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Election Tracker LIVE: 21 Opposition Parties Approach SC Over Use of VVPATs in Counting | March 14, 2019, 19:34 IST
Election Tracker LIVE: With less than a month to go for the general elections, 21 opposition parties have approached the Supreme Court, asking that 50 per cent of VVPAT (voter verified paper trail audit machines) slips be tallied with the Electronic Voting Machines. The court will hear their petitions tomorrow. The parties that went to court include the Congress, Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party, Sharad Pawar's NCP, Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, the Left parties, Samajwadi Party and Mayawati.

A high-level team of the Election Commission led by a deputy election commissioner will be in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Manipur in the coming days to assess poll preparedness, official sources said Thursday. The decision to send Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain comes a day after the BJP urged the poll watchdog to declare West Bengal a "super sensitive state".
Mar 14, 2019 19:34 (IST)

Congress will win 10 seats in Assam: Tarun Gogoi | Veteran Congress leader Tarun Gogoi on Thursday said the party will benefit from the anti-Citizenship Bill sentiment in Assam after the AGP's "betrayal", and it hoped to win at least 10 of the 14 seats in the state in the Lok Sabha polls. The former Assam chief minister claimed that the alliance between the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will not help either. People know that the BJP is "anti-Assam" and the AGP is now exposed as a "shameless and double-standard party". Addressing a press conference here, Gogoi said the BJP and the AGP had formed an "opportunistic alliance" as none of them has the capability to win alone The AGP had severed ties with the BJP-led government in Assam in January to protest the Centre's decision to ensure the controversial bill's passage in the Lok Sabha. It returned to the NDA fold after a meeting between AGP president Atul Bora and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on Tuesday. "The AGP rejoining the BJP shows a kind of opportunistic politics which is very rare in the Assamese history. It proves that the three AGP ministers cannot live without power. They have got the taste of power and money," Gogoi said.

Mar 14, 2019 19:13 (IST)

PM Modi seems more like a Bollywood actor than a politician, worked less but did jugglery more: Ashok Gehlot​ | Rajasthan chief minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Thursday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems more like a Bollywood actor than a politician, who “worked less and did jugglery more”. He claimed that constitution and democracy “will be in danger” if the BJP is voted to power again.

Mar 14, 2019 18:52 (IST)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleges that Prime Minister Narendra Modi only respects businessman Anil Ambani and lacks the same for senior BJP leader LK Advani. 

Mar 14, 2019 18:48 (IST)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleges that Prime Minister Narendra Modi only respects businessman Anil Ambani and lacks the same for senior BJP leader LK Advani. 

Mar 14, 2019 18:39 (IST)

Rahul Gandhi in Kerala: In a way, BJP-RSS and CPM both use violence. Violence is a weapon of the weak. Congress has always fought violence with non-violence. You might get a chance to listen to PM Narendra Modi' speeches. All he does is abuse people. He has never said anything nice about anybody.

Mar 14, 2019 18:30 (IST)

While addressing an election rally in Kerala, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi questioned the CPM on what were they doing when Kerala was facing floods. “I want to ask CPM what they did for the 10,000 families affected by floods. The only thing CPM is capable of doing is acting violently. When it comes to job creation, CPM has no answer. I think it is going to take some more time for the CPM to realise that their ideology is defunct. They are grasping at straws,” the Congress president said while continuing his tirade. 

Mar 14, 2019 18:27 (IST)

More than 10 opposition parties have approached the Supreme Court on Thursday, seeking verification of 50% votes by paper trials before the declaration of the results of upcoming Lok Sabha elections. There is also a meet of opposition parties on Friday in Delhi. 

Mar 14, 2019 18:16 (IST)

TDP MLC Quits Party in AP, to Join YSRC | Andhra Pradesh MLC Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy on Thursday resigned from the ruling Telugu Desam Party reportedly because he was denied ticket for the Ongole Lok Sabha seat in the April 11 election and announced he would join the opposition YSR Congress. Reddy previously served as Ongole MP as a member of the Congress. He had quit Congress in 2014 and joined the TDP, but lost in the then Lok Sabha elections. He was subsequently made a member of the Legislative Council.

