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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Assembly Elections 2021 Highlights: Will bring law against ‘Love Jihad’ in Assam, says Amit Shah

Assembly Elections 2021 Highlights: With the assembly elections set to begin on March 27, vigorous campaigning is being carried out by the BJP in four states and one Union Territory. The BJP seeks to dethrone the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal while it looks to retain power in Assam.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 27, 2021 7:02:24 am
election 2021, state assembly election 2021, west bengal election polling, election 2021 live, west bengal election 2021, assam election 2021, west bengal election 2021 dates, mamata banerjee, mamata banerjee election 2021The results of the state Assembly elections 2021 will be announced on May 2.

Addressing a rally in Kamrup, Assam, Union Minister Amit Shah on Friday said that the BJP will bring laws against ‘Love Jihad’ and ‘Land Jihad’ in the state if elected. “There is a lot of talk in the BJP’s resolution letter, but the biggest thing will be done by the BJP government to bring a law against ‘Love Jihad’ and ‘Land Jihad’,” Shah said. Shah also slammed the Congress party for increasing “separatism and terrorism” in the state under its regime. 

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday released the election manifesto for the upcoming assembly polls in Puducherry. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiling the manifesto said that it speaks about ‘nyay’ and has been made after taking suggestions from the public. Union Ministers Arjun Ram Meghwal and Giriraj Singh were also present for the release.

Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of interfering in the functioning of Election Commission (EC), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday said even if the EC transfers all the state officers, Trinamool Congress’ victory cannot be prevented.

Her statement comes after the EC ordered the transfer of five officers, including an additional director general of police, in West Bengal saying they will not be given any poll-related assignment, PTI reported. Those transferred in the state are ADG West Zone Sanjay Singh, DCP (South Kolkata) Sudhir Neelkantha, SP (Cooch Behar) K Kannan, SP (Diamond Harbour) Avijit Banerjee and district election officer of Jhargram Ayesha Rani, official sources told PTI on Thursday.

Accusing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of “taking back Bengal to the 19th century, with no development work undertaken in the past 10 years”, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said the TMC dispensation, just like its predecessor, the Left Front, has wronged the people of the state.

The high-voltage campaign for the first phase of the poll in Assam and Bengal came to an end on Thursday evening. A total of 77 assembly constituencies (47 in Assam and 30 in Bengal) will go to the polls on March 27.

Live Blog

Assembly Elections 2021 Highlights: 'Modi wants election for welfare, didi wants it as means to make her nephew next CM,' says Shah; Rajnath Singh to address public meetings in West Bengal

20:45 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Assam being divided on religious and cultural lines, urge all to vote wisely: Manmohan Singh

With Assam going to the polls on Saturday, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a video message on Friday, said Assam is being “divided on the basis of religion, culture and language” and urged voters to cast their ballot for a government that “upholds the Constitution of India and respects the principles of democracy”.

47 constituencies of Assam go to vote on Saturday in the first phase of a three-part election.

Singh, who represented Assam in the Rajya Sabha for 28 years (1991-2019), said: “You must vote for a government that will care for every citizen, for every community. You must vote for a government that will ensure inclusive growth and put Assam on the path of peace and development once again.” -- Read more

16:42 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Tea leaves haven't fully grown but Priyanka Gandhi is plucking them up for photo session: Amit Shah in Assam

'Unity in diversity is hallmark of our culture, which makes us strong. But two leaders of Congress party, the siblings come to Assam for tourism. Tea leaves haven't fully grown but Priyanka Gandhi is plucking them up for photo session,' Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah in Karimganj, Assam.

16:04 (IST)26 Mar 2021
'EC should ensure voters' safety': TMC leaders visit EC office

TMC leaders Derek O'Brien and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar visit EC office in Kolkata. "Many people with criminal records are living in Nandigram, Bhagwanpur & Haripur aren't voters of constituency. Voters are being scared & threatened. EC should ensure voters' safety," says Dastidar.

14:00 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Free bicycles, scooties for women empowerment: Amit Shah in Kamrup

Highlighting BJP’s steps to empower women in Assam if elected, Union Minister Amit Shah on Friday said that every girl after 8th grade will be given free cycles and every female college going girl will be given scooters. “We have decided that after 8th grade all the daughters will be given bicycles. Scooty will be given to all daughters going to college, Shah said while addressing a rally in Kamrup, Assam.

13:38 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Will bring laws against Love Jihad, Land Jihad in Assam: Amit Shah in Kamrup

Addressing a rally in Kamrup, Assam, Union Minister Amit Shah on Friday said that the BJP will bring laws against ‘Love Jihad’ and ‘Land Jihad’ in the state if elected. “There is a lot of talk in the BJP's resolution letter, but the biggest thing will be done by the BJP government to bring a law against 'Love Jihad' and 'Land Jihad',” Shah said.

