The Supreme Court today asked the Election Commission to take a call on complaints filed by Congress against PM Modi and BJP Chief Amit Shah for allegedly violation the Model Code of Conduct. The court will hear the matter on May 6. The poll body has already given a clean chit to PM Modi in the two out 11 complaints against him and Shah.
Earlier, Union Finance Minister Minister Arun Jaitley said that the United Nations (UN) ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) Chief Masood Azhar is a "great diplomatic victory" for India the credit for which goes to PM Modi. Jaitley also slammed the opposition's position as unfortunate stating that the "friends in opposition feel they may pay political price if they join in the celebration." Jaitley and Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held a joint press conference at BJP headquarters in Delhi. "It is the persistent efforts taken by our government under the leadership of the prime minister which has brought this result for us today," Nirmala Sitharaman said while addressing the media.
Meanwhile, Congress President Rahul Gandhi will campaign and address several election rallies in Rajasthan today in the run-up to the Lok Sabha election 2019. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah, too, will canvass in Rajasthan on Friday. Union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Gujarat counterpart Vijay Rupani have also descended in the state to take part in political rallies.
Rajasthan constituencies that will go to poll in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha election 2019 on May 6 are Ganganagar, Bikaner, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Jaipur Rural, Jaipur, Alwar, Bharatpur, Karauli-Dholpur, Dausa and Nagaur.
Here are the latest updates on the Lok Sabha election 2019:
4.10 pm: Traffic Congestion biggest worry of Delhi voters, says survey
Traffic Congestion is the biggest concern for the urban Delhi voters while Higher Price Realization is top priority for the rural voters in the capital. Pollution and Jobs are among the top three priorities, according to a survey conducted by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The survey was conducted between October 2018 and December 2018, prior to the General Elections to the Lok Sabha 2019. The survey covered 3500 respondents across 7 parliamentary constituencies in the NCT of Delhi.
The NCT of Delhi Survey 2018 shows that Traffic Congestion (49.67%), Water and Air Pollution (44.52%), and Better Employment Opportunities (43.07%) are the top three voters' priorities in overall NCT of Delhi. Respondents have given a thumbs down to the Delhi Government on all top three priorities. On a scale of 5, voters have given only 2.27 points on traffic congestion to the performance of Delhi Government. Similarly, Water and Air Pollution (2.29), and Better Employment Opportunities (2.29) was rated as Below Average.
In urban Delhi, top most voters' priorities were Traffic Congestion (50%), Water and Air Pollution (45%), and Better Employment Opportunities (43%). The performance of the government on urban voters' priorities of Traffic Congestion (2.27 on a scale of 5), Water and Air Pollution (2.29), and Better Employment Opportunities (2.29) was rated as Below Average. In addition, the government has performed poorly in Empowerment of Women and Security (1.85) and Noise Pollution (2.27) in urban Delhi.
3.20pm: Our priority is the country: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
In an interview to ANI, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, "The priority is the country. The priority is to defeat an ideology which is out to destroy this country, to destroy institutions and to destroy everything that makes India a democracy."
3.10 pm: SC asks Election Commission to decide on Congress complaints against Modi before May 6.
The Supreme Court has asked the Election Commission to decide before May 6, the 9 complaints filed by Congress party against PM Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct, ANI reports.
2.49 pm: I stopped children from saying slogans against PM Modi: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
"I stopped children from saying slogans which I think weren't correct about PM. BJP edited the tape, removed the part where I was stopping them & they're making this allegation, which is typical of them. What they do is twist truth, what I do is I speak the truth," said Priyanka as she refuted Union Minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani's comments slamming her for disrespecting the Prime Minister.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra: I stopped children from saying slogans which I think weren't correct about PM. BJP edited the tape,removed the part where I was stopping them&they're making this allegation,which is typical of them. What they do is twist truth,what I do is I speak the truth pic.twitter.com/cza3zZUKDJ- ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 2, 2019
2.25 pm: 'Cultured Families should keep their children away from Priyanka: Smriti Irani
Union Minister today hit out at Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra after she was seen smiling and watching over as a group of children abused PM Modi in a video that went viral. "Doesn't Mrs Vadra know that you can't use children for political activity?What values are you giving to children.I'd say that cultured families should keep their children away from such a person," Irani said while talking to ANI.
