10.45 pm: Here are the top updates from the day:

  • The Election Commission announced bans on campaigning by four leaders – Adityanath, Mayawati, Maneka Gandhi and Azam Khan – for their controversial remarks. The bans on Adityanath and Azam Khan will be for 72 hours, while those on the other two will last 48 hours.
  • The ban on Azam Khan was for a remark he reportedly made at a rally in Rampur, that the colour of “the current Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate’s” underwear is khaki. BJP leader Jaya Prada is the party’s nominee for Rampur. A first information report was filed against the Samajwadi Party leader and the National Commission for Women also sent him a show-cause notice.
  • Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal engaged in a verbal spat on Twitter over talks of an alliance between their parties in Delhi. Gandhi said his party is willing to offer four of the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi to the Aam Aadmi Party to ensure “the rout of the BJP”. He accused Kejriwal of a U-turn, but Kejriwal accused Gandhi of “helping Modi by dividing votes”.
  • Former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal Parrikar criticised Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar for claiming that the late Bharatiya Janata Party leader resigned as defence minister because of the Rafale jet deal.

10.37 pm: “The first five years of my government was a time to fulfil needs,” Modi says. “The next five years will be meant to fulfil aspirations.”

The prime minister also says that his government will transfer Rs 7.5 lakh crore into bank accounts of farmers through the Direct Bank Transfer scheme within 10 years.

10.30 pm: “In the past five years, we addressed the basic needs of the people,” Narendra Modi says in an interview with DD News. “These needs should have been fulfilled within the first 10 or 20 years of Independence, but they were not completed for 60 years.” Modi claims he undertook many unprecedented initiatives to provide housing, electricity, school education and in other areas.

9.42 pm: On the ban on her campaigning for 48 hours, Mayawati says the EC has given a “one-sided decision”, ANI reports. “I have been denied the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression,” she says. “This day will be known as a black day in the history of EC.”

9.32 pm: The Election Commission bars Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan from campaigning for 72 hours for his remarks about Jaya Prada, PTI reports. The ban will come into force at 10 am on Tuesday.

9.30 pm: The Election Commission bars Union minister and BJP leader Maneka Gandhi from campaigning for 48 hours for her communal remarks, PTI reports. The ban will come into force at 10 am on Tuesday.

8.36 pm: Former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal Parrikar has lashed out at Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar for claiming that the late Bharatiya Janata Party leader resigned as defence minister in 2017 because of the Rafale jet deal. Manohar Parrikar died on pancreatic cancer on March 17.

8.13 pm: The BJP is reportedly looking into the option of challenging the Election Commission’s order banning Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath from campaigning for 72 hours, starting 6 am on Tuesday, reports News18.

8.04 pm: Rajasthan BJP chief Madan Lal Saini says Rahul Gandhi’s comment was undignified and was an insult to a particular section of the society, reports PTI.

8.03 pm: A BJP delegation has met Election Commission officials to complain about a comment Rahul Gandhi made about Narendra Modi at a rally in Karnataka on Saturday, reports ANI. Gandhi had asked at the public meeting “why all the thieves have Modi in their names”.

“Modi ji comes from a backward community, people with feudal mindset have hatred towards him,” BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said after visiting the poll body. “We have appealed to EC to take action against Rahul ji and Congress.”

7.47 pm: Congress leader PC Chacko, who looks after the party’s affairs in Delhi, says the AAP is “suggesting an alliance on 18 seats beyond Delhi”. He asks the Arvind Kejriwal-led party to form an alliance in Delhi first. “Rahul ji said our doors are open, it should be done,” ANI quotes Chacko as saying. “Whatever decision is reached in one state cannot be replicated in the same way in other states.”

7.39 pm: Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav has criticised the Election Commission after the poll body banned alliance partner Bahujan Samaj Party’s chief Mayawati from campaigning for 48 hours. Questioning the commission’s integrity he asked if it could stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi from asking for votes in the name of the Army.

7.35 pm: Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said neither the Congress nor the BJP will win absolute majority. However, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance will “get a clear majority”, he told PTI in an interview. The state will go to the polls on April 18 and April 23.

7.25 pm: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has reacted to the Supreme Court’s order instructing Congress President Rahul Gandhi to explain by Monday his remarks on the Rafale jet deal verdict.

