Elections 2022 News Updates: Assembly Bypolls in 7 Seats Across 6 States on Thursday

Election 2022 News Updates: The ECI may announce the schedule for the Gujarat assembly polls this week. While the single-phase election in Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 12, the counting will take place on December 8

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: November 03, 2022, 00:02 IST

New Delhi, India

BJP leaders in Rajasthan have already refuted the allegation levelled by the Congress that the main accused in the Kanhaiya Lal murder case in Udaipur was a BJP member.
BJP leaders in Rajasthan have already refuted the allegation levelled by the Congress that the main accused in the Kanhaiya Lal murder case in Udaipur was a BJP member. (Image: News18)

Election 2022 News Updates: Assembly bypolls in six states – Maharashtra, Telangana, Bihar, Haryana, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh – for seven seats will be held on November 3. These elections were necessitated after either the sitting legislators passed away, joined other parties, or were convicted by a court in criminal cases. Polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm amid tight security and the counting of votes will be done on November 6.

With less than two weeks left for the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, the political heat in the state is rising every day. While Congress is extruding confidence Read More

Nov 02, 2022 18:03 IST

Assembly Bypolls 2022: Fierce Battle in 7 Seats Across 6 States on Thursday | All You Need to Know

The stage is all set for a tough battle in six states – Maharashtra, Telangana, Bihar, Haryana, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh – for the high-stakes bypolls in seven assembly constituencies on November 3. These elections were necessitated after either the sitting MLAs died, switched parties, or were sent to jail in criminal cases. Read More

Nov 02, 2022 14:53 IST

BJP to launch 'Namo Cyber Yoddha' campaign to win MCD polls

To take on AAP and win the Delhi civic polls, the BJP is all set to launch ‘NaMo Cyber Yoddha’ campaign on Wednesday.

The campaign is a first of its kind organic, online volunteer campaign-cum-initiative that will inspire social media workers to express their views on important issues related to Delhi, the BJP said.

It will be a platform for those who are not into politics but want to raise their voice on important issues.

The BJP said, “The NaMo cyber volunteers will work like an army and expose lies, corruption and wrongdoings of the Kejriwal government.”

The campaign will be launched in the presence of Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Legislative Assembly Rambir Bidhuri, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla and several Delhi BJP MPs at the party’s Delhi office. (IANS)

Nov 02, 2022 14:16 IST

Nadda to Release BJP's 'vision Document' for Himachal on Friday

BJP president J P Nadda will release on Friday the party’s ‘vision document’ (manifesto) for the Himachal Pradesh assembly polls. The elections to the 68-member assembly is scheduled for February 12.

Party sources said Nadda would release the manifesto in Shimla on November 4. They added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address at least two public meetings each on November 5 and 9.

On Saturday, he will address rallies in Mandi and Solan, they said. The BJP is in power in the hill state and is pulling out all the stops to remain in the saddle by breaking the precedent of the incumbent being voted out. (PTI)

Nov 02, 2022 13:50 IST

Cong, BJP Brace for Rebel Impact in Himachal Pradesh Polls

With only a few days to go for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls, the rebel factor is wearing down both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress, with top leaders of both camps working overtime to blunt the impact of dissent. Though both the parties have managed to quell the rebellion in some of the state’s 68 seats, they had to crack the whip against certain unhappy former lawmakers and ministers who refused to toe the party line on official candidature.

Even after the efforts to edge out the in-house challengers, the Congress still has about a dozen rebels left in the fray and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has around 20 after the last date of withdrawal of candidature, which was October 29. The BJP, which prides itself in discipline, has expelled five of its top leaders, including four former legislators and a vice-president of the party, for six years after failing to make them fall in line.

The Congress has similarly acted against six of its leaders, including a former minister and a former speaker of the state Assembly. “The rebels will face the same fate as that of the four former MLAs and the state vice president. Dissidence will not be condoned,” a BJP leader said.

