Lok Sabha Election Results 2019 LIVE, Date and Time: EC will begin counting votes for 542 constituencies tomorrow at 8 am



  • May 23, 10:30 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | Milind Deora trailing in Mumbai South constituency.

  • May 23, 10:30 AM (IST)

    Election Commission: As per current trends available for 527 constituencies, BJP is leading in 282 while INC is leading in 51, DMK in 22, AITC in 22, YSRC in 24 and Shivsena in 19 constituencies.

  • May 23, 10:29 AM (IST)

    COMMENT: Mohammed Apabhai of Citi told CNBC-TV18 that India will get FII inflow after election verdit.

    Outperformance of India among emerging markets is quite significant, he said. “I think lot of money forced into India even though is economy is not very strong.”

    According to him, once elections and RBI policy get over, there could be some breather in Indian equity market.

  • May 23, 10:28 AM (IST)

    COMMENT: As the counting of votes for Lok Sabha elections is taking place, the market would want confirmation of exit polls, Arvind Sanger of Geosphere Capital Management told CNBC-TV18.

    On May 19, exit polls predicted the NDA may get around 250-300 seats in general elections, which means the ruling party may retain their power for another five-year term.

    “BJP majority would be very positive for the market sentiment. Less than 250 seats for BJP might lead to a correction whereas more than 300 seats for BJP would result in a rally,” Sanger said.

  • May 23, 10:26 AM (IST)

    COMMENT: “I think this certainly should put the risk out of the way for India. We could see some more FII inflow,” Mark Matthews of Bank Julius Baer & Co told CNBC-TV18.

    Most people were confident of BJP coming in power, he said.

    Overall global investors are cautious on equities due to US-China trade war tensions. If dollar consolidates here, then will be very positive for emerging markets, he said.

    He feels PSU banks are good place to bet as NPA looks coming down. “Government will try to help economy, which is good for banks,” he said.

  • May 23, 10:24 AM (IST)

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    Key contest in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal: BJP’s Sadhvi Pragya Thakur 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 vs Congress’ Digvijaya Singh 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 #ElectionResults2019

    Stay with us and follow #ElectionsWithMC on Twitter for highlights from #ResultDay

    LIVE updates: http://bit.ly/2K05Hwn 

  • May 23, 10:23 AM (IST)

    Election Commission #DeshKaMahatyohar


    As per current trends available for 511 constituencies, BJP is leading in 277 while INC is leading in 52, DMK in 21, AITC in 21, YSRC in 21 and Shivsena in 18. #ElectionResults2019

  • May 23, 10:13 AM (IST)

    Election Results 2019: Congress-UDF leading in all 20 seats in Kerala

    Opposition Congress-led UDF is ahead in all the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, as per the initial trends released by the Election Commission.

    In the prestigious Wayanad constituency, Congress President Rahul Gandhi is ahead by 34,989 votes against his nearest rival P P Suneer of the CPI.

    NDA candidate Thushar Vellapally is trailing far behind. Former Union minister and sitting Thiruvananthapuram MP, Shashi Tharoor s ahead of his rival Kummanam Rajashekaran of the BJP by 2,452 votes.

    In Ernakulam constituency, Hibi Eden of the Congress is leading by 17,748 votes against P Rajeev of the CPI(M).

    Union Minister Alphons Kannamthanam, the BJP candidate, has so far garnered 13,443 votes. Senior Congress leader Kodikunnil Suresh is leading in Mavelikkara by 1,719 votes against his nearest rival Chittayam Gopakumar (CPI-LDF).

  • May 23, 10:11 AM (IST)


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    Election Results 2019: BJP leading in all four seats of Himachal Pradesh

    The ruling BJP is leading on all four Lok Sabha seats of Himachal Pradesh, a state election officer said. In Mandi, sitting BJP MP Ram Swaroop is leading by 46,000 votes against his nearest rival Aashray Sharma of Congress.

    BJP candidate Kishan Kapoor is leading by 41,000 votes over his nearest rival Pawan Kajal of Congress in Kangra seat, the officer said.

    In Hamirpur, sitting BJP MP Anurag Thakur is leading by over 51,000 votes over his nearest rival Ram Lal Thakur of Congress.

    BJP candidate Suresh Kashyap is leading by 44,000 votes over his nearest rival Dhani Ram Shandil of the Congress in Shimla seat.

  • May 23, 10:09 AM (IST)

    BREAKING NEWS: BJP leading on all 7 seats in Delhi, leads show.

