A day after the Lok Sabha polls concluded, parties have retraced to their headquarters to strategise for the coming few days. To begin with, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi urged her fellow workers not to believe in the exit polls. "Exit polls are being shown to discourage you. Do not believe them. Remain alert in the strong rooms and counting rooms. I am positive that our hard work will reap fruits," said Priyanka Gandhi.
While all the Opposition parties have put up a brave face, with many leaders saying that they do not believe in exit polls, the poll prediction shows a landslide victory for the ruling BJP-led NDA alliance. Additionally, the Opposition leaders have set in motion the process of initiating alliance talks.
Stakes are high and it is only a matter to a day before the new government is formed.
Follow Lok Sabha Election 2019 LIVE updates on the BusinessToday.In blog here:
5.35 PM: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at BJP headquarters for the meeting of Union Council of Minsters.
Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at BJP headquarters for the meeting of Union Council of Minsters. pic.twitter.com/PJDrZb3feT— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2019
4.47 PM: Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Maneka Gandhi & VK Singh arrive at the BJP Office for meeting of Union Council of Ministers to be held at 5 pm.
Delhi: Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Maneka Gandhi & VK Singh arrive at the BJP Office for meeting of Union Council of Ministers to be held at 5 pm. pic.twitter.com/DPCdGVE8Zg— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2019
4.19 PM: As many as 22 Opposition parties have submitted a memorandum before the EC, requesting the verification of VVPAT slips of randomly identified (05) polling stations should be done prior to the initiation of counting of votes and not after the completion of last round of counting.
4.00 PM: The SC has dismissed a PIL seeking 100 per cent matching of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during the counting of votes on May 23 for Lok Sabha polls. A vacation bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra refused to entertain the plea filed by a Chennai-based organisation 'Tech 4 All', saying that a larger bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had already dealt with the matter and passed an order.-- PTI
3.55 PM: "The provisions and protocols have been explained to the political parties on multiple occasions including in several of the 93 meetings held with them at the Commission since announcement of elections," says the EC.
3.34 PM: The Election Commission says complaints of alleged movement of EVMs, purportedly to replace polled EVMs in strongrooms, doing rounds in sections of media. "Would like to unambiguously clarify that reports are absolutely false. Visuals seen viral on media do not pertain to any EVMs used during the polls."
3.17pm: Former President Pranab Mukherjee speaks out on contentions raised against EVMs. "The onus of ensuring institutional integrity in this case lies with the Election Commission of India. They must do so and put all speculations to rest," Mukherjee said in his statement.
Former President Pranab Mukherjee issues statement, says ' Onus on ensuring institutional integrity in this case(security of EVMs) lies with the Election Commission, they must do so and put all speculations to rest' pic.twitter.com/2xFIhok7pN— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2019
3.10 PM: Leaders from over 19 parties are present in the meeting held by Opposition leaders. These parties include Congress, SP, BSP, TDP, TMC, RJD, JDS, CPI, CPIM, NCP and DMK.
3.02pm: Opposition leaders arrive at Election Commission to meet offcials over EVMs. They will raise their demand of tallying VVPAT slips with EVM figures in an entire Assembly constituency if a discrepancy is found in any polling booth.
Opposition leaders will be pressing their demand of tallying VVPAT slips with EVM figures in an entire Assembly constituency in case a discrepancy is found in any polling booth. https://t.co/8NjY5qdWwY— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2019
2.52 PM: Kamal Nath on political situation in Madhya Pradesh: "I have complete trust on the MLAs of Congress party. At least 10 MLAs have told me now that they are getting phone calls where they are being offered money & posts." (ANI)
2.28 PM: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar: "We've always maintained Art.370 shouldn't be scrapped, Uniform Civil Code shouldn't be imposed, Ayodhya dispute should be resolved through mutual agreement/court's intervention."
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar: BJP's stand is not new. A party has its own stand but when there is an alliance, all of this is discussed. So there is no problem there. https://t.co/jLhTeKukPD— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2019
2.10 PM: A meeting of opposition leaders is underway at the Constitution Club of India.
Delhi: A meeting of opposition leaders is underway at the Constitution Club of India. pic.twitter.com/0AB86GJ2zB— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2019
1:41pm: "There's no contradiction. We've always maintained Article 370 shouldn't be scrapped, Uniform Civil Code shouldn't be imposed, Ayodhya dispute should be resolved through mutual agreement/court's intervention. We've maintained this since we first forged an alliance with BJP. BJP's stand is not new. A party has its own stand but when there is an alliance, all of this is discussed. So there is no problem there," said Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.
