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

  • The Election Commission ordered re-polling at a booth in Asaoti in Haryana’s Faridabad district on May 19, a day after a polling agent was arrested for allegedly trying to influence voters. The poll panel said a complaint of violation of voting secrecy was found to be true.
  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and BJP President  Amit Shah took digs at each other at election rallies in the state. Banerjee told voters in Namkahana village in the state’s South 24 Parganas district that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will destroy the country if the BJP is voted back to power. 
  • The Election Commission ordered an inquiry after a voter in Delhi complained about mismatch between his vote and the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail machine during polling on Sunday.  
  • Congress President Rahul Gandhi again criticised party colleague Sam Pitroda for his dismissive comment about the 1984 anti-Sikh violence, and asked him to issue a public apology. Gandhi made the remarks at election rallies in Punjab. Prime Miniser Narendra Modi, however, claimed Gandhi had pretended to scold Pitroda.
  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati of stooping to an “all-time low” after her alleged personal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi while speaking about the Alwar gangrape. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman also criticised the BSP chief.  
  • Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President MK Stalin described his hour-long meeting with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, popularly known as KCR, as a courtesy call. Unidentified officials said Rao visited Stalin at his residence in Chennai’s Alwarpet locality to discuss the possibility of an alternative federal front. 
  • The Supreme Court dismissed a petition seeking directions to the Election Commission of India for an early start to polling during the month of Ramzan. The religious month of Ramzan, which Muslims observe by fasting, commenced on May 7.

10.45 pm: Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel says the Congress will defeat the BJP in his state, Hindustan Times reports.

10.37 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra mocks Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his comment on the Balakot air strike, ANI reports. “He is such a defence expert that he himself decided who will manufacture planes, he decided that those who have never made a plane in their lives will make it,” she says. “He thought, weather is cloudy, it will not come on the radar.”

Gandhi’s remarks are a reference to the Rafale fighter jet deal, which the Congress claims is mired in irregularities.

Read more here:

Opposition mocks PM’s claim about ordering Balakot airstrikes despite bad weather

10.32 pm: BJP National Secretary Sunil Deodhar says the West Bengal government has refused to grant permission to allow Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adiyanath to address a rally on May 15 and BJP leader Smriti Irani on Tuesday, ANI reports. “They denied permission at last minute,” Deodhar says.

8.50 pm: Trinamool Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Derek O’ Brien calls Amit Shah “puke worthy” and a “low life” for his “Kangal Bengal [pauper Bengal]” remark. “Puke-worthy Shah is ignoramus about Bengal,” he tweets. “Knows nothing about the State. Doesnt even care enough to find out where Rabindranath Thakur was born. And yet comes to beg for votes.”

8.37 pm: The poll panel says that a complaint of violation of secrecy at a polling booth in Asaoti in Faridabad Lok Sabha constituency in Haryana has been found to be true. “The commission has therefore ordered a fresh poll at this polling station on May 19, 2019,” the poll body adds.

A first information report has been filed against polling agent Giriraj Singh, the Election Commission says. The presiding officer, Amit Atri has been suspended for dereliction of duty and criminal action is also being initiated against him, it adds. Micro observer Sonal Gulati has been banned from election-related work for three years for her failure to report the incident correctly. The returning officer for Faridabad has also been transferred, and the poll panel has sought three new officers from the Haryana government.

8.30 pm: The Congress has named three candidates for bye-elections to the Telangana Legislative Assembly. Enagala Venkatram Reddy will be the Congress’ candidate from Warangal, Komatireddy Laxmi from Nalgonda and Uday Mohan reddy from Ranga Reddy.

8.22 pm: Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrashekhar Rao has met Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin in Chennai to propose the formation of a federal front, PTI reports. However, the agency says citing sources that Stalin has told Rao to extend support to the Congress.

7.56 pm: Karnataka Congress legislator ST Somashekar says that 10-12 “like minded” party MLAs will meet after after bye-polls to Kundgol and Chincholi Assembly constituencies are over on May 19, PTI reports.