“To manufacture a Court order for a political propaganda is a new low for Rahul Gandhi,” Jaitley tweeted earlier in the afternoon. “The lower he sinks, the higher we rise.” He added that dynasts were also subject to the Supreme Court. “Indian democracy does not permit them to rewrite Court orders.”

7.11 pm: The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has urged voters in Srinagar and Anantnag to vote for the National Conference to defend the identity and special status of the state guaranteed under Articles 370 and 35A, reports PTI. In its manifesto, the BJP has promised to scrap Article 370 and annul Article 35A.

7 pm: Congress leader and former Union minister Shakeel Ahmad has resigned as the party spokesperson. The senior leader says he will contest the Lok Sabha elections as an Independent candidate from Madhubani in Bihar. He will file his nomination papers on Tuesday.

6.53 pm: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says the BJP is making national security and terrorism election issues because they are the most important problems the country is facing in the long run, contrary to the Opposition’s perception.

6.43 pm: Arvind Kejriwal tells Rahul Gandhi’s tweet shows that the Congress does not really want an alliance. “It is important to save the country from the danger of Modi-Shah,” he says. “It’s unfortunate that you are helping Modi by dividing votes in Uttar Pradesh and other states.”

6.18 pm: AAP leader Gopal Rai also responds to Rahul Gandhi’s tweets, asks: “Why is Rahul ji not showing any interest in defeating the BJP on 18 seats? If Rahulji has opened doors for four seats [in Delhi], then in Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh, we have open doors for 18 seats to defeat the BJP in.”

Read more here: Rahul Gandhi says Congress still open to alliance with AAP in Delhi, ‘it will mean rout of the BJP’

6.13 pm: Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh responds to Gandhi on Twitter, brings up the Congress’ unwillingness to share seats in Punjab and Haryana.

“In Punjab, where AAP has four MPs and 20 MLAs, Congress doesn’t want to give us a single seat,” Singh says. “In Haryana too, where Congress has one MP, they don’t want to give us a single seat. But in Delhi, where Congress has zero MLAs and zero MPs, they want three seats from us: is this how a deal happens?”

He asks: “Why don’t you want to stop the BJP in other states?”

5.56 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi would mean “the rout of the BJP”. He says his party is willing to give four of seven seats in Delhi to the AAP.

He adds: “But, Mr Kejriwal has done yet another U turn! Our doors are still open, but the clock is running out.”

5.33 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accuses the Congress of taking help from the RSS to win elections, PTI reports. “Don’t force me to open the Pandora’s box,” she says at a rally in Murshidabad district. “The entire gameplan of the Congress will be exposed.”

She says: “RSS is campaigning for [former President Pranab Mukherjee’s son] Abhijit Mukherjee at Jangipur and [Congress candidate] Adhir Chowdhury at Baharampore, while the CPI(M) has already sold out to BJP.”

5.29 pm: Utpal Parrikar, the son of former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, writes to Sharad Pawar against his remark about his father. According to ANI, the letter says Pawar’s remark is “yet another unfortunate attempt to invoke my father’s name to push blatant falsehoods for political gains”. He urges Pawar to “desist from such conduct”.

He says it is an insult to “the love between the people of Goa and Shri Parrikar to falsely suggest that he came back [to serve as chief minister] due to the Rafale acquisition”.

5.22 pm: In his blog post, Jaitley says, “The issue of Jammu and Kashmir and terror continues to remain the biggest challenge before India. It relates to our sovereignty, integrity and security.”

He says the problem cannot be solved by “those whose policies created the problem and are no longer willing to change their track” – a reference to the Congress.

4.55 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav defends party veteran Azam Khan over his alleged comments about BJP candidate Jaya Prada. “Azam Khan was talking about someone else,” says Yadav, according to News18. “We are Samajwadis, we never use foul language for women.”

4.41 pm: All India United Democratic Front chief Badruddin Ajmal asks voters how can they elect the BJP, reports News18. “We have to consider our Deen, Imaan, Constitution, Azaan, Quran, the mosque, the respect of our women and children,” he adds. Addressing a rally in Assam’s Karimganj district, he says, “If BJP comes to power, they will forcefully feed all of you pork. Will you have it? Either you die, or you go to Bangladesh, or you will have to forfeit all privileges you are enjoying now.” He is referring to an incident where a Muslim shopkeeper was assaulted and forced to eat pork. Ajmal also calls Himanta Biswa Sarma an agent of Modi and Amit Shah.

