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Elections 2021 Highlights: If a ‘chaiwala’ can’t understand your problems, who will, asks PM Modi at Assam rally

West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu Election 2021 Highlights: With just a week left for the first phase of Assembly elections to start, campaigning in four states and one Union Territory is at its peak.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 21, 2021 2:45:32 pm
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal presents a 'jaapi' (field hat) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his rally in Tinsukia on Saturday. (PTI)

Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam Election 2021 Highlights: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, while addressing a rally in Assam’s Chabua district, promised to improve the quality of life for tea garden workers once the BJP returns to power. “Ek chaiwala, aapke dard ko nahi samjhega toh kaun samjhega. (If a ‘chaiwala’ doesn’t understand your problems, who will),” the Prime Minister said. He also accused the Congress party of supporting people who make toolkits to defame Assam and its tea.

Meanwhile, the Congress released its manifesto for the Assam elections in Guwahati on Saturday. Launching the manifesto, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said it is a “people’s manifesto” reflecting the aspirations of the Assamese people. Apart from the 5 guarantees announced earlier, the manifesto focused on other reforms in the health, administration, agriculture and education sectors.

Earlier in the day, Narendra Modi said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee runs a ‘pathshala’ (school) of brutality in Bengal the syllabus of which comprises ‘tolabaji‘ (extortion), cut money, syndicate and anarchy. He also attacked Banerjee over unemployment in the state and said the CM stands as a wall to block the central schemes. “Didi’s government is reluctant to implement the new National Education Policy. She is not worried about the future of millions of youth of West Bengal, their career,” he said while addressing a public rally in Kharagpur. He assured the youth saying the BJP will not allow her to play with their future.

With just a week left for the first phase of Assembly elections to start, campaigning in four states and one Union Territory is at its peak. The first phase of polls to West Bengal and Assam will be held on March 27; Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will vote subsequently, on April 6.

Live Blog

Elections 2021 Highlights: Follow the latest news and updates from West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Assam ahead of the Assembly polls.

22:07 (IST)20 Mar 2021
Left Front releases manifesto for West Bengal elections

Left Front Chairman Biman Bose releases the party's manifesto for the West Bengal Assembly elections in Kolkata. (ANI)

22:00 (IST)20 Mar 2021
Denied ticket, former AIADMK MLA joins DMK

Former AIADMK MLA Muthuramalingam joins the DMK in presence of party president MK Stalin. Muthuramalingam was denied a ticket from the AIADMK in the upcoming Assembly elections. (ANI)

21:34 (IST)20 Mar 2021
684 companies of CAPF to be deployed in first phase of Bengal polls

The Election Commission will deploy at least 684 companies of CAPF in 10,288 booths spread in about 7,034 premises in five districts in the first phase of polling in West Bengal on March 27, a senior official said on Saturday.

Keeping in mind the Maoist activity in Jhargram district, the EC has decided to deploy 11 paramilitary personnel per booth, the highest in any election in the state so far, the official said. The other districts where election will be held on that day will have an average of six paramilitary personnel per booth. (PTI)

20:51 (IST)20 Mar 2021
EC restrains political appointees holding administrative posts in Bengal from functioning till MCC is in force

The Election Commission of India issues order to temporarily restrain political appointees, who are holding office of administrators in West Bengal on appointment basis after end of their elected term, from participating in or exercising functions of the board till the Model Code of Conduct is in force. (ANI)

20:40 (IST)20 Mar 2021
Congress-led alliance releases manifesto in Kerala, promises 5 lakh homes for poor

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) released a “People's Manifesto” for the April 6 assembly polls, promising a monthly pension of Rs 2,000 to homemakers, 5 kg of free rice to all white-card holders and five lakh homes for the poor.

A special law to protect the traditions of the Sabarimala lord Ayyappa temple and a Peace and Harmony department on the model of Rajasthan, have also been promised by the UDF. Reaching out to the vast majority of women voters, the front has assured a two years age relaxation for mothers appearing in examinations for government jobs.

Housewives aged between 40-60, who do not come under the Nyay scheme, the minimum income guarantee programme launched by the Congress in 2019, would be entitled for the monthly pension.

