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Lok Sabha Election 2019 updates: Govt calls EC's objections to electoral bonds 'meritless', files affidavit in SC

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Lok Sabha Election 2019 updates: Govt calls EC's objections to electoral bonds 'meritless', files affidavit in SC
  • 19:28 (IST)

    Chandrababu Naidu addresses rally in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur

  • 19:09 (IST)

    Navjot Kaur Sidhu says not disspointed over denial of ticket

    After being denied a ticket from chandigarh, Congress leader Navjot Kaur Sidhu said, "I proposed to contest but I agree with the party's decision. Pawan Bansal is a veteran Congress leader who has worked hard on the ground level in Chandigarh. The party announced his ticket after review of all aspects. We are with Pawan Bansal. 

    "I have not proposed for a ticket from Amritsar because (her husband) Navjot Singh Sidhu will be very busy campaigning, and in his absence, it won't be able to campaign full time in a constituency like Amritsar constituency and that’s the reason why I was asking a ticket from Chandigarh... Our only target to defeat Narendra Modi and make  Rahul Gandhi-led govt in Centre. 

    Input courtesy: News18 Punjab

  • 19:03 (IST)

    Govt counters EC's red flags overs electoral bonds

    In a fresh affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Centre said that there were no legal or factual merit to Election Commission's concerns. CNN-News18 quoted the government as saying in that electoral bonds can't impact policies.

    On 27 March, the Election Commission had told the Supreme Court that it had written to the Centre saying the changes made in several laws relating to political funding will have "serious repercussions" on transparency. It also said that the changes in the Foreign Regulation Contribution Act (FRCA), 2010 will allow unchecked foreign funding of political parties which could lead to Indian policies being influenced by foreign companies.

  • 18:54 (IST)

    Rahul says Congress will allow ex-servicemen lateral entry into civil services if voted to power

    In a tweet, Rahul Gandhi said, "Our Ex-Servicemen are India’s pride and must be given the respect they deserve. We will allow qualified Ex-Servicemen lateral entry into the civil services. The Central Armed Police Forces will be opened up to ex-servicemen under the age of 40."

  • 18:44 (IST)

    CPI announces candidates for nine seats

    The Communist Party of India announced its candidates for nine Lok Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar.

    The candidate list released by the party includes East Champaran in Bihar, Chatra seat in Jharkhand and Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh as well as six seats in Uttar Pradesh.

    The party has announced Prabhakar Jaiswal from the East Champaran seat, Arjun Kumar from Chatra and Keshkali Kol from Shahdol.

    PTI

  • 18:33 (IST)

    Congress releases new candidate list

  • 18:21 (IST)

    Upendra Kushwaha will contest from Karakat, Ujiarpur seats

    Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief and former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha to contest from Karakat and Ujiarpur, reported ANI.

  • 18:08 (IST)

    Kirit Somaiya reacts to Manoj Kotak's candidature from Mumbai North East seat

    Sitting MP Kirit Somaiya responded to BJP's move to field Manoj Kotak from his constituency Mumbai North East. "We all will support him and ensure he wins. Ultimately our aim is a second term for Narendra Modi ji," he said.

  • 18:02 (IST)

    JAYS demands Cong give tickets to its leaders from 2 Lok Sabha seats
    Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti (JAYS), a tribal outfit, said Wednesday that it would scrap its alliance with the Congress if the latter did not field JAYS' candidates from Khargone and Dhar Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh.
     
    JAYS national convener Hiralal Alawa, who won from Manawar Assembly constituency on Congress ticket in 2018, claimed the Congress fared well in tribal areas in assembly polls because of his party's help.
     
    "We had supported the Congress in tribal-dominated areas and hence the party was able to return to power (in the state). But the Congress ignored our contribution. We were not given a share in power," he said.
     
    PTI

  • 17:55 (IST)

    SP, RLSP leaders join BJP

    Two SP leaders, former Uttar Pradesh minister Ram Sakal Gurjar and former MLA Rajendra Singh, joined the BJP on Wednesday, with Union minister Piyush Goyal asserting that their decision shows the Narendra Modi government's all-round acceptability.
     
    Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) leader Shivraj Singh, once a close aid of its president Upendra Kushwaha, also joined the saffron party along with the two Samajwadi Party leaders in the presence of senior BJP leaders, including its general secretaries Bhupendra Yadav and Anil Jain.
     
