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

  • The BJP hit out at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for justifying his description of Narendra Modi as “neech kisam ka aadmi [low-life kind of person]” during the Gujarat Assembly elections in 2017.
  • Clashes broke out during a roadshow of BJP National President Amit Shah in Kolkata. The violence began after sticks were hurled at Shah’s truck. A war of words broke out between Mamata Banerjee and Shah following the violence.  
  • DMK President MK Stalin criticised Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan’s claim that the DMK is in talks with the saffron party for an alliance. Stalin said he will quit politics if Soundararajan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are able to prove that such talks are under way. 
  • BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay mentioned Kamal Haasan’s statement about Nathuram Godse in a public interest litigation plea in the Delhi High Court. On Monday, Haasan had called Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin independent India’s first terrorist and pointed out that he was a Hindu.
  • Congress President Rahul Gandhi mocked Narendra Modi for claiming that he had given the Indian Air Force the green signal to proceed with airstrikes in Pakistan’s Balakot area on February 26 despite bad weather because “the clouds could actually help our planes escape the radars”.

10.35 pm: The Election Commission orders fresh polling in 34 booths in 10 districts in Odisha on May 19, Odisha Chief Electoral Officer S Kumar says, according to PTI. The fresh polling has been ordered due to certain problems during the voting in the third and fourth phases of the Lok Sabha elections on April 23 and 29.

The fresh polls will be held in different assembly segments in the districts of Puri, Cuttack, Angul, Keonjhar, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Deogarh, Balasore, Mayurbhanj and Jaipur, he said. There has been no power in Puri district, where polling has been ordered in three booths, following Cyclone Fani that made landfall on May 3.

10.25 pm: BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi accuses Mamata Banerjee of complicity in the violence that marred BJP chief Amit Shah’s rally in Kolkata. “She holds a constitutional post but has been using unconstitutional comments, asking her party workers to take revenge and indulge in violence. She is complicit,” Naqvi says, according to PTI.

Following the clashes, a BJP delegation, including Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Naqvi, met the Election Commission seeking intervention to hold free and fair polls in the state.

10.05 pm: Chandigarh Police detain 12 college students for selling “Modi pakodas [fritters]” wearing their degree robes near the venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally, PTI reports. The students were released after the rally was over, police say.

In January 2018, Modi, in an interview, had suggested that those who sell pakodas outside offices, and earn Rs 200 a day, count as employed.

9.55 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visits Vidyasagar College in Kolkata hours after clashes broke out near the college at BJP President Amit Shah’s roadshow, ANI reports.

9.40 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath alleges that Congress president Rahul Gandhi “moves to Italy” whenever there is a crisis in the country. “If Congress’ ‘Shehjadi’ [referring to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra] and [her brother] Rahul [Gandhi] have nothing to do with the people of our country, then they should better move to Italy and ask for votes there,” PTI quotes Adityanath as saying at a rally.

9.39 pm: The BJP meets the Election Commission after the clashes at Amit Shah’s roadshow. “We demanded the EC that disturbing elements and history-sheeters be arrested immediately, central forces’ flag march be conducted and CM Mamata Banerjee be barred from campaigning for instigating her supporters,” says BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi after the meeting, according to ANI.

9.30 pm: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday criticises the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal following the clashes that broke out during Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata. “Has Bengal acquired a Government of Gangsters?” Jaitley tweets. “The attack on Amit Shah’s peaceful rally by the TMC is deplorable. Is a free & fair poll possible in Bengal? All eyes are now on the Election Commission.”

Also read: Kolkata: Clashes break out during Amit Shah’s roadshow, Vidyasagar College gate set on fire

9.22 pm: Mamata Banerjee alleges that the BJP is transporting money in CRPF vehicles to be distributed among the people of the state. “I have never seen the way money is flowing in this election,” she says, acording to PTI. “Such things have been seen only in the North East but not elsewhere.”

She claims the Election Commission’s move to change the commissioner of Bidhannagar Police to facilitate the movement of money.

9.20 pm: Mamata Banerjee says BJP chief Amit Shah should be made to squat holding his ears for his “Kangal Bangla” (poor Bengal) remark on Monday, PTI reports. “How dare he say Bengal is kangal,” she says at a rally in the state.

