minister alleges that the Congress betrayed ex-servicemen for years. He says that while the Congress allocated only Rs 500 crore for the One Rank One Pension scheme, and kept it in limbo for years, the Bharatiya Janata Party government provided Rs 35,000 crore to ex-servicemen.

“I will provide an account of all that I have done for you,” Modi tells the audience. “I will also take account of the actions of others. The chowkidar is never unjust.”

2.50 pm: Modi alleges that the Congress high command does not want him to talk about the Indian Air Force’s strikes on Pakistan’s Balakot, or about national security. “Should Modi stay quiet, should he bow to terrorists’ threats?” he asks. “Will the people of India forgive those who make anti-national remarks in order to please Pakistan?”

2.45 pm: Modi claims that the “Congress culture” of corruption scandals had destroyed Uttarakhand and spoilt its image. “When you gave the chowkidar a chance to serve Uttarakhand, I tried to bring development to every nook and corner of the state. But in the first three years, the Congress government here tried to create hurdles in my work.”

2.41 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims in Uttarakhand’s Rudrapur that the Opposition has been insulting the Indian Army, and trying to humiliate jawans, BJP’s Twitter handle reports.

2.33 pm: Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi and the producer of the PM Narendra Modi movie, Sandeep Singh, arrive at the Election Commission office in New Delhi, ANI reports. The film stars Oberoi in the lead role as the prime minister.

1.56 pm: Janata Dal (Secular) leader Madhu Bangarappa says the BJP is trying to play a “political game” reports ANI. Bangarappa was responding to the ongoing raids at the homes of Karnataka Minor Irrigation Minister CS Puttaraju and his relatives in Karnataka.

“CM [HD Kumaraswamy] had already spoke about this, because he got inputs from intelligence department,” says Bangarappa. “BJP is trying to play political game. Why no raids at BJP leaders’ houses? I-T raids are common, but I am questioning their timing.”

1.49 pm: Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Raut, who is the brother of party MP Sanjay Raut, says he will contest from from Mumbai North East constituency even if BJP MP Kirit Somaiya is fielded from the seat, reports ANI. “I’ll go independent if needed but will contest against Somaiya,” he says. “I’m 100% sure.”

The Shiv Sena is an ally of the BJP in the Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections.

1.40 pm: Surjewala says it seems like Prime Minister Narendra Modi is setting a stage for his entry into films after getting defeated in the upcoming elections.

1.34 pm: “It is unfortunate that when we speak of ‘NYAY’ [scheme], Mr. Modi mocks the poor of the country,” says Surjewala. “Previously he had mocked the poor of the country during demonetisation, this shows his true character.” Surjewala says it is unacceptable that Modi is opposed to the scheme.

1.32 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala says Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a promise in Meerut in February 2017 to pay the sugarcane farmers within 14 days. “Even today, sugarcane farmers across India are still owed Rs 20,000 cr [crore], approx Rs 10,000 cr [crore] in UP alone,” he says.

1.20 pm: Congress leader RK Anand says a decision on BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha joining the Congress will be taken after 2 pm, reports ANI. Anand says there are no fights on Sinha joining the party or his seat. “Adjustments are happening,” says Anand.

1.15 pm: Harinder Singh Khalsa, who was suspended from the Aam Aadmi Party, joins BJP in the presence of Union minister Arun Jaitley, reports ANI. Khalsa was elected from Fatehgarh Sahib seat in Punjab on an AAP ticket in 2014, but he was suspended from the party a year later.

1.12 pm: The Election Commission tells the Supreme Court that it will hold bye-elections for three vacant Assembly seats – Tiruparankundram, Ottapidaram and Aravakurichi – in Tamil Nadu within a reasonable time, reports PTI. The court was hearing a plea filed by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam seeking a direction to the poll body to conduct the bye-polls to the three seats.

The Election Commission had earlier told the court that the bye-polls for three seats were not announced as some election petitions were pending in the Madras High Court.

