9 pm: Here are the top stories of the day:

  • A video of a police van being used for distributing food packets a BJP rally in Anantnag parliamentary constituency of Jammu and Kashmir has surfaced. The police have ordered an inquiry after the video was shared widely on social media.
  • Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha said that he had mistakenly referred to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad as Muhammad Ali Jinnah a day ago while talking about the Congress party’s contribution to India’s Independence.  
  • Congress President Rahul Gandhi hit out at Narendra Modi for his constant criticism of the erstwhile UPA governments, claiming that in the last 70 years, nobody had been as foolish to carry out demonetisation and the “Gabbar Singh Tax”, referring to the Goods and Services Tax. 
  • The Election Commission directed the Delhi Police to file a first information report against BJP’s candidate Gautam Gambhir for holding a political rally without permission.
  • Narendra Modi hit out at the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal, saying that the “alliance of opportunists” wants a helpless government.  
  • A video of some people purportedly casting their votes multiple times in Kannur district of Kasargod Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala went viral on social media. The seat, along with 19 other parliamentary constituencies, went to polls in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 23.  

8.34 pm: Mayawati accuses the BJP of misusing the ED, the CBI and other agencies. “BJP is first such party who have used all government agencies against their opponents,” she says. “This makes it clear that BJP is not coming back to power.”

8.28 pm: Mayawati denies having any role in the sale of sugar mills during her tenure as Uttar Pradesh chief minister. “The decision was taken by the Cabinet,” she says. The BSP chief alleges that the CBI is politicising the matter.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has filed an FIR to probe alleged irregularities in the disinvestment of 21 state-owned sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh in 2010-’11. A 2013 report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, which formed the basis of the case, said the alleged irregularities led to a loss of Rs 1,179 crore to the state exchequer. The Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state led by Chief Minister Adityanath had recommended a CBI inquiry in the case on April 12 last year.

Read more here

Uttar Pradesh: CBI files FIR for alleged irregularities in sale of sugar mills when Mayawati was CM

8.27 pm: Mayawati says the BJP has not completed even one fourth of the promises they made in the last five years. “It is visible in the first three phases that BJP is losing badly. In next phases also, this trend will follow,” she adds.

8.20 pm: Mayawati claims Narendra Modi had earlier identified as an upper caste person but during his tenure as the chief minister of Gujarat, he added his caste as backward class for political gains.

8.14 pm: BSP chief Mayawati addresses a press conference in Lucknow.

7.10 pm: Shiv Sena appoints former Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi its deputy leader, reports News18.

7.08 pm: Kerala Chief Electoral Officer Tikaram Meena seeks a report from the Kannur and Kasargod district collectors after a video of some people purportedly casting their votes multiple times in Kannur district of Kasargod Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala surfaces on social media. “The whole purpose of having webcasting on polling day is meant to tackle this [bogus voting],” says Meena. “As soon as we receive an official complaint, we will do what needs to be done.”

Read more here

Kerala: Video of alleged bogus voting in Kasargod goes viral, state CEO seeks report

6.55 pm: Samajwadi Party veteran Mulayam Singh Yadav claims the mahagathbandan will get a majority.

6.51 pm: Opposition parties approach the Election Commission alleging display of party name only under the BJP symbol on EVMs, reports PTI. They say they found the discrepancy during a mock poll in West Bengal’s Barrackpore constituency. “Either remove all machines which mention BJP clearly or all other parties’ name should be added in all such machines,” says the delegation comprising Congress leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Ahmed Patel and Trinamool Congress’ Dinesh Trivedi and Derek O’Brien. “Till then the use of these machines has to be totally stopped in the elections.”

6.47 pm: Biju Janata Dal asks the Election Commission to ensure presence of CCTV cameras in 57 booths in Kendrapada, reports News18.

6.24 pm: The Jammu and Kashmir Police order an inquiry into reports that a police vehicle was used to distribute food packets at a BJP rally in Anantnag parliamentary constituency, reports PTI. A video of the incident has been widely shared on social media. The rally was addressed by BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav.

Read more here

Video shows J&K police vehicle used for distributing food packets at BJP rally, inquiry ordered

6.19 pm: Odisha Chief Electoral Officer Surendra Kumar says he has recommended fresh polling in 12 booths across eight Assembly segments, reports PTI. He says re-polling will be held after April 29.

6.01 pm: Union minister Nitin Gadkari feels uneasy during a campaign rally in Shirdi. He recovers little later but leaves the venue, reports News18.