The Congress too sounded firm on the issue. The grand old party, pitted against an aggressive, incumbent BJP, asserted that the rebels would bite the dust as they did not subscribe to the party’s discipline and ideology and were like a rudderless ship. No matter how smug they sound on the surface about the potential of the dissenters to disturb the proverbial applecart, the Congress and the BJP know that their electoral calculations are precariously hinged in a seemingly tight contest. (PTI)

 

Nov 02, 2022 12:38 IST

BJP Suspends 5 Rebel Leaders in Himachal, State Vice President Among Them

Days ahead of Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh, the ruling BJP on Monday suspended five of its rebel leaders from the primary membership of the party for contesting the election as Independents.

Those suspended include former MLAs — Tejwant Singh Negi (Kinnaur), Kishori Lal (Anni), Manohar Dhiman (Indora), K L Thakur (Nalagarh) — and the BJP’s Himachal unit vice-president Kripal Parmar. READ MORE

Nov 02, 2022 11:16 IST

Congress Launches 'Parivartan Sankalp Yatra' in Poll-bound Gujarat

The Congress on Tuesday launched yatras in five zones of Gujarat to reach out to people ahead of the Assembly polls. During the ‘Gujarat Parivartan Sankalp Yatra’, 145 public meetings and 95 rallies will be held along the route covering more than 5,400 km.

The yatras were launched from Vadgam, Bhuj, Somnath, Fagvel and Jambusar, party leaders said. The ‘Parivartan Sankalp Yatra’ was earlier scheduled to start on Monday but was postponed by a day following the Morbi bridge collapse tragedy on Sunday.

The Gujarat Assembly polls are due this year-end. The Election Commission is yet to announce the poll schedule.

The party sources said leaders who were scheduled to flag off the yatras couldn’t make it on Tuesday due to other engagements, following which another set of leaders launched them.

Senior Congress leaders, including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel, former Madhya Pradesh chief ministers Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath, and MLA Sachin Pilot, were expected to join the yatra, party leaders had said earlier.

“During the ‘Parivartan Sankalp Yatra’, 145 public meetings and 95 rallies will be organised throughout the journey. The yatra, which will cover 5,432 km, aims to establish direct contact with 4.5 crore people,” state Congress president Jagdish Thakor earlier said.

More than 10 lakh workers of Congress will join the yatra and people will be assured that the party will keep 11 promises if voted to power, he had said.

The Congress has promised to provide free treatment of up to Rs 10 lakh, farmers’ debt waiver of up to Rs 3 lakh, electricity bill waiver, 10 lakh government jobs to youth, unemployment allowance of Rs 3,000 per month, the opening of 3,000 government English medium schools, Rs 4 lakh compensation for COVID-19 deaths, among other things.

The yatra was flagged off from Fagvel by senior party leaders Mohan Prakash and former GPCC president Amit Chavda, from Vagdam by state Congress incharge Raghu Sharma and state unit chief Jagdish Thakor, from Bhuj by Ramkishan Oza and Lalit Kagathara, from Somnath by Arjun Modhwadia and Paresh Dhanani and from Jambusar by Congress spokesperson Supriya Sirneth and Tushar Chaudhary. (PTI)

Nov 02, 2022 10:55 IST

Gujarat election 2022: Congress to Launch 'Parivartan Sankalp Yatra' in Poll-bound State

The Congress will take out the ‘Gujarat Parivartan Sankalp Yatra’ in five zones of the poll-bound state from Tuesday, during which 145 public meetings and 95 rallies will be held along the route covering more than 5,400 km.

It will be launched from Vadgam, Bhuj, Somnath, Vadgam, Fagvel and Jambusar, party leaders said.

The yatra was earlier scheduled to start on Monday, but was postponed by a day following the Morbi bridge collapse tragedy on Sunday. The Gujarat Assembly polls are due this year-end the Election Commission is yet to announce its schedule.

Senior Congress leaders, including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel, former Madhya Pradesh chief ministers Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath, and MLA Sachin Pilot, are expected to join the yatra, party leaders said.

“The Congress’ ‘Parivartan Sankalp Yatra’ will be launched in five zones of Gujarat, and 145 public meetings and 95 rallies will be organised throughout the journey. The yatra, which will cover 5,432 km, aims to establish a direct contact with 4.5 crore people,” state Congress president Jagdish Thakor earlier said.

