11.10 pm: Here are the day’s top updates:
- Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi mocked Modi for his “56-inch chest” remark, made during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. “You boasted about your 56-inch chest, but where is your heart?” she said at a rally in Maharajganj Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
- The West Bengal government appointed a Special Investigation Team to look into the desecration of Bengali reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s statue on Tuesday. Both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP have blamed each other for the incident.
- The Election Commission ordered the Madhya Pradesh chief electoral officer to submit a “factual” report on BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s remarks. Thakur had said that Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, was a patriot. Thakur later apologised for her remarks.
- Narendra Modi claimed at a rally in West Bengal that Mamata Banerjee wanted to imprison him. “Yesterday, I saw on media channels that Didi [Banerjee] has threatened to take over the offices and homes of Bharatiya Janata Party workers,” he added.
- Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the party has no problem if it does not get the prime minister’s post. “We will go with the unanimous decision [of Opposition parties],” he said.
- Narendra Modi said he is proud of the “divider-in-chief” tag bestowed upon him by the Congress if it means the poor think beyond caste and religion.
- Slippers were thrown at actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan during an election meeting at the Tirupparankundram Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu. Haasan had said earlier this week that Nathuram Godse was the first terrorist of Independent India, and he was a Hindu.
11 pm: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi mocks Modi for his “56-inch chest” remark, made during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. “You boasted about your 56-inch chest, but where is your heart?” she says at a rally in Maharajganj Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
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10.45 pm: Election Commission declares elections held on May 12 at a poll station in Chandni Chowk Assembly segment in Delhi void, ANI reports. Re-polling will be held on May 19, the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections.
10.15 pm: Campaigning has ended for the seventh phase of the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal, PTI reports. The Election Commission had on Tuesday ordered campaigning to end a day earlier after violence in Kolkata during BJP chief Amit Shah’s rally.
10 pm: Pragya Singh Thakur says she apologises if she has hurt anybody’s sentiments with her remark on Godse, ANI reports. Thakur claims her statement was made in the heat of the moment, in response to the spectre of Hindu terror raised by the Opposition. “What Gandhiji has done for the country cannot be forgotten,” she adds. However, Thakur also claims the media has taken her remark out of context.
9.47 pm: The BJP too has demanded an apology from Thakur for her remarks, ANI reports. “BJP does not agree with this statement, we condemn it,” spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao says. “Party will ask her for clarification, she should apologise publicly for this statement.”
9.34 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu says the Election Commission’s decision to conduct re-polling in five stations of the Chandragiri Assembly constituency and the Chittoor Parliamentary constituency is “partial, one sided and undemocratic”, ANI reports. The poll panel had declared the polls in these constituencies, held on April 11, bogus.
9.25 pm: The Kerala State Election Commission announces that re-polling will be held in four booths in north Kerala on May 19, PTI reports. Re-polling will be held in three booths in Kalliasseri in Kasaragod constituency and one booth in Taliparamba in Kannur. Several allegations of bogus voting had surfaced in these booths during the third phase of voting on April 23.
8.33 pm: Election Commission asks Madhya Pradesh chief electoral officer for report on BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s remark that Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was a patriot, ANI reports. Poll panel asks the official to submit the report by Friday.
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8.10 pm: BJP media official Devendra Bhasin says Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath on May 18, PTI reports. Bhasin said the purpose of the visit was spiritual.
8.05 pm: Election Commission of India declares polls held on April 11 at five polling stations of the Chandragiri Assembly constituency and the Chittoor Parliamentary constituency of Andhra Pradesh as void. The poll panel reschedules the election for May 19.
8.02 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi holds a roadshow with Patna Sahib candidate Shatrughan Sinha and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav in Patna.
7.49 pm: BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur says she is devoted to the Bharatiya Janata Party and that the party’s stance is her stance, ANI reports. Her statement comes after the BJP condemned her remark describing Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a patriot.
7.44 pm: Election Commission of India suspends two officers, ANI reports. The poll panel said Diamond Harbour sub-divisional police officer Mithun Kumar Dey and Kaushik Das, officer in charge of Amherst Street, have been relieved with immediate effect. “Both the officers shall not be given any election related posts,” the poll panel said.
7.34 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi says Prime Minister Narendra Modi is arrogant, PTI reports. “You boasted about your 56-inch chest, but where is your heart?” Gandhi says. “The PM talks about Pakistan while speaking on nationalism. For him, nationalism is all about speaking on the work done to counter Pakistan. Employment and farmer issues are not nationalism to him”
7.15 pm: BJP president Amit Shah says Congress President Rahul Gandhi remained silent after his party colleague insulted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PTI reports. “Mani Shankar Aiyar used abusive words against PM Modi but Rahul baba remained silent,” Shah says. “Can anyone tolerate abusive words against the prime minister.”
