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Lok Sabha Election 2019 updates: Amit Shah says BJP fielded Sadhvi Pragya against Digvijay Singh as he 'coined saffron terror'

Lok Sabha Election 2019 LIVE updates: While addressing a rally in Odisha, BJP chief Amit Shah said, 'After the Samjhauta Express blast, Congress said that it Hindu terrorists were behind it. The sadhus were put in jail. The BJP decided that Sadhvi Pragya Thakur should fight against Digvijay Singh, the person who coined the term 'saffron terror'.'

FP Staff April 17, 2019 20:10:27 IST
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Lok Sabha Election 2019 updates: Amit Shah says BJP fielded Sadhvi Pragya against Digvijay Singh as he 'coined saffron terror'
  • Congress chief Rahul Gandhi is campaigning across Kerala's Wayanad constituency

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, has addressed a rally at Madha in Maharashtra, and will head to Himatnagar, Surendranagar and Anand in Gujarat

  • Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, serving a 72-hour campaign ban, will be travelling to Ayodhya and then Devipatan

Highlights

16:14 (ist)

Lok Sabha election latest updates

Screening of PM Narendra Modi for EC underway

According to ANI, seven officials of the Election Commission are present for the screening of PM Narendra Modi.  The poll panel had asked the producers of the film to arrange for a screening for a committee set up for the purpose. The Supreme Court on Monday directed the commission to watch the full biopic on Modi and take an informed decision on banning its pan-India release by 19 April.

16:06 (ist)

Lok Sabha election latest updates

Namo TV can't air pre-recorded content for 48 hours before polling date

ANI reported that Election Commission has barred telecasting of pre-recorded content during the silence period. State Chief Election Commissioners (CEC) have been informed to observe this strictly. However, the channel is allowed to air live coverage of events.

15:31 (ist)

Narendra Modi in Gujarat latest updates

PM speaks at Himmatnagar rally, hits out at Congress 'dhakoslatpatra' once again

Speaking at his second rally of the day at Himmatnagar in Gujarat, Narendra Modi spoke in Gujarati, hitting out at the Congress over the salient points of the party's manifesto, which he called a dhakoslapatra and its focus on dynasty. Modi also said that the Congress of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel has devolved. "At one point, Congress used to believe in the bullet, it was golibaaz but now it believes in abusing people, so it is a gaalibaaz party," said the PM.

15:11 (ist)

West Bengal election latest updates

After CPIM, BJP move EC over Mamata biopic

The BJP in West Bengal has once again knocked on the EC's door with the plea that a film called Baghini based on Mamata Banerjee's live not be allowed to release. A delegation of CPIM leaders, led by party general secretary Sitaram Yechury, had met Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Monday and protested the “gross irregularities” during the first phase of the Lok Sabha election in West Bengal and Tripura on 11 April.

14:59 (ist)

Maharashtra election latest updates

Sharad Pawar hits out at Modi after PM's barbs at NCP chief in morning rally

At his Madha rally on Wednesday morning, Narendra Modi directed most the vitriol at NCP chief Sharad Pawar, saying Pawar was wise enough to remove himself from the running because he knew which way the election winds were blowing. 

Pawar has now hit back at Modi, saying, "Modi ji says 'Pawar sahab is a good man but has family issues. His nephews are out of his hands.' I wanted to ask him what business he has with issues at my home? But then I realised I have my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and nephews. They visit us. But he has no one," Pawar said. 

13:16 (ist)

What does it mean when Twitter withholds content?

Twitter has withheld tweets by as many as 32 Indian accounts propagating communal content. The accounts include those by Yogi Adityanath, Major Surendra Poonia, Koena Mitra, Union Minister Giriraj Singh and MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa.

In its 'Help' page, Twitter clarifies that "upon receipt of requests to withhold content, we will promptly notify affected users unless we are prohibited from doing so (e.g., if we receive a court order under seal). We also clearly indicate within the product when content has been withheld and publish requests to withhold content on Lumen—unless, similar to our practice of notifying users, we are prohibited from doing so."

