10.30 pm: Here are the day’s top updates:

  • The Congress released its manifesto on Tuesday. It promised 34 lakh government jobs, income support and universal healthcare. BJP leader Arun Jaitley alleged that some ideas presented in the manifesto were ‘positively dangerous’. BJP’s Sushma Swaraj and Amit Shah also criticised the Congress party.
  • The Election Commission pulled up the aviation and railways ministries over alleged code of conduct violations. The poll body called their approach towards enforcing the poll code ‘lackadaisical’. 
  • The CPI (M) complained to the poll panel that Modi is trying to rouse communal passions
  • Former Navy chief Admiral L Ramdas said he will approach the EC against Adityanath’s remark calling Army ‘Modiji ki Sena’.
  • Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah told off Gautam Gambhir after he commented on the National Conference leader’s remark calling for a separate prime minister for the state. Abdullah told the cricketer to stick to what he knows about and ‘tweet about IPL’.
  • An Election Commission squad seized copies of a book on Rafale deal in Chennai, according to several reports. But the poll body said it had not ordered any action against the book and ordered an inquiry.
  • Muslims won’t get BJP tickets in Karnataka because they don’t trust us, claimed senior  leader KS Eshwarappa. He also said the Congress only uses Muslims as a vote bank and does not give them tickets either.
  • In an alleged effort to pacify her supporters, former minister Ananth Kumar’s wife Tejaswini– who was denied a Lok Sabha ticket from his Bengalaru South constituency – was made the state BJP vice president.
  • The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused an urgent hearing of Congress leader Hardik Patel’s plea challenging the Gujarat High Court’s refusal to stay his conviction in a 2015 rioting case. Patel will not be allowed to contest the Lok Sabha elections. 

9.54 pm: BJP leaders Amit Shah, BS Yeddyurappa, Tejaswini Ananth Kumar and Tejasvi Surya hold a rally in Bengaluru South. Surya is the candidate from the parliamentary seat.

9.52 pm: BJP releases candidates for Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat’s Mahesana and Surat constituencies, and Kerala’s Thrissur.

9.42 pm: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi of lying him about Centre’s fund allocation to the state, PTI reports. KCR says Modi’s campaign speech was “below the level of sarpanch” and refutes claims that he has ambitions for the prime minister’s post.

9.30 pm: BJP President Amit Shah claims the Congress’ manifesto is a “pack of lies” that insults Indian soldiers, PTI reports.

8.03 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says there are two kinds of people who have a problem with chowkidar. “One type includes mahamilawati [adulterated] and the second includes all those who sponsor terrorists,” he says in Gaya, according to ANI

7.58 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says his party is open to forging alliances across the country and was “very flexible” on the issue, reports PTI. “There is no confusion on this,” he says. “The situation is actually very clear on this issue. We have constructed alliances. We have been open to construct alliances and we have done it across the country.”

Gandhi’s statement comes at a time when there is uncertainty over a possible alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi.

7.36 pm: Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) says it will not contest the elections, reports PTI. “We will support the Bahujan Samaj Party,” says Jogi. “We want the BSP, which is a national party, to field candidates in all 11 seats.” The BSP has announced candidates for nine of the 11 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

7.24 pm: Basu says there has been a “blatant attempt by Modi to rouse communal passions by implicitly referring to the outcome in a NIA court, by equating the accused to the entire Hindu community in an election meeting in Wardha”.

An NIA court had recently acquitted Aseemanand and three others in the 2007 Samjhauta Express train blast case. Modi had criticised the Congress for using the term “Hindu terror”, alleging that the Opposition party had conspired to defame Hindus before the entire world.

7.18 pm: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) writes to the Election Commission on “brazen violation” of the Model Code of Conduct by the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. CPI (M) leader Nilotpal Basu questions Modi’s televised address on Mission Shakti. “The fundamental question was whether the Prime Minister, who is also a candidate of the BJP, can use the office and the prerogatives to try and influence for the sake of electoral benefit?” he says in the letter.

7.11 pm: BJP chief Amit Shah says Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and United Progressive Alliance have fielded the “most scandalous candidates” like A Raja, Kanimozhi and Karti Chidambaram. “The corrupt UPA who looted the hard earned money of India with the scams of 12 lakh crore has no right to ask for votes,” he says in Coimbatore.

