Assembly Election 2021 LIVE Updates: The Assam chief minister will be fighting the polls from the Majuli Assembly seat, while Bora is the Congress' candidate for the Gohpur constituency
Assembly Election 2021 LATEST Updates: The Congress on Friday alleged that the LDF government in Kerala was committing electoral "fraud" in cahoots with the state election machinery by enrolling bogus voters, and moved the Election Commission seeking corrective measures for ensuring "free and fair" polls. Kerala goes to polls on 6 April.
A delegation of Congress leaders met with the election commissioners in the Central Election Commission and alleged that the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government was "committing a fraud" in collusion with officials of the state election machinery by inducting "dubious voters, double voters and voters with fraudulent identities".
Addressing the media over the Congress delegation's meeting with the EC officials, party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the delegation pointed out three particular instances of fraud — same voter registered in different booths; person's name, father's name and photograph being same but registered as a voter in different assembly constituencies; and photograph of voter remaining same but the name changing in different IDs.
The TMC on Friday wrote to the Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal over two issues, ahead of the first phase of the Assembly election in the state on Saturday.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who began his second leg of campaign for the 6 April Assembly polls, attacked the Central and the LDF governments over the "weak" economic condition.
"The economic condition of the country and the state are weak and have become worse due to demonetisation and flawed GST. Both the governments have failed to revive the economy," he said, at an election meeting in Palakkad.
The Congress leader arrived from Coimbatore on a two-day visit and will be addressing meetings in Palakkad and Malappuram districts.
Addressing a rally in Kamrup, Shah on Friday said that the BJP will bring laws against 'love jihad' and 'land jihad in Assam if voted to power.
Amit Shah slammed the Congress on Friday for bringing "separatism and terrorism" in Assam during UPA regime. "In contrary, over 2,000 insurgents have welcomed peace and given up arms recently under the BJP govt to join the mainstream," said Shah.
Elections to the 294-member Assembly will be held in eight phases starting from Saturday with the final round of voting taking place on 29 April.
The decision came based on the Election Commission's argument that it approves of the instrument since without it political parties will deal in hard cash. The poll panel, however, said it is keen on bringing in more transparency into the transactions involving the bonds.
The TMC MP also accused Narendra Modi of using his prime ministerial position in Bangladesh to further BJP's chances of winning the West Bengal Assembly polls.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Ministers Arjun Ram Meghwal and Giriraj Singh officially unveiled the party’s manifesto in Puducherry.
The Election Commission opposed stay of electoral bonds. The ECI said they are not opposed to electoral bonds, but want more transparency.
Announced in the 2017 Union Budget, electoral bonds are interest-free bearer instruments used to donate money anonymously to political parties.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah will hold four public rallies in Assam on Friday. He will be campaigning in Kamalpur, Jagiroad, Patharkandi and Silchar.
BJP president JP Nadda will be campaigning in Tamil Nadu on Friday. He will be attending two public meetings in Tittakudi and Thiruvaiyaru and hold a road show at Harbour at 4.15 pm.
Accusing chief minister Mamata Banerjee of "taking back Bengal to the 19th century, with no development work undertaken in the past 10 years", Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said the TMC dispensation, just like its predecessor, the Left Front, has wronged the people of the state.
Singh, who addressed a series of public meetings in Purulia, Bankura and South 24 Parganas districts, took a dig at the TMC's khela hobe game will be played slogan, and said Bengal, now on, will witness only work and development.
Alleging that the TMC supremo delivers speeches encouraging acts of violence and aggression, the union minister said, "Unke bhashan mein bhi hingsha hote hai... woh kehti hai ke isko mar bhagao, usko bartan se pit pit kar bhagao (During her speeches, she talks of violence... she asks people to beat up and oust a few, hit others with utensils)."
He wondered if the chief minister "seeks to divide the country" by repeatedly terming people who have come from other
states as outsiders.
Stressing that the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, which later became the BJP, was established by Syama Prasad Mookerjee - a son of Bengal - Singh said, "Will any brother from this state be considered an outsider in Uttar Pradesh? All people born on
the soil of India are brothers to each other."
Claiming that the TMC dispensation has done nothing for the people of Bengal, Singh said, "How is it possible that those belonging to one party (BJP) are outsiders, while you, having ruined Bengal, are an insider? The chief minister, instead of
undertaking development work, makes thoughtless remarks.
"Neither 'Maa nor mati or manush' (mother, motherland, and people) feel safe in the state."
Maa, Mati, manush is another slogan that was coined by the TMC during 2009 general election.
Singh further accused Mamata of not fulfilling her promise of putting an end to water crisis in Purulia.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his part, has promised piped water availability in every household of the country by the end of 2024," the defence minister stated.
Drawing parallels between the BJP and former India cricket captain Saurav Ganguly, he said just like the stylish southpaw, who hit a sixer whenever he stepped out of the crease, people have placed the saffron party across the crease during the Lok Sabha polls by giving it 18 seats in West Bengal. No one can now stop us from hitting a sixer," he said.
Maintaining that the BJP government at the Centre has never discriminated against the people of the state, as often alleged by the TMC, the senior saffron party leader said, "The Congress-led UPA government at the Centre had given Rs 1.32 lakh crore to Bengal under the 13th Finance Commission, while the Modi government allotted Rs 4.48 lakh crore to the state
under the 14th Finance Commission."
Noting that more than 150 saffron camp workers have been killed in West Bengal, the senir BJP leader said that it is the responsibility of the state's chief minister to ensure the safety and security of its people, no matter which party they bore allegiance to.
"Bomb-making factories are openly being run in Bengal. If the same had happened in Uttar Pradesh (of which he was once the chief minister), the matter would have been dealt with sternly. The BJP, if allowed to form government in Bengal, will make security arrangements not just for saffron camp workers, but also those belonging to the Congress, Left and the TMC," he said, exuding confidence that his party will bag more than 200 seats in the state.
Emphasising that the BJP is not a party that creates enmity between people, he said, the TMC supremo has been trying to divide the people of Bengal on religious lines.
"The BJP will not practice discrimination on the basis of religion. It would rather punish anyone creating trouble or
indulging in such crimes. Now no one will be able to stop Durga Puja celebrations or Saraswati Puja in Bengal," he said.
Controversy had erupted in 2017 at a school in Tehatta, Nadia district, over celebration of Saraswati puja, with one section of students apparently trying to stop another group from observing the festival.
In that very year, the West Bengal government had imposed curbs on Durga idol immersion, as the occasion coincided with Muharram, but the high court later eased the restrictions.
Insisting that the country has become stronger under the Narendra Modi dispensation, the Defence Minister said that the Indian Army "stood firm" during a face-off with China in Ladakh, referring to the incursions by the Chinese PLA and the
disengagement of the armies thereafter.
He also said that the country has taught Pakistan a lesson with airstrikes on terror bases to eliminate ultras, following attacks in Uri and Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Modiji has a 56-inch chest. If you want to see a strong India, you have to bring the BJP government to power in Bengal as well," he said.