04:05 pm KOLKATA: Crude bombs were flung in Bengal's Bhatpara as two groups clashed and elsewhere, three BJP candidates claimed they came under attack on the last day of polling in the state. Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has called for the presence of Central forces in the state till the counting of votes gets over. Two of the claims came from state capital Kolkata, which is voting today along with the remaining eight seats in the state, which sends the second highest number of members to the Lok Sabha after Uttar Pradesh, reports NDTV. Bengal voted in all seven rounds of the Lok Sabha elections and violence was reported in every round, NDTV reported.
03:05 pm NEW DELHI: Over 41.6 per cent of the 10.17 crore voters have exercised their franchise till 1 pm in the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections. Jharkhand witnessed an impressive turnout with 52.9 percent of the voters casting their votes so far. Nearly 49.8 percent of the electorate in West Bengal also marked their presence at the polling booth despite incidents of violence across the state. Fifty-nine seats, including PM Modi's constituency Varanasi, are voting today in the seventh and final phase of the, reports NDTV. Over 10.17 crore voters across seven states and one Union Territory will decide the fate of 918 candidates. The Bharatiya Janata Party or the BJP had won 30 of the 59 seats in the 2014 elections. Voting will be held for 13 parliamentary constituencies each in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, nine seats in West Bengal, Bihar (8), Madhya Pradesh (8), Himachal Pradesh (4), Jharkhand (3) and Chandigarh (1) today. In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP is contesting in 11 seats, while its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) is contesting Mirzapur, currently held by Union minister Anupriya Patel, and Robertsganj. The party has fielded Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan from Gorakhpur against Congress's Madhusudan Tripathi and Rambhual Nishad of the Samajwadi Party, NDTV reported.
05:05 pm NEW DELHI: Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa has stopped attending meetings to decide on violations of the Model Code of Conduct over his "minority decisions going unrecorded", correspondence reviewed by NDTV finds. Some of his objections involve the Election Commission's clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in six instances. The three-member Election Commission consists of the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and two election commissioners - Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra. The poll panel's rules express preference for a unanimous view, but also allow a majority decision, reports NDTV.
05:05 pm Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu met Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Delhi today and discussed firming up a non-BJP front to keep the ruling party out of power after results of the national election are declared next week. He also met Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar in the capital, reports NDTV. The Telugu Desam Chief's efforts come ahead of a mega meet of opposition leaders on May 23, hosted by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, to prepare for the possibility of a less than a decisive verdict. Mr Naidu, 69, is also likely to meet Uttar Pradesh alliance partners Mayawati and Akhilesh this evening in Lucknow, NDTV reported. He met CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal on Friday and discussed with them the possibility of a tie-up in the post-results scenario.
11:05 pm Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, "was a deshbhakt (patriot), is a deshbhakt and will remain one," the BJP's Pragya Singh Thakur said today, adding to her growing list of controversial statements. Amid wide condemnation, even from the BJP, she later claimed that she would "follow the party's line" and the party's line was her line, reports NDTV. But she stopped short of an apology, despite BJP leaders calling for one. "It was my personal opinion. My intention was not to hurt anyone's sentiments. If I've hurt anyone I do apologise. What Gandhi Ji has done for the country cannot be forgotten. My statement has been twisted by the media," she told news agency ANI. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi attacked the BJP, saying just disowning the egregious comment of Pragya Thakur was not enough, NDTV reported.
06:05 pm KOLKATA: Amid the huge political row over yesterday's violence during a rally of BJP chief Amit Shah in Kolkata, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today declared that Mamata Banerjee has taken "revenge". The Bengal Chief Minister, he said, is afraid of the outcome of the election and is "scared of her own shadow". The BJP and the Trinamool Congress have been at loggerheads since yesterday over the violence, during which a statue of Iswarchandra Vidyasagar -- a 19th Century reformer and an iconic figure in the state -- was smashed. The parties have blamed each other for the vandalism, reports NDTV. "Mamata didi had declared publicly two days ago that she will take revenge (inch inch ka badla). She fulfilled her agenda within 24 hours, BJP President Amit Shah's roadshow was attacked," PM Modi said at a rally in Bengal. This, he said, was "intimidatory tactics" from the Bengal Chief Minister, who swept to power in the state in 2011, ending the 35-year Left rule. "Mamata didi got scared after seeing the BJP wave in the state. And everyone now knows what she is capable of when scared", NDTV reported.
11:04 am MUMBAI: Bollywood actors Rekha and Priyanka Chopra, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das, BJP leaders Paresh Rawal and Poonam Mahajan and industrialist Anil Ambani were among the early voters on Monday as polling started in the six Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai. Voters were seen queuing outside polling booths across the metropolitan city as residents across the state started casting their franchise in the last 17 of Maharashtra’s 48 Lok Sabha seats. Priyanka Chopra and her mother cast their votes in Versova as Anil Ambani voted at a polling booth at Cuffe Parade in Mumbai. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s sitting MP Paresh Rawal and his wife Swaroop Sampat were seen at a polling booth in Vile Parle. So did Bollywood filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj and singer Shankar Mahadevan with his wife Sangeeta Mahadevan.
11:04 am MUMBAI: Ten per cent polling was recorded till 9 am on Monday for elections to 72 seats across nine states in the fourth phase of 2019 Lok Sabha elections amid PM Modi’s appeal for ‘record voting’ and reports of EVM glitches and clashes from several areas, reports Hindustan Times. “The estimated turnout at 9 am is 10.27 %”, the Election Commission website reported even as long queues of voters waited outside booths across states to cast their vote. In Mumbai, celebrities and industrialists were seen rubbing shoulders with commoners while queuing up to vote for Mumbai’s six urban seats. Among early voters were Anil Ambani, actors Priyanka Chopra, Rekha, Sunjay Dutt, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, BJP MP Paresh Rawal, Milind Deora and rival candidates from Mumbai North Central constituency Poonam Mahajan and Priya Dutt, Hindustan Times reported.
11:04 am VELLORE: The Election Commission of India made a recommendation to the President to rescind the Election to Vellore Parliamentary Constituency, Tamil Nadu. The decision of the ECI to make this recommendation was based on detection of a systematic design to influence voters in Vellore Parliamentary Constituency during the election process. The report of the DGIT(Inv.), Chennai, B. Murali Kumar, dated 5th of April 2019, details the search and seizure operations carried out on 29th and 30th of March, 2019 at the residence of Durai Murugan, MLA and Treasurer of DMK Party and Kathir Anand, s/o Durai Murugan and contesting candidate for Vellore Parliamentary Constituency and at Kingston medical College, run by the Durai Murugan Educational Trust. The search team observed that evidently there was prior rummaging of the premises and removal of material including the control panel of the CCTV as well as the hard disks of the computers. Further discreet surveillance resulted in the confirmation that a large amount of cash and other incriminating material had indeed been shifted out of the college premises while the teams were being denied entry.
12:04 pm NEW DELHI: The voting for the first phase of General Elections-2019 to elect people’s representatives for the 17thLok Sabha gets underway in the country. 91 Lok Sabha seats are in the fray, spread over 20 states and UTs. Elections will be held in the 25 seats in Andhra Pradesh and 17 seats in Telangana and 8 seats out of the total 80 in Uttar Pradesh. Seven seats in Maharashtra also goes to the polling booths in the first phase today, including Nagpur, the constituency of union minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.