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Friday, April 16, 2021

Assembly Elections 2021 Highlights: Congress neither has ‘neta’ nor ‘niyat’, it’s only spreading lies, says PM Modi

West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu Election 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 | Chennai, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, New Delhi |
Updated: March 25, 2021 2:51:32 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a rally in Assam's Sipajhar area on Wednesday. (Source: Twitter/@BJP4India)

Assembly Elections 2021 Highlights: Addressing a poll rally in Assam’s Siphajhar, PM Modi said accused the Congress of indulging in corruption of ration card distribution in the state. “There were days of Congress corruption when the ration of the poor used to be eaten by someone else, now the ration cards of the poor are being digitalized, the loot of the ration of the poor is being stopped. The Congress neither has leaders nor true intentions today,” he said, adding that the grand old party has the policy of lying, spread confusion, and gain power at any cost.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday took a strong swipe at the Prime Minister saying, “I respect PM’s chair but sorry to say, Narendra Modi is a big liar”. Addressing a rally in Bishnupur, Mamata alleged that Modi only talks big and makes false promises. Earlier in the day, PM Modi kicked off the day’s election campaign in Bengal’s Kanthi, saying that the state will show the door to Mamata on May 2.

Meanwhile, addressing a public meeting in Kerala’s Kanjirappally, Union Home Minister Amit Shah today alleged that the LDF and UDF governments have made Kerala a hub of corruption. Shah, while holding a roadshow in Kerala’s Thrippunithura earlier today, exuded confidence that the BJP will perform well in the upcoming assembly elections in the state.

Elections to the 294-member West Bengal state Assembly will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. Polling for the 126-member Assam assembly will be held on March 27, April 1 and April 6. Kerala will vote in a single phase on April 6. The counting of votes in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry will take place on May 2.

Live Blog

Assembly Elections 2021 Live Updates: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in West Bengal, Assam today; Home Minister Amit Shah addressed rallies in Kerala. Follow latest news and updates below.

23:44 (IST)24 Mar 2021
EC full bench visits Bengal, CEC Arora says ‘observers too under our watch’

With the West Bengal Assembly elections to kick off on March 27, a full bench of the Election Commission of India (ECI) visited the state for a two-day trip to oversee poll preparations.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said all basic facilities will be provided at polling booths, all polling stations will be on the ground floor, and there will be arrangements for wheelchairs, drinking water, electricity, and ramps for the specially abled.

On Tuesday, the full bench held video conferences with the district administration and the police of all the eight districts of North Bengal, over law and order and poll-preparedness. Read More

22:30 (IST)24 Mar 2021
AASU holds 11-hr dharna against Nadda's announcement on CAA

A day after BJP national president J P Nadda announced that Citizenship (Amendment) Act will be implemented, the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) on Wednesday staged a 11-hour dharna across Assam in protest against the law.

AASU held demonstrations in dozens of towns apart from capital Guwahati and in various sub-divisions of the state.

AASU general secretary Sankarjyoti Barua said, "J P Nadda yesterday insulted the sentiment of the Assamese people when he said CAA will be implemented. Even our chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal is saying the same."

The announcement to implement the CAA amidst the election season is "most unfortunate" for the Assamese society, its culture, language and identity, he added. (PTI)

22:29 (IST)24 Mar 2021
DMK approaches Madras HC to restrain EC from using old EVMs

The DMK on Wednesday moved the Madras High Court with a plea to restrain the Election Commission from using electronic voting machines (EVMs) that were beyond the expiry period of 15 years, in the April 6 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls.

The other prayers of the DMK, represented by its Organisation Secretary R S Bharathi, were to provide CCTV live coverage/web-stream during voting in all the polling booths and voting centres, to instal jammers at the strong rooms where EVMs are stored and at the counting centres.

However, the court said it does not appear that EVMs can be tampered with without touching them.

