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Narendra Modi in Varanasi; Lok Sabha Election 2019 updates: After Pulwama attack, 42 terrorists have been killed in J&K, says PM

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Narendra Modi in Varanasi; Lok Sabha Election 2019 updates: After Pulwama attack, 42 terrorists have been killed in J&K, says PM
  • 22:09 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Varanasi latest updates

    PM seeks 'permission' from people to file nomination

    "Every opportunity to worship all of you is like a privilege for me. Today, while taking blessings of Kashi people, mother went to take blessings of Ganga and once again I have come to take your blessings. If you have permission, I will file nomination tomorrow," Narendra Modi said at a rally in Varanasi.

    In a dig at Congress, he said, "It is my duty to give you an account of what I've done in five years before asking to serve you for the next five years, If some people are not giving account of 70 years, it's their willl."

  • 21:50 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Varanasi latest updates
    Overlooking terrorism as challenge will be injustice to country, says PM

    On the Sri Lanka attacks, Narendra Modi said, "The challenges have become so serious now. In Sri Lanka, there were serial bomb blasts on Easter. People had travelled to the churches with their families. But they couldn't return home alive. They had everything, but it was all gone in a second, because of terrrorism. Overlooking terrorism as a challenge will be injustice to the country."

  • 21:40 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Varanasi latest updates
    No terror attack in any Indian city or holy place in five years, says PM
    "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," Narendra Modi said in Varanasi.
     

  • 21:34 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Varanasi latest updates
    Kashi gave me courage to answer terrorists in their language, says PM

    Addressing a rally in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Kashi blessed me for becoming an MP only PM. It gave me the strength of faith of 130 million Indians. It gave me the courage to answer terrorists in their own language."

  • 20:32 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Varanasi latest updates

    PM offers prayers at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi

  • 20:20 (IST)

    Lok Sabha election latest updates
    Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil quits as LoP in Maharashtra Assembly
     
    Senior Maharashtra Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, whose son joined the BJP in March, has resigned as the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the state
    Assembly.
     
    Party chief Rahul Gandhi accepted the resignation of the Congress leader, state Congress president Ashok Chavan told reporters in Ahmednagar district.
     
    Vikhe Patil had sent his resignation letter to the top party leadership, offering to quit the post of LoP, after his son Sujay Vikhe Patil left Congress and joined the BJP.
     
    PTI

  • 20:01 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Varanasi latest updates

    PM takes part in Ganga aarti 

    Accompanied by BJP chief Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is at the Dashashwamedh Ghat, where the Ganga aarti is being performed.

  • 19:44 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Varanasi latest updates

    India is ready for 'fir ek bar Modi sarkar', tweets Amit Shah

  • 19:14 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Varanasi latest updates

    Visuals from Dashashwamedh Ghat

  • 19:00 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Varanasi latest updates

    Modi's cavalcade reaches Dashashwamedh Ghat 

    Covering the 6-kilometre stretch between BHU campus gate and Dashashwamedh Ghat, Narendra Modi's roadshow has come to end. The prime minister will take part in the Ganga aarti.

  • 18:43 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Varanasi latest updates

    Visuals from Modi's roadshow

  • 18:27 (IST)

    Lok Sabha election latest updates

    #KashiBoleNaMoNaMo trends as Narendra Modi visits Varanasi

    With Narendra Modi holding a mega roadshow in his constituency, '#KashiBoleNaMoNaMo' and  'Varanasi' are the current top trends on Twitter.

  • 18:07 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Varanasi latest updates
    Amit Shah, Adityanath, Gadkari among BJP leaders present at roadshow
    Thousand joined the streets of Varanasi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding his mega roadshow in NDA's show of strength. BJP chief Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Union minister Nitin Gadkari are among the top BJP leaders present at the roadshow in Varanasi.

  • 17:44 (IST)

    Lok Sabha election latest updates
    Opposition alliance will give new PM to country: Akhilesh Yadav
    Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav expressed confidence that the SP-BSP-RLD alliance in Uttar Pradesh will give a new prime minister to the country.
     
    He was addressing a joint rally in Kannauj with BSP supremo Mayawati and RLD president Ajit Singh. 
     
    "This alliance will give a new prime minister to the country," Yadav said. Lashing out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the SP chief said the BJP will not be able to talk about their performance. "So, how can they face the SP-BSP-RLD alliance," he asked.
     