7.44 pm: The Congress has expressed concern over the way electronic voting machines were transferred to the strongroom in Nand Nagari in the North East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency after polling ended on Sunday, PTI reports. The party alleges that EVMs were offloaded on the road close to the strong room. A complaint has been lodged with the Delhi chief electoral officer.

7.38 pm: Tamil Nadu minister K Rajendra Balaji says Kamal Haasan’s tongue should be cut off for his remarks on Hindu terror, ANI reports. “He made these remarks to gain votes of minorities,” he says. “We can’t blame entire community for act of one individual [Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse]. EC should take action against the actor and ban his party.”

7.32 pm: The Tis Hazari Court in New Delhi has fixed May 31 as the date to record the pre-summoning evidence in the case against BJP’s East Delhi candidate Gautam Gambhir, ANI reports. Aam Aadmi Party candidate Atishi Marlena had alleged that Gambhir has two voter IDs.

7.25 pm: BJP National Secretary Sunil Deodhar alleges that the West Bengal government has cancelled permission for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath’s rally on Tuesday in Kolkata, PTI reports.

7.14 pm: Union Minister Jitendra Singh claims that Kashmir-centric political leaders have been rattled by the Balakot airstrikes, PTI reports. “While we are proud that we are seeking votes on the basis of our pledge and commitment to the national security of India, it is for the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party leadership to regret that they have not been able to sell the slogan of so-called autonomy, pre-1953 status, self-rule, etc,” he adds.

7.04 pm: Mamata Banerjee calls Narendra Modi the “greatest danger to the country”, and claims that she will sacrifice her life to ensure that no riots take place in West Bengal, PTI reports. “Where will the country go if Narendra Modi comes to power again?” she asks. “He is the greatest danger of the country. West Bengal is a place where all religions co-exist. I will give my life to see that no riot takes place in the state.”

6.52 pm: The BJP protests in front of West Bengal chief electoral office in Kolkata after Amit Shah was denied permission to hold rally and land chopper in Jadavpur, ANI reports. “Police, administration, District Magistrate Ratnakar Rao have become ‘dalal’ [agents] of the Trinamool Congress,” says BJP leader Sunil Deodhar. “The Election Commission is being partial.”

6.46 pm: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra holds roadshow in Indore.

6.45 pm: Kerala Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala moves High Court seeking speeding up of cases registered in connection with impersonation and bogus voting in the state during the Lok Sabha elections, the Hindustan Times reports. Seeking fresh polling, Chennithala claims serious irregularities were detected in postal votes as the police association members collected ballot papers of those who were on duty.

6.25 pm: “Naamdaar [in reference to Rahul Gandhi], you pretended to scold your mentor [Sam Pitroda] for what?” Modi says at the rally in Punjab. “Because he publicly said what Congress had always been thinking? It is you who should be ashamed.”

Modi was referring to Gandhi’s comment earlier in the day saying he had asked Sam Pitroda to apologise for his comment about the 1984 anti-Sikh violence. “I told him this over the phone, I told him what he said was wrong, he should be ashamed and apologise publicly,” Gandhi said in Punjab.

6.15 pm: Narendra Modi is in Bathinda to address the third rally of his day. “It has been 35 years since the 1984 anti-Sikh violence,” Modi says. “Because of the Congress’ actions, those victims of the violence who should have gotten justice, were not given justice. They set up committees and commission and hushed up the matter.”

6.10 pm: Actor Vivek Oberoi says “art and terror have no religion”, respondingb to Kamal Haasan’s remark Nathuram Godse was independent India’s first terrorist and he was a Hindu. “Dear Kamal sir, you are a great artist. Just like art has no religion, terror has no religion either!” Oberoi, who played Narendra Modi in a biopic on the prime minister, says on Twitter. “You can say Godse was a terrorist, why would you specify ‘Hindu’? Is it because you were in a Muslim dominated area looking for votes?”

5.45 pm: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sindhu has damaged his vocal cords after speaking at 80 political rallies in 28 days, his office says. The Punjab minister has been prescribed steroids and injections to help recover, his office says, according to the Hindustan Times.