The Opposition party also wanted the court to direct the Returning Officers to count at least 50 per cent of VVPATS, simultaneously. (PTI)

22:29 (IST)24 Mar 2021
EC keeps in abeyance schedule of polls to fill 3 RS seats from Kerala

The Election Commission on Wednesday decided to keep in abeyance the schedule of elections to fill three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala after the Law Ministry flagged some issues.

"The commission... had announced schedule for biennial election for three seats to Council of States (Rajya Sabha) from Kerala... In the meanwhile, a reference has been received from the Ministry of Law and Justice. Pending examination of the reference, the commission has decided to keep the aforementioned proposed notification and schedule in abeyance till further orders," the commission said in a statement.

Election to three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala falling vacant next month was to be held on April 12. (PTI)

21:51 (IST)24 Mar 2021
DMK leader: ‘Milk from foreign cows making women fat like a barrel’

DMK leader Dindigul I Leoni has come under fire after making a sexist remark at an election campaign rally in Coimbatore.

In a video clip of the speech doing the rounds on social media, Leoni can be heard saying women “have lost their figures, putting on weight after consuming the milk of foreign cows”. People present at the event can be seen clapping and laughing.

The incident took place when Leoni, TV talk show judge and DMK’s propaganda secretary, was campaigning for the party’s Thondamuthur candidate, Karthikeya Sivasenapathy. Sivasenapathy is the managing trustee of Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation (SKCRF), an NGO working for the welfare of native cattle breeds. Read this report by Janardhan Koushik

21:33 (IST)24 Mar 2021
‘Mahajooth, not Mahajoth’: PM Modi targets Congress-AIUDF alliance in Assam

Describing the Congress-led Mahajoth (grand alliance) as a ‘Mahajooth’ (grand lie), Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said the grand old party neither has a neta (leaders) nor neeti (principles).

Addressing a poll rally at Bihpuria in Lakhimpur district, PM Modi said, “This Mahajooth doesn’t have neta (leaders) or neeti (principles), neither does it have sanskaar (culture) or vichar (ideas).”

He further said that the alliance was only capable of “guaranteeing” corruption and infiltration. Read the full report by Tora Agarwala from Assam here

20:20 (IST)24 Mar 2021
Kerala polls: CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury campaigns for party in Mannur

Ahead of Kerala polls, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury today campaigned for party candidate P A Mohammad Riyaz from Beypore constituency in Kozhikode.

20:13 (IST)24 Mar 2021
Kerala Polls: E Sreedharan, BJP candidate from Palakkad, declares assets

'Metroman' E Sreedharan, who is contesting from Palakkad on a BJP ticket in Kerala Assembly elections, has declared his assets worth Rs 7.79 crore in his nomination form. The octagenarian is contesting for the first time.

Here are the full details:

Total  assets: Rs 7.79 crore (contesting for the first time)
Movable assets (with spouse): Rs 3.58 crore
Immovable assets (with spouse): Rs 4.21 crore
Total income (ITR 2019-20): Rs 82.37 lakh
Loans and liabilities: Nil

20:03 (IST)24 Mar 2021
PM Modi in Bengal: Son of soil will be BJP CM, no Indian outsider here

With just three days to go ahead of the first phase of polling in West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday addressed a rally in Kanthi of East Midnapore district, kilometres away from Suvendu Adhikari’s house ‘ShantiKunja’.

Assuring people that a “son of soil will be made the BJP Chief Minister in Bengal,” the PM took a swipe at the TMC’s ‘outsiders’ charge against the BJP. “Bengal brought together India through Bande Mataram. On this land, Mamata didi is talking about ‘bahiragata (outsider).’ No Indian is an outsider here. All are children of Bharat Mata,” the PM said.

