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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Assembly Elections 2021 Highlights: Five TMC MLAs, who were denied tickets, join BJP in Kolkata

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a grand rally at Kolkata's Brigade Parade Ground and accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of indulging in "tolabaazi, syndicate, and commission cut".

By: Express Web Desk | Chennai, Guwahati, Kolkata, New Delhi |
Updated: March 9, 2021 9:41:34 am
assembly election 2021 datesAssembly Elections 2021 Live Updates: Polls are to be held for 294 seats in West Bengal, 234 seats in Tamil Nadu, 140 seats in Kerala, 126 seats in Assam and 30 seats in Puducherry.

Assembly Elections 2021 Highlights: Several Trinamool Congress MLAs and leaders, who were denied a ticket for the upcoming assembly elections, joined the BJP on Monday.

The list includes three-time MLA from Singur Rabindranath Bhattacharya, TMC’s candidate from Malda’s Habibpur Sarala Murmu, four-time MLA from Satgachia in South 24 Parganas Sonali Guha, Basirhat Dakshin (North 24 Parganas) MLA Dipendu Biswas, Shibpur MLA Jatu Lahiri and Sankrail MLA Sital Kumar Sardar. Bengali film actress Tanushree Chakraborty, too, joined the saffron party.

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, national vice-president Mukul Roy, Suvendu Adhikari and Locket Chatterjee welcomed the leaders to the saffron camp.

M K Stalin-led DMK Monday signed the seat-sharing agreement with CPI(M) and allotted them six seats for the upcoming polls in Tamil Nadu. The deal was signed by DMK president MK Stalin and CPI(M) state secretary K Balakrishnan at the DMK headquarters in Chennai. Capping of the seat sharing, DMK has allotted 54 seats to its allies. Congress has received 25 seats, other allies VCK, CPI, CPI(M), MDMK have received 6 each.

Meanwhile, DMK on Sunday released its manifesto on Sunday for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, promising to revive the economy, improve agriculture and farming productivity, focus on health and education, urban and rural development and, abolition of manual scavenging. Stalin also promised a Rs 1000 monthly allowance to homemakers with ration cards.

Addressing a poll rally in Thiruvananthapuram in poll-bound Kerala, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said CPI(M)-led LDF and Congress-led UDF factions have a healthy competition between them but for doing scams, not for taking Kerala forward. “When UDF comes to power, it commits solar scam and when LDF comes to power, it does Dollar, gold scams,” ANI quoted Shah as saying.


Live Blog

Elections 2021 Live Updates: Five TMC MLAs join BJP in Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee holds protest rally against LPG price hike, CPI(M) gets 6 sits in DMK alliance in Tamil Nadu, Deadlock continues in AIADMK-DMDK alliance

22:27 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Entire country knows that Amit Shah is the very embodiment of communalism: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

A day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah threw questions at him, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday replied in kind, throwing counter questions at Shah and calling him an “embodiment of communalism”.

Kicking off his party’s election campaigning at his constituency of Dharmadam in Kannur, Vijayan said, “The entire country knows that Amit Shah is communalism in the flesh. He is ready to do anything for nurturing communalism.’’

Referring to Shah’s allegation that a witness in the gold smuggling scandal had died under mysterious circumstances, Vijayan said the government is ready to probe into it if details are shared.

(With Shaju Philip)

21:58 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Negotiations between BJP and NR Congress still on in Puducherry

Negotiations on the alliance between the BJP and the NR Congress are ongoing, says Puducherry BJP in-charge Nirmal Kumar Surana. He adds that the final decision on the alliance and seat allocation will be announced soon. (ANI)

21:30 (IST)08 Mar 2021
AIADMK announces Rs 1,500 payout to women family heads

The AIADMK in Tamil Nadu has assured an assistance of Rs 1,500 per month to women family heads, in an announcement that bettered the DMK's poll promise of Rs 1,000 made a day ago, with the ruling party claiming it was not a copycat measure and has been in the pipeline.

