Lok Sabha Election 2024 LIVE Updates: PM Modi To Kickstart UP Poll Campaign With Mega Rally in Meerut Today – News18

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Last Updated: March 31, 2024, 13:04 IST
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Lok Sabha Election 2024 LIVE Updates: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to launch the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll campaign for Lok Sabha Election 2024 in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut today (March 31). Prime Minister Modi will address a rally along with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) Chief Jayant Chaudhary. This will be the first occasion when PM Modi and Chaudhary will share the stage, a decade after BJP decimated RLD in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. RLD joined the BJP-led NDA in February after the PM announced the Bharat Ratna for former Prime Minister and Jayant’s grandfather Chaudhary Charan Singh.
Meanwhile, the convoy of Union Minister and BJP candidate from Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha constituency, Sanjeev Balyan was attacked during his election campaign on Saturday night. According to reports, a group of miscreants pelted stones at the convoy. The BJP leader, however, was safe. According to Muzaffarnagar Superintendent of Police, Satyanarayan Prajapati, around 8:30 p.m. they received information about stone pelting from Madkarimpur village under Khatauli police circle. “After reaching the village, it came to light that a public meeting was being held in the village by the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate. During this public meeting, slogans were first raised by some anti-social elements and then stones were pelted at the convoy of vehicles parked outside,” the SP said. Further investigation is underway and then a case will be registered soon.
Former Uttar Pradesh minister Swami Prasad Maurya, who recently parted ways with the Samajwadi Party, on Sunday said he will contest the Lok Sabha elections from Kushinagar as a candidate of his Rashtriya Shoshit Samaaj Party. Claiming that he held talks with the INDIA bloc constituents from Uttar Pradesh over seat sharing but got no response, Maurya also announced that S N Chauhan will be his party’s candidate from the Deoria Lok Sabha seat.
The names of other candidates of the party would be announced soon, he added. Kushinagar and Deoria Lok Sabha seats will vote in the seventh and final phase of the general elections on June 1.
In a post on X in Hindi, Maurya said that since the formation of the Rashtriya Shoshit Samaj Party, he has been trying to strengthen the INDIA bloc and make it win. “We also appealed to the people of the country to save the Constitution, democracy and get rid of the BJP,” he said.
Avowing abiding confidence in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of 370 seats, BJP leader Nitin Gadkari says the additional seats to its current strength of 288 will come from gains in southern India in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
In a wide ranging interview with PTI at his residence in Nagpur, Gadkari said there is “no doubt” in his mind that the BJP-led NDA alliance will cross 400 seats and that Modi will take over as prime minister for a third term because of the solid work done by the government in the last 10 years.
He dismissed allegations that the Modi government is “weaponising” central probe agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate and CBI to weaken the opposition, saying BJP’s rivals should make efforts to overcome adversity by winning the confidence of the people.
In a show of opposition unity ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, INDIA bloc leaders came together at a ‘Loktantra Bachao’ rally at the Ramlila ground here on Sunday in the backdrop of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest. NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) leader Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and Jharkhand Chief Minister Champai Soren were among the first to reach the Ramlila Maidan.
Kejriwal’s wife Sunita also joined the INDIA bloc leaders on stage. She will be reading out a message from her husband, who has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case linked to the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy. Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, AAP leader and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav are also expected to join.
In mounting trouble for the Congress, sources in the party said it has received fresh notices from the Income Tax department, raising a tax demand of Rs 1,745 crore for the assessment years 2014-15 to 2016-17. With this latest notice, the Income Tax department has raised a total demand of Rs 3,567 crore from the Congress.
According to sources, the fresh tax notices relate to 2014-15 (Rs 663 crore), 2015-16 (around Rs 664 crore) and 2016-17 (around Rs 417 crore). The authorities have ended the tax exemption available to political parties and have taxed the party for the entire collections, they added. The Congress has also been taxed for “third-party entries” made in diaries seized from some of its leaders by probe agencies during raids, the sources said.
The main opposition party on Friday said that it has received notices from the I-T department, asking it to pay around Rs 1,823 crore. The tax authorities have already withdrawn Rs 135 crore from the party’s accounts for a tax demand relating to previous years. The Congress has moved the court against the Rs 135-crore tax demand and the case is likely to come up before the Supreme Court on Monday. The party has failed to get any relief from the High Court of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in this regard.
: AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami’s soft approach towards the BJP seems to have given the edge to DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin in making it a poll issue. Stalin’s double barreled gun aims shots at both the AIADMK and the BJP, often provoking Palaniswami to become a vocal critic of the BJP.
The narratives set by these two parties have narrowed down the poll battle between them and almost eclipsed the election campaign of other players such as the Congress, the left parties, Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi, though BJP state chief K Annamalai fires sharp barbs at the DMK.
Palaniswami’s argument that the need to criticise the BJP doesn’t arise as the AIADMK parted ways with the saffron party does not hold water with the ruling dispensation. Faced by constant criticism, Palaniswami, who in the past has not been harsh in criticising his erstwhile colleague and former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, is forced to respond. Nor has he been critical of V K Sasikala, who was expelled from the AIADMK.