    PTI

  • 17:42 (IST)

    Amit Shah says BJP left alliance with PDP over AFSPA dilution 

    In Suderbani, Amit Shah lashed out at Congress for promising AFPSA review in its manifesto. "Nobody can dilute AFSPA as the BJP will be standing like a rock behind security forces who are protecting our borders," he said.

    "It is for the first time that I'm revealing this: We left the Jammu and Kashmir government on the issue of dilution of AFSPA."

  • 17:35 (IST)

    Amit Shah says Modi govt will oust every infilitrator if BJP wins elections

    Addressing a rally in Jammu and Kashmir's Suderbani, Amit Shah said, "If you choose Narendra Modi government, in the next five years, we will oust every single infiltrator from the country. Infiltrators are eating our country like termites. They want to change demography of Jammu. As long as there's BJP government, we won't let this happen."

  • 17:27 (IST)

    Congress ally PRP's leader Jaideep Kawade held for remarks against Smriti Irani

    People's Republican Party (PRP) leader Jaideep Kawade was detained in Nagpur on Wednesday for allegedly making misogynistic remarks against Union minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani, police said.
     
    Kawade was later released on bail, police said. According to police, Kawade had made objectionable remarks against Irani while addressing an election rally on Monday. A video of his speech had gone viral on social media. Kawade had made the remarks in the context of Irani wearing a big 'bindi' on her forehead.
     
    PTI

  • 17:20 (IST)

    Mamata's 'Expiry Babu' jibe at Modi

    Addressing a rally in West Bengal, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "Expiry Babu" and dares him to participate in direct debate with her.

    She lashed out at the prime minister for making "false claims" on performance of TMC government in West Bengal, and said, "I am not Modi; I don't tell lies."

  • 17:16 (IST)

    TDP files EC complaint over YSRCP candidate Anil Kumar Yadav's speech

    Telugu Desam Party (TDP) registered a complained with the Election Commission against Nellore MLA and YSRCP's Nellore candidate Anil Kumar Yadav over a speech he delivered on Tuesday, reported ANI. The party said in its complaint that the speech was "intended to terrorise public who are not supporters of YSRCP."

  • 17:05 (IST)

    BJP fields six candidates in new list

    The BJP has fielded Bhojpuri actor Dinesh Lal Yadav, popularly known as Nirhua, to contest from Azamgarh against Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav.

  • 16:57 (IST)

    BJP drops sitting MP Kirit Somaiya from Mumbai North East seat

    BJP named corporator Manoj Kotak as its candidate from the Mumbai North East seat, dropping sitting MP Kirit Somaiya.

  • 16:53 (IST)

    Modi says India needs freedom from dynast rule

    "The country has seen parivar tantra for 55 years, and loktantra (democracy) has barely been here for 15-16 years. India needs freedom from dynasts," Narendra Modi said in Kolkata.

  • 16:44 (IST)

    Congress determined to bring instability to India, says Modi

    At the Kolkata rally, Narendra Modi said, "In their manifesto, the Congress has stated that they will dilute AFSPA. This move will help Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. The Congress is determined to bring instability in the country."

    "Your vote will play a big role in doing away with terrorism," he said.

  • 16:42 (IST)

    Narendra Modi slams UPA govt on Mission Shakti

    On Mission Shakti, Narendra Modi said, "Our brave soldiers had the ability to carry out surgical strikes. Our scientists already had the power to kill the satellite in space. What we didn't have was the government's intention and courage."

  • 16:36 (IST)

    Narendra Modi slams Congress for questioning Balakot air strike

    "Whether it's a surgical strike or strike in the space, the world is looking at India with pride," said Narendra Modi in Kolkata. "Some people who were opposed to me, have started opposing India. Who was questioning the airstrike? Who was upsetting the jawans? Who was demanding the bodies of terrorists? Who was asking saboot from sapoots?"

  • 16:29 (IST)

    Modi hails turnout at Brigade Ground in Kolkata

    "If the political pundits want to predict the 23 May results, then they can take a guess by looking at the wave from the ground of West Bengal," said Narendra Modi in Kolkata.

  • 16:26 (IST)

    Watch: Narendra Modi addresses rally in Kolkata

  • 16:14 (IST)

    Arun Jaitley addresses press conference

    Addressing a press conference, Arun Jaitley questioned the assets of Congress president Rahul Gandhi in view of a media report alleging Rahul and Priyanka had conducted business transactions with NSEL scam accused Jignesh Shah.

