Lok Sabha Election 2019 LATEST Updates: After being dragged into a controversy over a pamphlet against Atishi, BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir said, "I will definitely file a defamation case against them (AAP leaders). You can't tarnish someone's image just like that, if you don't have the proof. I have never given a negative statement against anyone so far in my election campaigning."
In Bankura, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for levelling allegations against her party leaders for alleged links with the coal mafia. "I challenge Modi, if you can prove your allegations that one of us is part of coal mafia, I will withdraw all my 42 candidates. If you are lying, you have to hold your ears and do a hundred sit ups before public," she said.
Addressing a rally in Azamgarh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued his tirade against the Opposition over the abuses subjected to him in the past. "There is no word in the dictionary that Congress, SP, BSP leaders did not use to insult me. I want to tell them that the more abuses you hurl, the more the lotus will bloom," he said.
Amid a row over offensive pamphlet against AAP candidate Atishi, BJP nominee Gautam Gambhir said that he'll withdraw his candidature if there is proof that he was behind the act. He further asked AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and Atishi if they would step down from politics if he's not found guilty.
BJP Delhi spokesperson Harish Khurana responded to the allegations levelled by AAP against the party's East Delhi candidate Gautam Gambhir by calling them "baseless". Atishi, Gambhir's AAP counterpart for the controversy, had broken down while holding the press conference where she alleged that Gambhir had circulated a pamphlet intended to insult her. The purported pamphlet, shared on Twitter, contains several insults pinpointed to Atishi.
"It is very much possible that these people (of AAP) circulated or got this distributed by themselves," Khurana added.
Aam Aadmi Party's East Delhi candidate Atishi held a press conference on Thursday, alleging that her BJP opponent, former cricketer Gautam Gambhir, had circulated pamphlets with derogatory and abusive language intended to demean her. "We would clap for Gambhir when he used to bash opponents with fours and sixes while playing for India but never in our worst dreams had we thought that this man would stoop this low to win an election," party leader Manish Sisodia said.
In a press conference today, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the BJP had run out of issues to change the focus towards, and was thus content with spreading disinformation regarding things like Rahul Gandhi's citizenship. He dubbed the party a "Bahut Jhoot Party" and warned that lies, propaganda and canards can "never succeed beyond a very short shelf-life."
Sunny Deol, in an interview to News18, mistook Balakot for Kartarpur and said "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has opened a door there (at Balakot)". He had been asked by the interviewer if he felt proud about Narendra Modi's achievements in conducting the Balakot air strike. However, at a later interview to a channel, the actor-turned-politician said he did not know much about India-Pakistan relations or the Balakot air strikes.
Speaking at Bankura shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke at a rally in the same constituency, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee was full of admonishment at everything ranging from the prime minister's rally timings to the noise being made by college students attending her rally. She was particularly vicious at Modi's allegation, at his second rally in Purulia, that her party had exposed the eponymous district to the coal mafia. "Prove that even one of my 42 Lok Sabha candidates have any connection with the coal mafia, and I will cancel the nomination of all 42 of them. But if you fail, you will have to do 100 sit ups," she said to Modi.
Keeping the topics of his rally in Haryana's Sirsa limited to the usual ones of Congress' campaign, the NYAY scheme and the Rafale deal, Rahul Gandhi avoided speaking on his father Rajiv Gandhi amidst the back and forth regarding the former prime minister. "Narendra Modi ji, you want to talk on Rajiv Gandhi, but talk on the Rafale deal first," said Rahul, before moving on to farmers' issues once again.
Mamata Banerjee-helmed Trinamool Congress, on the birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, uploaded a video slamming BJP chief Amit Shah over his mistake at a Birbhum rally in identifying the birthplace of the poet as Birbhum itself. The clip shows Shah saying Tagore was born in Birbhum on a loop. "They talk of saving Bengali culture! First learn about Bangla and then dream about winning here," the TMC tweeted through its official account.
Speaking at his second rally of the day at Bengal's Purulia, Narendra Modi took the "slap" charge further, and said while Mamata Banerjee wants to slap him, he regards her as his elder sister, calls her "Didi" and is willing to accept her slaps as blessings. On Wednesday, Mamata had spoken at a rally on Modi's rule coming as a slap to democracy, which some media outlets had mis-reported as "slap to Modi",
Modi said Mamata might have been better off to have slapped those of her aides who had been levying a TTT, a Trinamool Tolabaji Tax from the people of Bengal.