13:29 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Congress brought separatism, terrorism in Assam: Amit Shah in Kamrup

Addressing a rally in Kamrup, Assam, Union Minister Amit Shah on Friday slammed the Congress party for bringing “separatism and terrorism”in the state under its regime. On the other hand, on BJP’s watch, Shah said, “Over 2,000 insurgents have welcomed peace and given up arms recently under the BJP govt to join the mainstream.”

13:15 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Amit Shah addresses rally in Kamrup, Assam

Ahead of the assembly elections in Assam, Union Minister Amit Shah on Friday is addressing a public meeting in Kamrup, Assam. The address orginally scheduled for 11:30 am, was postponed till 1 pm. 

12:44 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Rahul Gandhi's kerala schedule for the day
11:18 (IST)26 Mar 2021
BJP releases manifesto for Puducherry elections

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday released the election manifesto for the upcoming assembly polls in Puducherry. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Ministers Arjun Ram Meghwal and Giriraj Singh officially unveiled the party’s manifesto in Puducherry.

11:00 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Dharmendra Pradhan attacks TMC over viral video of Sheikh Alam

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday said that “reprehensible remarks by Sheikh Alam yet again exposes true colours of TMC” and that Mamata Banerjee’s strategy has been that of  “Communal polarisation.” But this time, Pradhan said, “Bengal won't let TMC's allegiance to anti-India ideology go unpunished.”

A video of a man holding a TMC poster went viral for his controversial remarks. The man, identified as Sheikh Alam, is heard saying in the 30-second video that “if 30% Muslims of India come together, it can create four Pakistan.” The Trinamool Congress denied he was a party member and distanced themselves from his remarks.

10:10 (IST)26 Mar 2021
In Assam’s tea gardens, BJP gathers steam

On March 19, Basanti Kumari, a 38-year-old tea garden worker, was part of the small group that had lunch with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Rahul, she said, asked the workers about their issues over the meal at a garden in Chabua, a small town in Dibrugarh district which is lined with large tea gardens.

Kumari, mother of two (son, 8; daughter, 2), plucks tea leaves at the Chabua tea estate (one of India’s oldest, set up in 1836) for Rs 167 a day. Her husband unwell, she is the sole breadwinner. “I run the family with borrowed money — Rs 167 is not enough,” she says.

Later that day, addressing a rally in Tinsukia, Rahul reiterated the Congress’s promise to increase wages of tea workers to Rs 365.(Read Abhishek Saha's report here)

08:41 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Puducherry govt declares holiday on poll day

Puducherry Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has declared a public holiday on April 6, the day election will be held to the territorial assembly. Chief Secretary to territorial government, Ashwani Kumar said in a release on Thursday that in pursuance to Section 25 of Negotiable Instruments Act 1881 and the instructions issued by the Election Commission, the Lt Governor has declared April 6 a public holiday for all government offices, institutions, local bodies, commercial and industrial establishments in the Union Territory. (PTI)

08:37 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Sachin Pilot to visit Assam to campaign for assembly polls

Congress leader Sachin Pilot will visit Assam to campaign for the upcoming assembly elections, a statement said on Thursday. Pilot will be on a tour of the northeastern state on March 28 where he will address election meetings. He will attend road shows and address rallies in Silchar and Karimganj in support of the party's candidates.  (PTI)

04:17 (IST)26 Mar 2021
In Bengal election season, artistes lend a tune to song written during CAA protests

In 2019, when protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens broke out across India, Bengali theatre and film actor Anirban Bhattacharya wrote a poem in solidarity with the dissenters. Bhattacharya had recited the poem at a few events, alongside his translation of Aamir Aziz’s now-famous poem, Sab yaad rakha jayega.

Plans to release a protest video were stalled by the lockdown. But Bhattacharya, one of West Bengal’s most popular contemporary actors, says the project became more urgent as time went by. Read More

02:25 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Demanding government jobs, ‘berozgars’ field candidates, vow to spoil Congress’s fortunes in bypolls

“Ya to humein LA (lab assistant) banao, nahin to hum MLA banenge,” says Arun Kumar Sharma, a father of two in his early forties.

Sharma is among the two candidates who have been fielded for the upcoming Rajasthan Assembly by-elections by the Rajasthan Berozgar Ekikrut Mahasangh, which describes itself as a platform to raise issues including those influencing the unemployed youth, regularisation of contractual workers and appointments in pending recruitments of the state government. Read More

01:21 (IST)26 Mar 2021
Helicopter, robot, trip to moon: Tamil Nadu candidate’s poll promises go viral

An Independent candidate from Madurai South constituency in Tamil Nadu is grabbing eyeballs for his extraordinary poll promises ahead of the state Assembly elections.

