With the general elections (and Assembly elections in some states) closing in, here are the latest updates from various states across the country:
DMK chief M K Stalin on April 4 said the first thing his party would do if voted to power in the Assembly elections would be to probe the mystery surrounding the death of late chief minister Jayalalithaa and send those involved behind bars. Only a thorough probe into the entire incident would be able to bring out the truth, Stalin said. Earlier, in his address at Thondamuthu and Kuniyamuthur in the city, Stalin said the AIADMK government was afraid to conduct local body elections, fearing complete sweep by the DMK.
MDMK general secretary Vaiko launched a blistering attack on the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre and the ruling AIADMK in the state, alleging they were destroying the agriculture sector in delta districts. He alleged that instead of declaring the delta districts as protected agricultural zone, the state government was seizing 57,500 acres in Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts to carry out harmful petrochemical activities at the behest of the BJP government at the centre.
BJP president Amit Shah on April 5 said the Narendra Modi-led government has ensured peace and development in the Northeast, which was roiled by militant activities even five years ago. The BJP is committed to take action against cross-border terrorism and to root out insurgency in the Northeast, he said, insisting that political stability returned to Arunachal after the saffron party came to power. Modi had instructed his ministers to visit the Northeast states every fortnight and resolve the problems of the people in the region, Shah said.
The National People’s Party (NPP), which is contesting elections in Arunachal Pradesh for the first time, has decided to back the BJP in one of two parliamentary constituencies in the state and the assembly seats that come under it. The NPP has fielded 30 nominees for the state polls and one candidate from the Arunachal West parliamentary seat. Gicho Kabak, the state unit president of the NPP, said the party has decided to support BJP candidate Tapir Gao from Arunachal East parliamentary constituency
CM N Chandrababu Naidu said, “Raids are being conducted on Telugu Desam Party leaders on instructions of the Prime Minister. Once elections are announced, everything has to be conducted under ECI guidance.”
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she doesn’t want to contest the 2019 elections, and appealed to the BJP to name a candidate from Indore.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati accused the BJP-led central government on April 4 of failing on all fronts and claimed that people from all sections, including the poor and traders, were unhappy with its governance in the past five years. Addressing a rally in support of the Jana Sena Party (JSP) and BSP candidates in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in Telangana, she said the ruling BJP had not fulfilled its promises made ahead of the last general election and was again coming out with new assurances.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address election meetings in Kerala on April 12, BJP State chief PS Sreedharan Pillai said on April 4. “The Prime Minister will reach Kerala on April 12. He will attend two programmes, one at Kozhikode and another at Thiruvananthapuram,” Pillai said. This is Modi’s first visit to Kerala after the Election Commission (EC) issued a notification on March 19 kick starting the poll process in 97 seats spread across 13 states where phase two of the Lok Sabha polls will be held on April 18.
The Congress on April 4 demanded that Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh be sacked after the Election Commission wrote to the President pointing to poll code violation by him. The poll panel had concluded that Singh’s remarks supporting the return of Narendra Modi as prime minister were violative of the model code. President Ram Nath Kovind is understood to have forwarded to the Home Ministry an Election Commission letter stating that Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh has violated the model code of conduct by making political comments.
BJP president Amit Shah has said that it was his party’s decision not to give Lok Sabha poll tickets to those above 75 years of age, leading to veteran leaders like LK Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi missing out. Shah said he wanted “direct mandate” from people to come to Parliament and that is why he decided to contest the general election.
Voters and artisans of Saharanpur in UP say that demonetisation and the GST will impact their choice of vote in 2019 elections. The unorganised sector of Saharanpur is still struggling to recover from the aftershocks of demonetisation. It will clearly reflect when the election results are announced, a trader said. The 1.5 lakh artisans in Saharanpur, which votes in the first phase on April 11, form around 8% of the city’s voting population. Though the impact of demonetisation and GST might not be the only deciding factor in a state politicised on caste lines, traders and artisans say it is a major issue and will influence their vote.