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Monday, April 19, 2021

Election 2021 Highlights: BJP has put up ‘Indian democracy for sale’, says Kerala CM

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday alleged that the BJP has put up Indian democracy for sale, while the Congress has reduced itself to goods that are up for sale.

Chennai, Guwahati, Kolkata, New Delhi |
Updated: March 17, 2021 9:24:37 am
Election 2021 Live Updates: Congress releases manifesto for Tamil Nadu electionsAssembly 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.

Upping the ante against the Opposition, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday alleged that the BJP has put up Indian democracy for sale, while the Congress has reduced itself to goods that are up for sale. Ahead of the state elections, Vijayan said in many states, people had elected the Congress to power, but they “sold themselves to the BJP.”

Swapan Dasgupta, a BJP candidate for the upcoming West Bengal Assembly election, Tuesday resigned from the Rajya Sabha a day after the Trinamool Congress cited constitutional rules to say a nominated member of the upper house could not join a political party.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hit back at Mamata Banerjee, saying that the allegations she made about Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Purulia on Monday do not hold much significance. “We have run the govt from 2014 till now under PM Modi’s leadership. People have supported us. We got more number of seats in second term. Had we not run govt properly then we wouldn’t have achieved such majority in 2019 polls,” he said.

Earlier during the day, the Congress Tuesday released its manifesto for Tamil Nadu Assembly elections at its party office in Chennai. Tamil Nadu Congress President KS Azhagiri said 500 youth in every district will be given training for government jobs. “We will also provide for tax exemption for startups and new entrepreneurs for at least 5 years.” he said.

Live Blog

Swapan Dasgupta resigns from Rajya Sabha after BJP names him as candidate for West Bengal polls; Congress releases manifesto for Tamil Nadu elections; top BJP leaders hold rallies in Bengal. 

23:07 (IST)16 Mar 2021
Congress-AIUDF alliance a 'Mahakhot' : Fadnavis

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday slammed the alliance of Congress and Badruddin Ajmal's AIUDF in Assam calling it "Mahakhot" (great flaw), which he claimed will destroy the social and cultural fabric of the state.

The alliance between the two parties was created to fulfill political ambitions, he said at an election rally at Nalbari.

BJP and its allies are committed to ensuring security and prosperity to the people of the north eastern state and protect their culture, he said.

"The Congress-AIDUF alliance is is not a 'Mahajoth' (grand alliance) but a 'Mahakhot' (great flaw) who have aligned to fulfill their political ambitions with the sole purpose to defeat BJP. But the people of Assam will reject them," the former Maharashtra chief minister said. (PTI)

22:09 (IST)16 Mar 2021
BJP has put up Indian democracy for sale, claims Kerala CM

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday alleged the BJP has put up Indian democracy for sale, while the Congress has reduced itself to goods that are up for sale.

Hitting out at both the parties, Vijayan said in many states, people had elected the Congress to power, but they "sold themselves to the BJP."

"When BJP has put up Indian democracy for sale, Congress has reduced themselves into goods that are up for sale. BJP is willing to shell out as much money as required, after all they have raised plenty of it. Congress is trying to get the highest bid," the chief minister, who reached here for campaigning from his home constituency, Dharmadom, told reporters.

Listing the names of states including Goa, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Puducherry, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura, Vijayan said the Congress party cannot be trusted as the leaders can join BJP anytime.

"What about the stand of those Congress leaders on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)? They oppose it when they are with the Congress and later support it when they join the BJP.The Congress has lost its credibility," Vijayan said. (PTI)

21:24 (IST)16 Mar 2021
Tamil Nadu polls: Kamal Haasan richest poll candidate, declares movable assets of over Rs 45 crore

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has emerged as the richest candidate in fray for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. The founder and chief of Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), who filed his nomination from Coimbatore (South) constituency, declared moveable assets worth in excess of Rs 45 crores.

Haasan quoted his movable properties at Rs 45,09,01,476 crores. These include two vehicles – BMW 730 LD and Lexus LX 570, the combined valuation of which comes to Rs 3,69,39,642 crores. The veteran actor pegged his immovable properties, including commercial buildings and agricultural land, at a little over Rs 131 crores. He also declared two residential buildings in Chennai, cumulatively priced at Rs 19.5 crores, and a joint property in London worth Rs 2.5 crores. The superstar stated that he has Rs 49,50,11,010 crores in liabilities, adding that he has no spouse or dependents.

Candidates, including heavyweights such as Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, DMK president MK Stalin, Haasan and Deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvam, have officially entered the fray for the April 6 election.

