Lok Sabha Election 2019 updates: Vellore polls cancelled; MHA cancels Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed’s visa over TMC campaign row – Firstpost

Lok Sabha Election 2019 LATEST updates, 2nd Phase of voting will be held on 18 April: The Ministry of Home Affairs has cancelled the business visa of Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed, who allegedly campaigned for the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. He has also been blacklisted.

Accepting the recommendation of Election Commission dated 14 April, President Ram Nath Kovind has rescinded the election to Vellore parliamentary constituency in Tamil Nadu. The move came following the seizure of over Rs 11 crore cash from a warehouse in Vellore district.

In Thiruvananthapuram, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, “When Pulwama attack took place, my immediate reaction was ‘I’m not going to politicise this issue’… But that is not how the prime minister thinks. The prime minister exploits the valour of our jawans politically for his own good. And if the army and air force do something, the credit is theirs. It is shameful that the prime minister doesn’t give them credit, because they’re the people who give their blood. They deserve the credit and nobody else.”

Addressing a rally in Thrissur, BJP chief Amit Shah alleged, “Under Pinarayi Vijayan government, 525 incidents of mob lynching and violence have taken place… The Kerala government also unleashed violence  on the devotees of Sabarimala in the name of implementing the Supreme Court order. What message does the Kerala chief minister want to send through the violence on the devotees?”

The Election Commission has sought report from the Katihar district magistration on Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s speech in which he reportedly appealed to the Muslims not to split their votes.

Addressing a rally in Kerala’s Alappuzha, Congress president Rahul Gandhi claimed that the BJP and RSS want India to be ruled by one idea and they want to “crush anybody” who does not agree with them. “The prime minister can announce from a stage Congress-mukt Bharat. He says he wants to eliminate Congress and its ideas. We do not say that, we don’t want the elimination of anybody. We disagree the BJP and the RSS, we fight with them, but we will never kill BJP and RSS,” he said.

Samajwadi Party leader Ravidas Mehrotra said that Shatrughan Sinha’s wife Poonam Sinha will be the SP-BSP-RLD candidate from Lucknow. She will file nomination on 18 April. “We appeal to the Congress that do not field your candidate from here so that BJP can be defeated,” he said. Earlier, there were speculations about Poonam being pitted against Rajnath Singh from the Lucknow constituency after she joined the Samajwadi Party on Tuesday. The fact that Congress has not fielded anyone from the crucial constituency yet is being considered significant enough to suggest that she will have the backing of Congress, SP and BSP.

BJP chief Amit Shah has been addressing rallies in Karnataka today. After prayers at the Siddaganga mutt in Tumakuru, for what reports said was “the electoral victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”, Shah led a roadshow through the town.

Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday announced that he will file a defamation case against Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his alleged “all thieves have Modi in their surnames” comment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing his second rally of the day, at Korba in Chhattisgarh. Almost immediately after taking stage, the prime minister blamed the Congress for siding with Naxals and people who wanted to “divide” India. “They had labelled Naxals revolutionaries, and had raised the morale Naxals,” he said.

A BJP delegation comprising senior leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Jagat Prakash Nadda, will approach the Election Commission later on Tuesday against the campaign ban on UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, ANI has reported.

Speaking at Attingal, at a campaign rally, the BJP’s Kerala chief Sreedharan Pillai remarked that Muslims can be identified by “removing their clothes”, in a reference to circumcision. Pillai, supporting BJP’s Attingal candidate Sobha Surendran was referring to the questions raised by the Opposition on the number of people killed in the Balakot air strikes.

“Our Rahul Gandhi, Yechury, and Pinarayi are saying, our soldiers have to go there and see the count of the dead…their caste, religion etc. If it is Islam, there are some signs, no?” he said, adding “If you remove their clothes you will be able to know. We have to do all that and return is what they (the Opposition) are saying.”

The Election Commission of India’s flying squad conducted checks on the luggage of former Karnataka chief minister and BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa at a helipad in Shivamogga.

Speaking at Davanegere on Tuesday, Amit Shah went back to one of the most troubling topics on the campaign trail: the issue of Kashmir. “For as long as there are BJP karyakartas, Kashmir will remain a part of India,” he said, adding that it did not matter what Rahul Gandhi and Omar Abdullah were saying.