4.30 pm: The BJP candidate from Nizamabad, Arvind Dharmapuri, asks the Election Commission to allow him to lock the polling booth rooms that house the EVMs and VVPATs.

4.28 pm: Union minister Maneka Gandhi tells villagers in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit district that she will grade villages according to the number of votes the BJP receives and will prioritise development work correspondingly, reports ANI. The BJP leader represents Pilibhit in the Lok Sabha at present but this time around she is contesting from her son Varun Gandhi’s constituency Sultanpur. Varun Gandhi has been given the BJP ticket in Pilibhit.

Read more here

Maneka Gandhi says Pilibhit villages will be categorised according to how they vote for BJP

4.05 pm: NCP chief Sharad Pawar says the UPA will give complete farm loan waiver and investigate the Rafale fighter jet deal if it comes to power, reports PTI. Campaigning for Rajendra Shingne, the NCP’s candidate from Buldhana, Pawar accuses the Narendra Modi government of trying to dismantle the country’s democratic framework. “Get ready for ensuring change and dislodging the Modi government,” he adds.

3.39 pm: BJP releases list of seven candidates from Uttar Pradesh, reports News18. Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan will contest from Gorakhpur. Ramapathi Ram Tripathi will stand from Deoria while Praveen Nishad, who contested on a Samajwadi Party ticket during the Lok Sabha bye-polls in March 2018, will contest from Sant Kabir Nagar.

3.21 pm: CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury says his party will meet Election Commission officials today over alleged “large scale manipulation” during the first phase of Lok Sabha polls, especially in West Bengal and Tripura.

3.17 pm: Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi says he is very happy with the Election Commission’s decision to take action against Adityanath and Mayawati for poll code violations.

3.04 pm: At a rally in Srinagar, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah says he will never support Narendra Modi. “Modi we don’t trust you but our trust lies with Allah,” he says. “You can never win our hearts as it cannot be won with use of pellet guns or closing highways. You [Modi] promised that you will provide 2 crore jobs in 5 years. I will never support you till the day I die. I want to see the day when our brothers, sisters and elderly can walk freely on road...when no one asks what religion you belong to.”

2.42 pm: Election Commission bans Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati from campaigning for 72 hours and 48 hours, respectively. The ban will come to effect from 6 am on Tuesday. The two have violated the Model Code of Conduct with their objectionable statements.

Read more here

EC bans Adityanath and Mayawati from campaigning for 72 and 48 hours for violating poll code

2.40 pm: The Supreme Court has exposed Rahul Gandhi’s lie on the Rafale deal, says the BJP after the top court sought an explanation from the Congress president. “He lies daily and one of those lies has been exposed.... People are demanding that he tender an apology,” says Union minister Prakash Javadekar.

2.34 pm: Former Jammu And Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s convoy is pelted with stones in Anantnag district, reports PTI. One of the spare vehicles is damaged and the driver is hurt.

2.29 pm: There could be repolling in two booths of Outer Manipur constituency, unidentified officials tell PTI. In these two booths, EVMs were destroyed on April 11 during the first phase of voting. An FIR has been registered in connection with the incidents.

2.18 pm: Gujarat minister Kunwarji Bavaliya tells women, who complained about scarcity of water, that they only gave 55% votes to him in the last election. “So you are getting water upto that mark,” adds former BJP MLA Bharat Boghara.

2.14 pm: Mehbooba Mufti says the BJP can sense its defeat in the first phase of elections. “They are trying to create a sense of insecurity among people, making it look like they are planning another Balakot like attack on Pakistan, so that they will get votes in the other phases of elections,” she says, according to ANI.

2.10 pm: The Thane Police have registered a case against BJP MLA Manda Mhatre for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct, reports PTI. Speaking at a rally in Shetkari Samaj Hall in Navi Mumbai, the BJP MLA from Belapur had asked people to vote twice.

1.59 pm: BJP chief Amit Shah says Azam Khan, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party must apologise to women, ANI reports.

1.58 pm: Congress’ Mumbai North candidate Urmila Matondkar claims there is a threat to her life and has sought police protection. A fight broke out between workers of the Congress and the BJP while she was campaigning in Borivali earlier in the day.