  • May 23, 10:08 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | Sadhvi Pragya leading by 23,000 votes in Bhopal. Amit Shah leading by 1,30,000 votes in Gandhinagar.

  • May 23, 10:03 AM (IST)

    Election Results 2019: BJP ahead in Haryana, Congress’ Bhupinder Hooda trails in Sonipat

    Barring Rohtak, the BJP was ahead in all remaining nine seats in Haryana where early Election Commission trends were available Thursday. Union Ministers Rao Inderjit Singh (Gurgaon) and Krishan Pal Gurjar (Faridabad) were ahead in their respective constituencies.

    Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress was trailing in Sonipat. Hooda was trailing behind sitting MP Ramesh Chander Kaushik by a margin of 1,115 votes, as per early trends given by the Election Commission.

    However, the former CM’s son and sitting MP from Rohtak, Deepender Singh Hooda was leading over his nearest BJP rival Arvind Sharma from Rohtak.


    Of the 10 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP, which is the ruling party in the state, was leading in nine seats.

  • May 23, 09:59 AM (IST)

    Election Results 2019: DMK front surges ahead in Tamil Nadu, minister Pon Radhakrishnan trails

    The DMK and its allies were leading in over 10 Parliamentary constituencies in Tamil Nadu and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan was trailing in Kanyakumari, according to trends available from the Election Commission.

    While DMK surged ahead in Tirunelveli, its ally MDMK and Congress were leading in Erode and Virudhunagar respectively, according to the Election Commission.

    Former Union Minister and senior DMK leader A Raja was leading in the Nilgiris, and sitting Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi was ahead in Tuticorin, while their colleagues had the edge in Arakkonam, Cuddalore, Salem, Tenkasi and Perambalur. Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan is trailing Congress candidate H Vasanthakumar in Kanyakumari by a slender margin of a little over 7,757 votes.

  • May 23, 09:57 AM (IST)

    Lok Sabha election results 2019: Early trends spell bad news for Congress

    Early trends from the 2019 Lok Sabha election results on May 23 painted a grim picture for the Indian National Congress. Congress was leading in about 58 Lok Sabha constituencies out of the 490-odd seats from where the leads were coming in.

    Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was leading in over 310 constituencies, far above the ‘magic number’ 272. BJP itself was leading in over 272 seats.

    As of 9.35 am, Congress President Rahul Gandhi was trailing from his home turf Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. However, he was leading from his second seat — Wayanad, Kerala. United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Sonia Gandhi was leading from Rae Bareli by a small margin.

    Congress leader Shashi Tharoor was earlier reported to be trailing, while the BJP candidate Kummanam Rajasekharan was reported to be leading from Thiruvanathapuram. Tharoor, however, caught up and is now leading from the constituency.


  • May 23, 09:55 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | Jayant Sinha leading in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand.

  • May 23, 09:54 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | Shiv Sena leader Adhalrao Patil trailing from Maharashtra’s Shirur.

  • May 23, 09:53 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | HD Deve Gowda is trailing in Tumkur.

  • May 23, 09:52 AM (IST)


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    Election Results Trends | PM Narendra Modi leading by over 20,000 votes from UP’s Varanasi, BJP President Amit Shah leading by over 50,000 votes from Gujarat’s Gandhinagar.

  • May 23, 09:51 AM (IST)

    Counting update (Official trends)

    NCP’s Supriya Sule : 32164
    BJP’s Kanchan Kul : 33424

    BJP’s Girish Bapat : 7633
    Congress’s Mohan Joshi : 1627

    NCP’s Amol Kolhe : 40771
    Shivsena’s Adhalrao Patil : 22676

    NCP’s Parth Pawar : 74370
    Shivsena’s Shrirang Barne : 97388

  • May 23, 09:50 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | Sheila Dikshit trailing from North East Delhi.

  • May 23, 09:50 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | Ashok Chavan trailing in Nanded, Maharashtra.

  • May 23, 09:44 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | BJP leading in 9 out of 10 seats in Haryana. Congress’ Deepinder Singh Hooda leading from Rohtak constituency.

  • May 23, 09:44 AM (IST)


    Election Results Trends | First-time BJP candidate Tejasvi Surya is leading in Bangalore South constituency against Congress veteran BK Hariprasad.

  • May 23, 09:42 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | Locket Chatterjee leading from Hooghly in West Bengal.

  • May 23, 09:40 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat leading from Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar.

  • May 23, 09:40 AM (IST)
  • Election Results Trends | TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee gains lead from Diamond Harbour.

