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

  • BJP’s Buduan candidate Sanghamitra Maurya asked her supporters to cast proxy votes for people who may not be able to cast their ballot, but do it stealthily.
  • Priyanka Gandhi attacked Narendra Modi in Kerala, saying that a true nationalist does not divide the country but unites it. “If a leader is a true nationalist, he does not spread hate, he spreads love,” she said.
  • Amethi’s returning officer put on hold the scrutiny of Rahul Gandhi’s nomination papers till April 22, after an independent candidate alleged that the Congress chief had declared himself a British citizen.
  • The Election Commission ordered Eros Now to stop the telecast of a web series on Narendra Modi, citing its April 10 order banning the exhibition of biopics, biographies or hagiographies of politicians and candidates till the Model Code of Conduct is in force.
  • Modi said in West Bengal’s Buniadpur that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was rattled by the high turnout in the first two phases of polls in the state. As a result, he claimed, Trinamool Congress “goons” killed one more BJP worker in Purulia.
  • The Aam Aadmi Party accused the Congress of wasting time on talks of an alliance in Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh. “The Congress was doing timepass, it had no intention of having an alliance in Haryana,” Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia said. 

9.16 pm: Mayawati asks voters not to succumb to the “allurements” offered by the Modi-led government, PTI reports. “Time has come to teach a lesson to those who have made hollow promises and wanted to win the elections through jumlebazi [fake promises],” she says in Rampur.

9.06 pm: West Bengal BJP leader Mukul Roy says the party has asked Narendra Modi to contest from a Lok Sabha seat in the state, PTI reports. “We have expressed our desire to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he should contest from any of the Lok Sabha seats from Bengal this time going to the polls in the last two phases on May 12 and May 19,” he tells reporters in Kolkata. Modi is contesting the polls from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

8.40 pm: Election Commission issues notice to Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu for his remarks urging Muslims to vote in a bloc, during a rally on April 16 in Katihar’s Bihar, ANI reports. The poll panel wants an explanation within 24 hours.

8.25 pm: BJP’s Budaun candidate Sanghamitra Maurya asks supporters to cast proxy votes for people who may not be able to cast their ballot. “If there is a chance, take advantage of this...don’t do it, but if there is a chance, do it,” she says.

7.59 pm: “While BSNL is grappling with a loss of Rs 8,000 cr, the prime minister is endorsing Reliance Jio, which has posted a huge profit. While SBI is reeling under NPAs, Modi can be seen in advertisements of Paytm,” Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu claims, according to PTI. “Modi sold the interest of the nation. He’s anti-national.”

7.58 pm: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu alleges Prime Minister Narendra Modi ruined government companies and favoured only private firms during his five-year term, PTI reports. “Modi is the business development manager of Ambani and Adani, as he has favoured them at the cost of state-run firms,” Sidhu says at a press conference in New Delhi.

“Adani and Ambani accompanied the prime minister on foreign visits and 18 big projects, which should have ideally been given to government companies, were handed over to them,” he claims. “And the prime minister says he’s the chowkidar of the nation. He’s the chowkidar of the top 1 per cent of the population. He never took chairmen of government companies along with him on his foreign tours. Are government firms not good enough?”

7.53 pm: Hazare adds that using soldiers’ deaths for votes is saddening. “When the trend is to do anything to come to power, such misuse is seen and voters are sleeping,” he says.

7.51 pm: Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare says large-scale electoral reforms are needed in India to get rid of elections-related malpractices, PTI reports. Hazare says the lack of awareness among voters as well as political parties’ intent to win by hook or crook has led to the degeneration of politics.

Voters are one of the pillars of democracy, Hazare says. “But looking at the reports of cash seizure from various places during the electioneering, one wonders why voters take money to vote. Is this the value of our freedom fighters, who gave us independence?”

“The sanctity of Parliament and state assemblies have come under threat,” he says.

7.45 pm: Congress leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan says BJP’s Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate Pragya Thakur’s remark on former ATS chief Hemant Karkare was an insult to the state as well as the people of the country, his family and the police force, ANI reports. “Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] not only must apologise himself for nominating her, but also withdraw her candidature,” he adds.

Karkare had investigated the charges against Thakur in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blasts, in which six people died and 101 injured. He died in the November 26, 2008, Mumbai terror attack. Thakur had bragged on Friday that he died because she cursed him. She later withdrew the comment.

7.35 pm: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi implies that Modi is not a true nationalist. “If a leader is a true nationalist, he bows before the people,” Gandhi says in Areekode, near Wayanad in Kerala. “If he is a true nationalist, then he understands that when someone in his party criticises women, it is against the culture of his country.”

