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Lok Sabha Election 2019 Updates: EC tells Madhya Pradesh CEO to submit report on Pragya Thakur's 'deshbhakt Godse' remark

Lok Sabha Election 2019 LIVE Updates: The Election Commission has sought factual report from Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer by Friday in the matter of Pragya Singh Thakur's statement, 'Nathuram Godse was, is and will remain a 'deshbhakt''.

FP Staff May 16, 2019 21:21:34 IST
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Lok Sabha Election 2019 Updates: EC tells Madhya Pradesh CEO to submit report on Pragya Thakur's 'deshbhakt Godse' remark
  • Modi will be travelling to West Bengal after three rallies in Mau, Chandauli and Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh

  • Mamata had on Wednesday said it is an unprecedented, unconstitutional and unethical gift to Modi and BJP president Amit Shah by the poll panel.

  • Kolkata witnessed widespread violence during BJP president Amit Shah's massive road show Tuesday

Highlights

13:09 (ist)

Congress' Sanjay Jha hits back at journalist's 'congratulations' to BJP

Congress veteran Sanjay Jha, who has kept the retorts coming thick and fast on Twitter through the election season, on Thursday hit out at a journalist congratulating the BJP over its campaign 'performance'. In the same vein, Jha accused mainstream media of "playing ping-pong with the BJP" but said the journalist was particularly blasé. Writer Saba Naqvi also hit out at the journalist for the tweet.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

May 16, 2019 - 21:14 (IST)
Congress not averse to supporting regional party leader for PM post: Ghulam Nabi Azad
The Congress is not averse to supporting any regional party leader for the Prime Minister's post even if it emerges as the single largest party, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Thursday. "My party high command has already made it clear that the Congress is not averse to making a prime minister from any regional party," Azad told reporters in Shimla.
 
He was asked if the Congress will be ready to support any regional party leader for the prime minister's post even if it emerges as the largest party in a hung Parliament.
 
Speaking in the same vein in Patna on Wednesday, Azad had said the Congress will not make it an issue if the prime minister post is not offered to it. His remarks assume significance as the Congress has been asserting that it would be the fulcrum of any non-NDA government, which was seen as its claim for the PM's post and had led some major regional parties to maintain a distance from it.
 
 
PTI

May 16, 2019 - 21:00 (IST)

Chandrababu Naidu writes to EC over repolling order for Chandragiri Assembly seat and Chittoor LS seat

Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu writes to EC over its decision to order re-polling at 5 polling stations of Chandragiri Assembly constituency and Chittoor Lok Sabha constituency. In his letter, he strongly opposed "the partial, one-sided, and undemocratic motivated actions of the EC."

May 16, 2019 - 20:56 (IST)

Mamata's padyatra ends in south Kolkata

Mamata Banerjee's rally reached Kalighat at her residence, after which it came to an end.

By SS Parveen/101Reporters

May 16, 2019 - 20:46 (IST)

WATCH | People join Mamata's march with lit candles, black flags to protests Vidyasagar statue vandalism

As the padyatra crosses Harish Mukherjee Road in front of Abhishek Banerjee's (Mamata's nephew) house, people join the rally with black flags and candles to demonstrate their protest against the 14 May violence at Vidyasagar College where Vidyasagar's statue was broken during clashes.

By SS Parveen/101Reporters

May 16, 2019 - 20:41 (IST)

EC announces deployment of central security forces for last phase in Bengal

The Election Commission declared the number of security personnel deployed for the seventh phase of election. 

While 34 companies of central forces will be deployed for strong rooms, the following is the area-wise allotment of  central forces.

- Kolkata - 147 companies
- Barrackpore - 55 companies
- Barrackpore - 41 companies
- Baruipur - 102 companies
- Bashirhat - 21 companies
- Bidhan Nagar - 27 companies 
- Diamond Harbour - 81 companies
- Sunderban - 40 companies

By SS Parveen/101Reporters

May 16, 2019 - 20:33 (IST)

EC seeks report on Pragya Thakur's 'deshbhakt Godse' remark by tomorrow

The Election Commission has sought factual report from Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer by Friday in the matter of Pragya Singh Thakur's statement, "Nathuram Godse was, is and will remain a 'deshbhakt'".

May 16, 2019 - 20:24 (IST)

Rahul Gandhi holds roadshow with Shatrughan Sinha in Bihar

May 16, 2019 - 20:21 (IST)

Mamata Banerjee extends padyatra

Mamata Banerjee decided to extend the padyatra and adds another route to it as she reaches Bhawanipore. Bhawanipore comes under South Kolkata Constituency. Mamata is sitting MLA from Bhawanipore Assembly constituency.

Input by SS Parveen/101Reporters

May 16, 2019 - 19:53 (IST)

Amit Shah in Uttar Pradesh latest updates

BJP chief holds roadshow in Gorakhpur

May 16, 2019 - 19:51 (IST)

Pragya Thakur speaks on row over Godse remark

After her 'deshbhakt' remark for Godse sparked a controversy on Thursday, Pragya Thakur said, "I am committed to the stand of the BJP. I am a worker of my party, and the limit set my party is my own." 


