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Rahul, Sonia to attend PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony

Rahul, Sonia to attend PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony

New Delhi,  (PTI) Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will attend the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening at Rashtrapati Bhavan, party sources said.

The two Congress leaders are among those invited by the prime minister to the ceremony.

They have accepted the invite, they said.

Decided not to attend swearing-in ceremony due to false reports of killing of 54 BJP workers: Mamata

Decided not to attend swearing-in ceremony due to false reports of killing of 54 BJP workers: Mamata

Kolkata, (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday decided not to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as prime minister citing ‘untrue” claims by BJP that 54 of the party workers were murdered in political violence in Bengal.

Banerjee had on Tuesday confirmed her presence at the ceremony to be held on May 30.

“Congratulations, new Prime Minister, Narendra Modiji. It was my plan to accept the “constitutional invitation” and attend the oath-taking ceremony. However, in last one year, I am seeing media reports that the BJP is claiming 54 people have been murdered in political violence in Bengal. This is completely untrue. There have been no political murders in Bengal. These deaths may have occurred due to personal enmity, family quarrels, and other disputes, nothing related to politics. There is no such record with us,” Banerjee said in a tweet.

“So I am sorry, Narendra Modi ji, this has compelled me not to attend the ceremony. The ceremony is an august occasion to celebrate democracy, not one that should be devalued by any political party which uses it as an opportunity to score political points. Please excuse me,” she wrote on Twitter.

The just-concluded Lok Sabha polls witnessed a heated verbal duel between Modi and Banerjee who spearheaded the campaigns of their parties in West Bengal.

Besides winning 303 Lok Sabha seats on his own (the NDA tally being 352), the BJP came up with a surprising poll show in West Bengal by bagging 18 of the state’s 42 seats, only four less than the TMC’s 22.

The saffron party leaped from two seats in the state in 2014 to 18, while the TMC slid to 22 from 34.

PM Modi used hatred in elections, we used love: Rahul Gandhi

PM Modi used hatred in elections, we used love: Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, (PTI) Congress president Rahul Gandhi Sunday cast his vote in Lok Sabha polls here and hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he “used hatred” during the elections but the grand old party “used love”.

Asserting that this election saw a “good fight” between the two rival parties, Gandhi said he thought that “love is going to win”.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi used hatred, we (Congress) love. And, I think love is going to win,” he told reporters, soon after exercising his franchise.

Clad in his trademark kurta-pyjama, he was accompanied by party’s New Delhi candidate Ajay Maken on way to the polling booth, a walking distance from his Tughlaq Lane residence.

“There are four issues in this election, these are not our issues but people’s issues. And most important among these is of unemployment. Then, condition of farmers, demonetization, Gabbar Singh Tax (mocking GST), corruption and the Rafale issue,” he said.

Priyanka attacks Modi, says Duryodhana too had such arrogance

Priyanka attacks Modi, says Duryodhana too had such arrogance

Ambala (Har),  In a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Tuesday said the Mahabharata character Duryodhana too had such arrogance.

Addressing a public meeting here, she also criticized Modi for calling her late father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi Bhrashtachari Number 1 (the most corrupt).

She dared Modi to fight the Lok Sabha elections on issues like development rather than divert the people’s attention.

This country has never forgiven ego and arrogance. History is witness to this, the Mahabharata is witness to this, she said at the meeting in support of Kumari Selja, the Congress candidate from Ambala.

Duryodhana also had such arrogance. When Lord Krishna went to make him understand, he tried to take him captive, the Congress general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh said.

She read out by Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, saying wisdom is the first casualty before someone’s downfall: Jab naash manush par chhata hai, pehle vivek mar jata hai…

She said if the prime minister has the courage he should fight the Lok Sabha elections on issues related to development, employment, farmers and women.

He should face the people and tell them what he has done for them over the past five years and what he plans to do in the future, she said.

You are the PM, you are a big leader of the BJP, you should understand this. Otherwise, the people will teach you a lesson, she said.

This election is about achievements of the BJP-led Central government. But to hide their failures, they try to divert the attention of people of the country, she said.

Priyanka Gandhi said the people of the country are wise.

“You cannot mislead the people. The people of this country make every leader answerable and they will make you answerable as well, she said.

She attacked Modi for recently saying that Rajiv Gandhi’s life ended as ‘Bhrashtachari Number 1’.

When BJP leaders go out to campaign, they do not talk about issues. They do not say why they have not fulfilled the promises they made, she said.

They raise other issues. Sometimes they say the elephant was sleeping for 70 years, sometimes they seek votes in the name of martyrs, and at other times they insult those from my family who sacrificed their lives, she added.

“But they do not talk about your needs, your problems that need to be resolved, she said.

These polls are not about one family, this election is about crores of families whose hopes and aspirations have been completely broken by this government and the prime minister, she said.

Former Union minister Selja is taking on the sitting BJP MP R L Kataria in Ambala.

64 per cent turnout in fourth phase, violence in West Bengal

64 per cent turnout in fourth phase, violence in West Bengal

New Delhi,  (PTI) Incidents of violence in West Bengal and EVM glitches in some areas were reported as 64 percent turnout was recorded on Monday in 72 constituencies across nine states in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections.

In the heartland states, where the BJP had won 30 out of 32 seats in 2014, 62 percent turnout was recorded in Rajasthan (13 seats), 53.12 percent in Uttar Pradesh (13 seats) and 65.86 percent Madhya Pradesh (6 seats).

