10.58 pm: Here are the top updates of the day:

  • The Election Commission on Monday banned Punjab minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu from campaigning for 72 hours for his appeal to Muslims in a constituency in Bihar to vote unitedly against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the elections. The ban will come into force at 10 am on Tuesday.  
  • The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday announced that former cricketer Gautam Gambhir will be its candidate from East Delhi Parliamentary constituency, while current legislator Meenakshi Lekhi will contest from New Delhi again, PTI reported.  
  • Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde on Sunday said that Congress President Rahul Gandhi should be tied to a bomb and sent to another country for questioning the Army’s recent air strike in Pakistan.  
  • Biju Janata Dal legislator Pradeep Maharathy was arrested on Monday after he allegedly led an attack against a team of Election Commission officials who were conducting a raid on his farmhouse in Puri district of Odisha on Sunday, the Hindustan Times reported.   
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday accused the Opposition of falsely claiming that the government’s reservation policy will modified if the Bharatiya Janata Party returns to power. “Till Modi is here, nobody can touch the reservations, given to us by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar,” he said at an election rally in Nandurbar in Maharashtra.  

10.55 pm: Congress fields boxer Vijender Singh from South Delhi Lok Sabha seat, reports say.

10.38 pm: The district Election Commission issues a notice to Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal for allegedly sending bulk text messages without taking the required permission. Meghwal has 24 hours to reply, PTI reports.

10. 37 pm: PM Modi claims that the Congress is guilty of criminal negligence because it “prevented India from becoming self reliant” in defence production, PTI reports.

“When India got Independence, the country had a 150-year experience in defence production and had 18 operational ordnance factories,” Modi says at a rally in Jodhpur. “On the other hand, China had no factory in defence production during that period. But now the neighbouring country is not only self-reliant in that sector but is also an exporter.”

10.34 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra says the BJP prioritises industrialists and power over public, PTI reports. “The people of this region have seen politics and they understand that service and dedication are its main aim,” Vadra tells a gathering in Amwa village. “Sonia Gandhi is your MP and you have seen the development works she has done for this region. She has done it not as a favour, but as her duty.”

9.55 pm: Sidhu on April 16 had appealed to Muslims in Bihar constituency Katihari to vote unitedly against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the elections.

The EC had issued a notice to Sidhu for these remarks and asked for his reply. Based on his reply, the commission says that they are of the view that Sidhu violated the Model Code of Conduct by appealing “to secure votes on religious lines”.

Sidhu had said: “You [Muslims] are in a 64% majority here. I have come to warn you, that these people [BJP] are trying to divide you. By bringing in a person like [All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin] Owaisi here, by introducing a new party here, they want to win the polls. If you get united – the minority is in a majority here – and vote together, Modi will be defeated. You will hit a six. Hit such a sixer that Modi lands outside the boundary.”

Read more here: Navjot Singh Sidhu banned from campaigning for 72 hours after communal remarks

9.50 pm: The Election Commission has banned Congress minister in Punjab Navjot Singh Sidhu from campaigning for 72 hours, starting at 10 am on Tuesday.

The Election Commission says a video recording of his speech at Katihari district of Bihar showed he had made an “objectionable speech” that could aggravate differences or create mutual hatred between different religious communities”.

9.30 pm: The BJP announces two candidates in Delhi – sitting MP Meenakshi Lekhi from New Delhi and former cricketer Gautam Gambhir from East Delhi. This comes after much speculation that Gambhir would be given the New Delhi seat instead of Meenakshi Lekhi.

9.28 pm: Congress’ North-East Delhi candidate Sheila Dikshit says her party will win all seven Lok Sabha seats in the national Capital, PTI reports. “We will begin campaigning soon by highlighting achievements of Congress governments in Delhi as well as at the Centre,” Dikshit, Congress party’s Delhi unit chief, says.

She says there is a direct contest between the Congress and the BJP, while the AAP will be at the third place.

9.20 pm: Congress leader Anand Sharma critises Modi over his remarks on India’s nuclear arsenal. “PM Narendra Modi’s election speeches and irresponsible statements point to the growing desperation in the BJP,” he says on Twitter. “Prime Minister’s boastful claims of being ready for a nuclear missile attack on Pakistan and US intervention are uncalled for and not in interest of national security.”

He further says: “Need we remind the PM that these elections are about unemployment, farm distress and the betrayal of the voters on electoral promises. Every Indian is proud of the valour of our forces & our nuclear capabilities but the govt can hide behind this. India needs answers.”

