11 pm: The Election Commission asks Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath to be careful in his political speeches after he referred to the Army as “Modiji ki Sena”. The poll body says it is not satisfied with Adityanath’s response to the notice sent to him.

9.52 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President MK Stalin claims that Narendra Modi has been “rattled” by the Congress’ poll manifesto, PTI reports. That is why Modi is making false poll promises, Stalin alleges.

9.50 pm: The Election Commission has advised Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath to be more careful in his reference to the Indian Army in his poll campaign, The Indian Express reports. Adityanath had referred to the Army as “Modiji ki Sena” in a speech in Ghaziabad on April 1.

9.47 pm: The poll panel has allowed chief ministers, cabinet ministers, MPs, MLAs and other politicians to participate in functions to mark the centenary of the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre on April 19, PTI reports. However, Punjab Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju said that the ministers and lawmakers must confine themselves to “extolling the achievements of the martyrs, glory of the Indian state and so on”. “Under no circumstances, it should become a platform for political campaign/ political mileage,” he adds.

9.39 pm: The Election Commission removes Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Anil Chandra Punetha and appoints LV Subramanyam, the senior-most Indian Administrative Service officer, in his place. The poll body says that the Andhra Pradesh government should comply with the order by 11 am on Saturday.

The Election Commission had earlier this week pulled up Punetha for defying its orders to transfer three IAS officers.

9.06 pm: The Election Commission tells Niti Aayog Vice Chairperson Rajiv Kumar in a letter that it was not satisfied with his explanation about his criticism of the Congress’ Nyuntam Aay Yojana. The poll body says his remarks were a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and asks him to exercise caution in future.

8.09 pm: The Congress names Manoj Kumar Yadav as its candidate from Chatra constituency in Jharkhand, ANI reports.

7.55 pm: The biopic PM Narendra Modi will now be released on April 11, the first date of elections, according to a new poster tweeted by the film’s producers.

The film was earlier scheduled to be released on April 5.

7.50 pm: “What Advani ji has said has been the BJP’s clear policy,” says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, referring to LK Advani’s blog post. “We never considered [political rivals] anti-nationals. When Venkaiah ji, Rajnath ji and Advani ji were [party] presidents, this statement was given time and again.”

7.47 pm: In a tweet, Congress leader Ahmed Patel tweets about the allegations made against him in the AgustaWestland case, saying a thief sees in thief in everyone.

7.45 pm: The Bharatiya Tribal Party has fielded candidates in seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Gujarat, PTI reports. The party was formed by MLA Chhotu Vasava ahead of the 2017 Assembly elections, which it contested in alliance with the Congress. The party will contest the elections alone this time.

7.23 pm: Speaking in Nagpur, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati claims the RSS and the BJP do not want the poor of the country to progress, PTI reports.

“The BJP government makes it policies on instructions from the RSS which controls it from Nagpur,” she says. “These people do not want the poor to progress. They want to implement old systems and continue to keep the poor in a helpless condition.”

7.08 pm: In Goa, election authorities have seized liquor, drugs, cash and other items worth Rs 3.84 crore since the model code of conduct was imposed on March 10, PTI reports.

6.55 pm: The Election Commission says four people travelling in a car were detained with Rs 12 lakh in cash early on Friday in Mumbai’s Sewri area, reports PTI.

6.35 pm: On being asked about Modi’s allegation in connection with the AgustaWestland case, Ahmed Patel accuses the prime minister of indulging in “gutter-level politics”. He tells ANI that Modi speaks as if a village head is speaking or someone is doing “municipality politics” in a village.

Speaking in Dehradun, Modi had cited an Enforcement Directorate chargesheet to make allegations of corruption against Congress leaders. The ED had told a court on Thursday that Christian Michel, the alleged middleman, had identified abbreviations like “AP’’ as Ahmed Patel and “Fam’’ as “Family”.

6.12 pm: Kachera village near Noida, which had been adopted by Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma, has turned against him, PTI reports. A sign board in the village declares that no Bharatiya Janata Party leader is allowed in the area.

Kachera is part of the Gautam Budh Nagar Lok Sabha constituency, which is represented by Sharma in Parliament.