1:35pm: Mumbai Congress President Milind Deora writes to Chief Electoral Officer, Maharashtra requesting "increase of vigilance, security etc at counting centers, so that EVM machines should not get tampered in any manner whatsoever"
1:20pm: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said, "Questions on EVM is bogus. After introduction of EVMs, elections have become transparent. It's a technology which has been questioned multiple times&have been answered by EC...Faction which begins losing says there were discrepancies in elections. It's not new."
1:16pm: Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief Dinesh Gundu Rao on Roshan Baig: It's unbecoming of a politician of his stature to be speaking like this, it ranks of pure political opportunism. We will take required action when the time is right.
1:10pm: Congress Party has said that movement of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) during the night is raising suspicion among people and asked the EC take corrective measures to maintain sanctity of the electoral process. Party spokesperson Rajiv Shukla said that similar complaints have been made by party leaders from across the country. A delegation of opposition parties will meet EC officials later today to apprise it about their concerns over EVMs.
Addressing media at Party headquarters, Congress spokesperson Rajiv Shukla said, "We have received complaints about suspicious movement of EVMs in Gazipur, Jhansi, Dumariyaganj, Saran, Chamoli, Fatehabad and Punjab as well. These are genuine complaints which the election commission should look into to maintain sanctity of the entire electoral process otherwise people will lose faith."
He said that a delegation of opposition party leaders will meet EC official to apprise them about EVM security concerns and VVPAT. He also said that the EC has not clarified as to what procedure will be followed if the EVM and VVPAT mismatch is reported. "This is the reason we are demanding at least 50% tally of VVPAT, let it take two days, what's the harm, earlier also counting process used to take two-three days but at least people will not have any doubt," said Rajiv Shukla.
12:55pm: Sweet shop workers prepare sweets in Borivali, Mumbai wearing Modi masks.
Sweet shop workers prepare sweets in Borivali, Mumbai ahead of #LokSabhaElections2019 results on 23rd May. Shop owner says,"We've received an order of 1500-2000 kg sweets from BJP's Gopal Shetty (Mumbai North LS candidate). Workers are excited, so they're wearing Modi ji's masks" pic.twitter.com/mJd2yrfVHK— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2019
12:49pm: Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President KS Azhagiri and other party leaders pay tribute to former PM Rajiv Gandhi.
Tamil Nadu: Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President KS Azhagiri and other party leaders pay tribute to former PM #RajivGandhi at his memorial in Sriperumbudur, on his death anniversary today. pic.twitter.com/r7xcXSU2KY— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2019
12:47pm: Visuals from the Pradesh Congress Committee meeting of the party candidates underway in Bhopal.
Madhya Pradesh: Visuals from the Pradesh Congress Committee meeting of the party candidates, underway in Bhopal. pic.twitter.com/Q6DX5WJ4zS— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2019
12:40pm: The AIADMK on Tuesday instructed its counting agents to remain vigilant over archrival DMK's "dishonest practices" during the counting of votes polled in the Lok Sabha elections and Assembly by-polls, and asked them to ensure all standard procedures were followed.
AIADMK Coordinator O Panneerselvam and Joint Coordinator K Palaniswami said in a statement that agents must follow a slew of steps, including reaching the counting centres as early as 6 am on May 23.
Palaniswami is Tamil Nadu Chief Minister while Panneerselvam is his deputy.
"The entire country knows that DMK members are experts in resorting to dishonest practices as well as violence. Many instances can be mentioned (to prove this). Thererfore, (the AIADMK counting agents) shold remain vigilant to see if the DMK members commit any fraud and (if so) seek reddressal by taking that up with higher officials," they said.
12:35pm: "I feel the gathbandhan will get more than 60 seats in UP. BJP will be wiped off across the country. Exit polls will prove to be completely false, like it had happened before. Opposition will form a strong govt at the centre," said AAP leader Sanjay Singh.