Making the announcement on the Women's Day and a day after the DMK came out with the cash support to women family heads if the party was voted to power in the assembly polls, AIADMK top leader and Chief Minister K Palaniswami also promised six cooking gas cylinders free of cost to families in a year. (PTI)

21:17 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Congress polarised Assam's poll atmosphere by aligning with AIUDF: Himanta

Senior Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday alleged the Congress has communally polarised the assembly election environment in the northeastern state by joining hands with Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF which, he said, will benefit the ruling NDA.

Sarma, also convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), said had the Congress contested separately, the three-phase assembly polls would have been fought on the plank of development.

But the opposition party has made this poll into a "conflict of civilisation'' by aligning with the AIUDF, Sarma told reporters on the sidelines of book release event.

The AIUDF is a part of the Grand Alliance comprising the Congress, Bodoland People''s Front (BPF), CPI(M), CPI, CPI-ML and the Anchalik Gana Morcha. (PTI)

21:14 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Assamese version of book on Amit Shah's political journey released

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh along with BJP national vice president Jay Panda on Monday released the Assamese version of a book on Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The book, titled 'Amit Shah: And the March of BJP', written by Anirban Ganguly, Director of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation (SPMRF), has been translated into Assamese by Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The book release event was attended by distinguished personalities from different walks of life, including writers and scholars. (PTI)

21:06 (IST)08 Mar 2021
CPI(M) workers in Kerala hold protest marches over ticket distribution

Hundreds of CPI (M) workers and sympathisers, including women, took to streets in Kerala in protest against the candidates fixed by the party for the upcoming assembly polls.

In Ponnani in Malappuram district, scores of men and women raised slogans demanding that local CPI(M) leader T M Siddique be made the party candidate. CPI (M) has finalised CITU all India secretary P Nanda Kumar as the party candidate in the seat, currently represented by Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan.

The incumbent legislator is not contesting the polls, as he had completed two consecutive terms as a legislator, a norm introduced by CPI (M) in this election.

(With Shaju Philip)

20:39 (IST)08 Mar 2021
BJP fields AP Abdullakutty for Malappuram bypoll, CPI(M) likely to name VP Sanu

The BJP on Monday named AP Abdullakutty, national vice-president of the party, as its official candidate in the bye-election to the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala.

This is the first time Abdullakutty will be in the electoral fray for the BJP since his entry into the party in 2019. He was promoted as the national vice-president of the party in September, 2020 and is seen as it’s most prominent Muslim face in Kerala.

Meanwhile, the CPM is likely to name VP Sanu, the national president of the SFI, as it’s candidate in Malappuram bye-election. A source close to Sanu confirmed the news and said a formal announcement will be made by the party on March 10. 

(With Vishnu Varma)

20:02 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Bengal BJP candidate Bharati Ghosh moves SC for stay of arrest warrant against her

BJP candidate and former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, who has been fielded by the party for the assembly polls in West Bengal from Debra constituency of West Midnapore district has moved the Supreme Court on Monday seeking stay of arrest warrant and quashing of FIR lodged against her.  

A bench of Justice U U Lalit and K M Joseph, which could not take up the matter on Monday, listed it for hearing on Tuesday.

Giving the details of an FIR lodged against her at Keshpur police station for alleged voluntary causing hurt, wrongful restraint and attempt to murder and under provisions of Representation of People’s Act, she said that case was lodged during Parliamentary elections on May 12, 2019. (PTI)

19:01 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Mamata to file nomination from Nandigram on March 10

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will file her nomination papers from the Nandigram seat on March 10, while her rival and BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari will do the same two days later, as the stage is set for the Battle Royale in the constituency.

After the release of the party manifesto on Tuesday, the Trinamool Congress supremo would leave for Nandigram in the evening and file her nomination papers the next day, party sources said.

She would then attend a workers' meet and return to Kolkata on March 11.

Adhikari, whose name was announced as the BJP candidate from the seat on Saturday, will file the nomination on March 12. (PTI)

18:59 (IST)08 Mar 2021
People of Assam eager to bring back BJP-led govt : Sonowal

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday claimed that the people of the state are "eagerly waiting" to bring back the BJP-led government to power with over 100 seats in the 126-member Assembly.