Also read: UP village adopted by BJP’s Mahesh Sharma turns against him, says no party leader welcome

6.08 pm: Velji Rathod, whose son was killed in police firing in Gujarat in 2012, has filed his nomination from the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat, where BJP has fielded Amit Shah, reports PTI. His son Mehul Rathod was among three Dalit youths who died when police opened fire to control clashes between members of Dalit and Bharwad communities.

“We have been fighting for the last six years to seek justice for my son and two other victims of police excesses, but till date the culprits have not been punished,” says Rathod. “No chargesheet has been filed against the accused police officers.”

6.03 pm: Amit Shah says Rahul Gandhi now “sees the entire humankind as full of hate, except himself of course”. The BJP president tweets this while sharing Gandhi’s post in which he said, “Hatred is cowardice”.

“Fine example of arrogance and delusion,” says Shah.

5.50 pm: The BJP’s list of star campaigners for Gujarat has the name of actor Vivek Oberoi, who plays Modi in an upcoming biopic, NDTV reports.

5.34 pm: “For 10 years, the Congress was in power. In those 10 years, anyone from Pakistan would enter the country and behead our soldiers, but they didn’t do anything,” says Shah. “When we carried out air strikes across the border, the entire country was happy and celebrated. However, only Pakistan and Congress were unhappy due to this action.”

5.31 pm: In Morigaon, Assam, BJP chief Amit Shah calls former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “Mauni [silent] baba”. “Rahul baba gives loud speeches, he should first give an account of the 10 years of the Congress in power,” Shah says.

5.22 pm: The Congress says that the Enforcement Directorate’s chargesheet in the AgustaWestland case is a “cheap election stunt” to divert attention from the “imminent defeat” of the Modi government, PTI reports.

5.20 pm: The Congress files a complaint with the Election Commission against Pratima Bhowmik, the BJP candidate for West Tripura constituency, PTI reports. The party claims she violated the model code of conduct by making statements about the Indian Army and the Balakot airstrikes.

4.58 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says Modi’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” initiative is a flop and it has not provided any real help to the girl child, PTI reports. She says her state government’s Kanyashree scheme for girls has won a UN award.

4.55 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy accuses Congress of conspiring to defeat his son in Mandya constituency, PTI reports. He claims that the Congress and the BJP are colluding to support Sumalatha, the independent candidate from the seat.

4.54 pm: In Goa, the Shiv Sena decides to not contest the North Goa constituency and focus only on the South Goa seat, PTI reports. The party’s state unit Vice President Rakhi Prabhudesai Naik has filed her nomination from South Goa.

4.33 pm: Modi cites an Enforcement Directorate chargesheet in the AgustaWestland scam to make allegations of corruption against Congress leaders. The ED had told a court on Thursday that Christian Michel James, the alleged middleman arrested in the case, had identified abbreviations like “AP’’ as Ahmed Patel and “Fam’’ as “Family”.

He also criticises the Congress’ manifesto, and says the party’s promises have made the “tukde tukde gang” and some people in Pakistan happy.

4.26 pm: Narendra Modi has finished addressing a public meeting in Dehradun. He wondered what has happened to the Congress that it is promising to repeal the sedition law and AFSPA.

“Congress needs corruption and corruption needs Congress,” Modi says. “Under Congress, corruption is on an accelerator, and development on the ventilator. There is a competition in the Congress on who will be more corrupt.”

4.20 pm: Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and LK Advani, neither of whom have got a ticket to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, met on Friday, PTI reports. They met at Advani’s home in Delhi. LK Advani had written a blog post on Thursday, in which he said his party had never regarded those who disagree with it politically as “anti-national”.

4.11 pm: Political leader Prakash Ambedkar accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “blackmailing” Sonia Gandhi and the Congress to get them to not have an alliance with any other party in the country, PTI reports.

“Can anyone tell me why Congress did not have an alliance with any other party across the country?” the news agency quotes Ambedkar as saying in Akola. “Modi had put a condition that if Congress party wants Robert Vadra not to be in jail, then it should refrain from forging an alliance with any other party. That is why Congress did not have an alliance with any party. Modi is a blackmailer. He is blackmailing Sonia Gandhi and everyone else.”

Ambedkar, the grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar, is contesting the Lok Sabha election from Akola and Solapur constituencies in Maharashtra as a candidate of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi.

3.40 pm: Businessman and Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra claims the Bharatiya Janata Party has forgotten its veteran leader LK Advani. “The true leaders with ethics and statesmanship should be rewarded and not ignored,” the businessman says in a Facebook post. “We should not let them wither away. It is disgraceful, if we cannot value their seniority and advice.”