“When a leader is a true nationalist, when someone kills someone else in the name of religion, he does not felicitate the killers, he goes to the family of the affected and asks what he can do for them,” Gandhi said. “If a leader is a true nationalist, he does not spread hate, he spreads love. He does not divide, he unites. He does not try to oppress the voice of the people. He feels happy to be questioned as he knows that the wisdom of the people is supreme, and they are telling him to change.”

Read more here:

‘A true nationalist does not divide, he unites’: Priyanka Gandhi criticises PM Modi in Kerala

6.55 pm: Referring to the alliance between the BSP and the SP, Modi adds: “Another friendship has been formed. But the date on which it will break up is already fixed. Should I tell you the date when they will move apart? May 23, Thursday.”

6.52 pm: “One friendship was also seen during the UP polls. The friendship got over with the elections,” Modi adds, referring to the alliance between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress for the Assembly elections in 2017.

6.46 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleges that the alliance between Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati is a “fake friendship” that is meant to mislead people, the Hindustan Times reports. “You very well know the truth of those who make empty promises and proclaim hollow friendship,” Modi says at a rally in Etah, Uttar Pradesh.

6.39 pm: Congress leader Devendra Singh Yadav files a police complaint in Indore against BJP’s Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate Pragya Singh Thakur for her remarks against former Mumbai ANti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare, ANI reports.

6.25 pm: The returning officer in Amethi constituency of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday ordered the postponement of scrutiny of Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s nomination papers to April 22. Ram Manohar Mishra ordered the postponement after four individuals objected to the documents, alleging there were discrepancies in them.

Read more here:

Amethi returning officer puts scrutiny of Rahul Gandhi’s nomination papers on hold till April 22

6 pm: “The Modi government has done a lot of anyay [injustice]. We will rectify that with our NYAY,” Gandhi adds at the rally in Supaul, Bihar. “The Congress does not believe in making empty promises. We fulfilled our electoral promise of waiving farmers loans in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh soon after coming to power in these states. If we form the next government at the Centre, we will do the needful for farmers of all regions – including Bihar.”

5.57 pm: “Modi sought the votes of the people with the promise of playing the role of a chowkidar [watchman] but he ended up becoming a chowkidar for the likes of Anil Ambani,” Rahul Gandhi says in Bihar. “Now the people have made up their minds to relieve him of his duties. It is the fear of defeat, of getting exposed before the people and of the fact that once the Rafale deal is investigated properly the chowkidar himself will be in jail along with the likes of Anil Ambani.”

He also alleges that the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government was more generous in helping Bihar.

5.51 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says “people of the country have made up their minds to relieve the chowkidar of his duties”, PTI reports. He is speaking at a rally in Supaul district in Bihar.

4.51 pm: Former Congress MP from Kollam, S Krishna Kumar, joins the BJP, ANI reports.

4.33 pm: “This is my country, these hills are my country, the wheat fields in Uttar Pradesh are my country. Tamil Nadu is my country, Gujarat is my country, north east is my country,” Priyanka Gandhi says in Kerala. “But all that BJP has done in last five years, is just to divide the nation. Five years ago, a government came to power that was voted with majority. The people of our country, with all their wisdom, rested their faith upon them. But from the moment it came to power, it began to betray the faith of the people.”

Priyanka Gandhi was campaigning in Kerala for her brother and Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who is contesting from the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat.

4.29 pm: At a rally in Mananthawady in Kerala, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi attacks the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government at the Centre, PTI reports. She says it “betrayed” the faith of the people who had voted it to power.

4.25 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah holds a rally in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta.

4.12 pm: Banerjee alleges that Modi is suffering from “haratanka”, or the phobia of losing elections, PTI reports.

4.06 pm: At a rally in Nadia in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleges Narendra Modi is seeking votes by dividing people on communal lines, PTI reports.

4.01 pm: Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia files his nomination from the Guna constituency in Madhya Pradesh.

4 pm: The Election Commission asks Eros Now to stop the screening of the web series on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi: Journey of a Common Man is a 10-part web series directed by Umesh Shukla. “You’re directed to stop forthwith the online streaming & remove all connected content of the series till further orders,” the poll panel tells Eros Now.

Read more here:

EC directs Eros Now to stop telecasting web series on Narendra Modi

3.50 pm: The Election Commission issues a show-cause notice to BJP leader Pragya Singh Thakur under the model code of conduct, seeking an explanation on her comment about Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare, ANI reports.

Karkare had investigated the charges against Thakur in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blasts, in which six people died and 101 injured. He died in the November 26, 2008, Mumbai terror attack.

Thakur, the BJP’s Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate, had bragged on Friday that he died because she cursed him. She later withdrew the comment. The poll panel has asked her to reply within a day.