More than 10 lakh party workers will join the yatra and the opposition party will spread the message of 11 promises that it has said it will fulfil if voted to power, he had said.

The Congress has promised to provide free treatment of up to Rs 10 lakh, farmers’ debt waiver of up to Rs 3 lakh, electricity bill waiver, 10 lakh government jobs to youth, unemployment allowance of Rs 3,000 per month, opening of 3,000 government English medium schools, Rs 4 lakh compensation for COVID-19 deaths, among other things. (PTI)

Nov 02, 2022 10:53 IST

Himachal Polls: How BJP 'AIIMS' to Counter Opposition's Anti-incumbency Narrative in Bilaspur-Mandi Belt

As you enter Bilaspur town, a huge grey-coloured entrance to a mega hospital complex is being pitched as the BJP’s answer to the anti-incumbency claims of the opposition as the campaign for the November 12 Himachal Pradesh assembly elections starts to gather pace.

Built at a cost of Rs 1,470 crore, the AIIMS hospital was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently and is now being showcased as an example of “double-engine” growth by Bharatiya Janata Party candidates, not just in Bilaspur but adjoining Mandi town as well. The 750-bed hospital offers 18 speciality and 17 super-speciality departments and caters to the Mandi and adjoining regions that have lacked super-speciality hospitals in the past. People from the region had to travel all the way to Chandigarh for such a facility in the past. READ MORE

Nov 02, 2022 10:11 IST

Maharashtra: Important Meeting Of BJP Core Committee And All Ministers Tonight at 8 PM

The core commitee of BJP and all Maharashtra government ministers are scheduled to meet at 8 pm on Wednesday to deliberate on the strategy for Mumbai Municipal Corporation and local body elections.

Party sources said that coordinating ministers and workers will also be discussed during the meeting.

Devendra Fadnavis, state president Chandrashekhar Bawankule Sudhir Mungantiwar, Radhakrishna Vikhe Girish Mahajan Ravindra Chavan, Ashish Shelar, Praveen Darekar along with prominent leaders will attend the BJP meeting

Nov 02, 2022 09:45 IST

‘Jai Ram’ Rajya Again or New Adhyay? Himachal CM Looks to Rewrite History, Protect Citadel Mandi

Not just his seat Seraj, stakes are high for Jai Ram Thakur in other constituencies falling in his home district of Mandi in Himachal Pradesh too. The 57-year-old Chief Minister has to defy history and ensure he leads the party to victory for the second time, when Himachal goes to polls on November 12.

The ride for Thakur could not be a smooth one, although his partymen believe his track record in delivering development projects gives him a clear edge. The party suffered big setbacks a few months ago, when the Congress wrested the Mandi parliamentary seat from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Pratibha Singh, wife of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, defeated her rival candidate to snatch the seat. Thakur has to turn it around. READ MORE

Nov 02, 2022 09:30 IST

Dhamnagar ByPoll: BJD Optimistic of Easy Victory

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on Monday addressed voters in Dhamnagar through the virtual mode and promised that five years of work will be completed in 18 months.

Patnaik who is also the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president urged them to elect a woman from the seat as “mothers work more efficiently”.

The BJD has fielded Abanti Das, the lone woman among the total five candidates. BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi’s death necessitated the by-poll. The saffron party, banking on sympathy votes, has fielded Sethi’s son Suryabanshi Suraj.

The BJD won all six Zilla Parishad seats and 9 of 11 wards of Dhamnagar Notified Area Council (NAC) in the panchayat and civic polls held in February and April respectively this year. The party has also won all bypolls since 2019.

“I am optimistic that the people will repeat it,” Patnaik said.

The BJD’s official candidate is facing a rebel as its former MLA Rajendra Das is in the fray as an Independent.

Both BJD and BJP have accused each other of violating the model code of conduct and have filed complaints with the EC

Nov 02, 2022 09:14 IST

Adampur Assembly Bypolls: A Popularity Contest on Bhajan Lal Family's Home Ground

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has been actively campaigning for Adampur Assembly bypolls in Haryana’s Hisar district, where former chief minister Bhajan Lal’s grandson is among 22 candidates in the fray.