Almost half of PM Modi’s speech on Wednesday was in Bangla. “Didi, even the children of Bengal now understand your khela. Thus, on May 2, people of West Bengal will show the door to Didi. TMC’r khela sesh hobe. Bikash arombho hobe (The TMC’s game will end and development will begin). We will work hard for the future of Bengal,” he said. Read this report here

19:31 (IST)24 Mar 2021
Assam elections: Himanta Biswa Sarma leads a roadshow in Naharkatia

BJP's Himanta Biswa Sarma leads a roadshow in Assam's Naharkatia ahead of Saturday's polling.

19:13 (IST)24 Mar 2021
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren campaigns for TMC in Bengal

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren today campaigned for Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.

19:05 (IST)24 Mar 2021
Assam election: Akhil Gogoi's 84-year-old mother campaigns for him

Priyada Gogoi is 84 years old and has many ailments, but she is walking the narrow lanes on a campaign trail amidst all the hullabaloo of Assembly polls in Assam for the last 10 days only to free her son -- Akhil Gogoi.

Moved by her determination, social activists Medha Patkar and Sandeep Pandey have also joined her from Wednesday to campaign for the jailed anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act leader, who is contesting from the Sivasagar constituency.

Priyada Gogoi, who hails from Selenghat in neighbouring Jorhat district, has been camping in Sivasagar district for the last seven days and leading the campaigning of Raijor Dal, the newly floated political outfit of her son.

"I am campaigning only for my son. I want to see my son free. I know that only the people can free my son from jail. Winning this election will be the first step for him to come out of the caged life," she told PTI.

18:07 (IST)24 Mar 2021
Assam polls: PM Modi promises industrial corridor near Guwahati

PM Modi in Siphajhar: "An industrial corridor is being built near Guwahati, which will be longer than 150 kms. In the next few years, several thematic, food & bamboo parks will also be built. This will directly benefit the farmers, as well as the youth of Assam."

18:00 (IST)24 Mar 2021
Congress neither has 'neta' nor 'niyat', it's only spreading lies, says PM Modi in Assam

Addressing a poll rally in Assam's Siphajhar, PM Modi said, "There were days of Congress corruption when the ration of the poor used to be eaten by someone else, now the ration cards of the poor are being digitalized, the loot of the ration of the poor is being stopped. The Congress neither has leaders nor true intentions today."

"The Congress is now following the same policy - lie, spread confusion, and gain power at any cost. So you have to be careful with the Congress, be cautious," he added.

17:29 (IST)24 Mar 2021
Want 'Dada' in BJP to clean bowl TMC: Ashok Dinda

Amid speculations that the BJP wants former India captain Sourav Ganguly to drive its fortunes in the upcoming West Bengal assembly elections, his former teammate and the saffron party's nominee from Moyna seat, Ashok Dinda, feels that the BCCI president would "clean bowl" the ruling TMC if he makes the much-anticipated move of joining the BJP.

Though Ganguly has been reportedly linked with the BJP since he became the BCCI president in October 2019, the most popular sports figure from West Bengal has not yet made any political commitments.

Well aware of Ganguly's leadership acumen, former West Bengal pace spearhead Dinda, who is fighting from the Moyna constituency in Purba Medinipur district, said the BJP desperately wants 'Dada' to join the party.

"Clean bowled hoe jabe (TMC will be clean bowled)... If he (Ganguly) joins, we are not looking at just crossing the 200-mark; even (full seats of) 294 is possible," Dinda, who has played 13 ODIs and nine T20Is, told PTI in an interview.

"Of course, we want Dada to join the BJP, because if he comes, it will be a landslide victory for us," he said. (PTI)

16:36 (IST)24 Mar 2021
I am not after CM's post, not in politics for personal ambition: Gaurav Gogoi

Senior Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi, son of three-time Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, on Wednesday said that he is not after the top post in the state government and will not represent his father's constituency Titabar as per his last wish.

"I am not after the chief minister's post. I was never in politics for my personal ambition. I am only concerned about forming the Congress-led 'Mahajot' government in Assam," Gogoi told PTI in an interview.

"I have been very grateful for all the opportunities that the party has given me. They made me deputy leader of Lok Sabha and AICC in-charge. I am always there for any responsibility they give me," Gogoi said.

