Lok Sabha Election 2019 LATEST updates; 2nd phase of voting to be held tomorrow, 18 April: The Madras High Court is scheduled to pronounce its order on AIADMK’s petition at 4:30pm challenging the cancellation of Lok Sabha polls for Vellore constituency.
Speaking at his second rally of the day at Himmatnagar in Gujarat, Narendra Modi spoke in Gujarati, hitting out at the Congress over the salient points of the party’s manifesto, which he called a dhakoslapatra and its focus on dynasty. Modi also said that the Congress of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel has devolved. “At one point, Congress used to believe in the bullet, it was golibaaz but now it believes in abusing people, so it is a gaalibaaz party,” said the PM.
Naveen Patnaik’s luggage was checked by the flying squad of the Election Commission at a helipad in Rourkela on Wednesday. The helicopter of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy was also searched at Shivamogga earlier in the day.
Polltime mudslinging continued as usual between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress on Wednesday with BJP chief Amit Shah tweeting a BJP video of Trinamool Congress’s Ratna Ghosh Kar asking women workers of the party to charge at Central forces who attack Trinamool workers. “Finally, Mamata didi’s trusted lieutenant accepts that her party believes in the idea of violence and anarchy,” Shah wrote.
In what could perhaps come as a blow to the Congress, party spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote on Twitter to register her disappointment over the fact that Congress members who had been suspended for misbehaving with her had been reinstated. The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee had reportedly first suspended some of its leaders for their unruly behaviour with Chaturvedi in Mathura and then reinstate them after a few days.
UDF candidate for Kannur, K Sudhakaran, has released a blatantly sexist video in which it is suggested that educating a woman is a mistake and that a man should be elected so “he can get things done.” The video is reportedly meant to be a strike at the sitting MP from Kannur and the Left’s candidate for the Kannur seat, PK Sreemathi, who is the only woman to be elected from Kerala in the 2014 election.
Navjot Singh Sidhu has hit out at the BJP after the latter accused the Congress politician of enticing voters along communal lines. “Those who are responsible for Godhra are teaching me nationalism,” he said at Gujarat on Wednesday.
Twitter has withheld Yogi Adityanath’s controversial ‘green virus’ tweet, in reference to Muslims in India, along with communally charged tweets of 31 others including the likes of Koena Mitra and Major Surendra Poonia. The move is likely to go a long way in the debate for greater control by social media sites over content policing.
Malegaon-blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur is likely to contest from Bhopal where she can be pitted against Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh. Thakur had reached the BJP office in Bhopal, to meet party leaders Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Ramlal and Prabhat Jha. The move, if solidified, will likely give Opposition ammunition to slam the BJP for projecting a terror accused candidate.
Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said on Rahul Gandhi’s temple visit in Wayanad that the Congress president performed rituals according to the pujari’s directions, for his “grandmother, father, forefathers and victims of Pulwama incident.”
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had been expected to speak on the travel ban in Wayanad that had been plaguing the local tourism industry, which is probably why his audience was ecstatic when he mentioned that he would take another look at it if elected to power. Rahul also made several allusions to the region’s diversity and said Wayanad stood to teach the whole of India what it meant to live in peace.
Addressing his very first rally at Wayanad since filing his nomination papers from the constituency amidst much fanfare, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said he was intent upon proving that the south is as important and no less important than any other place in India. “I realised that Wayanad was the best place to fight from because it represents many different ideas and cultures. Almost all communities can be found in this beautiful place,” he said.
Narendra Modi, in a more than usually charged speech at Madha in Maharashtra, hit out at Rahul Gandhi once again following the Congress chief’s remark that “all thieves had the surname Modi.” “Can you imagine who these people might be? Who mock my lineage, my last name? I do not care, I know how to bear such terrible insults,” Modi said.
Speaking at his first rally of the day, at Madha in Maharashtra, Narendra Modi gave out a clarion call to people to vote for the BJP, the only party which has the strength to bear the weight of India according to the PM. “I can understand why Sharad Pawar removed himself from the polls now. He is wise, he knew which way the winds were blowing,” he said.
Modi also announced relief for those affected by unseasonal rains in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
Congress president and party’s candidate from Wayanad parliamentary constituency, Rahul Gandhi, offered prayers at the Thirunelli temple in Kerala. Rahul’s father Rajiv Gandhi’s ashes were immersed in the Papanasini river near the temple. Rahul will be campaigning across the state for the second day running on Wednesday.
The spotlight sought by campaigners in the nearly two-month-long Lok Sabha election process is now being increasingly taken over by the Election Commission of India itself. Issues like the cancellation of the polls in Vellore, successive petitions over campaign bans on prominent politicians and outrage over joint EC-Income Tax raids on yet others, have kept the poll panel busy, a day before India heads to Phase 2 of the Lok Sabha election.
On the same day when the Election Commission escalated the recovery of Rs 11.50 crore in cash at a DMK candidate’s house to President Ram Nath Kovind and got the Vellore Lok Sabha polls cancelled as a result, party leader Kanimozhi’s residence was raided by Income Tax officials. The department, reportedly, found nothing in her house and suggested that it had received false inputs. This, along with the Vellore move, has led to various protests by south leaders who have claimed that the poll body has been focusing on the Opposition alone.
Meanwhile, most familiar campaigners of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress will be addressing rallies as usual.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will campaign across Kerala’s Wayanad constituency. This will be his second trip to the region since he filed his nomination from there and led a roadshow through the town.
After addressing a co-ordination meeting of three parliamentary constituencies (Kannur, Kasargod and Vadakara) at Kannur, Rahul is expected to visit the Thirunelli Temple at Wayanad, where his father Rajiv Gandhi’s ashes were immersed. He is then expected to address successive public meetings at Wayanad, Thiruvambady, Wandoor and Thrithala.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, is scheduled to address four rallies, one each at Madha in Maharashtra, and Himatnagar, Surendranagar and Anand in Gujarat.
BJP national president Amit Shah will address two rallies at Baramba and Dhenkanal in Odisha. Modi himself addressed two rallies in the state just on Tuesday.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, serving a 72-hour campaign ban, will be travelling to Ayodhya and then Devipatan. The BJP, meanwhile, has urged the poll body to review its order banning Adityanath from campaigning, claiming he did not intend to incite communal tension and had only expressed his beliefs.
The party has called on the Election Commission to ban Rahul Gandhi from campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls and impose the “heaviest penalty” on him, saying that he levelled false allegations against Narendra Modi on the Rafale aircraft deal. A BJP delegation including Union ministers JP Nadda, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and VK Singh also sought similar action against cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu.
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Lok Sabha Election 2019 LIVE updates: Madras HC set to pass order at 4.30 pm on AIADMK’s plea against Vellore polls cancellation – Firstpost