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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Elections Highlights March 10: ECI seeks report on ‘attack’ on Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram

Elections 2021 Highlights: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who released the TMC manifesto on Tuesday, filed her nomination from the Nandigram assembly seat today.

By: Express Web Desk | Chennai, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, New Delhi |
Updated: March 11, 2021 8:49:39 am
Assembly 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.

Elections 2021 Highlights: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who filed her nomination from Nandigram today, has reportedly suffered a leg injury after she was allegedly pushed by 4-5 people after visiting a temple in the constituency. Claiming it to be a “conspiracy”, the CM said she was standing near her car after visiting a temple in Nandigram when the incident happened, adding that no police were present in the area. The Election Commission has sought a report on the incident.

Meanwhile, amid an exodus of Trinamool Congress leaders to the BJP, the party on Wednesday yet again a suffered a major setback ahead of the Assembly elections as State minister Bachchu Hansda and TMC MLA Gouri Sankar Dutta, who did not receive a ticket to contest in the upcoming Assembly polls, joined the BJP. In another poll-related news from the state, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, who released the TMC manifesto on Tuesday, filed her nomination from the Nandigram assembly seat on Wednesday.

In Tamil Nadu, TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam released its first list of candidates for the upcoming assembly elections on Wednesday. In Kerala, the CPM also released its list, which includes health minister K K Shailaja, former Rajya Sabha MP P Rajeev excise minister T P Ramakrishnan among others. The DMDK on Tuesday walked out of the NDA alliance for the upcoming Tamil Nadu polls as it failed to reach an agreement on seat sharing with the ruling AIADMK. Party leader Vijayakant said that despite several rounds of talks the ruling party didn’t agree to their seat-sharing demand. The two parties failed to make an agreement as the DMDK had been demanding a higher number of seats than what was offered by the ruling party.

Coming to Assam, the passing away of Gogoi Senior has left the Congress without a chief ministerial face, and the void is most apparent in this Upper Assam constituency, that votes on March 27, in the first phase of the elections.

Live Blog

Assembly Elections 2021 Highlights: Mamata Banerjee files nomination from Nandigram; TTV Dhinakaran's AMMK releases first list of candidates; Kerala CP (M) releases first list; EC replaces West Bengal DGP; Read latest news and updates on Bengal, TN, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry elections.

22:57 (IST)10 Mar 2021
Mamata's assets decrease by over 45 per cent in five years

The total worth of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's assets, both movable and immovable, have decreased by over 48 per cent since the last assembly polls in 2016.

For the 2021 assembly polls in the state, Banerjee has declared total assets worth Rs 16.72 lakh, decrease of 45.08% from 2016 which was at Rs 30.45 lakh.

22:47 (IST)10 Mar 2021
CPM workers protest party's decision to offer Kuttiyadi Assembly seat to Kerala Congress (M)

CPM workers take out a march in Kuttiyadi town in Kozhikode district in protest against the party's decision to offer the Kuttiyadi Assembly seat to Kerala Congress (M), a new entrant to the Left  Democratic Front (LDF).

The protesters were holding banners which read 'Party will correct Leaders, People will correct Party.'

20:30 (IST)10 Mar 2021
Will go to Kolkata, urge farmers to defeat BJP in polls, but won't support any party: Tikait

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday said he will go to Kolkata this week to urge farmers to defeat the BJP in the West Bengal Assembly elections, but claimed he is not supporting any political party.
      
Farmers are distressed, and election will be discussed with them, Tikait said, adding that he is not going to West Bengal to seek votes. "I will go to Kolkata on March 13. The clarion call for a decisive struggle will come from Kolkata. We will talk to farmers there and urge them to defeat the BJP," the BKU leader said. He was in Ballia to address a 'Kisan Mahapanchayat'.
    
Replying to a query if he would meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Tikait said there was no such programme. The farmer leader said a call has already been made to defeat the BJP in the five Assembly elections scheduled to begin from March 27, but asserted that he would not support any political party. (PTI)

20:09 (IST)10 Mar 2021
BJP announces two more candidates for West Bengal assembly polls

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday announced two more candidates for the West Bengal Assembly elections. The BJP nominated Supriti Chatterji from Barjora and Hiranmoy Chattopadhyaya from Kharagpur Sadar in West Bengal.