9.17 pm: The Uttar Pradesh Police registers an FIR against BJP’s Rae Bareli candidate Dinesh Singh and his brother Avadesh Pratap Singh for allegedly attacking members of district panchayat, PTI reports.

9.06 pm: Congress leader Divya Spandana Tuesday takes a jibe at Union minister Arun Jaitley. “Jaitley ji, I agree with you but how come I was charged with sedition for this meme on Modi?” Spandana says. “Are you saying Modi is a dictator?” She was referring to photoshopped picture of Modi painting “chor” (thief) on his wax statue.

In an apparent reference to Mamata Banerjee, Jaitley had said that humour and wit have “no place in autocracies”. “Bengal, today is a case in point,” he said. Jaitley was referring to the arrest of a BJP leader for sharing morphed images of Banerjee.

8.52 pm: A BJP delegation comprising Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, spokespersons Anil Baluni, GVL Narasimha Rao and other leaders will meet the Election Commission today over clashes at party president Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata, ANI reports.

8.50 pm: BJP chief Amit Shah alleges “TMC goons” attacked his road show in Kolkata as they were frustrated about the response it received “with almost every citizen attending it”, reports ANI. “I condemn the violence that Mamata Banerjee’s party is doing,” Shah says. “I would like to appeal to the people of Bengal to give a response to this violence with their votes in the last phase. It’s necessary to oust TMC once to put an end to violence in the state.”

8.46 pm: The Election Commission issues a notice to Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam citing a speech delivered in Varanasi that violated the Model Code of Conduct. The poll panel asks him to respond to the notice in 24 hours.

8.26 pm: Police in Karur, Tamil Nadu, book actor-politician Kamal Haasan for terming Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin “independent India’s first terrorist” and pointing out that he was a Hindu, reports PTI. Haasan was booked for “outraging religious feelings”. The complaint was filed by Hindu Munnani District Secretary KV Ramakrishnan, according to The Times of India.

8.18 pm: The Election Commission says bye-elections to state Legislative Councils of Bihar, Maharashtra and Telangana will be held on June 7 and votes will be counted on the same day. Election to Rajya Sabha from Assam will also be held on June 7. The term of two Rajya Sabha members from Assam, Manmohan Singh and Santiuse Kujur, will end on June 14.

8.12 pm: The Election Commission seeks responses from media houses – IANS India Pvt Ltd, Economic Times & Swaraj Mass Media – on complaints about voter surveys predicting results of the Lok Sabha elections being circulated. The poll panel has asked the media houses to respond within 48 hours of receiving its notice.

8.09 pm: Singh says Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other senior AAP leaders would hold a protest if the Delhi Police do not conduct a proper investigation, PTI reports. AAP leader Girish Soni, in whose constituency the incident took place, blames the “BJP-RSS” of trying to give religious colour to the incident.

8.06 pm: The Aam Aadmi Party alleges that some “political forces” are trying to give “religious colour” to the killing of a businessman, PTI reports. “It was an unfortunate incident and religion must not be brought into it,” says AAP leader Sanjay Singh. “Some political forces are trying to give religious colour to the incident, but that is unacceptable.”

A 51-year-old businessman was stabbed to death in West Delhi’s Moti Nagar area after he objected to his daughter being harassed.

7.54 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the country will elect a strong government at a rally in Chandigarh, PTI reports. “The country is electing a strong government and not a helpless government,” he says. “It is choosing ‘India first’, than ‘family first’, not dynasty, but development.”

He says the country is choosing “those who hit terrorists in their den” referring to the Balakot air strike.

7.50 pm: A statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, a social reformer, at Vidyasagar College in Kolkata was vandalised during clashes that broke out during BJP chief Amit Shah’s road show, reports ANI.

7.43 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says when the middle class suffered due to inflation, Congress said “hua to hua” or “it happened, so what?” referring to Sam Pitroda’s remark. “Congress’ naamdaar used to say ‘Congress is an ideology’, now naamdaar’s [Rahul Gandhi] guru has revealed that Congress’ ideology is ‘hua to hua’,” ANI quotes Modi as saying.

7.39 pm: Modi criticises the Congress for Sam Pitroda’s remark on the 1984 anti-Sikh violence. “Not all perpetrators of the Anti-Sikh riots have been brought to justice yet,” Modi says. The prime minister claims Congress chief Rahul Gandhi would not have said anything against Pitroda if it had not been for elections in Punjab.