3.37 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi will file nomination for Amethi Lok Sabha on April 10, and Sonia Gandhi will file nomination for Rae Bareli seat on April 11, PTI reports quoting sources.

3.04 pm: Banerjee says it was not just the names of Muslims, but the names of 22 lakh Hindus, Gorkhas, Biharis, Tamils and people from Kerala and Rajasthan were left out from the National Register of Citizens, reports PTI. “We are fighting to get all of their names included,” she says at a rally in Assam.

3.02 pm: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee says the National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship Bill are “two lollipops” being doled out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fool the people of Assam, reports PTI.

3 pm: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge responds to Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s complains of harassment by Income Tax officials, reports ANI. “Been going on for a while, Modi ji is using ED [Enforcement Directorate], I-T and CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation],” he says. “He is doing everything he can do to demoralise Opposition [and] to win elections, because he has lost hope of winning.”

2.57 pm: Congress leader P Chidambaram quotes a line from BJP leader LK Advani’s blog, saying it is an indictment of Narendra Modi and his government.

Chidambaram quoted this line from Advani’s blog: “Any one who criticises or opposes the BJP government is not anti-national.”

2.53 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says a promise made in Congress’ “fraud manifesto” means that who misbehave with or ill treat women will now get bail. “Those who burn their daughters-in-law for dowry, should such evil people get bail?” he says at Saharanpur, reports ANI.

2.47 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says five years ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called himself a chaiwala or tea-seller. “But now he has forgotten how to make tea and has become chowkidar [watchman],” she says at a campaign rally in Assam, reports News18.

2.42 pm: Modi says his government promulgated an ordinance to make the practice of instant triple talaq a penal offence. “I want to tell my Muslim sisters, the opposition will never allow law against triple talaq and will ensure that is never passed,” he says, according to Hindustan Times. “We are the ones who respect our daughters.”

2.38 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a meeting at Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. “After the BJP government came to power in UP, the atmosphere of migration and fear is over,” he says, according to Hindustan Times. “That is why the [opposition] is playing the politics of vote bank. For your chowkidar, be it farmer, armed forces personnel or anyone else, we are working for everyone’s prosperity.”

Modi says Mayawati made fun of him when he washed the feet of cleaners at Kumbh, but did not release a statement when Congress humiliated them, reports PTI.

2.33 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticises the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, reports ANI. “In Citizenship Amendment Bill, you will be a foreigner for 6 years, then you will be given citizenship, why?” she asks in Assam. “What will you do in the 6 years? What about your job, school and every essential thing. This is nothing but a conspiracy.”

The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 in order to grant citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years, even if they do not possess the necessary documents.

1.48 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announces that she does not want to contest the elections. She raises questions on the BJP’s reason to delay announcing a candidate from her constituency of Indore.

“The party has not announced its candidate for Indore yet,” she writes in a letter. “It is possible they have some doubts. This is despite me telling the senior party leaders that the decision is up to them [to decide candidate from Indore]. It looks like they are still in a dilemma. That is why I announce that I don’t want to contest Lok Sabha elections anymore. Now the party can make its decision without any hestitation.”

Read more here: Sumitra Mahajan drops out of poll race, complains of BJP’s delay in naming candidate from Indore

1.38 pm: N Chandrababu Naidu calls Narendra Modi an “outgoing prime minister”, reports ANI. “We are fighting to save democracy and India,” he says. Naidu is on a sit-protest against the CBI raids on his party candidates and supporters, alleging that Modi was behind the raids.

Naidu warns that Modi will have to “pay a heavy price” if he continues to target Naidu’s party.

1.25 pm: Akhilesh Yadav releases Samajwadi Party’s manifesto. “This is our vision document for society,” he says, according to News18. “We have to rethink our education plans. We are in favour of an absolute farm loan waiver… Without women’s equality, we cannot grow… BJP should tell the nation why terrorist Masood was sent back to Pakistan.”

1.20 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu begin sit-protest at Vijayawada against CBI raids on his party candidates and supporters, reports ANI. Naidu claims raids are being conducted on Telugu Desam Party leaders on the instructions of the prime minister.

“Once elections are announced everything has to be conducted under ECI [Election Commission of India] guidance,” he says. “All parties should have equal opportunity, even one party they can’t suppress, another party they can’t support.”

