Lok Sabha elections 2019 HIGHLIGHTS: Modi attacks Cong in UP, U’khand, J-K; hurls ‘alcohol’ jibe at SP-RLD-BSP alliancehttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/lok-sabha-elections-2019-narendrqa-modi-rallies-shatrughan-sinha-congress-bjp-rahul-gandhi-5646395/

Lok Sabha elections 2019 HIGHLIGHTS: Modi attacks Cong in UP, U’khand, J-K; hurls ‘alcohol’ jibe at SP-RLD-BSP alliance

Lok Sabha elections 2019: PM Modi addressed rallies in Meerut, Uttarakhand's Rudrapur and Jammu on Thursday. Rebel BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha met Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday and is set to join the Congress on April 6.

Lok Sabha elections 2019 LIVE UPDATES: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public rally ahead of Lok Sabha elections, at Dumi village near Jammu, Thursday. (PTI Photo)

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that Kashmiri Pandits faced trouble because of Congress, National Conference and PDP. While addressing a public rally in Akhnoor in Jammu, he said these parties have always been power hungry and had no regard to the national security in the Valley.

Before that, Modi Thursday addressed a ‘Vijay Sankalp’ rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut where on Mission Shakti, he said, “Land, sky or space, my government has shown courage to conduct surgical strike in all spheres.”

Meanwhile, rebel BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, known for his sharp criticism of PM Modi and the party, is set to join the Congress on April 6. This comes after the BJP decided to field Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from Bihar’s Patna Sahib seat, where Sinha is the sitting MP. On Tuesday, state Congress’s campaign committee chairman Akhilesh Prasad Singh had said, “Shatrughan Sinha will join the Congress in New Delhi on March 28 at 11.30 am…. He will be our candidate from Patna Sahib.”

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Throughout the day we’ll bring you the latest election news from across the country, and analysis of all the key events. Elections for the 17th Lok Sabha will be held in seven phases, between April 11 and May 19. The results will be declared on May 23.

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2019 Lok Sabha elections HIGHLIGHTS: PM Narendra Modi will address rallies in UP, Uttarakhand and Jammu. Shatrughan Sinha will join Congress on April 6. Here's all the latest news on the polls

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13 left in fray for Noida LS seat

Thirteen candidates, including two independents, were left in the fray for the Gautam Buddh Nagar Lok Sabha election on the last day for withdrawal of nomination Thursday, said poll officials.

Twenty-one candidates had filed the papers but the nominations of eight of them, including Aam Aadmi Party's Shweta Sharma, were rejected by the returning officer in compliance with the Election Commission guidelines, they said, reports PTI.

The polling for the Gautam Buddh Nagar seat will be held in the first phase on April 11, when 91 Lok Sabha seats across 20 states go to the polls. In2014, 24 candidates had contested for the Gautam Budh Nagar seat with 22 of them forfeiting their deposits. In 2009, 26 candidates were in the fray from here.

Poll code violation: Over 2.25 L banners removed across Delhi, 74 complaints registered

Over 2.25 lakh banners have been removed all over Delhi while 74 FIRs and complaints have been lodged in connection with violation of Model Code Of Conduct, the election commission said Thursday. Till now, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Delhi, has received 63 applications for certification of ads from political parties and 58 of them have been cleared while six are pending, a statement from the CEO office said, reports PTI.

The BJP has submitted 48 applications, the Congress seven and the Aam Aadmi Party eight, it said. As many as 2,25,693 hoardings, banners or posters have been removed in the city, out of which 30533 were taken down from the New Delhi Municipal Council, 42,474 from the East Delhi Municipal Corporation, 2,411 from the Delhi Cantonment Board, 68,143 from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, and 82,132 from the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, respectively, according to the statement.

AAP targets Modi over 'saboot-sapoot' speech: 'His trademark style'

Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his wordplay with 'saboot' and 'sapoot' at a rally in Meerut, the AAP said it was his "trademark" style of lampooning Opposition and painting them as anti-national, while portraying himself as the biggest patriot.