12:30pm: AAP leader Sanjay Singh after meeting SP chief Akhilesh Yadav: Results will be declared after 2 days. We met to discuss the strategy to be followed after that. The first priority is to stop BJP, pair of Narendra Modi-Amit Shah and communal forces. This was also a courtesy call.
12:22pm: "No seats were given to Christians and only one seat was given to Muslims in Karnataka, they were ignored. I'm upset with this, we have been used," said Roshan Baig.
12:21pm: Roshan Baig, Congress when asked if Siddaramaiah is responsible for the collapse of the govt: "KC Venugopal is a buffoon. I feel sorry for my leader Rahul Gandhi ji. Buffoons like Venugopal, the arrogant attitude of Siddaramaiah and the flop show of Gundu Rao...The result is this."
12:18pm: Roshan Baig, Congress when asked if Congress should've thought before giving portfolios in state: "Portfolios were sold. How can I blame Kumaraswamy for it? He wasn't allowed to function. From day one Siddaramaiah said 'I'm going to be CM'. You've gone to their doorstep to form govt!"
12:15pm: The Shiv Sena on Tuesday expressed confidence that a government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be re-elected for a second term as the exit polls show a "clear trend" in the BJP-led NDA's favour.
At the same time, it also praised Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for their "hard work", saying their party will get enough seats to bag the leader of opposition's post in the new Lok Sabha.
"There was no need for political pundits to say the Modi government will be re-elected. The ground situation was such that people were leading the poll campaign and had made up their mind to vote Modi back to power," the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
12:07pm: Deva Gowda, Former PM said, "They have done their duty. Same exit polls in 2004 got the predictions wrong. I don't want to dispute exit polls. I don't know what will happen tomorrow. They are free to come up with their predictions."
12:04pm: "Exit polls are entertainment polls. The real results will be out on May 23 and the reality of exit polls will be out," said Kamal Nath.
12:02pm: The voter turnout for the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 was the highest ever with 67.11%. The percentage is 1.16% higher than the turnout in 2014.
12:00pm: Supreme Court dismisses a plea challenging the appointment of two retired bureaucrats as special observer and central police observer in West Bengal for the Lok Sabha polls. Court observed that elections are over and the petitioner may approach the Kolkata High Court.
11:40am: Five BJP workers were injured last night in West Bengal after they were attacked allegedly by TMC workers in Sitai, Cooch Behar. More details awaited.
11:30am: Coming down heavily on the petitioner, Justice Mishra, while dismissing the petition, said, "Won't entertain such kind of plea over&over again. We can't come in the way of people electing their representatives." The Justice also termed the move of the petitioner, a "nuisance" PIL: ANI.
11:15am: How will the stars fare? Will Urmila Matondkar and Gautam Gambhir debut with a bang? Will Hema Malini hold on to her seat? Here's a look:
10:59am: Supreme Court dismisses the petition filed by a group of technocrats seeking a direction that the number of machines subject to verification of VVPATs to be increased to 100%. A vacation bench of the Apex Court did not find any merit in the petition filed by the technocrats: ANI.
10:55am: EC: In all cases, polled EVMs and VVPATs were sealed properly in front of parties' candidates and videographed. CCTV cameras installed. CAPF security there. Candidates are allowed to have watch on strong room at a time and one representatives of each candidates for 24X7. Allegations baseless.
10:48am: EC on EVM issue: 3. Domariaganj - EVMs were under proper security and protocol. Agitation was unnecessary. They were convinced by DM and SP. The matter is resolved. 4. Jhansi - EVMs are under proper security and protocol in presence of political parties candidates. No issue.
10:45am: Election Commission on EVM issue: 1. Ghazipur - There was issue regarding "watch on polled EVM strong room by the candidates" which was resolved by conveying the EC instructions. 2. Chandauli - frivolous allegation by some people, EVMs were in proper security and protocol.
10:42am: CBI files an affidavit in Supreme Court against Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav in connection with a disproportionate assets case. The CBI, in the affidavit, gave clean chit to Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav in the disproportionate assets case registered against them. CBI further said that it did not find any evidence to register a Regular Case (RC) against the father and son duo.
10:40am: A special court here has granted exemption to the 2008 Malegaon blast case accused Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sudhakar Chaturvedi from appearing before it this week.