5.40 pm: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao meets Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President MK Stalin at the latter’s home in Chennai.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader has recently met several regional party leaders, reportedly in an effort to forge a non-Congress, non-BJP federal front.

5.30 pm: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Mayawati’s personal attack on the prime minister was “absolutely disappointing”. “Shocking for her to speak so ill about the prime minister and his personal life and women in the BJP,” Sitharaman told reporters, according to ANI. “Mayawati, please be assured we’re all absolutely safe, secure and have good professional relationships in our party.”

Mayawati had accused Modi of “playing dirty politics” over the Alwar gangrape case. The Bahujan Samaj Party chief questioned how Modi could respect “sisters and wives” when he had left his own wife for political gains. “I have come to know that married women in the BJP are often worried that Modi may convince their husbands to leave them just like the prime minister has left his wife,” she said, according to ANI. She also appealed to women not to vote for Modi.

5.15 pm: The Karnataka BJP files a complaint with the state chief electoral officer against Congress leader DK Shivakumar alleging that he has been distributing cash to voters and leaders, ANI reports.

4.55 pm: Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal claims that several BJP legislators would join his party after the results of Lok Sabha polls are declared. “We are very much confident that in the parliamentary election, there will be a government at the Centre under the leadership of the Indian National Congress,” Venugopal says, according to PTI. “The people of the country are now very much for a change and that will happen on May 23.”

Venugopal dismisses the BJP’s claim that the longevity of the Karnataka government would depend on the stand taken by about 20 “disgruntled leaders”. “How can they [BJP] destabilise the Karnataka government after May 23? We are not going to poach any MLAs from the BJP, but naturally they will come to the Congress after May 23. Naturally that is going to happen,” Venugopal says.

4.45 pm: Addressing a public meeting in Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra her party promises free education till Class 12 for students, News18 reports.

4.30 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien accuses Amit Shah of insulting West Bengal by using the term “Kangal Bangla” at his rally in Joynagar earlier in the day. “That puke- worthy Shah had the audacity to use the term ‘Kangal Bangla’ today at a rally,” O’Brien tweets. “The people of Bengal will give him and Modi a fitting reply in Phase 7. That #LowLife insults Bengal.”

Earlier on Monday, Amit Shah had claimed that Mamata Banerjee had turned “Shonar Bangla” (Golden Bengal) into “Kangal Bangla” (poor Bengal).

4.15 pm: The Congress today has been reduced to a party that is aiming to cut into others’ votes, says Modi. “The reason for this is their arrogance,” he adds. Modi says the Congress is asking for votes in the name of their ancestors. “But if you ask any question to the ‘namdaar’ family, they respond ‘hua to hua’,” Modi says.

3.55 pm: PM Modi addresses public meeting at Solan district in Himachal Pradesh. “If the UPA government had maintained the growth rate achieved during [former PM Atal Bihari] Vajpayee’s term, it would have been much higher now,” says Modi.

3.45 pm: The Congress calls BJP the “Bharatiya Jinnah Party” after a saffron party leader claimed that Partition could have been avoided had Muhammad Ali Jinnah been the prime minister. Guman Singh Damor, BJP’s Ratlam-Jhabua Lok Sabha candidate, had said on Saturday, “Jinnah [the founder of Pakistan] was an advocate and a learned man. If a decision was taken to make Jinnah PM at the time, then India would not have been partitioned.”

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera took on Narendra Modi for going to Ratlam on Monday to campaign for Damor. “Damor with his remarks has exposed the thinking of the BJP and the RSS,” Khera told reporters at a press conference. “Either these people have become so blinded by their hatred against Nehru that they end up loving Jinnah, or they have become so blinded by their love for Jinnah that they end up hating Nehru”

3.15 pm: A Delhi court admits criminal defamation case against BJP leaders Manoj Tiwari and Harish Khurana for their statements regarding the attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, earlier this month, ANI reports. The case was filed by AAP leader Sushil Chauhan for their comments calling the incident “staged”.

The court has listed the next hearing in the case for May 30.