9.10 pm: The Congress moves Election Commission alleging that Narendra Modi has violated the poll code by invoking armed forces repeatedly in his poll campaign, PTI reports. The party demands that campaign ban be imposed on the prime minister for some time.

A Congress delegation comprising Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Jairam Ramesh, in its representation to the poll body, cited at least 10 examples where Modi had invoked the defence personnel for seeking votes.

8.51 pm: Actor Sanjay Dutt campaigns for his sister and Congress candidate Priya Dutt, ANI reports. Priya Dutt is contesting from Mumbai North West constituency.

8.42 pm: Madhya Pradesh’s Chief Electoral Officer VL Kantha Rao says he has forwarded to the Election Commission BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s reply over her comments on former Maharashtra ATS Chief Hemant Karkare, PTI reports.

8.40 pm: A group of people stage demonstration outside Congress’ headquarters in Patna against actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, PTI reports. Sinha, MP from Patna Sahib constituency, had joined the Congress earlier this month after quitting BJP.

The demonstrators was a broker of Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal and demanded that the Congress cancel his candidature from the Patna Sahib seat.

Sinha claims the incident the people may have been sent by the BJP. The Congress asserts that the demonstrators were “not in any way associated with the party”, PTI reports.

8.35 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh criticises Narendra Modi for his comments about India’s nuclear arsenal. “The prime minister’s threat to trigger a nuclear war, clearly as a tool to be re-elected, was highly irresponsible,” Singh says, according to PTI. “This is a jung [war] for the future of the nation. We are fighting a party that made tall promises but failed to deliver on even a single one of them.”

At an election rally in Rajasthan on Sunday, Modi had said India does not get scared of Pakistan’s threats anymore. “Every other day they used to say ‘We have nuclear button, we have nuclear button’,” the prime minister said. “What do we have then? Have we kept it for Diwali?”

8.30 pm: West Bengal Chief Mamata Banerjee alleges that the Congress and the Left are working together to help the BJP in the Lok sabha elections, PTI repors. “The Congress and the CPI(M) have joined hands to help the BJP so that Modi can become the prime minister again,” she says at a rally in Burdwan district. “The three – BJP as ‘Ram’ in the middle with ‘Baam’ [the Left Front] on its the left and ‘Shyam’ [Congress] sitting on the right side – are together.”

Banerjee claims that the goons in CPI(M) have now become bosses in the BJP.

8.20 pm: A clash broke out between supporters of CPI(M)‘s Begusarai candidate Kanhaiya Kumar and a group of locals in the city, PTI reports. Cross FIRs were registered at the Gadhpura police station.

During a roadshow at Koray village, Kumar was shown black flags by a group of people who also raised slogans against him.

8.00 pm: Election official orders first information report against BJP candidate Pragya Thakur for for her remark expressing “extreme pride” at her role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992, say reports.

7.55 pm: Additional Chief Electoral Officer Sanjoy Basu withdraws his statement about filing two FIRs against Union Minister Babul Supriyo, ANI reports. Basu said the Andal Police filed “a suo moto complaint for preventing police officials from carrying out their duty during Supriyo’s campaign on Sunday”.

7.49 pm: BJP candidate Pragya Thakur says she faced difficulty reaching the first floor of the collectorate because she is bound to a wheel chair, PTI reports. “The stairs were congested and the women staff deployed there to lift my wheelchair faced a lot of difficulties,” says Thakur. “So I requested that the officer concerned accept my papers on the ground floor itself when I submit them formally.”

7.48 pm: BJP candidate Pragya Thakur says she will complete nomination process on Tuesday, PTI reports. “I will file my nomination papers formally tomorrow,” says Thakur. “I filed it today because it was an auspicious time. I had vowed that I would file my nomination in a state of full happiness and keeping god in mind.”

7.47 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav rules out vying for the post of prime minister, PTI reports. “But I will be happy if the next PM is from Uttar Pradesh,” Yadav says.

7.18 pm: The Election Commission says repolling has been ordered in five polling stations of Karimganj (Scheduled Caste) and Autonomous District (Scheduled Tribe) constituencies of Assam, PTI reports. Polling in the two constituencies were held on April 18. Re-polling will be held on Wednesday.

Repolling has been ordered as the printed data of the VVPAT slip was not clear, Election Commission says.