  • May 23, 09:39 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | BJP candidate and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi trailing from Sultanpur, Varun Gandhi leading from Pilibhit.

  • May 23, 09:37 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | Union Minister and BJP candidate Kiren Rijiju leading in Arunachal West.

  • May 23, 09:35 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | Jaya Prada now leading against Azam Khan in Rampur.

  • May 23, 09:34 AM (IST)

    Election Results Trends | SAD leader Sukhbir Singh Badal leading from Firozpur.

The Election Commission of India will start counting votes for 17th Lok Sabha elections on 23 May, 2019 (Thursday) at 8 am. With VVPAT counting to be introduced in this Lok Sabha election, the results on 23 May are likely to get delayed by five to six hours, Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh has said.


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He said after the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) counting is over, the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs) will be counted as per the Supreme Court guidelines. Speaking about the Assembly constituencies of Delhi, Singh said, “From every Assembly constituency, five (VVPATs) will be randomly selected and they will be counted. There is a special VVPAT booth in every counting hall. It will take place in five rounds.”

 Lok Sabha Election Results 2019 Date and Time: EC will begin counting votes for 542 constituencies tomorrow at 8 am; check www.eci.gov.in for LATEST updates


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Delhi has 70 assembly constituencies and in all 350 VVPATs will be counted.

“Every assembly segment had 200 polling stations and five polling stations will be selected randomly. This will delay the formal results. But trends will be out early. Formal declaration of results will be delayed by five to six hours,” Singh told PTI.

He also briefed Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev about the expected delay in results, officials said.

Delhi Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik was present during the briefing and he apprised them about the security arrangements that will be made in accordance with the Election Commission guidelines. Delhi has seven parliamentary constituencies and there is one counting centre in each of them. The counting centres will have one counting hall for each of the 10 assembly segments, officials said.

In each counting hall, a maximum of 14 tables can be put and machines that would come in the first round, their results will be compiled and uploaded on the ‘Suvidha’ app of the Election Commission. The counting will commence at 8 am with postal ballots. Officials will have to ensure that the postal ballot counting is over with at least two rounds of EVM counting yet to be done.

After the EVM counting is over, the VVPAT counting will commence.

The Supreme Court has made it clear that random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs will take place in five polling booths per assembly segment. Accordingly, the exercise will be held in 20,600 of the 10.35 lakh polling stations across the country.

Nearly 39.6 lakh EVMs and 17.4 lakh voter-verifiable paper trail machines (VVPAT) are being used in these polling stations. These include reserves.



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Who Are ‘RG’, ‘AP’, And ‘FAM’?,” Asks Arun Jaitley Over Explosive Agusta Chargesheet


Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday issued a blog post based on the sensational revelations in the ED’s supplementary chargesheet in the Agusta Westland scam which has been accessed by Republic TV. The 52-page chargesheet contains explosive mentions on virtually every page and also provides answers to key questions that have been raised in the case from years earlier. It is on some of these questions, particularly regarding certain abbreviations and whom they refer to, that Jaitley has written his post.

Here it is reproduced in full:

Who are ‘RG’, ‘AP’ and ‘FAM’?

Rahul Gandhi talks on several subjects with which he does not even have a nodding acquaintance. He makes wild and unsubstantiated allegations against all and sundry. The only subject he refused to speak about or respond is the one on which he alone knows the truth – his own accounts.

When reports have indicated that his own personal ‘capital creation’ programme was on the strength of ‘Sweetheart Deals’ with ‘fly-by-night operators’, he imposed censorship on himself and also on otherwise an outspoken Media Cell of the Congress Party.

My conclusion: When no reply or explanation is given for such a probity related issue, the
country is entitled to assume that no reply or explanation could ever have
been given. Silence in this case speaks more than any fake explanation.



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The AugustaWestlandchargesheet disclosures

The chargesheet in the AugustaWestland case has clearly mentioned that in the documents which were recovered by the Swiss Police from the house of the mother of Guido Haschke in Lugano, Switzerland, carried a reference in the English alphabets which identifies the name of certain political leaders/ entities who had influence with the UPA Government. It is relevant that when the Chairman and CEO of AugustaWestland was arrested in February, 2013 in Italy the CBI had registered the initial PE in 2013 itself. It is only after the Government of India succeeded in getting Christian James Michel on 4th December, 2018 and Rajiv Saxena on 30th January, 2019 that investigations made a significant headway. The chargesheet is based on oral and documentary evidence. To whom is the reference of ‘RG’, ‘AP’ and ‘FAM’ being made? Investigators have quoted in the chargesheet the statements of the concerned persons. The documents recovered in Italy corroborate with the oral and documentary evidence collected in India.