6.57 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will form the government again, reports PTI. Addressing a rally in Bihar’s Gaya, he says the countrymen and Indians abroad are blessing the chowkidar.

6.53 pm: Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tej Pratap Yadav gives his brother, Tejashwi Yadav, two days time to decide whether two of his candidates would be made the party’s nominee from Sheohar and Jehanabad, reports Hindustan Times. “I have told my brother to take a decision within next two days...” he says. “After the deadline, I will take my own decision. My brother has assured me he would talk on the matter.”

Tej Pratap Yadav had resigned from the student wing of his party last week, amid reports of tensions within the Yadav family over ticket distribution for the elections in Bihar.

6.41 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins addressing a rally in Gaya in Bihar, reports News18. “I am sure the confidence that you have shown in our government in the last five years will be manifested on 11th April,” he says.

6.36 pm: BJP appoints former Union Minister Ananth Kumar’s widow Tejaswini its vice president in Karnataka. The move is seen as an attempt to placate her supporters after she was denied a ticket for the Lok Sabha elections from the Bangalore South constituency, which was represented by her husband.

Read more: Ex-minister Ananth Kumar’s wife, who was denied Lok Sabha ticket, made BJP vice president

6.33 pm: Biju Janata Dal releases list of nine candidates – two for Lok Sabha elections and seven for Legislative Assembly polls, reports ANI.

6.30 pm: Biju Janata Dal leader Samsit Patra files complaint before the Election Commission. He says the BJP did not get a pre-certification from the poll body to use a mobile number through which voters can listen to the prime minister’s address in Odisha, reports ANI.

6.25 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticises Opposition parties for seeking proof of military operations against terror camps while addressing his first rally in Bihar. He says they appear to be spokespersons for Pakistan more than political parties representing India, reports PTI.

Modi says the electorate must decide if they want “madadgars” or helpers of Pakistan to be in power. He claims that whenever the Congress has come to power in the country, whether on its own or heading an alliance, governance has gone into reverse gear. “Growth rate has dropped while there has been a surge in terrorist activities, violence and accumulation of black money,” he says.

6.19 pm: Janata Dal (Secular) supremo HD Deve Gowda says accuses Narendra Modi of wanting to make India a “Hindu rashtra”. “Modi has the idea, to make this entire country a Hindu Rashtra,” he says, according to PTI. “Am I not a Hindu? Am I a Muslim or Christian or Buddhist? We take all religions into confidence.”

6.15 pm: Union minister Arun Jaitley says the Congress manifesto undermines national security and has “sham and bluff promises”. “2019 Congress Manifesto is a Charter to Weaken India,” he says. “After reading Congress Manifesto my worst fears have come true.”

6.10 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the Congress plotted conspiracies to defeat BR Ambedkar, reports ANI. It is important that youth of today knows about these facts,” he says in Jamui, Bihar.

On reservations, Modi says: “I want people of Bihar to give a befitting reply to those who are spreading rumours about reservations. Be it Modi or anyone else, no one can remove reservations.”

6.04 pm: Shah says the BJP government launched an air strike to destroy terror launch pads in Pakistan and avenged the killing of troopers who were killed in the Pulwama terror attack. “We secured India by carrying out air strikes and on the other hand, Congress and DMK leaders want us to engage in peaceful talks with Pakistan,” he says.

6 pm: BJP chief Amit Shah criticises National Conference leader Omar Abdullah for his statement that Jammu and Kashmir should have a separate prime minister. “How can there be two Prime Ministers in one country?” he asks while addressing a rally in Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu. “Is Kashmir not an integral part of India? Congress should clarify their stand on this.”

5.55 pm: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi says his party contests the polls based on its performance and not the demographic composition of a constituency, reports PTI. He was alluding to the debate over the demographic composition in Kerala’s Wayanad from where Congress president Rahul Gandhi is contesting the Lok Sabha polls.

“Majlis contests its elections on its record of five years, not the demographics of Varanasi or Wayanad,” says Owaisi.

5.47 pm: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray says his party’s alliance with the BJP will remain strong if they are honest with each other, reports Hindustan Times. Thackeray says he does not regret taking on the BJP while being a part of the ruling National Democratic Alliance.