Mar 14, 2019 18:05 (IST)

Priyanka to kick off Cong's poll campaign in UP on Friday | Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would formally kick off the party's poll campaign from Allahabad on Friday and is likely to take the river route to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency Varanasi. Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar said office bearers of the state unit of the party discussed the details of her programme, which will be declared Friday after seeking certain official clearance. A senior leader said she will begin her campaign from Allahabad, the birthplace of the first prime minister and her great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, from where she may take the river route to Varanasi. In Allahabad, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is also likely to visit the historic Anand Bhawan, the erstwhile ancestral home of the Nehru family, now dedicated as a museum housing the personal belongings of Jawaharlal Nehru and his father Motilal Nehru.

Mar 14, 2019 17:50 (IST)

What is your stand on granting full statehood to Delhi: AAP asks BJP | The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday asked the BJP about its official stand on granting full statehood to Delhi, saying its leaders are giving conflicting statements on the matter. AAP leader Gopal Rai said the BJP is "rattled by the AAP's movement towards attaining full statehood" and are giving conflicting statements because of that. Rai quoted a media report in which Union minister Vijay Goel allegedly said that the BJP is in favour of full statehood but it is not possible if the city has a chief minister like Arvind Kejriwal. He also referred to another media report in which Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari allegedly said that full statehood would not be part of BJP's manifesto. "What is BJP's official stand on granting full statehood to Delhi. We want an answer on that. On one hand, Tiwari says it will not be granted to Delhi while Goel says full statehood would not be given as long as Kejriwal is the chief minister," Rai said.

Mar 14, 2019 17:37 (IST)

Cong and JDS adopted 'give and take' policy in seat sharing: Siddaramaiah |  The ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah on Thursday said alliance partners had adopted a "give and take" policy in the seat sharing deal for the Lok Sabha elections. The state Congress Legislature party leader also said the party's list of candidates for Lok Sabha polls is likely to be finalised by March 16. On ceding Tumkur Lok Sabha constituency to the JD(S), despite state Congress leaders' stand that no seat with sitting party MP should be conceded, he said "We had said it should not be given, but it is the party high command's decision, we will have to go by the decision.." The Congress will contest 20 seats and JD(S) eight under a deal finalised by the two ruling coalition partners on Wednesday after weeks of haggling.

Mar 14, 2019 17:14 (IST)

Seeking to encash Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image of a doer, BJP has chosen the slogan of 'Modi Hai to Mumkin Hai' (Modi makes it possible) for the upcoming general elections, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday. Modi, he added, has demonstrated during the last five years indefatigability by literally working round-the-clock, Jaitley said in the 'Agenda 2019  Part-4' blog post. He further said Modi as a quick learner has demonstrated his ability to take quick decisions on complicated matters with clarity and determination.

Mar 14, 2019 16:49 (IST)

Manmohan Singh not as tough on terror and Pakistan as Narendra Modi: Sheila Dikshit | In an interview with CNN News18, veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit says that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not as tough on Pakistan and terror as Narendra Modi is. The 80-year-old Congress leader's comment is expected to stir a controversy as parliamentary elections are just weeks away. Dikshit though, added that action taken by PM Modi was aimed at gaining political mileage. Dikshit earlier served as the chief minister of Delhi for three consecutive terms and is presently leading the Congress party in Delhi for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Later, when a row erupted, Dikshit sought to defend herself by saying that her words were taken out of context.

Mar 14, 2019 16:43 (IST)

Another BJD MP quits | Balabhadra Majhi, BJD MP from Nabarangpur (Odisha) resigns from the primary membership of Biju Janta Dal on Thursday. Earlier, Jai Panda too, switched sides and later joined BJP.

Mar 14, 2019 16:40 (IST)

3-Member Committee to Select BJP's 17 Candidates in Bihar | The BJP on Thursday formed a three-member committee to select candidates for the 17 seats it is contesting in Bihar in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The election committee includes state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nityanand Rai, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi and state agriculture minister Prem Kumar. The committee, formed at a meeting held at the party headquarters, has been told not to deny party tickets to any Union minister from Bihar, BJP sources said. Senior BJP leader and Bihar minister Nand Kishore Yadav told the media that the list of selected candidates will be sent to the BJP Central Election Committee for final approval. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will announce names of candidates for all the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state before March 21.  The BJP is contesting 17 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.