A man had slapped Kejriwal during a roadshow in the Moti Nagar area in New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency on May 4, prompting the AAP to accuse the BJP of orchestrating the “cowardly act”.

3.10 pm: The Trinamool Congress government rejects the BJP’s allegations that Amit Shah’s rally in Jadavpur was cancelled after Shah was denied permission to land his chopper in the constituency. The TMC claims the BJP had itself cancelled the rally fearing a low turnout.

“The allegations are completely baseless. We have nothing to do with it,” TMC leader Partha Chatterjee says, according to PTI. “They themselves have cancelled the rally as they were afraid that the rally might turn out to be a flop show.”

2.55 pm: Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan says Haasan’s comments about “Hindu terrorism” were condemnable. “Standing amidst minorities in Tamil Nadu bye-election campaign he is lighting a dangerous fire to gain votes by minority appeasement,” Soundararajan says on Twitter. She wonders why the actor-turned politician did not comment on the blasts in Sri Lanka last month, which killed 253 people.

2.50 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says party leader Sam Pitroda should apologise for his comment about the 1984 anti-Sikh violence. “I told him this over the phone, I told him what he said was wrong, he should be ashamed and apologise publicly,” Gandhi says at a rally in Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab.

2.40 pm: Janata Dal (United) party’s election symbol of arrow marks violence while Rashtriya Janata Dal party’s lantern lights up people’s life, says Lalu Prasad Yadav in a letter to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Yadav says his party has removed the “darkness of hatred, oppression and injustice” with the help of their lantern, NDTV reports.

“You have backstabbed 11 crore poor people with arrows,” Yadav says in his letter, according to ANI. “You may shoot or hide your arrow in the mud flower [BJP’s poll symbol lotus], it is your wish. With missiles there, the time of the arrow is over. Now the arrow is just a museum piece.”

2.30 pm: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanking the Centre for the help rendered to the state during Cyclone Fani, ANI reports. He asks Modi to consider sanctioning 5 lakh houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin).

2.20 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala says Modi had disrespected war strategy by commenting about the IAF airstrike in a recent interview with a news channel. “In 70 years, no PM has made fun of military might, but Modi ji kept his raw wisdom above military’s professionalism,” Surjewala tweets. “He is so busy garnering votes in the name of military that he ended up insulting the forces. While boasting, Modi disrespected war strategy and committed an unforgivable crime.”

Read more here: ‘No PM mocked military might in 70 years’: Congress attacks Modi for remark on Balakot air strikes

1.55 pm: BJP’s Gurdaspur candidate Sunny Deol escapes unhurt after his vehicle was involved in a collision with three cars. The mishap took place when Deol was on his way to Fatehgarh Churian for campaigning.

One of the tyres in Deol’s car burst near a Gurdwara in Sohal village leading to the mishap, Gurdaspur Deputy Superintendent of Police (rural) Manjit Singh tells PTI. A total of four vehicles collided with each other in the accident, Singh says.

1.50 pm: Amit Shah says Mamata Banerjee does not implement in West Bengal any schemes started by the Modi government as she is scared that Modi’s popularity will increase in the state. “Bengal’s voters will help BJP to win more than 23 seats in West Bengal,” Shah says at a rally at Canning, which comes under Joynagar Lok Sabha constituency.

There are 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal.

1.23 pm: Meanwhile, in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav addresses the joint rally of SP, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal. He says the mahagathbandhan, or the grand alliance, will sweep the Lok Sabha elections, News18 reports.

1.21 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee is afraid of the BJP and so did not allow the party to hold a rally in Jadavpur, BJP President Amit Shah says, News18 reports. “Mamata Didi says one cannot speak Jai Shri Ram in Bengal,” he says at Joynagar in West Bengal. “I am speaking it from this forum and going to Kolkata from here. I challenge her if Mamata Didi has courage arrest me.”

Read more here: ‘If you have guts, arrest me’: Amit Shah tells Mamata Banerjee after chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’

1.19 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a “fake backward class”, Mayawati adds in Gorakhpur. The “real backward class” – Akhilesh Yadav – is here among you, she adds, according to News18.