“We will not betray you, you shouldn’t betray us,” he says in an interview to the Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna. He says the Shiv Sena and BJP are bound by Hindutva and the two parties decided to enter into a pre-poll alliance after overcoming differences.

5.43 pm: Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan says he is not willing to contest the general elections, reports Hindustan Times. “It is my view that I should not contest the [Lok Sabha] election,” he says. “It has been just four months since I contested the state Assembly elections. Now there’s an election again. What is the necessity for me to contest it?”

5.39 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath terms Congress manifesto a “bundle of lies”, reports PTI. “...the party [Congress] has expressed its failure over 55 years in its 55-page manifesto,” he says.

He says the Opposition is making negative statements on the Pulwama terror attack and Balakot air strike. “Pakistan is drawing advantage from such remarks by presenting them at the international level in its favour,” he says. Adityanath says Prime Minister Narendra Modi has adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism.

5.36 pm: On Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, Chidambaram says the Congress manifesto proposed to amend the law. “We have only asked to remove immunity in cases of enforced disappearance, sexual violence and torture,” he says. “We understand that the armed forces need to be protected but human rights also need to be upheld.”

5.34 pm: Former Union minister P Chidambaram defends Congress’s promise to omit the sedition law. “Sedition is a colonial era law,” he says, according to The Indian Express. “The sedition law today is outdated. Many leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru has said that it should go. It has become redundant.”

5.30 pm: The Election Commission writes to the secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation and chairman of Railway Board in connection with photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on rail tickets and Air India boarding passes after the Model Code of Conduct was enforced, reports ANI. The poll body wrote to the officers over “non-compliance of lawful instructions and lackadaisical approach towards enforcing the model code of conduct.”

5.25 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee will launch their election campaign in West Bengal on Wednesday, reports PTI. Modi will address a rally at Siliguri, while Banerjee will hold her first public meeting for the Lok Sabha elections at Dinhata.

5.22 pm: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray says parties that fight elections on the plank of anti-national agenda should not be allowed to contest polls, reports News18. “Whose government does Congress want to be, of the anti-nationals’ or of nationals’? Thankfully, the agenda has shown Congress’ true face,” he says.

5.17 pm: Shah says the National Democratic Alliance will win over 30 seats in Tamil Nadu.

5.14 pm: BJP chief Amit Shah cities from the Congress manifesto, saying the party has announced that everyone should get bail and no one should be put in jail, reports News18. “Probably, it’s meant for Karti Chidambaram,” he says in Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu

5.08 pm: Seven BJP and two Congress candidates in Gujarat file nominations, reports PTI. Of the 26 seats, the BJP has till now declared candidates for 23 while the Congress is yet to name nominees for 12. The last date to file nominations is April 4. Gujarat will go to polls on April 23.

5.02 pm: Editor of Bharathi Publications, Pa.Ku. Rajan, says the book on the Rafale deal is based on information available in the public domain, reports ANI. “We’ve published many books on elections,” he says. “Don’t know why suddenly it has become objectionable to [the] EC [and] government? We can’t even sell the book at our bookshop.”

4.52 pm: The Election Commission of India reportedly stays the launch of a book on the Rafale defence deal authored by S Vijayan, citing the Model Code of Conduct. Titled Rafale: A Scam That Rocked the Nation, the book was to be launched by journalist N Ram at an event in Chennai on Tuesday.

Read more here

Election Commission blocks launch of book on Rafale deal citing Model Code of Conduct: Reports

4.40 pm: At a rally in Bihar’s Jamui, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says terrorism, prices, violence, corruption, black money all rose when the Congress was in power. “The country’s prosperity, credibility has also declined,” Modi says. He adds that no party has neglected BR Ambedkar more than the Congress.

4.37 pm: Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram defends his party’s manifesto. “The Congress party has the capacity to implement this manifesto in the next five years. We think our economy will be stronger, our polity will be stronger,” he says, according to News18.

4.28 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi will file his nomination from the Parliamentary constituency of Wayanad on April 4, reports ANI. His sister and Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will accompany him.

4.26 pm: Congress names Babi Bagkar its candidate for Mandrem (Goa) legislative assembly bye-election and Atal Shukla to contest the bye-polls from Nighasan legislative assembly seat.