On May 9, Pitroda had said “hua to hua [it happened, so what?]” when a reporter asked him about the violence against Sikhs in 1984 after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.

7.36 pm: Modi says the Congress has always humiliated the middle class and tax payers. “our government has respected the middle class,” he says in Chandigarh.

7.32 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally in Chandigarh. “During elections, all big events including IPL [Indian Premier League] and religious festivals like Navratri, Ramnavmi, Hanuman Jayanti, Easter and Ramzan went on uninterrupted,” he says. “We even successfully dealt with a big cyclone [Cyclone Fani]. Why could such events not be carried out in the past during elections?”

7.23 pm: Trinamool Congress supporters reportedly wave black flags and shout “Go back Amit Shah” and “chowkidar chor hai” during Shah’s road show in Kolkata, reports Hindustan Times.

7.21 pm: A clash broke out during BJP chief Amit Shah’s road show in Kolkata, West Bengal, reports ANI. Stones were hurled at Shah’s convoy from a college hostel on Bidhan Sarani, according to PTI. Unidentified official say BJP supporters picketed the hostel and set fire outside the building.


6.47 pm: Congress leader Navjot Kaur Sidhu alleges that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Congress General Secretary in charge of Punjab, Asha Kumari, ensured she was denied a Lok Sabha ticket from Amritsar, reports PTI. “Captain Sahib and Asha Kumari think Madam Sidhu does not deserve an MP ticket,” she says. “I was denied the ticket from Amritsar on the ground that I could not win in the aftermath of the Dussehra train tragedy in Amritsar last year.”

6.25 pm: Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury says Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee facilitated the entry of BJP to West Bengal. “After 2002 Gujarat riots, Ms Mamata Banerjee was a Minister in the BJP govt [government], she went to polls in alliance with BJP in 2004, facilitated the entry of BJP into Bengal [and] is doing so even today,” Yechury says on Twitter. “She is now preaching to us, who have always fought RSS-BJP?”

6.18 pm: BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao calls Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar “abuser-in-chief” and a “political slave of the dynasty”. Aiyar had justified his description of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “neech kisam ka aadmi [low-life kind of person]” during the Gujarat Assembly elections in 2017.

Read more here:

‘Abuser-in-chief’: BJP attacks Mani Shankar Aiyar for justifying his remark about Narendra Modi

6.13 pm: Mayawati blames the Congress for the BJP’s rise to power, both at the Centre and in states, PTI reports. She says atrocities had increased under the “dictatorial and arrogant” BJP government.

6.08 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party Mayawati says the “bad days” of the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah will begin on May 23 when the results of the elections are announced, PTI reports. “Ever since the BJP has got an inkling of the results, its leaders have lost their sleep,” she says at a rally in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. “The pale and long-drawn faces of their leaders clearly indicate that the BJP and the Modi government are going out of power. The theatrics and rhetorics of the BJP will not serve any purpose.”

6.03 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blames a section of media for misleading people by saying that she does not allow Hindus to cast their votes, reports News18. “How many of you are Hindus, please raise your hands,” she asks the crowd at a rally in Jadavpur. “You tell me the truth and show it to the section of national media. BJP is threatening these media houses. They are also helpless.”

5.59 pm: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi holds a road show in Pathankot in Punjab, reports ANI. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is accompanying Gandhi.

5.57 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the Opposition wants to form a weak government and destroy the country. “Why are people so angry with these ‘mahamilawatis’?” he says at Sasaram in Bihar. “It is because these dynastic and corrupt parties are arrogant.”

Read more here:

Lok Sabha polls: RJD and Congress will push India into darkness, Narendra Modi says in Buxar

5.52 pm: Aam Aadmi Party candidate Raghav Chadha says the party’s South Delhi unit has deployed a vigilance team of 20 volunteers to monitor strong rooms at Jijabai Industrial Training Institute for Women at Siri Fort “to ensure that other political parties are not able to engage in electoral malpractices”, reports News18.

5.49 pm: The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam appeals to the Election Commission to bar Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam chief TTV Dhinakaran from campaigning for allegedly making personal attacks against Chief Minsiter Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam, reports News18. The party claims Dhinakaran criticised the judgements of Supreme Court and the Madras High Court, which it believed amounted to contempt.