Playing on the words 'saboot' and 'sapoot', the Hindi words for proof and a worthy son, Modi attacked the opposition for seeking evidence of the surgical strikes. "Do we need 'saboot' or sapoot... those who seek evidence are challenging the sapoot."

He was speaking at the launch of his party's Lok Sabha poll campaign in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, Rudrapur in Uttarakhand and Akhnoor in Jammu and Kashmir -- all going to polls in the first phase on April 11, reports PTI.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh said it is Modi's "trademark" style of lampooning the opposition and painting them as anti-national, pro-Pakistanis and portraying himself as the biggest patriot. "Modi should tell the country what kind of a sapoot is he? It is Mr Modi's BJP which spread a culture of hatred across the country, it is his party which destroyed communal harmony across the country," he said.

IT department seized Rs 1.66 crore cash in Karnataka raids

IT department seized Rs 1.66 crore cash in Karnataka raids. "24 premises were covered in the raid which started today morning. 13 contractors and 4 engineers are being searched. Searches still underway," reports ANI.

Did PM Modi’s Mission Shakti address violate model code? EC verdict tomorrow

The Election Commission on Friday will decide whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on India successfully testing an anti-satellite missile is a violation of the model code of conduct.

Addressing the media on Thursday, poll panel officer Sandeep Saxena said the decision will be announced tomorrow.

On Wednesday, EC officials had told The Indian Express that what is already under examination by them are the precedents of such a national address by the Prime Minister shortly before the Lok Sabha polls and whether “national security” could be invoked by the ruling NDA for the urgency of the address. READ MORE

KV Thomas back in Kerala to campaign for colleague Hibi Eden

ERNAKULAM: Sitting MP KV Thomas, who was dropped by the Congress from the Ernakulam constituency in central Kerala, returned from New Delhi Thursday to campaign for his colleague Hibi Eden. Thomas had publicly expressed his displeasure earlier this month when the leadership dropped him without intimating him first. He was the only one among seven Congress MPs to be dropped from the race. Thomas was welcomed by a slew of Congress leaders at the airport in Kochi before he moved towards the party's election office in the city to meet his colleague. He announced his support for Eden and declared that the party will win over the CPI(M) in the constituency. Eden is up against P Rajeev of the CPI(M) and union minister Alphons KJ in the BJP.

Will try my best to fulfill dreams of people in Bhopal: Digvijay Singh

Taking up the challenge to contest Lok Sabha elections from Bhopal, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Thursday said he would try his best to fulfil the dreams of people.

NITI Aayog chairman seeks time till April 5 to explain his criticism of NYAY

NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar has asked EC for time till April 5 to explain his criticism of NYAY. In a press conference held today, Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena said that the EC committee of officers has met twice on the matter of PM's address to the nation. Saxena, who headed the poll panel to check if Modi violated the Model Code, said the team is likely to submit a report tomorrow. The EC has also permitted revision of MNREGA wages under MCC.

VISUALS | Karnataka CM, Dy CM protest outside IT office in Bengaluru

Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy, Dy CM G Parameshwara and other senior leaders held a protest outside I-T office in Bengaluru against Income-Tax raids at the residence of JD(S) leader and Karnataka Minor Irrigation Minister CS Puttaraju in Mandya | SEE PHOTOS

Cong to give 3-year blanket pass to new ventures; abolish angel tax: Rahul

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said new ventures will not require any regulatory permissions for three years and will get easy access to bank credit if his party is voted to power. He also promised to remove the existing 'angel tax' imposed on start-ups. Angel tax is levied on investment in start-ups. Currently, angel tax is charged at a maximum rate of 30 per cent.

Gandhi said promoting domestic industry will be a key priority for the Congress and it will ensure that all new businesses are freed from the clutches of red tape to give a boost to the economy.

"For the first three years of setting up a new business, we are going to free you up from red tape. You will not need to ask for permission for anything," Gandhi told PTI in an interview.

698 nominations filed for 1st phase of Lok Sabha polls: EC

The Election Commission on Thursday informed that 698 nominations have been filed for the first phase of Lok Sabha polls on April 11. Of these 616 found valid, it said.