4.18 pm: Jaitley says the Congress’ leadership is under the control of jihadists and Maoists. “They are saying in the manifesto that Section 124-A will be removed from IPC, committing treason is no longer a crime. The party that makes such announcements is not entitled to a single vote,” he says.

Read more: Some ideas presented in Congress manifesto are ‘positively dangerous’, says Arun Jaitley

4.08 pm: “The manifesto of the Congress says that those who make promises, also ensure they are fulfilled. In this manifesto, there are things which are going to break the country and are against the unity of the country. They are moving on the agenda of the Nehru-Gandhi family’s historic blunder about Jammu and Kashmir,” says Jaitley.

4 pm: Jaitley says Congress’ manifesto has been prepared by the “tukde tukde gang”.

3.59 pm: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says some points in the Congress’ manifesto are against the unity of the country. “Congress is attempting to further its agenda – one which the country will never forgive them for,” he says.

3.57 pm: Congress leader Francisco Sardinha and Aam Aadmi Party’s Elvis Gomes file their nominations for the South Goa Lok Sabha seat, reports PTI. “The people of South Goa are looking for a change and there is already a “Congress wave”,” says Sardinha.

3.35 pm: BJP President Amit Shah accuses all Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders of corruption. He says the people of the country want Modiji to be the prime minister. “I want to assure the CM of Tamil Nadu that the new government of NDA will do everything in its capacity to support the state and help it develop,” says Shah. “Tamil Nadu was given only Rs 94,000 crore in the 13th Finance Commission by the UPA. However, in the 14th Finance Commission, NDA allocated whopping Rs 5.42 lakh crore. I request people to vote for the NDA candidate and help us form a strong government under the leadership of Modiji.”

3.30 pm: In his poll affidavit, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav declares total property worth Rs 16.52 crore, reports PTI. This is Rs 3.20 crore less than the assets declared by him in 2014. His affidavit also mentions that he owes Rs 2.13 crore to his son Akhilesh Yadav.

3.23 pm: BJP President Amit Shah says the NDA alliance in Tamil Nadu will win more than 30 seats. “We did not have any MP from Kerala, but now we have four Rajya Sabha MPs from Kerala. Thus, we have given representation to South India,” Shah says at a rally in Tuticorin. The BJP has joined hands with AIADMK for the upcoming Lok Sabha election in Tamil Nadu. There are altogether 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu.

3.10 pm: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan says the Congress manifesto is progressive and pragmatic.

3.06 pm: Tejashwini, wife of late Union minister Ananth Kumar, is appointed the vice president of the BJP’s Karnataka unit, reports ANI.

3.05 pm: Nationalist Congress Party legislator Majeed Memon calls the Congress’ manifesto progressive. “[The] Manifesto is promising and seeks to undo wrongs committed by the erstwhile government,” he says.

2.59 pm: Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant says the Congress first has to come to power and then only it can implement the many schemes promised in its manifesto. “I don’t think there are remote chances of Congress coming to power,” Sawant says, according to News18. “They formed a big alliance and then the alliance parties left them. They are not coming to power and therefore they are making promises. How many years Congress ruled this country? They had opportunities to do all this. Garabi Hatao was their slogan. What has happened, has poverty been removed from this country?”

2.55 pm: Omar Abdullah asks Gautam Gambhir to tweet about stuff he knows after cricketer-turned-politician criticised him for his “separate PM for J&K” remark. “Gautam, I never played much cricket because I knew I wasn’t very good at it. You don’t know very much about J&K, it’s history or the role of Jammu Kashmir National Conference in shaping that history yet you insist on displaying that ignorance for all to see. Stick to stuff you know about, tweet about the IPL.”

Read more here

‘Tweet about IPL’: Omar Abdullah tells off Gautam Gambhir for commenting on Kashmir PM remark

2.51 pm: Union minister Shripad Naik says the BJP has incorporated inputs that late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar gave for its poll campaign in Goa. Naik is contesting from the North Goa Lok Sabha seat. “We are certainly going to miss Parrikar’s presence in the poll campaign,” Naik tells PTI. “This time also, before his death he had participated in the meetings and given valuable suggestions which are incorporated in the poll campaign.”

2.45 pm: “The Bofors scam during the Congress regime and the Rafale scam during the BJP regime shows that both these parties do not have any interest in strengthening our security forces,” Mayawati says while addressing a rally in Bhubaneshwar.