5.44 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin condemns Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan’s statement that the DMK is in contact with the BJP for an alliance, reports ANI. “If Tamilisai and [Narendra] Modi prove I was in contact with BJP to form an alliance with them, I’ll quit politics,” says Stalin. “If they fail to prove, will she and Modi quit politics?”

Read more here:

‘Will quit politics if true’: MK Stalin denies Tamil Nadu BJP chief’s claim of talks with DMK

5.36 pm: Punjab minister Manpreet Singh says Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls himself the “lion of India”, reports ANI. “He maybe a lion, but there are two types. One lives in the jungle while the other is a circus lion,” says Singh. “We think he’s a circus lion.”

5.31 pm: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi claims Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh never fought in the independence movement, reports ANI. “When the entire Punjab was fighting for country’s independence, RSS people were doing ‘chamchagiri’ [flattery] of Britishers,” she says in Bathinda, Punjab.

5.18 pm: Gandhi says he will return Modi’s hatred will love, reports PTI. “This is because I am not a RSS or BJP man, but belong to the Congress,” he says. “I will return him love if hatred is thrown at me...We will defeat Modi ji with love, by hugging you.”

5.16 pm: At a rally in Ujjain, Gandhi says he will never speak ill of Narendra Modi’s parents even though the prime minister has insulted his family, PTI reports. “Modi ji talks with hatred,” says Gandhi. “He insults my father, grandmother, great grandfather. But I will never in my life speak about his family, his mother and father. I will die, but will never insult his mother and father.”

4.49 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says he is pushing for a “new language” in politics. “Let’s fight each other brutally on issues,” he says on Twitter. “Let’s fight hard on ideology. But...Let’s not use hatred and violence against each other. It’s bad for [India].”

Gandhi’s comments come in the wake of statements made by party leaders Mani Shankar Aiyar and Sam Pitroda. Gandhi has repeatedly said he will treat Prime Minister Narendra Modi with respect despite the prime minister “insulting his father and grandmother” during the election campaign.

4.40 pm: BJP National President begins road show in Kolkata, West Bengal.

4.38 pm: Modi says people are fed up of the Congress party’s dynasty politics, their corruption and arrogance. “The message on May 23 when counting of votes is scheduled, will be loud and clear,” the prime minister says.

4.36 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says Sam Pitroda’s remark on the 1984 anti-Sikh violence shows the Congress party’s arrogance, PTI reports. “The three words ‘hua to hua’ (whatever happened, happened) uttered by the guru [Pitroda] of the naamdaar [Rahul Gandhi] in front of TV cameras sum up their attitude,” he says in Sasaram, Bihar. “This is the way they have brazened it out whenever their regimes have been discredited on account of corruption scandals.”

4.32 pm: The Goa Congress lodges a complaint with the Election Commission against Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai over his comments on “weaponising” the youth, reports PTI. The party demands that Sardesai be booked for sedition.

The complaint filed by North Goa Youth Congress President Vivek D’Silva says Sardesai’s remark was “an indirect attempt to threaten voters” in the poll-bound Panaji Assembly constituency.

Last week, Sardesai, while responding to a question on dilution of domicile clause by the Goa University, said: “And if our government has made a mistake, then we will weaponise them [youth] to ensure that Goanness is protected.”

4.14 pm: The West Bengal government writes to the Election Commission on the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces in the state for the final phase of elections on May 19, reports ANI. The government requests the poll panel to re-examine the decision to not have a local officer in charge of Quick Response Teams.

The government also raised incidents of firing by CAPF personnel during polls on May 12 and claims there were complaints of CAPF using “excessive force to maintain law and order”.

4.03 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Treasurer Durai Murugan meets Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, reports ANI.

4.01 pm: At a rally in Ujjain, Congress President Rahul Gandhi says the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has waived farm loans of former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s family members. “But he [Chouhan] is lying to Madhya Pradesh that farm loans were not waived off,” Gandhi says, according to ANI.

3.57 pm: A criminal complaint has been filed in a Delhi’s Patiala House Court against actor-politician Kamal Haasan for allegedly “hurting religious sentiments of Hindus by associating terrorism with Hindu religion” in Tamil Nadu on May 12, reports ANI.