  • 15:58 (IST)

    EC seeks details of Namo TV from I&B ministry

    The Election Commission is learnt to have sought details of Namo TV from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry after the issue was flagged by the Congress and the Aam Admi Party which wanted to know whether political parties having own channels was violative of the model code of conduct. 
     
    The Commission, among other issues, is learnt to have asked about details of the launch of the channel. The channel, also called 'Content TV', carries the picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its logo. 
     
    PTI

  • 15:39 (IST)

    'If voted to power, Congress won't allow Citizenship Amendment Bill,' says Rahul in Assam's Golaghat

    "Congress, if voted to power, will not allow Citizenship Amendment Bill," Rahul Gandhi said at a rally in Assam. He also said that the party will restore special status of northeastern states, and bring in industrial policy to make the region a manufacturing hub.

  • 15:36 (IST)

    'Funds for NYAY will come from pockets of chor favoured by chowkidar': Rahul Gandhi at Assam rally

    Addressing a rally in Golaghat in Assam, Rahul Gandhi spoke on Congress' minimum income promise. "Funds for NYAY will come from pockets of 'chor' businessmen favoured by 'chowkidar' Narendra Modi," he said.

    Claiming that India was witnessing its worst unemployment scenario, Rahul said that the Congress will ensure facilities for youths to start own businesses.

  • 15:26 (IST)

    'Urban Naxals have infiltrated Congress,' Yogi Adityanath on party's manifesto

    Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said that looking at the Congress manifesto, it appears that the Congress has been infiltrated by urban Naxals that is why the nation has to see such a shameful day. 

  • 15:09 (IST)

    'Congress won't dare to repeal AFSPA,' says Amit Shah 

    BJP president Amit Shah, who is campaigning in Uttarakhand, slammed the Congress party for talking about reviewing the Armed Forces Special Forces Act in its manifesto. Shah said that neither Rahul Gandhi, nor the entire Congress party can dare to touch it,  

  • 14:38 (IST)

    Navjot Kaur Siddhu denied ticket from Chandigarh constituency 

    The Congress party has denied the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat to wife of Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. Navjot kaur has, however, said she will not rebel and work for the party candidate's victory. 

  • 14:29 (IST)

    Are those overreacting afraid of chowkidar's danda? Vivek Oberoi asks after controversy on film 

    "I don't understand why some people are overreacting like this. Why are such senior and famous lawyers like Abhishek Singhvi ji and Kapil Sibal ji wasting time on filing a PIL on such a modest film? Don't know if they are scared of the film or of Chowkidar's 'danda'." 

  • 14:27 (IST)

    PM Narendra Modi an inspirational story brought on screen, says Vivek Oberoi 

    Vivek Oberoi, the actor who played Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a biopic, today said that he, along with crores of Indians was inspired by the prime minister and tha there was nothing wrong in bringing an inspirational story on screen. 

    "We are not projecting Modi ji as larger than life, he already is larger than life. We are not projecting him as a hero, he already is a hero,not only for me but for crores of people in India and abroad. Its an inspirational story which we brought to the screen."

  • 14:18 (IST)

    Narendra Modi slams Congress for promising to scrap sedition law 

    "The Congress has also made arrangements to reward those who abuse India. People who chant 'Bharat tere tukde honge' will all be let free because the Congress is conspiring to scrap the sedition law," Modi said. 

  • 14:05 (IST)

    Narendra Modi terms AFSPA soldiers' security cover, says Congress wants to steal it

    Addressing a rally in West Bengal's Siliguri, Modi said that Armed Forces Special Forces Act was like armour for the security forces but the Congress party wants to snatch it away from them. 

  • 13:57 (IST)

    Mamata cried so loudly that she became a hero in Pakistan: Modi

    "More pain than what was felt in Rawalpindi and Lahore, was felt by Didi in Kolkata (over the Balakot air strikes)," Modi said, hitting out at Mamata's questioning of the Balakot toll. 

    "Your chief minister cried so loudly that she became a hero in Pakistan," the PM said.

  • 13:51 (IST)

    Narendra Modi labels Mamata Banerjee 'speedbreaker', says she has stopped development in Bengal

    Narendra Modi, speaking at Siliguri, spared no invective when amping up the charge on the Trinamool Congress government in the state. 