Mar 14, 2019 16:30 (IST)

A high level delegation of the Election Commission will be visiting West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Manipur from March 16-19 to review preparedness of Lok Sabha polls.

Mar 14, 2019 16:22 (IST)

Deputy Election Commissioner to visit West Bengal | The Election Commission has decided to send the deputy election commissioner to West Bengal to review poll preparedness of the state. This comes after BJP urged the Election Commission on Wednesday to declare West Bengal as a "super sensitive state" to ensure fair Lok Sabha polls there and demanded that central forces be deployed at all polling stations in the state. A BJP delegation including Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman, J P Nadda and party's general secretaries Bhupender Yadav and Kailash Vijayvargiya had met top officials of the poll body and apprised them of their demands.

Mar 14, 2019 16:03 (IST)

Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily said on Thursday that his party did not want the SP-BSP-RLD alliance to lose in Uttar Pradesh and that it may enter into an understanding with the 'ghatbandhan' in segments in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. He said the Congress has chosen to fight the polls in Uttar Pradesh, an electorally crucial state with 80 seats, on its own strength after the SP-BSP offered it only two seats.

Mar 14, 2019 15:59 (IST)

In NCP’s first list, Sanjay Dina Patil has been fielded from Mumbai North East, Anand Paranjpe from Thane, Sunil Tatkare from Raigad, apart from Supriya Sule who will contest Lok Sabha polls from Baramati. Also, Mohammad Faisal has been named as a NCP candidate from Lakshwadeep.

Mar 14, 2019 15:50 (IST)

Supriye Sule in 1st List of NCP | Nationalist Congress Party(NCP) has declared 11 candidates for Lok Sabha elections. Party chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriye Sule has been fielded from Baramati. In Hatkanangale, NCP will support Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana. Earlier, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana’s Raju Shetty had given a 2-day ultimatum to Congress &NCP over seat-sharing issue.

Mar 14, 2019 15:29 (IST)

Cong Reacts to Senior Leader Tom Vadakkan's Defection | After its spokesperson Tom Vadakkan joined the BJP, the Congress on Thursday dismissed his criticism of the party saying that till now he used to "abuse" Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Asked about Vadakkan citing dynastic politics and the Congress's stand on the Pulwama terror attack and India's retaliatory strikes as his reasons for quitting the party, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said every person who leaves a party to join another party "searching for a better future", has to say something.

Mar 14, 2019 15:18 (IST)

SC Hearing in Rafale Deal Case Begins | Supreme Court's second hearing on the Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France has begun. On Wednesday, the top court allowed the Centre to file an affidavit saying leakage of documents through photocopying amounted to theft. According to the government, documents attached in review petitions are sensitive to national security. In the ensuing political slugfest over the controversial deal, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday had said, "There are no questions over the capability of the Rafale aircraft. But there are several questions over the way the way the deal was finalised, which resulted in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Anil Ambani pocketing Rs 30,000 crore. There must be an investigation, as corruption is crystal clear in the deal, and the guilty will be punished,” 

Mar 14, 2019 14:41 (IST)

BSP-SP to Have Joint Election Rallies | Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav speaks about his campaign strategy with ally Bahujan Samaj Party. "In Uttar Pradesh, SP-BSP will have joint election rallies during the ensuing Lok Sabha polls, said former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav," he says. 

Mar 14, 2019 14:27 (IST)

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also added his two cents in the issue of JeM chief Masood Azhar's listing saying that it can partly be blamed on the Indian government's diplomatic failure. Tharoor, however, hit out at Beijing over the "technical block" they posed in the UN Security Council on Wednesday saying that "China is mollycoddling with terrorists."

Mar 14, 2019 14:11 (IST)

Vadakkan said, "I left Congress party because when Pakistani terrorists attacked our land, my party's reaction to it was sad, it hurt me deeply. If a political party takes such a position that is against the country then I'm left with no option but to leave the party." Vadakkan was welcomed to the party by Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and was garlanded by BJP chief Amit Shah.

Mar 14, 2019 14:03 (IST)

Senior Congress Leader Tom Vadakkan Joins BJP | In a major setback for the Congress, one of its senior leaders,Tom Vadakkan has decided to sign over to the BJP camp. Vadakkan cited his disappointment over Congress' stance on the Balakot strikes and Pulwama terror attack as one of the reasons behind his decision. 