1.50 pm: Meanwhile, BJP President Amit Shah is speaking at a rally in Kodinar in Gujarat.

1.49 pm: Rahul Gandhi adds that no farmer will be jailed for defaulting on loans if his party comes to power in 2019. “They want to create two nations. One for the rich, and another for the poor. The rich send their children to the best institutions, and the poor cannot even afford to send their children to decent schools,” Gandhi adds.

1.46 pm: A fight breaks out between workers of the Congress and the BJP during North Mumbai Congress candidate Urmila Matondkar’s election campaign at Borivali.

1.44 pm: Rahul Gandhi claims there will be two budgets if his party comes to power in 2019. “In 2019, there will be two budgets – one will be the national budget and the second will be a farmers budget,” he says, according to News18.

1.39 pm: Rahul Gandhi asks where the BJP gets its money for publicity. “Priyanka ji said in the beginning that wherever you see, you’ll find publicity of Narendra Modi being done,” ANI quotes him as saying. “Switch on TV-Narendra Modi, switch on a radio-Narendra Modi, walk on the roads-Narendra Modi. Where does all this money for publicity come from?”

1.36 pm: Rahul Gandhi is now speaking at the rally.

1.35 pm: “If BJP is patriotic, then why does it not talk about what it has done for India,” Priyanka Gandhi asks at the rally in Fatehpur Sikri, according to The Hindustan Times. “Why does it always talk about Pakistan? Why were the families of men who were lynched not consoled?”

Read more here: Priyanka Gandhi questions BJP’s nationalism, says reality of India is very different from its claims

1.30 pm: “I have travelled the state. Youth is unemployed and farmers are worried and indebted because they are unable to earn profit. Development under BJP is a farce,” adds Priyanka Gandhi.

1.29 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi says development under BJP is a farce, according to the Hindustan Times. “The government claims to be patriotic, and everybody who raises questions are branded anti-national by it,” Gandhi says at a rally in Fatehpur Sikri constituency in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. The constituency votes in the second phase of elections on April 18.

1.20 pm: The Supreme Court takes note of alleged communal remarks by Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BJP leader Adityanath, and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati during their poll campaigns, PTI reports. The court asks the Election Commission about the action it has taken.

The court says it will examine matters related to the poll panel’s powers to deal with hate speeches during poll campaign on Tuesday.

1.12 pm: Union minister Smriti Irani criticises Azam Khan’s comment about the khaki underwear of a BJP leader. Some reports claimed that he was referring to BJP’s Rampur candidate Jaya Prada. “Derogatory comments were being made on a woman and SP leaders were sitting silently,” Irani tells ANI. “I urge them that politics has its own place and respect for women in India has its own.”

12.29 pm: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor suffers an injury while offering prayers at a temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, reports NDTV. Tharoor was weighing himself on a giant scale as part of a ritual called thulabharam in which a devotee sits on a scale against a mound of offerings like fruit and sweets. The weighing balance, however, fell down and Tharoor suffered injuries to his head and leg.

Read more here

Kerala: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor injured during ritual in temple

11.56 am: The Supreme Court asks Rahul Gandhi to explain by Monday his statement of “chowkidar chor hai” attributed to the top court. “This court had no occasion to make such observation, only decided on legal question of admissibility of documents,” the bench says, according to Bar and Bench. Bharatiya Janata Party MP Meenakshi Lekhi had moved the Supreme Court accusing the Congress president of contempt of court.

Read more here

Contempt plea: Supreme Court seeks Rahul Gandhi’s response over remark on Rafale verdict

11.52 am: The Supreme Court asks the Election Commission to watch PM Narendra Modi, a biopic of the prime minister starring Vivek Oberoi, and then take a call on whether it should be banned, reports ANI. The court asks the poll body to submit its views by April 22 in a sealed cover. The producers had moved the court after the Election Commission on Wednesday stayed the release of the film until the end of polling.

Read more here

Narendra Modi biopic: SC asks Election Commission to watch film and review decision to stay it

11.46 am: The Supreme Court agrees to examine the Election Commission’s powers to deal with hate speeches based on caste and religion during campaigns, reports PTI. The court asks representative of the poll body to appear before it on Tuesday.