    Speaking at his second rally of the day, the prime minister said the cheers of the audience had reached Mamata Banerjee and would destroy her sleep.

    He called her 'speedbreaker Didi' and said she has put the brakes on Bengal's development. "I accept your love," he told a wildly applauding audience.

  • 13:32 (IST)

    Will do everything possible to protect Article 370, says Mehbooba Mufti

    PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said on Wednesday that should Article 370 be abrogated, then the people behind it should be prepared to see Jammu and Kashmir outside the country. 

    "We will do everything to protect Article 370 and the region," she said, shortly after filing her nomination papers.

  • 13:23 (IST)

    Trinamool unveils 'Jumla Meter' to check Narendra Modi's 'facts'

    Fake news has flown thick and fast this election season, with the onus largely on small fact-checking efforts to set things straight. However, it appears as if the Trinamool Congress has jumped into the fray, with a "Jumla Meter" that ostensibly aims to check facts that Narendra Modi and his government put across.

    "The last time Narendra Modi came to Bengal, he made some lofty claims," the party's official Twitter handle said. It then linked to a glossary of lines from Modi's earlier speeches, all with subtexts on what the state government's take is on the matter. 

    The Jumla Meter is available at the party's official website.

  • 13:13 (IST)

    Amit Shah treads the 'national security' line once again in Uttarkashi

    BJP chief Amit Shah, speaking at Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand said only Narendra Modi can give an answer to Pakistan and terrorists.

    He also slammed Omar Abdullah for asking for another prime minister in Jammu and Kashmir. "And Congress keeps quiet," he said.

    Shah blamed the Congress for allowing "one and all" to come into the country during the 10 years of UPA rule, amping up the offensive along the internal security line.

  • 13:03 (IST)

    Amit Shah lauds 'holy' land of rivers at Uttarkashi rally

    BJP president Amit Shah has begun speaking at Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand. "The Gangotri and Yamunotri dhams are famous in the world. The streams that emerge from here give lives to millions of people in the country and have witnessed thousands of years of culture," Shah began by saying.

  • 13:00 (IST)

    Mumbai court asks Rahul Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury to appear before it on charges of defaming RSS

    A Mumbai court has asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury to appear before it on 30 April to respond to the charges of defaming RSS by allegedly linking it to journalist Gauri Lankesh's murder.

    The civil defamation case, seeking a token compensation of Re 1 from Rahul and Yechury was filed by RSS activist Vivek Champanerkar, who has claimed the duo "defamed" the RSS by linking it to the killing of Lankesh.

    PTI

  • 12:57 (IST)

    Mehbooba Mufti files nomination papers

    Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday filed her nomination papers in Anantnag. The leader has been vocal in her criticism of BJP's promise of doing away with Articles 35A and 370, that promise special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

  • 12:52 (IST)

    Nirmala Sitharaman holds presser on Congress manifesto, says Congress bringing down morale of Armed Forces

    On the Congress's decision to name armymen and women killed in service as "martyrs", Nirmala Sitharaman said the Army is already sufficiently respected in the state. "If the matter is so close to your heart then why you have not mentioned the Pulwama martyrs?" she asked.

    She said the Congress is trying to bring down the morale of the Armed Forces. She also criticised Congress's attempt to promise a measure to do away with the sedition law. "You will remember, it was the Congress party which brought the amendment on bails in the sedition law," she said.

  • 12:46 (IST)

    'Very insidious': Nirmala Sitharaman takes apart Congress manifesto

    Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman held a press conference on Wednesday, slamming the Congress manifesto as one in which "separatists have been encouraged".

    On the Congress's proposed amendments to the acts which give Armed Forces unbridled access in places, like the AFSPA, the minister said, "Why should it be presumed that the powers of the security forces are opposed to human rights? This is very, very insidious."

  • 12:35 (IST)

    Ghulam Nabi Azad compares Modi to Hitler

    Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday compared prime minister Narendra Modi to German dictator Adolf Hitler. "Modi wants to win the hearts of Kashmiris with a gun. Hitler ruled with a gun," he said, addressing a rally at Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara.

    Azad also said that no one dared to unleash violence like this on Kashmiris earlier. Political parties in the Valley have been critical of what the BJP leadership has maintained on Article 35A and 370.