The CM, who filed his nomination from Edapadi constituency on Monday, declared movable assets worth over Rs 47 lakh while stating that he has no immovable assets to his name. He further stated that his wife’s movable assets were worth Rs 1,04,11,631 and that of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) were Rs 50.21 lakh. He declared immovable assets in his wife’s name at Rs 1.78 crores and a further Rs 2.10 crores under the HUF, including ancestral property. His affidavit further states that he owes a “hand loan” of Rs 15 lakh to an individual.

21:04 (IST)16 Mar 2021
BJP leader slams party's Kerala leadership, says weak candidates have been fielded for April 6 polls

BJP leader R Balashankar Tuesday slammed the Kerala leadership of the party, alleging they were not interested in winning the election as weak candidates have been fielded in seats where the party had a good chance to win in the April 6 assembly polls.

Attacking the leadership of the state party, Balashankar claimed he was denied ticket from his home constituency Chengannur in Alappuzha district after given an understanding that he would be fielded from there.

The 67-year-old leader claimed he had a very good chance for winning the seat currently held by the CPI(M) but the BJP fielded a person who is a political non-entity damaging its chance to win the seat.

"The state leadership is not wanting to win the elections.They are not interested in winning the election. Because in the constituencies where the BJP have a great winning chance, they are putting up weak candidates," Balashankar told PTI.

He alleged that his winnability and positivity had become a negative point for the local leaders. (PTI)

20:30 (IST)16 Mar 2021
Palaniswami's swipe at DMK's poll promises: Make assurances you can fulfill

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Tuesday took a swipe at the DMK over poll promises, saying a party should give only those assurances that could be implemented.

Recalling then DMK chief, the late M Karunanidhi's 2006 poll promise of providing two acres of land free of cost to all landless farmers in the state, Palaniswami asked if the party fulfilled its assurance.

"Did they give. No. (DMK president MK) Stalin is desperate to get people's votes by fooling and confusing them," he said at an election rally at Aranthangi in this district. He said Stalin's wish would not be fulfilled, implying people won't vote for him.

In an apparent dig at the DMK over the 500 assurances made in its poll manifesto for the April 6 elections, the AIADMK joint coordinator said "it is ok if promises that can be implemented are made."

"If unimplementable assurances are made, they can never be fulfilled," he said. (PTI)

19:09 (IST)16 Mar 2021
Mamata govt has not done anything for farmers, Adivasis: Nadda at poll rally

Alleging that the Mamata Banerjee dispensation has not done anything for the welfare of farmers and Adivasis in West Bengal, BJP president J P Nadda on Tuesday claimed that after practising politics of appeasement for years, the TMC supremo has started reciting Sanskrit slokas to assert her Hindu identity.

She left several Hindu OBC castes such as Mahishya and Teli out of the reserved category because of her "politics of appeasement", and the BJP, if voted to power, will take steps to include them, Nadda said while addressing a rally at Kotulpur in Bankura district.

"I am told that Mamata Banerjee is now doing Chandi Path. But in the last 10 years, you have been engaged in minority appeasement. You have stopped Saraswati Puja in the state and immersion of idols of goddess Durga," he said.

Banerjee did Chandi Path (recitation of hymns) at Nandigram, from where she is contesting, at a public meeting on March 9.

"During the stone laying ceremony of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, you stopped people from offering puja in the state," the BJP president said. (PTI)

18:27 (IST)16 Mar 2021
P C Chacko to formally join NCP, work for victory of LDF candidates in Kerala

Former Congress leader P C Chacko, who quit the party last week, on Tuesday announced that he will formally join the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) headed by Sharad Pawar.

"I am formally joining the NCP today", he told reporters in New Delhi after meeting CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Chacko, who quit the Congress over his differences with the party leaders in Kerala, said NCP is a partner of the CPI (M)-led LDF in the southern state and he would work for the victory of the Left candidates in the April 6 Assembly polls. (PTI)

17:15 (IST)16 Mar 2021
RMP to field K K Rema in Vadakara, UDF extends support

Ending days of speculation, the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) on Tuesday announced that it would field K K Rema, wife of slain founding leader T P Chandrasekharan, in Vadakara Assembly constituency in Kozhikode district.

Announcing this, the party general secretary K K Venu said the Congress leadership has declared the support of the UDF for Rema.

The RMP, a breakaway group of the CPI(M), has been under pressure to field its candidate in Vadakara to give a tough fight to the LDF.

The Congress as well as the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) had approached the RMP leadership to put up a common candidate to take on the LDF nominee. (PTI)

16:47 (IST)16 Mar 2021
Video of AIADMK nominee R Viswanathan handing out cash to voters surfaces, complaint filed

Former minister and AIADMK candidate from Natham constituency (Dindigul district) R Viswanathan was allegedly caught on camera distributing cash to voters.