2.39 pm: BSP Chief Mayawati attacks both the BJP and the Congress. “[The] Congress was involved in Bofors and now [the] BJP govt is involved in Rafale,” she says at an election rally in Odisha’s Bhubaneshwar.

2.33 pm: Promising to reconstitute the National Integration Council, the Congress says it will promote communal harmony.

2.31 pm: The Congress has promised to remove the anomalies in the implementation of the One Rank One Pension scheme.

2.29 pm: The Congress in its poll manifesto says it will set up National Counter-terrorism Centre within three months of coming to power and make NATGRID operational by December 2019.

2.27 pm: The Congress says it will increase the budget for defence to meet the needs of the armed forces.

2.25 pm: The party also promises to set up a separate ministry of fisheries.

2.24 pm: In its manifesto, the Congress promises to allocate 2% of the GDP to science and technology.

2.23 pm: The Congress says it will set up state-and-regional-level institutions to provide bank credits to MSMEs.

2.21 pm: BSP chief Mayawati launches campaign from Bhubaneswar in Odisha, reports NDTV.

2.19 pm: The Congress says it will replace GST with GST 2.0 that will levy a single moderate and standard rate of tax on all goods and services.

2.16 pm: In its manifesto, the Congress promises to “put an end to the tax terrorism unleashed by the BJP government”. The party says it will enact Direct Taxes Code within one year of coming to power.

2.10 pm: Stating that the Congress’ goal is that “No Indian Family Shall Be Left Behind”, the party says it will appoint an independent panel of economists, social scientists and statisticians to oversee the testing and roll-out of its NYAY scheme.

2 pm: Besides promising to present a separate farmers’ budget, the Congress says it will form a national commission consisting of farmers, agricultural scientists and economists to advise the government on how to make agriculture viable and remunerative. It also promises to waive all outstanding farm loans.

1.57 pm: Among rural development promises, the Congress says it will launch MGNREGA 3.0 to address issues of water scarcity, soil quality and similar issues that aggravate farmers’ distress.

1.55 pm: The party pledged to increase the share of India’s manufacturing sector from the current 16% of GDP to 25% within five years. “Congress promises to do a quick review of the rules and regulations made by the BJP government in the last five years and repeal as many of them as are necessary to free industry and business from the ‘Control Raj’,” it says in its manifesto.

1.47 pm: The Congress promises to end mob violence and lynching, and prevent hate crimes and atrocities against Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, minorities and women The party pledges to implement the Forest Rights Act.

1.46 pm: The party promises an action agenda to fight for environmental protection, against global warming and strengthen the National Clean Air Programme. It also promises to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha,

1.45 pm: Promising to amened the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, the Congress says it will strike a balance between the powers of security forces and the human rights of citizens.

1.43 pm: In its manifesto, the Congress has promised to omit Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code that defines the offence of sedition “that has been misused...and has become redundant”. It also promised to amend the laws that allow for detention without trial, and pass a law to prohibit the use of third-degree methods during custory or interrogation.

1.05 pm: On contesting from Kerala’s Wayanad seat, Gandhi says: “There is a feeling in South India that they are not being carried by the government. South India feels hostility from Narendra Modi, they feel they are not being included in the decisions of the country. I want to send a message to them that we are with you and I am standing with you. That is the reason for me contesting from Kerala.”

1 pm: “Our flagship idea, NYAY, will reach out to every poor person in the country...it is a very inclusive manifesto,” Gandhi says. “The manifesto has your ‘Mann Ki Baat’, not our ‘Mann Ki Baat’.”

12.56 pm: There is an economic emergency in the country following demonetisation and “Gabbar Singh Tax”, Rahul Gandhi says, referring to the Goods and Services Tax. There is a need to jump start the economy, he adds.

12.55 pm: When asked about being the Congress party’s prime ministerial candidate, Rahul Gandhi quips, “The people of the country will decide that.”

12.50 pm: The Congress president claims the BJP has spread hate in the last five years. The casualties of terrorism is going up, he says. “So, national security will be our prime focus,” he adds.

12.48 pm: The Congress proposes to present a separate farmers’ budget. “Businessmen take loans and then flee the country...But when a farmer takes a loan and is unable to repay, he is charged with criminal offence. But we have decided to consider it as a civil offence and not criminal one,” Rahul Gandhi says.