In the presence of senior BJP leaders, Home minister Rajnath Singh is now filing his nomination papers from the Lucknow constituency, at the Collectorate. Rajnath had earlier tweeted that he is eager to fulfill the dreams of Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the city.

Azam Khan’s son, Abdullah Azam Khan, alleged on Tuesday that the Election Commission has been banned from campaigning because he is a Muslim. “Because Yogi Adityanath was banned, they saw it fit to ban a Muslim man too,” he said.

Azam Khan is the only leader among the four who were banned from campaigning on Monday (including Maneka Gandhi, Yogi Adityanath and Mayawati), who did not receive a notice before being banned. This, his son and family have held, is grounds for alleging that the bias against a Muslim candidate was at play.

BJP leader Mukul Roy, who was once Mamata Banerjee’s man friday, led the charge against Trinamool Congress after it engaged Bangladeshi actor Ferdous to campaign for its Lok Sabha candidate Kanaia Lal Agarwal from Raiganj in North Dinajpur district. The saffron party has complained to the EC in this regard, reports said.

Senior Principal Secretary in the EC KF Wilfred told News18 that there is “no such specific rule, but we need to look in to his (Ferdous’) purpose of visit when he applied for visa.”

Hitting out once again at the Naveen Patnaik government, PM Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that the Naveen Patnaik government at Odisha had pocketed 85 percent of the money that the Centre had sent to the state. “You tell me, how will development happen then,” he asked, pointing out that most of Odisha’s people were wracked by poverty years after Independence because “Congress and BJD have been in power in the state.”

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, speaking at a mega show in Kerala’s Kollam, circled back to the Rafale scam, notwithstanding the backlash to his harnessing of the case. In Lucknow, meanwhile, Rajnath Singh’s roadshow has taken off. The Home Minister will file his nomination papers from the Collectorate soon.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, after summoning the Election Commission on Monday, appreciated the poll watchdog for taking action on political leaders spewing hate speech. It also asked Mayawati, who was contesting her campaign ban, to come back another day with a separate plea.

The poll watchdog has barred Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath from campaigning for 72 hours and Union minister Maneka Gandhi and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati for 48 hours. This was after the Supreme Court had criticised the Election Commission for not taking concrete action against disrespectful or communally-coloured speeches being political leaders and had called it a”toothless body”.

While Tuesday is yet another crucial campaign day for Lok Sabha hopefuls of parties big and small, it is doubly important for the Election Commission of India, which will be heard by the Supreme Court on the matter of hate speeches being made by politicians on the campaign trail.

The Election Commission has also hogged the limelight over a confusion regarding whether it has set the wheels in motion to cancel the Vellore Lok Sabha constituency election, scheduled for Phase 2 on Thursday. While it said it has not issue an “order” in the matter, several media reports say that the poll body has recommended to President Ram Nath Kovind that the election to the seat be cancelled after cash amounting to Rs 11.50 crore was found in a warehouse linked to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham party’s candidate Kadhir Anand.

The Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party’s rallies, meanwhile, will continue unabated on Tuesday, the last day for campaigning before Phase 2 of the Lok Sabha election on Thursday, 18 April.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to campaign in Kerala, which will vote in the phases beginning on 23 April, on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday will see a packed programme for Rahul. He is expected to hold public meetings at the grounds of St Stephens Higher Secondary School at Pathanapuram in Kollam district’s Pathanamthitta — near the Sabarimala temple — and also at stadiums in Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram districts. He will also visit the house of recently deceased Congress leader KM Mani in Kottayam district.

The Congress chief’s BJP counterpart too will be in Kerala. Amit Shah will address two rallies at Thrissur and Ernakulam, and two others at Karnataka’s Tumakuru and Davanagere.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address rallies criss-crossing Odisha and Chhattisgarh, at Sambalpur, Korba, Bhatapara and Bhubaneswar.

Significantly for the BJP, Home Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to file his nomination from Lucknow in the company of several leaders. He is likely to hold a road show from the party office to the collectorate.

The spectre of the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party’s alliance in Delhi included considerable bickering between the party chiefs on Monday, as Rahul accused AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal of making a U-turn and the latter refuted his claim— all on Twitter.


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Lok Sabha Election 2019 updates: Vellore polls cancelled; MHA cancels Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed’s visa over TMC campaign row – Firstpost

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