Lok Sabha elections 2019 HIGHLIGHTS: The high octane campaign marked by vitriolic attacks and counter-attacks by political leaders came to an end Friday as top leaders made a final push in the seventh and concluding phase for the remaining 59 seats that included Varanasi where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to retain the seat.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi Friday held a joint press conference and claimed that the “Election Commission’s role in these polls has been biased and it has issued orders keeping in mind PM Modi’s schedule.” He further said that his party dismantled the idea of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On the other hand, in his first press conference in the last five years, PM Modi along, with BJP chief Amit Shah today said that his party will return to power. However, the PM didn’t answer any question and rather diverted them to Shah.
Campaigning in the bitterly fought marathon Lok Sabha elections spread over 38 days came to a close today. Polling will be held on Sunday in the seventh phase in all 13 seats in Punjab, as many seats in Uttar Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, eight seats each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, four in Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and the lone seat Chandigarh.
As stakes continue to swell on the final day of campaigning, stay tuned to this space for LIVE updates of political rallies by top leaders.
Bitterly fought LS poll campaign ends; voting in final phase on Sunday
Campaigning in the bitterly fought marathon Lok Sabha elections spread over 38 days drew to a close on Friday as top leaders made a final push in the seventh and concluding phase for the remaining 59 seats that included Varanasi where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to retain the seat.
Modi wrapped up his campaign for a second consecutive term predicting the BJP's return to power with a bigger mandate at his first media event since he assumed charge in 2014 while Congress chief Rahul Gandhi indicated that opposition parties will get together to form the next government.
The high octane campaign marked by vitriolic attacks and counter-attacks by political leaders and use of derogatory language and objectionable remarks that forced the Election Commission to step in ended at 6 pm, reports PTI.
Polling will be held on Sunday in the seventh phase in all 13 seats in Punjab and an equal number of seats in Uttar Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, eight seats each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, four in Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and the lone seat Chandigarh.
Andhra CM met Election Commission earlier today
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu after meeting with EC today said that the Election Commission has ordered re-polling at 5 polling stations of Chandragiri AC & Chittoor PC after 25 days. "They have to address all grievances simultaneously, they have to take proper action," he told ANI.
Andhra Pradesh CM N. Chandrababu Naidu after meeting with EC: Election Commission has ordered re-polling at 5 polling stations of Chandragiri AC & Chittoor PC after 25 days, they have to address all grievances simultaneously, they have to take proper action. pic.twitter.com/4Ec0rFUMKp— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2019
Kolkata’s non-Bengalis say: ‘Want development, but also want peace’
The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the main opposition BJP are locked in a fierce tug of war to woo Kolkata’s non-Bengali votebank, which, according to the 2011 census, constitute 51.2 per cent of the city’s population. While both parties are accusing each other of polarisation, the non-Bengalis in Kolkata, for their part, seem to think that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might be more suited for developing the state but are sceptical of the saffron party’s brand of politics.
Suresh Pandey, a resident of Uttar Pradesh and who has been practicing law in the city for over a decade, condemned the idea of using religion as a political weapon. “Here, no one thinks like that. People here review a political party and their performance and not caste before voting. Using religion will only weaken India’s democracy through rifts and tension,” he said. Read More
Polling team reaches highest polling station in Himachal Pradesh
A polling team has reached the highest polling station at Tashigang in Lahaul-Spiti, a part of Mandi Parliamentary constituency. The polling station is located at an altitude of 15256 feet above sea level.
Himachal Pradesh: A polling team has reached World's highest polling station at Tashigang in Lahaul-Spiti, a part of Mandi Parliamentary constituency. The polling station is located at an altitude of 15256 feet above sea level pic.twitter.com/XqUUiFYITc— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2019
Rahul mocks PM Modi's presser, says 'next time Shah may allow you to answer questions'
Congratulations Modi Ji. Excellent Press Conference! Showing up is half the battle. Next time Mr Shah may even allow you to answer a couple of questions. Well done! 👍— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 17, 2019
Modi-Amit Shah press conference ends, PM takes no questions in his first PC
The BJP press conference by party chief Amit Shah and PM Narendra Modi ends. The PM, however, didn't take any question from the mediapersons. On the other hand, Congress President Rahul Gandhi challenged the PM to take questions. In the BJP presser, party president Amit Shah answered all the questions.
Shah gives report card of Modi govt's performance
While presenting a report card for the five years of Modi dispensation, Shah said that this government has launched 133 schemes to uplift all sections of society. The BJP president referred to development and national security in the presser.
We are confident that we will get more than 300 seats: Shah
BJP president Amit Shah started the press conference saying: "Today is the end of a long and successful campaign for the BJP." He said that since independence, these elections have been the biggest for the BJP. "We will come back with a much bigger majority," he was quoted as saying by PTI.
