As election campaigning gathers momentum with less than three weeks to go before the first phase of voting in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, leaders pan India are canvassing their constituencies and raising the poll pitch. As the day progresses, we’ll bring you the latest election news from across the country, and some analysis of the events. Elections for the 17th Lok Sabha will be held in seven phases, between April 11 and May 19. The results will be declared on May 23.
The BJP released its second and third list of Candidates late Friday night. BJP National Spokesperson Samit Patra will contest from Puri. The Congress also released its 7th list which said UP Congress Chief Raj Babbar has moved to Fatehpur Sikri from Moradabad to contest for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Earlier in the day, former cricketer Gautam Gambhir has joined the BJP after being “inspired by the Prime Minister and his vision”. He was welcomed by Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad at the party headquarters in New Delhi.
The Congress, meanwhile, held a press conference in New Delhi to highlight a report in The Caravan that alleged that former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa had paid a “bribe” of Rs 1,800 crore to the “highest echelons of power of the BJP”. The Indian Express could not independently verify the claims made in the report.
Following hectic negotiations, the RJD and Congress in Bihar announced their seat-sharing agreement. “We have decided 20 seats for RJD and nine for Congress,” Bihar RJD chief Ram Chandra Purve said.
Follow our elections coverage ahead of the 2019 HIGHLIGHTS. Gautam Gambhir joins BJP, Congress' press conference, Bihar grand alliance announcement today and more. Read latest news in Bangla | Tamil
Congress releases seventh list
The Congress released its seventh list of Candidates late Friday night. Uttar Pradesh Congress Chief Raj Babbar has moved to Fatehpur Sikri from Moradabad.
BJP releases 2nd, 3rd list of candidates
The BJP released its second and third list of Candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Sambit Patra will contest from Puri seat in Odisha.
Rahul Gandhi to kick off Cong poll campaign in Bengal on Saturday
Rahul Gandhi will officially kick off the party's Lok Sabha poll campaign in West Bengal on Saturday with a rally at Chachal in Malda district. "Campaigning has started in 11 seats where we have announced candidates. But tomorrow our party president Rahul Gandhi will officially launch the poll campaign of Bengal. He will also give out a message for our party workers," state Congress president Somen Mitra said in Kolkata today.
PM Modi meets Goa CM Pramod Sawant
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday.
Meghalaya: Former Union minister Agatha Sangma files nomination papers for Tura parliamentary seat
23 nominations filed for first phase of LS polls in Uttar Pradesh
Nineteen candidates filed their nominations for the first phase of Lok Saha polls in Uttar Pradesh today, taking the total number to 23, EC officials said. Prominent among those who filed nominations were Imran Masood (Congress) and Yogesh Dahia (AAP) from Saharanpur, Tabassum Hasan (SP) from Kairana, Haji Mohammad Yakoob (BSP) from Meerut, Mahesh Sharma (BJP), Satveer Nagar (BSP), Arvind Singh (Congress) from Gautam Buddh Nagar. "Nineteen candidates filed their nominations today. With this, the total number of nominations for this phase rose to 23," the office of the UP Chief Electoral Officer said.
Newly-elected CM Pramod Sawant distributes portfolios in Goa
Meanwhile, portfolios of freshly-inducted MLAs were announced in Goa. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant retained the portfolios of home, finance, personnel, vigilance and general administration.
Top leaders make a beeline to file nominations in Andhra Pradesh
Top leaders of all parties in Andhra Pradesh today filed their nominations as the day was considered auspicious. Telugu Desam Party president and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was campaigning in Visakhapatnam but party leaders filed the nomination papers with the returning officer on his behalf for the Kuppam assembly seat. Leader of the Opposition and YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy filed his papers for the Pulivendula seat,his pocket borough in Kadapa district. Actor-politician and Jana Sena president Pawan Kalyan filed nomination from Bhimavaram in West Godavari district, the second seat he is contesting in this election. He had filed his papers for Gajuwaka seat in Visakhapatnam district on Thursday.
Telangana Congress to meet Governor, complain about defections
The Congress in Telangana has decided to approach the Governor E S L Narasimhan to complain against the TRS government after nine of its MLAs announced their decision to join the state's governing party since the beginning of this month. CLP leader Bhatti Vikramarka Mallu said a Congress delegation, which would comprise among others former Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, would urge the Governor at tomorrow's meeting at Raj Bhavan to 'come to the rescue of the Constitution and democracy.' "Congress cadre has become more active and vigorous," he told PTI, rejecting suggestions that the party workers have been demoralised after the string of defections ahead of the April 11 Lok Sabha elections.