After Congress candidate Sudarshan Rawat withdrew from contesting in Sabha elections from Rajasthan’s Rajsamand citing personal reasons, another Congress candidate from Jhunjhunu seat, Brijendra Ola, said that he is not interested in contesting polls.
Ola said: “I do not want to contest the elections. I have told the same to former CM Ashok Gehlot and former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot.” Ola said that he told the duo: “Make anyone contest elections, I will provide full help.”
On Friday, Ola was speaking at the launch of a public relations campaign in Tatija, Khetri.
The Congress party has weakened India’s unity, integrity and interests, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday, reacting to a media report that detailed what transpired in New Delhi’s power corridors in the build-up to the controversial handing over of the disputed Katchatheevu island by Indira Gandhi’s government to present-day Sri Lanka in 1974.
PM Modi was joined by a bevy of leaders of the Centre’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who shared the link to the Times of India article on X (previously Twitter) and admonished the Congress for losing control over the island in Palk Strait. Some of them highlighted views by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was quoted in the article as saying he did not give much importance to the island and “would have no hesitation” giving up claims over it.
“Eye opening and startling! New facts reveal how Congress callously gave away #Katchatheevu,” PM Modi said. READ MORE
The Congress has announced that it will release its manifesto on April 5 and took a swipe at the BJP over it setting up a manifesto committee at the “last moment”. The BJP on Saturday announced a 27-member committee, which included several Union ministers and chief ministers, headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to prepare its manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said that the Congress released its ‘Paanch Nyay’, ‘Pachees Guarantees’ on March 16 and its ‘Ghar Ghar Guarantee’ campaign to distribute eight crore guarantee cards across the country will begin on April 3.
The manifesto will be released on April 5, he said on Saturday.
The Congress on Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of maintaining a “studious silence” on key issues affecting the people of Uttar Pradesh, as it alleged that he has “failed” women, farmers and youth. Ahead of the prime minister’s rally in Meerut, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh posed questions for him on behalf of the people of Uttar Pradesh.
To avoid having to come clean on his real intentions, he has maintained a “studious silence” on these key issues so far, Ramesh said and went on to list the issues which he claimed the people of Uttar Pradesh are hoping to hear from the PM on.
“Publicly, PM Modi loves talking about women’s empowerment and ‘Nari Shakti’ but he has repeatedly failed Indian women, even within his own party. Just two weeks ago, the BJP Mahila Morcha’s National Vice President quit the party, citing that female party workers were being ‘insulted’ and ‘treated harshly’,” Ramesh said.
The Congress would come down to a single-digit tally in this Lok Sabha elections as it stands “exposed” before the people by the way it is trying to “mislead” them on the issue of Income Tax notice after indulging in “tax fraud”, the BJP said on Saturday.
Addressing a press conference here at the BJP headquarters, party national spokesperson Syed Zafar Islam alleged that Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and other leaders of the party are trying to “threaten” the Income Tax Department with their remarks.
But, this is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “era” in which everyone is equal before the law, he said.
Taking a dig at All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief Badruddin Ajmal, Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said if the Dhubri MP wants to marry again, he should do so before the Lok Sabha elections, or he would face arrest later as the Assam government will bring the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) bt then.
The retort came days after Ajmal recently said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying to provoke the Muslims and if he wanted to marry again nobody could stop him as his religion allowed him to do so.
“After the elections, the UCC will come into force and he will be jailed if he marries again as multiple marriages for all will be declared illegal,” the Assam Chief Minister said on the sidelines of an election meeting in Udalguri. READ MORE
“In the last 10 years, our government, through its work, has given a new lease of life to the aspirations of my family members across the country. To give further impetus to this, the countrymen have once again decided to go with BJP-NDA in the Lok Sabha elections. We will be privileged to receive blessings from the public at around 3.30 pm today in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh,” PM Modi said in a post on X in Hindi.
बीते 10 वर्षों में हमारी सरकार ने अपने कामकाज से देशभर के मेरे परिवारजनों की आकांक्षाओं को नई उड़ान दी है। इसे और गति प्रदान करने के लिए देशवासियों ने लोकसभा चुनाव में एक बार फिर से भाजपा-एनडीए के साथ जाने का मन बना लिया है। उत्तर प्रदेश के मेरठ में आज दोपहर बाद करीब 3.30 बजे…
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 31, 2024

A pro-Trinamool Congress forum of intellectuals launched a two-week long campaign from Saturday to canvass support for party candidates ahead of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections beginning from April 19. The ‘Desh Bachao Gana Manch’ (Save Country People’s Platform) consists of singers Pratul Mukhopadhyay, Nachiketa Chakraborty, Sobhan Sundar Basu and others.
“We want the defeat of undemocratic, authoritarian, communal forces in the coming Lok Sabha polls and want to tell people there is no alternative to TMC,” one of the forum members said. Their campaign on Saturday covered areas like Kolkata airport, Haroa and Baruipur.