Congress, NC, PDP responsible for problems J&K faces today: Modi

Addressing a rally in Jammu, PM Modi on Thursday held Congress, NC and PDP responsible for problems in the state. "It is because of them that Kashmiri Pandits faced so much trouble. Sadly, national security is not a priority for them, they only care about power," he said.

Friends of terrorism- inside the country or outside - will have to pay a heavy price: PM in Jammu

In an indirect attack on Opposition for objecting to Balakot air strikes, PM Modi on Thursday said: "Friends of terrorism- inside the country or outside - will have to pay a heavy price".

Only BJP can stop illegal immigration in Assam, not Congress: Amit Shah

BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday said only Prime Minister Narendra Modi can protect the borders of the country, not the Congress party and its chief Rahul Gandhi. He also said that it is not Congress' cup of tea to stop illegal immigration in Assam. He criticised the Congress for asking proof of the casualty in the air strike at Balakot in Pakistan and claimed that India under Modi has become the third country in the world after the US and Israel to take revenge of its soldiers' blood.

"Should we not take revenge of our soldiers' blood? The Congress cannot protect the country's border. Only Narendra Modi and BJP can do that," Shah told an election rally in Assam's Kaliabor.

WATCH | PM Modi addressing a rally in J&K's Akhnoor

Addressing a rally in Akhnoor, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday condemned the Congress party's objections regarding surgical strikes. He said I wonder if this the same Congress that fought for the independence of the Country.  

PM Modi in Jammu to address a public rally

PM Modi to address a public meeting in Jammu shortly

Tej Pratap Yadav resigning from RJD student wing

RJD chief Lalu Prasad's elder son Tej Pratap Yadav on Thursday said he is resigning from the student wing of Rashtriya Janata Dal.

Nationalist Congress Party(NCP) to contest on all 26 seats in Gujarat: ANI

Nationalist Congress Party(NCP) on Thursday announced that it will contest on all 26 seats in Gujarat. The Nationalist Congress Party released the party election manifesto simultaneously in Mumbai and New Delhi on Monday.

14-day custody for BJP leader over Sabarimala violence

BJP Kozhikode Lok Sabha candidate Prakash Babu was on Thursday remanded to 14-day judicial custody by Pathanamthitta Court in connection with Sabarimala case violence.

IT Dept working on instructions of Modi, Amit Shah: HD Kumaraswamy

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday blamed the IT Department for working on the instructions of Modi government. He said: "IT Dept has to work independently but it is working on the instructions of Modi and Amit Shah. After BJP came to power, it has become like a dictatorship. Do you think the IT Director in Bengaluru is innocent? I also have lot of records," he told ANI. Kumaraswamy's remarks came after a team of Income tac officials conducted raids at the residence of JD(S) leader and Karnataka Minor Irrigation Minister C S Puttaraju and his nephew in the early hours of Thursday.

RJD leader Girinath Singh joins BJP

RJD leader Girinath Singh on Wednesday joined BJP in presence of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Situation kuch bhi ho location wahi hoga: Shatru to contest from Patna Sahib

On being asked whether Shatrughan Sinha will contest election from Patna Sahib, the BJP MP responded: "Situation kuch bhi ho location wahi hoga".

Nyay scheme will 'remonetise' what Modi 'demonetised': Rahul Gandhi

Days after announcing that the Congress would roll out a minimum income scheme guaranteeing Rs 72,000 a year to the bottom most or poorest 20 per cent of households if voted to power, party president Rahul Gandhi Thursday said the Nyunatam Aay Yojana (Nyay) scheme will “remonetise” the economy that has been “demonetised” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In an exclusive interview to PTI ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress chief insisted that the Nyay scheme will achieve twin objectives of giving money to 20 per cent poorest families as well as firing up the economy. “The aim of the ‘Nyay’ scheme is two-fold. First is to guarantee a minimum income to the bottom 20 per cent families. The second is to remonetise the economy that has been demonetised by Modiji,” Gandhi told PTI. FULL STORY HERE

Shatrughan Sinha will formally join Cong on April 6: Shaktisinh Gohil

Congress' Bihar in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil said that BJP MP Shatrugna Sinha met Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday. He said Sinha has decided to join Congress but will formally join the party on April 6.

