Narendra Modi in Varanasi; Lok Sabha Election 2019 LIVE updates: Addressing a rally in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, 'In the past 5 years, there have been no terrorist attacks on an Indian city, holy place or temple. The country also witnessed the Kumbh mela peacefully. Terrorists are now only limited to certain areas in Jammu and Kashmir now. They killed 40 of our CRPF personnel. After that incident, till date 42 terrorist have been killed in that area. This is how we work.'
Lok Sabha Election 2019 LATEST updates: Addressing a rally in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "In the past 5 years, there have been no terrorist attacks on an Indian city, holy place or temple. The country also witnessed the Kumbh mela peacefully. Terrorists are now only limited to certain areas in Jammu and Kashmir now. They killed 40 of our CRPF personnel. After that incident, till date 42 terrorist have been killed in that area. This is how we work."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took part in the 'Ganga aarti', a day before his is expected to file his nomination. BJP chief Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath also accompanied him at Dashashwamedh Ghat for the 'aarti'.
Earlier, Modi held a roadshow, covering the 6-kilometre stretch between BHU campus gate and Dashashwamedh Ghat. Thousand joined the streets of Varanasi during the mega road show in NDA's show of strength.
Modi kicked started his roadshow in Varanasi after paying tribute to Madan Malviya on arriving at the BHU campus. Earlier, he tweeted, "After bumper rallies in Darbhanga and Banda, I am heading to beloved Kashi."
Speaking in his final rally of the day before joining Prime Minister Narendra Modi at this roadshow in Varanasi, BJP chief Amit Shah spoke in full praise of Modi, asserting that the prime minister's name was the one chant that was uniformly being heard across India. "I have toured 258 Lok Sabha constituencies and come here, all I can hear is Modi, Modi, Modi," he said, before listing out several of the efforts allegedly undertaken by the BJP government. He also hit out at the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress governments that Uttar Pradesh has had, saying the BJP has reversed the lack of development in the state.
At his Banda rally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said those sitting in AC rooms in Delhi have no idea how India will vote. "The faces of some people have fallen since the first three phases of the election. The anger that they were feeling towards Modi, they took out on EVMs," he said. In his rally, Modi also spoke on development for Uttar Pradesh and the several steps the BJP governments at the Centre and state have allegedly taken to that end.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, speaking at a rally in Rajasthan's Ajmer, joked with crowd, mostly at the expense of the Modi government, drawing loud laughs. Rahul repeated his NYAY promise of delivering Rs 72,000 to accounts. "Don't get angry with me but the money will go to the accounts of women," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed his final rally of the day before the Varanasi roadshow at Uttar Pradesh's Banda. He began by training the verbal gun at Congress and saying that the party had abused him and is always concerned with caste, class and communalism. "Can you tell us which caste Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rani Jhansi belonged to? The brave have no caste," he said.
Speaking at his second rally of the day at Uttar Pradesh's Unnao, BJP chief Amit Shah predicted a victory for the Lok Sabha candidate for the eponymous constituency, Sakshi Maharaj. "One would think that Sakshi Maharaj is a sanyasi, what else can he give other than blessings. Yet he has built toilets, given houses to people. This time he will win not with three lakh votes, but with five lakh votes," Shah said.
Congress leader Ajay Rai is five-time MLA from Uttar Pradesh who incidentally began his political career in the BJP's student wing. He won Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha elections from Kolasla thrice between 1996 and 2007 on BJP tickets. In 2009, he contested the Lok Sabha election on a Samajwadi Party ticket and lost.
After winning the 2009 Assembly byelection from Kolasla constituency as an Independent, Rai joined the Congress. Rai is famous as a local strongman who moves around with a gun-toting private army, reports had said.
Bringing an end to speculation on Priyanka Gandhi entering the poll fray, Congress announced on Thursday that it would be Ajay Rai and not the Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh (East) who would contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.
Aam Aadmi Party has released its election manifesto, a document where Delhi's residents were heavily prioritised with calls for domicile reservations in several sectors spanning education and government jobs. "We will secure 85 percent of the seats of Delhi colleges for residents of the city. Sixty five percent of the jobs of the region will be secured for residents, similarly," Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said.
At his first rally of the day at Uttar Pradesh's Ghazipur, BJP chief Amit Shah repeated many of his usual campaign speech refrains and asked why leaders of Opposition sported ashen faces even though the terrorists who were struck in the Balakot air strikes were Pakistani. Shah also hit out at what he called was "55 years of misrule" by the Congress and said the situation Congress had left the country in had brought tears to his eyes.
At Dharbhanga, Narendra Modi urged people in Bihar to vote for NDA candidates across the state. He then took a jibe at Opposition leaders nursing prime ministerial ambitions even though they are fighting from few seats. "Those who are fighting from as few as 20 seats are in line to become prime minister. In Karnataka, a party which is fighting only eight seats is also ready to give a prime minister. Tell us...don't feel pressured to satisfy the media...but tell us if you feel that any one of them will be able to safeguard your interests well," he asked, as the audience broke into applause.
Speaking at his first rally of the day, at Bihar's Darbhanga, Prime Minister Narendra Modi (in yet another one of his famous headgears) spoke directly to first time voters, and called for a 'new India.' He thanked Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan and Sushil Modi, saying it is because of them that the country's young believe in the NDA. He turned the rhetoric firmly to military violence, stressing that while national security was allegedly not an election issue for the Opposition's 'mahamilavat' alliance, it was one for 'new India'.
All eyes will be on Varanasi on Thursday, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a mega roadshow, culminating in a puja.
Modi is first expected to address public meetings at Darbhanga in Bihar (10.15 am) and at Banda in Uttar Pradesh (1.35 pm). He will then travel to Varanasi, where he will file his nomination papers on Friday.
The show is scheduled to begin at 3 pm at the statue of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya at Benaras Hindu University. It will chart a route spanning Lanka, Assi, Sonarpura, Madanpura, Godauliya and ultimately end at Dashashwamedh Ghat, where the prime minister will perform a Ganga aarti around 7 pm. Modi is scheduled to interact with intellectuals at Varanasi Hotel after the roadshow.
The campaign is set to be a definite show of strength for the National Democratic Alliance, with leaders from across India converging for it. Expected in the list are Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, Shiromani Akali Dal head Parkash Singh Badal and many more leaders.
Congress' star siblings Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will campaign across Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh on Thursday. Party president Rahul is scheduled to address rallies at Jalore, Ajmer and Kota in Rajasthan, while Congress general secretary Priyanka will hold a roadshow in Uttar Pradesh's Jhansi, before addressing meetings at Ghursarai and Jalaun.
Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party is scheduled to release its election manifesto on Thursday. The manifesto was prepared by a seven-member team headed by Manish Sisodia. Reports say it is likely to focus on full statehood for Delhi and the achievements of the AAP government, among other issues.
Moreover, the Bahujan Samaj Party-Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance will hold a joint rally at Kannauj.