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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Assembly Elections wrap, March 1: Alliance churning in Bengal; Priyanka attacks BJP on CAA in Assam; and more

Here are all the important poll-related updates you need to know today.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 1, 2021 11:03:25 pm
Priyanka GandhiCongress leader Priyanka Gandhi in Assam on Monday (Source: https://twitter.com/priyankagandhi)

With Assembly elections round the corner in several states, Monday was a politically charged day, with heavyweight leaders campaigning and holding meetings to finalise pre-poll pacts.

While Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi campaigned for Congress in Assam and Tamil Nadu respectively, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav met TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. In Kerala,  BJP tried to reach out to the Christian community.

Here are all the important poll-related updates you need to know today.

BJP leaders lack courage to talk about CAA in Assam: Priyanka Gandhi

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on Monday said that BJP leaders talk about implementing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) throughout the country but lack the courage to talk about it in Assam.

“The BJP makes tall promises before elections but during the next five years, they do nothing to fulfill them. People have realised this,” the Congress leader told reporters after addressing a meeting of party workers.

BJP leaders move around the country talking about implementing the CAA but are silent about it when they come to Assam, said Gandhi, who also offered prayers at the Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati and participated in a dance with tea tribes in Lakhimpur.

“They lack the courage to mention it in the state and people of Assam should never allow them to even talk about it, let alone implement it,” she said. Gandhi also launched a statewide “unemployment protest” from Lakhimpur.

Assam witnessed widespread protests against the CAA in 2019, with five people losing their lives during the agitation. Those opposing the CAA in the state say the Act will bring in more infiltrators and change the demographic balance of Assam.

Gandhi also said that the grand alliance of Congress and six other parties will form the government in Assam.

Tejashwi meets Mamata, asks people from Bihar living in Bengal to vote for TMC

Tejashwi Yadav Tejashwi Yadav meets Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna on Monday (ANI Photo)

Amid speculation of a tie-up between RJD and TMC ahead of the West Bengal Assembly polls, Tejashwi Yadav met Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna, the state secretariat, on Monday.

Tejashwi appealed to the people from Bihar domiciled in West Bengal to vote for the ruling TMC. Emerging from a meeting with Banerjee at the state secretariat, Yadav said that the first priority of his party was to stop the BJP’s progress in West Bengal.

He, however, avoided giving a straightforward answer to questions by journalists about whether the RJD will contest the elections in alliance with the TMC, saying the upcoming polls will be a fight for saving “ideals and values”. “Our party’s stand is to provide full support to Mamataji,” he said.

Banerjee, on her part, said she and jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad share “mutual respect”. “When we are fighting, it is brother Tejashwi who is also fighting. We are together,” Banerjee said.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma slammed the party for forming an alliance with Indian Secular Front (ISF) ahead of the polls.

Sharma said that the tie-up between Congress and ISF was “against the core ideology of the party and Gandhian and Nehruvian secularism, which forms the soul of the party” and the party cannot be “selective in fighting communalists but must do so in all its manifestations, irrespective of religion and colour”.

Moreover, popular Bengali actor Srabanti Chatterjee joined BJP on Monday.

BJP reaches out to the Christian community in Kerala

BJP on Monday reached out to the minority Christian community in poll-bound Kerala on Monday, with senior party leader and Karnata Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan meeting a senior Catholic priest, seeking to “gain the confidence” of the community.

Besides Narayan, BJP state chief K Surendran, who is leading the party’s “Vijay Yatra”, also met Syro-Malabar Church head Cardinal George Alencherry separately on Monday morning at the Bishops Council headquarters, sources said.

Narayan said he met the Cardinal as the party wanted to sort out the communication gap with the Church.

“Lot of communication gap which we want to sort out and ensure that we gain the confidence of the Christian community,” he said.

The BJP’s move to reach out to Christians ahead of the crucial polls comes as the community has significant influence in a number of constituencies, particularly central Kerala.

The meeting also came close on the heels of some top Catholic priests meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi in January.

Meanwhile, the LDF and the UDF are expected to finalise seat-sharing arrangements among their respective partners by the end of the week.

TN should show the way in keeping BJP out: Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi Rahul Gandhi in Tamil Nadu on Monday (Twitter: @INCIndia)

Rahul Gandhi Monday held multiple events in Tamil Nadu. At a public address in Nagercoil, Gandhi said history has shown nobody can rule Tamil Nadu other than the Tamil people.

“This election will show the same thing — that only a person who truly represents the Tamil people can be a Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu,” he said.

DMK in Tamil Nadu has signed a seat-sharing pact with the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) for the April 6 Assembly election, allocating them three and two seats, respectively.

The DMK is close to clinching the deal with Vaiko’s Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and talks are on with Thol Thirumavalavan-led VCK.

A VCK leader said his party had conveyed its desired number of seats to the DMK leaders during the seat-sharing talks.

MDMK deputy general secretary Mallai C Sathya, who led a four-member team for the talks with the DMK leaders at Anna Arivalayam, the DMK headquarters, said “our party leader (Vaiko) and DMK president (M K Stalin) will finalise the deal tomorrow, hopefully.”

Announcing that three seats have been finalised for his party, at the end of two-day deliberations which concluded on Monday, IUML national president M Kader Mohideen said his party had sought five seats. “We agreed and signed the deal for three seats after the DMK said they are not in a position to allocate more seats as many allies have to be accommodated,” Mohideen told reporters.

[With inputs from PTI]

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