  • 12:23 (IST)

    Karnataka Women's Commission summons Tejaswi Surya

    The Karnataka Women's Commission has summoned BJP's Bengaluru South candidate Tejaswi Surya over a complaint filed by Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee against Surya, over allegations made by a woman who has since deleted the tweet. 

    Surya will appear at around 4 pm, News18 reported.

  • 12:20 (IST)

    EC asks Congress to remove mentions of Rafale from advertisements

    The Election Commission has asked Congress to take off mentions of the Rafale issue from its advertisements as the matter is sub-judice.

  • 12:10 (IST)

    Turf war heats up at Bengal as Modi and Mamata take up slots through the day

    Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee's rally at Dinhata, scheduled at 3.30 pm, will follow prime minister Narendra Modi's address at Siliguri at 12.30 pm. Interestingly, Modi is scheduled to address a rally at Kolkata's Brigade Parade grounds at 3.30 pm as well.

  • 11:57 (IST)

    Before Modi's rally, Trinamool asks for measure of work done in Twitter campaign

    Hours before prime minister Narendra Modi takes stage at Siliguri, Trinamool Congress amped up the pressure on the Prime Minister with a #PradhanMantriHisabDo campaign. In the visuals shared as part of the campaign, TMC has highlighted measures brought by its government in West Bengal and compared them with the BJP government's comparative inaction.

  • 11:50 (IST)

    In pictures: BJP workers, leaders in Manipur hold a flag hoisting ceremony

    A flag hoisting ceremony was held for the BJP candidate, Ranjan Rajkumar. Chief minister N Biren Singh and state BJP president K Bhabananda Singh were also present.

Lok Sabha election 2019 LATEST updates: In a fresh affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Centre said that there were no legal or factual merit to Election Commission's concerns. CNN-News18 quoted the government as saying in that electoral bonds can't impact policies. On 27 March, the Election Commission had told the Supreme Court that it had written to the Centre saying the changes made in several laws relating to political funding will have "serious repercussions" on transparency.

Sitting MP Kirit Somaiya responded to BJP's move to field corporation Manoj Kotak from his constituency Mumbai North East. "We all will support him and ensure he wins. Ultimately our aim is a second term for Narendra Modi ji," he said.

In Suderbani, Amit Shah lashed out at Congress for promising AFPSA review in its manifesto. "Nobody can dilute AFSPA as the BJP will be standing like a rock behind security forces who are protecting our borders," he said. "It is for the first time that I'm revealing this: We left the Jammu and Kashmir government on the issue of dilution of AFSPA."

The BJP has fielded Bhojpuri actor Dinesh Lal Yadav, popularly known as Nirhua, to contest from Azamgarh against Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav. It named corporator Manoj Kotak as its candidate from the Mumbai North East seat, dropping sitting MP Kirit Somaiya.

Addressing a mega rally in Kolkata, Narendra Modi said, "In their manifesto, the Congress has stated that they will dilute AFSPA. This move will help Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. The Congress is determined to bring instability in the country... Your vote will play a big role in doing away with terrorism."

He also lashed out at the Congress, saying "Some people who were opposed to me, have started opposing India. Who was questioning the airstrike? Who was upsetting the jawans? Who was demanding the bodies of terrorists? Who was asking saboot from sapoots?"

The Election Commission is learnt to have sought details of Namo TV from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry after the issue was flagged by the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party which wanted to know whether political parties having own channels was violative of the model code of conduct.

Addressing a rally in Golaghat in Assam, Rahul Gandhi spoke on Congress' minimum income promise. "Funds for NYAY will come from pockets of 'chor' businessmen favoured by 'chowkidar' Narendra Modi," he said.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said that looking at the Congress manifesto, it appears that the Congress has been infiltrated by urban Naxals that is why the nation has to see such a shameful day.

Modi said, "The Congress has also made arrangements to reward those who abuse India. People who chant 'Bharat tere tukde honge' will all be let free because the Congress is conspiring to scrap the sedition law." 

Addressing a rally in West Bengal's Siliguri, Modi said that Armed Forces Special Forces Act was like armour for the security forces but the Congress party wants to snatch it away from them

Narendra Modi, speaking at his second rally of the day, at Siliguri in West Bengal said the cheers of the audience had reached Mamata Banerjee and would destroy her sleep. He called her 'speedbreaker Didi' and said she has put the brakes on Bengal's development. "I accept your love," he told a wildly applauding audience.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said on Wednesday that should Article 370 be abrogated, then the people behind it should be prepared to see Jammu and Kashmir outside the country. "We will do everything to protect Article 370 and the region," she said, shortly after filing her nomination papers.