When the matter was taken up by the special NIA court on Monday, the three accused filed applications through their lawyers seeking exemption from appearance.
While Thakur and Chaturvedi said they are busy with preparations for the upcoming results of the Lok Sabha polls, which they had contested, Purohit cited personal difficulties.
The court allowed the applications.
10:28am: Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi met Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu at Andhra Bhawan.
10:26am: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish kumar will be participating in NDA dinner in Delhi to be hosted by BJP chief Amit Shah.
10:24am: Uddhav Thackeray will not be available for the NDA dinner to be hosted by Amit Shah at Ashoka Hotel at 7pm.
10:20am: Tamil Nadu deputy CM O Paneerselvam left for Delhi at 9 am. He will participate in the dinner to be hosted by BJP chief Amit Shah at Ashoka hotel at 7 pm.
10:15am: Chief Minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy's proposed visit to New Delhi has been cancelled.
10:10am: AIADMK MLA Thoppu ND Venkatachalam has resigned from the party post citing personal reasons. Venkatachalam met CM Palaniswami and handed over his resignation from a party post.
10:00am: Rahul Gandhi paid tribute on Rajiv Gandhi's death anniversary.
My father was gentle, loving, kind & affectionate. He taught me to love & respect all beings. To never hate. To forgive.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 21, 2019
I miss him.
On his death anniversary, I remember my father with love & gratitude.#RememberingRajivGandhipic.twitter.com/sYPGu5jGFC
9:45am: Priyanka Gandhi shares emotional tweet.
You will always be my hero. pic.twitter.com/LYPciCD234— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) May 21, 2019
9:36am: Vivek Oberoi who plays PM Modi in the film Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologised for his meme on Aishwarya Rai. The tweet he had shared showed Rai with Salman Khan under the heading 'Opinion Poll', followed by a picture of Rai with himself under 'Exit Poll' and in the third panel Rai was with her husband Abhishek Bachchan and their daughter Aradhya. Oberoi received severe backlash from Twitterati, including multiple industry members.
Even if one woman is offended by my reply to the meme, it calls for remedial action. Apologies🙏🏻 tweet deleted.— Vivek Anand Oberoi (@vivekoberoi) May 21, 2019
9:29am: PM Modi pays tribute to former PM Rajiv Gandhi.
Tributes to former PM Shri Rajiv Gandhi on his death anniversary.— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 21, 2019
9:20am: Poll held on 19th May at polling station number 200 of the Kolkata Uttar parliamentary constituency declared void. Re-poll to be held on 22nd May from 7am to 6pm: ECI.
9:19am: Amid poor numbers given by exit polls to the Congress in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections, senior Congress leader Roshan Baig on Monday dropped hints of quitting the party, and humbly appealed to Muslims to compromise with the situation, if NDA returns to power.
"Well if NDA is coming back to power, I humbly appeal to Muslim brothers to learn to compromise with the situation," he told a section of media.
Asked if that means Muslims should join hands with BJP, Baig said if need arises, they must as the Congress had given just one ticket to a Muslim leader in Karnataka.
"If needs be, (Muslims) must join hands. We must not remain loyal to one party. What happened to Muslims in Karnataka? The Congress gave just one seat," he blurted.
9:14am: Former PM Manmohan Singh and former President Pranab Mukherjee also pay tribute to former PM Rajiv Gandhi.
9:13am: Congress President Rahul Gandhi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress General Secretary for UP (East) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra pay tribute to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress General Secretary for UP (East) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra pay tribute to former Prime Minister #RajivGandhi, on his death anniversary at Veer Bhumi. Robert Vadra also present. pic.twitter.com/njKY1jT6rv— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2019
9:10am: "Nobody can stop us from returning to power. These are mind games. We will get over 110 Assembly and 18 to 20 Lok Sabha seats," said Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandarbabu Naidu.
9:04am:Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath said on Monday that his government is ready for an assembly floor test. His statement came hours after the BJP claimed that the Congress-led government in Madhya Pradesh is in minority in the state. "They have been trying this since day one, [We] have proved majority at least four times in last five months. They want to do it again, we have no problem. They'll try their best to disturb present govt to save themselves from getting exposed," he said.