Amit Shah addressing public meeting in Kaliabor, Assam

Meanwhile, BJP chief Amit Shah is addressing a public meeting in Assam's Kaliabor

Con delayed Rafale purchase as it was eyeing commission: PM Modi

The prime minister on Thursday alleged that the Congress delayed the purchase of Rafale fighter jets for a decade, as it was eyeing commission from deal. He made the statement while addressing a rally in Rudrapur. Earlier in the day, Modi addressed a rally in Meerut where he held the previous Congress governments responsible for the plight of cane farmers.

Cong delayed Rafale purchase as it was eyeing commission: PM Modi

The prime minister on Thursday alleged that the Congress delayed the purchase of Rafale fighter jets for a decade, as it was eyeing commission from deal. He made the statement while addressing a rally in Rudrapur. Earlier in the day, Modi addressed a rally in Meerut where he held the previous Congress governments responsible for the plight of cane farmers.

Shatrughan Sinha will join Congress as our star campaigner: Shakti Singh Gohil

Shakti Singh Gohil, Congress In-charge of Bihar on Thursday said: "Shatrughan Sinha ji has decided that he will join Congress party and will work as our star leader and star campaigner"

Congress always ignored demands of defence forces: PM in Rudrapur


While blaming the previous Congress governments over AgustaWestland chopper scam case and Bofors scandal, PM Modi said the Congress always ignored the demands of defence forces. He said the BJP government brought OROP scheme and gave Rs 35,000 crore in pension to jawans.

I ask all of you today- was it right to raise question over surgical strikes?

Addressing a rally in Rudrapur, PM Modi said: "Today I ask you a question. Was it right to raise a question on the credibility of our soldiers after surgical strikes? Was it right to abuse our Army Cheif? Was it right to question the Indian Air Force over Balakot strikes?... In order to become Pakistan's hero...they (Congress) gave statements against the country..was it right?"

He said this Chowkidar is not scared of anything. "It is the habit of Congress to bow down and be scared," he said.

PM Modi addressing rally in Uttrakhand's Rudrapur

Watch PM Modi addressing a rally in Uttarakhand's Rudrapur

'Who is Pallab to decide whether I am eligible or not'

Reciting a verse from Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva's composition 'Gunamala', the former bureaucrat said, "There are four types of people - Adham, Madhyam, Uttam and Uttam-Uttam. Adham criticizes people for no reason, Madham people think rationally, Uttam sees the good qualities in a person and Uttam-Uttam appreciates even the minutest good trait in a man.

"Who is Pallab to decide whether I am eligible or not. I don't need his certificate. The people of the state will decide for themselves." Countering Bhanu, Das told reporters later in the day that the retired IAS officer has served under him and he is aware of his contributions.

War of words between Cong and BJP in Assam's Tezpur LS seat

Accusations and counter accusations flew thick and fast as BJP candidate in Tezpur parliamentary seat and minister Pallab Lochan Das referred to Congress nominee and former additional chief secretary MGVK Bhanu as "salani maas" (imported fish), drawing sharp criticism from the retired bureaucrat.

Das, who holds the portfolios of labour ministry and tea tribes welfare in Assam, claimed that Bhanu does not represent the people of the state as he hailed from Andhra Pradesh. "The candidate who represents Assam in the Parliament must stand for the ethos, sentiments and aspirations of the people of the state. He (Bhanu) is an outsider, a 'salani maas' from Andhra Pradesh," Das asserted.

Hitting back at the BJP candidate, Bhanu contended that he has been serving the state since 1985. "The minister (Das) is a young man. I guess he was not born when I became an IAS officer and came to serve the state in various capacities. I forgive him for his comments as he is not aware of my work and contributions," he retorted. The former bureaucrat, who hails from Navabupalem in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, also said he does not require a certificate from Das to prove his eligibility for contesting the election.