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7.10 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says Opposition leaders are making statements that indicate that they have lost the elections. “The Congress is even saying that they are not a contender for the PM’s post,” Modi says.
7.07 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has threatened to imprison him, as she is frustrated by the Trinamool Congress’ “imminent defeat” in the Lok Sabha elections.
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7.01 pm: BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s spokesperson Hitesh Bajpai says she has apologised for calling Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a patriot, PTI reports. “Pragyaji has apologised for her statement,” Bajpai tells PTI.
To a question if she has apologised to Madhya Pradesh BJP President Rakesh Singh, Bajpai says, “That is not an issue, but she has apologised and taken back her statement.”
6.56 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu says the Election Commission needs to restore its credibility and fulfill its constitutional mandate. “It is disturbing to see prompt action by the Election Commission [based] on the complaint by the BJP and Amit Shah in in West Bengal, while conveniently ignoring the complaints of the Trinamool Congress,” Naidu tweets. “It is even more disturbing to see conspicuous inaction of the ECI regarding the complaint of 22 political parties of the opposition, to validate EVM counting with the counting of at least 50% VVPAT slips in each assembly constituency.”
6.48 pm: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara says the ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in the state will not collapse after the Lok Sabha polls, PTI reports. “HD Kumaraswamy is the chief minister,” Parameshwara says. “I am making this statement on his behalf. The government will not collapse for any reason. Not on May 23, 24 or 25. We will run the government for the remaining four years [of our term].”
6.39 pm: Punjab Congress Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu supports wife and party colleague Navjot Kaur Sidhu’s claim that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and senior Congress leader Asha Kumari ensured that she was denied the Lok Sabha ticket from Amritsar, PTI reports. “My wife has that much strength and moral authority that she will never lie,” Navjot Singh Sidhu says. “This is my answer.”
6.25 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee leads a padyatra (March) in Jadavpur.
6.21 pm: Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha calls on Opposition parties to unite in support of Mamata Banerjee against the Bharatiya Janata Party. “The Election Commission has proved once again that it is nothing more than the handmaid of Modi,” Sinha tweets. “The entire Commission should resign once the election process is over.”
6.08 pm: Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi says Election Commission did not give a satisfactory reply to the Opposition’s plea against its order to curtail campaigning time in West Bengal for the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections, ANI reports.
Earlier on Thursday, the Congress had registered a protest with the Election Commission against its order, The Week reports.
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5.46 pm: Maharashtra’s Nationalist Congress Party chief Jayant Patil says BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s comment on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin reveals its true identity. “Nathuram Godse who has murdered Mahatma Gandhi is being defended by BJP’s candidate Pragya Thakur and is being called a patriot,” Patil tweets. “People can now see the BJP’s real face.”
5.26 pm: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad says his party has no problem if it does not get the prime minister’s post. “We have already made our stance clear. If Congress gets a consensus, the party will take the leadership,” Azad says. “Our priority is to prevent the National Democratic Alliance from forming the government.”
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5.21 pm: Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana says BJP President Amit Shah may not be God, but that West Bengal Chief Minister is no saint either. The publication is referring to the verbal spat between the leaders of the two parties and the violence that occurred during Shah’s roadshow in West Bengal. “Bengal has seen violence during the time of Marxist regime and now Mamata Banrejee is also doing the same,” the publication says.
While accusing Shah and the BJP for the violence in West Bengal, Banerjee had said, “What does Amit Shah think of himself?” she asked, according to the Hindustan Times. “Is he above everything? Is he God that no one can protest against him?”
5.08 pm: DMK chief MK Stalin accuses the Election Commission of being partial towards the Bharatiya Janata Party with its order to curtail campaigning time in West Bengal for the final phase of the Lok Sabha polls. “The EC has one set of rules for the Opposition and another for the ruling party,” Stalin tweets. “Highly condemnable. The BJP follows a typical pattern. Vandalises Periyar statue in Tamil Nadu and Iswara Chandra Vidyasagar in West Bengal.”
5.04 pm: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi predicts that Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse will soon be recommended for the Bharat Ratna award. “Remember, Narendra Modi has defended and endorsed Pragya’s candidature,” Owaisi tweets. “This is not a ‘lunatic fringe’ and is definitely not her “personal opinion”, it is the BJP standing by independent India’s first terrorist. In few years, Sri Sri Godse will also be recommended with a Bharat Ratna.”