    PTI

  • 17:41 (IST)

    BJP election campaign latest updates

    Modi to arrive at Dashashwamedh Ghat shortly

    Narendra Modi's cavalcade will shortly be arriving at the Dashashwamedh Ghat where he will participate in the Ganga aarti. At 8 pm, he is scheduled to have a conversation with eminent personalities of Varanasi at Hotel De Paris.

  • 17:31 (IST)

    BJP election campaign latest updates

    Watch: Narendra Modi holds roadshow in Varanasi

  • 17:19 (IST)

    BJP election campaign latest updates

    Narendra Modi garlands Madan Malviya's statue

    After arriving at the BHU campus in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed garland on a statue of Madan Malviya.

  • 17:13 (IST)

    Rahul Gandhi in Rajasthan latest updates

    Narendra Modi claims India was sleeping before he became PM, says Rahul

    Addressing a rally in Kota, Congress president Rahul Gandhi hit out at Prime Narendra Modi and said, "In one of his speeches, Modi said, 'Before I came, this country was sleeping.' You think about it, the prime minister of the country insults your parents, and claims that armed forces, small businessmen and others never worked. This country is a product of your sweat and blood. It is yours. You are our power. For five years, he only conveyed his 'Mann ki Baat'. I want to listen to you."

  • 17:03 (IST)

    BJP campaign latest updates

    Visuals from Dashashwamedh Ghat 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi will perform Ganga aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat later on Thursday, after holding a roadshow in Varanasi.

  • 16:56 (IST)

    Lok Sabha election latest updates
    Pragya used to carry knife, stabbed a man: Chhattisgarh CM
     
    Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel claimed that Malegaon blast accused and BJP candidate from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat Pragya​ Singh Thakur stabbed a man in 2001. Thakur's conduct did not become of a `Sadhvi' (ascetic or holy woman), the Congress leader said, speaking at a press conference in Jabalpur.
     
    "Pragya Thakur has a connection with our Chhattisgarh. Her brother-in-law worked at a warehouse in Bilaigarh (in Balodabazar district)," Baghel said, when asked whether the BJP was playing the 'Hindutva card' by fielding her.
     
    "She used to carry a knife and stabbed a young man named Shailendra Devagan in the chest with a knife in Bilaigarh in 2001," Baghel said. "Pragya also used to indulge in fights, and from the beginning her conduct was like that of a habitual criminal and not like that of a Sadhvi," the chief minister said.
     
    PTI

  • 16:39 (IST)

    BJP campaign latest updates
    Modi's 6-km-long roadshow to begin shortly
     
    The roadshow will stretch over six kilometres, going from the Lanka area to Dashashwamedh Ghat via Godoliya.
     
    Top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including Union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman, as well as BJP president Amit Shah and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states are expected to accompany Narendra Modi during the roadshow.

  • 16:30 (IST)

    Uttar Pradesh election latest updates
    SP has turned Azamgarh into 'stronghold of terrorism': Adityanath
     
    Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath alleged that the Samajwadi Party had turned Azamgarh, which was once known in the field of education and literature, into a "stronghold of terrorism".
     
    The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have crime in their DNA, he said, while addressing an election meeting here in support of BJP's Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat candidate Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirahua'.
     
    "Once Azamgarh was known in the field of education and literature but the Samajwadi Party turned it into a stronghold of terrorism," he said. The SP and the BSP through mischievous means made Azamgarh "a fortress of terror and crime to defame it and we have come to pull it out of it," the chief minister said.
     
    PTI

  • 16:18 (IST)

    BJP election campaign latest updates

    Heading to beloved Kashi, tweets Modi

    "After bumper rallies in Darbhanga and Banda, I am heading to beloved Kashi," tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is set to hold a mega road show from BHU gate to Ganga ghats in Varanasi on Thursday. On Friday, Modi will file his nomination from the constituency.

  • 15:57 (IST)

    Amit Shah in Uttar Pradesh latest updates

    Amit Shah slams Rahul, Akhilesh, Mayawati over NRC

    Addressing a rally in Auraiya, Amit shah said, "When we came up with NRC, then Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati began siding with the infiltrators and asked where would they go and what will they eat?

    When Modi government comes back to power, apart from Assam and West Bengal, the infiltrators will be identified from all corners of the country."

  • 15:32 (IST)

    Amit Shah in Auraiya latest updates

    BJP chief lists achievements of Modi govt, says PM's name can be heard in 258 constituencies across India 

    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.