Read more here:

Pragya Thakur and Bhopal BJP chief get EC notice after she brags about Hemant Karkare’s death

3.33 pm: At a rally in Buniadpur, Modi says that despite violence by Trinamool Congress “goons”, people turned up in large numbers to vote. “The reports of the voter turnout in Bengal in the first two phases have put a speed breaker on Didi’s sleep,” Modi says. “Rattled by this, Trinamool Congress killed one more BJP worker in Purulia,” he claims. “I assure you that justice will be done and the culprits brought to book.”

Read more here:

PM Modi attacks Mamata Banerjee, claims she was disturbed by high turnout in two phases of polls

3.30 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacks West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, alleging that the high voter turnout in the state during the first two phases of the Lok Sabha elections has disturbed her.

2.04 pm: Rao says: “Rahul Gandhi’s name has been shown to be listed as a British citizen in documents related to a company in the UK. Was Rahul Gandhi a British citizen?”

Rao says it is “mater of great surprise” that the objections that have been raised regarding Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship haven’t been answered.

2.02 pm: BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao says Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s legal representative doesn’t have answers to questions raised by other candidates on details given in his nomination paper. “They have asked time to counter the allegations,” he says at a press conference.

An independent candidate has raised objections to Gandhi’s nomination papers, citing the certificate of incorporation of a company in which Gandhi allegedly declared himself a UK citizen.

1.57 pm: BJP President Amit Shah says Narendra Modi should be made the prime minister once again to secure the country and to give a “befitting reply” to terrorism and Pakistan, reports PTI. Shah held a road show at Bhadravathi in Shivamogga, Karnataka while campaigning for party candidate BY Raghavendra, son of Karnataka BJP President and former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa.

1.54 pm: Dhruv Lal, an independent candidate from Amethi, raises objections to Congress Rahul Gandhi’s nomination papers. Lal’s lawyer, Ravi Prakash, says Gandhi declared himself a citizen of the United Kingdom in the certificate of incorporation of a company registered in UK. “A non-citizen can’t contest polls here,” sats Prakash, according to ANI.

Prakash says Gandhi’s nomination papers did not include details on assets and profits of the company mentioned in the affidavit and there were mistakes in his educational qualification certificates. “The original educational certificates should be presented so that his [Rahul Gandhi] claim can be established,” he says.

1.50 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says youngsters from Bihar who are employed as watchmen in banks and government offices. He says natives of Bihar who work as watchmen are faithful and don’t allow robbery at the banks. He says the prime minister, who calls himself a “chowkidar” or watchman is actually businessman Anil Ambani’s watchman.

“The youngsters from Bihar [who serve as watchmen] keep the country safe,” he says at a rally in Supaul, Bihar, according to ANI. “One chowkidar has maligned other chowkidars.”

1.35 pm: Modi says the trends of the first two phases of the elections have dampened the spirits of those seeking proof of Balakot air strikes, PTI reports. “The country is witnessing two types of politics – vote bhakti [devotion to votes] and desh bhakti [devotion to country],” says Modi. “Vote bhakti prevented the bhakti and desh bhakti. Vote bhakti prevented the Congress from acting tough on Pakistan.”

1.28 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says those who feel discomfort chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai and side with those saying “Bharat Tere Tukde Honge” [Bharat will break into pieces] can do nothing for the progress of India, reports PTI. He is addressing a rally in Araria, Bihar.

1.25 pm: Amethi’s returning officer postpones scrutiny of Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s nomination papers to Monday, reports ANI.

1.21 pm: Vadra says the BJP government believed the power belonged them instead of the people, reports ANI. “First indication of this gross misunderstanding came when their own president declared shortly after the election that the promise of Rs 15 lakh in every bank account was just for sake of elections, what he called a jumla,” she says.

1.19 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addresses a rally in Wayanad, Kerala. “Five years ago, a government came into power that was voted in with a big majority,” she says, according to ANI. “In all their wisdom, people of our country placed their faith [and] hopes in BJP government. That government, from the moment it came to power, began to betray that faith.”

12.55 pm: Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav says Bihar is expecting only “lies and jumlas” from Modi’s rallies on Saturday.

“Bihar has suffered a lot due to the Nitish-Modi duo,” Yadav says. “First Bihar got step motherly treatment due to political rivalry between them and now due to their forced political nexus which has pushed Bihar into opportunistic, destructive,communal and Manuwadi politics.”

“PM @narendramodi ji is coming to Bihar today. He would portray himself as the son of extremely backwards. Will make an abortive bid to create polarisation,” he tweeted earlier on Saturday.

12.29 pm: Re-polling is under way at 19 booths across eight districts in Arunachal Pradesh. The re-polling began at 6 am and will conclude at 2 pm.