The bypolls were necessitated after Kuldeep Bishnoi, the younger son of Bhajan Lal, resigned as MLA from the seat and switched from the Congress to the BJP in August. Bishnoi’s son Bhavya is contesting the bypolls as a BJP candidate.

The BJP, Congress, Indian National Lok Dal and Aam Aadmi Party are among the key parties contesting the bypolls.

BJP held a rally in the constituency on Tuesday that was addressed by Chief Minister Khattar and other leaders of the BJP and its ally JJP.

Leaving behind the political rivalry between the Bhajan Lal and Devi Lal families, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala also campaigned for Bhavya. The JJP leader is the great grandson of Devi Lal.

Congress leaders including Bhupinder Singh Hooda and state unit chief Udai Bhan held a series of poll meetings on the last day of campaigning, while AAP took out a roadshow. The INLD also held a rally.

The INLD has fielded Congress rebel Kurda Ram Nambardar.

AAP nominated Satender Singh, who switched over from BJP after having earlier remained with Congress too. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also campaigned in Adampur.

Khattar on Tuesday appealed to Adampur voters to make Bhavya victorious with a big margin and assured them no stone will be left unturned to ensure development.

Nov 02, 2022 08:57 IST

BJP's Star Campaigner Yogi Adityanath To Address 3 rallies in Himachal Today

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath is scheduled to address three election rallies in Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday. Adityanath will address meetings in  Himachal’s Hamirpur, Mandi and Solan.

CM Yogi’s name is on the list of star campaigners of the BJP.

 

 

Nov 02, 2022 08:30 IST

Gola Gorakhnath Bypoll: In Two-Cornered Contest, BJP and SP To Fight For Prestige

The Gola Gorakhnath seat in Uttar Pradesh fell vacant after the death of BJP MLA Arvind Giri on September 6. With the BSP and the Congress keeping away from the bypolls, there seems to be a direct fight between the BJP and the Samajwadi Party The BJP has fielded Aman Giri, son of Arvind Giri, while the SP candidate is former Gola MLA Vinay Tiwari. While it is hoping to get sympathy votes, the BJP has not taken the contest lightly and deputed as many as 40 star campaigners including all major UP cabinet ministers and party office-bearers.

On the last leg of electioneering on Monday, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath made promises on payment of cane dues and establishment of Chhoti Kashi corridor on the lines of Kashi Vishwanath and medical college.

Nov 02, 2022 08:26 IST

Munugode Bypoll: Three Cornered Fight Expected Between TRS, BJP and Congress

The Election Commission has asked Telangana’s chief electoral officer to keep a “close watch” on the Munugode Assembly constituency through “various enforcement agencies” amid allegations of attempts to induce voters.

The direction came after the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate K Rajagopal Reddy transferred Rs 5.24 crore from his family-owned firm’s account to 23 people and entities within the constituency, a charge denied by the latter.

The EC had on Saturday barred Telangana energy minister Guntakandla Jagadish Reddy from campaigning for 48 hours for violating the poll code after he allegedly threatened to stop welfare schemes if people do not vote for the ruling TRS candidate.

The TRS, recently renamed Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS), aims to demonstrate its dominance in state politics and go national with a big win here. A loss would hamper not only its national plans but also embolden the opposition ahead of the Assembly polls.

The BJP, meanwhile, hopes to give a push to its plans to emerge as the alternative to TRS with a victory in Munugode. The party is on a high following its victories in Dubbak and Huzurabad Assembly bypolls and also the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) election during the last two years.

While 47 candidates are in the fray, the main contest is confined to Reddy, who is seeking re-election on a BJP ticket after quitting the Congress, former MLA Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy of TRS and Congress’ Palvai Sravanthi.

The BJP had deployed Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, state unit president and MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar, party MLAs Eatala Rajender and M Raghunandan Rao among other leaders for the campaign.

The TRS too raised the pitch with several state ministers, MLAs and other leaders covering every inch of Munugode. TRS Working President K T Rama Rao even announced that he would “adopt” the constituency and personally focus on its development.