  • 15:23 (IST)

    Begusarai to witness battle of ideologies between BJP's Giriraj Singh and CPI's Kanhaiya Kumar

    So allergic is Giriraj Singh to the colour green that he requested the poll panel to ban green flags that he claims are associated with political and religious organisations linked with Muslims. "This (green flags) spreads hatred and creates the perception of being used in Pakistan," said Singh whose provocative statements aimed at several top Opposition politicians have invited condemnation.

    Read the full story here

  • 15:22 (IST)

    Manhunt launched to nab absconding BJP candidate in Odisha
     
    A manhunt has been launched to nab Om Prakash Mishra, the BJP candidate for Satyabadi​ assembly constituency, who along with his supporters allegedly destroyed EVMs and tore poll documents in a booth during the third phase of polling in Odisha on April 23, police said.
     
    "The BJP candidate is absconding since then," Puri Superintendent of Police, Umashankar Dash, told reporters. Three police teams have raided Mishra's residence at Hansapal in Bhubaneswar but could not find him, the SP said. The police action came on the basis of a complaint lodged by the Presiding Officer, Shivaram Mohapatra. Mishra and his supporters allegedly entered a polling booth at Birakishorepur village under Kanas block on 23 April and vandalised the EVMs, the presiding officer said in the complaint.
     
    PTI

  • 15:21 (IST)

    AAP election campaign latest updates

    Atishi files nomination papers

    On the same day when the Aam Aadmi Party released its manifesto, onetime Rhodes scholar Atishi filed her nomination papers in Delhi. She has been fielded from the East Delhi constituency.

  • 15:13 (IST)

    CPI election campaign latest updates

    Have full confidence in people of Begusarai, says Kanhaiya

    A day after BJP chief Amit Shah called to destroy the 'tukde, tukde gang' at Begusarai in Bihar, CPI's Lok Sabha candidate from the seat and pretty much the person for whom the phrase was coined, Kanhaiya Kumar, said he had full confidence that the people of Begusarai will vote on their issues. "Their issues are to build a university, a hospital, good roads, adequate water supply and fair price to farmers for their crops," he said.

  • 15:09 (IST)

    Samajwadi Party election campaign latest updates

    PM says anger felt at 'Modi' was directed at EVMs

    Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav lashed out at the Congress, saying that the Rahul Gandhi-led party had betrayed the SP. "If there is somebody who has betrayed the Samajwadi Party then it is the Congress," said Yadav at an election rally in Kanpur on Wednesday. 
     

    Akhilesh’s SP had formed an alliance with Congress for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative election in 2017. "It’s true that we had formed an alliance, but we didn’t know that Congress party is arrogant. For them arrogance is important, alliance is nothing,” Akhilesh added.

    ANI

  • 14:58 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Banda latest updates

    PM says anger felt at 'Modi' was directed at EVMs

    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.

  • 14:46 (IST)

    Rahul Gandhi in Rajasthan latest updates

    Congress chief jokes with Ajmer crowd, repeats NYAY promise

    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. 

    Rahul said he would give money to people's accounts in the same way that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given money to the accounts of Anil Ambani, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. 

  • 14:25 (IST)

    Narendra Modi in Uttar Pradesh latest updates

    PM addresses rally at Banda, says naamdaars cannot think beyond caste, communalism

    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.

    Modi also called out to first time voters, saying that they would vote for the BJP because they had the whole 21st century before them. 

  • 14:13 (IST)

    Amit Shah in Uttar Pradesh latest updates

    BJP chief predicts 5 lakh vote victory for Sakshi Maharaj

    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.

  • 14:03 (IST)

    BJP election campaign latest updates

    Kirron Kher files nomination papers

    With actor husband Anupam Kher at her side, BJP's Chandigarh candidate Kirron Kher filed her nomination papers after a roadshow on Thursday.

  • 13:58 (IST)

    RLSP election campaign latest updates

    Upendra Kushwaha hits out at BJP government's illusion

    Upendra Kushwaha of the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, indicated at a rally in Darbhanga today that the BJP was offering an illusion. "In the Ram leela when the curtain rises, a person comes dressed as Sita mata.....people who watch Ram leela bow their heads out of respect. If you go behind the curtain, the same Sita ji can be seen smoking a cigarette. This is the face of BJP," he said.

  • 13:47 (IST)

    BJP election campaign latest updates

    Mandi district electoral officer issues notice to BJP's Himachal chief

    The District Electoral Officer at Mandi has issued a notice to Himachal Pradesh BJP chief, Satpal Singh Satti in the light of his statement that he "will chop off the hands of those who point fingers at Modi ji."