1.18 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati addresses a joint rally of the BSP, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. “The people will oust Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in these polls,” she says, according to News18.

12.54 pm: At the rally in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, Modi also criticises Congress leader Digvijaya Singh for not voting on Sunday in the sixth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Bhopal candidate Digvijaya Singh had admitted that he could not go to Rajgarh to cast his vote and expressed regret. “Next time I will register my name in Bhopal,” he said on Sunday.

This was also a sign of the Congress’ arrogance, Modi says. “I went to Ahmedabad to cast my vote. The president and vice president were in queues to cast their vote,” Modi says, according to the Hindustan Times. “But Diggy Raja didn’t care about democracy he was only thinking about himself. He was thinking about his Bhopal seat.”

“This is nothing but a sin and he [Digvijaya Singh] is setting out a wrong example for first-time voters,” Modi adds.

12.51 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the words “hua to hua”, or “what happened, happened” reflect the Congress party’s arrogance, according to PTI. While Congress leaders were saying “hua to hua”, people were saying “enough is enough”, Modi adds at a rally in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh.

The Congress’ rule has ruined the country, he adds, according to News18. Calling them mahamilavati or adulterated, Modi alleges that the Congress does not care for people but is only concerned about dynasty politics and the Gandhi family. “In their reign, our brave sons could not get to the bulletproof jackets. In the terrorist attacks, our brave colleagues lost their lives in naxal attacks,” he says.

Read more here: Congress’ ‘hua to hua’ remark reflects party’s arrogance, Narendra Modi says in Madhya Pradesh

12.44 pm: Union minister and BJP leader Prakash Javadekar urges the Election Commission to act against the West Bengal government for allegedly not allowing BJP chief Amit Shah’s helicopter to land in Jadavpur, where he was scheduled to hold a rally on Monday. Permission for the rally was also allegedly denied.

“This is murder of democracy,” Javadekar says, according to PTI. “The EC should take cognizance of the matter. If important leaders are not allowed to hold rallies then what is the meaning of elections.”

12.37 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati is “firm on becoming a prime minister”, Arun Jaitley says. “Her governance, ethics and discourse stoops to an all-time low,” he says. “Her personal attack today on the Prime Minister exposes her as unfit for public life.”

Earlier in the day, Mayawati had claimed: “I have come to know that married women in the BJP are often worried that Modi may convince their husbands to leave them just like the prime minister has left his wife.”

12.35 pm: Arun Jaitley says democracy has become a casualty in West Bengal, referring to Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. “Opposition workers are murdered, candidates are attacked, polling booths are captured and Opposition leaders are not entitled to organise rallies,” Jaitley says on Twitter.

12.34 pm: Union minister and BJP leader Arun Jaitley attacks Opposition leaders in a series of tweets.

12.10 pm: Supreme Court dismisses a petition that challenged the Election Commission’s refusal to advance voting from 7 am to 5 am in the last phase on May 19 to help Muslim voters who are fasting during Ramzan, ANI reports.

Read more here:

Lok Sabha polls: SC dismisses plea seeking to start polling at 5 am during Ramzan

12.05 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleges that the Gandhi family uses IAF jets for “picnics” or personal trips. He claims that, on being questioned, they say: “What’s done is done”. He is speaking at a rally in Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh.

11.46 am: “Once dignity, transparency and uprightness are adopted, it will work as a political health tonic (for her),” Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma adds. “By using undignified words, the political health will certainly not improve.”

11.45 am: “BSP chief Mayawati is suffering from political depression, which stems from the fact that her party fared badly in the past five phases in the state, and defeat of BSP candidates is imminent in the last two phases,” Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma tells PTI. “It is for this reason that she is calling the prime minister a ‘fake backward’. She must revamp her memory, and for this she needs a political health tonic.”

11.43 am: Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma claims Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati is suffering from “political depression” because she fears a defeat in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, PTI reports. He claims Mayawati is showing weakness and her memory is fading. “All these symptoms are clearly visible in the statements of the BSP supremo,” he says, adding that Mayawati needs a “political health tonic”.