Congress nominee Palvai Sravanthi is banking on the goodwill of her late father Palvai Govardhan Reddy who had served as Munugode MLA and as MP.

Nov 02, 2022 08:19 IST

Bihar: Prestige Battle For JD(U), BJP In Mokama and Gopalganj By-Polls

Bihar’s Mokama and Gopalganj by-elections will be the first electoral contest after the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) snapped ties with the BJP in August and again joined hands with the RJD. The seats were held by the RJD and the BJP respectively.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar urged voters of Mokama to support Neelam Devi, the RJD candidate and wife of his former protégé Anant Kumar Singh whose disqualification has necessitated the by-election.

Kumar made the appeal in a video message after he stayed away from the campaign due to an injury.

“I have not been able to come myself, but I appeal to all people of Mokama to ensure a massive victory of Neelam Devi, the Mahagathbandhan candidate who is contesting on the RJD’s hurricane lamp symbol,” Kumar added.

Deputy CM and RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav, however, led from the front and addressed several rallies.

Anant Kumar Singh was disqualified earlier this year upon conviction in a case relating to the recovery of arms and explosives from his residence.

The BJP has nominated from the seat greenhorn Sonam Devi, wife of a local muscleman Lalan Singh who has been opposing Anant Singh.

In Gopalganj, BJP has fielded Kusum Devi, the wife of deceased party MLA Subhash Singh. The RJD has fielded Mohan Gupta, while Indira Yadav, wife of Lalu Yadav’s brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav, is contesting as Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate.

The BJP campaign was steered by its leaders and later Chirag Paswan, an estranged ally, canvassed in support of its candidates. (PTI)

Nov 02, 2022 08:07 IST

Andheri (East) Bypoll: Uddhav Fraction Candidate Expected To Score Easy Victory

In Andheri (East) of Maharashtra, the BJP has pulled out of the race after the Shiv Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray fielded the wife of its deceased MLA Ramesh Latke from the constituency.

Rutuja Latke is expected to score an easy victory in the election which is the first after the recent split in the Shiv Sena following a rebellion by Eknath Shinde, who replaced Thackeray as the Maharashtra chief minister.

Nov 02, 2022 08:00 IST

'Begging Bowl Ready, CM Patel Should Go': AAP vs BJP Continues, Kejriwal Rakes Up Issues from Gujarat to Delhi

Another round of tussle between Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ensued in Delhi on Tuesday over free yoga classes. Attacking the lieutenant governor VK Saxena and the BJP, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that “these people” have stopped yoga classes that benefitted more that 17,000 people, these included those struggling with post Covid complications.

“Who stops yoga classes? They stopped it due to ‘satta ka nasha‘ and petty politics. I want to announce that the yoga classes will not stop. I am ready to even beg at doorstep of people to help this scheme continue” Kejriwal said. READ MORE

Nov 02, 2022 07:54 IST

Campaigning Ends for By-election to Seven Assembly Seats - Battle of Prestige for Parties

An unusually high-pitched campaign for bypolls to seven seats in six states – seen as a battle of prestige for political parties- concluded on Tuesday evening ahead of voting on November 3.

Chief ministers and other senior leaders made last-minute appeals to voters for their support in Mokama and Gopalganj of Bihar, Adampur of Haryana, Manugoda of Telangana, Gola Gorakhnath of Uttar Pradesh and Dhamnagar of Odisha.

Among the seven seats where bypolls are being held, the BJP and the Congress held two seats each, while one seat each was with the BJD, Shiv Sena and RJD. While a victory in the bypolls will not affect their position in the assemblies, the regional parties have undertaken an aggressive campaign to thwart the challenge from the BJP.

The counting of votes will take place on November 6. (PTI)

 

Nov 02, 2022 07:44 IST

Odisha: Campaigning for Dhamnagar by-poll ends

he campaign for the by-election to Dhamnagar (SC) assembly constituency in Odisha’s Bhadrak district ended on Tuesday evening. The BJD has fielded Abanti Das, while the BJP nominated Suryabansi Suraj, the son of late MLA Bishnu Sethi.