12.46 pm: The Congress president hits out at Narendra Modi over employment. “22 lakh government jobs are vacant, which the Congress will fill up till March 2020, 10 lakh can be employed in gram panchayat,” Rahul Gandhi says. Entrepreneurs will be exempt from any regulatory permission seeking process for the first three years if the Congress is voted to power, he adds.

12.45 pm: The prime minister had promised to deposit Rs 15 lakh in everyone’s account, which was a lie, says Rahul Gandhi. “I asked the manifesto committee how much can the government deposit in the accounts of the poor families, I was told Rs 72,000,” he says, referring to the party’s promise of NYAY scheme for minimum income guarantee

12.42 pm: Rahul Gandhi says the manifesto is a massive step for the Congress party, adding that the preparation for the manifesto a year ago. “We have been hearing a large number of lies spoken everyday by our prime minister,” Rahul Gandhi says, adding that the manifesto has only truth in it.

12.40 pm: Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram and other Congress leaders unveil the manifesto titled “Hum Nibhayenge” (We will deliver).

12.30 pm: The BJP is trying to seize the narrative of the elections to what they had tried five years ago – the narrative of polarisation, hyper-nationalism and divisiveness, says Chidambaram.

“The real issues are employment, farmer distress, women and their security, among other issues,” he adds.

12.25 pm: Chairman of the Congress manifesto committee P Chidambaram says the contents of the manifesto are the “millions of voices” the party leaders heard during the preparation of it. Chidambaram, a former Union minister, said there is enough in the manifesto that addresses the concerns of our farmers, women, youth, Dalit, minorities, industry, small and medium enterprises, those who are concerned with the state of our education, healthcare, workers, concerns about internal and national security, foreign policy, the North East, Jammu and Kashmir.

12.18 pm: The Congress is expected to release party manifesto for Lok Sabha elections shortly.

12.05 pm: All the work done in Odisha is not because of Modi, the PM says. “Modi is just a ‘Sewak’ [servant]. It is India’s voters who have made this happen,” he adds.

12 pm: Addressing a public meeting in Odisha’s Kalahandi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he has worked diligently in the last five years without taking a single leave to bring transformation to the country. “It was possible because people supported me. The credit for the transformation in the country goes to the people of the country,” Modi says.

The prime minister says 70 years after Independence, 3,000 villages got electricity for the first time in India. “In the last five years, 8 lakh poor families have been given houses in Odisha. More than 24 lakh free electricity connections have been given,” he adds.

11.36 am: Bhalchandra Mungekar, a member of Congress’ manifesto committee, says the party has included an investigation into Rafale jet deal in their manifesto, ANI reports.

11.33 am: Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and former Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan has said that his description of Congress President Rahul Gandhi as “Amul Baby” was still relevant as he fails to understand political situations. Achuthanandan had coined the term for Gandhi in 2011.

11.25 am: Mumbai district election officer has issued a notice to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct over his comments against Communist Party of India’s Begusarai candidate Kanhaiya Kumar, Mumbai Mirror reports. In the Sena mouthpiece Saamana on Sunday, Raut had said that the BJP should ensure that Kumar should be defeated in the elections even at the cost of tampering with the EVMs.

10.45 am: The Supreme Court denies urgent hearing of plea by Congress’ Hardik Patel against his conviction in a rioting case, reports News18. Patel has not been allowed to contest the elections due to his conviction.

Read more here: Supreme Court refuses urgent hearing of Hardik Patel’s plea in 2015 rioting case

10.32 am: Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court justifying the money spent in installing statues of herself and elephants – her party’s symbol – in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida and Lucknow. It was the will of the people, Mayawati says, according to ANI.

In February, the Supreme Court had observed that prima facie it seemed that Mayawati needed to pay back the money that was spent on the installations. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, said this was a tentative view and that the matter will be taken up for final hearing on April 2.

Read more here: In Supreme Court, Mayawati justifies expenses incurred in building statues

10.28 am: Rahul Gandhi calls for a meeting to discuss the alliance matter in Delhi at 10:30 am on Tuesday, reports say. Congress Delhi in-charge PC Chacko and Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dixit will be present at the meeting.