Thulam Saravanan (Saravanan R as per the affidavit), who works as a reporter in a local daily, is contesting from Madurai South, where more than 13 candidates are in the fray. Saravanan, who is contesting on a dustbin symbol, has promised to provide a mini-helicopter, Rs 1 crore to every household, a robot for homemakers to do household work, and 100 sovereigns of gold for women when they get married. Read more

19:24 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Didi banned Durga puja & Saraswati puja for vote bank, claims Amit Shah

"Should Saraswati puja take place in schools of Bengal or not? Should Durga puja & idol immersion happen or not? Didi banned Durga puja & Saraswati puja for vote bank. Bid adieu to Didi on May 2 & there will no one to stop Durga puja & Saraswati puja in Bengal," Home Minister Amit Shah said.

17:58 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Rahul Gandhi’s travel programme in Kerala on March 26, 2021

Rahul Gandhi’s travel programme in Kerala on March 26, 2021

  • 11:15 hrs: Reception Meeting at Palakkad, Assembly: Palakkad, Malampuzha & Chittur
  • 14:30 hrs: Corner Meeting at Koottanad, Kerala, Assembly: Thrithala, District Palakkad
  • 15:45 hrs: Corner Meeting at Ponnani, Assembly Ponnani, District Malappuram
  • 17:00 hrs: Corner Meeting at Perinthalmanna, District Malappuram
17:56 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Bengal polls: BJP candidate gets EC notice for promising voters free trip to Ayodhya

BJP's Pandabeswar candidate Jitendra Tiwari was show-caused by the Election Commission for promising voters a free trip to the temple of Lord Ram in Ayodhya if elected, officials said on Thursday. Tiwari made the promise at two places -- once while speaking at a public meeting in Haripur on March 21, and then at a party meeting, they said. The Trinamool Congress lodged a complaint with the EC on March 22 over the issue. In his reply to the EC notice, Tiwari said that he was unaware that making such a promise would violate the model code of conduct. He also apologised to the EC for "being ignorant". --PTI

16:59 (IST)25 Mar 2021
Bengal: BJP leader Mithun Chakraborty holds roadshow in Jhargram

Actor and BJP leader Mithun Chakraborty holds roadshow in Jhargram ahead of Assembly polls in Bengal.

Burnt offices, embers of protests: The faint pulse of CAA in heartland

On December 12, 2019, a day after the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was passed by Parliament, this small town in Upper Assam’s Dibrugarh district had erupted into violent protests. The same night, the town’s railway station, post-office and Circle Office, apart from sitting BJP MLA Binod Hazarika’s house, were set on fire, with Chabua, home to both Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and wanted ULFA militant Paresh Baruah, emerging as the epicentre of the anti-CAA protests after Guwahati.

Hundreds of local youths were picked up from here and several charged under stringent laws.

Amidst the Assam elections, the BJP has maintained complete silence on the CAA, even after promising to implement it in West Bengal. Its manifesto released on Tuesday too didn’t mention the Act, though party president J P Nadda said, “The CAA has been passed by Parliament… It will be implemented in letter and spirit.”

From Trichy, a story of two families, best friends forever

It’s a family friendship that goes back generations — starting with Anbil Mahesh Poyyamuzhi’s grandfather Anbil Dharmalingam and Udhayanidhi Stalin’s grandfather M Karunanidhi, continuing with their respective fathers Anbil Poyyamuzhi and Stalin, and now the two of them.

In an interview to The Indian Express, Udhayanidhi, who is making his electoral debut, said he began his foray into politics campaigning for Mahesh in the 2016 Assembly polls, when Mahesh stood from Thiruverumbur, in his family’s pocketborough of Trichy. Even Karunanidhi had attended a rally for Mahesh, establishing him as one of the DMK’s next-generation faces.

As Mahesh, 43, walks 10 hours a day, seeking votes again in Thiruverumbur, the Tamil Nadu first family’s backing is clearly with him. There are at least 100 cadres in his entourage, mostly youth. His campaign office has huge posters of him and Udhayanidhi flanking Stalin.

To return to power, Kerala CPM banks on ‘Visual Vijayan Vote’

At the press meet in Kottayam, Kerala’s most visible political face is doing what he is best at – telling the media what exactly he wants to do. Not a word more, not a syllable less. The clinically controlled delivery is nothing new to those who have watched this 77-year-old stalwart of both party and government.

What is new is that the state’s laidback TV viewers have taken to the measured tone. Over the last one year, since the outbreak of the pandemic in March, Vijayan was on TV at 6 pm on weekdays, giving a methodical account of the day’s Covid situation. Malayalam news channels saw viewerships soar to entertainment channel highs.

Party insiders expect a corresponding voter response, notably from women. The cumulative daily build-up of a reassuring chief-in-charge is what the party banks on as the state votes on April 6. Called ‘triple V’ (Visual Vijayan Vote), this is crucial to an election that cannot be taken for granted. You can never rule out the Congress which under Rahul Gandhi scored an upset win in the last Lok Sabha polls. The BJP-led third front is out to win seats and become kingmaker.

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