5.52 pm: AAP’s South Delhi candidate Raghav Chadha files a writ petition with Delhi High Court seeking disqualification of BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri. He alleges that Bidhuri concealed an FIR against him in his poll affidavit.

5.41 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath accuses the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress of working to save terrorists. At two rallies in Shahjahanpur and Bahraich districts of Uttar Pradesh, Adityanath claims BJP works on development schemes, while others are “working on the agenda of saving terrorists”. “When Modiji speaks on terrorism, it is the Pakistani prime minister who sweats,” he adds.

5.24 pm: Addressing a rally in his Amethi constituency, Rahul Gandhi alleges that Modi has humiliated senior BJP leaders like LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj, reports News18. Advani was not given a seat this time, while Swaraj had in 2018 opted not to contest the elections.

5.05 pm: Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti says if the prime minister thinks Kashmir is incurring losses because of Article 370, then why doesn’t he leave Kashmir, ANI reports.

Mufti was referring to PM Modi’s comments on Friday that Article 370 and 35A have done maximum damage to the state. Kashmir is staring at bankruptcy, Modi had said.

4.58 pm: BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav says the party is confident that it will win more than three parliamentary seats in Jammu and Kashmir. “BJP has become the mainstream party of the Valley,” he tells ANI. “We will work for peace and development in the region.”

There are six Lok Sabha constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir.

4.55 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleges that the BJP and Narendra Modi “will destroy the country” if voted to power for the second time. “BJP is the greatest danger for the country, like 440 volt,” she says.

She claims the goons of the CPI(M) have become the strongmen of the BJP.

4.53: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge accused party colleague Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil of reneging on his promise to campaign for the party in Maharashtra. Vikhe Patil’s son is contesting on a BJP ticket from Ahmednagar seat. Vikhe Patil resigned as the leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

“After his son joined the BJP, Vikhe Patil had told the party that he would not campaign for the NCP in Ahmednagar but would canvass for Congress candidates elsewhere,” Kharge, Congress’ general secretary in charge of Maharashtra, says. “He hasn’t kept the promise.”

4.47 pm: Congress veteran P Chidambaram accuses the Election Commission of being partisan and reluctant to take action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for poll code violations. Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Chidambaram says the Congress and its allies have a significant lead over NDA after three phases of polling. Chidambaram says people have voted against the “twin disasters of demonetisation and flawed GST”.

4.42 pm: A Patna court summons Congress President Rahul Gandhi to appear before it on May 20 in connection with a defamation suit against him by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi.

4.41 pm: AAP MP Sanjay Singh files a complaint with Varanasi’s additional district magistrate against Narendra Modi, alleging that the prime minister’s road show crossed the expenditure limit set by the Election commission. The AAP alleges that Rs 1 crore 27 lakh was spent on the road show.

4.33 pm: BJP fields Arjun Singh’s son Pawan from Bhatpara Assembly seat in West Bengal, reports News18.

4.32 pm: Seven retired officers of the armed forces join the BJP. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman welcomes them into the party. “They can guide on policies on nation security and nation building,” she tells reporters.

4.31 pm: BJP President Amit Shah accuses Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of sheltering culprits in chit fund and mining scams. Addressing a rally in Jajpur constituency, Shah said those involved in these scandals will be jailed in 90 days if the BJP comes to power in the state.

4.23 pm: An advocate files a case in Ara civil court against Rahul Gandhi for asking people to chant “chowkidar chor hai” at a rally in Samastipur, Bihar, reports ANI. The case also mentions RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav who was present at the rally.

4.20 pm: Addressing a meeting in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, Priyanaka Gandhi hits out at the BJP for ignoring the public.

4.18 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi claims she saw no development in Varanasi, which is Modi’s constituency, reports News18. “PM Modi is giving interviews these days, to film stars. He can be seen sitting on the banks of Ganga but have you ever seen him with any common man?” she asks. She says NYAY will empower the people.

4.12 pm: The Election Commission orders re-polling in three booths of Raigunj, West Bengal, on April 29.

4.11 pm: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor gets summons from Rouse Avenue court in connection to his “Bitchoo” remark against Narendra Modi, reports ANI. Tharoor is asked to appear before the court on June 7.

3.37 pm: Sunny Deol campaigns for BJP’s Barmer candidate Kailash Choudhary. This is the actor’s first roadshow after joining the saffron party.