7.10 pm: The Election Commission registers two first information reports against Union minister and BJP’s candidate from West Bengal’s Asansol, Babul Supriyo, for continuing to play campaign song despite denial of permission by the poll body and for snatching the camera of a poll official who was video recording his rally, ANI reports.

6.53 pm: Well-known hair stylist Jawed Habib joins BJP, reports ANI.

6.46 pm: Talking about the Balakot air strikes, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh says eagles, not Army jawans, count bodies. The country will be free of poverty the day it gets rid of the Congress, PTI quotes him as saying at an election rally in the Kolayat area of Bikaner.

6.26 pm: Telugu Desam Party leader JC Diwakar Reddy says he spent around Rs 50 crore during the Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh, which went to the polls on April 11. “The voters are openly demanding money for casting their vote,” Hindustan Times quotes him as saying. “They are not accepting less than Rs 2,000 per vote. Even agricultural labourers and daily wage workers are demanding Rs 5,000 per vote.”

6.15 pm: Pradeep Maharathy denies his involvement in the incident. “A verbal duel and scuffle took place between a person present at the farmhouse and the officials after they entered the premises,” Odisha Sun Times quotes him as saying. “I am deeply saddened by the incident.”

6.09 pm: BJD leader Pradeep Maharathy, the party’s candidate for the Pipili Assembly seat in Odisha’s Puri district, has been arrested for alegedly leading an attack on a team of Election Commission officials at his farmhouse in Hunkeipur village on Sunday night, reports Hindustan Times.

Read more

Odisha: Biju Janata Dal MLA, supporters allegedly attack Election Commission team in Puri

5.55 pm: RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav says his decision to not attend the last few rallies addressed by Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Bihar is part of a strategy to ensure that leaders of the Opposition alliance cover more ground ahead of elections. “I will definitely share the stage with him and you will see it in the coming days,” PTI quotes him as saying.

5.50 pm: Six Aam Aadmi Party candidates have filed their nominations for the May 12 elections in Delhi, reports PTI. They are Chandni Chowk candidate Pankaj Gupta, Atishi, who is contesting from East Delhi, North West Delhi candidate Gugan Singh, South Delhi candidate Raghav Chadha, North East Delhi candidate Dilip Pandey and Brajesh Goel, who has been fielded from the New Delhi seat.

5.43 pm: Here is the video of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s remarks. “Smriti Irani thought she was belitting Rahul Gandhi, but in realiy it was an insult of the people of Amethi,” she says. “The people here have never begged before anyone.”

5.38 pm: Smriti Irani says she has been a professional actor “and so it will be better if Priyanka ji does not resort to theatrics”, reports ANI. The Union minister asks the Congress leader not to make wild allegations. “The poor people here did not have shoes to wear, she should try and ascertain the truth.”

5.30 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has accused BJP’s Amethi candidate Smriti Irani of distributing shoes to belittle Congress President Rahul Gandhi, reports PTI.

5.21 pm: BJP leder and Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde has said a bomb should be tied to Congress President Rahul Gandhi and he should be sent to another country for asking for proof of surgical strikes, reports Hindustan Times. She made the remark at an election rally in Jalna disrict on Sunday.


4.50 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath tells PTI that Pragya Singh Thakur, the BJP’s candidate from Bhopal, has no record of political or public service and was nominated just to create a communal divide.

4.48 pm: “Smriti Irani distributed shoes in Amethi to show that they do not even have shoes to wear,” says Priyanka Gandhi. “She thinks she is insulting Rahulji, but she is actually insulting Amethi’s public.”

Smriti Irani is the BJP candidate from Amethi constituency, while Rahul Gandhi is the Congress candidate.

4.34 pm: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman criticises Congress leader P Chidambaram’s statement that India needs to change its behaviour with Pakistan.

“What is the change of behaviour that they want?” she asks. “It is astonishing. Do they want us to stop taking action against terrorism? Do they want us to compromise on our territory? Do they want the government to state that J&K is a disputed territory? Do they want to draw moral parity, a parallel, between a perpetrator of terrorism and a victim of violence?”

Chidambaram had reportedly said on Sunday: “Whatever we do, we have to make Pakistan change its behaviour. That means we must also change our behaviour towards Pakistan.”

4.24 pm: Kiran Dev, a brother-in-law of former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare, says he feels disgusted over the politicisation of the police official’s death, PTI reports. He says the BJP should not have given an election ticket to Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Singh Thakur.

“Nobody should insult martyrs by making irresponsible statements. I am saddened by Sadhvi Pragya’s comments on Karkare, who was a humane person and used to speak to everyone with respect,” Dev says. “A person like him could have never hurt Sadhvi.”

