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

  • The Reliance Group said it got contracts over Rs 1 lakh crore during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime from 2004 to 2014. The group accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi of engaging in a “calumny, disinformation, distortion and malicious lies,” by claiming that Anil Ambani is a crony capitalist.
  • Arvind Kejriwal accused the BJP of plotting an attack on him the previous day and claimed that the people of Delhi will vote against them. A man slapped Kejriwal during a roadshow in the Moti Nagar area in New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency on Saturday, prompting the AAP to accuse the BJP of orchestrating the “cowardly act”.
  • Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi criticised Narendra Modi for alleging that their father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was corrupt. “Your father was termed ‘Mr Clean’ by his courtiers, but his life ended as ‘Bhrashtachari No. 1’ [corrupt no. 1],” Modi had said.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s scams were “being unearthed from land, air and water”. Speaking at a rally in Sagar city in Madhya Pradesh, Modi targeted Gandhi for his alleged association with UK firm Backops.  
  • BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate in Ghatal, West Bengal, and former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh warned Trinamool Congress workers that if they intimidate voters, she will bring men from Uttar Pradesh to pull the TMC men out of their homes and beat them up like dogs. A video showing Ghosh threatening two alleged TMC workers has gone viral.
  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh claimed that corruption rose to “unimaginable proportions” during the tenure of the Narendra Modi-led government. In an interview with PTI, Singh claimed that there was no “Modi wave” in the country during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 
  • Bhopal district returning officer issued a notice to BJP candidate and terror-accused Pragya Singh Thakur on allegations that she campaigned even as the Election Commission’s ban was in force.
  • The Samajwadi Party and its alliance Bahujan Samaj Party criticised Narendra Modi for his remark that the Samajwadi Party has a tacit understanding with the Congress and was leaving Mayawati in the dark.  

8.35 pm: BJP leader and 2008 Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Singh Thakur says Hindutva and development are synonymous. “I am waging a Dharmyuddh [crusade] against those who maligned Sanatan Dharma by coming out with the term ‘Bhagwa Aatankawad’ [saffron terror], sent me to jail and tortured me under the garb of law,” the BJP’s Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate tells PTI.

8.25 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister says the AAP will lodge a police complaint over the attack on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Sisodia alleges that the BJP was sending a message that even if someone tried to kill the chief minister, he would be spared, PTI reports.

“They [the Delhi Police] are saying they do not have a complaint,” Sisodia says, according to PTI. “This means the BJP, through the Delhi Police, is sending a clear message that if anyone tries to attack the Delhi chief minister or even kills him, he will be saved by the party and the police will not do anything to him. The message is clear.”

8.15 pm: Hitting out at Manmohan Singh, Arun Jaitley says the former prime minister had brought down the Congress party to lowest ever strength in Parliament. When an economist turns into a politician, he loses sense of both economy and politics, Jaitley says on Twitter.

“Dr. Manmohan Singh left behind in 2014 an economic slowdown, policy paralysis and corruption,” he tweets. “India was a part of the fragile five. Today he regards the World’s fastest growing major economy as disastrous.”

8 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi is engaging in a campaign of calumny, disinformation, distortion and malicious lies, Reliance Group says in a statement. Reliance says the Congress-led UPA government between 2004 and 2014 had awarded the company projects of over Rs 1 lakh crore across diverse key nation-building infrastructure sectors.

Gandhi on Saturday had in an interview with The Indian Express called Ambani, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya “crony capitalists”.

“As is by now, customary for all of Rahul Gandhi’s public statements, he has attributed no basis to these claims whatsoever, and neither has he provided any credible evidence at all to justify his derogatory and defamatory campaign,” Reliance said in a statement, according to ANI.

7.50 pm: Congress leader Salman Khurshid hits out at Narendra Modi for his barb against Rajiv Gandhi. “Mid summer madness of PM Modi. Seeking short cuts to oblivion!” Khurshid says on Twitter. “PM Modi has touched the bottom of decency and humanity by foul mouth comments on late Rajivji. For the first time I am ashamed of a serving PM of India.”

7.45 pm: Actor Anupam Kher came out in support of actor Akshay Kumar who was attacked on social media over his Canadian passport, asking Kumar not to explain himself to anybody.