12:45 (ist)

Madhya Pradesh election latest updates

Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur joins BJP

Sadhvi Pradya Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon blast case, has joined the BJP. She is likely to be pitted against Congress's Digvijaya Singh.

12:34 (ist)

Madhya Pradesh election latest updates

Sadhvi Pragya Thakur likely to be fielded from Bhopal

Malegaon-blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur is likely to contest from Bhopal where she can go against Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh. Thakur had reached the BJP office in Bhopal, to meet party leaders Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Ramlal and Prabhat Jha.

12:30 (ist)

Rajasthan election latest update

State chief minister says Ram Nath Kovind became president because he was Dalit

Addressing a press conference, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said President Ram Nath Kovind was elected because of his caste and because his elevation would appease Dalits.

12:24 (ist)

Rahul Gandhi in Kerala latest updates

Congress chief makes travel ban repeal promise to crowd

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had been expected to speak on the travel ban in Wayanad that had been plaguing the local tourism industry, which is probably why his audience was ecstatic when he mentioned that he would take another look at it if elected to power. Rahul also made several allusions to the region's diversity and said Wayanad stood to teach the whole of India what it meant to live in peace.

12:05 (ist)

Rahul Gandhi in Kerala latest updates

KC Venugopal says Congress chief offered prayers to forefathers, Pulwama victims

Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said on Rahul Gandhi's temple visit in Wayanad that the Congress president performed rituals according to the pujari's directions, for his "grandmother, father, forefathers and victims of Pulwama incident."

"Last time also he had wished to come here but because of security restrictions, he could not do it," Venugopal added.

11:58 (ist)

Rahul Gandhi in Kerala latest updates

Congress chief lauds Wayanad for its culture and way of living

Addressing his very first rally at Wayanad since filing his nomination papers from the constituency amidst much fanfare, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said he was intent upon proving that the south is as important and no less important than any other place in India. "I realised that Wayanad was the best place to fight from because it represents many different ideas and cultures. Almost all communities can be found in this beautiful place," he said.

11:17 (ist)

Tamil Nadu election latest update

I-T department seizes more cash from Theni

The Income Tax department on Wednesday said it has seized Rs 1.48 crore cash, allegedly kept to bribe voters in Tamil Nadu's Theni district, where an assembly bypoll is scheduled on Thursday. 

This takes place a day after the Income Tax Department and the Election Commission's flying squad returned empty handed after raiding Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) leader Kanimozhi's home at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday, on a tip-off that turned out to be a "false one", reports say.

11:10 (ist)

Bihar election latest updates

Kanhaiya Kumar threatened by angry mob at roadshow

CPI candidate from Begusarai, Kanhaiya Kumar, faced protests while campaigning in the constituency on Wednesday. The one-time JNUSU president was met with sloganeers who hurled "deshdrohi murdabad" abuses at him.

10:55 (ist)

Kerala election latest updates

Rahul Gandhi visits Thirunelli temple, father Rajiv's ashes were immersed nearby 

Congress president and party's candidate from Wayanad parliamentary constituency, Rahul Gandhi, offered prayers at the Thirunelli temple in Kerala. Rahul's father Rajiv Gandhi's ashes were immersed in the Papanasini river.

10:52 (ist)

Chhattisgarh election latest updates

Congress in trouble over use of buffalo for campaigning

In Kawardha, the home district of former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, a message from Congress, handwritten on a buffalo has earned the censure of animal rights groups, reported New Indian Express.

"Listen to us (we are dumb creatures). Elect Congress this time. Vote for Congress," is written in Hindi on the buffalo's body, along with the symbol of the party. A video of the cow has gone viral on social media. The use of animals for campaigning goes against the Election Commission's Model Code of Conduct.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Apr 17, 2019 - 19:45 (IST)

Lok Sabha election latest updates

BJP fielding Pragya Thakur against person who coined 'Hindu terror', says Amit Shah

While addressing a rally in Odisha, BJP chief Amit Shah said, "After the Samjhauta Express blast, Congress said that it Hindu terrorists were behind it. The sadhus were put in jail. The BJP decided that Sadhvi Pragya Thakur should fight against Digvijay Singh, the person who coined the term 'saffron terror'."