Bengal will go to polls in eight phases beginning March 27. 

19:17 (IST)10 Mar 2021
CM Mamata injured, claims she was pushed by 4-5 people in Nandigram

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is in Nandigram, said she has suffered a leg injury after a few people pushed her when she was near her car.

18:52 (IST)10 Mar 2021
CPI(M) fields Minakshi Mukherjee against Mamata, Suvendu from Nandigram

The Left-led opposition grand alliance on Wednesday fielded CPI(M)'s Minakshi Mukherjee from the high-stakes Nandigram seat where she will fight the upcoming assembly elections against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is the TMC candidate, and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari. The election in Nandigram is being watched closely as Banerjee takes on her former aide, Adhikari, in a high-pitched battle.

Mukherjee was announced as the Left-Congress-ISF alliance candidate by Left Front chairman Biman Bose at a press conference. (PTI)

18:34 (IST)10 Mar 2021
NDA going ahead with full coordination to win polls: Puducherry BJP

The NDA, comprising AINRC AIADMK and the BJP, is going ahead with a clear vision and in full coordination to romp home in the April 6 Assembly elections in the UT, BJP in-charge of Puducherry Nirmal Kumar Surana said on Wednesday.
      
Already, Surana told reporters, the NDA has finalised that AINRC would contest in 16 out of the total 30 seats
here. The AIADMK and BJP which have been earmarked the remaining 14 seats would decide soon the number of seats the two parties would share between themselves. (PTI)

17:13 (IST)10 Mar 2021
Kerala elections: CPI (M) releases list of 83 candidates; Kerala CM, 7 ministers in fray

The CPI (M) Wednesday announced a list of 83 candidates for the upcoming assembly elections in Kerala.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will once again fight from Dharmadam in Kannur district, health minister KK Shailaja from Mattannur, fisheries minister J Mercykutty Amma from Kundara, excise minister TP Ramakrishnan from Perambra and higher education minister KT Jaleel from Thavanur.

As a result of the party’s insistence on implementing a two-term policy for MLAs, at least 33 sitting MLAs, including five ministers, have not found a place in the list. Read More

17:04 (IST)10 Mar 2021
Bengali actors Rajshree Rajbanshi, Bonny Sengupta join BJP

Bengali actors Rajshree Rajbanshi and Bonny Sengupta joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday at a meeting in Kolkata.

17:02 (IST)10 Mar 2021
Bengal minister Bachchu Hansda, TMC MLA Gouri Sankar Dutta join BJP

In a fresh setback for the TMC, State minister Bachchu Hansda and TMC MLA Gouri Sankar Dutta who did not receive a ticket to contest in the upcoming Assembly polls, joined the BJP on Wednesday.

Several other leaders including TMC MP Pratima Mondal’s sister Jayashree Mondal and Bengali film actor Bonny Sengupta too joined the BJP at the party’s Hastings office in the presence of West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh and party leader Rajib Banerjee. Read More

16:57 (IST)10 Mar 2021
Locals block roads after recovery of dead body in Bengal; EC seeks report

Police on Wednesday recovered the body of a young man in Dankuni in West Bengal's Hooghly district, following which locals blocked the Durgapur Expressway and vandalised some vehicles, officials said.
    
The incident prompted the Election Commission to seek a report from the district administration in the poll-bound
state, they said. Five persons have been arrested in this connection, police said. (PTI)

16:55 (IST)10 Mar 2021
Arms, ammunition recovered in Assam's Chirang ahead of polls

A large number of arms and ammunition were found on Wednesday at a forest in Chirang district in poll-bound Assam, police said. An AK series rifle, an AK series rifle magazine, three 7.65 mm pistol, three 7.65 mm pistol magazines and 90 rounds of AK series live ammunition were found during a raid at Chirang reserve forest in Runikhata police station area, they said.
    
Five rounds of 9 mm live ammunition and three rounds of 7.65 mm live ammunition were also recovered, they added. Further investigation into the incident is underway, police said.
    