“Dear Akshay Kumar! Have been reading about you explaining to certain people about your loyalty to our country,” Kher says on Twitter. “Stop it! Their real profession is to make people like you & me feel defensive for talking in favour of India. You are a doer. You don’t need to explain to anybody.”

On Friday, Kumar had confirmed that he has a Canadian passport and that he never tried to hide that he did. He was criticised on social media last week for not casting his vote, days after he held a “non-political interview” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

7.35 pm: Senior BJP leader Kalraj Mishra says the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance in Uttar Pradesh may have impact in some seats, but the saffron party will be able to match its 2014 Lok Sabha election tally, PTI reports.

The BJP-led NDA had won 73 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 General Elections.

The anti-BJP alliances forged in states like UP and Bihar were stitched with the sole agenda to remove Narendra Modi from power, Mishra says.

7.30 pm: Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, campaigning for AAP’s East Delhi candidate Atishi Marlena in the national Capital, says people should choose a leader who will send their children to Oxford or Cambridge University and not Ayodhya or Kumbh.

“I want to tell you that we do not want to send our next generation to Kumbh or Ayodhya, but to Oxford [university] from where Atishi studied and Cambridge [university],” he said in Old Seemapuri area of East Delhi, according to PTI. “Her work in education sector has created a model, something which cannot be seen anywhere in Gujarat.”

7.15 pm: The Congress suspends rebel party leader Shakeel Ahmad with immediate effect for contesting as an independent from Madhubani Lok Sabha constituency, ANI reports. The party also suspends Benipatti MLA Bhavana Jha for anti-party activities.

Ahmad, a former Union minister, decided to contest as an independent after his traditional seat of Madhubani was allotted to the Congress party’s ally Vikassheel Insaan Party. He is contesting against the alliance’s candidate Badri Kumar Purbey and BJP’s sitting MP Hukumdev Narayan Yadav’s son Ashok Yadav. Ahmad has received support from the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

6.55 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims a hospital in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh denied treatment to a man who was carrying the Ayushman Bharat card. The hospital’s trustee is a person from “naamdar family”, the prime minister says, in a veiled attack on Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

“It is saddening that the poor man who was denied treatment died,” Modi says at the rally in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. “The culprits behind the man’s death should be punished.”

Earlier in the day, SM Choudhary, director at Sanjay Gandhi Hospital in Amethi, told ANI that the patient could not be admitted as he did not bring the Ayushman Bharat card with him. “It is a baseless allegation,” Choudhary said after BJP leader Smriti Irani shared a video about the matter. “We have treated 200 patients under the scheme so far.”

Smriti Irani is contesting against Rahul Gandhi from Amethi Lok Sabha constituency.

6.40 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says Modi’s comments against former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi were unfortunate. “Sorry for my delayed response on this. I was campaigning,” Banerjee says on Twitter. “Rajiv ji dedicated himself and laid down his life for the motherland. I condemn the language used & the audacity of such a statement.”

6.30 pm: BJP President Amit Shah says national security will remain his party’s supreme priority and called upon the people to vote for the BJP. “There were only two countries who avenged the killing of their soldiers – America and Israel,” Shah says in Panipat. “But Modi ji has added the name of India in this list.”

6.25 pm: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee says few local leaders of her party have become greedy but they have been identified and thrown out, PTI reports. “Whatever happens, it is the TMC which will remain at your feet and be with you in all your needs and problems,” the West Bengal chief minister said while urging people not to leave her party and go to the BJP, Congress or the CPI(M) due to the fault of a few.

She claims Modi is the “biggest calamity for the country”. She also accuses the BJP of distributing money to people to win votes.

5.30 pm: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot claims PM Modi is defaming Congress leaders by levelling baseless allegations against them.

Addressing a rally on Saturday, Modi had called former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi “corrupt no.1”.
“Using such words reflects his [Modi’s] weird mentality and hatred,” Gehlot says, according to PTI. “Prime Minister Modi has been defaming the great leaders of the Congress through baseless and illogical talks. Using such words in his speeches shows his frustration.”