3.31 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi holds a roadshow in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh.

3.16 pm: At the Sitapur rally, Modi once again hits out at the Congress over its manifesto. He asks if people who plan to reduce the presence of armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir and repeal the sedition law end terrorism.

3.04 pm: BJP President Amit says Odisha can develop only if the “corrupt and inefficient” BJD government is thrown out of power. Addressing a rally in Morada in Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha constituency, Shah says people have already made up their minds to re-elect Narendra Modi. “From east to west and north to south, I could hear people chant Modi, Modi,” says Shah.

3.01 pm: Addressing a rally in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, Modi says after three phases of election the people who used to abuse Modi are now abusing EVMs also. “The parties of the ‘mahamilawati’ are not ready to see each other face to face,” he claims. “They cannot decide on what issues should they seek votes. Before 2014 an environment of bomb blasts and insecurity prevailed in the country.”

2.44 pm: Priyanka Gandhi alleges that BJP has the money to give to the biggest businessmen of the country but not to the poor, reports News18.

2.43 pm: Rahul Gandhi says Modi lied to India for the last five years. “He lied about job creation and relief to farmers,” he tells reporters after his rally in Rae Bareli. “While Prime Minister promised Rs 15 lakh but never delivered. On the other hand we will deliver Rs 72,000 through NYAY. Times are soon going to change. PM Modi will lose.”

2.27 pm: The Election Commission asks the Delhi Police to register an FIR against BJP leader Gautam Gambhir for violating the Model Code of Conduct, reports India Today. Gambhir reportedly addressed a public meeting without permission in Jungpura area of the national Capital on April 25. Gambhir is BJP’s candidate from the East Delhi constituency.

Read more here

EC directs Delhi Police to file FIR against Gautam Gambhir for holding rally without permission

2.19 pm: “Not a single youth in the country can say, “Yes, chowkidar gave me employment” because unemployment rate in country is highest it has been in 45 years,” says Rahul Gandhi in Rae Bareli. “In 70 years, nobody did something as foolish as demonetisation & Gabbar Singh Tax.”

2.13 pm: Rahul Gandhi alleges that Modi has fooled the nation. “Modi has stolen from the youth of Rae Bareli. Whatever we planned to do in Amethi, Modi has stopped us from doing it,” he says.

Read more here

Lok Sabha polls: Nobody in 70 years was as foolish to do something like note ban, says Rahul Gandhi

2.12 pm: Addressing a rally at Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi asks why were industrialists missing from the queues after demonestisation. “We didn’t commit a mistake like demonetisation during the 70 year rule,” he adds.

1.51 pm: Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha says his reference to Muhammad Ali Jinnah as a Congress member was a slip of tongue. “I wanted to say Maulana Azad but uttered Muhammad Ali Jinnah,” he tells ANI.

In Madhya Pradesh on Friday, Sinha had included Jinnah in a list of Congress leaders who had the “most important role in development and freedom of the country”.

Read more here

Congress’ Shatrughan Sinha clarifies remark about Jinnah, says it was a ‘slip of tongue’

1.49 pm: Modi claims Mayawati is seeking votes for those who oppose BR Ambedkar – an apparent reference to the Samajwadi Party. “This happens when your only goal is to get the chair,” he says. “This happens when your politics is based on caste, and when you do not care about the country.”

1.36 pm: In Hardoi, Modi says India had only two factories to manufacture mobile phones before he became prime minister, but now there are more than 125 companies making phones in India. He says that earlier while talking on phone, people would keep an eye out for the call duration, but today, they only look at how much battery is left.

12.54 pm: Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora says that the BJP should withdraw Pragya Thakur’s candidature from Bhopal if Prime Minister Narendra Modi truly respects the Maharashtra Police, PTI reports.

At his rally in Mumbai on Friday, Modi had alleged that the Congress governments had neglected the police force and had turned it into a “punching bag”. The comments came against the backdrop of Thakur’s remarks about police officer Hemant Karkare who was killed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

12.29 pm: In Kannauj, Modi says: “Have any of the prime minister aspirants put forward any plan to make this country stronger and protect our soldiers? What hope can we have from those who believe in Pakistan’s lies and want to be Pakistan’s heroes to defeat Modi?”

12.17 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says “mahamilavatis” can only think of the future of their own dynasty and are not concerned with the future of the country, reports ANI. Modi is speaking at Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh. The prime minister has previously referred to the Opposition as “mahamilavati” or adulterated people.