In a video of the alleged act, Viswanathan is purportedly seen taking out currency notes from his pocket and distributing them to voters. In the first half of the video, a group of women is seen standing in a row and an alleged AIADMK cadre appears in the frame putting currency notes on each of their plates.

The women had gathered to give a traditional welcome (aarti) to Vishwanathan, who campaigned extensively in the constituency on Sunday.

16:12 (IST)16 Mar 2021
Rajnath slams Mamata over law & order, says BJP will pay 'khela' of peace and development

Slamming the Mamata Banerjee government over alleged slide in the law and order situation, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday the "khela" (game) that will be played in West Bengal after the BJP's victory in the assembly election will be that of development and peace.

He asserted the BJP will form its government in the state winning more than 200 of the 294 seats.

Joining the campaign blitzkrieg that the BJP has launched, with several top party leaders holding meetings and rallies regularly to snatch Bengal from the TMC, Singh, who was once considered a friend of Mamata Banerjee in the saffron camp, asked what the two-time chief minister has done for the people of the state except for bringing disaster to them.

Questioning what the Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee means by "khela hobe" (the game will happen), Singh told a public meeting here in West Midnapore district that "the game of development and peace will be played in Bengal".

He said "asol parivartan" (true change) will usher in on May 2, the day of the counting of votes for the eight-phase assembly elections that commence on March 27. (PTI)

15:22 (IST)16 Mar 2021
Strict action will be taken against those propagating violence: Rajnath Singh in Bengal

Addressing a rally in West Midnapore area of poll-bound West Bengal, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the day the BJP will form government in the state, they will prevent attacks against everyone, be it BJP, TMC or CPM. "There won't be any discrimination. Strict action will be taken against those propagating violence," ANI quoted him as saying.

"Whenever Sourav Ganguly crossed the crease, it was sure that he would hit a six. Likewise, with your support in Lok Sabha, we've crossed the crease and surely we'll hit a 6 in Assembly polls and form BJP govt here," he added.

14:49 (IST)16 Mar 2021
West Bengal elections: J P Nadda holds rally in Bishnupur

BJP national president J P Nadda holds roadshow at Bishnupur in poll-bound West Bengal. (ANI)

14:47 (IST)16 Mar 2021
Amit Shah hatching conspiracy to kill me: Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday accused Union Home Minister Amit Shah of hatching a conspiracy to harass TMC leaders ahead of the assembly elections in the state.

Referring to the alleged "attack" on her in Nandigram, Banerjee said no one will stop her from taking forward her battle against the BJP. "Amit Shah is getting frustrated as there is a poor turnout at his rallies. Instead of running the country, he is sitting in Kolkata and hatching a conspiracy to harass TMC leaders. What do they want? Do they want to kill me? Do they think that they will win this election by killing me? They are wrong," she said while addressing a rally here.

Banerjee also wondered whether the Election Commission has lost its independence, and alleged that the poll panel is working as per Shah's instructions. "Is Amit Shah running the EC? He is giving instructions to the EC. What happened to their independence? My director, security (Vivek Sahay) was removed (by EC) as per his instructions," she alleged. (PTI)

14:28 (IST)16 Mar 2021
Assam Assembly elections: Orunudoi — A woman-centric scheme as game-changer

Out of the slew of beneficiary schemes the BJP government announced ahead of the Assam Assembly elections, the Orunudoi scheme, with women as its primary target group, is perhaps its most popular. In December 2020, when the scheme was launched, party leaders, including Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, described it as the “largest DBT scheme in the history of Assam which will empower women and serve the needy”.

Through Orunodoi — announced in the 2020-21 Budget — a monthly assistance of Rs 830 is transferred to women members of marginalised families of Assam. On account of being a DBT, or a Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, the money is credited directly to the bank account of the woman head of a family because they are “primary caretakers of the household”. According to a Finance Department handout, the scheme gives “a choice to the poor and needy households on how they want to spend their money”.

14:11 (IST)16 Mar 2021
Tamil Nadu Assembly elections: Kamal Haasan begins campaign in Coimbatore South

Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM) Chief Kamal Hassan launched his election campaign early on Tuesday by going around the Coimbatore South Constituency, where he is contesting the assembly polls next month, and interacted with voters, PTI reported.

Hassan began the day by meeting citizens along the Race course road and engaged with morning walkers and joggers, party sources said. The 66-year-old actor then visited a gymnasium in Ramanathapuram and demonstrated his prowess in Silambattam, a traditional martial arts of Tamil Nadu with a long cane. He later interacted with the public at a road side tea shop, to understand their problems and garner support.

In a bid to reach out to people of various communities, Haasan also visited a fish market in Ukkadam area and discussed local issues with the people.