On contesting the elections from Titabar in the Jorhat district, he said it was his father's one of the last wishes that his successor should be from outside the family but a native of the constituency.

"Titabar was represented by my father for 20 years. We wanted that the successor should be someone who has contributed to the public service and not from our family. That is why I am not contesting the polls from the seat. I am glad that AICC leadership has also accepted my father's wishes," Gogoi said. (PTI)

15:58 (IST)24 Mar 2021
Congress colluding with a group 'promoting infiltration in Assam', alleges PM Modi

Targeting the Congress-AIUDF alliance in Assam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday alleged that the Congress is taking help from a group that promotes infiltration in the state and wants to destroy Assam's identity.

Addressing a poll rally at Bihpuria in Assam, PM Modi said, "Congress can do anything for votes. This is not 'Mahajot', it's a 'Mahajhoot' which neither has a representative nor policy. Such an alliance can only guarantee infiltration and corruption." 

15:22 (IST)24 Mar 2021
Communist party cadres have mistreated Sabarimala devotees: Amit Shah

Addressing a poll rally in Kerala, Home Minister Amit Shah said, "BJP believes that governments should not intervene in issues related to temples. It should be left on devotees. Communist party cadres have mistreated Sabrimala devotees, dressed in police attire: Union Home Minister & BJP leader Amit Shah in Chathannoor."

(ANI)

14:23 (IST)24 Mar 2021
Narendra Modi is a big liar: Mamata attacks PM at Bishnupur rally

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday took a strong swipe at the Prime Minister saying, "I respect PM's chair but sorry to say, Narendra Modi is a big liar". 

Addressing a rally in Bishnupur, Mamata alleged that Modi only talks big and makes false promises. "Modi only talks big, makes false promises like crediting Rs 15 lakh to everyone's bank accounts but LPG prices are touching the roof.

Further taking on Modi's 'bohiragoto' (outsiders) remark, Mamata said, "We don't label people of other states staying in Bengal for ages as outsiders". She, however, maintained that "pan masala-chewing and tilak-sporting people sent from states like UP before the elections to foment trouble are outsider goons for us."

13:31 (IST)24 Mar 2021
LDF govt has converted entire administration into their cadre: Shah in Kerala

Amit Shah has alleged that the ruling LDF government in Kerala has converted the entire administration into their cadre. "The left parties run Public Service Commission via remote controls to provide government posts to their cadre," he said in Kanjirappally. 

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 2021 Workers dry rolls of BJP flags at a factory in Ahmedabad, ahead of the upcoming Assembly polls in several states on March 9, 2021. (PTI Photo)

West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry Assembly elections 2021 Live Updates:

Tamil Nadu elections: TTV hoped seat in bag, CPM man with jhola stands in the way

Kovilpatti in southern Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district may be one of the most-watched constituencies in this Assembly election in Tamil Nadu, with AIADMK rebel T T V Dhinakaran — who has a lot more at stake than just this poll win — announcing his candidature from here. Also in the race is powerful AIADMK minister Kadambar Raju. But, several voters in Kovilpatti have their eyes on a third candidate — the self-effacing K Srinavasan, contesting on the ticket of the CPM, which is a part of the DMK-led alliance, who has been working here quietly since long.

Ashok Lahiri: An economist and a candidate in waiting

One of the most surprising names in the BJP’s list for the West Bengal Assembly elections has been Ashok Lahiri. Lahiri is the first person to have served as the chief economic adviser to the Government of India to contest an election. He served in the post between October 2002 and June 2007, appointed under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and continuing under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

O Rajagopal: 'Left seems to have a slight edge'

When asked by The Indian Express whether Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan can buck the trend of Kerala alternating between two coalitions, and the Left retaining power, O Rajagopal said, "There is such a feeling among some people, but I won’t be able to say it conclusively. The Congress is going down and nobody can help it revive. Its days are over."

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