11.31 am: The Bharatiya Janata Party alleges the Election Commission has become a mute spectator in West Bengal, PTI reports. The statement came following reports that the Trinamool Congress government in the state denied permission to BJP chief Amit Shah’s scheduled rally in Jadhavpur on Monday. The administration allegedly also withdrew permission for Shah’s helicopter to land.

BJP media head and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni says the party will hold protests and move the Election Commission. “It is unfortunate that the EC has become a mute spectator to all this and also use of violence by the TMC in the state,” Baluni says.

Read more here:

West Bengal: BJP claims permission was denied for Amit Shah’s rally, says it will stage protest

11.22 am: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati criticises Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being not speaking up about the Alwar gangrape case. “He’s trying to play dirty politics over it,” Mayawati says, referring to Modi, ANI reports. “So that in the elections, his party can be benefited. It is extremely shameful. How can he respect others’ sisters and wives when he has left his own wife for political gains?”

11.18 am: Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan on Sunday said Nathuram Godse was independent India’s first terrorist and he was a Hindu. The Makkal Needhi Maiyam founder made the remark during a campaign rally in Aravakurichi Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu.

Read more here:

Kamal Haasan says Nathuram Godse was independent India’s first terrorist, and he was a Hindu

11.14 am: The Supreme Court agrees to hear on Tuesday the petition filed against the arrest of West Bengal BJP youth wing worker, Priyanka Sharma, ANI reports. Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna will hear the petition. Sharma was arrested for allegedly sharing a photoshopped image of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on social media.

Read more here:

SC to hear plea against arrest of BJP leader for sharing morphed picture of Mamata Banerjee

9.51 am: Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa says a polling agent was arrested after a video showed the person trying to influence voters at a polling booth in Faridabad. The district election office, Faridabad, says polling was not compromised at the booth, reports The Indian Express. Faridabad went to polls on May 12.

“DEO Faridabad reported that the observer, Sanjay Kumar investigated the entire matter,” Lavasa says on Twitter. “Report of the observer will be examined by ECI.”

Read more here:

Lok Sabha elections: Polling agent arrested in Faridabad for allegedly trying to influence voters

9.44 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal will address rallies in Punjab on Monday, reports News18. Punjab will vote in the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 19.

9.41 am: BJP chief Amit Shah reportedly denied permission to land his helicopter and hold a rally in Jadavpur, West Bengal, reports ANI.

9.38 am: BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma says the party may file an application in Supreme Court on Monday regarding the arrest of BJP youth wing worker, Priyanka Sharma. She was arrested for allegedly sharing a photoshopped image of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on social media. “If this continues, freedom of speech will not be left,” Sarma says, according to ANI. “BJP strongly condemns it.”

9.35 am: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will meet Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin in Chennai on Monday, reports ANI.

Rao has been pushing for a non-Congress, non-BJP front at the Centre for some time and had met Stalin last year reportedly to discuss the same. However, the DMK later formed an alliance with the Congress for the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu. Rao met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on May 7.

9.31 am: The Election Commission ordered the removal of Bankura District Magistrate Uma Shankar following clashes between Trinamool Congress and BJP workers in the West Bengal constituency during the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha polls, reports NDTV. IAS official Mukta Arya replaced Shankar with immediate effect.

9.28 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, saying she was the only BJP leader who could admonish him, PTI reports. “As the Lok Sabha speaker, tai [as Mahajan is popularly known in the constituency] has carried out her duties in a skilful and controlled way,” Modi said in Indore. “All of you know me as prime minister. But perhaps very few people know that in our party (BJP), if there is anybody who can admonish me, it is tai.”

Read more here:

‘If there is anyone in BJP who can admonish me, it is Sumitra Mahajan,’ says Narendra Modi

9.23 am: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claimed the the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress were looting public resources, reports PTI.

“The SP, BSP and the Congress have looted the resources of the public,” he said during rallies in Uttar Pradesh. “They never built houses for the poor, but made sure to build their big bungalows using government funds. These parties have never done any work in public interest. They kept the public in dark because thieves do not like full-moon night.”