1.10 pm: Modi criticises Samajwadi Party and its alliance with Mayawati. “The people who ‘behenji’ [Mayawati] spent two decades trying to imprison, have now become her allies,” Modi says. “Those who wanted to finish her in a guest house [in 1995] have now become her allies.”

1.04 pm: Modi says the Congress has been talking about “gareebi hatao” or remove poverty from the time of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. “Though there is a lot still to be done, we have taken few initiatives to eradicate poverty and have already implemented them,” he says, according to NDTV. “More needs to be done, but at least now you know who has done and who have mislead you in the past.”

Modi says the Congress should be eliminated from all parts of the country to get rid of poverty in India.

Also read: ‘I have the guts to conduct surgical strikes on land, in the air and in space’, says PM Modi in UP

12.59 pm: “For me India is before anything else,” says Modi. “The Opposition ignored our achievement in space. I suspect their intelligence,” Hindustan Times quotes him as saying.

12.56 pm: On Mission Shakti, Modi says scientists had been demanding that tests to shoot down a satellite in space be conducted, but the government led by the United Progressive Alliance postponed it. “To make the India of 21st century strong [and] for its security, this decision should have been taken long ago,” ANI quotes him as saying. “But it kept getting delayed.”

On Wednesday, Modi had announced that India had shot down a live satellite in space and earned a place among global space powers.

12.53 pm: The prime minister takes a dig at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi who mocked Modi for announcing the success of Mission Shakti on World Theatre Day. “There are some people who got confused when I spoke about the ASAT [Anti-Satellite Missile] and thought I was talking about a theatre set,” he says, according to ANI. “Now, should we cry for or laugh at such brilliant people, who don’t know the difference between a theatre seat and ASAT.”

12.50 pm: Modi asks if women felt safe under the previous governments. “Did they do anything to ensure better safety for you?” he asks. “There is fear among goons in Uttar Pradesh,” Modi says. “Those who assault your daughters are scared. Because we implemented the death penalty [for rape].”

12.47 pm: Modi says the Opposition is a coming together of “mahamilawati” or adulterated people. “If they get a chance, India will be taken back by many years,” he says, according to Hindustan Times. “The Opposition is trying to be popular in Pakistan. Does the public want India’s hero or Pakistan’s?”

12.35 pm: “On one side there is a strong chowkidar, on the other a line of tainted people,” Modi says. “Lok Sabha elections will be a fight between a decisive government and indecisive past,” he says, according to The Indian Express.

12.30 pm: Modi says: “You know that I am a chowkidar [watchman] and chowkidar doesn’t let there be injustice. Everyone will be held accountable, one by one. In next few days, I will keep details of what I did. But I will also ask that when people entrusted you with responsibility, why did you betray them?”

12.28 pm: Modi says people have made up their minds on who to vote for in 2019, reports The Indian Express. “Five years ago, when I sought your blessings, you gave me a lot of love,” he says, according to ANI. “I had said that I will return the blessings [and] the love with interest, [and] I had also said that I will give account of the work that I have done.”

12.25 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says be it land, air or space, his government has shown its mettle. “We showed the courage to carry out surgical strikes,” he says in Meerut, according to Hindustan Times.

11.39 am: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy says Narendra Modi’s “real surgical strike” is out in the open through Income Tax department raids. He is referring to ongoing raids at several places belonging to Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) leaders or their associates in Karnataka. Income tax officials and CRPF personnel are allegedly searching the the homes of Karnataka Minor Irrigation Minister CS Puttaraju in Mandya and his nephew in Mysuru, according to PTI.

11.33 am: Owaisi claims the BJP is desperate and is trying to make national security a poll narrative, in an effort to hide its failures. “There was surgical strike, then Balakote air strike and now anti-satellite missile test (Mission Shakti) – the poll narrative is changing everyday. All these are signs of desperation to win this election” Owaisi says.

