Elections News March 4 Highlights: Row Over Lalu Yadav's 'PM Modi-Family' Remark; Ex-Gujarat Cong Chief Quits Party

Elections News March 4 Highlights: Political developments are pacing up as general elections 2024 to elect members of the 18th Lok Sabha in India approach. The Lok Sabha Elections 2024 are expected to take place in April and May. Follow our live blog for all the latest election news.

BJP's Upendra Singh Rawat (wearing garlands) has withdrawn his candidature over a purported video of him that has gone viral X/@upendrasinghMP

About The Lok Sabha Elections 2024

The General Election to elect members of the 18th Lok Sabha in India is expected to take place in April and May. The ruling NDA alliance will face off against the newly formed I.N.D.I.A. alliance.

With curiosity increasing over the dates for the Lok Sabha elections due this year, sources indicate that the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) top brass is heading to states for final checks and is likely to announce the poll schedule after March 9.

In the 2019 General Elections, the BJP-led NDA emerged victorious, securing 353 out of 543 seats. The Indian National Congress (INC) saw a marginal increase in seats but fell short of claiming the leader of the opposition status.


‘We Will Meet Again': PM Modi To Ministers At Key Poll Meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a meeting of his Council of Ministers to discuss the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) readiness for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and finalise a detailed action plan for the next five years. 

During the day-long session on Sunday, PM Modi and his ministers brainstormed over the vision document titled "Viksit Bharat: 2047".

During the session, Prime Minister Modi called upon his ministers to actively engage in winning public support during the upcoming polls.

He reportedly emphasised various measures implemented by his government to stimulate development and ensure the welfare of all sections of society.

A PTI source quoted the Prime Minister, saying, "We will meet again after winning (polls)."


Lok Sabha Seats In India State-Wise

The entire country has been divided into 543 Parliamentary Constituencies, each one of which elects one member. The members of the Lok Sabha are elected directly by the eligible voters during the Lok Sabha elections which take place every five years. The President of India can nominate a maximum of two members as representatives of the Anglo-Indian community. Some seats are reserved in Lok Sabha for the members of the Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

As per the order issued by the Delimitation Commission in 2008 , 412 are general, 84 seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes and 47 seats for the Scheduled Tribes. Earlier it was 79 and 41 for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively.

Prime Minister’s Mega 12-State Tour Begins Today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin a 10-day tour to 12 states and union territories (UTs) across the nation on Monday, March 4, to address 29 events ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

As per the schedule shared by the officials, Modi will be visiting Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Delhi over the next 10 days in a bid to woo voters for the upcoming parliamentary polls.


BJP's Pawan Singh Quits Asansol Contest; TMC's O'Brien Says ‘Khela Hobe Before Khela Begins’

In a major setback for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bhojpuri actor and playback singer Pawan Singh declared on Sunday that he will not be participating in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from West Bengal's Asansol. 

This decision comes after the BJP had previously announced Singh as its candidate for the said constituency.

He said in a tweet in Hindi: "I thank the BJP leadership for trusting me and announcing my name as the candidate from Asansol, but I won't be able to contest the election for some reason.”

Soon after the Bhojpuri actor's post, Trinamool's national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said the pullout was a result of the indomitable spirit and people of the people of West Bengal. Party leader Derek O'Brien quipped, "This is Khela Hobe even before the khela begins."


'PM Said I Won't Be Forgiven': Pragya Thakur After BJP Denied Her Poll Pass

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur |
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur | PTI

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal on Sunday responded to the party's decision not to nominate her for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. She mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might not have been happy with her previous remarks and had conveyed that she "will not be forgiven".

The sitting MP from Bhopal, who is also an accused in the Malegaon blast case, has been replaced by Alok Sharma, a former Mayor.

Thakur had sparked controversy in May 2019 by praising Nathuram Godse as a 'true patriot'.

PM Modi had expressed his disapproval of Thakur's statement, stating that he would never forgive her for calling Mahatma Gandhi's assassin a true patriot. "I will never be able to forgive Pragya Thakur for insulting Mahatma Gandhi," the Prime Minister had said.


'Jobs Lying Vacant At PM's Own Office': Rahul Gandhi Takes Dig At BJP's Modi Ki Guarantee Punchline

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi |
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi | Getty Images

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday hit out at the Narendra Modi government for "not filling up" vacant posts and asserted that it is the INDIA bloc's resolve to open the "closed doors" of jobs for the youth. He took a dig at the BJP punchline "Modi ki Guarantee", asking India's youth to take note of the man "carrying a bag of false promises".

In a post in Hindi on X, Gandhi said: “Youth of the country, note one thing!

Narendra Modi's intention is not to provide employment. Far from creating new posts, he is also sitting on the vacant posts of the Central Government.

If we consider the data presented by the Central Government in the Parliament, then 9 lakh 64 thousand posts are vacant in 78 departments.

If we look at important departments only, 2.93 lakh posts are vacant in Railways, 1.43 lakh in Home Ministry and 2.64 lakh in Defense Ministry.

Does the Central Government have the answer as to why more than 30% posts are vacant in 15 major departments?