Free food kits to those who had been affected by Covid-19 and no-bill hospitals are among the other schemes of the front, Benny Behanan MP, chairman of the manifesto committee said. (PTI)

20:32 (IST)20 Mar 2021
Nominations of three NDA candidates rejected in Kerala

The nominations of three NDA candidates in Kerala were rejected on Saturday. While the nomination of N Haridas, the BJP president of Kannur who is contesting from the Thalassery constituency, was rejected as the nomination paper did not have the signature of the BJP national president, that of Dhanalakshmi Marimuthu, the AIADMK candidate from Devikulam constituency, was cancelled as she didn't fill Form 26. State president of the BJP women’s wing, Niveditha, who is running from the Guruvayur constituency, had her nomination cancelled as she did not mention the state party chief's name in the nomination papers. (ANI)

19:33 (IST)20 Mar 2021
Bengal govt hands over probe of Nandigram incident where CM Mamata Banerjee was injured to CID

West Bengal government hands over probe of the Nandigram incident, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was injured, to the CID. A six-member team, headed by ADG CID, will visit Nandigram on Monday. (ANI)

18:57 (IST)20 Mar 2021
LDF, UDF "deceiving" people by engaging in "mock battles", says BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi

Ridiculing the major fronts in Kerala as “LUDF”, the BJP on Saturday alleged that the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF and the opposition UDF headed by the Congress were “deceiving” people by engaging in “mock battles”.

“They are constantly deceiving people by engaging in mock battles whenever the other comes to power. Their agendas are common,” Lekhi told reporters here. “It is the ‘LUDF’ which the BJP is fighting. Not the LDF or UDF. It is one party and both are the two sides of the same coin. Ultimately, the same set of people come back to power," Lekhi said while addressing a rally in Thiruvananthapuram.

On the Sabarimala women entry issue, she said both the fronts are now speaking for the rights of Ayyappa devotees. “When the apex court delivered its verdict, everyone had welcomed the decision. There was no resistance from them. Not one case was filed against the other part (UDF). And today, they are all trying to hijack the people’s will," she added. (PTI)

18:52 (IST)20 Mar 2021
Congress promises Rs 2,000 per month for housewives, free power in Assam manifesto

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday released his party's election manifesto for Assam, making “five guarantees” that included Rs 2,000 per month for every housewife and law to nullify the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Releasing the document here, Gandhi said his party will protect the idea of Assam that is being “attacked” by the BJP and RSS.

In its manifesto, the Congress also promised five lakh government jobs and 200 units of free electricity per month for all, besides hiking the minimum wages of tea garden workers to Rs 365. (PTI)

18:47 (IST)20 Mar 2021
Congress can go with anyone to grab power…NDA govt needed to maintain peace: PM Modi in Assam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing a large election rally at Chabua in Dibrugarh district on Saturday, attacked the Congress saying that all that the grand old party cares for is grabbing power and therefore is making false promises in Assam. He added that the NDA government was needed to maintain peace and stability in the state.

“The Congress can go with anyone to grab power. For that, they can even lie to the country and its people. Today, they are touring Assam with their false promises. Be careful of them. For peace and stability in Assam, BJP-led NDA government is much needed,” Modi said.

“We are committed to protecting the culture and pride of Assam,” said Modi, adding that the Congress has allied with a party that poses a major threat to Assam’s identity. (Read report by Abhishek Saha)

18:13 (IST)20 Mar 2021
AIADMK leader urges EC to restrain DMK from speaking about Jayalalithaa's death during campaigning

AIADMK's Babu Murugavel writes to Election Commission seeking its direction to DMK leaders MK Stalin and Udayanidhi Stalin not to mention former CM Jayalalithaa's death during election campaigns. He urges to file contempt of court against them if they continue to do so. (ANI)

18:11 (IST)20 Mar 2021
Media reports of Congress denying me ticket false, says former Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy

Some media reports stated I am not contesting the elections because the Congress high command denied me a ticket. However, this is not true as Sonia Gandhi had asked me to fight the polls: Congress leader and former Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy. He added that he will be campaigning for the party to ensure their victory in the upcoming polls. (ANI)

17:36 (IST)20 Mar 2021
Will take forward work that Karunanidhi had done, says Stalin at a rally in Tirunelveli 

I am Stalin, son of Karunanidhi, and will do what my father did. We will fulfil what we have promised. Our election manifesto is a hero, while theirs (AIADMK) is a villain and a comedy piece: DMK president MK Stalin during a public rally in Tirunelveli. (ANI) 

17:30 (IST)20 Mar 2021
CM Palaniswami has betrayed Sasikala and AIADMK, party has fallen into hands of BJP: Stalin

Edappadi Palaniswami had said that he got the Chief Minister's seat with the support of MLAs, and not Sasikala. He betrayed Sasikala and is now betraying AIADMK. The party has fallen into the hands of BJP: DMK president MK Stalin during a public rally in Tirunelveli. (ANI)

17:25 (IST)20 Mar 2021
BJP, RSS attacking diverse culture of India: Rahul Gandhi in Assam