Read more here

SC asks poll body what action was taken against Mayawati, Adityanath for alleged hate speeches

11.44 am: A woman threatens to sue Congress spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa for allegedly outraging her modesty and violating her dignity. During a press conference, Kalappa had referred to an audio clip of a purported conversation between the woman, whom he identified by name, and a journalist about her experience with Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bengaluru South candidate Tejasvi Surya.

Read more here

Woman threatens to sue Congress leader for leaking private conversation about BJP’s Tejasvi Surya

10.55 am: Isha Khan Choudhury, the Congress party’s candidate for North Malda seat in West Bengal, suspends election campaigning due to an alleged attack on a meeting by Trinamool Congress workers. “I protest the lack of law and order provided by the Malda District Administration and Malda Police,” says Choudhury.

10.50 am: A report submitted by DD News to the Election Commission on April 5 said the BJP got nearly 160 hours of “airtime coverage” on the channel, while Congress got 80 hours, reports The Indian Express. It was based on this report that the Election Commission called the DD airtime to parties “disproportionate” and “not balanced” on April 9. The poll panel had asked the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to direct DD News to “desist from extending any preferential or disproportionate airtime coverage in favour of any party”.

Read more here

BJP got 160 hours of airtime coverage on DD News, Congress 80: Report

10.48 am: The Delhi chief electoral officer writes to the Election Commission saying a web series on Prime Minister Narendra Modi is available on the Eros Now website and was streaming without certification from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee, reports The Indian Express quoting unidentified officials. A letter, signed by Election Officer (Media, MCMC, Paid News and Training) to Election Commission’s Principal Secretary Narendra Butolia, was written on Saturday.

Read more here

Web series on Modi is streaming without permission, Delhi poll office notifies EC: Report

10.36 am: The National Commission for Women sends a notice to Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan for his alleged “sexist comments on a lady politician”, reports ANI.

10.32 am: Jaya Prada says Azam Khan should not be allowed to contest elections. “Because if this man wins, what will happen to democracy?” she asks, according to ANI. “There will be no place for women in society. Where will we go? Should I die, then you will be satisfied? You think that I’ll get scared and leave Rampur? But I won’t leave.”

10.22 am: BJP candidate for Rampur, Jaya Prada, says no one in the Samajwadi Party had supported her when Azam Khan had made comments against her when she was a member of the party, reports ANI. “I’m a woman and I can’t even repeat what he said,” Jaya Prada says. “I don’t know what I did to him that he is saying such things.”

9.58 am: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s remarks that former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar quit his post at the Centre and returned to Goa as he did not agree with the Rafale fighter jet deal were uncalled for, reports The Indian Express.

“Even Rahul Gandhi had earlier tried to make similar comments [against Parrikar], which was a very crass attempt,” Fadnavis said. “At that time Parrikar was alive and he had given a strong reply. But making similar comments after Parrikar’s death, I think is uncalled for.”

9.55 am: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said his outfit, and not Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, was the real well-wisher of Dalits, reports PTI. Azad will contest the Lok Sabha election against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi.

Read more here

Chandrashekhar Azad says Bhim Army, not Mayawati, is the real well-wisher of Dalits

9.51 am: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik says his party, Biju Janata Dal, will support whoever commits to fulfilling the needs of Odisha, reports Hindustan Times. “Having said that, I repeat: we are equidistant from both the BJP as well as the Congress.”

9.48 am: KS Naveen, president of the Chitradurga unit of the BJP, says a black trunk which the Congress alleged was suspicious contained electronic equipment and party logos to be set up on the dais for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech during a rally in Chitradurga, Karnataka, reports Deccan Herald.

“Being a president of the state unit of a national party, if he (Dinesh Gundu Rao) does not know what is part of the PM’s convoy, he should immediately resign from his office,” says Naveen. “As they have been out of power for five years now, they seem to have forgotten about the security provided for the prime minister.”

9.40 am: BJP files FIR against Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan for his alleged derogatory remark, reports News18. “It took you 17 years to understand her true face. But I realised in 17 days… that she wears khakhi underwear,” he said at a rally in Rampur. A case has been registered under Sections 509 and 125.

9.34 am: Congress leader Sachin Pilot says in a bipolar contest, the Congress can defeat the BJP and “defeat it comprehensively despite all the misuse of money, power and bureaucracy”, reports Hindustan Times. Pilot says United Progressive Alliance 3 is a reality and the country will get a new government and new prime minister when election results are announced on May 23.