3.55 pm: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi backs actor-politician Kamal Haasan’s “India’s first terrorist” remark. “The person who killed Mahatma Gandhi, we would call him Mahatma or Rakshasa, terrorist or assassin?” ANI quotes Owaisi as saying. “The one whose role as a conspirator was proved in Kapur commission report, you would call him a great man or ‘neech’? We would’ve to call him a terrorist.”

3.48 pm: Kolkata Police reportedly removes hoardings, posters and banners of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP National President Amit Shah and other senior leaders of the party from Lenin Sarani, News18 reports. The police say the banners were put on government property.

Senior party leader Kailash Vijayvargiya says: “This is the goonda gardi of the TMC [Trinamool Congress] from preventing us to hold show in Kolkata.”

3.21 pm: Makkal Needhi Maiam demands the resignation of AIADMK leader and Tamil Nadu minister KT Rajendra Balaji who said actor-politician Kamal Haasan’s tongue should be cut off for saying that Nathuram Godse was independent India’s first terrorist and he was a Hindu, News18 reports. The party says Balaji violated is oath as minister and his statements on Haasan lacked “political and personal decency”.

3.11 pm: Tamil Nadu BJP President Tamilisai Soundararajan says the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is in contact with the BJP. “BJP is all set to win, all poll predictions point to BJP’s victory, wherever you go BJP is winning,” she says, according to PTI. The DMK and Congress have a pre-poll alliance Tamil Nadu.

3.04 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says Opposition leaders are competing with each other to abuse him because they have realised that they will lose the national elections, reports Hindustan Times. “This is why the competition to abuse Modi has picked up pace,” he says at Buxar. “They can’t win so they are venting their frustration by abusing [me].”

2.49 pm: Priyanka Gandhi’s rally in Sundernagar, Himachal Pradesh, has been called off as her chopper failed to take off from Kangra airport, reports India Today. The weather department predicted bad weather conditions between Kangra and Sundernagar.

2.24 pm: Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal holds a road show in Karnal. He is campaigning for party candidate Bhagwant Mann.

2.10 pm: Modi says parties like Congress and RJD want to keep 21st Century India in darkness, reports PTI. “NDA [is] committed to leading nation towards light,” he adds.

2.08 pm: Modi says BJP-led NDA government works in an unbiased manner. “We have worked for people irrespective of their caste,” he says. “The OBC commission being given constitutional status is a proof of this.”

1.51 pm: Modi says every vote matters, and requests everyone to go out and vote in the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 19, reports News18. He, however, claims that BJP’s victory is certain.

1.50 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally in Buxar, Bihar.

1.35 pm: The joint rally of Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal begins in Salempur, Uttar Pradesh.

1.16 pm: In a video message to the people of Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims Varanasi has developed in every phase in the last five years, reports ANI. “Kashi is not mere two letters for me, it is an inspiration for me,” he says. “Kashi is on a new path of development.”

1.14 pm: In Neemuch, Rahul Gandhi takes a jibe at Narendra Modi for his interview with actor Akshay Kumar where he spoke about eating mangoes. “You will see Modi give interviews where he tells how he eats mangoes or how he gets the sleeves of his kurta designed,” he says. “Now, tell the people what you have done for the unemployed youth in the last five years.”

Read more here:

Rahul Gandhi mocks Narendra Modi for remark on cloud cover helping Balakot air strike

1.07 pm: DMK chief MK Stalin says that he “doesn’t see a chance” for a Third Front, reports NDTV. “However, that will be decided only after counting on May 23,” he tells reporters at Chennai airport. Stalin says Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao did not meet him to discuss alliances. “He came to Tamil Nadu to offer prayers in various temples and on that basis, sought an appointment with me for a courtesy call. That is all,” Stalin adds.

Read more here:

DMK chief Stalin rules out need for third front now, says it will be decided after May 23

1.05 pm: Gandhi mocks Modi for his cloud cover comment with regard to Balakot airstrikes, reports ANI. “Narendra Modi told officers and chief of Air Force, “It’ll be beneficial, radar won’t be able to track aircraft in bad weather”. Narendra Modi ji, whenever it rains in India, do all the aircraft disappear from the radar?”