I'm not Narendra Modi, won't ignore experience: Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi said: "I'm not Narendra Modi, won't ignore experience; Cong will benefit from Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh's experience. PM Modi will again do some 'distract India' event, but country won't get distracted."
"Cong's role as opposition party has been 'A' grade."
When govt is strong, IPL, Ramzan, school exams & others are peaceful: PM Modi
The prime minister said: "In last 2 elections, even IPL couldn't be held. When government is strong, IPL, Ramzaan, school exams and others take place peacefully." This is PM Modi's end of campaign press briefing.
PM Narendra Modi at a press conference in Delhi: In last 2 elections, even IPL couldn't be held. When government is strong, IPL, Ramzaan, school exams and others take place peacefully pic.twitter.com/edn4zahDAU— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2019
We are proud to close 90% doors for Modi: Rahul Gandhi in press meet
Gandhi further spoke on the gathbandhan and said, "From Congress' perspective, I have to push the party's ideology in Uttar Pradesh. I have to fight for my space in Uttar Pradesh." Priority no 1 is BJP loses, priority no. 2 is to push Congress' ideology, priority no. 3 is Vidhan sabha elections."
"Our strategy two years back was, we were systematically close doors that Modi could open. We have closed 90 per cent of his doors and he closed 10 per cent himself. We have fought the BJP, and we have protected the institutions of this country from Modi and RSS."
PM Modi is addressing his first press conference
Addressing his first press conference, PM Modi said: "I have come straight from Madhya Pradesh to meet you." He said these elections have been shandar (amazing) and there will be a full majority government. Not only for us but covering the whole election process is a tough task for media as well, he said.
WATCH: PM Modi addressing BJP press conference now
People's enthusiasm to elect Modi govt is more than the party's: Amit Shah
While addressing a PC at the party headquarters in New Delhi, BJP President Amit Shah said: "This election is most crucial one after the country got freedom. The people's enthusiasm to elect Modi government has been more than the party's."
ये चुनाव आजादी के बाद के चुनाव में भाजपा की दृष्टि से सबसे ज्यादा मेहनत करने वाला, सबसे विस्तृत चुनाव अभियान रहा है।— BJP (@BJP4India) May 17, 2019
इस चुनाव में हमारा अनुभव के अनुसार जनता हमसे आगे आगे रही है।
मोदी सरकार फिर से बनाने के लिए जनता का उत्साह भाजपा से आगे रहा है: श्री अमित शाह #DeshKaGauravModi pic.twitter.com/PPRp18scZk
Congress dismantled Modi's ideology: Rahul Gandhi in press meet
Congress president Rahul Gandhi while addressing a press conference says, "Congress dismantled Modi's ideology. Our party raised issues related to farmers. We introduced NYAY scheme. We have done our work. The rest depends on the people of the nation."
"Modi came five years ago and he had a huge opportunity. I would have liked to see take on the challenge of joblessness. With all due respect, he lost the sight of the real picture."
PM Modi, Amit Shah addressing a PC on Lok Sabha elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah are addressing a press conference today. This will be Modi's first press meet ever since he took charge as the Prime Minister in 2014. Speaking to reporters in the national capital, Shah lauded party workers over their efforts in the poll campaign. He said, “Today is the end of a long and successful campaign for the BJP. Since Independence, these elections have been the biggest for the BJP.”
Shah also exuded confidence that the saffron party will return for another term with a full majority. “We will come back with a much bigger majority,” he said. Click here for more updates
BJP issues letter to Anil Saumitra, seeks explanation in 7 days
Strong action against @BJP4India ‘s social media head in Madhya Pradesh for calling Mahatma “Father of Pakistan”. The letter from the state unit asks for explanation in 7 days or else face stringent disciplinary action. @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/kHp5Rqjfsl— Liz Mathew (@MathewLiz) May 17, 2019
BJP suspends Anil Saumitra from party's primary membership
BJP leader Anil Saumitra has been suspended from all party posts for calling Mahatma Gandhi "father of Pakistan".
BJP-RSS are 'God-Se Lovers', Rahul Gandhi jabs Pragya Thakur
Taking a jibe at the saffron party, Congress President Rahul Gandhi today tweeted: I finally got it. "The BJP and the RSS... Are not God-Ke Lovers. They are God-Se Lovers"
I finally got it. The BJP and the RSS...— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 17, 2019
Are not God-Ke Lovers.
They are God-Se Lovers.
Narendra Modi explains statements against at Rajiv Gandhi, directed for him being former PM, not Rahul Gandhi's father
Asking Rahul Gandhi to stop taking any pity on him, Narendra Modi said that the Congress president has experience of public political life for nearly 4 to 5 generations. Modi urged Gandhi to come to tell him if his parents had done something wrong rather than taking pity on him.