“You will hear how PM’s poll narrative will change going forward,” Owaisi adds. “Modi will warm up in the first phase and the debate will heat up from the second phase till the festival of Ramadan. But people will not fall for his gimmicks.”

11.32 am: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi claims there is no Modi wave this time. “Unlike 2014, there is no Modi wave this time,” Owaisi tells PTI. “It is an open election and there will be a fight on every seat, including Hyderabad.”

11.30 am: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi predicts a non-BJP and non-Congress Front will form the government at the Centre, PTI reports. He adds that a regional leader will emerge as the prime minister.

11.25 am: Karnataka Congress asks its leaders to withdraw their nominations from the Tumkur Lok Sabha seat, reports PTI. Former Prime Minister HD Devegowda has filed his nomination from the seat as a joint Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) candidate. But incumbent legislator SP Muddahanumegowda and Tumkur Congress leader KN Rajanna, upset that the seat was snatched from the Congress, also filed their nomination papers from the seat.

Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao says he is confident that things will be fine as he is talking to Muddahanumegowda and Rajanna, who have said they will abide by the party’s stand.

11.17 am: The Jammu and Kashmir Police advises Lok Sabha candidates to not hold any roadshows during campaigning and seek clearance to move around, IANS reports. “The advisory asks the Lok Sabha candidates to move about in various districts only after informing the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned in advance,” an official says. “The venue for a public rally in the district must also be chosen after consultation with the DM and the SSP concerned.”

11.14 am: The National People’s Party in Meghalaya alleges that its candidate for the bye-election in Aonglenden, O Tinu Longkumer, has been missing since Tuesday, according to The New Indian Express. “I would like to state that our NPP candidate O Tinu Longkumer for Aonglenden by-election has been missing since March 26,” the party’s Mokokchung district unit president Bendang Jamir says. “I request you to kindly look into the matter as we fear that he might have been abducted.”

The police, however, claim Longkumer is safe. “We formed a SIT [special investigation team] immediately after receiving the complaint and it soon managed to reach him. He said he is safe and healthy and that he was not abducted,” Mokokchung Superintendent of Police Raguramarajan says.

11.07 am: The Delhi Chief Electoral Office issues showcause notice to the BJP’s National Election Committee member Neeraj for using a video clip called “Main Bhi Chowkidar” on social media, which depicted Army personnel, The Indian Express reports. The Media Certification & Monitoring Committee issued the notice on March 26.

11.02 am: Karnataka Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao claims there is no Modi wave in the country, reports The Indian Express. “The atmosphere is changing and there is an undercurrent building up against Modi,” Rao tells the daily in an interview. “They have been relying on false propaganda and were trying to use the Pulwama incident to create hyper-nationalism. People are now starting to think what has he actually done. There is also anti-incumbency against their MPs…We don’t see a Modi wave either. I see the wave only on television and social media.”

10.59 am: The YSR Congress Party has said it will file a defamation case against National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah for alleging that its chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had offered to pay a bribe if he was made the chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh, PTI reports.

“Jagan once came to my house when AP was united. I want to remind him that he told me he was ready to give Rs 1,500 crore if Congress made him the Chief Minister,” Abdullah had said at a campaign meeting in Kadapa on Tuesday. He was campaigning for the Telugu Desam Party.

YSR Congress’ General Secretary Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy said Abdullah claimed this on the directions of TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu. “We are sending him a defamation notice for making baseless allegations against our leader Jagan,” he said.

10.49 am: A group of Muslim women from 10 states release a list of demands for the government that comes up at the Centre after the Lok Sabha elections, PTI reports. Their demands include a law against mob lynching, restoration of the constitutional rights of minorities and women, creation of a diversity index to determine the extent of the under-representation of Muslims as well as 10% reservation for Muslims in higher education and government jobs. The manifesto also sought the introduction of a communal violence bill, gender-laws, the repeal of restrictions places on slaughtering and sale of cows, and the withdrawal of the National Register of Citizens in Assam.