No impact of Priyanka in UP, Modi to get mandate again: Bhupendra Yadav
BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav has sought to downplay the impact Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra may have in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, saying she had been campaigning in the state even in the past polls. Asked what bearing her political entry can have on the elections, including in Uttar Pradesh, Yadav told PTI-Bhasha, "I don't see any impact. She has been participating in poll campaigns earlier too." He added, "The people of this country have made up their mind to once again give their mandate to the decisive and progressive government led by Narendra Modi."
BJP MP plays down denial of ticket, says he backs nominee
BJP MP and former Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, who was denied ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls from his Secunderabad constituency, said he would fully support the candidature of party nominee G Kishan Reddy. "I have full satisfaction. I am an active political activist. I take felicitations and insults in politics the same way," he said, adding, "Kishan Reddy would have my full blessings."
Congress wants Deve Gowda to contest from Bengaluru North:Gundurao
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundurao said his party wants JDS Supremo H D Deve Gowda to contest elections from Bengaluru North constituency. "I spoke to Deve Gowda ji and requested him to contest from Bengaluru North constituency... Congress has five and JDS two MLAs, who can ensure his victory," he told PTI. Gundurao said the former prime minister's representation from Bengaluru North will have a huge impact in the region, given his stature in public life.
Madras HC quashes plea seeking postponement of polling date in Madurai
The Madras High Court today dismissed a PIL seeking postponement of the polling date in Madurai Lok Sabha constituency in view of the Chithirai festival. Justices N Kirubakaran and S S Sundar dismissed the petition after the Election Commission submitted that it has extended the voting time in Madurai constituency by two hours. Parliamentary polls are scheduled to be held in Tamil Nadu on April 18 in a single phase.
39 FIRs, DD entries against political parties for violating poll code in Delhi
Thirty-nine FIRs and daily dairy (DD) entries have been registered against various political parties since March 10 for violating the model code of conduct, Delhi’s chief electoral officer said. Four FIRs have been registered against the Aam Aadmi Party, while three have been filed against the BJP. Most of the FIRs are related to defacement of property. Read full story here.
Telangana: Former MP Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu quits Congress
Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu, former Rajya Sabha MP from Telangana, resigned from the Congress today.
Sharad Yadav to contest on RJD symbol
"Sharad Yadav will contest on RJD symbol and merge his Loktantrik Janata Dal with the party after the Lok Sabha polls. CPI(ML) Liberation to be given one seat from the RJD quota," Manoj Kumar Jha said.
Details of seat-sharing between Congress, RJD in Bihar
'CPI(ML) will contest one seat from the RJD quota. Five seats have been allocated to the RLSP and three to VIP and HAM(S) respectively. Jitan Ram Manjhi will contest from Gaya," Purve said.
20 seats for RJD, 9 for Congress in Bihar: Ram Chandra Purve
Addressing the media on seat sharing with Congress, RJD spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha said, "The alliance is being formed to save the Constitution. The grand alliance is a natural one." "We have decided nine seats for Congress and 20 seats for RJD," state RJD chief Ram Chandra Purve said.
Congress resorting to lies, fraud: Ravi Shankar Prasad
While addressing the media in the national capital, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "The Congress party where in many top leaders are out on bail and suffering many court proceedings has now resorted to create a web of lies."
BJP govt too much of publicity, very less on delivery: TRS leader
The BJP-led government only supported "people" and states where the Amit Shah-led party was in alliance, and the NDA rule was "too much of publicity and very less on delivery", TRS leader K Kavitha said. Nizamabad Lok Sabha member and daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao also ridiculed the BJP's new slogan "Modi Hai to Mumkin Hai" (Modi makes it possible). "It is possible if (Narendra) Modiji is there but then what is possible is the question", she said, alleging that the BJP had not delivered on its earlier promise of "Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. Because Telangana has not seen any support from BJP (led NDA government)", she told PTI.
Congress frustrated with PM Modi's growing popularity: Yeddyurappa
BS Yeddyurappa, BJP: Congress party and its leaders are bankrupt of ideas, they are frustrated with growing popularity of the Modi ji, they have lost the battle before it began. I-T Department officials have already proved that the documents are forged and fake. pic.twitter.com/v8lzDIfyMA— ANI (@ANI) March 22, 2019
Will file a defamation case against Congress, says Yeddyurappa
Following Congress' allegations based on a report by The Caravan, former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said that he will file a defamation case against the grand old party. "Congress has planted this story," he said.