Seems PM Modi is setting a stage for his entry into films: Randeep Surjewala

Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a drama King, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "It seems after getting defeated in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, PM Modi is setting a stage for his entry into films."

Old enemies are now friends: PM Modi on SP-BSP alliance

Hitting out at the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh, PM Modi says, "Old enemies are now friends. From '2 ladke' during the UP assembly elections, it's now 'bua bhatija'. This just shows that for these people there is no bigger target than power."

Congress still make the same false promises after generations have paased: PM Modi

PM Modi says, from Nehru and Indira Gandhi's time you hear them talk about Gareebi hatao, even today, after generations have passed, you see the Congress still make the same false promises to mislead you. Though there is a lot still to be done, we have taken few initiatives to eradicate poverty and have already implemented them. More needs to be done, but at least now you know who has done and who have mislead you in the past.

SP, RLD, BSP is like 'sharaab' which will destroy you: PM Modi

PM Narendra Modi says in Meerut, "Sapa (SP) ka 'sha', RLD ka 'Raa' aur Baspa (BSP) ka 'ba', matlab 'sharab'...Sapa, RLD, Baspa, ye 'sharab' aapko barbaad kar degi."

Congress on reports that Shatrughan Sinha is joining the party: It will be decided after 2 pm

RK Anand, Congress on reports that Shatrughan Sinha is joining the party: It will be decided after 2 pm, there is no fight on his joining or his seat, just a delay. Adjustments are happening.

Sitting MP from Punjab AAP leader Harinder Singh Khalsa joins BJP

Sitting MP from Punjab Harinder Singh Khalsa, who was suspended from the AAP, joined the BJP Thursday. Fatehgarh Sahib MP Khalsa joined the party in the presence of Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley. Khalsa, who belongs to the SC community, had won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on the Aam Aadmi Party's ticket, but was suspended from the party in 2015. He started his political carrier with the Bharatiya Janata Party's ally in Punjab Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The BJP is in alliance with the SAD in Punjab and will contest on 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Harinder Singh Khalsa joins BJP in presence of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

PM Modi: Would have been happy if Mayawati, Akhilesh had written to me about roads, housing for poor in Meerut

PM Modi says, "I would have been happy if Behenji (Mayawati) had written to me about the need for construction of roads in Meerut, and Akhilesh Yadav would have written to me about housing for poor, but they never did so."

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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Priyanka Gandhi Wednesday said she will definitely contest in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections if the party asks her to do so. (Source: Twitter/Congress)

Lok Sabha elections 2019: It remains to be seen if Congress fields Sinha from Patna Sahib against Prasad, a prominent upper caste Kayastha leader. In 2014, Sinha had won on a BJP ticket but subsequently had a fallout with the leadership after he was left out of the Cabinet. Ever since then, he has been a vocal critic of the party leadership and has been taking potshots at the PM and BJP president Amit Shah on issues like demonetisation and crises in institutions like the CBI and RBI. A few days back, Sinha had hinted he would not be working under Narendra Modi anymore, tweeting an Urdu verse that implied the Prime Minister may not have a dearth of admirers but the dissident BJP leader would not be one of them.

Meanwhile, On Wednesday, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, while campaigning in her brother Rahul Gandhi’s parliamentary constituency Amethi, asked party workers to reach out to the villages and expose what she called was the BJP’s “jumlebazi” or empty rhetoric. Priyanka is in Uttar Pradesh for the next two days. Priyanka said she will definitely contest in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections if the party asks her to do so. Campaigning in Amethi, Priyanka said, “I’ve not decided yet; If my party asks me to contest, I will definitely contest. My wish is to work for the party.” She arrived in Amethi via Lucknow to hold a dialogue with the booth level presidents as part of the party’s ‘humara booth, humara gaurav’ campaign and remained closeted with representatives of Amethi for around two hours at the A H Inter College in Musafirkhana. Also, actor Urmila Matondkar joined the Congress on Wednesday.