Apr 17, 2019 - 19:40 (IST)

Narendra Modi in Gujarat latest updates

Congress wants to remove sedition law to strengthen Naxalism, says Modi

Addressing a rally in Gujarat's Anand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Congress has said in its manifesto that it wants to remove the sedition law, so that stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir, and Naxalism in this country can be strengthened."

Apr 17, 2019 - 19:36 (IST)

Lok Sabha election latest updates

BJD files EC complaint against Dharmendra Pradhan for misbehaving with govt officers

According to ANI, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) filed a complaint with Election Commission demanding action against Dharmendra Pradhan for allegedly "misbehaving & preventing govt officers from conducting their duties of checking his helicopter along with a sealed suitcase in his possession" on Tuesday.

Apr 17, 2019 - 19:31 (IST)

Lok Sabha election latest updates

Sadhvi Pragya's candidacy evokes sharp criticism on Twitter

The news of BJP fielding Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur from Bhopal drew sharp criticism from journalists and other personalities on Twitter. Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha said that the BJP had scored a "huge self-goal" with this decision.

Actor Swara Bhasker said that the BJP was "absolutely naked in its agenda of hate and divisiveness". Meanwhile, lyricist Javed Akhtar said that he "somewhat appreciates" BJP for the transparency that they have brought with the choice.

Apr 17, 2019 - 18:55 (IST)

Lok Sabha election latest updates

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad to not contest from Varanasi


After announcing that he would contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad rescinded his decision, saying his outfit will support the SP-BSP alliance and the Dalit vote should remain intact to defeat the BJP.

The Dalit group's founder also said the Bhim Army will support the SP-BSP alliance if it fields Satish Chandra Mishra, Mayawati's general secretary and Brahmin face of the BSP, from the Varanasi seat. "I have decided not to contest from Varanasi because I do not want that my decision should strengthen the BJP or Modi in anyway. We all want to defeat the BJP," he said.

PTI

Apr 17, 2019 - 18:47 (IST)

Lok Sabha election latest updates

Navjot Singh Sidhu in Ahmedabad: This poll is a battle between Ram and Ravan


Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu said at a rally in Ahmedabad’s Dholka that this Lok Sabha election was a battle between Lord Krishna and Kans, Ram and Ravan, and Godse and Gandhi.

He lambasted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal, unemployment, farmer issues and dividing the nation, and also dared the PM to have a debate with him. "You always talk about nationalism. Then listen Mr Modi. This is a battle between Lord Krishna and Kans. This is a battle between Ram and Ravan. And, this is a battle between Godse and Gandhi," he added.

On the Rafale deal, the Congress leader said although Modi assumed office in 2014 as 'Ganga ka lal' (son of Ganga), he will have to vacate the office as 'Rafale ka dalal' (middleman of Rafale).

PTI

Apr 17, 2019 - 18:35 (IST)

Lok Sabha election latest updates

Where was media when derogatory remarks were made against Priyanka Gandhi or Mayawati?: SP's Dimple Yadav on Azam Khan row

Samajwadi Party leader Dimple Yadav said on Wednesday that BJP was diverting the attention from important issues by raising the controversy over Azam Khan's remarks against BJP candidate Jaya Prada. She said, "When BJP leader Dayashankar Singh made a comment against Mayawati, where was media? When such remarks are made against Priyanka Gandhi or me, why are they not taken up by the media?"

Apr 17, 2019 - 18:11 (IST)

Lok Sabha election latest updates

Sadhvi Pragya addresses media 

Addressing the media with former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP's candidate for Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur said, "I'm not that experienced as far as politics is concerned. But I believe that we have power in the form of Shivaj Singh Chouhan. Whatever we say, we will do. With your support, we will work together, win together and keep the country safe."

On allegations against her, she said, "I have been given a clean chit. All the conspiracies against me have failed."

Apr 17, 2019 - 18:05 (IST)

Lok Sabha election latest updates

Security heightened in Ganjam district's Aska ahead of voting tomorrow

Bargarh, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Kandhamal and Aska in Odisha will to polls in the second phase of general election on Thursday.