"Neither I nor citizens of this country have any rights to say anything against your parents, but when it comes to the former prime minister of this country and regarding the reigning family of this country as well as people who are in public political life, the people of this country do have the right to discuss," Modi said, explaining that his attacks were directed at Rajiv Gandhi- the former prime minister and not, Rahul Gandhi's father.
"I'll never be able to forgive Pragya Thakur completely for Godse remark," says PM Modi in an exclusive interview to News24
Reacting to Pragya Thakur's Godse remark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an interview to News 24, said she cannot be forgiven for calling Mahatma Gandhi's assasin Nathuram Godse a 'patriot'. "The statements that have been made about Gandhiji or Godse are very bad and very wrong for the society. It is different that she sought apology, but I would never be able to forgive her completely."
'If it were not election season, the entire BJP clan would have voiced Pragya Thakur's opinion' on Godse': Kamal Nath
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath reacting to BJP president Amit Shah's remark on disciplinary action being taken against Pragya Thakur, said that BJP's top brass holds the same view as that of Thakur. Nath alleged it was due to elections that BJP was taking action.
साध्वी प्रज्ञा ठाकुर के,महात्मा गांधी जी के हत्यारे गोडसे को देशभक्त बताने वाले बयान से भाजपा सिर्फ चुनाव को देखते हुए किनारा कर रही है,— Office Of Kamal Nath (@OfficeOfKNath) May 17, 2019
यदि चुनाव बाकी ना होते तो पूरी भाजपा साध्वी के गोडसे व शहीद हेमंत करकरे को लेकर दिये बयान पर उनके साथ खड़ी होती क्योंकि यही भाजपा की भी सोच है
PM Modi had locked his cabinet ministers at Race Course road during demonetisation: Rahul Gandhi
'PM does not listen to well-informed people, always in his own world': Rahul Gandhi in Solan
During his address in Solan, Rahul Gandhi took a dig at Narendra Modi's claim about directing the Indian Air Force during Balakot airstrikes, and said, "Look how knowledgeable our PM is, he was the one who directed the Air Force during Balakot air strike, regarding the weather situation to help hide from the radar. He doesn't listen to well-informed people, he is always in his own world."
Rahul Gandhi in Solan,Himachal Pradesh: Dekhiye PM mein itna gyan hai, unhone Air Force ke logon ko kaha ghabrao mat, badalon se hume fayda milega, radar hawai jahaz ko badalon mein nahi dekh payega. Jinko samajh hai unki nahi sunte, bas apni duniya mein hain pic.twitter.com/GdxIzrsBpC— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2019
World's biggest actor is your PM, you could have chosen Amitabh Bachchan: Priyanka Gandhi in Mirzapur
PM Modi takes a dig at Nehru for not paying heed to Ram Manohar Lohia
PM Modi took a dig at former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for not paying heed to activist Ram Manohar Lohia's recommendations and said, "Ram Manohar Lohia had said women in this country have two problems— water and toilet. He used to keep repeating this in front of Nehru again and again but he did not pay heed. It is in order to fulfill Lohia ji's dream that I've constructed so many toilets across the country."
Union Minister Hegde calls Rahul Gandhi 'moron' for 'Modilie'
Meanwhile, Union minister Anantkumar Hegde Friday stoked a controversy by calling Congress President Rahul Gandhi a moron for his tweet that 'Modilies' is a new word in the English dictionary. Further, amid reports of his controversial remarks on Twitter about Nathuram Godse, Hegde claimed his account was "hacked". He, however, said there was no question of justifying Mahatma Gandhi's killing. In a tweet, the Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship said, "This moron @RahulGandhi is hell bent on proving himself that he is one of his own kind of international idiotic skill master and hence the horizons have extended beyond the boundaries. No one can prevent his growth...Amazing...!!!!"
MP CEO submits report to EC on Pragya Singh's Godse statement
Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Friday submitted a report to the Election Commission (EC) over the statement of BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur, who termed Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse a deshbhakt (patriot). The state election officials have forwarded a report to the EC in this regard, MP CEO V L Kanthrao said. Asked about details of the report, he said, We will share them after the EC takes a decision in this regard. Earlier in the day, the District Election Officer of the Agar Malwa district submitted his report to the CEO in the matter of Pragya Singh Thakur's statement on Godse. The poll panel had taken cognisance of Pragya's remarks describing Mahatma Gandhi's assassin as a "patriot" on Thursday after a host of political parties condemned her remark.
'Mistake committed by a finger pressing the wrong button has destroyed Madhya Pradesh'
PM Modi in Khargone: "The entire country witnessed what happened during the Tughlak road election scam. Houses of Congress leaders were filled with sack full of notes. The mistake committed by pressing one finger pressing the wrong button has destroyed entire Madhya Pradesh."