Elections to the 126-member Assam assembly will be held in three phases with 47 constituencies going to polls on March 27, the second phase for 39 constituencies is on April 1 and 40 seats in the third phase will be voting on April 6. (PTI)

16:25 (IST)10 Mar 2021
Sent resignation to Sonia Gandhi: PC Chacko

Senior Congress leader PC Chacko, who quit the party earlier today, said he has sent his resignation to party's interim chief Sonia Gandhi. (ANI)

16:23 (IST)10 Mar 2021
Madhya Pradesh BJP MLA slams Mamata over 'Chandi Path' at Nandigram rally

"You (Mamata Banerjee) allowed Namaz at intersections & got Durga pandals removed, overlooked 'Dharma' for radical Muslims from Bangladesh. It's too late for 'Chandi Path'. You're no more Didi of Hindus, you're Didi of extremist Muslims," Madhya Pradesh BJP MLA Rameshwar Sharma told ANI.

15:41 (IST)10 Mar 2021
Kerala Assembly Elections: JD(S) announces list of 4 candidates

The Janata Dal (Secular) has announced a list of four candidates for the April 6 Kerala Assembly elections. The list was approved by former prime minister and JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda.

Former minister Dr Neela Lohithadassa Nadar will contest from Kovalam Assembly segment, former minister and MLA Mathew T Thomas will be the JDS candidate from Thiruvalla, Water Resources Minister K Krishnankutty will contest from Chittur and former minister Jose Thettayil will contest from Ankamali, according to a statement issued by the Deve Gowda. Read More

14:36 (IST)10 Mar 2021
PC Chacko quits Congress ahead of Kerala polls, cites factionalism, lack of leadership
PC Chacko in New Delhi in 2013. (Express Photo by Anil Sharma)

In a setback to the Congress in Kerala ahead of the Assembly elections, senior leader and former MP P C Chacko Wednesday resigned from the party in protest against the allocation of seats. Chacko alleged that the sears were divided on the basis of factions and blamed the central leadership for failing to lead the party effectively.

Chacko has sent his resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former president Rahul Gandhi.

“I have been deliberating about this in my mind for many days. There is no Congress in Kerala. There is one Congress (I) and one Congress (A). It is a coordination committee of two parties. Groupism is the biggest bane of Congress party in Kerala,” he said.

14:14 (IST)10 Mar 2021
Mamata Banerjee files nomination from Nandigram assembly seat

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee files nomination from Nandigram assembly seat. Banerjee also and offered prayers at Shiv Temple in Nandigram.

13:41 (IST)10 Mar 2021
‘Cong shrinking in Kerala, like everywhere… (But) BJP can never come to power here’
CPM Acting State Secretary A Vijayaraghavan announcing the party's candidate's list for the upcoming assembly elections on Wednesday. (Express photo)

A Vijayaraghavan, LDF convenor and CPM acting state secretary speaks to indianexpress.com ahead of the Kerala assembly elections, scheduled to be held on April 6. 

"The people of Kerala know the tactics of the Congress. It has been nine months since Central investigative agencies began probing the gold case and they haven’t found any evidence. They haven’t been able to find root cause or where the gold originated, they couldn’t track the accused. The agencies have totally failed. The enquiry is politically motivated. Kerala will reject it," he said. Read the full interview here

13:20 (IST)10 Mar 2021
If BJP voted to power, people cheated by chit fund companies would get back their money: Suvendu Adhikari

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari holds a rally in Nandigram, where he says, "If BJP is voted to power, people who were cheated by chit fund companies would get back their money."

"Mamata Banerjee does not even cast her vote in Nandigram, she is an outsider there," he adds.

13:18 (IST)10 Mar 2021
Tamil Nadu assembly polls: AIADMK’s rebel faction AMMK releases first list of candidates
T T V Dhinakaran. (File)

AIADMK’s rebel faction AMMK Wednesday released their first list of candidates, who will be contesting on behalf of the party in the upcoming assembly election in Tamil Nadu. The list released by the party’s general secretary TTV Dhinakaran featured many prominent faces including former MLAs and MP.

Former member of Parliament S Anbazhagan will contest from Rasipuram (Reserve) constituency, while former ministers P Palaniyappan, G Senthamizhan and C Shanmugavelu will contest from Paapireddipatti, Saidapet and Madathukulam constituencies respectively.