9.20 am: The Election Commission censured Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Begusarai candidate Giriraj Singh for his remark against the Muslim community during an election rally in Bihar.

“Those who cannot say Vande Mataram or cannot respect the motherland, the nation will never forgive them,” Singh had allegedly said on April 25. “My ancestors died at the Simaria ghat and no grave was built for them but you [Muslims] need three hand spans of space.”

Read more here:

Lok Sabha polls: Election Commission condemns Giriraj Singh for remark against Muslims, warns him

9.18 am: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati accused the BJP and Congress of failing to solve the problems facing the nation, PTI reports. “The Congress, which ruled the country for a major period after Independence, could not solve the main problems of poverty and unemployment,” she said. “Besides, it failed to implement the reservation policy to the poor and Dalits in the proper manner which resulted in denial of benefits to these sections.”

Mayawati targeted the the Narendra Modi government, accusing it of using the Dalits “merely as a vote bank”.

9.15 am: Goa BJP chief Vijay Tendulkar said Opposition parties were trying to create a rift in the party by claiming that it did injustice to former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal, who was not given a ticket for the Panaji byepoll, reports PTI.

“No one projected the name of Utpal Parrikar [for Panaji bye-poll],” Tendulkar said. “His name, along with that of [Siddharth] Kunkolienkar, was discussed and then recommended to the BJP central committee, which chose Kunkolienkar.”

9.10 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed the BJP government was using central forces to influence voters, PTI reports. “I do not disrespect the central forces,” she said during a rally in South 24 Parganas district. “But they are being instructed to influence the voters. On the pretext of deploying central forces in West Bengal, the BJP is forcefully pushing BJP and RSS activists here. I doubt that some RSS activists in (central forces’) uniform are being pushed into West Bengal.”

9.06 am: Union minister Muktar Abbas Naqvi said the country wants a permanent and decisive prime minister, instead of a contractual one, reports PTI. He criticised the Opposition alliance for having “too many” contenders for the prime minister’s post.

9.02 am: The Election Commission said it found no violation of the Model Code of Conduct by the NITI Aayog in sharing information with the Prime Minister’s Office. On May 1, the Congress had moved the Election Commission against the alleged misuse of state machinery by the Prime Minister’s Office for Narendra Modi’s election campaign.

Read more here:

NITI Aayog didn’t violate poll code by sharing data with PMO for campaigns, says Election Commission

8.59 am: Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge asked if Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hang himself from Vijay Chowk if Congress gets more than 40 seats in the elections.

Read more here:

Lok Sabha polls: ‘Will Modi hang himself if Congress gets over 40 seats,’ asks Mallikarjun Kharge

8 am: Here are the top updates from Sunday:

  • The sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections took place in 59 constituencies on Sunday. The total estimated voter turnout was 64.28%, according to the latest figures from the Election Commission. Violent incidents were once again reported from West Bengal. Bharati Ghosh, the BJP candidate from Ghatal in West Bengal, alleged that she was attacked by Trinamool Congress workers. She suffered minor injuries.
  • The Communist Party of India (Marxist) urged the Election Commission to take action against Narendra Modi for his remarks about the Balakot airstrike. In an interview, Modi had claimed to have given the Indian Air Force the green signal to proceed with airstrikes despite bad weather because “the clouds could actually help our planes escape the radars”.
  • BJP chief Amit Shah accused former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of taking no action when “Pakistan beheaded five Indian soldiers” in 2013.
  • Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi told reporters after casting her vote in Delhi that it is “very clear” that the BJP is losing the polls. Gandhi said people were “angry and distressed” with the party.
  • BJP candidate from Ratlam-Jhabua Lok Sabha constituency, Guman Singh Damor, claimed that partition would not have occurred had Muhammad Ali Jinnah been appointed the prime minister.
  • Narendra Modi asked at a rally in Uttar Pradesh if “his jawan” should seek the Election Commission’s permission to handle terrorists standing with bombs and guns in front of him. He was referring to a gunfight on Sunday morning in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, in which two militants were killed.