9.29 am: National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma condemns Bahujan Samaj Party leader’s remarks alleged to be against BJP leader Jayaprada and said the panel will take suo moto action against him. “Absolutely disgraceful,” Sharma tweeted. “Azam Khan is always abusive and disrespectful towards women... Will request Election Commission to bar him from contesting elections.”

9.25 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Islamabad’s nuclear threats had been blown to bits and that India won’t bow down to such threats, reports The Indian Express. He accused the Congress of “stopping the Army from taking strong action against terrorists” as it feared “a 1962-type situation”, referring to the India-China war. He was speaking at a rally in Jammu.

9.20 am: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the armed forces and soldiers have always been kept separate from politics, reports ANI. “For the first time in 70 years, they are being politicised,” he said. Yogi ji says, ‘Ye Modi ki sena hai’ [This is Modi’s Army]. There should be a case against Adityanath for being anti-national.”

9.15 am: A Right to Information plea revealed that 99.8% of donations that political parties received through electoral bonds between March 2018 and January 24, 2019, were of the highest denominations – Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore.

Read more here:

Over 99% of donations through electoral bonds were of Rs 10 lakh, Rs 1 crore denominations: RTI

9.10 am: Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan clarifies on his remarks which was alleged to be against BJP candidate Jayaprada. “I was referring to a person in Delhi who is unwell, who had said, ‘I came with 150 rifles and I would have shot Azam if I had seen him’,” Khan said, according to ANI. “Talking about him, I said, ‘it took a long time to know people and later it was found that he was wearing RSS shorts’.”

8.55 am: Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has no credibility, reports News18. “He will himself fall and make everyone fall wherever he goes,” Yadav said. “I am happy that he will sink the ship. People want to remove Nitish from Bihar as soon as possible, they are agitated with him.”

Yadav said: “The image Nitish Kumar had in Bihar is now completely destroyed. Modi is a factory of lies – he is the manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer.”

8.50 am: Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury alleged large-scale manipulation in first phase of elections, reports The Hindu. “If manipulation of election continues – the way it did in the first phase – the Election Commission may lose credibility,” he said. Leaders of the Left front will meet officials of the Election Commission on Monday and raise their concerns.

8.45 am: A case was registered against BJP legislator from Belapur, Manda Mhatre, for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct by asking voters to cast their vote twice in the elections, reports ANI.

8.40 am: Election Flying squad and Income Tax department conducted searches at an MLA hostel at Chepauk, reports ANI. Rooms of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam RB Udayakumar and two other people were searched.

8.35 am: Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan allegedly made derogatory remarks against BJP’s Rampur Lok Sabha candidate, Jayaprada. At a rally in Rampur, Khan said: “What is the difference between you and me? People of Rampur, people of Uttar Pradesh and the people of India. It took you 17 years to understand her true face. But I realised in 17 days… that she wears khakhi underwear,” he said in an alleged reference to Jayaprada’s association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Khan said he did not name anyone. “If anyone can prove that I named anyone anywhere&insulted anyone, then I’ll not contest election,” he said, according to ANI.

8.30 am: Leaders of Opposition parties held a joint press conference and said they will move the Supreme Court again demanding verification of at least 50% of votes cast in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections against the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail slips.

Read more here:

VVPAT verification: Opposition parties raise doubts over EVMs, to move Supreme Court again

8.25 am: Here are the top updates from Sunday:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was because of Ambedkar’s blessings that a chaiwala is the prime minister. He also attacked the SP-BSP alliance, and said they will shut shops after the elections.
  • The Congress alleged that a black trunk whose contents are unknown had been spotted being carried out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter during his visit to Chitradurga in Karnataka last week. The party has demanded an investigation by the Election Commission.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Jammu and Kashmir political families the Abdullahs and Muftis of ruining three generations of the state and trying to divide India.
  • Aam Aadmi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal said that if the Bharatiya Janata Party is voted back to power, BJP President Amit Shah would become Union home minister, which would spell doom for the country.
  • Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi criticised the BJP’s manifesto and said there was no space for different cultures and religions in it. She held a roadshow in Silchar, Assam – her first campaign outside Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 elections.
  • Rahul Dravid, who is the Karnataka state Election Commission’s ambassador, will not be able to vote in the ongoing elections after his name was deleted from the voters’ list when he moved homes.