5.15 pm: Congress leader Sheila Dikshit says she is “deeply shocked” and angry at the words used by Modi against Rajiv Gandhi. “In 4 decades of my active political life, I have not witnessed this kind of political discourse,” Dikshit tweets. “If we do not repair our politics, future generations will not forgive us for where we will have pushed India.”

On Saturday, at a rally in Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Modi had said: “Your father was termed ‘Mr Clean’ by his courtiers, but his life ended as ‘Bhrashtachari No. 1’ [corrupt no. 1].”

5 pm: Five BJP workers die in Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh after their car fell into a gorge, PTI reports. The deceased were on their way to attend Chief Minister Jairam Thakur’s election rally in Sehraj Tehsil, police say.

4.30 pm: Preparation for polling in Jammu and Kashmir under way.

4.29 pm: Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor says one needs khichdi when he is sick, reports PTI. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders have often called the Opposition’s alliances a “khichdi government”. Tharoor says the country will “resoundingly cure the political sickness” by voting the BJP out. He claims the Congress will be the fulcrum of a new coalition government at the Centre after May 23.

4.21 pm: In Phulpur, Akhilesh Yadav attacks the BJP for saying that the mahagathbandhan would collapse. “They are now saying that we are betraying Bahujan Samaj Party,” says Yadav. “This gathbandhan is strong. This will give the country new government and a new prime minister.”

4.11 pm: “The situation is such that these people always want to take away our rights,” says Akhilesh Yadav. “They come out with multiple conspiracies, to put us down.”

4.11 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav addresses a joint rally in Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh.

4.10 pm: Modi accuses Congress leaders of doing injustice to many generations. “They want to defame my image that is why they keep on abusing me again and again,” he says. “Generations passed after independence but our country lacked basic amenities.”

4.09 pm: Addressing a rally in Madhya Pradesh, Modi says each vote in his favour will inspire him to fight against terrorism.

3.32 pm: Congress candidate from North-East Delhi Sheila Dikshit holds a door-to-door campaign in Seelampur area, ANI reports.

3.30 pm: BJP’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur campaigns for elections hours after Election Commission’s 72-hour ban on her ended, ANI reports.

3.15 pm: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alleges that there is a “definite collusion of people holding political positions and scamsters who fled the country”, PTI reports. He also adds that India is headed for economic slowdown as the Modi government has left economy in dire straits.

Read more here:

Manmohan Singh claims corruption rose to ‘unimaginable levels’ during Narendra Modi’s rule

3.05 pm: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says Modi’s rule was the most traumatic and devastating for India’s youth, farmers, traders and democratic institutions. “A government that doesn’t believe in inclusive growth, worries about political existence at altar of disharmony should be shown exit door,” Singh tells PTI in an interview. “PM Modi considers his government inscrutable and unaccountable to litany of corruption charges.” He says the Modi government’s Pakistan policy is slipshod and based on a series of flip-flops.

3 pm: Sharad Yadav says the Opposition alloiance in Bihar will decimate the NDA alliance. Yadav, a former Janata Dal (United) leader, is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Madhepura in Bihar on a Rashtriya Janata Dal ticket.

“Where is the BJP winning? Their seats will be reduced significantly in Rajsthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh,” Yadav tells PTI. “The SP-BSP alliance is far ahead of them in UP. They are losing in Bihar and also in Jharkhand. That the Modi government will be out of power on May 23 is certain.”

2.55 pm: Responding to a fresh EC notice issued to her, Pragya Singh Thakur says, “I am a seer. My life is about temples, prayer, spirituality, the welfare of the nation and cow protection. Those preventing me from these should think about their own lives.”

Earlier in the day, the Election Commission had issued her a notice for allegedly campaigning even as the poll panel’s ban was in force. During the 72-hour ban, she went from temple to temple and campaigned covertly via religious songs, alleged the Congress.

Read more here: Pragya Thakur gets fresh notice for allegedly violating Election Commission’s 72-hour campaign ban

2.30 pm: Actor Vivek Oberoi urges people to vote for the BJP during an event at the Constitution Club of India in New Delhi, PTI reports. “The people of Mumbai have shown the finger in the right direction,” he says. “I am talking about the correct finger. “Now it’s time the people of Delhi showed the finger. So, ‘Saaton seetein, Modi ko’ [All seven seats for Modi].”