Also read: Muslim women release manifesto for parties, demand law against mob lynching

10.43 am: Former RBI Governor Rajan also said that he was willing to return to India if there was opportunity to be of use, News18 reports. Rajan is currently the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in the United States.

Also read: Raghuram Rajan says he advised Congress leadership on minimum income guarantee scheme

10.42 am: Raghuram Rajan adds that the Bharatiya Janata Party, through its cash transfers to small farmers, and the Congress, through its NYAY scheme promise, have shown that cash transfers are the way forward to alleviate poverty.

10.40 am: Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan confirms that he had advised the Congress leadership on the minimum income guarantee scheme or NYAY scheme. Rajan says the Nyoontama Aay Yojana is well worth an idea and that it should be made more than just a handout. “It has to be a way of creating a platform for them to become regular contributors of the workforce,” he says. Rajan adds that the scheme, which promises Rs 72,000 per annum to the poorest 20% families of the country, is doable.

10.39 am: The Election Commission has come up with several measures to encourage migrant Kashmiris to vote in the upcoming elections, PTI reports. Kashmiri migrants whose names are registered in parliamentary constituencies of Baramulla, Anantnag and Srinagar can cast their votes at polling stations that will be set up for them in Delhi, Jammu or Udhampur, an EC notification says. Kashmiris living in other parts of the country can use the postal ballot system, the panel adds.

10.23 am: All-women polling booths will be set up in every parliamentary constituency in Maharashtra during the upcoming elections, PTI reports. “All those deployed at such polling stations – police, election officers and other employees – will be women,” a statement by the state election officer says. “These booths, an initiative towards gender equality and involving women’s participation in the electoral process, will be called as ‘Sakhi Matdan Kendras’.”

10.20 am: A case has been filed against YSR Congress Party leader V Vijaysai Reddy for allegedly levelling false allegations against three police officers, ANI reports. The officials – Intelligence Director General AB Venkateswara Rao, Kadapa Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma and Srikakulam SP Venkata Ratnam – were transferred by the Election Commission after the YSR Congress alleged that they were working for the ruling Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh.

9.30 am: What to expect later today:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address rallies in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu.
  • Reports say the Samajwadi Party will release its manifesto.
  • According to News18, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will be in Bihar to finalise alliance details.

8.52 am: Union minister Nitin Gadkari says Congress workers have told him that he will win the Lok Sabha elections and that they support him. “They [Congress workers] say that physically they might be campaigning for Congress but mentally they are with me,” Gadkari says, according to ANI.

Gadkari will contest from the Nagpur seat in Maharashtra.

8.48 am: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to release party’s manifesto on April 2 at the party’s headquarters, reports ANI.

8.30 am: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra says she will contest 2019 elections if her party asks her to.

8.25 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee responds to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s criticism. “A small boy had said something,” ANI quotes her as saying. “I will not comment on that.”

At a rally in Malda last week, Gandhi had accused Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not fulfilling their promises.

Read more: ‘He’s just a kid’: Mamata Banerjee dismisses Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of her government

8.20 am: Here are the top updates from Wednesday:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a televised speech to the nation to announce that India had shot down a live satellite in space as part of an operation called Mission Shakti.
  • Opposition leaders criticised the government for the manner of the announcement as it comes just two weeks before the Lok Sabha elections begin.
  • The Election Commission said it has set up a panel to examine the allegation that Modi violated the Model Code of Conduct.
  • Actress Urmila Matondkar joined the Congress in the presence of the party President Rahul Gandhi.
  • The Trinamool Congress released its election manifesto. The party promised an investigation into the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes if the Opposition alliance comes to power.
  • The Election Commission filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, saying that the introduction of electoral bonds and the removal of the cap on corporate funding by the Narendra Modi-led government will have a “serious impact” on the transparency of political funding.