1.07 pm: Modi says he does not consider terror as a vote bank. “All terror helpers are in jails today,” he says. “Terrorists now know that if they do something, Modi will teach them a lesson even if they hide in hell,” he says.

1.05 pm: Modi says the governments of “bua” (Mayawati) and “babua” (Akhilesh Yadav) released terror accused and that they were kind to them, reports PTI.

1.01 pm: Modi criticises the Congress, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, claiming that they have taken a soft stance on dealing with terror. “These parties have not only helped terror, they have also worked to put your life and existence in peril,” he says.

12.55 pm: “Replying to terrorists in their own language is not being liked by some people,” Modi says. When India hits back at the enemy, some people here start crying.”

12.51 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally at Amroha, Uttar Pradesh. “India is being praised across the world,” he says referring to the Zayed Medal conferred on him by the United Arab Emirates. “India is being praised because of the huge mandate you gave us in 2014,” he says, according to News18.

12.06 pm: Gandhi says demonetisation was a disaster, according to News18. “It had a bad impact on the economy,” he says. “Damage has been done now. Two per cent of the GDP was lost. Once we start NYAY scheme, money will be pumped into the economy. Demonetisation has made an injury.”

He also says: “I love PM Modi. Genuinely, I have no hatred or anger towards the man, but he has anger towards me.”

11.59 am: Gandhi says skills should be respected and it should be provided financial and political support, reports News18. “Around 27,000 jobs being lost per hour in India,” he says, according to PTI.

11.54 am: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi addresses students in Pune, Maharashtra. He says the party’s poll manifesto is not just an expression of the Congress, an expression from all the stakeholders of the country. “The concept of NYAY has come from the people of India,” he says.

He says: “I want to guarantee you that money for NYAY will not come from middle class and income tax will not be raised. The money for NYAY will come from the people who have dominated the banking system.”

11.43 am: “Morarji Desai was the last PM who attended meeting of NEC [North Eastern Council] in the northeast,” says Shah. “After 40 years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the meeting in Shillong.”

11.36 am: Shah says: “It’s for the first time that BJP is fighting on all the seats of state assembly of Arunachal Pradesh. Our winning streak started with this region when three MLAs of our party were elected uncontested.”

11.35 am: Shah says Prime Minister Narendra Modi instructed his ministers to visit North East every fortnight. “It was done to pay attention to the issues and resolve them,” he says.

11.33 am: BJP chief Amit Shah begins addressing a public meeting at Changlang, Arunachal Pradesh. “Five years ago, North East was disturbed and there was hardly any development,” he says. “After five years, BJP brought peace in the region and is on path of development.”

11.30 am: Supreme Court declines urgent hearing of an appeal against a Bombay High Court which had refused to interfere with the release of the biopic PM Narendra Modi, reports ANI.

11.27 am: Rashtriya Janata Dal Tejashwi Yadav says Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made attempts to get back to the mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance after exiting the alliance in 2017. “...he tried many different approaches, that also within 6 months of returning to NDA,” he says, according to ANI.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav made the claim in his upcoming book Gopalganj to Raisina: My Political Journey.

11.22 am: Modi says religion has no place in his government. My mantra is sabka saath sabka vikas; and I aim that by 2022, each and every family in this country will get a shelter to live,” he says. “There will be electricity in every in every house, be it Hindu or Muslim.”

11.15 am: On the Kashmir issue, Modi says the government is following the path of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who believed in “jamuriyat” (democracy), “Kashmiriyat” and “insaaniyat” (humanity).

11.12 am: Modi says the BJP’s alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party was a “milawat waali sarkar” or an “adulterated government”. “‘Mehbooba Mufti has a different style of working and we have different though process,” he says.

Modi says the BJP asked the Peoples Democratic Party to conduct local body elections, reports ABP News. The prime minister claims the PDP said the elections would result in “blood shed hamper the law and order situation”. “In the end we had to part ways and Governor’s rule eventually came into the state,” he says.

11.05 am: On Balakot air strikes, Modi says India conducted a “non-military, pre-emptive airstrike in Pakistan”, reports ABP News. “We ensured that no Pakistani citizen was harmed in it. We wanted to target only terrorists,” he says. Modi says Pakistan gave the biggest proof of the strike by tweeting about the attack. “Those who are raising allegations or asking for numbers can keep on doing that,” he says.