Read more here:

Lok Sabha elections: Re-polling under way at 19 booths in Arunachal Pradesh

12.23 pm: On BJP fielding terror accused Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal, Patel says it’s a party’s right to field any candidate they want, reports ANI. “I would not like to comment on that but saying something against an officer who sacrificed himself fighting terrorism isn’t right,” he says. “Although she withdrew her statement it shows her mentality.” Thakur had said that she had cursed former Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare.

12.19 pm: Congress leader Ahmed Patel says the party is confident that the BJP will lose the elections, reports ANI. “We will get good results in Gujarat too, we will cross double digit,” he says. “On May 23 when the election results come, BJP will no longer be in the government.”

12.09 pm: Biju Janata Dal leader and the party’s candidate from Patkura Assembly constituency dies at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar, reports ANI.

11.55 am: AAP leader Sanjay Singh says the Congress “closed the Haryana chapter” on Friday, reports The Indian Express. “They [Congress] are just not ready to accept any offer.”

Read more here: AAP blames Congress for ‘wasting time’ on talks of alliance

11.51 am: Sisodia says AAP proposed an alliance with Congress and Jannayak Janata Party in Haryana, but Congress “went back on their words again” and said no to Haryana, reports The Indian Express.

11.48 am: “We have maintained that AAP took birth fighting the Congress,” says AAP leader Manish Sisodia, according to The Indian Express. “But at a time Modi-Shah is posing a grave danger to the social fabric of our country, we mulled over alliances, including in Delhi. We found that alliances involving the AAP can defeat Modi-Shah in 33 seats.”

11.29 am: Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia says Congress refused to ally with the Aam Aadmi Party in Haryana and wasted his party’s time. “Delhi does not have a single MLA or MP from Congress, but they want three out of 10 seats,” he says, according to News18.

11.20 am: Modi says it is shameful that people from a “neighbouring country are campaigning for the Trinamool Congress to appease the minority community”, reports PTI. Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed had campaigned in West Bengal for TMC’s Raiganj candidate Kanhaiyalal Agarwal. The Ministry of Home Affairs on April 16 cancelled the business visa and blacklisted him.

11.16 am: The prime minister says Bengal has become the “land of goons where people openly loot under the TMC’s rule”, reports News18. He says crime will be flushed out when the BJP comes to power in the state.

11.13 am: Modi says the Trinamool Congress, Left front and Congress “indulge in politics of discrimination”. He says the BJP government believes in “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”. “The schemes of our governments are benefitting the poor and marginalised from all communities,” he says.

11.08 am: Modi says Mamata Banerjee intends to apply her model of West Bengal to the entire country – “poor are kept poor and it’s hard to carry out religious processions”.

11.05 am: Modi says: “It’s despicable how bua-bhatija have demeaned the culture and people of West Bengal.” He was referring to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee.

11 am: Modi says reports after after the second phase of elections have given Trinamool Congress chief “sleepless nights”. “West Bengal has decided to tell ‘speed-breaker Didi’ that stalling progress of people here will cost her,” he says, according News18.

10.56 am: Prime Minister addresses a rally at Buniadpur, West Bengal. Modi says a BJP worker was murdered in Purulia and assured BJP workers in the state and the people that justice will be done. “Strict action will be taken against those people who are responsible.”

9.05 am: Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan claims that he is being treated like a terrorist after he made derogatory comments about his BJP opponent Jayaprada.

9 am: Kumaraswamy says his father, HD Devegowda, is a good administrator and experience but he is not interested in becoming the prime minister. “He already projected name of Rahul Gandhi [for PM],” says Kumaraswamy, according to ANI. “He’s going to advise Rahul ji for good administration.”

8.55 am: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy says Prime Minister Narendra Modi should not misuse his office by speaking on the Balakot air strike. “Several PMs ruled this country, several times India-Pakistan war took place,” Kumaraswamy tells ANI. “Nobody took advantage of that issue for personal benefit.”

8.50 am: The Allahabad High Court asked the Election Commission to file its reply on a plea seeking a stay on the release of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reports PTI. The court asked the Election Commission to file the reply by the next date of hearing on April 26.

The High Court passed the order after hearing a plea filed by Sana Ullah Khan, president of Bhim Sena.

8.45 am: Here are the top updates from Friday:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended the BJP’s decision to field Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Singh Thakur from the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, calling it a symbol.
  • BJP’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Thakur retracted her remarks about deceased Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, saying she did not wish to please “enemies”.
  • The Election Commission said bye-polls to Agra North and Darjeeling Assembly constituencies will be held on May 19.
  • Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi resigned from the party and joined the Shiv Sena. In a letter to Rahul Gandhi, she cited misbehaviour by party members.
  • The Election Commission issued a notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, for banners reading “Ab Hoga Nyay” put up in his constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav shared the stage for the first time since 1995 at a rally in Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh.