Elections 2024: Campaigning Ends For Phase 1 Of LS Polls; EC Asks Bengal Guv To Not Visit Cooch Behar On Voting Day

Elections 2024: With just two days left for the commencement of the Lok Sabha elections 2024, campaigning for Phase 1 ends on Wednesday as per the Model Code of Conduct rules. In other election news, the ruling party of West Bengal - Trinamool Congress (TMC) - on Wednesday released its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, in which it promised to not implement CAA in the state. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday spoke on the chances of him contesting the elections from Uttar Pradesh's Amethi, a constituency once held by him before being defeated by BJP's Smriti Irani. Meanwhile, PM Modi addressed a rally in Assam and greeted people on the occasion of Ram Navami, saying that Ayodhya is in 'incomparable bliss' as this is the first time the festival would be celebrated there after the consecration of the Ram temple.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar | PTI

Lok Sabha Election 2024: Highlights

With two days left for the first phase of Lok Sabha polls, the nation is gearing up for the biggest festival of democracy. On March 16, the Election Commission of India announced the detailed schedule of the seven-phase long Lok Sabha polls.

As per the schedule announced by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar, the first phase of polling will go live on April 19 while June 1 has been declared as the date for the seventh and last phase. The counting of votes across the 543 Lok Sabha seats and result announcement will take place on June 4.

To make voting more accessible for Indian voters, the election Commission announced the facility of home voting for voters aged above 85 and voters with physical disabilities of a 40 percent benchmark.

This year the apex poll body has also leveraged the social media superpower to create electoral awareness through several campaigns like 'Turning 18', 'You are the One'.

EC Asks X (Formerly Twitter) To Take Down Select Posts Violating MCC

Right ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission on Tuesday issued takedown order to social media platform X for select posts of YSR Congress, AAP, N Chandrababu Naidu, and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Choudhary for violation of model code of conduct, the microblogging site said on Tuesday.

According to the apex poll body, the objectionable posts were in violation of the model code of conduct (MCC) that bars criticising political parties based on any aspects of the private life of leaders or workers of other parties that are not connected with public activities or based on unverified allegations or distorted facts.

PM Modi's Rally In Tripura Today 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to address a public rally in Tripura's Agartala today where he will join the BJP workers on the last day of campaigning for the first phase of Lok Sabha polls.

EC Bans Congress' Randeep Surjewala From Campaigning Over 'Vulgar'Remarks On Hema Malini

The Election Commission on Tuesday strongly criticised Congress leader Randeep Surjewala over his alleged derogatory remarks against BJP MP Hema Malini and barred him from campaigning for 48 hours.

This was the first campaign ban imposed by the poll body in this Lok Sabha election cycle.

The Election Commission had last Tuesday issued a show-cause notice to Surjewala for his alleged "undignified, uncivilised and vulgar" remarks against Malini.

Madhya Pradesh: Poll Prep Almost Complete, Flag March Held

Commmenting on the state's poll preparations two days ahead of the first phase of voting, Ravindra Verma, SP Sidhi, said, "All the preparations have almost been completed and we have received the forces that are going to be deployed in polling booths and other duties. There are approximately 2,500 police personnel who will be deployed in polling booths and other duties. Rest all the checkpoints are also active. Seizure action is being taken continuously and almost all the preparations have been completed."

Security personnel also held flag march in Sidhi ahead of the Lok Sabha Polls.

EC Seeks Details Of Aircraft, Helicopters Used In Poll Campaigning

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday asked political parties to produce details of aircraft and helicopters being used for campaigning, including their origin and destination and details of people ferried in them.

A letter by Tejas Samel, deputy election officer of Mumbai Suburban district, dated April 12, said such information has to be furnished three days before the journey to the district election office, but that duration has now been reduced to 24 hours.

Telangana: EC Issues Notice To KCR Over Remarks Against Cong

The Election Commission of India on Wednesday issued a notice to BRS President and former Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao in connection to his remarks against the Congress Party in Sircilla on April 5.

The poll body has asked him to explain his stand regarding his comments by 11 am, 18th April.

'BJP Changing The Constitution': RJD MP Manoj Jha

Slamming BJP over its intention of changing the Constitution, RJD leader and MP Manoj Jha said, "Unfortunately, Prime Minister Narendra Modi doesn't have the compassion to understand the aim behind forming the Consitution of India. Today we have reached a situation where people are claiming to change the Constitution. There can be amendments in the Constitution, however, they want to dismiss it. I appeal to all of you to understand their intentions."

'Was Expecting 180 For BJP Till Few Days Ago, But Now...': Rahul's Prediction For UP

Addressing a press conference in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad on Wednesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi spoke on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and on BJP's prospects in the state. Rahul Gandhi said that till a few days ago he was thinking BJP would win around 180 seats but his opinion has changed now.

"I do not do prediction of seats. 15-20 days ago I was thinking BJP would win around 180 seats but now I think they will get 150 seats. We are getting reports from every state that we are improving. We have a very strong alliance in Uttar Pradesh and we will perform very well...," Rahul Gandhi said.


Lok Sabha Polls: Will Rahul Gandhi Contest From Amethi? Here's What He Said

Addressing a press conference in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad on Wednesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was asked whether he will contest Lok Sabha elections from Amethi or Raebareli.

Answering the question, Rahul Gandhi said: "This is BJP's question, very good. Whatever order I will get, I will follow it. In our party, all these [selections of candidates] decisions are taken by the CEC."

'We Are Confident Of Securing Victory': Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma

Exuisng confidence on his party's performance ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma said, "We are confident of securing victory in both seats- Shillong and Tura in Meghalaya. The impact of the work carried out by NPP in Meghalaya in the last 6 years is evident, particularly in Garo Hills."

"The public will vote for NPP for the development initiatives undertaken. Our MP (Agatha Sangma) has made significant contributions to these development efforts. We urge the people to come forward and support our MP. The opposition is currently fragmented, with leaders from the former Congress party dispersing to different factions. Due to this fragmented opposition, I believe we will secure victory by a considerable margin", Sangma added.

Bengaluru: Former Congress MLA Joins BJP

Two days ahead of the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls, former Congress MLA for Pulakeshinagar R. Akhanda Srinivas Murthy on Wednesday joined BJP in the presence of BJP leader and former Chief Minister of Karnataka BS Yediyurappa.

"...We stood with him (earlier), today he has joined our party, he has strengthened our party. He has very good support, lakhs of people are supporting R. Akhanda Srinivas Murthy...", said Yediyurappa.

'East Is A Witness To Modi's Guarantee': PM Modi In Assam

On the last day of poll campaigning before the first phase of Lok Sabha polls, addressing a public rally in Assam's Nalbari, PM Narendra Modi says, "Today Modi's guarantee is going on in the entire country and the North East itself is a witness to Modi's guarantee. The North-East, which was given only problems by Congress, has been transformed by the BJP into a source of possibilities. Congress fueled separatism and Modi made efforts for peace and security. What Congress could not do in 60 years, Modi did in 10 years..."

'...A Gap In Words And Deeds Of Congress And Left Parties': Defence Minister Rajnath Singh In Kerala

Before wrapping up the poll campaigning in Kerala's Kasargod, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday slammed the Congress and Left parties saying, "There is a gap in the words and deeds of Congress and Left political parties resulting in a political crisis in the country. But BJP has taken this crisis as a challenge. There has never been a gap between our manifesto and our deeds. BJP is the most credible party in the country."

AAP Launches 'AAP Ka RamRajya' Website

Right ahead of the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls, the Aam Admi Party (AAP) on Wednesday launched its "AAP Ka RamRajya" website. The primary objective of the move is to showcase the party's concept of "Ram Rajya".

The website launch came ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the first phase of which will be held on Friday, and coincided with the Ram Navami festival being celebrated in several parts of the country.

During a joint press conference, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said the website will showcase AAP's concept of "Ram Rajya" as well as the work done by the party's governments.

Lok Sabha Polls:BJP Will Be Wiped Out From West UP, Says Akhilesh

Speaking to media in UP's Bijnor, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said BJP will be wiped out from Western UP. "I have said this earlier, I am saying it now, BJP will be wiped out from the west (Western UP). It is so as they have betrayed the farmer. They said that would double the farmer's income but have failed even to provide MSP... It's not '400-paar' but 400-haar'. BJP has become a godown for the corrupts, all the corrupts are there now. Don't you see what has happened in Electoral bonds? BJP can't answer it. Extortion has been done through ED and CBI. This govt is playing with institutions. If institutions are weakened so does democracy," Akhilesh said.

JUST IN | TMC Releases Manifesto For Lok Sabha Elections 2024 

West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress on Wednesday released its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, promising to repeal the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and stop National Register of Citizens (NRC).

TMC Manifesto For Lok Sabha Polls

The TMC on Wednesday released its Lok Sabha poll manifesto promising several social welfare measures and repeal of the CAA if the opposition INDIA bloc comes to power at the Centre.

Releasing the manifesto at the party headquarters here, TMC's Rajya Sabha party leader Derek O' Brien said, "these are the promises which we will fulfill as part of INDIA bloc, when it forms the next government."

"We promise to control petrol and diesel prices through the formulation of a price stabilisation fund. We also promise to repeal the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and stop the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in the country," news agency PTI quoted senior TMC leader Amit Mitra as saying.

The party also promised to provide ration at doorstep and 10 free cooking cylinders for BPL families.

The TMC walked out of the INDIA bloc in January over disagreements regarding seat-sharing with the Congress in Bengal.

However, the Mamata Banerjee-led party had said it continues to be part of the INDIA bloc at the national level.

WATCH | PM Witnesses Ram Lalla's 'Surya Tilak From Assam 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi watched the 'Surya Tilak' on Ram Lalla after his election rally in Nalbari, Assam

"Like crores of Indians, this is a very emotional moment for me. The grand Ram Navami in Ayodhya is historic. May this Surya Tilak bring energy to our lives and may it inspire our nation to scale new heights of glory," PM Modi said later on X.

Lok Sabha Elections: Riots Is Their Only Promise, Says Mamata Banerjee In Swipe At BJP

During a public meeting in Assam's Silchar, Trinamool Congress chairperson AND West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said "riots" is Modi government's only guarantee. Mamata Banerjee made the statement after releasing the TMC manifesto for Lok Sabha elections, in which the party has promised to not implement NRC and CAA in the state.

"If we win, we will not implement NRC and CAA in the state...How many people will be kept in the detention camp? This election is going to be terrible. I have never seen such a black and corrupt election before...Riot is their (Modi govt) only guarantee. I don't believe that Modi will do anything for anyone. This government is a 'jumlebaaz' government...I am not afraid of any threats."

'When Mr Adani Wants Something, Modi Gets Him': Rahul Gandhi 

Addressing a public meeting in Karnataka's Kolar, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said whenever "Mr Adani" (Gautam Adani) wants something, "Mr Narendra Modi can get" him that.

"Wherever Mr Adani wants money, doesn't matter how poor the family is, doesn't matter if they're starving, if Mr Adani wants that land, Mr Narendra Modi can get him that land. He wants Mumbai airport, the owner will get a CBI case and soon will hand the airport to Adani. He wants the storage facility of our farmers, he will get that storage facility," Rahul Gandhi said.

ECI Advises Bengal Guv CV Ananda Bose Against Visiting Cooch Bihar On Polling Day

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday advised West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose against visiting Cooch Behar on polling day (April 19) as it violates model code of conduct.

‘Congress Has Deceived People’: BJP’s Bhupender Yadav

Union Minister and BJP candidate from Alwar, Bhupender Yadav on Wednesday said, “...Congress did not do any anything in Alwar. We carried forward everything that was pending...Congress has deceived people...BJP Government has come now, and water is our priority. We will work on it..."

‘Congress’ Refusal To Change Itself Has Led To Emergence Of New Party In Each State Every Year’: Shiv Sena Leader

Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) leader Milind Deora on Wednesday said, “The political battle of Delhi was mainly between BJP and Congress. However, AAP has emerged as a new option. Similarly, TMC and BRS have emerged in West Bengal and Telangana, respectively. Because the Congress has refused to change itself, a new party has started to emerge in every state every year.”

‘Rahul Gandhi To Be PM Of This Country’: Telangana CM Revanth Reddy

Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy on Wednesday said, “...Rahul Gandhi is going to be the Prime Minister of this country. For the last 10 years, the Prime Minister has been from Varanasi and for the coming 20 years, the Prime Minister will be from Wayanad. Everyone has the same doubt, even when the BJP leaders meet us in Central Hall, they say that to date PM Modi and EVM are there, you (Congress) won't be coming to power. What relation does PM Modi have with EVM? Why the BJP is feared to have elections through the ballot paper? Elections around the world are being conducted through ballot paper, only India is using EVM. We and the people have lost faith in EVM, only the BJP has faith in it and that's not enough."

‘PM Modi To Be PM For 3rd Time’: Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Wednesday said, "This time the election is historic. The whole country is talking about the same thing PM Modi is going to become the PM for the third time with a huge majority. The people of Uttarakhand will cooperate in fulfilling the slogan of 400 paar..."

‘Farmers In Trouble, People’s Jobs Snatched, No Answers For Electoral Bond Issue’: Akhilesh Yadav’s Jibe At BJP

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday said, “The people of the country want to remove the BJP (from power). They have put the farmers in trouble, snatched away people's jobs and don't even have answers on the issue of electoral bond. There is inflation because they have looted the country.”

BJP Expels Manipur Leader Ahead Of LS polls

Just two days ahead of the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP on Wednesday expelled one of its leaders in Manipur, E Dwijamani Singh, from the party for six years.

Singh of Hiyanglam Mandal of the saffron camp was expelled for "violation of party's rules and regulations", a statement issued by the BJP's Manipur unit said.

‘UDF, LDF Have Looted Kerala; People Of India Have Decided Abki Baar 400 Paar': Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said UDF and LDF have “looted” the people of Kerala in their successive regimes.

Addressing a rally in Kerala’s Vatakara, he said, "...Supreme Court categorically said that if someone is responsible for the financial crisis of Kerala then it is the state government. I want to say give enough strength to the BJP; LDF, UDF can be only checked by the BJP and we can give them a befitting reply. UDF and LDF have looted the people of Kerala in their successive regimes...The people of India have decided 'abki baar 400 paar'..."

‘UDF, LDF Have Looted Kerala; People Of India Have Decided Abki Baar 400 Paar': Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said UDF and LDF have “looted” the people of Kerala in their successive regimes.

Addressing a rally in Kerala’s Vatakara, he said, "...Supreme Court categorically said that if someone is responsible for the financial crisis of Kerala then it is the state government. I want to say give enough strength to the BJP; LDF, UDF can be only checked by the BJP and we can give them a befitting reply. UDF and LDF have looted the people of Kerala in their successive regimes...The people of India have decided 'abki baar 400 paar'..."

Ghulam Nabi Azad Not To Contest Lok Sabha Polls

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday made the announcement the he won't contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

He was earlier nominated by his party DPAP to contest the elections from Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary seat.

‘BJP Thinks About Corporates, Not People’: Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday said, “We will win 40 out of 40 seats...Jharkhand CM & Delhi CM are in jail, the reason you know? It is because of the fear of the elections. They (BJP) do not think about the people, they only think of the corporates...All parties are getting election funds, that's not an issue, but BJP is getting via CBI, ED, and IT raids..."

PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti Addresses Public Rally In Kulgam | Watch

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday addressed an election rally in south Kashmir's Kulgam.

‘National Parties Like East India Company That Had Come To Loot Country’: SAD Chief

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday said, “All Punjabis are getting united. Shiromani Akali Dal is the voice of Khalsa Panth, the voice of Punjab. National parties are like the East India Company that had come to loot the country...So, I would like to tell all Punjabis to unite in order to save Punjab."

‘400 Par Doesn’t Mean Constitution Will Be Changed; Opposition Spreading Misleading People’: BJP Leader

BJP candidate from Kota, Om Birla on Wednesday said, "PM Modi has said that reservation cannot be scrapped, Constitution cannot be amended...Regarding reservation, the PM had said earlier too that there is a social system within reservation which will not be altered. He said that "400 paar" doesn't mean a change in reservation or Constitution...They (Opposition) want to garner votes by spreading misinformation and misleading people. But the people know their reality."

Smriti Irani Targets Rahul Gandhi In Amethi, Says ‘He Will Try To Divide Us’

Union Minister and BJP candidate from Amethi Lok Sabha seat Smriti Irani on Wednesday, “...Those who talk about farmers in the entire country, they have looted the lands of farmers in Gauriganj assembly. I have been requesting for the last 10 years to return the land since Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi themselves are in that foundation... We all know that Rahul Gandhi will come here after the 26, we also know that his statements every two days mention that Wayanad is his family. We used to see people changing homes, but we are seeing for the first time that someone has changed the family. When he will come after 26, he will try to divide us on religion and caste. The family that has given an affidavit in the court that Ram doesn't exist, today the god compelled the person to extend greetings on RamNavami. Even after knowing the fact that he is anti-Sanatani, the Rambhakts invited him to 'Pran Pratistha', it is sad that the person who used to represent Amethi denied the invitation out of arrogance. 'Jo bhagwan ko thukra de us insaan ka kya hoga'..."

Farmer Leader Sarwan Singh Pandher On Protesting Famers At Shambhu Border | Watch

Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher about farmers protesting on railway tracks at Shambhu border on Wednesday said, “The blockade started at 12.30 pm today and it is still going on. We held a conversation with DIG Patiala Range and SSP Patiala. However, we have failed to reach a consensus."