12.54 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi addresses a rally in Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh. He claims his party leaders, including Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, have worked for the poor farmers, reports News18.

12.52 pm: Addressing a press conference, Rajnath Singh says there is no place for political violence in a healthy democracy. “It’s unfortunate that more and more incidences of violence are taking place in West Bengal,” he says. “What can be more unfortunate, that the chief minister is unable to stop violence in the state?”

12.35 pm: In Ballia, Modi claims he has never used the caste card to win people’s support. “Even though i was born in an extremely backward caste, my goal is to make the country ‘forward’ in the whole world,” he says.

12.27 pm: The Supreme Court modifies its order and removes the condition of apology. It says Sharma should be released immediately, reports Bar and Bench.

Read more here:

BJP leader who shared Mamata Banerjee’s morphed image granted bail by Supreme Court

12.26 pm: Modi says the Opposition parties are busy bad-mouthing him as they fear defeat.

12.25 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election rally in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh.

12.22 pm: Union Home Minister and BJP leader Rajnath Singh says the saffron party will get two third majority on its own in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, reports India Today.

12.13 pm: Supreme Court grants conditional bail to BJP youth wing worker Priyanka Sharma on tendering written apology, reports Bar and Bench.

12.12 pm: RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav claims that the Nitish Kumar government has conspired against his father Lalu Yadav. “Nitishji yesterday said in Nalanda that he will not let Lalu ji come out of jail, it confirms our allegations that Nitish Kumar and people of BJP together sent Lalu ji to jail,” he tells ANI. “Our appeal is in HC, it will be the court’s decision not Nitish Kumar or Narendra Modi’s.”

12.10 pm: Supreme Court, hearing BJP youth leader Priyanka Sharma’s appeal against her arrest, asks her to apologise to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for sharing a morphed picture of the TMC leader, reports Bar and Bench. “We can grant bail but she has to apologise,” says SC.

11.53 am: Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar justifies his “neech” slur that he had used against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017. In an opinion piece in the Rising Kashmir, Aiyar refers to Jawaharlal Nehru’s education and attacks Modi for “stunningly illiterate claims”. Referring to Modi’s cloud cover comment on the Balakot airstrike, Aiyar writes: “Did Modi take his senior-most Air Force officers for fools that he could trot out such ridiculous unscientific rubbish before them? And were they so pusillanimous that they dared not correct such a vacuous Prime Minister.”

He says Modi will be ousted by the people of India on May 23. “That would be a fitting end to the most foul-mouthed prime minister this country has seen or is likely to see. Remember how I described him on 7 December 2017? Was I not prophetic?”

Read more here:

Mani Shankar Aiyar says his ‘neech kisam ka aadmi’ remark was prophetic, predicts defeat for PM Modi

11.23 am: Mayawati says there should be a “pure PM” who can run country in accordance with the welfare spirit of Constitution, reports PTI.

11.20 am: Former Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, who joined the Shiv Sena in April, says she will break the perception of the Sena being a misogynist, nativist and non-liberal party. In an interview with ThePrint, Chaturvedi says, “This entire perception that has been built around the national narrative of the Shiv Sena has to be broken and that is what I think I would be best suited to do and is a purpose that is close to my heart.”

11.16 am: Supreme Court to hear on May 17 a petition filed by SP-BSP candidate Ghosi Atul Rai seeking protection from arrest in a rape case till May 23, reports ANI.

10.53 am: Mayawati says it is evident that the Narendra Modi-led NDA government is losing the elections, reports ANI. “It appears that even RSS has stopped supporting them,” she says. “In view of unfulfilled election promises and the public agitation, their swayamsevaks are not being seen putting in the work, it has made Shri Modi nervous.”

10.52 am: BSP chief Mayawati says a lot of money is spent by candidates on roadshows and to offer prayers during elections, reports ANI. “Election Commission should add this expense to the candidate’s total expenditure limit,” she says.

10.49 am: Congress leader KC Venugopal says BJP MLAs will join the party after May 23, reports India Today. “We are not going to poach any MLAs from BJP but naturally they’ll come to Congress after May 23,” he says. “In the past year, Karnataka has been witnessing horse-trading mentality of BJP, on the other hand Congress-JD(S) joined together.”

Karnataka BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa counters his claim and says that after May 23, more than 20 Congress MLAs who are not happy with HD Kumaraswamy will not continue in the party.

