New Delhi: Acrimonious campaigning for the first phase of Lok Sabha polls to elect 124 Member of Parliaments (MPs) from 17 states and Union Territories ended on Tuesday.
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Canvassing of votes for the 16 April election was marked by bitterness in the camps of the two leading parties Congress and the BJP, with bitter exchanges seen in other quarters as well.
RJD’s Lalu Prasad, BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi, TRS’ K Chandrasekhar Rao, Congress’ Renuka Chowdhury, actress Vijasanthi, NTR’s daughter D Purandeswari and former union minister B Dattatreya are among those seeking election to the lower house of Parliament.
Modi ‘replies’ to PM’s attack, accuses him of kowtowing
Balasinor: A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unleashed his sharpest attack against L K Advani, BJP leader Narendra Modi hit back on Tuesday, accusing him of “kneeling down” and the Congress of displaying “helplessness” on security issues whenever in power.
“What was Congress doing during the Indo-China war of 1962. I want to ask the Prime Minister who is saying that Advani was wringing his hands, what was the Congress doing with their hands then. Today also thousands of thousands of acres of Indian land is with China,” Modi said addressing a public rally in Balasinor town of Kheada district here.
“Even today half of Kashmir is occupied by Pakistan, what kind of strength does it show. I want to ask if the Prime Minister is kneeling down due to helplessness of Congress or is it part of your habit?” Modi asked.
The PM on Monday had attacked Advani for his “melting” before terrorists during the Kandahar hijack episode, of “wringing his hands” during the 2002 Gujarat riots and “weeping in a corner” when the Babri Mosque was demolished.
Modi also raised the issues of Charar-e-Sharif seige, the Rubaiyat kidnapping episode and the 26/11 attacks.
“Instead of attacking Pakistan what they did was made a CD of TV footage of Mumbai attack, made a file of newspaper cutting, put them in a box and the home minister took it to the US. There they cried that our neighbour has beaten us please help us,” Modi said, adding, “this is perfect example of helplessness of the government.”
Cong-led UPA has fulfilled its promises, says Rahul
Jammu: Describing the rural job guarantee scheme as the hallmark of UPA’s pro-poor programmes, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said his party has delivered what it promised to the masses.
“During the five years of the UPA government, major promises have been fulfilled and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (Nrega) is the biggest success,” Gandhi said at an election meeting here.
Describing the Nrega as the biggest employment scheme in the world, he said the programme had been given legal backing to ensure its success.
Gandhi said that during the UPA rule, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi fought for the poor and backward sections of the society.
The Congress leader said that his party was committed to the cause of the deprived sections and farmers and pointed out that the UPA government has launched a loan waiver scheme to the tune of Rs70,000 crore to bail out the agricultural workers.
While listing out the number of schemes initiated by the UPA government for the welfare of the masses, Gandhi attacked the previous NDA government by accusing it of not taking care of the poor and downtrodden.
Tuesday was the last day of campaigning for the Jammu-Poonch constituency, which goes to polls on 16 April in the first phase.
Priyanka asks people to vote for development
Karahiya: Campaigning for her brother Rahul in his constituency, Congress star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi on Tuesday said people should exercise their votes for development.
“When you go for vote on 23 April, you should realise that it is not only your right but also your power. You should think about the candidate who can develop the area,” she said.
Priyanka said during election time, many political parties and candidates come to ask for votes, some in the name of caste and some in the name of religion, for their own interests. “You should also see your interests and vote for the candidate who can develop the area,” she said.
Recalling the role of her family in the area, she said, “you know my family for a long time. Rajivji was my father and Amethi was known in the country for fast paced development.”
She also recalled the work of her mother Sonia Gandhi, who was an MP from Amethi.
Listing the achievements of Rahul as an MP, she said, he brought roads in several areas, power connection, water supply, mobile vans, schemes for women with self help groups and took steps for education of the children.
“We know that you (voters) have supported us. I can assure you that from our side, the support is there and will always be there,” she said, exhorting the people to vote for Rahul for the continuous development of the area.
BSP to move court for disqualification of MLAs
Jaipur: The BSP on Tuesday said that it would move the court for disqualification of the six MLAs who left it to join the ruling Congress in Rajasthan early this month, terming their move “unconstitutional”.
At a rally here on the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, Uttar Pradesh chief minister and party supremo Mayawati alleged it was a political conspiracy to damage the BSP.
“With a deliberate political conspiracy to cause harm to BSP and its vote bank, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot facilitated the merger of BSP MLAs into the Congress party on 4 April on the eve of Lok Sabha polls, which was most unconstitutional and undemocratic,” she said.
“The party would move the court for disqualification of the six MLAs who joined the Congress party,” Mayawati said and claimed that “under the anti-defection law the national party or its faction has to merge with another political party, then MLAs and their supporters may join.”
With their joining the Congress, the party secured a majority in the 200-member assembly on its own, its tally rising to 102.
Jail that can hold me is yet to be built: Modi
Balasinor: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took a dig at science and technology minister Kapil Sibal for asking him to be prepared to go to jail for speaking “nonsense” about Congress.
“My dear Congress friends, a jail that can hold Modi is yet to be built,” the Gujarat CM told an election gathering here, in response to Sibal’s remarks that Modi should stop speaking nonsense about Congress or else be prepared to go to jail.
“I would like to tell the Congress people that they have dialled a wrong number. Are you trying to threaten me? Keep open the doors of all the jails in India and take me whenever you want, my address is known to all,” Modi said.
The state BJP unit has already launched a complaint with Election Commission (EC) against Sibal’s remarks.
“By making outrageous remarks against Modi, Sibal tried to prove that the Congress party runs the judiciary in the country,” the BJP complaint said.
The EC is yet to take action on the complaint filed two days ago.
BJP sympathetic to demands of people of Darjeeling: Jaswant
Siliguri: BJP would “sympathetically examine the demand of the hill people”, senior party leader Jaswant Singh, who is contesting from Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency, said on Tuesday.
Singh, however, evaded a direct reply when asked on the party’s stand on Gorkhaland issue in the wake of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha saying it will back the saffron party in return for its support on the separate statehood demand.
“BJP has made it clear in its election manifesto that it will sympathetically examine the demand of the hill people,” Singh told PTI.
Asked whether he had promised a separate state of Gorkhaland to the GJM leadership and the hill people during his campaign, Singh said, “I have assured them that the voice of the people must be heard. The citizen of India has the right to be heard by the government.”
On his campaign strategy in the four assembly segments in the plains where majority of the electorate were thought to be against ‘Gorkhaland´, the BJP leader said: “I would not like to differentiate between the hills and the plains.
“I will stick to my point that the people of Darjeeling must be heard. Two different stands will encourage separatism. That I will never do.”
UDF seeks EC intervention for peaceful polling in Kannur
Kannur: Congress-led UDF on Tuesday came down heavily on the CPI-M accusing it of ‘intimidating the poll process´ by unleashing attacks on rival party activists.
CPI-M has started unleashing attacks on Congress and other UDF loyalists by targeting their houses ahead of 16 April polls even as the Election Commission has identified nearly 400 polling booths in the district as sensitive, UDF district Convenor Sunny Joseph told a press conference here.
The recent attack on the car travelled by expelled CPI-M MP A P Abdulla Kutty while campaigning for the UDF nominee K Sudhakaran was a noticeable incident, he said.
He alleged that CPI-M supporters had been engaged in destruction of hoardings and other campaign materials of the UDF nominee besides threatening an Election official with dire consequences.
UDF was seeking assistance of Election Commission officials to hold peaceful polls, he added.