BJP chief Amit Shah, speaking at Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand said only Narendra Modi can give an answer to Pakistan and terrorists. He also slammed Omar Abdullah for asking for another prime minister in Jammu and Kashmir. "And Congress keeps quiet," he said. Shah blamed the Congress for allowing "one and all" to come into the country during the 10 years of UPA rule, amping up the offensive along the internal security line.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday compared prime minister Narendra Modi to German dictator Adolf Hitler. Political parties in the Valley have been critical of what the BJP leadership has maintained on Article 35A and 370. "Modi wants to win the hearts of Kashmiris with a gun. Hitler ruled with a gun," he said, addressing a rally at Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara.

Azad also said that no one dared to unleash violence like this on Kashmiris earlier.

The Foreigners Division of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a notice to the wife of Trinamool Congress leader and Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee for making false representation and concealing material facts while submitting documents before competent authorities to get her Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) and Permanent Account Number (PAN) card.

No sooner had Narendra Modi's address at Pasighat finished, than Congress communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala held a press conference in which an unverified sting video was used to allege that money was distributed among people in Pasighat to attend Modi's rally today. Cash of Rs 1.8 crore was recovered last night from Arunachal BJP president Tapir Gao’s vehicles at the Siang Guest House.

Speaking at Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh, Modi has also kept the focus, significantly, on the Congress's manifesto, which was released on Tuesday, playing with words and referring to it as a dhakoslapatra.

Blaming Congress leaders for never coming to the Arunachal and spending their time in expensive hotels, Narendra Modi also slammed what he called the "tukde tukde gang" which he said "has gone against the country and betrayed it". "Should there not be justice done to those who insult the nation?" he asked, following up with the question if Congress was with the nation or with its betrayers.

Ahead of his rallies in Arunachal, Bengal and Maharashtra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted in English, Bengali and Marathi, reaching out to the prospective audience of his meetings. "BJP's popularity has only grown in West Bengal...only BJP can solve the state's problems," he wrote.

Wednesday promises to be yet another high octane day in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who remains the Bharatiya Janata Party's most significant crowd puller on the campaign trail, will speak on the turf of one of the Opposition's rallying forces, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Modi and Mamata are both scheduled to speak in north Bengal on Wednesday morning, the prime minister at Siliguri and Mamata at Dinhata.

Modi is scheduled to start the day with a public meeting at 10 am, at Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. From there, he is expected to address the north Bengal rally before travelling to Kolkata's Brigade Parade grounds, where he will speak at around 3.30 pm. By evening, he will be in Maharashtra, where he is expected to address a rally at Gondia at 6.30 pm.

In his rallies, the prime minister has been prioritising internal security above all else, repeating the value of the Balakot air strike in public meetings at nearly every venue across the country. In Bengal, he is likely to slam the Mamata rule with renewed vigour. The chief minister often clashes with the BJP at the Centre and has accused it of compromising the freedom of public institutions, even holding a dharna in retaliation to the CBI's questioning of former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar.

Meanwhile, BJP president Amit Shah is scheduled to address election rallies at Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand at 11.30 am, and Udhampur (2.30 pm) and Rajouri (4 pm) in Jammu and Kashmir. Shah's visit to Jammu and Kashmir comes in the backdrop of severe back and forth regarding Article 370, which gives the state special status, among Kashmir's mainstream political parties like the People's Democratic Party and the National Conference on one hand and the BJP on the other.

PDP chief and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday had said Shah was "daydreaming" about abrogating Article 370. The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said if the constitutional provision was removed, then mainstream politicians, including her, will have to reconsider their future course of action.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is likely to hold a public meeting at 10.45 am at Dimapur in Nagaland, and rallies at 12.45 pm at Golaghat and 3 pm at North Lakhimpur in Assam.

On Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi, with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi and other senior leaders, released Congress's 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley came down heavily on it, saying that the Opposition party’s promises are "dangerous and unimplementable", and that the agenda seemed to be the "balkanisation of India". Accusing Congress of shielding terrorists and being under the influence of Naxals, Maoists and jihadis, Jaitley hit out at the Congress for suggesting it will scrap the sedition law.

Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.

Updated Date: Apr 03, 2019 19:35:09 IST

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