Diary as evidence

There is an erroneous belief among Indian politicians that a diary, as in the Jain Hawala Case, is never admissible as an evidence. A diary constitutes an admission in writing and is admissible against the maker of that admission. It is admissible against the other co-conspirators if it is made when the conspiracy was still being executed and there is other evidence that corroborates the contents of the diary. That is the law laid down by the Privy Council in ‘Mirza Akbar’s’ case and has held grounds throughout. In the Jain’s case, there was no corroboration of the Diary. This legal argument is, however, relevant for the purposes of the legal case.

Probity debate

Arguments of probity in the public space demand more answers. Are ‘RG’, ‘AP’ and ‘FAM’ fictional characters or were they in a position to influence the deal? How come every time there is a controversial defence deal and evidence is collected, names close to the Congress Party’s first family start appearing?

When the alphabet ‘Q’ appeared in Martin Ardbo’s diary in the Bofors Case with a comment that ‘Q’ must be protected at all cost, the Party was in denial even then. It is only when the Swiss authorities in 1993 disclosed the names of one of the beneficiaries of the kickbacks of Bofors being paid as Ottavio Quattrocchi, the Narasimha Rao Government facilitated his escape from India in less than 24 hours. This did not wash away the ghost of ‘Q’ which had scarred the face of the Congress Party nor will ‘RG’, ‘AP’ and ‘FAM’.

Public neither forgets nor forgives the corrupt. Silence is never an answer to documentary evidence of corruption.

The Right to Silence is available to an accused, not to a Prime Ministerial aspirant.


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Rajasthan Assembly Polls 2018 LIVE: ‘Fake Gandhi’ family has destroyed the Khadi industry in India

  • PM Modi says: The BJP will work on the following five principles to bring Rajasthan on the path of progress and development:

    1. Education to the children

    2. Employment to the youth

    3. Irrigation facilities to the Farmer

    4.Medicine and health facilities to the elderly

    5. Listen to each and every one


    Under the Jan Dhan Yojana and Start-Up India, we have given loans worth of Rs. 14 crore to those who wanted to start their own businesses : PM Modi in Dausa

    The BJP has made toilets under Swachch Bharat, we made toilets so that women don’t have to defacate on the open : PM Modi in Dausa

    Congress destroyed the Khadi industry in India: PM Modi

    Dausa is known for Khadi. Mahatma Gandhi had started Khadi to make the people of India self-sustaining. But, this ‘fake Gandhi’ family destroyed the Khadi industry of India. It was the BJP that not only revived the Khadi industry, but made India proud of it. In fact, when the Khadi Jacket came to be known as the ‘Modi Jacket, the Congress could not fathom it! : PM Modi in Dausa, Rajasthan

Rajasthan Polls 2018: At Alwar rally, PM Modi blames Rahul Gandhi for personal attacks by Congress leaders

Launching the BJP’s poll campaign in Rajasthan, prime minister Narendra Modi on Sunday sharply criticised the Congress for what he described as the party’s ‘jatiwadi mansikta’ (caste mentality).

Modi’s criticism came two days after a video of Congress leader CP Joshi was circulated on social media in which he can be heard raising questions about the PM’s caste at an election rally in Nathdwara. Modi used this to attack the Congress several times during his 48-minute speech at Alwar’s Vijay Nagar ground on Sunday.

Koi ma ko gali deta hai, koi meri jati ko lekar sawaal poochta hai… bolne wala koi bhi ho, bolwane wala to namdaar hi hai (Someone abuses my mother, someone questions my caste. I know whosoever may be saying it but he’s saying it at the behest of naamdar),” he said, adding that the Congress in Rajasthan had no vision for the state’s welfare.

Modi said that the Congress was resorting to “jatiwaad ka zeher (the poison of caste)” since they had nothing to compare their achievements to that of the BJP government.

In his response to CP Joshi, Modi quoted both Kabir and Saint Ravidas to drive home the point that humans were one despite their caste.

Quoting Kabir, he said, “Kabira kuan ek hai, pani bhare anek/ Bhaande hee mein bhed hai, pani sub mein ek (O Kabir, the well we all fill our vessels from is the same/ The jars are different, but the water from that one source is same).”

He also quoted Ravidas and said, “Jaat paat mat poochiye, ka jaat aru paat/Ravidas poot sab prabh ke, kou nahi jaat kujaat (Don’t ask anyone caste because everyone is a child of God and no caste is bad).”

Modi said when the prime minister of the country goes abroad, no one asks his caste. “Duniya ko to sawa sau karore Hindustani dikhte hain (People see 1.15 crore Indians),” he said.

The PM also dubbed the Congress as anti-Dalit and anti-backwards as he recounted the cases of Dalit atrocities in 2010 in Haryana’s Michipur village, in 2005 in Sonepat’s Sonaha and in 2000 in Karnataka, saying there were Congress governments in these states when these crimes occurred.

“Jab Mandal commission ki report par charcha ho rahi thi tab namdaar Rajiv Gandhi ne uske khilaaf jo zeher ugla tha, jo alochana ki thi, wo aaj bhi Parliament ki diwaro me goonj rahi hai (Rajiv Gandhi’s opposition and condemnation to reservation for the backward castes during a debate on the Mandal Commission report still reverberates in Parliament),” he said.

Modi said four members of one family got Bharat Ratna but Ambedkar did not get the country’s highest civilian award.

“Dalit, shoshit, gareeb, pidit aur kamzor ke prati nafrat ka bhaav Congress ki rago me bhara pada hai (Hatred for Dalits, the oppressed, the poor and the weak runs through Congress’ veins),” Modi said, adding that whenever anyone from these groups challenges the ‘naamdar’, they get annoyed.

Modi said the Congress had pulled out all stops to defeat Ambedkar in elections, and said that everyone knew what the party had done to Jagjivan Ram when he tried to challenge the family.

Talking about Congress in Rajasthan, Modi referred to a video of BD Kalla where he is seen stopping a man shouting Bharat Mata Ki Jai and telling him to say ‘Sonia Gandhi ki jai’, and said for the Congress, “Bharat Mata se koi aur mata badi hai (There is a mother bigger than Mother India for the Congress).”

Modi also talked about Congress spreading canards about its leader Nawal Kishore Sharma, who later became Governor of Gujarat when Modi was the CM. The PM took snipe at confusion in the party over the CM candidate and said it had “gali gali me mukhyamatri (a CM in every lane).

Praising the work done by Vasundhara Raje government in 5 years, Modi said Raje opened as many higher secondary schools and medical colleges in 5 years as Congress did in 50 years, and added that for the amount of development that happened in Raje’s rule, people would have had to wait for 50 years if there was a Congress government.

In his speech, Modi did not name Rahul Gandhi even once, and referred to his father Rajiv Gandhi and mother Sonia Gandhi only once. For the rest of his address, he kept calling them ‘naamdar’.



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Rahul Gandhi just ‘an entertainment’ for people in Chhattisgarh, knows nothing about state: Raman Singh

Launching a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi, poll-bound Chhattishgarh’s Chief Minister Raman Singh on Saturday alleged the Congress chief was “sort of an entertainment” for people in the state and his campaign could be detrimental to his own party.

Ahead of the crucial first phase of voting in the state on Monday, Singh said Gandhi does not know anything about Chhattisgarh and his rallies would not help the Congress draw any significant votes.

Singh’s counter-attack came a day after the Congress president, during his election campaign on Friday, accused Singh of indulging in graft and of doing any work only after taking “permission from his 10-15 industrialist friends”.

“Rahul does not know anything about Chhattisgarh. People of Chhattisgarh do not take him seriously. He is sort of an entertainment for them,” Singh told PTI in an interview.

Singh, who has been chief minister of the tribal-dominated state for a record 15 years out of its 18-year history, said Gandhi’s presence in the state would not dent poll prospects of the BJP but might prove detrimental to his own Congress party.

While there was no immediate comment from the Congress on the latest jibe at its party chief, the allegations levelled by various political parties have often become personal amid a rising election fever in the country’s political landscape.

While the Congress has been accusing the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in various states of indulging in crony capitalism, Gandhi has launched an aggressive campaign centred around these charges for the five poll-bound states, including Chhattisgarh, which is being seen as semi-finals before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The saffron party has denied these charges and have levelled counter-allegations of corruption and crony-capitalism being things of past when the Congress was in power.

Gandhi has been actively campaigning in Chhattisgarh where voting will be done in two phases — on November 12 for 18 seats (including 12 in naxal-affected areas) and on November 20 for the remaining 72 seats.

Voting in Singh’s own constituency Rajnandgaon, where the Congress has given the ticket to late Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece and former BJP leader Karuna Shukla, will also take place on Monday.

During his campaign rallies on Friday, Gandhi had hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Singh over various issues, including lack of development in Chhattisgarh.

Singh, who is eying a fourth term as chief minister, said Chhattisgarh has developed on all fronts contrary to what the Congress party claims.

“Chhattisgarh used to be a backward stage. In 15 years of the BJP rule, it has become one of the developed states. We are growing at a great pace and will soon be along top five developed states of the country,” he said.

To a question on whether the BJP will lose votes due to an alliance between former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi-led Janta Congress Chhattisgarh and Dalit leader Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, Singh said the BJP’s vote share will remain intact despite the formation of this “selfish coalition”.

“It is a selfish coalition and both the parties will not have any effect on the BJP votes,” he said.

On the menace of Naxalism, Singh said Maoists in the state were living on life support.

“We have neutralised Naxalites and their agenda with our development work. Maoists in the state are living on life support. It will soon be over,” the chief minister said.

The 66-year-old BJP veteran, who was a practising ayurvedic doctor before taking the plunge into politics in 1980s, became Chhattisgarh’s chief minister in December 2003, after the saffron party snatched power from the Congress just about three years after the state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.

In the 2013 election, the BJP got 49 seats while the Congress secured 39. The BSP got one, while one seat was won by an Independent candidate.




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PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi to Hold Rival Rallies in Chhattisgarh Today as Red Terror Looms Over Polls

PM Modi will address a rally in Bastar district’s headquarters Jagdalpur, while Rahul Gandhi will address five rallies in two days.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi will be in Chhattisgarh on Friday to campaign for the first phase of the Assembly elections in the state, a day after five people died in a bomb detonated by Naxals in Dantewada district.

Modi will address a rally in Bastar district’s headquarters, Jagdalpur, while Gandhi will tour the state for two days during which he will address five rallies and hold a road show in Chief Minister Raman Singh’s constituency, Rajnandgaon.

The prime minister is scheduled to arrive at Raipur airport at 11:20 am and then take a helicopter to Jagdalpur. Following the rally, he will leave for Raipur at 2 pm and then return to Delhi, a state BJP spokesperson said.

“This will be the PM’s first election rally for the state Assembly polls. It will add power to the party’s campaign,” the spokesperson added.

Gandhi will address his first rally in Pakhanjore town of Kanker district at noon, followed by public meetings in Rajnandgaon district’s Khairgarh and Dongargarh towns, and a road show in Rajnandgaon, said head of Congress state communication wing Shailesh Nitin Trivedi.

He will put up at Rajnandgaon for the night and on Saturday, will address rallies in Charama (Kanker district) and Kondagaon, Trivedi said, adding that the Congress chief would also chair a meeting of party workers in Jagdalpur.

Raman Singh is also scheduled to hold a road show in Rajnandgaon on Friday evening. He is pitted against the Congress’s Karuna Shukla, niece of late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The campaigning for the first phase will end Saturday.

The first phase on November 12 will see 18 seats of eight Naxal-affected districts go to polls. Of these, 12 are Scheduled Tribe seats while one is a Scheduled Caste-reserved seat.

The ruling BJP had lost 12 of the 18 seats in the 2013 Assembly polls.

The remaining 72 constituencies will witness polling on November 20 and counting of votes will be held on December 11.

A total of1,291 candidates are in the fray for the two phased state polls.

In the 2013 Assembly polls, the BJP had won 49 seats, Congress 39, BSP 1 and Independent 1 in the 90-member House.




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Why MP matters for the Congress

To win a heartland state will improve the Congress’s national standing and its ability to bring together a wider anti-BJP alliance nationally. Gandhi has set the stage for a fierce battle. The outcome will shape national politics.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi kicked off his party’s campaign in Madhya Pradesh’s Malwa-Nimar region on Monday and Tuesday. This is a particularly crucial belt in the state’s politics, for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won 56 of the 66 seats here in the last elections. If the Congress is to displace the BJP from the state, it has to make a dent here. Gandhi, along with state leaders, Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, visited the Mahakal temple in Ujjain; addressed public rallies in Ujjain and Jhabua; and did a road show in Indore on Monday. And on Tuesday, he had public meetings in Dhar, Khargone and Mhow.

In all his public utterances, certain themes were common. These are now clearly emerging as an integral part of Gandhi and the Congress’ campaign messages for both the state elections and the 2019 battle. One, he launched a sharp attack on Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for siding with rich industrialists, waiving their loans, letting them flee the country, and engaging in corruption and cronyism on Rafale. These allegations were interspersed with the cry of “chowkidar chor hai” (the watchman is a thief), a slogan that Gandhi and the Congress have made their own. This is a high stakes gamble. Modi’s biggest strength has been the electorate’s faith in his intent and integrity; the Congress wants to shatter that. If it works, Rahul will deserve credit for persistence and changing the narrative. But there is an equally high possibility of this backfiring, for there is no evidence to indicate that Modi is today seen as personally corrupt and he could well play the victim card. The second theme in Gandhi’s speech was his claim that as opposed to the BJP, the Congress was for the poor, farmers, Dalits and tribals. The Mandasur killings and agrarian distress have given the Congress ammunition to make this claim. The BJP, however, hopes to neutralise this with its range of both central and state welfare schemes. Gandhi’s third line of attack centred around Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s governance record and “corruption”. Chouhan hit back at a factual inaccuracy in Gandhi’s speech, when the Congress president claimed that the CM’s son was named in the Panama papers.

The larger story emerging from Gandhi’s campaign is how Madhya Pradesh matters to the Congress. In fact, this could well be the most important of the five state elections. It is the largest state going to the polls; the BJP has been in power for 15 years and it is imperative for the Congress to be able to make a comeback to sustain its own party organisation and cadre morale; the state has 29 Lok Sabha seats and success now could translate into success in 2019; to win a heartland state will improve the Congress’s national standing and its ability to bring together a wider anti-BJP alliance nationally. Gandhi has set the stage for a fierce battle. The outcome will shape national politics.



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MP polls: Rahul Gandhi starts campaign in BJP’s bastion

Congress president Rahul Gandhi arrived in the Malwa-Nimad region of the poll-bound Madhya Pradesh on Monday for a two-day election campaign.

The Gandhi scion, along with senior party leaders — Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath and Member of Parliament from Guna Jyotiraditya Scindia, visited the Mahakaleshwar temple and paid obeisance to Lord Shiva.

Congress has been hoping to make inroads into the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) bastion for over a decade.

The Congress party had managed just nine out of the 66 seats, belonging to the region. The Malwa-Nimad region accounts for the state’s 66 out of the total 230 assembly seats.

Madhya Pradesh goes to polls on November 28, 2018. The results will be declared on December 11, 2018.




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Congress releases third list of candidates for Chhattisgarh polls; party banking on old and new faces to regain power

The Congress is banking on a combination of new faces and old-timers in ticket distribution to end its 15-year wait to rule Chhattisgarh, which goes to polls next month.

The Opposition party, late on Saturday evening, released a list of candidates — its third — for 37 Assembly seats going to polls in the second and last phase of voting on 20 November. It has renominated 15 sitting MLAs and fielded 11 candidates who had lost in 2013, besides giving tickets to 11 fresh faces.

No sitting MLA was denied a ticket in the third list. However, only three women figure in it.

A Congress leader said the party is ensuring that representation is given to all sections of society. “It is a completely balanced list wherein the party has given representation to leaders belonging to all sections of society,” claimed the head of the Chhattisgarh Congress communication wing, Shailesh Nitin Trivedi.

“Candidates were selected on the basis of the party’s survey and performances of leaders,” he said, adding that it is a “well-planned strategy” to win the upcoming election.

The two lists released earlier contained 18 names. With this, the Opposition party has, so far, announced 55 candidates in BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh, which has a 90-member House.

State Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel (Patan seat), Congress Legislative Party leader TS Singhdeo (Ambikapur), senior Congress leader Satyanarayan Sharma (Raipur Rural) and prominent tribal leader Amarjeet Bhagat (Sitapur) were among the sitting MLAs who were given tickets.

In the last Assembly polls, 26 Congress sitting MLAs, including prominent leaders like Rampukar Singh, Ravindra Choubey, Amitesh Shukla and Mohammad Akbar, had tasted defeat. This time, Singh (Pathalgaon-ST), Shukla (Rajim), Akbar (Kawardha) and Choubey (Saja) have been renominated from their respective seats.

Chhattisgarh Congress working president Shiv Kumar Dahariya, who had lost the previous election from Bilaigarh (SC), has been fielded from Arang (SC) this time. Similarly, Guru Rudra Kumar, who had lost the 2013 election from Arang, has been given a ticket from Ahiwara (SC).

A popular young Congress leader, Vikas Upadhyay, who had lost to BJP minister Rajesh Munat from Raipur West last time by a margin of 6,160 votes, has been renominated from the seat. He will take on Munat again.

Among other leaders who have been given tickets despite losing the 2013 polls are Premsai Tekam (Pratappur) and Pratima Chandrakar (Durg Rural).

Vinay Kumar Bhagat and Uttamdan Minj, who had lost the 2008 Assembly election from Jashpur and Kunkuri, respectively, have been fielded from the same seats this time. Vinay Jaiswal, an eye surgeon, Devendra Yadav, Ramkumar Yadav are among the fresh faces fielded by the party this time.

Bhilai Municipal Corporation Mayor Devendra Yadav, a youth leader, has been fielded from the Bhilai Nagar seat, where he will take on state minister and sitting BJP MLA Premprakash Pandey. Jaiswal will contest from Manendragarh.

Ramkumar Yadav, a prominent farmer leader, had contested from Chandrapur constituency as a Bahujan Samaj Party candidate in 2013 and had finished runner-up. He recently joined the Congress, which has given him ticket from Chandrapur.

Voting in Chhattisgarh will be held in two phases — on 12 November and 20 November — and counting will take place on 11 December.

The first phase covers 18 seats spread across eight naxal-affected districts — Bastar, Bijapur, Dantewada, Sukma, Kondagaon, Kanker, Narayanpur and Rajnandgaon. The remaining 72 seats will see polling on 20 November.

The ruling BJP has so far announced 78 candidates.

In 2013, the BJP had won 49, the Congress 39, the BSP 1 and an Independent 1.

The BJP has been ruling the tribal-dominated state, which came into existence in November 2000, since 2003 under the leadership of Raman Singh.




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MP polls: Rahul Gandhi to begin Malwa tour tomorrow after visit to Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain

Months after BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to the Mahakaleshwar temple in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will on Monday perform a puja at the famous ‘jyotirlinga‘ in Ujjain before embarking on a two-day tour of the BJP-dominated Malwa-Nimar region.

Shah had visited the abode of Lord Shiva on 14 July this year before flagging off the “Jan Ashirwad Yatra” of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

The BJP has been accusing Rahul of playing the “soft Hindutva card” to attract the voters in poll-bound states.

During his two-day tour beginning Monday, Rahul will address rallies in Jhabua, Indore, Dhar, Khargone and Mhow and also take part in a road show in Indore.

In Madhya Pradesh, where elections are scheduled to be held on 28 November, the Congress has been struggling to oust the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) from power for the last 15 years.

“During his visit to the Mahakaleshwar temple (one of the 12 ‘jyotirlingas‘ of Lord Shiva), Rahul will worship the Lord Mahakal like a common devotee,”

According to a programme released by Congress, Rahul will address public meetings at Ujjain and Jhabua, respectively, after visiting the Mahakal temple.

He is also scheduled to participate in a road show to be organised by the Congress in Indore on Monday evening, and will address a public meeting at Rajwada.

On Tuesday, Rahul will interact with news editors and the business community in two separate programmes at Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh. He will later address public meetings at Dhar and Khargone.

On Tuesday evening, the Congress chief would address a public meeting at Mhow after offering tribute at the memorial of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar’s birthplace. Mhow, about 23 kilometres from Indore, is the birthplace of Ambedkar.

Earlier, the Congress had proclaimed Rahul as a “Shiv-bhakt” (a devotee of Lord Shiva) ahead of the assembly elections held in Gujarat last year.

Gandhi began canvassing in Madhya Pradesh last month by offering prayers at the famous Kamta Nath temple in Satna district’s Chitrakoot town.

Meanwhile, the BJP Sunday ridiculed Gandhi for visiting temples in poll-bound states.

Apart from Madhya Pradesh, elections are also scheduled to be held in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan — both currently ruled by the BJP — and the north-eastern state of Mizoram, where the Congress is in power, in the next two months.

BJP national vice-president Prabhat Jha said, “Congress has been making false allegations against BJP about playing religion-based politics. Now, Rahul should answer why he is running to temples ahead of elections?

“The Congress president should also clarify why he and his mother Sonia Gandhi did not visit the Mahakal temple during previous visits,” he said.

Jha alleged that Rahul was trying to mislead people by pretending himself as a religions person for the sake of electoral gains.

When asked about BJP’s criticism, Kapoor said, “Rahul is visiting the Mahakal temple as a devotee of Lord Shiva..in pure sense of devotion. Do the BJP leaders solely reserve the right to worship Lord Shiva? Lord Shiva is for all.”

Kapoor clarified that Rahul’s likely visit to Janapav near Mhow, which is the birthplace of Lord Parshuram, could not materialise due to his busy schedule.




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