He said the party is heavily banking upon the developmental work done by the NDA government and sought another term to make Assam one of the best states in India. (PTI)

18:56 (IST)08 Mar 2021
BJP not to announce CM face in Assam before polls

BJP will not announce the chief ministerial candidate before the Assam polls and a decision in this regard will be taken by its Parliamentary Board at the time of forming the next government, the saffron party state unit president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said on Monday.

Incumbent chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and influential minister and convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) Himanta Biswa Sarma have also said the ultimate decision on selecting a person for the chief minister chair in the new government will be that of the party's Parliamentary board. (PTI)

18:38 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Congress, DMK hold second round of seat-sharing talks in Puducherry; no deal yet

Congress and DMK on Monday held their second round of seat-sharing talks for the April 6 Puducherry assembly elections and a pact is likely to be reached soon after top leadership-level parleys.

Emerging from the 45-minute-long deliberations, former chief minister V Narayanasamy told reporters that the DMK delegates informed them about the number of seats the party wanted out of the 30 constituencies in the union territory. Declining to make public the quantum demanded by the DMK, he said they would place all the details before the All India Congress Committee. (PTI) 

18:30 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM seals alliance with TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK in Tamil Nadu

Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM has sealed an alliance with TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK in Tamil Nadu. AIMIM will contest in three Assembly constituencies — Vaniyambadi, Krishnagiri and Sankarapuram. (ANI)

18:16 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Visuals from the protest by Mamata Banerjee against LPG price hike in Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister led a rally in Kolkata to protest against LPG price hike on Monday. Some visuals from the protest:

17:58 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Nothing can be worse for TMC than its own members feeling humiliated and leaving the party: Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh says nothing can be worse for TMC than its own members feeling humiliated and eventually leaving the party. 'Now they're getting celebrities to fill the position. Numbers suggest that we have a majority in Malda and BJP will soon have its chairman(Zilla Parishad) in the district,' he adds. (ANI)

17:04 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Five TMC MLAs join BJP in West Bengal

TMC MLAs Sonali Guha, Dipendu Biswas, Rabindranath Bhattacharya, Jatu Lahiri and Sital Sardar as well as TMC candidate from Habibpur seat, Sarala Murmu, join BJP in West Bengal. The TMC leaders were inducted into the party by West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, party's national vice-president Mukul Roy, party leader Suvendu Adhikari and party MP Locket Chatterjee at the party's Hastings office. Actress Tanushree Chakraborty also joined BJP. (With Sweety Kumari)

16:09 (IST)08 Mar 2021
A day will come when the country will be named after PM Modi: Mamata Banerjee

A day will come when the country will be named after Narendra Modi, says Mamata in Kolkata, taking a dig at the PM over inclusion of his photo in Covid-19 vaccination certificates. "The Covid vaccine has become Modi vaccine. Narendra Modi has also named a stadium after him," says Mamata.

15:50 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Modi, Shah come to Bengal only to tell lies: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

Speaking at a programme in Kolkata to protest against rising prices of cooking gas, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah only come to Bengal to tell lies.

“Covid vaccine has become Modi vaccine. Narendra Modi has also named a stadium after him. Modi and Shah only come to Bengal to tell lies. They have said women are not safe in Bengal. This is absolutely not true. Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh register a lot of crimes against women,” Mamata says.

"BJP is full of lumpen elements. But we have the people of the state with us," she adds.

14:23 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Tamil Nadu: Deadlock continues in AIADMK-DMDK alliance

the ruling AIADMK party which struck the deal with Pattali Makkal Katchi(PMK) in the last week of February, is yet to arrive at an agreement with their ally Desiya Murpoku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) led by Captain Vijayakant. The talks between the two parties are struggling to make a progress as DMDK had been demanding a higher number of seats than what was offered by the ruling party.