10.25 am: Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Maulana Jameel joins the Congress. The politician says he left Bahujan Samaj Party as he felt only the Congress could defeat the BJP in the elections, News18 reports. Jameel was elected on a BSP ticket from Meerapur assembly constituency in 2012.

9.48 am: BJP leader KS Eshwarappa says in Karnataka’s Koppal town that the party does not give tickets to Muslims because the community does not believe in the party, ANI reports. “Believe us and we’ll give you tickets and other things,” he adds. Eshwarappa tells members of Kuruba and minority communities that the Congress is merely using them as a vote bank.

9.43 am: Former NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Arvind Panagariya says Congress’ Nyuntam Aay Yojana will involve an expenditure of Rs 3.6 lakh crore, which is 13% of the Centre’s total budget, ANI reports. “No one has given details as to how Rs 3.6 lakh crore will be arranged for the scheme,” he says. “It’s more than our defence budget. Fiscal situation is always tight, it’s almost impossible to take out 13% of the budget.”

9.20 am: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati will address a public rally at Baramunda Ground in Bhubaneswar later on Tuesday, ANI reports.

8.50 am: The Congress has said that its candidate for the Jaipur Rural constituency will be Olympian discus thrower Krishna Poonia, PTI reports. Poonia is the MLA from the Sadulpur constituency in Rajasthan. She will contest against Union minister and Olympic medallist Rajyavardhan Rathore, who is the Jaipur Rural MP.

8.47 am: Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda has said that the Opposition has to convince people that it can provide a stable government, The Hindu reports. In an interview with The Hindu, Deve Gowda has said the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) combine in Karnataka will raise issues of unemployment, rural distress, destabilising constitutional institutions, misuse of offices.

8.45 am: Rahul Gandhi has said that the “No 1 job” is to defeat Modi, PTI reports. He has added that a post poll alliance of Opposition parties is definitely possible, as these parties are united in defeating the BJP in national interest.

8.42 am: Just one Bahujan Samaj Party candidate has filed his nomination for the Lok Sabha polls in Gujarat so far, The Indian Express reports. Tribhovandas Vaghela has filed his nomination from the Ahmedabad (West) constituency on Monday.

The Bahujan Samaj Party, which has said it will contest all 26 seats in the state, is yet to declare its list of candidates. The deadline for filing nominations is April 4.

8.35 am: The Congress will release its manifesto for the 2019 General Elections on Tuesday, PTI reports. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has said that the manifesto will reflect the people’s voice and not just one man’s view, in a clear reference to Modi.

8.30 am: The Congress has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise for hurting the sentiments of the people of Wayanad, ANI reports. Modi has claimed that Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was contesting from the constituency because the party is scared of the majority seats.

“Without understanding the cultural legacy and demography of Wayanad, the prime minister was making a communal and divisive statement,” Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal says. He adds that Modi’s remarks not only hurt the people of Wayanad but insulted the freedom movement, as a Hindu king, Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja, had fought the British from there in the 18th century.

8.27 am: Here are the top updates from Monday:

  • Over 200 Indian writers have issued an appeal to Indians to vote out hate politics in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and vote for a “diverse and equal India”.
  • The Election Commission sought a report after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath called the Indian Army “Modiji ki Sena” or the army of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally. Adityanath has been criticised by both Opposition leaders and defence personnel for what he said.
  • The BJP announced that Thushar Vellappally of the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena will be the National Democratic Alliance’s candidate from Wayanad constituency in Kerala. Vellapally is up against Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
  • Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tej Pratap Yadav launched the ‘Lalu Rabri Morcha’ amid reports of a rift in the party.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked National Conference leader Omar Abdullah for his statement that Jammu and Kashmir should have a separate prime minister, and asked the Congress and grand Opposition alliance to clarify their stance. Modi, meanwhile, claimed the Congress branded peace-loving Hindus as terrorists, and Amit Shah alleged that the Opposition party was trying to defame Hindus by linking them with terrorism.
  • The Aam Aadmi Party complained to the EC against a new 24-hour television channel, NaMo TV, which covers Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaigns live. The High Courts of Delhi and Bombay, meanwhile, dismissed separate petitions that sought a stay on the release of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is expected to release on April 5.
  • Newly-inducted Congress leader Hardik Patel moved the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the Gujarat High Court’s refusal to stay his conviction in a 2015 rioting case.