Why is EC not looking at Varanasi, the same way it is looking at West Bengal?: Mayawati attacks poll watchdog
पीएम श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी को वाराणसी में हर हाल में जितवाने की कोशिश में वहाँ के हर गली-कूचे व घर-घर में जो बाहरी लोगों के माध्यम से पहले लालच और फिर धमकी आदि दी जा रही है उससे वहाँ मतदान स्वतंत्र व निष्पक्ष कैसे हो पाएगा? चुनाव आयोग की, बंगाल की तरह, वाराणसी पर नजर क्यों नहीं है?— Mayawati (@Mayawati) May 17, 2019
Schools, tribal rights, farmers income take centrestage in Modi's final rally
The Prime Minister's final rally in Madhya Pradesh's Khargone witnessed him speaking about building a comprehensive network of 'Eklavya schools' across the country to ensure education in tribal areas and increase prices of forest produce. "We are going to give more impetus to the steps taken to create a robust system of seed to market in the last 5 years. We are fully committed to doubling farmers' income by 2022," Modi said. He added that reducing the cost of crops and fair pricing for farmers has been BJP's constant endeavour. Slamming the state Congress government, he questioned whether the Grand Old Party had fulfilled the promise of waiving off farmers' debts and proper electricity supply.
Country is unanimous; leaders lobbying for separate J&K PM should be punished: Narendra Modi
PM Modi in Khargone: "Congress approached Indian citizens with matters like taking away priveleges from Indian soldiers and scrapping the law on treason, but the country has rejected thier agendas. The country is unanimous that the leaders lobbying for a separate prime minister for Jammu & Kashmir should be punished, this election."
PM Modi's rally in Khargone underway, asserts confidence in emerging victorious in polls
In his final rally in Khargone before the elections come to a close on Sunday, PM Modi said asserting confidence of victory in the general elections said, "After decades you will elect a majority government for a second time in a row." He added: "From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Kutch to Kamrup, the whole nation is saying- Ab ki baar, 300 paar, phir ek baar Modi Sarkar."
Amit Shah refers BJP leaders to disciplinary committee for their personal statements on Godse, seeks reply
Amit Shah responding to the controversy stirred up after BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur's comments on Nathuram Godse, said whatever the party leaders' Anantkumar Hegde and Nalin Kateel's say are their personal statements and refrained from them being taken up as 'BJP' statements. He said on Twitter, "These people have withdrawn their statements and apologised for what they spoke. However, these statements have been seriously taken up by the party and referred to the disciplinary committee as it is contrary to public life and BJP's dignity and idealogy." He added that the disciplinary committee has received a report from the three leaders to submit their reply to the party within 10 days.
अनुशासन समिति तीनों नेताओं से जवाब मांगकर उसकी एक रिपोर्ट 10 दिन के अंदर पार्टी को दे, इस तरह की सूचना दी गयी है।— Chowkidar Amit Shah (@AmitShah) May 17, 2019
Pragya Thakur's roadshow in Burhanpur cancelled
Meanwhile, Pragya Singh Thakur's roadshow in Burhanpur has been cancelled. An aide claimed she was unwell having travelled that far but party sources told The Indian Express that it was done to avoid more controversy after her comments about Nathuram Godse. Burhanpur is a community sensitive town under Khandwa parliamentary constituency. Over the last three days, BJP leaders spoke in different voices about Pragya's campaign with one section arguing it did not have the official sanction and one claiming otherwise. She campaigned for Dewas candidate Mahendra Solanki on Wednesday and Thursday. He said it was an official programme. The former judge told the Indian Express that he did not make any request for her roadshow in his support. A leader claimed she went to Ashta and Shajapur on his request.
Congress questions PM Modi's silence on Pragya Thakur's remarks on Godse
Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Friday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on BJP leader Sadhvi Pragya's remarks describing Nathuram Godse as a "patriot". BJP's Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate and Malegaon blast accused Thakur on Thursday lauded Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a "patriot", sparking an outrage from the Opposition.Under fire for her remarks, Thakur tendered an apology on Thursday night and said she respected Mahatma Gandhi as his work for the country cannot be forgotten.
In a tweet, Sibal tweeted, "When Sadhvi Pragya says: "Godse a Deshbakht" and Modi is silent with Vidyasagar's statue a victim of the violent I can only pray for my country and hope that one day the silent majority will keep violence at bay".
When Sadhvi Pragya says :— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) May 17, 2019
“ Godse a Deshbakht “
and Modi is silent
with Vidyasagar’s statue
a victim of
I can only pray for my country
and hope that one day
the silent majority
will keep violence at bay
Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah attacks PM Modi over Pragya's Godse remark
Godse was inspired by Sangh Pariwar's ideology & so is Pragya.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) May 17, 2019
Former killed our Mahatma & the latter killed Mahatma's children.
Pragya who calls Godse a patriot is endorsed by @narendramodi
Is this the sign of an attempt to proliferate Sangh's hatred based ideology?