Tamil Nadu: Sitting MP J Jayavardhan files his nomination papers
Congress' Jitin Prasada refutes rumours of joining BJP
Amid speculations, Congress' Jitin Prasada told ANI, "There should be some basis for such a question. Why should I answer a hypothetical question?"
Govt should stop pretending to be Indian Army: Akhilesh Yadav on Pulwama debate
Hitting back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his attack on rival parties over the Pulwama attack and the subsequent IAF strike in Pakistan, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said that in a democracy it was a "fundamental right" to ask questions of politicians. He also said the sacrifices of the armed forces should not be questioned and asked the government to "stop pretending to be the Indian Army".
The sacrifices of our Armed Forces should never be questioned.— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) March 22, 2019
To ask questions of politicians in a democracy is our fundamental right.
This government needs to stop pretending to be the Indian Army. Politicians who say they cannot be questioned are dangerous.
'Bullshit': Surjewala rubbishes reports of Jitin Prasada joining BJP
Decision 2019 | BJP denies Congress claims, calls allegations 'fabricated'
Ashok Thakur of the BJP says the allegations made by the Congress are "fabricated claims". He adds, "I think in the last one year, we have seen so many false allegations fabricated by Congress and later they run away from it. Some substantial evidence is required. They (Congress) will not succeed, as the government has done a wonderful job." The BJP has announced that it will hold a press conference at 4 pm.
Ahead of polls, Congress calls for probe into 'Yeddyurappa diaries'
Surjewala claimed the Income Tax Department has had the documents written in "Yeddyurappa's handwriting" since 2017. He questioned why the diaries have not been given to the Enforcement Directorate for further probe as it involves the "highest echelons of power of the BJP".
The diary which contains entries with @BSYBJP's signatures was available with IT department from 2017, is this true or not? If this diary wasn't legitimate, why didn't Modi govt agree for investigation? : @rssurjewala #YeddyurappaDiaries— Congress Live (@INCIndiaLive) March 22, 2019
2019 Lok Sabha polls | Congress quotes Caravan story 'Yeddyurappa Diaries'
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala has quoted a report in Caravan titled "Yeddyurappa Diaries" to allege corruption in the BJP. The report alleged that the former Karnataka chief minister paid Rs 1,800 crore to BJP's national leaders."
Know your chowkidar, Congress tells voters ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls
The Congress' criticism of the BJP's chowkidar campaign is not news, but the party's social media cell has just put out new graphics to increase pressure on the saffron party. "India doesn't need a govt. of Chowkidars. India needs a Prime Minister & a Govt that doesn't ignore but accepts & works towards finding a solution for the huge jobs crises plaguing our nation. India, Beware of these Chowkidars," Congress tweeted.
Decision 2019, Uttar Pradesh | BSP releases first list of 11 candidates
Lok Sabha polls, Assam | Himanta Biswa Sarma won't contest elections
Senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma won't contest the Lok Sabha elections, BJP chief Amit Shah said today. "I hope the Assam BJP and the workers of the entire North East will accept this decision. I fully believe it will take Assam and the North East towards the path of development,” the BJP president said.
General Elections 2019, Maharshtra | Pravin Chedda, Bharti Pawar join BJP
Pravin Chedda and Bharti Pawar have joined the BJP in Mumbai in the presence of Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.
Decision 2019 | 'Remain Yogi or became chowkidar?'
BSP chief Mayawati, in a string of tweets, has targeted the BJP asking whether the country needs "such types of chowkidars". She asked, "No worry if Rafale secret file is theft but official data related to joblessness, rising unemployment, pathetic conditions of labourers & farmers etc. not to be out in public. After all these are the issues related to image & vote. Do the country need such type of Chowkidar?
BJP leaders are free to do whatever they want & amuse themselves as they wish but in the process they should not insult country & denigrate constitutional post in any way. Let DM, CM & PM remain as per the provision of the constitution. They can do chowkidari after losing polls.— Mayawati (@Mayawati) March 22, 2019
Elections 2019, Tamil Nadu | TTV's party announces final list of candidates
TTV Dhinakaran's party, the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), released its final list of candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections today. The party is contesting 38 of the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu.
Elections 2019: Congress to brief press shortly, claims it has 'big scoop'
The Congress is scheduled to brief the press shortly. The briefing was scheduled at 10.30 am, but was deferred to this afternoon. Stay tuned!
2019 Lok Sabha polls: Gambhir to contest from New Delhi?
According to a report in PTI, the BJP is considering fielding Gautam Gambhir from the New Delhi constituency for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. This seat is currently held by Meenakshi Lekhi.