News18 Daybreak | With Amit Shah, Rahul, Mulayam in Fray, Voting Today for Crucial Phase 3 and Other Stories You Need to Watch Out For
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A security personnel stands guard as voters queue up outside a polling station (PTI Photo)
Crucial phase 3 begins: Fates of Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah and Mulayam Yadav to be decided today
What is being touted as the most crucial polling phase, Round 3 of the Lok Sabha elections will see 1612 candidates battle it out for 116 seats across 15 states and Union Territories.
Among the heavyweights in the fray are BJP chief Amit Shah, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Yadav.
States voting in the third phase include Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal and Bihar.
An overview: Besides all seats in Gujarat and Kerala, voting is being held in four seats in Assam, five in Bihar, seven in Chhattisgarh, 14 each in Karnataka and Maharashtra, six in Odisha, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, five in West Bengal, two in Goa, and one each in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Tripura.
The election will reach its completion in the southern states with this phase. Anantnag from where People’s Democratic Party’s Mehbooba Mufti is contesting is also voting today.
The electoral battles that will be closely watched today include the one in Mainpuri from where SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav is contesting, Firozabad where the fight is between Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) president Shivpal Singh and nephew - SP’s Akshay Yadav, and Rampur where SP leader Azam Khan is going head-to-head with BJP’s Jaya Prada.
BJP president Amit Shah is also making his Lok Sabha debut from Gandhinagar, after replacing the party nominee LK Advani for the seat.
Other key candidates whose fates will be decided in this phase include Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule, BJP’s Sambit Patra, BJD's Pinaki Mishra, Congress's Satya Prakash Nayak, Adhikar Party-Loktantrik (JAP-L) chief Pappu Yadav and RJD's Sharad Yadav.
Kerala contest: In most of Kerala’s 20 seats, it is a do-or-die battle for both the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF and opposition Congress-headed UDF.
A key seat will be Wayanad from where Rahul Gandhi is contesting besides his pocket borough Amethi, Thiruvananthapuram where Tharoor is eyeing a hat-trick and Ernakulam, the coastal city from where Union Minister Alphons Kannamthanam is seeking to make his Lok Sabha debut.
Another major contender in the state, the BJP is hoping to make inroads in the CPI(M) stronghold by banking on the Sabarimala temple issue. The saffron party especially hopes to make an impact in Pathanamthitta, where the Sabarimala shrine is situated, with its candidate K Surendran.
Congress is looking at a tough decision over Priyanka Gandhi’s candidature from Varanasi as BSP-SP announces its candidate
The crucial Varanasi seat is likely to see a tough electoral battle as the Congress is said to be mulling over the candidature of Priyanka Gandhi from the Uttar Pradesh constituency. The party is expected to announce its decision within the next day or two, which is sure to be a defining moment in the race that has Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself as a contender. The name of the other contender, Samajwadi Party’s Shalini Yadav was announced today in what seems to be a blow for the Congress party, which had hoped to secure the BSP-SP alliance’s support for the seat.
The speculations over Priyanka Gandhi’s candidature for the seat arose last month when the AICC general secretary, in response to a question about whether she would prefer contesting from Rae Bareilly had said, “Why not Varanasi”. Then on Sunday, when faced with a similar question, Priyanka Gandhi once again responded by saying, “Shouldn’t I fight from Varanasi?”
What You May Have Missed
A state of emergency, the perpetrators, Indian casualties and another explosion: Here’s what we know so far about the Sri Lankan attacks
The Sri Lankan government on Monday held responsible a little-known terrorist group called Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamaat for Sunday’s serial suicide bombings, which killed 290 people and injured around 500. A state of emergency came into force at midnight local time on Monday, giving special powers to the police and the military to detain any individual without a court order. As many as 40 foreign nationals, including seven Indians, are believed to have been killed in the attacks. Four JD(S) workers are among those who died. The deceased have been identified as Lakshmana Gowda Ramesh, KM Lakshminarayan, M Rangappa and KG Hanumantharayappa. Three others of the seven-member team, which was on a post-poll vacation to the island nation, are missing.
The eight ghastly bombings weren’t the last of the attacks as another explosion went off near a church in Colombo on Monday evening. The bomb is said to have gone off as the Special Task Force and air force attempted to diffuse it. International police organization, the Interpol is deploying a team to Sri Lanka even as President Mathripala Sirisena is expected to hold talks with foreign diplomats in order “to seek international assistance”. Sri Lanka's Minister of State for Internal and Home Affairs JC Alawathuwala and former diplomat G Parthasarathy in separate interviews with News18.com surmised that the bombings could have been an act of retribution to the Christchurch attacks in New Zealand, which had targeted mosque-goers. Alawathuwala even claimed that the suicide bombers had been trained abroad.
News18 Election Tracker: FIR filed against Pragya Thakur, EC bars Sidhu from campaigning and a death-knell on Congress-AAP alliance
FIR filed against Pragya Thakur over 'Babri' remarks, MP poll body orders investigation
An FIR has been against BJP’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur over her comments in which she said that that she was ‘proud to be a part of the Babri mosque demolition’ in 1992. In an interview to a TV channel last week, Thakur had claimed that she was among those who had razed the disputed structure, which “was a blot on the country”. “We had gone to demolish the structure. I climbed atop the structure and broke it and I feel extremely proud that God gave me this opportunity,” she had claimed. Following this harrowing statement, the Election Commission served her a show-cause notice, the second after the one she had been issued over comments about the former anti-Terror Squad chief - the late Hemant Karkare. Responding to the FIR, Thakur only said that her legal team was looking into the matter. Meanwhile, the MP poll body had sent across its report on Thakur’s reply to the show-cause notice to the ECI.
Rahul Gandhi expressed “regret” over his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ jibe
Congress President Rahul Gandhi expressed regret against the jibe on Prime Minister and gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court that he will not attribute any views to the court in his political addresses unless there are specific orders. Submitting his affidavit in response to the criminal contempt petition moved by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi in the top court, Gandhi accepted that the words were never used by the court and his attribution came in the heat of the moment when he was campaigning in Amethi.
EC bans Sidhu from campaigning for 72 hours over appeal to Muslims against division of votes
The Election Commission on Monday censured Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu over his appeal to the Muslim community in Bihar against the division of votes, and barred him from campaigning for 72 hours. Sidhu had made the controversial appeal while campaigning in Bihar’s Katihar, a day after the Election Commission took action against Yogi Adityanath, Mayawati, Maneka Gandhi and Azam Khan for making similar communally charged remarks. I want to warn my Muslim brothers that some people are trying to divide you. They are trying to prop up people like Owaisi to divide your votes. If you unite and vote as one, Modi will be driven out,” he had said. The ban comes into force from 10 am today.
Sheila Dikshit, boxer Vijender Singh among others in Congress’ list for Delhi which draws curtains on AAP alliance
The Congress on Monday announced the names of six candidates for Delhi Lok Sabha seats, officially shutting the doors on an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party after months of hectic parleys. The Congress has fielded former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit from North-East Delhi, Ajay Maken from New Delhi and JP Agarwal from Chandni Chowk. In a surprise move, the grand old party has fielded boxed Vijender Singh from South Delhi. According to sources, the party is confident that Singh will be able to attract voters in the constituency, which has a number of Jat and Gurjar voters. Other candidates being fielded are Arvinder Singh Lovely from East Delhi, Rajesh Lilothia from North-West Delhi and Mahbal Mishra from West Delhi. Senior leader Kapil Sibal's name, however, did not figure on the list.
Here’s a look at the key candidates who are battling it out in today’s crucial third phase.
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