2.17 pm: Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot claims that there is a “wave of change” around the country, PTI reports. “Words like mob lynching and cow vigilantism were not in our discourse till five years ago,” he tells the news agency. “There are some powers that are supporting such elements. The kind of venom, the violence that we see, and the kind of acrimony that we have witnessed in the society in the last five years, is unacceptable.”

He adds that the BJP’s rhetoric about religion and mandir-masjid (the Ram temple matter) will not help them secure votes.

2.10 pm: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu says Narendra Modi’s remarks about Rajiv Gandhi are disgraceful. “If you can not respect the living, at least learn to respect those who died for the country...in line of duty,” he tweets. “Your disparaging comment is a clear indicator that you are smitten by inferiority complex.”

2.03 pm: BJP’s Gurdaspur candidate and actor Sunny Deol holds a roadshow.

1.55 pm: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel says BJP has repeatedly violated the Model Code of Conduct, ANI reports. “BJP workers don’t ask for votes in the name of their candidates but in the name of Narendra Modi,” he says. “Narendra Modi himself doesn’t ask for votes in his own name, he asks for votes in the name of Armed Force’s valour.”

1.44 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accuses the Bharatiya Janata Party of plotting an attack on him the previous day and claims that the people of Delhi will vote against the saffron party. A man slapped Kejriwal during a roadshow in the Moti Nagar area in New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency on Saturday, prompting the Aam Aadmi Party to accuse the BJP of orchestrating the “cowardly act”.

Read more here:

Arvind Kejriwal alleges BJP plotted attack on him, says it is the ninth attack on him

1.14 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims ‘mahamilawati’, or adulterated, parties don’t acknowledge India’s growing strength in the world, PTI reports. He also claims that the Opposition parties have politicised surgical strikes “but everything should not be seen through the prism of elections”.

“The country has been governed by ‘nampanthi’ that is dynastic rulers, ‘vampanthi’ (Left), ‘damanpanthi’ or rulers using money and muscle power, and ‘vikaspanthi’ that is one caring for 130 crore people,” he says at the rally in Bhadohi, Uttar Pradesh. Bhadohi will vote on May 12, the sixth phase of the elections.

1.04 pm: Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on Sunday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for alleging that their father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was corrupt. On Saturday, at a rally in Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Modi had said: “Your father was termed ‘Mr Clean’ by his courtiers, but his life ended as ‘Bhrashtachari No. 1’ [corrupt no. 1].”

Read more here:

‘Uncontrolled madness, karma awaits you’: Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi slam Modi for ‘corrupt’ jibe

12.23 pm: BJP leader Bharati Ghosh, the party’s candidate from Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal, warns Trinamool Congress workers that if they intimidate voters, she will bring men from Uttar Pradesh to pull them out of their houses and beat them up like “dogs”. “You are threatening people to not cast their votes,” she says in a video. “I will drag you out of your houses and thrash you like dogs. I will call a thousand people from Uttar Pradesh to beat you up.”

Read more here:

‘I’ll call 1,000 people from UP to beat you up’: BJP candidate threatens Trinamool workers in Bengal

12.16 pm: Assam BJP leader Prasanta Phukan has compared Muslims to cows that don’t give milk, The Indian Express reports. Phukan, representing Dibrugarh, has added that there is no use giving fodder to such “cattle”.

However, Phukan tells the daily that he did not compare Muslims to cows. “I said 90% Muslims do not vote for us,” he says. “I used an Assamese proverb – what is the use of feeding a cow fodder if it does not give milk? I never intended to call the Muslim community ‘cow’.”

12.11 pm: Union minister Jayant Sinha has courted controversy for using the honorific “ji” to describe Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Masood Azhar, NDTV reports. “This is a big moment for the security of the nation,” he says at a rally in Ramgarh town in Jharkhand, referring to Azhar’s listing as a terrorist by the United Nations. “The work we have done has been successful. Now Masood Azhar-ji has been designated as a global terrorist by the United Nations.”

12.07 pm: Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari says that the BJP’s five-year rule was just a “trailer” and the real picture is yet to emerge. “He can say whatever he wants,” Gadkari says in a reference to Rahul Gandhi. “His credibility has suffered a blow. I do not think anyone believes that Congress will form the government. They want to help those who can defeat BJP. They have the sentiment that BJP, Modi ji should lose, even if they [Congress] are not elected.

