The CEC has already held wide-ranging discussions on selection of its candidates for Bihar, Maharashtra, Anadhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chattisgarh and all eight north-eastern states. Though the Congress has announced candidates for 146 Lok Sabha constituencies so far, the BJP is yet to officially make any announcement on its nominees.
Meanwhile, intensifying his 'Main Bhi Chowkidar' (I too am a watchman) campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with watchmen across the country today.
Earlier, the Congress and the National Conference announced an alliance in Jammu and Kashmir for the Lok Sabha polls, saying it is in national interest and will help strengthen secular forces. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and NC patron Farooq Abdullah jointly told the media while the Congress will contest the Jammu and Udhampur Lok Sabha seats, National Conference will fight from Srinagar. There will be a "friendly contest" between the two parties on the Anantnag and Baramulla seats, they said. Abdullah said the two parties are also discussing an arrangement for the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat. The state sends six MPs to Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati today announced that she would not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, stressing that it was more important for the SP-BSP alliance to win. “I know I can win from any seat, all I have to do is file my nomination and my party workers will take care of the rest. We have a strong alliance with RLD and SP to defeat BJP and it is more important for us to win more seats than for me to win one. I had earlier resigned from Rajya Sabha to keep our movement alive but keeping in mind the current political situation I have decided not to contest LS elections,” she said.
Rebel BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha is likely to contest on a Congress ticket in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from the Patna Sahib seat. Earlier reports had said the BJP was set to drop Sinha and replace him with Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Shatrughan Sinha has been critical of the party's top leadership on several occasions in the past.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the BJP had systematically attacked every institution in the last five years, including the media. “The PM should stop thinking people are fools and understand that they see through this,” she said in response to Modi’s blog where he attacked the Congress for dynastic politics. Priyanka’s attack was followed by senior party leader Kapil Sibal who said the RSS itself was a dynast. “It is the biggest dynasty.... if you want to become a CM then you have to be a member of RSS,” he said.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of destroying one crore jobs in 2018 alone despite promising to create two crore jobs annually. Addressing a public rally in the Manipur capital, Gandhi said the job losses under the Modi government were to the tune of 30,000 per day through 2018. "In 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi destroyed 1 crore jobs in the country. This is the scale of his incompetence. It is absurd and ridiculous that the PM promises giving 2 crore jobs," Gandhi alleged. Slamming the Centre's demonetisation move of 2016, Gandhi said it shattered people's lives. The grand old party also released its sixth list of nine candidates, seven from Maharashtra and two from Kerala, for the Lok Sabha elections. With this, the party has so far released names of 146 candidates for the polls starting April 11.
The opposition Mahagatbandhan in Bihar, which was expected to announce its seat-sharing formula on Sunday, hit a roadblock after RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav asked the Congress to rethink its seat tally to offer better numbers to the other allies. The dispute erupted after Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samata Party demanded to contest on five seats
, while it was being offered three. Other allies, Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM and Sharad Yadav's LJD, were also not satisfied with the seat-sharing pact, following which the grand alliance had to rework their formula. They were expected to announce their final distribution of seats today but it has now been delayed to March 22.
On the eve of Holi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address over 25 lakh watchmen through audio bridge medium as he steps up his 'Main bhi chowkidar' campaign in the run up to the Lok Sabha campaign.
Party's media head and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni said Modi will share the "colours of Holi" with watchmen across the country in the address on Wednesday. The prime minister is also scheduled to interact with people, who have pledged their support to the 'Main bhi chowkidar' (I also am a watchman) campaign, from 500 places in the country on March 31.
Noting that watchmen work round-the-clock without taking any leave, Baluni said Modi's initiative is aimed at highlighting the works of people like them and added that it was an important step for improving the lot of the last man in line with the BJP's credo of 'sabka saath sabka vikas' (With all, development for all). People from different walks of life have lent their support to the 'Main bhi chowkidar' campaign, he asserted.
The Congress Tuesday took a swipe at "Main Bhi Chowkidar" campaign, alleging that PM Modi is trying to befool the people by pretending to be a "chowkidar". Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Modi government does not have anything to offer to the people after being in power for five years and therefore, was resorting to such a campaign.
"Modi is trying to resell his brand which has already flopped and is thus changing its packaging, name and colour to achieve his goal," he told reporters. Surejwala claimed that in 2013, Modi had promised to bring back 80 lakh crore of black money stashed abroad and putting Rs 15 lakh into the accounts of every individual. "In 2014, just ahead of the elections he promised the people of bringing 'achche din' (good days) in the country and in 2015, changed it to 'sabka saath, sabka vikas'.