12.13 pm: Former BJP MP and actor Vinod Khanna’s wife, Kavita Khanna, says she was hurt the party did not field her from Gurdaspur in Punjab, reports ANI. “The way it was done I felt abandoned and rejected, I was made to feel insignificant,” she says. “It is my decision that I’m not going to make this a personal issue and make a personal sacrifice and put my entire might and support with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

Vinod Khanna was a four-time MP from Gurdaspur.


12.08 pm: Shiv Sena appoints Priyanka Chaturvedi “upneta” of the party, ANI reports. Chaturvedi had resigned from the Congress on April 18 and joined the Shiv Sena a day later.

11.30 am: Tejashwi Yadav tells ANI that his party will fight against the BJP in all 40 seats of Bihar, including in Begusarai. On Wednesday, the Communist Party of India had urged Yadav to retire his party’s candidate from the election there to support its candidate Kanhaiya Kumar instead.

Yadav says that the RJD candidate will win Begusarai by a huge margin.

11.23 am: A case has been filed against Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan for violating the Model Code of Conduct at a rally on April 25, ANI reports.

11.09 am: Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav claims that the investigating agencies are working like the IT cell of the BJP. He tells ANI: “Raids are being held against Mayawati and against our family. BJP people are trying to frame Opposition leaders. Because they know that in these polls, they’re going to get defeated by ‘mahagathbandhan’ in respective states.”

On Friday, there were reports that the Central Bureau of Investigation has started an investigation into alleged irregularities in the sale of 21 state-owned sugar mills during Mayawati’s tenure as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

10.33 am: BJP chief Amit Shah will address one rally in Jharkhand and two in Odisha during the day. He will soon start his first rally in Palamu, Jharkhand, and will then go to Mayurbhanj and Jajpur in Odisha.

10.30 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address three rallies in Uttar Pradesh during the day. He will start with one in Kannauj at 11 am, another at Hardoi from 12.30 pm and the third at Sitapur at 2.05 pm.

8.50 am: Indian Administrative Service officer Mohammed Mohsin, who was suspended for checking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter in Odisha, says he did not violate any rules and was unaware of the charges against him, Hindustan Times reports.

Read more here:

‘Fighting this in the dark,’ says IAS officer suspended for checking Modi’s chopper in Odisha

8.47 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday claimed in Mumbai that the Congress will get fewer than 50 seats in the Lok Sabha elections and said citizens would have to pay high taxes and face inflation if it is voted to power.

Read more here:

Lok Sabha polls: ‘Congress will get fewer than 50 seats,’ claims PM Narendra Modi in Mumbai

8.46 am: Yoga guru Ramdev on Friday defended the Bharatiya Janata Party’s choice of Pragya Thakur as an election candidate and called her a nationalist, PTI reports. Ramdev claimed that Thakur was arrested in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case on suspicion and tortured in jail.

Read more here: Ramdev calls Pragya Thakur a nationalist, claims she got cancer from stress of torture in jail

8.45 am: Here are the top updates from Friday:

  • The Election Commission banned West Bengal BJP leader Mahadev Sarkar from campaigning for 48 hours, for making sexist remarks at Trinamool Congress MLA Mahua Moitra. The ban came into force at 4 pm on Friday.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi submitted his nomination papers as the BJP’s candidate for Varanasi. In a show of strength, several NDA leaders, including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Adityanath, Sushma Swaraj, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Shiromani Akali Dal Patron Parkash Singh Badal, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar, were present.
  • A court in Delhi directed the police to file an action-taken report on a plea seeking directions to file a first information report against Congress President Rahul Gandhi for allegedly making seditious comments about Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley claimed that the BJP is likely to win a mandate greater than 2014 in the 2019 elections, and that the Opposition’s grand alliance “died before it was born”.
  • AAP’s East Delhi candidate Atishi Marlena said she had filed a criminal complaint against her Bharatiya Janata Party opponent Gautam Gambhir, claiming that he is registered as a voter in two constituencies.
  • Congress President Rahul Gandhi said that the middle class will not have to pay a single paisa for the Nyuntam Aay Yojana that his party has promised to implement if it comes to power.
  • Indian Overseas Congress chief Sam Pitroda said it was Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s decision to not contest the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi.
  • Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi switched from the Congress to the BJP. Mehndi had joined the Opposition party in 2013.