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News18 Daybreak | Congress Working Committee Meeting Today, BJP Likely to Finalise Lok Sabha Candidate List and Other Stories You Need to Watch Out For

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Updated:March 25, 2019, 8:58 AM IST

What to Watch Out For

Congress Working Committee to meet over elections preparedness and BJP likely to finalise LS candidate list today

It’s the last day today for political parties to file nominations for the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls. The last few weeks have been marked by conflicts and controversies as the parties are leaving no stone unturned for the upcoming elections.

While the Congress will convene a meeting of its Working Committee to discuss election preparedness, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to finalize its list of Lok Sabha candidates today.

Of lists and candidatures: The BJP on Friday night released its second list of 36 candidates, which consists of 23 nominees for Andhra Pradesh, 6 for Maharashtra and five for Odisha. The list of candidates from Odisha includes the party’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra who will be fielded from Puri.

Meanwhile, the Congress on Sunday released its ninth list of 10 candidates for the Lok Sabha election, fielding former finance minister P Chidambaram's son, Karti Chidambaram, from Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu. Karti Chidambaram is facing trial in corruption cases, including the INX media money-laundering case.

Congress’ Lucknow bid: The fight for the prestigious seat of Lucknow is catching everyone’s attention as the Congress is likely to field former Union Minister Jitin Prasada. The constituency is currently represented by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Congress had earlier declared Prasada as its official candidate from Dhaurahra where he had won in 2009.But, sources now say that the AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi came up with the idea to shift the Brahmin candidate from his current constituency in an effort to appeal to upper-caste voters.

However, Prasada’s relationship with the grand-old party has been anything but smooth. It is said that Jitin Prasada was not only thinking of quitting the party but was very close to joining the rival BJP camp. Here Rasheed Kidwai argues why it is necessary for the party to assess the reason behind leaders like Prasada contemplating such a move.

Virtual SIMs used in Pulwama Terror Attack; India to approach US for help

India is expected to request the US to access details from a service provider of "virtual SIMs", which were used by the Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber behind the Pulwama attack and his Pakistan and Kashmir-based handlers. According to officials, the probe into the attack has found that the bomber, Adil Dar, had been in constant touch with the JeM across the border. The request to the US will include details of phone numbers that got in touch with the "Virtual SIM", who had activated it and the Internet Protocol addresses used.

What You May Have Missed

Donald Trump's 2016 campaign did not collude with Russians, finds Mueller probe

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Moscow's meddling in the 2016 election has found no evidence of conspiracy by President Donald Trump's campaign to collude with Russia, the Justice Department has said. Mueller has also declined to rule on whether evidence showed Trump obstructed justice. In a letter to Congress summarising the report's key points, Attorney General Bill Barr quoted Mueller as saying: "While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." Barr's letter marked the conclusion of the 22-month investigation by Mueller, a former FBI director, into allegations that Trump's election campaign coordinated and colluded with Russians to skew the 2016 vote so the billionaire real estate magnate would win.

File photo of US president Donald Trump. (Reuters)

India sends official note to Pakistan on kidnapping, forced conversion of Hindu girls

Two days after reports of kidnapping and forced conversion and marriage of two Hindu girls in Pakistan came to the limelight, India sent an official note to the Pakistan Foreign Office. The two girls, 13-year-old Raveena and 15-year-old Reena, were allegedly kidnapped by a group of "influential" men from their home in Ghotki district on the eve of Holi. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter on Saturday that she had asked the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to send a report on the incident. Meanwhile, according to a tweet by Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhary Prime Minister Imran Khan has issued instructions for the immediate release of the two girls.

News18 Election Tracker: Kamal Hassan opts out of race, BJP replaces SS Ahluwali in Darjeeling and the likely Ravi Shankar Prasad-Shatrughan Sinha showdown

Kamal Haasan withdraws from poll race, says will work towards success of his candidates

In a surprise move, Makkal Needhi Maiam leader Kamal Haasan on Sunday announced that he would neither contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections nor assembly bypolls in Tamil Nadu. "I have lot of work to do. I will work towards the success of my candidates, but will not contest," the actor-turned politician said while releasing the party’s manifesto. Hassan also announced that his party will contest from all 40 seats in the state.

BJP replaces SS Ahluwalia with Raju Singh Bista from Darjeeling, gets backing of GJM & GNLF

The BJP on Sunday evening said that it will be fielding Raju Singh Bista from the Darjeeling constituency, following Union Minister SS Ahluwalia’s announcement that he will be opting out of the Lok Sabha race. The party's choice was backed by the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and Bimal Gurung faction of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), who had in fact suggested Bista’s name. Earlier, the two allied parties had been against the candidature of SS Ahluwalia and were demanding a ‘son-of-the-soil’ candidate.

BJP shows Shatrughan Sinha the door in Bihar, fields Ravi Shankar Prasad from Patna Sahib

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will be the BJP’s face from Patna Sahib, the constituency of actor-turned-rebel leader Shatrughan Sinha, the party announced on Saturday. Prasad is likely to face Sinha in the upcoming elections as there are reports that the actor will contest as a Congress candidate. Sinha has been at loggerheads with the BJP since 2014, when he was left out of the cabinet. Having remained critical of the party leadership and PM Modi, speculations were arife that the MLA would be turning over to the other party’s camp. This particularly solidified after Sinha turned up at Mamata Banerjee’s United India Rally along with other leaders of the grand opposition alliance in January this year.

News18 Election Lab: Wafer-thin majority in Goa reveals why India's smaller states remain politically volatile

With 20 MLAs voting in favour of the state assembly, the BJP-led government in Goa passed the floor test to prove their majority on March 20. Before Manohar Parrikar’s death, the ruling government comprised of 13 BJP MLAs, three MLAs each from the Goa Forward Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, three independents and one NCP MLA. In effect, the government had a majority of 23 in the 40-member House. But both the results — the floor test and the result of the last legislative assembly — point at slim majorities, placing the ruling government on shaky ground. Read Rishika Pardikar’s analysis here.

On Reel

Shabbirpur Village in Western UP has witnessed violence between Thakurs and Dalits in 2017. It was this Dalit agitation after Shabbirpur incident that led to the rise of Bhim army led by Chandrashekhar Ravan. CNN News18's Arunima finds out the key issues for voters in western UP’s Saharanpur district.

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