4.59 pm: Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti takes a swipe at BJP candidate’s description of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin as a patriot. “I take pride in being called an anti-national when a Hindu fanatic who gunned down Gandhi ji is hailed as a nationalist,” Mufti tweets. “I am not capable of this kind of nationalism and patriotism.”
4.50 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala says India’s soul is under attack by the successors of Godse, the BJP administration. “The BJP are describing the murderer of the father of the nation as a true nationalist and declaring those who sacrifice their lives for the nation, like Hemant Karkare, as anti-national,” Surjewala says. “This is an insult to the Gandhian way of life that lives in India’s soul.”
Surjewala says BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur is trying to eulogise Nathuram Godse, the murderer of Mahatma Gandhi. “We call on the prime minister to tender an unconditional apology to the nation and take punitive action against Pragya Thakur,” Surjewala says.
4.46 pm: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah mocks BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s remark on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse. “If the killer of the father of the nation is a patriot does that make Mahatma Gandhi anti-national?” Abdullah tweets.
4.39 pm: Congress candidate Digvijaya Singh demands an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and Madhya Pradesh BJP unit for BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s remark on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, ANI reports. “I condemn this statement. Nathuram Godse was a killer, glorifying him is not patriotism, it is sedition.”
4.33 pm: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says that the “not so positive reason” for the prime minister’s “high acceptability levels” is the absence of a coherent alternative. “If the Opposition is giving vague assurances of an alternative, the same is either too scary or absolutely frightening,” Jaitley writes in his Facebook blog. “The common thread which brings them together is negativism – to get rid of one person. They have no agreement on either a leader or programme. They are a completely fractured Opposition which could not come together before or during the election.”
4.08 pm: Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav says the BJP has intensified ‘hate-filled politics’ to avoid being questioned on ‘achche din’ promise, PTI reports. Yadav predicts a coalition of parties will form the next government and that Congress President will play a “central role”.
“Those who colluded in flouting the people’s mandate will be defeated,” PTI quotes Yadav as saying. “Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have always been key to forming central governments, that will not change. I recognise that there is a strong anti-incumbency wave across India and each state will count.”
3.56 pm: Mamata Banerjee asks crowd gathered at election rally in Diamond Harbour to chant “chowkidar chor hai”, ANI reports. “In the last five years you [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] could not construct a Ram Temple and you want to build Vidyasagar’s statue?” she says. The people of Bengal won’t beg before you. Your goonda neta came here and said ‘Bangal kangal hai’. Are Bengalis kangal?”
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3.46 pm: BJP condemns its candidate, Pragya Singh Thakur, for her remark on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, ANI reports. “The BJP does not agree with this statement, we condemn it,” BJP leader GVL Rao says. “The party will ask her for clarification. She should apologise publicly for this statement.”
3.44 pm: BJP’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur calls Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a patriot. “People calling him a terrorist should instead look within,” she tells ANI. “Such people will be given a befitting reply in this election.”
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3.39 pm: The Nationalist Congress Party accuses the BJP of creating an “Emergency-like situation” in West Bengal. “Evidence proves that the West Bengal violence was BJP-sponsored,” Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil tweets. “BJP workers can clearly be seen desecrating Vidyasagar’s statue in a video. The BJP is deliberately creating an Emergency-like situation as it is staring at its defeat. It won’t be a surprise if the BJP formally declares Emergency in times to come.”
3.37 pm: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah predicts victory for Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. “The BJP can team up with the Election Commission in West Bengal, they can have a tailor made campaign designed to fragment and polarise the electorate, they can have all their model code violations overlooked,” Abdullah tweets. “None of it will matter because on the 23rd Mamata didi will sweep West Bengal.”
2.50 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addresses a rally in Maharajganj district of Uttar Pradesh: “The prime minister told you that he himself will deposit Rs 15 lakh in your accounts and the president of the same party, after the elections said it was a ‘chunaavi jumla’ [empty promise for the elections],” she claims. “Will you trust them again?”
2.34 pm: BJP Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur calls Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a patriot. “People calling him a terrorist should instead look within,” she tells ANI. “Such people will be given a befitting reply in this elections.”
2.32 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi addresses a rally in Maharajganj, Uttar Pradesh. “This is the land of Pulwama martyr Pankaj Tripathi,” she says. “Every party leader comes to you for votes and you have to decide whom to choose for the next five years. From the past five elections you have the same people whom you have voted, therefore you know what have they done for you.”