Why are a large number of very important posts vacant in the Prime Minister's own office, who is carrying a 'bag of false guarantees'?

The BJP government, which considers giving permanent jobs as a burden, is continuously promoting the contract system, where there is neither security nor respect.

The vacant posts are the right of the youth of the country and we have prepared a concrete plan to fill them. India's resolve is that we will open closed doors of jobs for the youth.

The destiny of the youth is about to rise after breaking the darkness of unemployment.”

This comes after Gandhi claimed that India's unemployment rate is twice that of Pakistan and more than that of Bhutan and Bangladesh.

“Today, there is maximum unemployment in the country in the last 40 years. India has double the unemployment as compared to Pakistan,” Gandhi said while addressing a gathering in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior as part of his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

Claiming that 23 per cent of youth were unemployed in India and 12 per cent in Pakistan, Rahul Gandhi added that India’s unemployment rate was more than that of Bhutan and Bangladesh as well.

BJP Leaders Update Social Media Handles With 'Modi Ka Parivar' After PM's New Slogan At Telangana Rally

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his new slogan for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections this year as "you are Modi’s and Modi is yours" on Monday.

He added that the entire nation is saying in one voice today, "I am Modi's family" while addressing a public meeting in Adilabad, Telangana.

Following this, top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, such as Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari, among others on Monday changed their names on the X platform by adding ‘Modi ka Parivar (Modi’s family)'.

Lok Sabha Election LIVE: 'Modi Ka Parivar' | Why Bigwigs Updated Their Social Media Bios

Home Minister Amit Shah, party president JP Nadda and other bigwigs of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have responded to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) patriarch Lalu Yadav's personal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi by adding "Modi ka parivar" to their social media handles.

On Sunday, RLD's Lalu Yadav had commented on PM Modi's charge of dynasty politics against Opposition parties and said, "What can we do if Narendra Modi does not have a family of his own?"

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 LIVE: BJP Leader Withdraws Candidature Over 'Obscene' Viral Video

BJP MP Upendra Singh Rawat on Monday withdrew his candidature for the Lok Sabha elections 2024 from the Barabanki seat in Uttar Pradesh after an alleged "obscene" video of him went viral.

Rawat, who is the MP from Barabanki, was named in the BJP's first list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. After his nomination, a purported video went viral, claiming to show him in a compromising position with a woman of foreign origin.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 LIVE: BJP Leader Madhavi Lata On Her Candidature From Hyderabad

BJP leader Madhavi Lata, speaking on her Lok Sabha candidature from Hyderabad seat, said she is emotionally attached to the place and for those underdevelopment works that have happened there.

"I was very clear that if an opportunity given, it's only the Old City that I am interested to fight from. I wanted this, I got this and I am clear about this. I have been born and brought up in that place, I'm emotionally attached to the place and I'm emotionally attached for all those underdevelopment works that have happened there," she said.

Ex-Gujarat Congress Chief Arjun Modhwadia Quits Party

Senior Congress leader and Porbandar MLA Arjun Modhwadia, who was the chief of party's Gujarat unit, has resigned from the party after 40 years. Modhwadia submitted his resignation as the MLA to the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha speaker on Monday.

In a letter addressed to Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Modhwadia expressed his disappointment over party's decision to decline the invitation to the consecration ceremony of the Ayodhya Ram temple, saying it had hurt the sentiments of the people of India.

Modhwadia also accused Rahul Gandhi of attempting of creating a ruckus in Assam, which he said only served to enrage party cadres and citizens of India.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: 'BJP Was Never So Weak As Party', Says Akhilesh Yadav

Amid announcements by some BJP MPs and a couple of candidates not to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav on Monday took a jibe at the ruling party, saying that the "BJP was never so weak as a party".

In a post on X in Hindi, Akhilesh Yadav said, "Who would have thought that such days would come for the BJP that some candidates will give up their claim on the pretext of saying that some other work is more important before getting the ticket."

"Someone will talk about going out considering sports as more serious than politics. Someone will write an application to get out of the deciduous BJP on the pretext of environment," he said.

Yadav further said someone will announce his retirement after getting a ticket. And even after getting a ticket, someone will reject the ticket from a distance on social media due to personal reasons, he said. "BJP was never so weak as a party. Now apart from the public, even the BJP people themselves are saying, 'Don't want BJP'," he added.

'PM Modi Works For...': BJP's Shehzad Poonawalla On Lalu Yadav's 'Family' Remark

BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla, on RJD leader Lalu Yadav's remark about PM Modi, said: "We are 'Modi ka Parivaar'. While you (referring to Lalu Prasad Yadav) work for your sons, daughters, and family, PM Modi works for the sons and daughters of our country. For you, your family is your country, but for us (BJP), our country is our family."

RLD patriarch Lalu Yadav, while addressing an INDIA bloc rally in Patna on Sunday, had slammed Modi for raising the issue of dynastic politics and asked why the prime minister doesn't have a family.

The RJD supremo had also asked why Modi, who calls himself a Hindu, did not shave his beard and tonsure his head after his mother's death.

Updates to this live blog have ended.