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Election dates announced: Congress accuses BJP of ‘wasting' mandate, Modi seeks people's 'blessings'

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New Delhi, Mar 10: As the Election Commission declared a seven-phase Lok Sabha election starting April 11, the Congress accused the BJP-led government of "wasting" its historic mandate, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought people's "blessings" for the NDA.

The Lok Sabha elections 2019 would be held in seven phases between April 11, 2019, and May 19, 2019, the Election Commission announced on Sunday, adding that the counting of votes would be held on May 23, 2019. The term of the current Lok Sabha ends on June 3, 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Political parties welcomed the much-awaited announcement with the ruling BJP-led alliance making a pitch for its re-election while its rival expressing confidence of unseating it.

BJP president Amit Shah urged people to "bless" his party in the Lok Sabha election, saying the Modi government has taken bold decisions for their welfare in its first term and will ensure India's giant leap to make everyone "happy and prosperous" in its second. Welcoming the poll announcement, Shah made a strong pitch for the re-election of the BJP-led dispensation at the Centre, saying it has achieved "phenomenal results" in various spheres of governance during this term.

[Lok Sabha elections 2019 dates: 7-phase polling to be held from Apr-11 to May 19, counting on May 23]

PM Modi said his government has made possible what was earlier deemed impossible, but opposition parties said voters will throw it out of power for "wasting" its historic mandate and practising "all talk no work".

Modi also praised the Election Commission for organising elections in a well planned manner year-after-year.

"Best wishes to the Election Commission, all those officials and security personnel who will be on the field, across the length and breadth of India assuring smooth elections. India is very proud of the EC for assiduously organising elections for several years," PM Modi tweeted today after EC announced poll schedule.

At a press conference after the announcement of the poll schedule, Congress leader K C Venugopal said people will change the Modi government that believes in all talk and no work. All its promises have remained unfulfilled, he said asserting that it will be defeated when votes are counted on May 23. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel claimed the upcoming elections will herald a new era ending five years of "chaotic, despotic and destructive" dispensation and the country will return to the path of "sobriety, integrity and inclusivity".

[KC Venugopal not to contest Lok Sabha elections 2019, will focus on party work]

Meanwhile, Amit Shah said India has emerged as the fastest-growing economy in the world with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government undertaking "unprecedented reforms", which made doing business in the country easier than ever before. Initiatives such as Jan Dhan, Ujjwala, Mudra Yojana, Ayushman Bharat, PM Awaas Yojana and more have ensured a life of dignity to millions of Indians, he said and asserted the Modi government's efforts to eliminate poverty has shown transformational results.

The election will pit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance against several opposition parties, including the Congress, the Left and regional forces who are continuing to work out a grand alliance to minimise a division of votes against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led ruling combine. The BJP has succeeded in working out seat-sharing formula with some new allies and several old partners, by even making concessions to them in states like Bihar.

[India TV-CNX opinion poll predicts 238 seats for BJP; Congress tally may increase to 82]

However, opposition parties are yet to arrive at a deal in several states. While the NDA hopes to make history by coming back to power for a second full term, the Opposition wants to unseat the Modi government by raising questions on its performance on a host of issues, including economic growth, employment, corruption and social harmony.

OneIndia News with PTI inputs

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