12.03 pm: The Leh press club has alleged that the BJP is trying to bribe reporters for favourable coverage, in order to influence Lok Sabha elections in Ladakh, NDTV reports. Press Club Leh (Ladakh) has filed a complaint against BJP state president Ravinder Raina, alleging that he tried to bribe journalists on Thursday at Hotel Singge Palace in Leh.

11.57 am: Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and actor Prakash Raj will campaign for the Aam Aadmi Party’s East Delhi candidate Atishi Marlena, PTI reports. Professor Kafeel Khan, who was suspended from duty at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur in 2017, will also campaign for Atishi.

11.51 am: BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav tells the Hindustan Times in an interview that the National Democratic Alliance will get 300 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, in the “worst case scenario”. He says the “best case scenario” is that a repeat of the 2014 performance, when the BJP won 282 seats and the NDA 336. “We have the king so we do not need any kingmakers,” Madhav says in a reference to Narendra Modi.

11.47 am: Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has been booked for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. “Hindus can be violent which is evident by Hindu mythologies Ramayana and Mahabharata,” Yechury had said on Saturday in Haridwar. Yoga guru Ramdev filed a complaint against Yechury with the Haridwar Police.

11.43 am: Retired Lieutenant General DS Hooda, who oversaw the surgical strikes across the Line of Control in 2016, has said that cross-border operations have been conducted in the past too. He also denounces parties using the operations for political mileage.

11.40 am: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi tweets her disgust at Modi’s remarks on Rajiv Gandhi. “The prime minister, who asks for votes in the name of martyrs and then insults their martyrdom, yesterday insulted a virtuous man and his martyrdom,” she tweets. “The people of Amethi, for whom Rajiv Gandhi gave up his life, will give him a befitting reply for this insult. Yes, Modi ji, this country does not forgive deceitful people.”

11.30 am: BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Som demands a ban on the burqa. “The manner in which fake voting is being done in the guise of the burqa, is dangerous for a country like India,” he says in a Facebook clip. “The burqa is encouraging terrorism in the country and it should immediately be banned.”

11.25 am: Congress leader Sachin Pilot claims the BJP is “clutching at straws” in the election campaign, because it wants to hide its failures over the last five years, The Indian Express reports. “They’re now falling back on the tried and tested formula of dividing this country on religious lines, on caste lines,” he tells the daily. Pilot says BJP leaders like Pragya Thakur, Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj make divisive speeches with the full knowledge of the party leadership.

11.21 am: Congress President Rahul Gandhi tells Modi that his “karma” awaits him. “The battle is over,” Gandhi tweets. “Your Karma awaits you. Projecting your inner beliefs about yourself onto my father won’t protect you.” The Congress chief offers Modi love and a “huge hug”.

11.19 am: Congress leader Sam Pitroda says the party is hurt by Narendra Modi’s remarks about Rajiv Gandhi, ANI reports. “Why did he say that? We are ashamed of the statement, I am a Gujarati too & come from Gandhiji’s state,” he adds.

11.15 am: Yadav says the BJP is taking the help of investigating agencies to raid Opposition leaders because it knows it won’t win the polls, ANI reports. “There was never a Central Bureau of Investigation raid on anyone after the Model Code of Conduct came into effect,” he adds.”

11.11 am: Akhilesh Yadav also calls Modi a “180-degree PM” and claims that the prime minister “does just the opposite of whatever he says”, ANI reports. “He is the PM of only 1% of the population,” Yadav adds.

11.09 am: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav says the prime minister’s language has changed because he know that he is lagging behind the others. “BJP can see no other way. They’re not talking about development, farmers’ income,” Yadav tells ANI. “PM just wants to mislead people. SP-BSP-RLD will decide who will form government and be the PM.”

11.07 am: Former Union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram says Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “crossed all limits of propriety and decency by defaming” former PM Rajiv Gandhi, who died in 1991.