The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea by former BSF constable and Samajwadi Party candidate Tej Bahadur Yadav against the sudden rejection of his nomination from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi dismissing the plea said, “We don’t find any merit to entertain this petition.”
The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the petition against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, alleging he holds citizenship of two countries, India and Britain. The petitioners had asked that Rahul be banned from contesting in the Lok Sabha election as he is a British citizenship. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, hearing the matter, said, "Some company in some form has mentioned Rahul Gandhi as a British citizen, so does he becomes British citizen? Dismissed."
Minutes after Congress leader Ahmed Patel decried the attacks on a deceased prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, who was no longer able to defend himself in the face of abuses, Arun Jaitley turned the table on the Congress for blaming the BJP for Rajiv's death. Patel had said the BJP-supported VK Singh government had de-escalated Rajiv's security and that their "hatred" had killed him.
"From December 1990 till May 1991, when Shri Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, the Congress party supported Chandra Shekhar government was in power," Jaitley wrote on Twitter, pointing out that the Congress had at times chosen to blame the DMK for this death and has now decided to focus on the BJP out of compulsion.
The tussle over Rajiv Gandhi and the extent of his culpability for events that transpired three decades ago has well and truly risen to a crescendo. While the BJP has concentrated the attack first made by prime minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, the Congress has expressed its unveiled anger at slams made on a prime minister who is no longer alive to defend himself. Meanwhile, Opposition leaders like Omar Abdullah questioned why the BJP would seek to rake up an issue as old as Rajiv's alleged corruption.
At his Bankura rally, Narendra Modi accused Mamata Banerjee of a host of charges, including keeping worshippers of Ram and Saraswati in constant fear. Modi, significantly, made no bones about attempting to harness the local populace's trust by switching between Bengali and Hindi throughout his speech.
Speaking at his first rally of the day in West Bengal's Bankura, Narendra Modi lost no time in coining two new campaign phrases, "chup chap kamal chhap" and "booth booth se TMC saaf". He struck at Mamata Banerjee and her government, alleging that she cared not about the people of Bengal but about her own family and its wealth. Modi also alleged that while Mamata allegedly feels pride on behalf of Pakistam prime minister Imran Khan, she was "too proud" to take his call when he made one after the cyclone (Fani). Modi alleged that Mamata had also turned down the central government's requests for meetings on relief.
Striking back at the Narendra Modi-led attack on late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on behalf of the Congress on Thursday, Ahmed Patel labelled the abuse levelled at a person who was no longer able to reply to it as an "act of ultimate cowardice." Patel also said the BJP-backed VP Singh government which had allegedly refused to provide Rajiv with additional security in the charged 1991 atmosphere and had "left him with one personal security officer" despite credible intelligence inputs and repeated requests, was responsible for killing him.
With only two phases of the 2019 Lok Sabha election remaining to go, back and forth between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Opposition parties has reached a crescendo with little effort at courtesy on either side. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to address rallies in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh today (9 May), a day after making charged speeches targeting the Gandhi family and also alleging that the Congress had insulted him in several ways through the years.
In Bengal, he can be expected to direct the vitriol at chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee at his public meetings in Bankura (10 am) and Purulia (11.40 am). In Uttar Pradesh, the prime minister is likely to once again barrel into the past of Rajiv Gandhi, at rallies in Azamgarh (3.10 pm), Jaunpur (4.45 pm) and finally, Prayagraj (6.40 pm).
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is poised to reply to the prime minister's charges at his scheduled rallies at Sirsa in Haryana, Sagar in Madhya Pradesh and Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. The last venue is where Modi accused the Gandhi family of using INS Viraat as a "personal taxi" for 10 days when his family and his in-laws took a vacation, thereby allegedly compromising national security.
The Supreme Court will, on Thursday, hear the petition to keep Rahul Gandhi from contesting polls and becoming a Member of Parliament in the future over having allegedly acquired British citizenship. On 1 May, the home ministry sent Rahul a notice seeking a response to charges that he held British citizenship.
Like on Wednesday, when their Delhi campaigns nearly coincided, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be at Jaunpur at around the same time as Modi. She will also hold rallies at Uttar Pradesh's Pratapgarh and Sultanpur. Priyanka on Wednesday accused Modi of blaming the Nehru-Gandhi family for his own failures, alleging that he was like a "schoolboy who failed to do his homework" and his excuses are "Pandit Nehru has taken away his answer-sheet and Indira Gandhi has made a paper boat out of that."
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu (who on Wednesday met Rahul at his residence) are expected to meet in the afternoon, at Bengal's Kharagpur on Thursday.