1.50 pm: "For 2019, the focus is to defeat the BJP," says Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
"My focus is on both 2019 and 2022 (UP Assembly elections). For 2019, the focus is to defeat the BJP. By 2022, I want to strengthen the Congress so that we can fight well," Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress General Secretary in-charge for UP (East) told ANI while campaigning in Raebareli, UP
1.35 pm: The Twitter tussle between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi (9.34 million followers) despite lagging behind PM Modi (47.5 million followers) in the follower count, has pipped the Prime Minister when it comes to retweets. According to an analysis by India Today's Data Intelligence Unit done between October 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019, Gandhi's tweets, on an average, were retweeted 7,662 times, which is 2.5 times more than Modi's average retweet count of 2,984.
Modi however is the most followed leader on Twitter with 47 million followers followed by Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj. Rahul Gandhi stands at number 5 followed by his party colleague Shashi Tharoor. Among the top 20 most followed handles in the list, 17 belong to the BJP. Jyotiraditya Scindia is the third opposition MP in the top 20.
1.17 pm: "We would like to highlight that the zero tolerance policy for terror by the prime minister has borne fruit," Nirmala Sitharaman.
1.16 pm: "It is the persistent efforts taken by our government under the leadership of the prime minister which has brought this result for us today," Nirmala Sitharaman.
1.14 pm: "Terrorism shall not be tolerated & this declaration from the UN is noteworthy. Persistent measures taken by the MEA, under leadership of PM & his own visits have resulted in this." Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman on UN declaring JeM Chief Masood Azhar as global terrorist.
1.13 pm: China changed stand because of US: FM Arun Jaitley.
1.10 pm: Pakistan is already in the FATF grey list, FM Arun Jaitley.
1.09 pm: Opposition doubts forces: FM Arun Jaitley.
1.07 pm: Opposition position is unfortunate: FM Arun Jaitley.
1.06 pm: Opposition undermining India on a world stage: FM Arun Jaitley.
1.05 pm: PM must be credited with this victory of India: FM Arun Jaitley.
12.56 pm: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hold a joint press conference at BJP Headquarters in Delhi.
12.48 pm: Ideology of Congress & BJP poles apart: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
"Ideology of Congress & BJP is poles apart. We'll always fight them; they are our main adversary in politics. We've made sure not to benefit BJP in any way. We're fighting strongly, our candidates are strong," said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress General Secretary in-charge UP (East) while campaigning in Raebareli.
12.43 pm: Priyanka Gandhi, General Secretary in-charge for UP (East) meets snake charmers while campaigning in Raebareli, holds snakes in hands.
12.20 pm: BJP President takes a swipe at Rahul Gandhi for revoking SC/ST act to incite hatred in society.
"Lies and only Lies. See how @RahulGandhi fictitiously revokes the SC/ST Act to incite hatred in society," Shah tweeted.
Lies and only Lies!April 5, 2018
12.00 pm: Cyclone Fani likely to hit Odisha with wind speed of up to 205 kmph; NDMA issues do's and don'ts.
National Disaster Management Authority has issued a list of do's and don'ts before, during and after cyclone Fani hits Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, South of Puri. The cyclone might make a landfall in the state on May 3 with wind speed of 175-185 kmph gusting up to 205 kmph.
BSP chief Mayawati jeered at the opposition parties especially PM Modi, BJP and Congress for invoking BR Ambedkar's name to taunt BSP for garnering votes for elections and said that the dalit ideologue's name might be used by BJP, Congress and other parties to do vote bank politics but for BSP he is a soul.
Mayawati,BSP: Kal yahan UP mein PM Modi ne apne chunavi jan sabha mein khaas kar BR Ambedkar ji ko lekar BSP ke upar jo tika tipanni ki hai. Ambedkar Ji BJP, Congress ya anaya virodhi party ke liye ye vote ki rajneeti ho sakti hain, kintu BSP ke liye weh aatma ke samaan hai. pic.twitter.com/E6zwLRyULS- ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 2, 2019
11.30 am: Made Masood Azhar a guest then freed him: Mayawati takes a dig at BJP Govt
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) President Mayawati took a dig at the Modi-led BJP Govt saying that it earlier made Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief "Masood Azhar a guest and later freed him abroad and now at the time of elections they are trying to gather votes on his name, it is condemnable."