Apr 17, 2019 - 17:51 (IST)

Uttar Pradesh election latest updates

Akhilesh Yadav announces Poonam Sinha's candidacy

Addressing a press conference to official announce the candidature of Shatrughan Sinha's wife Poonam Sinha, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav said he is happy to see the amount of support for SP-BSP-RLD alliance. "I want to welcome Poonam Sinha to the party. She will contest from Lucknow," he said. Poonam has been pitted against BJP's Rajnath Singh, who is also the Union home minister.

Lok Sabha Election 2019 LATEST updates; 2nd phase of voting to be held tomorrow, 18 April: While addressing a rally in Odisha, BJP chief Amit Shah said, "After the Samjhauta Express blast, Congress said that it Hindu terrorists were behind it. The sadhus were put in jail. The BJP decided that Sadhvi Pragya Thakur should fight against Digvijay Singh, the person who coined the term 'saffron terror'."

Addressing the media with former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP's candidate for Bhopal and Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur lashed out at the Congress over the "saffron terror" charge against. She further said that her fight will be aimed at restore the dignity of her faith.

The Madras High Court upheld decision of Election Commission of India to cancel election to Vellore Lok Sabha constituency. It dismissed pleas moved by AIADMK candidate AC Shanmugam and Independent candidate K Sugumar.

After being fielded from Bhopal by the BJP, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur was quoted as saying by ANI, "Hum tayar hain. Ab ussi karya mein lag gayi hun. (I'm ready. Now I'm busy preparing for it). The BJP has released a list of four candidates in Madhya Pradesh, naming Pragya and candidates for three other constituencies.

The Madras High Court is scheduled to pronounce its order on AIADMK's petition at 4:30pm challenging the cancellation of Lok Sabha polls for Vellore constituency.

Speaking at his second rally of the day at Himmatnagar in Gujarat, Narendra Modi spoke in Gujarati, hitting out at the Congress over the salient points of the party's manifesto, which he called a dhakoslapatra and its focus on dynasty. Modi also said that the Congress of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel has devolved. "At one point, Congress used to believe in the bullet, it was golibaaz but now it believes in abusing people, so it is a gaalibaaz party," said the PM.

Naveen Patnaik's luggage was checked by the flying squad of the Election Commission at a helipad in Rourkela on Wednesday. The helicopter of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy was also searched at Shivamogga earlier in the day.

Polltime mudslinging continued as usual between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress on Wednesday with BJP chief Amit Shah tweeting a BJP video of Trinamool Congress's Ratna Ghosh Kar asking women workers of the party to charge at Central forces who attack Trinamool workers. "Finally, Mamata didi’s trusted lieutenant accepts that her party believes in the idea of violence and anarchy," Shah wrote.

In what could perhaps come as a blow to the Congress, party spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote on Twitter to register her disappointment over the fact that Congress members who had been suspended for misbehaving with her had been reinstated. The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee had reportedly first suspended some of its leaders for their unruly behaviour with Chaturvedi in Mathura and then reinstate them after a few days.

UDF candidate for Kannur, K Sudhakaran, has released a blatantly sexist video in which it is suggested that educating a woman is a mistake and that a man should be elected so "he can get things done." The video is reportedly meant to be a strike at the sitting MP from Kannur and the Left's candidate for the Kannur seat, PK Sreemathi, who is the only woman to be elected from Kerala in the 2014 election.

Navjot Singh Sidhu has hit out at the BJP after the latter accused the Congress politician of enticing voters along communal lines. "Those who are responsible for Godhra are teaching me nationalism," he said at Gujarat on Wednesday.

Twitter has withheld Yogi Adityanath's controversial 'green virus' tweet, in reference to Muslims in India, along with communally charged tweets of 31 others including the likes of Koena Mitra and Major Surendra Poonia. The move is likely to go a long way in the debate for greater control by social media sites over content policing.