Thakur had claimed last week that she cursed Karkare, which led to his death in the 26/11 attacks.

4.17 pm: Congress releases a list of candidates for three Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh – Yogesh Shukla from Allahabad, Chandresh Upadhyay from Domariyaganj and Bhal Chand Yadav from Sant Kabir Nagar.

4.12 pm: At a rally in West Bengal, Adityanath calls on the Army to depict a strong India under Modi’s leadership, PTI reports. He claims that during the Congress rule, China used to enter Indian territory at will and play with the country’s security. “But you have seen how strongly the government has acted under Modiji’s leadership?” he asks. Doklam is an example before you.”

3.58 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath says the Balakot airstrike by India was “the first time that the government has acted with such strong resolve”, PTI reports.

3.54 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says that on May 23, the people’s court will decide that the “kamalchhap [lotus symbol] chowkidar hi chor hai [the watchman himself is the thief]”.

3.42 pm: On Modi’s remark on nuclear weapons, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti says, “What Pakistan has is also not kept for Eid.”

At an election rally in Rajasthan on Sunday, Modi had said India does not get scared of Pakistan’s threats anymore. “Every other day they used to say ‘We have nuclear button, we have nuclear button’,” the prime minister said. “What do we have then? Have we kept it for Diwali?”

3.40 pm: Speaking in Birbhum in West Bengal, BJP chief Amit Shah says “TMC” stands for “Tushtikaran [appeasement], Mafia and Chit fund”.

3.27 pm: BJP MP Udit Raj also tweets that he tried to talk to Amit Shah and Narendra Modi many times, and also sent SMSes to Shah. “[BJP Delhi chief] Manoj Tiwari also told me that the ticket will be mine,” he says.

3.22 pm: BJP MP Udit Raj says his supporters have asked him to wait till 4 pm to see if his party gives him an election ticket from North West Delhi. “I hope the BJP will not betray Dalits,” he tweets.

3.17 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala accuses the BJP of “blasphemous representation” of Rahul Gandhi’s response to the Supreme Court on a contempt petition.

“Fakery has no boundaries. Lies no limitations, Disinformation no confines! BJP’s blasphemous misrepresentation of Rahuljis reply to the SC is itself a criminal contempt of court proceedings,” says Surjewala. “Issue is sub judice, Stop passing verdict today!”

Surjewala says: “Only one chowidar is chor!”

3.12 pm: MK Raghavan, the Congress candidate from Kozhikode, is booked after a sting operation by a news channel on April 3 showed him purportedly negotiating a bribe for land acquisition in the city for setting up a hotel, PTI reports. He has denied the allegation and called the video doctored.

The two-time MP is charged under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.

2.46 pm: BJP candidate Manoj Tiwari files his nomination papers from North East Delhi, ANI reports.

2.41 pm: “No one can take away reservations given by Ambedkar till Modi is there,” says the prime minister.

2.38 pm: Rampur District Magistrate Anjanay Kumar says an offence report will be filed against Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s son Abdullah Azam Khan for calling BJP leader Jaya Prada “Anarkali”, ANI reports.

2.35 pm: Prime Minister Modi is now addressing a rally in Nandurbar in Maharashtra.

2.19 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pragya Singh Thakur files her nomination from Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, reports ANI.

1.38 pm: Former Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi appointed special observer for Tripura, PTI reports.

12.46 pm: The returning officer in Amethi declares Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s nomination valid, reports ANI.

On Saturday, the returning officer had ordered the postponement of scrutiny of Gandhi’s nomination papers to April 22. The lawyer of an independent candidate had alleged that Gandhi had declared himself a British citizen in the certificate of incorporation of a company registered in the United Kingdom.

Read more here:

Rahul Gandhi’s nomination papers are valid, rules Amethi returning officer

12.33 pm: Rahul Gandhi’s lawyer KC Kaushik says the Congress president never took citizenship of any other country.

12.30 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing a rally in Dindori, Maharashtra. He tells the audience: “Your love [for me] would have rattled the best of people, their blood pressure must be rising. I talk about corruption, dynasty politics and development, but all this gives an electric shock to some people and then they abuse.”

12.12 pm: The Supreme Court refuses to entertain a plea alleging that people were being bribed on a massive scale for Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu, PTI reports.