Chidambaram was referring to Modi’s remarks on Saturday at a rally in Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh. “Your father was termed ‘Mr Clean’ by his courtiers, but his life ended as ‘Bhrashtachari No. 1’ [corrupt no. 1],” Modi had said while taking a swipe at Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

“Does Mr Modi read anything at all? Does he know that the charge against Mr Rajiv Gandhi was thrown out by the High Court, Delhi as ‘completely baseless’,” Chidambaram said in a series of tweets. “Does Mr Modi know that a BJP government decided not to file an appeal to the SC against the HC judgment?”

10.58 am: The Election Commission has ordered re-polling in eight booths in Shahjahanpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh on May 6, ANI reports. They had initially voted on April 29.

10.56 am: Preparations are under way in Ayodhya for the fifth phase of elections on Monday.

10.55 am: The Election Commission on Saturday announced that it will conduct re-polling in Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba Lok Sabha constituency on May 6. The sub-divisional magistrate has ordered that charges be filed against four election staff and five security forces personnel, an official said.

Read more here:

Election Commission orders re-polling in UP’s Mahoba, where an EVM was missing for 15 hours

10.49 am: “Our grand alliance is getting the support of the whole public, and the people will uproot [the BJP] this time,” Mayawati adds. “The BJP is trying to break the coalition. BJP and Modi are trying to divide the SP-BSP to save himself and his reputation. Clearly, the BJP is losing the election.”

10.40 am: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati says Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unable to digest the “strong alliance” between the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal and the BSP in Uttar Pradesh. “Modi is trying to play divide and rule policy in SP-BSP alliance,” she says, according to News18. “He [Modi] is trying to create differences between SP and BSP. Whole country knows that we have not, nor we will have any sort of alliance with the Congress.”

10 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal holds a roadshow in Bawana Village.

9.50 am: Bhopal District Election Officer sends a notice to BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur for allegedly campaigning during her three-day EC ban, ANI reports. The Election Commission had barred her from campaigning for three days, starting 6 am on Thursday, for saying that she is proud of her role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992.

Read more here:

Election Commission orders FIR against BJP’s Pragya Thakur for remark on Babri Masjid demolition

9.45 am: Unidentified militants shot dead Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gul Mohammed Mir in his house in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Saturday night. He was the vice president of the BJP unit in Anantnag district.

Read more here:

Jammu and Kashmir: BJP leader shot dead by militants in Anantnag district

9.40 am: BJP’s National General Secretary Ram Madhav says his party is committed to the removal of Article 370, the Hindustan Times reports. “We see it as a big hindrance in the process of emotional integration of the people of Kashmir valley with the rest of the country,” the daily quotes him as saying. “It creates an emotional barrier.”

9.35 am: The Delhi Police registers an FIR against a person named Suresh for slapping Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during a roadshow in Moti Nagar area on Saturday.

Read more here:

Lok Sabha polls: Arvind Kejriwal slapped during election rally in Delhi, AAP blames BJP

9.32 am: The Election Commission said Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not violate the Model Code of Conduct when he claimed that India had kept Pakistan on its toes to ensure the safe return of Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, PTI reports. Modi had made the comment in Gujarat’s Patan.

Read more here:

EC clears PM Modi of poll code violation allegation again, this time for ‘qatal ki raat’ speech

9.30 am: Here are Saturday’s top updates:

  • The Aam Aadmi Party blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was slapped during a road show in Moti Nagar in the New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency. The BJP, however, alleged that the AAP had scripted the incident.
  • Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram claimed that an election commissioner’s dissent from the poll panel’s decision to clear Prime Minister Narendra Modi in two cases of alleged poll code violation in Maharashtra indicates that “the fear of Modi-Shah” is finally weakening.
  • A video of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Varun Gandhi has gone viral on social media. In the video, Gandhi is seen targeting the candidate fielded by the Opposition alliance in Sultanpur constituency of Uttar Pradesh and his brother, saying he gets such people to untie his shoelaces.
  • Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah held a roadshow in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, accompanied by Smriti Irani, the party’s candidate from the constituency. He said that in Uttar Pradesh the choice for voters was between dynasty and development, and predicted a win for Irani by one lakh votes. The constituency votes on Monday.
  • The campaigning for the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections came to an end.Congress President Rahul Gandhi held a press conference in which he said he will stand by the slogan “chowkidar chor hai” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also said the Army was not Modi’s personal property, and criticised the prime minister for claiming that surgical strikes when the Congress was in power were like “video games”.