The by-election was necessitated following the death of BJP sitting MLA Bishnu Sethi on September 19.

The Congress has nominated Baba Harekrushna Sethi for the by-election. BJD rebel candidate Rajendra Das and another independent nominee Pavitra Mohan Das are also in the fray for the MLA seat. Senior leaders of ruling BJD and opposition BJP and Congress along with the supporters of two independent candidates have campaigned in the constituency. (IANS)

in the prospect of forming the next government in the state with a comfortable majority, the BJP, with anti-incumbency weighing heavy on its governance amidst the dropping of 11 sitting MLAs and many party leaders in the fray as Independents, seems to be banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma, instead of flashing its own achievement card.

Building his campaign with the slogan ‘rivaj badlega’ (electoral traditions will change) as the party’s governments have repeated in the recent Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana polls, BJP president JP Nadda in his first three rallies on his home turf, drove his point home by saying, “The BJP does what it says.”

“Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-ji, once again a double-engine BJP government is set to be formed in the state with a huge majority,” donning traditional woollen cap Nadda said in Kaza. He also didn’t miss an opportunity to remind the people that the Prime Minister has replaced anti-incumbency with pro-incumbency in Indian politics by giving good governance. This time the people of Himachal would script history by electing the BJP government again.

At a time when several senior leaders of BJP’s Himachal unit turned rebellious and filled the nominations independently, Union Minister Amit Shah, who is also on a two-day tour of the poll-bound state, urged the voters to give another chance to ‘double-engine’ the government there to end the drug menace in Himachal.

Meanwhile, Congress is confident of forming the next government in Himachal Pradesh. Party’s campaign committee chairman Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has said that unemployment will be the biggest issue this poll season and added that this will prove to be the BJP’s nemesis.

“There are 64,000 vacant posts in government departments and we will fill these. Around 5,000 youth from Himachal, who were awaiting appointment letters to join the Army before the Agnipath scheme was announced, are upset with the BJP for ruining their career,” Sukhu was quoted as saying by Tribune. He further said that the people have made up their minds to bring Congress back to power.

Recently, actor Kangana Ranaut also dropped a hint at joining politics. The Bollywood actor said she is open to contesting from the Mandi constituency in the next month’s Himachal Pradesh elections if she gets a ticket from the BJP.

“Whatever will be the situation… If the government wants my participation, then I will be very much open to all kinds of participation… It will be my honour if the people of Himachal Pradesh or the party wants me to contest; I will have no problem. So, definitely, it will be my good luck,” Kangana Ranaut replied when asked about joining politics at an Aaj Tak conclave.

“I want others also to come forward who are hard working. They are people who really hard, I want them to come forward too,” the actor added.

Gujarat Election 2022

The Congress on Tuesday launched yatras in five zones of Gujarat to reach out to people ahead of the Assembly polls. During the ‘Gujarat Parivartan Sankalp Yatra’, 145 public meetings and 95 rallies will be held along the route covering more than 5,400 km. The yatras were launched from Vadgam, Bhuj, Somnath, Fagvel and Jambusar, party leaders said.

Senior Congress leaders, including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel, former Madhya Pradesh chief ministers Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath, and MLA Sachin Pilot, were expected to join the yatra, party leaders had said earlier.

Meanwhile, Congress has alleged that AAP, which is emerging as a strong contender, is contesting elections in Gujarat to help BJP. Claiming that the fight in Gujarat is between Congress and BJP, party general secretary Jairam Ramesh said AAP entered the fray to cut into Congress votes.

Earlier, Bollywood actor and TMC MP Shatrughan Sinha predicted that AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal will either emerge as the “kingmaker or the king” himself in Gujarat Assembly election. “In Gujarat, Kejriwal will either emerge as the king or the kingmaker. There is a churning in the saffron camp in Gujarat. The BJP cannot milk Hindutva or the Ram Mandir issue every time. Kejriwal has played a masterstroke through his demand of photos of Goddess Laxmi and Lord Ganesh on currency notes,” he was quoted as saying by a news publication.

(with inputs from PTI)

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