M Rengasamy, NG Parthiban and RR Murugan, who were part of the 18 disqualified MLAs by the speaker for indulging in anti-party activities, have been given seats to contest from Paapansam, Sholingar, and Harur constituencies respectively.

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After The Titans: In his bastion, Cong’s Gogoi-size absence

Monday morning finds Moushumi Gogoi, a resident of Gohaingaon village in Assam’s Jorhat district, chatting away at a tea stall. But ask her about the elections, and her smile falters. “We wanted Gaurav da,” says Moushumi, a booth-level Congress worker. “He’s the obvious choice, he’s Tarun Gogoi’s son, after all.”

The previous evening, the Congress announced its candidate for the Titabor constituency — represented for two decades by former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who died in November last year. The ticket went not to Gaurav but Bhaskar Jyoti Barua, a local businessman and first-time politician.

Mamata: Fought alone in Nandigram, don’t teach a Brahmin to be Hindu

She identified herself as a “Hindu Brahmin” and chanted verses from the Chandi Path, said she need not be told about Bengal by “people coming from Rajasthan and Gujarat”, made tea at a roadside stall, cited the work done by her in her previous constituency Bhabanipur, and declared, “Bhulte pari nijer naam, bhulbo nako Nandigram (I can forget my name, but never forget Nandigram).”

With Nandigram set to be the most high-voltage contest of the coming Assembly election, between Mamata Banerjee and her former close aide Suvendu Adhikari, the Trinamool chief on Tuesday held her first meeting in the constituency after the declaration of the polls. Addressing booth-level workers, she said she would be filing her nomination from Nandigram on Wednesday.

Sabyasachi Dutta, secretary of BJP’s West Bengal unit

State BJP secretary Sabyasachi Dutta is the party’s MLA from Rajarhat New Town Assembly constituency. He has also served as the first Mayor of Bidhannagar (2015-2019), till he resigned from the post to join the BJP in the presence of then BJP national president Amit Shah. He was appointed as secretary of the West Bengal unit of the BJP in June 2020.

Dutta started his political career as a member of the Congress party and went on to join the All India Trinamool Congress in the late 1990s. He was elected councillor in the Bidhannagar Municipality for the first time in the 2000 municipal elections, and then got re-elected in the 2005 and 2010 polls. In 2011, he was elected MLA from Rajarhat New Town constituency.

Assam elections: A party for Mr Himanta Biswa Sarma

In a party with few stars beyond the Centre, he holds his own. In a government that he doesn’t lead, he is sometimes credited with commanding more power than the Chief Minister. In a region that Delhi only infrequently remembers, he is a name with the most recall.

And, Himanta Biswa Sarma is just starting. Having got a ticket from the BJP to contest from his constituency Jalukbari, despite protestations otherwise, the 52-year-old is back in the CM sweepstakes. Can the party that he almost single-handedly hauled to power in 2016 in Assam deny him the prize he has long sought, in case of a win?

Mukul Roy: The pied piper in West Bengal Assembly elections

The former No. 2 of Mamata Banerjee, 66-year-old Mukul Roy is among the chief architects of the BJP’s slow and steady build-up in West Bengal. This includes chipping away at the Trinamool’s edifice, by helping the BJP wean away leaders from the party.

The party’s national vice-president, Roy is now part of every frame in the BJP’s Bengal campaign. If there is resentment over not being counted as among the chief ministerial hopefuls, Roy hasn’t shown it, as he asserts the BJP’s target: “Iss bar 200 paar (This time, more than 200 seats).” The West Bengal Assembly has 294 MLAs.

Roy started his political career as a Youth Congress leader, around the same time as Mamata Banerjee was part of the outfit. He was among the founding members of the All India Trinamool Congress when Mamata floated it in January 1998 after splitting from the Congress. Soon Roy emerged as the party’s face in Delhi, and in 2006, was made its general secretary and earned a berth in the Rajya Sabha. In the UPA II government, he served initially as Minister of State, Shipping, before becoming Railways Minister — a portfolio Mamata held till she moved to Bengal as the CM.

Assembly elections will be held in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and Assam at the end of this month and beginning of April. Results will be declared in May.

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