We are aware that the RSS and BJP are attacking diverse cultures of this nation. Attacking our languages, history, way to thinking and way of being. So this manifesto provides a gurantee that we will defend the idea of the state of Assam: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. (ANI)

17:21 (IST)20 Mar 2021
Rahul Gandhi releases Congress manifesto for Assam Assembly elections

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi releases party's manifesto for the Assam Assembly elections at the party's headquarters in Guwahati. (ANI)

17:17 (IST)20 Mar 2021
Mamata Banerjee accuses Modi govt of stealing money meant for Covid management

PM Narendra Modi has stolen money meant for Covid-19 management. It is party of feudal landlords, steals funds amounting to several lakhs of crores of rupees, says Mamata Banerjee at a rally in West Bengal's Panskura area. (PTI) 

17:02 (IST)20 Mar 2021
Rahul Gandhi addresses rally in Assam's Jorhat, says NDA govt works for just 2-3 industrialists

During UPA govt, gas cylinders' cost was Rs 400, now under NDA, it is Rs 900. Who benefits from this? Not the poor, only India's 2-3 industrialists. Their taxes, loans are waived off while nothing is being done for you: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Jorhat. (ANI)

16:58 (IST)20 Mar 2021
CEC hopeful concept of remote voting will see the light of day by next LS polls

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Saturday expressed hope that the concept of remote voting will see "the light of day" by the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. He added that a pilot project could begin in the next two-three months. 

"Over the last few months, a dedicated team has been working hard for giving shape to this project," he said, adding that the system that is neither aimed at internet-based voting nor does it imply voting from home. "For the Commission, transparency and confidentiality of voting has always been a guiding consideration in ensuring free, fair and credible elections," Arora said. (PTI)

16:41 (IST)20 Mar 2021
PM Modi to address rally in Puducherry on March 30

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a public rally in poll-bound Puducherry on March 30 to canvass votes for the NDA, a spokesperson of the Puducherry unit of the BJP said on Saturday. Puducherry goes to poll in a single phase on April 6. This is the second time that Modi would be on a visit during the run up to the Puducherry Assembly polls as he had addressed a rally on February 25 after unveiling several centrally sponsored development projects at a different venue that day. (PTI)

Kerala's ruling LDF guarantees pension for homemakers in election manifesto

Kerala's ruling LDF on Friday unveiled its election manifesto with a guarantee of pension for homemakers, along with a promise of 40 lakh job opportunities, 15,000 start-up units, special cover for PSUs, and a drive to channelise private investment worth Rs 10,000 crore. The 900-page manifesto also assures raising the social security pension in various categories from the existing Rs 1,600 to Rs 2,500, in phases, and to increase farmers’ income by 50%.

In Bengal BJP list of 148 names, Mukul, Rahul Sinha

Senior BJP leaders Mukul Roy and Rahul Sinha were among the 148 candidates named by the party on Thursday for the last four phases of West Bengal Assembly elections. With over a dozen TMC turncoats getting tickets, the release of the candidates’ list triggered a fresh round of protests by BJP workers in several districts. Some party office bearers also resigned in protest.

BJP workers vandalised party offices in Malda, Jalpaiguri, North 24-Parganas and Paschim Bardhaman districts over the selection of candidates. Party workers also demanded change in the candidate at Pandabeshwar, Jagaddal, Durgapur Purba, Jalpaiguri and Harishchandrapur Assembly constituencies.

Congress has no ideology, can join hands with anyone: PM Modi in Assam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday attacked the Congress over its tie-ups with Left parties and the AIUDF for the Assam polls, saying it lacked leadership, policy and ideology. Addressing a rally in Assam’s Barak Valley, he said the BJP governments at the Centre and state, in contrast, have worked continuously for development.

“On the one side, there are policies of the BJP, leadership of the BJP, and good intentions of the BJP. On the other hand, Congress has no leadership, no policy and no ideology. The Congress is so weak today that they can go to any extent, they can join hands with anyone,” said the Prime Minister the rally in Karimganj district, his first in the state after the announcement of poll dates.

Tamil Nadu elections: Last-minute loan waivers may help ADMK, stall Opposition

In other news, two announcements in the last leg by the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu seemed to be paying off for it: a decision to waive loans up to Rs 2 lakh taken by women’s self-help groups from cooperative banks, unions; and loans taken against jewels up to six sovereigns from agriculture cooperative institutions by farmers.

The waivers have been welcomed by farmers in the Cauvery delta region, hit hard by storms, and the Covid lockdown that derailed food supply chains and markets. The state government claims Rs 12,110 crore worth of loans have already been waived, with around 16 lakh farmers benefiting.

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