Mar 14, 2019 13:44 (IST)

Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and National President of Samajwadi Party Akhilesh Yadav took a jibe at the development policies of the BJP government at the centre and state in a series of tweets using #VikasPoochRahaHai. On Thursday morning, SP chief Akhilesh tweeted, “Karobari ‘Vikas’ Pooch Raha Hai, Is Kagazi Sarkar Se Chutkara Kab Milega.” In another tweet Akhilesh has written, “Khetihar ‘Vikas’ Pooch Raha Hai, Kab Mehnat Ka Daam Milega.”, while in his third tweet Yadav wrote, “Berozgar ‘Vikas’ Pooch Raha Hai, Kahi Koi Kaam Milega?”. In all of his three tweets Yadav tried to raise issues of unemployment, farmer distress and businessmen.

Mar 14, 2019 13:17 (IST)

Addressing the media, Arjun Singh said, "I worked for the last 40 years under Mamata Banerjeeji. But, I was extremely disappointed when she questioned the credibility of Indian Army after Balakot strike. When the entire country was speaking in one voice against Pakistan, she was questioning the intention of the Prime Minister. It was very unfortunate.”

Mar 14, 2019 13:13 (IST)

TMC MLA Arjun Singh Signs Over to BJP Camp | The Trinamool Congress MLA from Bhatpara, Arjun Singh has officially joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. Arjun Singh, who is known to have influence in the region between North Kolkata to Nadia, has been a major game changer for the party in the past elections due to his local connections. His exit from the party not only signals the presence of an internal rift but could spell trouble for TMC's campaign plans in the state. 

Mar 14, 2019 12:43 (IST)

Would the Congress party adopt a different voice even in case of a cruel killer & a global terrorist Masood Azhar? : Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad continues his rebuke of Rahul Gandhi's criticism. 

Election Tracker LIVE: 21 Opposition Parties Approach SC Over Use of VVPATs in Counting
File photo of the Supreme Court of India.

Former Delhi chief minister and the head of the Congress unit in the national capital, Sheila Dikshit, has made a startling admission in an interview with CNN-News18. She accepted that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not as tough on Pakistan and terror as his successor Narendra Modi. But she said that the action taken by Modi has been more for political gains.

The Nationalist Congress Party has released its first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha election, a day after alliance partner Congress fielded five candidates from the state. The NCP list of 12 names includes one seat for the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, which has fielded a candidate from Hatkanangale. The party said discussions are still underway and the party is likely to release its second list on Friday.

Even as Rahul Gandhi is campaigning in Kerala ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan switched over to the BJP camp on Thursday. “Hurt” over Congress questioning the armed forces in the aftermath of Pulwama terror attack, Vadakkan joined BJP in the presence of Ravi Shankar Prasad. He also slammed the Congress for its "dyansty politics", alleging the party has a culture of "use and throw". Vadakkan, who was a key aide of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, has never contested an election.

Earlier on Thursday, the Bharatiya Janata Party hit out at Rahul Gandhi after the Congress chief said a “weak” Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scared of Xi Jinping and “not a word comes out of his mouth when China acts against India”. Gandhi’s statement came after China, for the fourth time, blocked the move of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist. The BJP, responding to the charges, said the Congress president should have used his proximity with China to influence its decision on Azhar.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked Congress could still speak a different tone even in case of a cruel killer and global terrorist like Azhar. Adding that he needed to learn that foreign policy was not run on Twitter, Prasad said Gandhi must look at his party’s history vis-à-vis China.

Meanwhile, Gandhi addressed a fishermen’s parliament in northern Kerala on Thursday and is scheduled to visit the families of Youth Congress activists allegedly killed by CPI(M) men.

The political parties have been campaigning in full swing since the Election Commission announced the dates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and polling would be held over seven phases through May 19, followed by counting of all votes on May 23. Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal, Odisha and Sikkim will also be held simultaneously, the Election Commission (EC) said. However, elections for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly, which was dissolved after the ruling coalition between the BJP and the PDP fell apart, will not be held along with the Lok Sabha polls.

The election will pit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance against several opposition parties, including the Congress, the Left and regional forces who are continuing to work out a grand alliance to minimise a division of votes against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led ruling combine.