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) President Mayawati: Earlier BJP Government made #MasoodAzhar a guest and later freed him abroad, now at the time of elections they are trying to gather votes on his name, it is condemnable. pic.twitter.com/McqWV5V2TB- ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2019
11.12 am: The Supreme Court asks the Election Commission to decide on pleas for re-scheduling the voting time from 7 am to 5 am in Lok Sabha Election 2019 during the month of Ramzan coinciding the rest of the phases and due to heat-wave conditions in Rajasthan and other areas.
Supreme Court asks Election Commission to decide on pleas for re-scheduling the voting time from 7 am to 5 am in General Election during the month of Ramzan coinciding with the rest of the phases and due to heat-wave conditions in Rajasthan and other areas. pic.twitter.com/Nd952ZxZQ4- ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2019
10.58 am: Congress trying to cut into BJP vote bank in UP and help mahagathbandhan?
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday sprang a surprise, admitting that the Congress has weak candidates in some Uttar Pradesh seats and will be "cutting into the BJP vote bank".
Speaking to India Today TV, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra stopped short of saying that by cutting into the BJP vote, these "weak" candidates would end up helping the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
"There is not a single seat in East UP where Congress has a weak candidate. I have personally made sure to select such candidates who will cut BJP's votes in Uttar Pradesh," Priyanka Gandhi told India Today TV.
The Congress is not part of the UP mahagathbandhan of the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), but it increasingly seems as though the party is lending an indirect helping hand to Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav with a common aim to defeat the BJP.
10.45 am: EC seeks reply from Rahul Gandhi over tribal remark in MP, gives him 48 hours to respond.
The Election Commission has issued a notice to Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi over his remark on tribals during his speech rally in Madhya Pradesh's Shahdol on April 23 and has sought a reply within 48 hours for violating the Model Code of Conduct. Gandhi had said that the Modi-led NDA Government has made a new law that allows officers to shoot adivasis. "Narendra Modi has made a new law that allows police to shoot at tribals. The law says that tribals can be attacked. They take away your lands, take away your forests, they take away your water, and then they say tribals can be shot at," the notice quoted Gandhi as saying at a public rally in Shahdol.
10.15 am: "942 Bombings Since 2014, PM Needs To Open His Ears": Rahul Gandhi takes a swipe at PM Modi.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi took another dig at PM Modi hours after 16 security personnel were killed in a Maoist attack in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli. "The PM says since 2014 the sounds of blasts can't be heard in India. Phulwama, Pathankot, Uri, Gadchiroli and 942 other major bombings since 2014. The PM needs to open his ears and listen," tweeted the Congress chief.
The PM says since 2014 the sounds of blasts can't be heard in India.
and 942 other major bombings since 2014.
The PM needs to open his ears and listen. https://t.co/gj1ngrZm5i- Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 1, 2019
9.50 am: Sunny Deol, BJP candidate from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency in Punjab offers prayers at the Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur.
Punjab: Sunny Deol, BJP candidate from Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency offers prayer at the Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur. pic.twitter.com/JdVYHUO5wk- ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2019
9.30 am: Why Hardeep Singh Puri faces an uphill task in Amritsar?
The election frenzy is at its peak. While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is claiming a wave in its favour, there is one constituency where it will find the going tough - Amritsar, where it has fielded Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri to take on sitting Member of Parliament Gurjeet Singh Aujla. The diplomat-turned-politician wasn't the party's first choice. The BJP's Punjab wing wanted actress Poonam Dhillon whereas the party's leadership in New Delhi waskeen to field senior advocate and activist H.S. Phoolka, who refused. Puri is a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh. His tenure ends in November 2020.
Amritsar had grabbed national headlines in the 2014 General Elections when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley lost to Congress' Captain Amarinder Singh with over one lakh votes in spite of a strong wave in favour of the BJP in North India. In the 2017 bypolls, which were called after Amarinder Singh quit to become Punjab Chief Minister, his confidant G.S. Aujla won the seat with more than 1.7 lakh votes.Traditionally, Amritsar has been a Congress bastion, but the BJP was able to take the seat in 2004 after cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu defeated Congress stalwart and six-time MP Raghunandan Lal Bhatia. Sidhu went on to win this seat three times. In 2014, he was denied the ticket. Can Puri do what Jaitley couldn't? It is difficult to say. But one thing is clear - wresting Amritsar from the Congress will be an uphill task for the BJP.