2.15 pm: Addressing a public meeting in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, Narendra Modi claims that it was the “mahamilawat alliance” that pushed the region “into the trap of naxalism”.
2.06 pm: Banerjee says the BJP destroyed the 200-year-old heritage of West Bengal by vandalising Vidyasagar’s statue. “Those supporting the party will not be accepted by society,” she says, according to PTI. “We have proof and you say that TMC has done,” ANI quotes her as saying. “Aren’t you ashamed?He should do sit ups for lying so much. Liar. Prove allegations, otherwise we will drag you to jail.”
Banerjee is addressing a rally in South 24 Parganas, West Bengal.
1.58 pm: Banerjee says Narendra Modi offered to rebuild the Vidyasagar statue. “Why should we take their money, Bengal has enough,” she says, according to PTI.
1.53 pm: Mamata Banerjee claims BJP is posting fake videos on social media to instigate people and cause riots, reports PTI. “Bengal was never so violent till the BJP entered here,” News18 quotes her as saying. “It it is the BJP, which is causing communal riots in Bengal, this never happened before.”
1.48 pm: Banerjee says West Bengal does not need Narendra Modi’s help to rebuild statue of Vidyasagar, reports News18 . “They [BJP] were the ones who broke it,” she says. “If you break the statue of Ambedkar, Gandhi, Tagore and then say you will rebuild it, people of Bengal will not forgive what ‘goonda’ Amit Shah has done.”
1.44 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleges the Election Commission has “sold out” to the BJP. “EC is brother of BJP, earlier it was an impartial body now everyone in the country says EC has sold out to BJP,” she says, according to ANI. “I feel sad but I don’t have anything to say, I am ready to go to jail for saying this. I am not scared to say the truth.”
1.42 pm: Modi says leaders of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party are cut off from ground realities of the people, reports ANI. “SP, BSP made a deal sitting in AC rooms of Lucknow,” he says.
1.40 pm: At a rally in Mau, Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has no faith in the elected prime minister of the country. “She believes in Pakistan’s prime minister, but not in India’s,” he says, according to ANI.
1.31 pm: BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga says the BJP’s youth wing unit in West Bengal will distribute 10 lakh postcards with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s address. “Anyone can write Jai Shri Ram Message [and] drop to nearest letter box, it will reach to Mamata Didi address,” he says on Twitter.
12.39 pm: RJD leader and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav extends his support to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. “The campaigning call off by EC in Bengal is against the democratic spirit of free and fair elections. EC is behaving like BJP cell. We fully support Mamataji in this fight.”
12.27 pm: Modi says those with eight seats, 10 seats, 20-22 seats, 30-35 seats are dreaming of becoming the prime minister. “But the country is saying “phir ek baar Modi sarkar”,” he adds.
12.25 pm: Modi claims young voters and the poor have realised that the BJP-led government can fulfill their dreams, reports News18.
12.24 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally in Chandauli, Uttar Pradesh.
12.03 pm: In an interview to India Today, BJP President Amit Shah blames West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the violence in her state. “Why is there no violence in other states...why violence in Bengal only?” asks Shah. “It is because Mamata ji rules there.”
11.50 am: Rahul Gandhi will address an election rally in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, today.
11.47 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee thanks the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party for their support.
11.41 am: Modi accuses “TMC goons” of vandalising a statue of Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar in Kolkata during Amit Shah’s roadshow on Tuesday. “We are committed to Vidyasagar’s vision and will install his grand statue at the same spot and give a befitting reply to TMC,” says Modi.
11.36 am: Modi says he thought Mayawati would criticise Mamata Banerjee after the latter targeted UP-BIhar Purvanchal people and called them outsiders. “But this did not happen,” he says. “Because she [Mayawati] is not bothered about you. She is busy playing political games.”
11.30 am: In Mau, Modi alleges that the SP-BSP alliance is against securing women’s rights. “We brought in the law against triple talaq but they made sure that the bill was stalled,” he adds.
11.24 am: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath claims that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will rule for 25 years as he has fulfilled the dream of socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia. “Dr Lohia told [former Prime Minister] Shrimati Indira Gandhiji in Parliament that this country lives in the villages,” Adityanath tells PTI in an interview. “The day every poor person in this country has a toilet in his home and his fuel requirements are met, whoever is the PM then shall rule for at least 25 years.”