13:32 (IST)16 Mar 2021
West Bengal Assembly elections: CM Mamata Banerjee recites 'Durga Path' at rally in Bankura.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee Tuesday recited 'Durga Path' during her public rally in Bankura. Watch the video here: 

13:12 (IST)16 Mar 2021
West Bengal Assembly elections: BJP workers protest in Kolkata

BJP workers Tuesday held a protest at Hastings in Kolkata, demanding that the party's candidate from Canning Paschim Assembly constituency be changed. The party has fielded Arnab Roy from the constituency. Watch the video here:

13:08 (IST)16 Mar 2021
West Bengal Assembly elections: Yogi Adityanath holds public meeting in Purulia

BJP leader Yogi Adityanath is holding a public meeting in Purulia, West Bengal.

12:42 (IST)16 Mar 2021
Assam elections: Akhil Gogoi, liked but not a choice: ‘What can one man do?’

Akhil Gogoi is perhaps Assam’s most vocal agitator, over issues such as land rights, displacements, big dams, and in December 2019, the Citzenship (Amendment) Act. It was following the CAA protests that he was arrested, and later booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, keeping him in jail since. From inside the prison, late last year, Gogoi announced a new political party, Raijor Dol — one of the two new regional parties which owe their origin to CAA protests in the race.

Gogoi filed his nomination via video-conferencing for Sibsagar (Sivasagar district) and Mariani (Jorhat district), both located in Upper Assam, which was at the heart of the anti-CAA protests in the state. Later, the Raijor Dal said Gogoi would contest only from Sibsagar as they didn’t want the anti-BJP vote to get split.

12:39 (IST)16 Mar 2021
West Bengal Assembly elections: Swapan Dasgupta resigns from Rajya Sabha

Swapan Dasgupta Tuesday tendered his resignation as a Rajya Sabha MP, news agency ANI reported. His resignation has been sent to the Chairman of the House, it is yet to be accepted.

The BJP has fielded Dasgupta as its candidate for Tarakeshwar seat in the upcoming West Bengal Assembly elections.

Statewise seats distribution.

Suvendu Adhikari, who has been pitted by the BJP against Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram, Monday said he has sought rejection of West Bengal chief minister's nomination for not declaring six criminal cases against her while filing her papers. In his complaint to the Election Commission, Adhikari, a former confidante of Banerjee, claimed she concealed the information about five cases filed against her in Assam and another lodged by the CBI in West Bengal.

Union Minister Amit Shah on Monday trained his guns at an injured Mamata Banerjee and said that the West Bengal Chief Minister is in pain, but is not concerned about the pain of families of 130 BJP workers killed in Bengal. "Mamata Banerjee is in pain, but what about pain of families of BJP workers killed in Bengal?" he asked while speaking at a rally in Ranibandh in Bengal.

Addressing a public rally in Jhargram virtually after his helicopter developed a technical snag, Shah highlighted designated schemes for the tribal community of the state. "If elected, under Stand Up India Scheme Rs 100 crores will be allocated to make the tribal community atmanirbhar,"  Shah said. 

Simultaneously, addressing a public meeting in Purulia on Monday, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the TMC government will remain in power and will continue to give free ration to Bengal residents. This is Banerjee's second public address after she suffered an injury in Nandigram.

In another development, Bahujan Samaj Party will contest assembly polls in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry on its own, party chief Mayawati announced on Monday. “Assembly elections are set to take place in many states of the country. Our party is contesting elections in Kerala, West Bengal, Puducherry, and Tamil Nadu on its own. We will not form an alliance with any party in these four states," she said while addressing a press conference on the birth anniversary of BSP founder Kanshi Ram.

Former BJP leader and Union minister Yashwant Sinha, who joined the Trinamool Congress on Saturday was appointed as the party’s vice-president, ANI reported. Sinha would also become a national working committee member in the party.

Kerala Polls: Muraleedharan stands from the sole seat BJP holds as Congress finally has a candidate list

After weeks of heated deliberations, the Congress Sunday announced candidates for 86 of the 92 seats it is contesting in Kerala. Candidates for the remaining six seats will be declared after further discussions with the national leadership, state Congress president Mullappally Ramachandran said in New Delhi.

The party has fielded all its sitting legislators, except K C Joseph. There is a clear generational shift, with 46 persons out of the 92 in the age group of 25-50. Besides, 50% of the candidates are first-timers.

Not DMK, not ADMK, Naam Tamilar Katchi: Seeman as ‘Thackeray of Tamil Nadu

AMONG the many small political outfits in the Tamil Nadu electoral race, with a support base that can swing results, is the Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK), led by a former film director who also has roots in the Dravidian movement: Seeman.

Like it has done for several elections now, the NTK has announced candidates for all the 234 seats in Tamil Nadu, half of them women. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the party, that has never tied up with any other outfit, got 4% of the votes (more than the Left, Dalit parties).

 

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