West Bengal recorded a high turnout at 76.47 in the eight seats though clashes broke out between supporters of rival parties in Nanoor, Rampurhat, Nalhati, and Suri areas of Birbhum seat, leaving several people injured.

In Barabani, BJP candidate from Asansol and Union minister Babul Supriyo’s vehicle was vandalized allegedly by TMC workers outside a polling station while in Dubrajpur area central security forces personnel reportedly opened fire in the air to disperse irate people who attacked them when they were barred from entering the booths with mobile phones.

An FIR was registered against Supriyo for allegedly getting into an argument with polling officials, an election official said. The ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP accused each other of intimidating voters in the state, which has seen violence in all previous three phases despite stepped up central forces deployment.

The stakes are high for the BJP which had won 56 of the 72 constituencies in the 2014 polls. About 12.79 crore people were eligible for voting in the phase, which marked the start of polling in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh while elections came to an end in Maharashtra and Odisha.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Madhya Pradesh V L Kantha Rao said that during a mock-poll, electronic voting machines (EVMs) were replaced at 207 polling booths as some glitches were found. EVMs were also replaced at 106 polling booths after the voting began.

Polling was peaceful in Rajasthan, with tribal dominated seat of Banswara recording the highest voting percentage at 72.34, followed by Barmer which recorded 72.21 percent voting, according to state election officials.

Nearly 52 percent voting was recorded in Maharashtra (17 seats), 64.05 percent Odisha (6 seats), 53.67 percent Bihar (five seats) and 63.42 percent Jharkhand (3 seats), according to data provided by the Election Commission till 6 PM.

In Kulgam district of Anantnag constituency in Jammu and Kashmir, 10.3 percent polling was recorded, amid isolated incidents of stone pelting. This was the second of the three-phased polling in the sensitive seat.

Billionaires and Bollywood star lined up outside polling stations along with the common folks in Mumbai, where polling was held in six constituencies.

Complaints of technical glitches in EVMs and VVPAT machines in some polling booths were addressed in Maharashtra, an election official said.

Bollywood celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan, the Khan troika of Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir, and Deepika Padukone cast their votes in Mumbai. Priyanka Chopra, Rekha, Aamir, and wife Kiran Rao were among the early voters.

In Uttar Pradesh, opposition Samajwadi Party’s alleged that many EVMs malfunctioned and in Kannauj, from where SP chief Akhislesh Yadav’s wife and sitting MP Dimple Yadav is contesting, several party workers were prevented from coming out of their homes to vote.

In Kanpur, BJP workers allegedly tried to barge into a polling booth and clashed with the police. A case has been registered against BJP leader Suresh Awasthi and six others in this connection, Kanpur District Magistrate Vijay Vishwas Pant said.

Shahjahanpur (SC), Kheri, Hardoi (SC), Misrikh (SC), Unnao, Farrukhabad, Etawah (SC), Kannauj, Kanpur, Akbarpur, Jalaun (SC), Jhansi and Hamirpur seats recorded 53.23 percent polling till 5 pm, an electoral officer said.

Reports were received of EVMs developing snag in Bidhauna area under the Kannauj Lok Sabha seat following which polling remained suspended for over an hour.

Complaints of EVM malfunctioning were also reported in Etawah under Auriaya district, with voters claiming they had to wait for hours at polling booths in Tilak Mahavidyalaya, Sahupur, Ajitmal and Dalelnagar to cast their votes.

According to a report from Hardoi, an elderly woman voter complained that the presiding officer at Jamkara booth under Sandila area forcibly pressed the EVM button. The sector magistrate has removed the officer and handed him over to the police who is investigating the matter.

Besides Dimple Yadav, prominent candidates whose electoral fate will be decided in this phase are Dimple Yadav, former Union ministers Salman Khurshid (Farrukhabd) and Sriprakash Jaiswal (Kanpur) of Congress, UP Cabinet minister Satyadev Pachauri (Kanpur) and Sakshi Maharaj of BJP (Unnao)

In Bihar, voting was delayed due to EVM malfunctioning at three polling stations in Munger, two polling stations in Darbhanga and three polling stations in Begusarai, from where CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar and Union Minister Giriraj Singh (BJP) are contesting, due to technical glitches, official sources said.

In Odisha, technical glitches in EVMs delayed polling in 60 booths, but it resumed after the snags were rectified, the official said.

Election to 542 Lok Sabha seats is being conducted in seven phases between April 11 and May 19. The election in Vellore constituency in Tamil Nadu has been canceled following excess use of money power. Results will be declared on May 23.

Modi govt set to return to power: Suresh Prabhu

Modi govt set to return to power: Suresh Prabhu

Mangaluru, (PTI) Union Minister Suresh Prabhu Monday claimed the NDA government is set to return to power after the Lok Sabha polls as the people have faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modis development schemes in all sectors.

The Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Commerce and Industry, who is here to campaign for BJP candidate Nalin Kumar Kateel, said the Modi government had implemented several schemes in social and health sectors and for the welfare of women and youth in the last five years.

The Centre had released Rs 8,54,000 crore for the development of Railways in the first year of its rule, Prabhu, who had held the Railways portfolio, said, adding Karnataka was one of the states mostly benefited by railway projects.

In the aviation sector, the government is upgrading existing airports and planning to construct 25 to 30 more airports in the country.

Major works had been done across the country to improve road connectivity, he said.

Dismissing charges by the Congress on the “non-performance” of sitting MP Kateel, he said the latter had brought a lot of development work to the constituency.