Lok Sabha Election 2019 LATEST Updates: The Election Commission has sought factual report from Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer by Friday in the matter of Pragya Singh Thakur's statement, "Nathuram Godse was, is and will remain a 'deshbhakt'".

The Election Commission ordered that SDPO Diamond Harbour (West Bengal) Mithun Kumar Dey and Amherst Street office in-charge Kaushik Das have been relieved with immediate effect. "Both the officers shall not be given any election related posts," it said.

Lashing out at Mamata Banerjee over her remarks against central security forces and the Election Commission, Narendra Modi said, "Why are you forgetting that the Left had created similar situation for you once upon a time and the constitutional bodies of the nation ensured a fair election in West Bengal. If these constitutional bodies and central forces weren't there, you would not have been chief minister today."

As Mamata Banerjee held her padyatra along an 8.5 kilometre stretch in Kolkata, hundreds joined the streets to catch a glimpse of the West Bengal chief minister just hours before the end of campaigning the state.

Opposition parties met the EC over its move to end election campaign in West Bengal 24 hours before the scheduled deadline. After the meeting, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters, "We did not receive a satisfactory response from the Election Commission."

In West Bengal's Mathurapur, Narendra Modi accused "TMC goons" of spreading violence during Amit Shah's Kolkata roadshow and demanded strict action against them. Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee started her padayatra from Joka bus stand and now it will go through Thakurpur and Behala, till Taratala. Her rally is 8.5-kilometre long. The traffic at Behala has right now come to a standstill.

Congress' Bhopal candidate Digvijaya Singh lashed out at BJP's Pragya Thakur over her 'deshbhakt' remark on Godse. "Modi ji, Amit Shah ji and the state BJP should give their statements and apologise to the nation (for Pragya's remark). I condemn this statement. Nathuram Godse was a killer; glorifying him is not patriotism, it is sedition," he said.

BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said at a press conference that BJP did not agree with Pragya Thakur's statement. "We condemn it. The party will ask her for clarification. She should apologise publicly for this statement," he said. Meanwhile, Congress called her remark was "an unpardonable sin".

Speaking at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, BJP chief Amit Shah said the Modi government had made India unsafe for terrorists and those like Zakir Naik now no longer consider it a safe haven. "Zakir Naik has said he is scared to return to India because of Narendra Modi. When asked when he would like to return to India, he said, when the Congress government comes to power on 23 May," Shah said.

Asked to react to Kamal Haasan's remark on Nathuram Godse, BJP's candidate for Bhopal, Pragya Singh Thakur, said on Thursday that Godse, who killed Mahatma Gandhi was a patriot, is a patriot and will remain a patriot. "People calling him a terrorist should look within and will be given a befitting reply in this election," she said. Pragya Singh is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case and had earlier said late Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare had been cursed to death in the 26/11 terrorist attack by her.

At his final Lok Sabha election campaign rally in Mirzapur of Uttar Pradesh, Narendra Modi predicted a 300-seat victory for the BJP this election, "because Bengal too will be added to our seat count." Repeating his old anecdote of washing cups and plates as a chaiwala, he asked for votes for the BJP's ally in the state, Apna Dal (Sonelal), whose election symbol is a cup and plate. Modi also vowed to make Dr Sonelal Patel's vision a reality in Uttar Pradesh. Patel's daughter Anupriya is the head and founder of the AD(S).

Making no bones about the effects of Election Commission's enforcement of Article 324 curtailing campaigns in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee said at her Mathurapur rally on Thursday that she was sorry to drag people out to the rally venue in the afternoon heat but had no choice because of the clamp down "which affected mostly her campaigns." The gloves were well and truly off as Mamata hit out at Modi's promise of a Vidyasagar statue with the retort that Bengal does not need his Vidyasagar statue. "Bengal will not take your alms, give back 200 years of our heritage," she said.

In what is certainly a rare show of unity in an election season that has seen efforts on a united front constantly thwarted, the Congress (in a press conference held by Randeep Surjewala), SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, BSP chief Mayawati, CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu questioned the Election Commission's decision to curtail poll campaigns in West Bengal and more importantly, whether Article 324 was to be enforced after a 24 hour delay to accommodate the two rallies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that were already scheduled in the state.

At his second rally of the day at Chandauli, Narendra Modi amped up the charge against the Opposition alliance, which he often calls 'mahamilavati'. He said while they were initially hell bent upon destroying Modi and had "posed for the camera holding each others' hands", they now spread only words of fear and hatred. Modi also went back to one of his familiar refrains this election season, and asked how Congress and the other parties in the Opposition could manage to question the surgical strikes.