Read more here:

Supreme Court dismisses petition alleging Tamil Nadu voters were bribed

12.08 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi files his response in the Supreme Court in connection with the contempt petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi. He says, according to ANI: “My statements were used and misused by the political opponents.” He says he “gave the statements in the heat of the political campaigning”.

Lekhi had said that Gandhi attributed his remarks on the Rafale jet deal verdict to the top court.

Read more here: Rafale remark made ‘in heat of campaigning’ was misused by political opponents: Rahul Gandhi to SC

12.07 pm: In his press conference earlier in the day, BJP President Amit Shah claimed that the Election Commission’s “neutral approach” has dealt a severe blow to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s “rigging of polls”.

Read more here:

‘EC’s neutrality a severe blow to Mamata Banerjee’s poll rigging,’ claims Amit Shah

11.55 am: BJP leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan tells ANI that the Biju Janata Dal is resorting to violence because it can “feel the ground slipping under its feet”.

11.24 am: The Election Comission submits a report to the Supreme Court on the biopic PM Narendra Modi, ANI reports. The Supreme Court will next hear the matter on April 26.

Read more here:

Narendra Modi biopic: EC submits detailed report on film to Supreme Court

10.50 am: Congress releases list of candidates for six out of seven Parliamentary constituencies in Delhi. Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will contest from North East Delhi. Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken will be a candidate for the New Delhi seat.

Read more here:

Delhi: Congress names six candidates, including former CM Sheila Dikshit and Ajay Maken

10.44 am: TTV Dhinakaran-led Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam announces Mahendran as its candidate for Thiruparankundram Assembly constituency in Madurai, reports News18. Shahul Hameed will contest from Aravakurichi Assembly constituency in Karur. Bye-polls in Tamil Nadu will be held on May 19.

10.43 am: The Jannayak Janata Party fields Digvijay Chautala from Sonipat against Congress’ Bhupinder Singh Hooda, reports ANI.

10.35 am: Shah says Pragya Singh Thakur was framed in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case. “When the case went to court, it was proved that there was no basis to it,” he adds.

10.35 am: Shah asks Mamata Banerjee to clear her stand on separate prime minister for Jammu and Kashmir and whether she supports the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution.

10.34 am: Shah says Narendra Modi has no plans to contest from Bengal.

10.20 am: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi said that she will contest the Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi if party chief Rahul Gandhi asks her to do so. “I will be happy to contest in Varanasi if my brother Rahul Gandhi insists,” Priyanka Gandhi told reporters in Kerala’s Wayanad.

If Priyanka Gandhi contests from Varanasi, she will face Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate.

Read more here

Priyanka Gandhi says she will contest elections from Varanasi if Congress chief Rahul Gandhi asks

10.06 am: Rajnath Singh will address election meetings in Bikaner and Alwar Lok Sabha constituencies today.

10.02 am: Amit Shah says the Communists were better than Mamata Banerjee. “TMC is disrupting culture and resorting to appeasement politics,” he adds.

10 am: Shah says only the BJP can restore the respect of Saraswati pooja and Durga pooja again in West Bengal.

9.57 am: The BJP has clearly said in its manifesto that it will give citizenship to Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain and Christian refugees who have come from neighbouring countries, says Shah.

9.54 am: Amit Shah says there is a wave of change in West Bengal. He says the trends after first two phases of voting show that the people of Bengal have voted for the party that will protect the country.

9.50 am: BJP President Amit Shah’s press conference in Kolkata begins.

9.49 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a public meeting in Maharashtra’s Nandurbar and Nashik districts. After that, he will hold rallies in Jodhpur and Udaipur.

9.48 am: An Election Commission team was attacked on Sunday night during a raid on the farmhouse of former Odisha minister Pradeep Maharathy in Puri, reports Hindustan Times. Maharathy is the BJD’s candidate for the Pipili Assembly constituency.

“While we were keeping a watch outside the former minister’s farmhouse at Hunkeipur village, Maharathy suddenly arrived at the spot and started chasing us,” executive magistrate Rabi Narayan Patra, who led the flying squad team, tells Hindustan Times. “His workers attacked us with bamboo sticks. We had to flee leaving one of our vehicles on the spot. Had we stayed any longer we would have been killed.”

Read more here:

Odisha: Biju Janata Dal MLA, supporters allegedly attack Election Commission team in Puri

9.45 am: BJP’s Rampur candidate Jaya Prada reportedly asked Mayawati to think “where all his [SP leader Azam Khan’s] X-ray-like eyes hover on you”, reports ANI. A non-cognizable offence information report has been registered against the actor-turned-politician.