10.45 am: Thakur defends her abusive language against officials. “Authorities were supposed to release water but didn’t, so we had to become aggressive,” she tells ANI. “We’ve been demanding release of water since last 2 weeks. Collector had also ordered release of water from Upper Wardha but BJP MLA intervened.”

10.18 am: Congress MLA Yashomati Thakur abuses public officials during a meeting in Maharashtra, reports ANI.

10.12 am: In her interview to The Indian Express, Banerjee downplays the incidents of violence in her state during polling. “There are a few small incidents,” she says. “It happens everywhere during elections. A section of national media that is controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party highlights it. They want to show Bengal in a bad light.”

10.11 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tells The Indian Express that the Opposition’s alliance has 10 prime ministerial candidates and that they will finalise a name after the Lok Sabha elections. She says their current priority is to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi from power.

Read more here:

Opposition has 10 PM names, won’t take long to decide after polls: Mamata Banerjee to Indian Express

10.01 am: The BJP alleges that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath was denied permission to address a meeting in Kolkata, reports PTI. Aditynath’s meeting in Behala on May 15 has been cancelled. “Democracy is a joke in West Bengal,” tweets BJP national secretary Sunil Deodhar. “Permission cancelled at last moment for AmitShah Ji’s rally at Jadavpur. Once again Yogi Adityanath Ji’s rally permission cancelled in South Kolkata. DM & CEO both are working as an agent of ruling Trinamool Congress.” Union minister Smriti Irani’s rally, too, has been denied permission, alleges the party.

9.54 am: The final phase of polling for Telangana’s rural local body elections is under way, reports PTI. Counting will be held on May 27.

9.40 am: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati will hold a joint rally in Salempur.

9.40 am: Congress President Rahul Gandhi will campaign in Neemuch, Khandwa and Tarana in Madhya Pradesh.

9.39 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address election rallies in Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, Buxar and Sasaram in Bihar, and in Chandigarh. BJP chief Amit Shah will hold a roadshow in North Kolkata.

9.27 am: Congress veteran P Chidambaram says the party will review how economic data is collected and interpreted if it wins the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, reports Reuters. “We would have to set up a high-powered committee,” he says. “First, to look at what went wrong with the data, and to clean up the data collecting and data interpreting process.” Chidambaram’s comments come amid doubts over the reliability of official data.

9.19 am: The Madhya Pradesh government suspends a Sanskrit lecturer of Vikram University in Ujjain after he predicted a big victory for the BJP in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, reports The Indian Express. Rajeshwar Shastri Musalgaonkar had posted on Facebook on April 29 that the BJP alone will win close to 300 seats.

9.15 am: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot accuses Narendra Modi of trying to gain political mileage with his comments on the Alwar gangrape, reports The Hindu. Modi had dared BSP chief Mayawati to withdraw support to the Rajasthan government over the incident. Gehlot says the BSP will continue to support the Congress government in the state. “Mayawati’s concern is natural and justified, as she leads the Dalit community,” he adds.

9.11 am: BJP’s ally in Uttar Pradesh, the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, declares support to the Congress in Mirzapur, reports The Hindu. The Congress has fielded Lalitesh Tripathi from the seat. He will contest against Anupriya Patel of BJP ally Apna Dal and Ram Charitra Nishad of the Samajwadi Party.

9.06 am: One of the three women who were allegedly forced to vote for BJP at a polling booth in Faridabad tells NDTV that Giriraj Singh, the BJP agent, asked her to punch the button next to the lotus symbol. “He told me to vote for the lotus,” Shobha tells the TV channel. “But I told him that it was my choice, and I will vote for any party I want. I left soon afterwards.”

8.47 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims Congress President Rahul Gandhi was pretending in his rebuke for party leader Sam Pitroda’s remark on the 1984 anti-Sikh violence. Speaking at an election rally in Bathinda, Modi says, “Naamdaar [dynast], you pretended to scold your mentor for what? Because he publicly said what had always been in Congress’ heart? It is you who should be ashamed.”

Read more here:

‘It is you who should be ashamed’: PM Modi to Rahul Gandhi on Sam Pitroda’s 1984 violence remark

8.44 am: Here are the top updates from Monday.

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.