11 am: Narendra Modi, in an interview to ABP News, says the Congress manifesto was disappointing and in sync with the language that separatists use for the country.

10.53 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address campaign rallies in Amroha and Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh and Dehradun, Uttarakhand today.

10.49 am: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy says Election Commission and Income Tax department are harassing him and his family, reports ANI. “Let the EC officials perform their duties, but don’t harass us on mere suspicion,” he says.

10.31 am: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath terms Muslim League a virus and says the Congress has been “infected with this virus”. “If they win, what will happen? This virus will spread across the country.”

Adityanath says: “In the fight for Independence in 1857, the entire nation fought alongside Mangal Pandey. After that, the virus of Muslim league spread across the country to the extent that it caused the partition of the country. The same threat is looming over the country today. Green flags (of Indian Union Muslim League) are fluttering again. Congress is infected with the virus of Muslim league, be careful.”

Read more here:

Congress is ‘infected with Muslim League virus’, says Adityanath

10.24 am: Police register case against Bahujan Samaj Party leader Omar Ali Khan and his supporters for violating the Model Code of Conduct, reports ANI. Superintendent of Police VS Mishra says Khan’s supporters had taken taken permission for a public meeting, but they carried out a procession on the road and also misbehaved with the sub-divisional magistrate.

10.13 am: Janata Dal (United) Vice President Prashant Kishor says claims made by Lalu Prasad Yadav that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wanted to return to the Grand Alliance after severing ties in 2017 were bogus. “This is nothing but a poor attempt seeking relevance by a leader whose best days are behind him,” says Kishor. “Yes, we did meet many times before I joined JDU, but if I were to tell what all was discussed then he would be quite embarrassed.”

10.08 am: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to sit in protest in Vijayawada against CBI raids on his party candidates and supporters, reports ANI.

10.06 am: BJP spokesperson Shaina NC, who criticised parties for not fielding enough women candidates, says the BJP gives space to women and other parties must follow suit, reports News18. “This is clearly not about me,” she says. “This is not about my party but about every party. It is not a personal agenda and it is not about my party.”

10.02 am: Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal responds to BJP leader LK Advani’s blog on the BJP. “Under Modi ji BJP’s thought processes have been both: Changed and Maimed,” he tweets. “Listen Modi ji to one who helped you in your journey to Delhi!”

9.53 am: The Coimbatore Police in Tamil Nadu register a first information report against Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin for derogatory speech against minister SP Velumani, reports The Times of India.

9.50 am: The Congress accused the Election Commission of acting under the government’s pressure as it denied permission to the party to circulate six campaign videos, including one about the Rafale jet deal. The party has sought a review of the decision.

9.47 am: A video of Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi purportedly referring to the Army as “Modiji ki Sena” at a rally in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, surfaced on Thursday. Naqvi, however, said he had not said it in as many words. “I might have said “meri sena, aapki sena, har aadmi ki sena [my Army, your army, everyone’s Army”],” he told PTI.

9.41 am: Union minister Rajnath Singh criticised Congress during a rally in Bulandshahr. “Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and Mehul Choksi didn’t leave India till Congress govt was here,” he says, according to ANI. “When they saw that this government has gone out of power and a new chowkidar has come, a chokkana [alert] chowkidar, they fled away from India to other countries.”

9 am: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said an inquiry will be conducted after the elections and ‘chowkidar will go to jail”, reports ANI. He was referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi while speaking at a rally in Nagpur, Maharashtra.

8.55 am: Over 600 theatre artistes issued a joint statement appealing to citizens to vote against the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies. The artistes said “the very idea of India” was under threat today.

8.50 am: The Election Commission asked DD News for specific details on the telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Main bhi Chowkidar’ event on March 31.

8.45 am: Here are the top updates from Thursday:

  • The Maharashtra Election Commission on Thursday sought a report from polling officials after political leader Prakash Ambedkar claimed that he will jail the poll body if his party comes to power
  • Senior BJP leader LK Advani in a blog post said his party has never regarded those who disagree with it politically as “anti-national”.
  • The president has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to look into an Election Commission letter taking objection to Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh’s remark seeking support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination in Wayanad, Kerala.
  • Minister VK Singh backtracked after he told a journalist that anybody who claims the Indian Army is the army of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not only wrong, but also a traitor to the country.