Read more here: Jaya Prada booked for ‘X-ray-like eyes’ comment about Azam Khan

9.40 am: The Congress fields former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda from Sonipat.

9.37 am: Rahul Gandhi will address a roadshow in Amethi today while Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will hold a rally in Raebareli.

9.34 am: At an election rally in Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh, on Sunday, BJP leader Varun Gandhi said that even if Muslims don’t vote for him, he’s ready to work for them. “Bas main ek cheez Muslim bhai ko bolna chahta hun ki agar aapne mujhe vote diya toh mujhe bahut accha lagega, agar aapne mujhe vote nahi diya, koi baat nahi, tab bhi mujh se kaam le le na, koi dikat ki baat nahi. [I just want to say one thing to my Muslim brothers that if you vote for me, I will feel good. But even if you don’t, it’s okay. You can still demand work from me.]”

9.32 am: Congress leader Anand Sharma on Sunday said Rahul Gandhi will be the next prime minister of the country if the Congress gets the highest number of seats in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, reports Hindustan Times. “Leaders will decide who will be the next PM,” he said. “It all depends on which party leads. If it is the Congress, then the next PM will be our chief Rahul Gandhi. There are pre-poll alliances and also there is post-poll coalition. It will all depend on the results.”

9.10 am: A dozen youth in Begusarai waved black flags and shouted slogans against CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar on Sunday, reports PTI. After the incident, Kumar’s supporters and a group of locals clashed at Koray village in Gadhpura block. No FIR has been lodged so far.

9 am: BJP leader Bandaru Dattatreya alleges that Hyderabad is a safe haven for Islamic terrorist activities, reports ANI. “The TRS government is aligned with the AIMIM; that is why the police are sometimes unable to take stern action,” alleges the Secunderabad MP.

8.57 am: Releasing the Congress’ national plan document, Lieutenant General (retired) DS Hooda says he was hurt by BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s remarks on former terror squad chief Hemant Karkare who was killed in the 26/11 attack. “Yes, it does hurt when such things are said about a martyr, be it from the army or the police,” he says, reports IANS. “Full respect should be shown to them. These utterances are not good.”

8.54 am: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh accuses BJP of trying to destroy India’s diversity, reports the Hindustan Times. He says he has no aspirations to join national politics and would like to be involved in Punjab alone.

8.42 am: BJP president Amit Shah will address a press conference in Kolkata at 9.30 am. After that he is scheduled to address four rallies across West Bengal.

8.24 am: Pragya Singh Thakur, the BJP’s candidate from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, tells the Election Commission that she did not make any defamatory comments against former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare. The poll panel had issued a notice to Thakur last week for saying that she cursed Karkare leading to his death in the 26/11 attacks.

Read more here

Pragya Thakur claims she did not make defamatory statements against 26/11 hero Hemant Karkare

8.21 am: Here are the top updates from Sunday:

  • The BJP on Sunday announced Shankar Lalwani its candidate from Indore, Madhya Pradesh. It used to be Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s seat. Lalwani is the chairperson of the Indore Development Authority.    
  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the Election Commission’s special observers in West Bengal of helping the BJP, and insulting the people of the state. At election rallies in Nadia district, she alleged that the BJP was running a parallel government in the state.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday claimed that Pakistan sent back Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman after his warning to Islamabad. He was addressing a rally in Gujarat’s Patan. 
  • Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Sunday said the voters in Uttar Pradesh who had helped Narendra Modi become the prime minister are ready to remove him from the post. She accused the prime minster of cheating people with false promises.
  • The chief electoral officer of Tamil Nadu recommended re-polling in 10 booths across the state. Both parliamentary elections and bye-polls will be held again in Pappireddi in the Dharmapuri Parliamentary constituency, Panrutti in Cuddalore Lok Sabha seat, and Poonamallee in Tiruvallur. 
  • BJP leader Baijayant Panda said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik “sometimes cries like a schoolboy, sometimes he says I am complaining about his health, sometimes he says I’m coveting his chair”. In an interview to ANI, Patnaik accused Panda’s companies of financial misdealings and said the firms have a shady reputation. “I am disappointed that Naveen has reduced himself to this state of making wild unsubstantiated and personal allegations,” the BJP leader added.    
  • Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath told PTI that the Congress is unlikely to win a majority in the Lok Sabha polls and it will need help from allies to form a government at the Centre in New Delhi, PTI reported.