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Lok Sabha Elections 2019 updates: Anti-BJP front gains momentum, Naidu meets Sonia Gandhi

By Anuj Cariappa
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New Delhi, May 19: Andhra Pradesh Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday met BSP chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow, continuing his efforts to put together a coalition to form the next government at the Centre. He reached Lucknow after meetings in New Delhi with Congress president Rahul Gandhi, CPI leaders G Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and LJD leader Sharad Yadav. The Telugu Desam Party chief has already held several rounds of discussions with various opposition leaders, including TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal and CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Andhra Pradesh Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his two-day visit to Uttarakhand today with a visit to Kedarnath shrine. The prime minister is also expected to offer prayers at Badrinath tomorrow before returning to Delhi in the afternoon. The prime minister's visit to the holy shrine came a day before the last phase of the marathon Lok Sabha elections.

Fifty nine parliamentary constituencies, including Varanasi, will go to polls in the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections and the results will be announced four days later, on May 23.

Stay tuned for the Lok Sabha elections 2019 UPDATES:

Newest First Oldest First
5:23 PM, 19 May
Naidu meets Sonia:
5:22 PM, 19 May
Opposition leader and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu Sunday wrote to the Election Commission, claiming that "continuous" telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "private activities" at Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines is violation of the poll code and should be stopped. Naidu is in the national capital trying to bring Opposition parties together to keep the BJP out of power after Lok Sabha election results are declared on May 23. Modi, who has expressed scientific knowledge guiding the scientists and defense experts to go ahead with air strikes on a cloudy day to escape from being caught by radars, is now trying to project a "megalomaniac" image of himself through various "dubious" activities, Naidu said. "If continuous telecast of these activities of Prime Minister is not stopped, it could affect the level playing field envisaged by the model code of conduct, which the ECI is duty bound to implement," he said in a letter written to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora.
5:22 PM, 19 May
Private security guards of RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav on Sunday beat up a couple of photo journalists in the city after one of them allegedly smashed the windscreen of the former Bihar minister's vehicle, enraged over the car crushing the toes of a fellow lensman. The incident took place at the Veterinary College here, where a polling station has been set up and the maverick leader had arrived to cast his vote for the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency. After casting his vote, a fuming Yadav told reporters, "Am I not supposed to exercise my constitutional right? People had surrounded the vehicle in a way that it was getting difficult to move. And as soon as we realised somebody has been hurt, the car stopped." "Still, some of you journalists clambered on the bonnet and started banging on the windscreen, leaving it damaged badly. In such a situation, what choice do security personnel have except to intervene," he said.
5:20 PM, 19 May
Two centres have been set up here for counting of votes in the Jammu Lok Sabha seat on May 23, a senior official said on Sunday, asserting that all necessary arrangements have been put in place to ensure smooth and peaceful exercise. The constituency, spread over four districts and covering a total of 20 assembly segments with over 20 lakh electorate, recorded 72.16 per cent polling in this general election, sealing the fate of 24 candidates. Returning officer Ramesh Kumar, along with senior police and civil officers, visited the counting centres set up at Government Polytechnic and MAM College on Saturday and reviewed the arrangements. The counting centre established at the Government Polytechnic College would cover 11 assembly segments -- Samba, Vijaypur, Nagrota, Jammu East, R S Pura, Suchetgarh, Marh, Raipur Domana, Surankote, Mendhar and Poonch Haveli. The counting centres of MAM college Jammu would cover nine assembly constituencies -- Gandhinagar, Jammu West, Bishnah, Akhnoor, Chhamb, Nowshera, Darhal, Rajouri and Kalakote, an official spokesman said.
1:57 PM, 19 May
"Work is being carried out in Varanasi on a temporary basis, nothing is permanent," says Congress candidate from Varanasi Ajay Rai who is taking on PM Modi.
1:55 PM, 19 May
Chandrababu Naidu meets Sitaram Yechury:
11:59 AM, 19 May
Rabri Devi:
10:21 AM, 19 May
Trinamool Congress writes to the Election Commission. The letter states, 'Election campaign for last phase of polling for Lok Sabha polls is over, surprisingly Narendra Modi's Kedarnath Yatra is being widely covered by the media for the last 2 days. This is a gross violation of model code of conduct.', reported ANI.
9:46 AM, 19 May
"It is condemnable. What action the party takes is their internal matter. We should not tolerate such a statement."says Nitish Kumar on Pragya Thakur's remark in which she called Nathuram Godse a patriot.
8:46 AM, 19 May
I have a dedicated team for this place. I also monitor this place via video conferencing, says PM.
8:46 AM, 19 May
It’s a privilege to spend the night here. I’m blessed to visit the holy shrine, says PM.
8:46 AM, 19 May
Prime Minister Narendra Modi briefs media after prayers at Kedarnath. Modi spent a night in a cave meditating.
11:06 PM, 18 May