9.15 am: I welcome the listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council: Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu
Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu welcomes the listing of JeM Chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). "I welcome the listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council. I appreciate the efforts of our country and members of UNSC for pursuing this with all sincerity," he tweeted.
9.10 am: PM Modi thanks global community for supporting India's efforts for UN ban on JeM's Chief Masood Azhar
"Today is a day that would make every Indian proud. I thank the global community and all those who believe in humanitarian values for their support. India's fight against terror will continue. We will work towards peace and brotherhood in our planet," he tweeted.
9.05 am: "No one controls us," says Akhilesh as he refutes Rahul Gandhi's claims of BJP controlling the SP & BSP
"No one controls us. We are political parties. It is the SP, BSP & RLD alliance in UP that is poised to give a setback to the ruling party.Our alliance will stop the bad policies of BJP," says Akhilesh Yadav an interview to ANI. He refuted Congress President Rahul Gandhi's claim that BJP controls the SP and the BSP.
8.59 am: I don't think Congress has fielded weak candidates in UP: Akhilesh Yadav
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's claim to have fielded weak candidates to eat into BJP's vote share in the Lok Sabha poll in the state has not cut any ice with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who sees her statement as an "excuse" since the "people are not with them".
"I cannot believe in these types of statements. I do not believe that the Congress has fielded weak candidates anywhere. No party does it. People are not with them. That is why they are making excuses," Yadav told ANI in an interview.
Priyanka on Wednesday had said in Raebareli that her party had fielded some candidates in UP with an aim to cut into BJP's vote share. "Congress will win on the seats where our candidates are strong. Where our candidates are slightly lightweight, they will cut into BJP's vote share," she told media persons.
8.43 am Pulwama terror attack was BJP's conspiracy just like Godhra: former Gujarat CM Shankarsinh Vaghela
Former Gujarat Chief minister Wednesday said that the terror attack on 44 CRPF troopers in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir was a BJP a conspiracy just as Godhra was. "The vehicle with RDX which was used in Pulwama attack was bearing the registration initial of Gujarat- GJ. Godhra was a conspiracy," said Vaghela.
8.34 am: I am not a PM post aspirant: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu
"Opposition parties will sit together after the election and discuss who will be the Prime Minister, I'm not an aspirant. Polling is to be held in 3 more phases, after that we will discuss," Andhra Pradesh CM and TDP leader, N Chandrababu Naidu said in Amravati.
8.20 am: AAP accuses BJP of offering Rs 10 crore to 7 MLAs to quit party
Accusing the BJP of indulging in horse trading, AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Wednesday alleged that seven of his party MLAs in the national capital have been offered Rs 10 crore each to join the saffron party. The BJP however rubbished the claim terming it "bizarre allegation" and a "desperate bid to gain attention". Sisodia alleged the BJP had earlier too tried to "buy" AAP MLAs and they were given appropriate response by the public, and claimed that this time also they will get a befitting reply.
8.05 am: EC stays release of Mamata- inspired film 'Baghini: Bengal Tigress'
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has stalled the release of Bengali firm 'Baghini: Bengal Tigress' till the culmination of Lok Sabha Election 2019. The movie is based on the life of Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Meanwhile, the film's producer has submitted a compliance letter to the commission along with a note which states the movie is "not a biopic".
8.00 am: EC gives PM Modi clean chit for "dedicate vote to Balakot" remark
The Election Commission Wednesday concluded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech in Latur last month in which he had urged first-time voters to dedicate their votes in the name of the Balakot air strike heroes and the soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack is not violative of its instructions on invoking armed forces in poll campaigns.Referring to the prime minister's statement in Latur, the commission said, "The matter has been examined in detail in accordance with the extant advisories, provisions of the Model Code of Conduct and after examination of complete transcript of the speech of 11 pages as per the certified copy sent by the Returning Officer, Osmanabad parliamentary constituency. The commission is of the considered view that in this matter no such violation of the extant advisories/provisions is attracted."
Addressing a rally in Ausa in Maharashtra's Latur on April 9, Modi had said, "Can your first vote be dedicated to those who carried out the air strike." "I want to tell the first-time voters: can your first vote be dedicated to the veer jawans (valiant soldiers) who carried out the air strike in Pakistan. Can your first vote be dedicated to the veer shaheed (brave martyrs) of Pulwama (terror attack)," Modi had said.