In the coming days, they will travel to places such as Canning, Kalyani, Krishnanagar, Jangipur, Malda, Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Suri, Bolpur, Asansol, Durgapur and Hooghly crisscrossing northern and southern parts of the state. The campaign by the intellectuals will continue till April 13.
The Election Commission has issued an order barring the Andhra Pradesh government’s ward and village volunteers from carrying out their activities such as disbursing welfare benefits, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mukesh Kumar Meena said on Saturday.
The Commission has also asked the state government to refrain from releasing the results of Andhra Pradesh Teacher Eligibility Test (APTET) and conducting the Andhra Pradesh Teacher Recruitment Test (APTRT) while the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in force.
On the Election Commission’s order on ward and village volunteers, Meena said they should not be engaged for extending government schemes and welfare benefits, disbursing pensions and other related activities during the elections.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “strangling” democracy and said it seems the country is being run not by a government but by a “criminal gang”. Gandhi’s attack on the government came a day before the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance’s (INDIA) public meeting at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan which the Congress has termed ‘Loktantra Bachao Rally’. In a post in Hindi on X, Gandhi said, “Narendra Modi wants to strangle democracy and take away the option from the people to choose a government of their choice.”
“On one hand, the BJP, which is doing ‘chande ka dhanda’, is running an ‘extortion government’ in the country, while on the other hand, by freezing the accounts of the main opposition party, putting chief ministers in jail and suppressing every independent voice, it is not allowing opposition to contest the polls in a fair manner,” Gandhi said.
“Whoever is not with BJP – jail him. Whoever donates to BJP – bail him out. With the major opposition party – game of sending notices. For electoral bonds – blackmail,” he said.
Top INDIA bloc leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Bhagwant Mann, Akhilesh Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav will participate in a rally at the Ramlila ground on Sunday in what is seen as a show of strength and Opposition unity in the backdrop of arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal just before Lok Sabha polls.
The “Loktantra Bachao” rally — or ‘save democracy’ rally — will also be attended by National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah, party vice president Omar Abdullah said. An Aam Aadmi Party leader said Delhi chief minister’s wife Sunita Kejriwal is also likely to be in attendance. Senior AAP leader Gopal Rai, who visited the Ramlila Maidan to inspect the preparations, claimed that Congress leader Sonia Gandhi will also attend the rally.
The Congress said the rally by the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance’s (INDIA) will send a “strong message” to the Lok Kalyan Marg, where the prime minister’s residence is located, that the BJP-led government’s “time is up”.
Union minister Faggan Singh Kulaste and sitting Congress MP Nakul Nath are among the 88 candidates nominated for Madhya Pradesh’s six Lok Sabha seats that will go to polls in the first phase on April 19. Saturday, which was the last day for withdrawal of nomination, saw 19 candidates pulling out of the race, said MP’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Anupam Rajan.
Now, 88 candidates are in the fray on six seats of Madhya Pradesh, he said. The seats are Sidhi, Shahdol (ST), Jabalpur, Mandla (ST), Balaghat and Chhindwara. Elections for MP’s 29 seats will be held in four phases between April 19 and May 13. Of the 113 nominations filed for the six seats, six were rejected during the scrutiny on March 28. With the withdrawal of 19 candidates, 88 remain in the fray. According to officials, the break-up of the contesting candidates is Sidhi (17), ten in Shahdol (ST), Jabalpur (19), 14 in Mandla (ST), Balaghat (13) and Chhindwara (15).
Congress leader Shravan Singh Rathore joined the BJP on Saturday in the presence of Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma during the nomination rally of BJP candidate from Jodhpur and Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. Rathore, considered close to senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot, hails from Jalore from where the former chief minister’s son Vaibhav Gehlot is contesting the Lok Sabha elections.
BJP chief whip in assembly Jogeshwar Garg and other leaders were also present during the joining of Rathore, who is also the president of Pravasi Friends Foundation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kickstart the BJP’s Lok Sabha poll campaign in Uttarakhand by addressing a public meeting at Rudrapur in Udham Singh Nagar district on April 2. Elections to the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand are scheduled to be held in the first phase on April 19.
All the five seats are with the ruling BJP since 2014.
Pradesh BJP general secretary Khilendra Chaudhary and Cabinet Minister Saurabh Bahuguna have been made coordinators for Prime Minister Modi’s programme at Rudrapur on April 2, Pradesh BJP media in-charge Manveer Chauhan said.
The BJP on Saturday released its first list of six candidates for Punjab, fielding three turncoats Preneet Kaur, Sushil Kumar Rinku and Ravneet Singh Bittu, and former diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu. Besides, the saffron party also fielded singer and MP from North West Delhi Hans Raj Hans and former MLA Dinesh Singh Babbu.
According to the list, Preneet Kaur, who is a suspended Congress MP from Patiala, has been named as candidate from the same seat. Kaur was suspended by the Congress in February last year soon after her husband, former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, joined the BJP.
As expected the BJP fielded sitting AAP’s lone MP Sushil Kumar Rinku from Jalandhar seat, four days after he joined the saffron party in Delhi.


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