Five MLAs, including a state minister, are among the 45 candidates trying to make it to Parliament from Himachal Pradesh where polling will be held Sunday, the last phase of voting in the 2019 elections. Among the 45 candidates is Congress nominee from Mandi, Aashray Sharma, whose father had to sacrifice his berth in the state's BJP government. There are 53,30,154 registered voters for the four constituencies -- Shimla (SC), Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra -- in the state. A direct contest is expected between the Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which had won all four seats in 2014. The BJP has fielded the state's Food and Civil Supplies Minister Kishan Kapoor in Kangra after dropping sitting MP Shanta Kumar. Kangra's Congress MLA Pawan Kajal is contesting against him. In Hamirpur, three-time MP and former BCCI president Anurag Thakur is in the fray on a BJP ticket. He faces Sri Naina Devi's Congress MLA Ram Lal Thakur. BJP's Pachhad MLA Suresh Kashyap is contesting against Solan Congress MLA Dhani Ram Shandil for the Shimla (SC) parliamentary seat. Aashray Sharma, who is the grandson of former Union Telecom minister Sukh Ram, is contesting against BJP MP Ram Swaroop Sharma in Mandi. His father Anil Sharma had to resign from the state cabinet after he decided to contest on the Congress ticket. Anil Sharma's resignation followed an awkward phase during which the minister refused to campaign for his own party's candidate in Mandi, insisting that he would not takes sides.
11:05 PM, 18 May
The Congress Saturday asked the EC not to grant Prime Minister Narendra Modi permission to travel with his motorcade here on polling day as this would amount to a roadshow, a "violation" of the poll code. In a letter to the Election Commission and the local poll authority, the party's district unit said in such a situation its own candidate would also be forced to move about in a cavalcade which could lead to "unnecessary confrontation". Modi, who is seeking reelection from Varanasi constituency, is expected to spend at least a part of the day in Badrinath. The Congress said it had learnt that the prime minister would stay in Varanasi on Sunday and his movement might even affect traffic, which would cause hindrance to voters trying to reach polling booths. It said that even if his cavalcade moved without affecting or halting traffic, it would still seem like he was holding a roadshow and asked the poll body not to grant him permission for it.
10:59 PM, 18 May
"This decision at this juncture is necessitated due to the indifferent attitude of the BJP towards us, its coalition partner in Manipur and also in the State of Nagaland. Further implementation of this decision will be finalised after the Election process," tweets former Manipur CM TR Zeliang.
9:13 PM, 18 May
Achumbemo Kikon, Naga People's Front (NPF) Spokesperson tells ANI,"We had a long meeting at NPF central office in Kohima and decided to withdraw support in principle from the BJP led Manipur government."
7:58 PM, 18 May
Uttarakhand Congress has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against PM Modi's tour to Kedarnath and Badrinath.
7:46 PM, 18 May
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has written to CEC Sunil Arora saying that the violence during Amit Shah's Kolkata roadshow was deliberate as Section 144 had been withdrawn. "The roadshow was itself a deliberate, intentional and a criminal conspiracy to vandalize the culture and heritage of Kolkata and West Bengal and also to defame the West Bengal Government and its people," the letter reads. She has also urged the EC to complete the elections without "government interference".
7:23 PM, 18 May
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) writes to CEO Lucknow against BSP chief Mayawati for allegedly violating Model Code of Conduct. The BJP alleges that Mayawati posted tweets to influence voters after campaigning hours ended for the 7th phase of general elections, say reports.
7:03 PM, 18 May
Mamata Banerjee writes to CEC Sunil Arora:
6:29 PM, 18 May
Chandrababu Naidu meets BSP Chief Mayawati:
6:17 PM, 18 May
Opposition leaders on Saturday took swipes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not taking any questions at a press conference on Friday and diverting them to BJP chief Amit Shah. Former UP Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a picture of three wise monkeys covering their eyes, ears and mouth with their hands. “Development is asking: Did you see the Prime Minister's first press conference. It looks like the last episode of 'Mann ki Baat' has been telecast on Television instead of the Radio. “Poor mediapersons kept sitting with their questions as the 'disciplined soldier' maintained silence,” he said on Twitter. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah also took to Twitter to say, “Amit Shah doesn't forget to thank the embedded BJP workers disguised as journalists.” He tagged along a news report quoting Amit Shah as saying that “even journalists joined the 'Main Bhi Chowkidaar' campaign”. Questioning the Prime Minister for his "silence" at the press conference, CPI leader D Raja said, “What was in the press conference? The Prime Minister should have answered the pointed question posed to him on the Rafale issue.” “The allegations were squarely on the Prime Minister and he should have responded to the question. It seems they are hiding something,” he said.
5:07 PM, 18 May
TMC moves EC against Mukul Roy accusing him of being a "non-voter from West Bengal". The party has asked the poll panel to restrict Roy's movement in the nine constituencies voting tomorrow on grounds that his staying back in the state itself in is a violation of the poll code, say reports.
5:06 PM, 18 May
Oldest voter:
4:48 PM, 18 May
PM Modi meditating near Kedarnath shrine:
4:39 PM, 18 May
Prime Minister Narendra Modi trekked around 2 Kms to reach the cave, where he will meditate. On request of media, he allowed cameras to get initial visuals. The PM will begin his meditation in a few hours, which will last till tomorrow morning. No media or personnel will be allowed in the vicinity of the cave, said reports while quoting sources.
4:08 PM, 18 May
A day before the last phase of polling, leaders of opposition parties have stepped up efforts to cobble up a coalition for the formation of the next government, with TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu meeting Congress and CPI leaders in Delhi.
3:57 PM, 18 May
YSR Congress has written to the Election Commission of India to deploy additional central forces on May 23 in Andhra Pradesh during counting of votes and action against Chittoor district Collector and Rapthadu Returning Officer for allegedly supporting TDP during the poll process.
3:23 PM, 18 May
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meditates at a holy cave near Kedarnath Shrine in Uttarakhand.
2:35 PM, 18 May
The prestigious Jadavpur parliamentary constituency in West Bengal has never blessed a political party for a third consecutive term. Can the Trinamool Congress buck the trend? As this question was posed to an elderly TMC worker, his mind flashed back to 1984 - when a young woman leader defeated an erudite lawyer and Communist leader.
READ MORE

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