In AIADMK’s alliance, 23 seats have been allocated to PMK, and 20 have been provided to BJP. The ruling party is yet to finalise the seat-sharing talks with other allies such as GK Vaasan’s Tamil Maanila Congress, Krishnaswamy’s Puthiya Tamilagam, etc. (With Janardhan Kaushik)

14:20 (IST)08 Mar 2021
Tamil Nadu: CPI(M) gets 6 seats in DMK alliance

After several rounds of talks, the DMK  on Monday signed the seat-sharing agreement with CPI(M), allotting them six seats for the assembly election. The deal was signed by DMK president MK Stalin and CPI(M) state secretary K Balakrishnan at the DMK headquarters ‘Anna Arivalayam’ in Chennai.

Addressing the reporters, Balakrishnan said since they have a political responsibility to make AIADMK suffer a crushing defeat and also to stop BJP from gaining a foothold in Tamil Nadu, they have settled for six seats. The party leader added they will be contesting in their own symbol. (With Janardhan Kaushik)

West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and former state minister-turned-BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari. (File Photo)

In West Bengal,  Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Sunday led a 'padayatra' in Siliguri to protest against the huge hike in the prices of LPG cylinders. Countering BJP's rhetoric of bringing "asol poriborton" (real change) in West Bengal, Banerjee said the change will happen but in Delhi, not in Bengal. She further said the people of Bengal would be under grave threat if a "divisive force" like BJP seizes power in the state.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a grand rally at Kolkata's Brigade Parade Ground and accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of indulging in "tolabaazi, syndicate, and commission cut". He promised to bring 'asol poriborton' in the state if the BJP government comes to power. At the event, actor Mithun Chakraborty officially joined the BJP in the presence of several BJP leaders, including Dilip Ghosh and Kailash Vijayvargiya.

In Assam, Congress was the latest to release its list of 40 candidates for the upcoming polls. BJP released a list of 70 candidates on Friday with its allies AGP and  UPPL given 26 and eight seats, respectively. Activist Akhil Gogoi, who is in jail since December 2019 under the UAPA, will contest from his newly-floated political party Raijor Dal.

The BJP and Congress released their first list of candidates, 57 and 13 respectively, on Saturday for the West Bengal polls. The saffron party announced that Suvendu Adhikari, who defected from the Trinamool Congress, will be pitted against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram.

Does Mamata Banerjee still have fight in her to stop another opponent?

Over the years, West Bengal and the country have learned not to underestimate Mamata Banerjee. A fiery leader in disarming sari and chappals, she took lathis and more to do the impossible and topple the Left Front in the state. A decade hence, Mamata finds herself in the same spot, and the country is again watching. Does the two-time Chief Minister still have the fight in her to stop another opponent, far mightier, over the course of an election spread out longer than a month, aiming for what no longer seems impossible?

If the Trinamool supremo retains power, she would join the handful of political leaders in the country to have defeated the Narendra Modi-led BJP, cementing her place as one of the tallest Opposition leaders at a time that the Congress is doddering. If the BJP wins, West Bengal would join the list of states the party sees as crucial to its ideological framework to go its way.

After Tamil Nadu, seat-sharing woes for Congress in Assam

At a time when the Congress is locked in a bitter tussle with the DMK over seat-sharing in Tamil Nadu, there is tension in the party in Assam over allocation of seats to partner AIUDF.

There were tense scenes and slogan-shouting by a section of the party workers at the Congress office, in the presence of party chief Ripun Bora and Mahila Congress national president Sushmita Dev, in Guwahati on Saturday. Sources said Dev is upset over the allocation of some seats to the AIUDF in her stronghold of Barak Valley.

Of the 15 Assembly seats in Barak Valley, comprising the Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts, the Congress had won three last time while the AIUDF had won four. All the three seats in Hailakandi district were won by AIUDF and the party is claiming these as part of the seat-sharing deal.

More from our Election coverage

Read| Left hopes to retain last bastion Kerala; it’s a do-or-die for Congress

Assam polls| Congress hopes to cash in on anti-CAA sentiment, BJP focuses on schemes

Read| In Tamil Nadu, DMK has edge, but AIADMK hopes to ride on EPS image

Read| In high-stakes West Bengal election battle, it’s Modi pull vs Mamata pushback

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