Malegaon-blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur is likely to contest from Bhopal where she can be pitted against Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh. Thakur had reached the BJP office in Bhopal, to meet party leaders Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Ramlal and Prabhat Jha. The move, if solidified, will likely give Opposition ammunition to slam the BJP for projecting a terror accused candidate.

Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said on Rahul Gandhi's temple visit in Wayanad that the Congress president performed rituals according to the pujari's directions, for his "grandmother, father, forefathers and victims of Pulwama incident."

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had been expected to speak on the travel ban in Wayanad that had been plaguing the local tourism industry, which is probably why his audience was ecstatic when he mentioned that he would take another look at it if elected to power. Rahul also made several allusions to the region's diversity and said Wayanad stood to teach the whole of India what it meant to live in peace.

Addressing his very first rally at Wayanad since filing his nomination papers from the constituency amidst much fanfare, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said he was intent upon proving that the south is as important and no less important than any other place in India. "I realised that Wayanad was the best place to fight from because it represents many different ideas and cultures. Almost all communities can be found in this beautiful place," he said.

Narendra Modi, in a more than usually charged speech at Madha in Maharashtra, hit out at Rahul Gandhi once again following the Congress chief's remark that "all thieves had the surname Modi." "Can you imagine who these people might be? Who mock my lineage, my last name? I do not care, I know how to bear such terrible insults," Modi said.

Speaking at his first rally of the day, at Madha in Maharashtra, Narendra Modi gave out a clarion call to people to vote for the BJP, the only party which has the strength to bear the weight of India according to the PM. "I can understand why Sharad Pawar removed himself from the polls now. He is wise, he knew which way the winds were blowing," he said.

Modi also announced relief for those affected by unseasonal rains in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

Congress president and party's candidate from Wayanad parliamentary constituency, Rahul Gandhi, offered prayers at the Thirunelli temple in Kerala. Rahul's father Rajiv Gandhi's ashes were immersed in the Papanasini river near the temple. Rahul will be campaigning across the state for the second day running on Wednesday.

The spotlight sought by campaigners in the nearly two-month-long Lok Sabha election process is now being increasingly taken over by the Election Commission of India itself. Issues like the cancellation of the polls in Vellore, successive petitions over campaign bans on prominent politicians and outrage over joint EC-Income Tax raids on yet others, have kept the poll panel busy, a day before India heads to Phase 2 of the Lok Sabha election.

On the same day when the Election Commission escalated the recovery of Rs 11.50 crore in cash at a DMK candidate's house to President Ram Nath Kovind and got the Vellore Lok Sabha polls cancelled as a result, party leader Kanimozhi's residence was raided by Income Tax officials. The department, reportedly, found nothing in her house and suggested that it had received false inputs. This, along with the Vellore move, has led to various protests by south leaders who have claimed that the poll body has been focusing on the Opposition alone.

Meanwhile, most familiar campaigners of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress will be addressing rallies as usual.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will campaign across Kerala's Wayanad constituency. This will be his second trip to the region since he filed his nomination from there and led a roadshow through the town.

After addressing a co-ordination meeting of three parliamentary constituencies (Kannur, Kasargod and Vadakara) at Kannur, Rahul is expected to visit the Thirunelli Temple at Wayanad, where his father Rajiv Gandhi's ashes were immersed. He is then expected to address successive public meetings at Wayanad, Thiruvambady, Wandoor and Thrithala.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, is scheduled to address four rallies, one each at Madha in Maharashtra, and Himatnagar, Surendranagar and Anand in Gujarat.

BJP national president Amit Shah will address two rallies at Baramba and Dhenkanal in Odisha. Modi himself addressed two rallies in the state just on Tuesday.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, serving a 72-hour campaign ban, will be travelling to Ayodhya and then Devipatan. The BJP, meanwhile, has urged the poll body to review its order banning Adityanath from campaigning, claiming he did not intend to incite communal tension and had only expressed his beliefs.

The party has called on the Election Commission to ban Rahul Gandhi from campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls and impose the "heaviest penalty" on him, saying that he levelled false allegations against Narendra Modi on the Rafale aircraft deal. A BJP delegation including Union ministers JP Nadda, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and VK Singh also sought similar action against cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu.

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