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11.19 am: Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who is in Alwar to meet the woman who was allegedly gangraped, demands justice in the case. “Soon after I heard about the incident, I spoke to [Rajasthan Chief Minister] Ashok Gehlot Ji,” says Gandhi. “This is not a political issue for me. I met the victim’s family and they have sought justice which will be done. Action will be taken against culprits.”
11.16 am: Modi says the SP-BSP candidate in Ghosi Lok Sabha seat is an absconder in an alleged rape case. “SP has this history in UP, people know, but Behen ji will you seek votes for such candidates?” he asks. SP-BSP candidate Atul Rai seeking protection from arrest in a rape case till May 23.
11.15 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his address at an election rally in Mau, Uttar Pradesh.
11.14 am: Computer Baba faces an FIR for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct, reports ANI. A complaint was filed against him alleging that he was campaigning for Congress Bhopal candidate Digvijaya Singh.
10.27 am: Mayawati accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah of targeting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “It is clear that PM Modi, Amit Shah and their leaders are targeting Mamata Banerjee, its planned targeting,” she says. “This is a very dangerous and unjust trend and one which doesn’t suit the PM of the country.”
10.25 am: Mayawati calls the Election Commission’s order truncating campaign time in Bengal unfair, reports ANI. “The Election Commission has banned campaigning in West Bengal, but from 10 pm today just because PM has two rallies in the day,” says the BSP chief. “If they had to ban then why not from today morning? This is unfair and EC is acting under pressure.”
9.38 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will address two rallies in Mathurapur and Diamond Harbour today. She will then participate in two padyatras – at Joka and Sukanta Setu in Kolkata.
9.34 am: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath calls BJP candidate from Patna Sahib Ravi Shankar Prasad the “pairokar” (advocate) for Ram temple, reports PTI. He says Prasad was behind the clampdown on the custom of triple talaq.
9.31 am: Actor Anupam Kher campaigns for his wife and BJP candidate Kirron Kher in Chandigarh.
9.21 am: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh accuses Narendra Modi and the BJP of trying to divide the country along religious lines, reports PTI. “He [Modi] is raising the issue of nationalism,” says Singh. “How could you brag about it when you are trying to divide the country on religious and caste lines and destroy its strength of secularism and diversity?”
9.19 am: An unidentified man throws slippers at actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, reports NDTV. The incident took place on Wednesday evening when Haasan was campaigning in Tirupparankundram Assembly constituency in Madurai. Eleven people, including BJP workers and members of Hanuman Sena, have been named in the police complaint.
9.16 am: Mayawati says NYAY is not a permanent solution to poverty, reports ANI. Addressing a rally in Mau, Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday, the BSP chief said, “To influence voters, especially the extremely poor, Congress party announced Rs 6,000 per month for them.”
9.07 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address five rallies today, including two in West Bengal.
9 am: Congress President Rahul Gandhi mocks Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a new word – “Modilie”. He tweets a photoshopped screenshot of an entry for the word on a replica of the Oxford Dictionary website. The word “Modilie” is defined in the screenshot as: “to constantly Modify the truth”, “to lie incessantly and habitually” and “to lie without respite”.
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8.58 am: Opposition parties criticise the Election Commission order that curtailed campaigning in West Bengal for the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections. The Election Commission of India had said that campaigning in West Bengal will end by 10 pm on Thursday. Campaigning would have ended at 5 pm on Friday in normal circumstances, according to the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.
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8.55 am: Here are the top updates from Wednesday:
- The Election Commission said campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal will end on Thursday. Campaigning would have ended at 5 pm on Friday in normal circumstances, according to the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct. Mamata Banerjee asked why has the Election Commission not issued a showcause notice to Amit Shah for the violence. The chief minister alleged that the poll panel is running under the BJP.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi called West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee intolerant, and claimed the Trinamool Congress’ goons had attacked BJP workers during Amit Shah’s roadshow.
- Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the whole country was making fun of Modi. “Narendra Modi used to make fun of [former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh],” Gandhi said at a rally in Faridkot Lok Sabha constituency in Punjab. “Today, he is not making fun of Singh. The country is now laughing at Modi.”
- Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan said his comment about Nathuram Godse being “free India’s first extremist” was a “historical truth”, PTI reported. “Understand the meaning for the word extremist,” he said. “I could have used the word terrorist or murderer.”
- Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien called Amit Shah a liar after he alleged that the Mamata Banerjee-led party was responsible for the violence at his roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday. O’Brien accused the Central paramilitary forces deployed to maintain law and order in the state of colluding with the BJP.