In what signifies a distinct coming together of the Opposition for the first time this election, Mamata Banerjee thanked the likes of BSP chief Mayawati, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and the Congress for support in criticising the Election Commission over its invocation of Article 324 in West Bengal, curtailing campaigns. A delegation of the BJP comprising senior leaders like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Prakash Javadekar knocked on the Election Commission's doors on Thursday, asking that "TMC goons and history-sheeters" be put into preventive detention for the 19 May polls on Sunday.

Speaking at his first rally of the day at Uttar Pradesh's Mau, Narendra Modi promised a "grand statue" of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar at the same spot where it was brought down on Tuesday, while at the same time blaming the TMC for the violence at Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata on the day. "We saw hooliganism by TMC workers again during Bhai Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata, they vandalized Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's statue. We are committed to Vidyasagar's vision and will install his grand statue at the same spot," Modi said.

After meeting the Alwar gangrape survivor with Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi refused to politicise the issues and said he would not comment on Narendra Modi's charge that the Congress government had sought to hush up the issue as the polls were on. "Soon after I heard about the incident I spoke to Ashok Gehlot Ji. This is not a political issue for me. I met the victim's family and they have sought justice which will be done. Action will be taken against culprits," Rahul said.

Congress came down heavily on the Election Commission in a press conference addressed by party communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala on Thursday. "Had the Model Code of Conduct now become the Modi Code of Misconduct?" Surjewala asked. He also raised questions on the poll panel's neutrality, questioning the Election Commission's crackdown on campaigning in Bengal and asked how Narendra Modi's two rallies could be allowed in the state on Thursday. Surjewala called the enforcement of Article 324 a 'parting gift' by the Election Commission to the Narendra Modi government.

 Stressing that the Election Commission's clamp down of Article 324 has "created a fear psychosis by admitting the poll panel's own inability to hold a free and fair poll", Congress in a press conference on Thursday questioned why the panel delayed the curtailing of campaigns by 24 hours in Bengal. "Was it done so that Narendra Modi could hold his rallies in Bengal on Thursday?" asked Randeep Surjewala, citing how the panel was reduced to a "toothless tiger" even when it came to stopping the streaming of NaMo TV.

Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that the aim of the party is to defeat the NDA conglomerate and not to fight for the prime minister's post. "We have already made our stand clear. If a consensus is made in the favour of Congress, then party will take the leadership but our aim has always been that NDA govt shouldn't come. We will go with the unanimous decision," Azad said on Wednesday. Until now, Congress has projected chief Rahul Gandhi as a prime ministerial candidate throughout the election.

The Election Commission's order invoking Article 324 in West Bengal has made Thursday the last day of campaigning in the state, leading both the BJP and TMC to concentrate last-minute campaign efforts on a turf which has seen violence throughout the Lok Sabha election. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to hold two rallies in the state – at Mathurapur and Laxmikantpur.  TMC chief and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has two public rallies, at Mathurapur and Diamond Harbour, and two roadshows, at Behala and Kolkata, scheduled on Thursday.

Modi will be travelling to the state after three rallies in Mau, Chandauli and Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.  Meanwhile, BJP's South Kolkata candidate Chandra Bose will garland a statue of Vidyasagar with a lotus garland.

Attacking the Election Commission of India for curtailing the campaigning for the last phase of polls in West Bengal, Mamata had on Wednesday said it is an "unprecedented,
unconstitutional and unethical gift" to Modi and BJP president Amit Shah by the poll panel.

Banerjee said she had never seen this type of EC which is "biased and full of RSS people". "There is no such law and order problem in West Bengal that Article 324 can be clamped. It is unprecedented, unconstitutional, unfair, unethical and politically biased decision" against which the state will move the Supreme Court, she said.

"Mr EC has given a gift to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah (by invoking Article 324) in West Bengal for vandalising the statue of Vidyasagar," she claimed at a press conference held at her Kalighat residence.

Kolkata witnessed widespread violence during BJP president Amit Shah's massive road show Tuesday. A bust of 19th century Bengali icon Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalised during the violence. No violence had taken place during any other rally of Modi or Shah in the state earlier, she said and asked, "So where is the lawlessness?"

"The ECI is taking all the decisions at the behsest of the BJP. I have never seen this type of ECI ever. I think all the RSS people have been included in the ECI. The ECI is biased," she alleged.

In the first such action in India's electoral history, the EC on Wednesday invoked Article 324 of the Constitution to curtail the campaigning for the last phase of the election on 19 May in the wake of violence between BJP and Trinamool Congress workers in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will visit the family of the 19-year-old gangrape survivor in Rajasthan's Alwar on Thursday. The visit, originally scheduled on Wednesday, had to postpone his visit as his chopper could not land in the area due to bad weather. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot, AICC general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande and deputy chief minister and PCC president Sachin Pilot were to accompany Rahul.

The 26 April incident had provoked anger and protests across the state drawn attacks on the Congress government by Modi as well as BSP chief Mayawati.

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