  • 13:29 (IST)

    PM Narendra Modi should not be released until 19 May: EC

    Reports say that the Election Commission is of the view that the film PM Narendra Modi, a biopic on the prime minister, should not be released until 19 May. Poll body officials say delaying the release will be in the interest of free and fair Lok Sabha elections.

  • 13:26 (IST)

    Congress election campaign latest updates

    WATCH: Priyanka Gandhi's Jhansi roadshow 

    Priyanka Gandhi rode the top of a car in Jhansi even as debate raged elsewhere as to why she was not nominated from Varanasi seat despite several indications.

  • 13:19 (IST)

    Congress election campaign latest updates

    IN PHOTOS: Priyanka Gandhi leads roadshow through Jhansi

    At the centre of the conversation regarding why she was not made to contest from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East, Priyanka Gandhi, is leading a roadshow across Jhansi.

  • 13:07 (IST)

    SC asks EC for directions on sexist remark complaint against BJP candidate

    The Supreme Court has asked the Election Commission of India to pass appropriate directions on TMC MLA Mahua Moitra's petition accusing BJP candidate Mahadev Sarkar of allegedly making a sexist remark against her while campaigning in West Bengal.

  • 12:57 (IST)

    AAP election campaign latest updates

    Party election manifesto keeps effort for full state status for Delhi alive

    "This election is not to make someone prime minister but to make Delhi a complete state," AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said while releasing the party's election manifesto on Thursday. Stressing that it is the goal of the party to ensure that like other countries, India's capital too is given the status of a state, Kejriwal went on to announce a slew of Delhi-specific promises in the manifesto unveiling. Party leader Manish Sisodia also said that had Delhi been accorded status of a state, then the Jan Lokpal Bill would have been passed by its elected government.

  • 12:50 (IST)

    Congress election campaign latest updates

    Ajay Rai to take on Modi from Varanasi: Who is he?

    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, DNA had reported.

  • 12:38 (IST)

    Congress election campaign latest updates

    Party names Madhusudan Tiwari from Gorakhpur

    Along with naming Ajay Rai for the Varanasi seat, Congress also named Madhusudan Tiwari to fight against Ravi Kishan of the BJP from Yogi Adityanath's Gorakhpur seat. 

  • 12:35 (IST)

    Congress election campaign latest updates

    Not Priyanka, but Ajay Rai to contest from Varanasi

    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. 
     

    Speaking to News18, Rai said he has just come to know that he has been chosen for the seat.

  • 12:23 (IST)

    AAP election campaign latest updates

    Party releases election manifesto, heavily focuses on prioritising Delhi

    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.

  • 12:08 (IST)

    Amit Shah in Uttar Pradesh latest updates

    BJP chief trains gun on Opposition reaction to Balakot air strikes

    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. 

    He also warned "Rahul baba" and his "tukde, tukde gang" that for as long as BJP was in power, the country will remain secure and Kashmir will be a part of India.

  • 11:57 (IST)

    BJP election campaign latest updates

    IN PHOTOS: Anupam Kher campaigns for wife Kirron

    Actor Anupam Kher campaigned for his wife and BJP candidate, Kirron Kher in Chandigarh on Thursday. Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat was also present.

  • 11:43 (IST)

    BJP election campaign latest updates

    'TMC' stands for 'tushtikaran, mafia and corruption', says Nirmala Sitharaman

    Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hit out at the Trinamool Congress stating that ruling party in the state is a "syndicate morcha" and is unlike other parties that have women, youth and various other wings and fronts.

    “Unlike other parties where women's wing, youth wing and other types of fronts exist, I feel that TMC has only “syndicate morcha” and Didi (Mamata Banerjee) runs a ‘tolabaji’ here through this “syndicate morcha”. That is why police cannot do anything in West Bengal. There is Narada-Saradha here,” Sitharaman said. She said that TMC stands only for tushtikaran (appeasement), mafia and corruption.

    ANI

  • 11:36 (IST)

    BJP election campaign latest updates

    Arun Jaitley tweets series of tongue-in-cheek cartoon films

    BJP leader Arun Jaitley has tweeted a series of tongue-in-cheek animated films in yet another one of BJP's attempts to strike at the grand alliance. In caricatures which do little to hide who is who, leaders like Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi are seen squabbling with each other in a variety of circumstances.


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.

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 25, 2019 22:18:07 IST