Election Campaign Highlights: NCP Chief Sharad Pawar To Skip Poll Race

The national election will be held in seven rounds from 11 April and the results will be announced on May 23, the Election Commission said on Sunday.

Election Campaign Highlights: NCP Chief Sharad Pawar To Skip Poll Race

Sharad Pawar was rumoured to be contesting from the Madha seat. (File)

New Delhi:

Veteran politician Sharad Pawar today said he will not be contesting the coming Lok Sabha elections, saying he has decided against the idea. The 78-year former union minister, who retired from electoral politics in 2012, had created a stir last month announcing a reprise. The party had cleared the decks for his contest from the Madha seat in southwest Maharashtra, convincing sitting lawmaker Vijaysinh Mohite Patil to give up the seat.

Political parties are gearing up to launch their poll campaign from various places after the Election Commission's announcement of poll dates. Congress president Rahul Gandhi is expected to address Delhi Congress booth in-charges today, while DMK chief MK Stalin will chair a meeting of party lawmakers to discuss the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The national election will be held in seven rounds from 11 April and the results will be announced on May 23, the Election Commission said on Sunday. Voting will be held across India on April 11, April 19, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19.

The elections will see Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking another term in office and the opposition attempting to join forces to put up a strong fight.

Here are the Live Updates from Election Campaigning:

Mar 11, 2019 20:56 (IST)
600 all-women polling booths in Karnataka for Lok Sabha polls
A total of 600 polling booths of the 58,186 voting stations to be set up for the Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka on April 18 and 23 will be managed by women personnel, an election official said on Monday.

"As part of ensuring gender equality and constructive participation of women in the electoral process, the Commission has directed to set up 'all-women managed polling stations'," said a statement from state's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjiv Kumar's office.

In these 600 women-run booths, polling staff, police and security personnel will all be women.

The state will have 58,186 voting stations for election to the 28 Lok Sabha seats in two phases -- on April 18 for 14 seats and April 23 for another 14 seats. Vote count will be held on May 23.

The southern state has a total of 5.03 crore registered voters.

The number of voting stations to be set up has been increased by seven per cent, from 54,265 polling booths in 2014 general elections, the statement said.
Mar 11, 2019 19:45 (IST)
Over 1.31 crore women and 119 transgenders will be among the total of 2.54 crore voters in Kerala who are expected to exercise their franchise in the April 23 Lok Sabha polls in the state.

Malappuram district has got the maximum number of voters --30,47,923 and Wayanad the least --- 5,81,245, Kerala Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena told reporters.

"The model code of conduct is already in place. The notification will be issued on March 28. The last date for submitting the nomination is April 4 and the last date to withdraw the same is on April 8," Mr Meena said.
Mar 11, 2019 17:24 (IST)
When Kerala goes to polls on April 23, the largest group of voters from the southern state will be in the age group of 30 to 39, said a poll official.

Of those eligible to exercise their franchise in the second phase of the staggered process -- 1,31,11,189 are women, 1,22,97,403 men and 119 transgenders.

The 30 to 39 age group would constitute 56,92,670 electorates, while 2,61,778 will be first time voters aged 18-19. There are 20 Lok Sabha seats from Kerala.
Mar 11, 2019 16:53 (IST)
Over 2.17 crore people will be eligible to vote in the three-phase Lok Sabha election in Assam, including 7.06 lakh first time voters, a top election official said here Monday.

Assam, Chief Electoral Officer, Mukesh Chandra Sahu addressing a press conference here, said the number of voters are being updated on a daily basis and the final figure will be published just before the polling.

"As per the last summary revision published on January 1 this year, we have a total electorate of 2,17,60,604 across Assam. Out of this, 1,11,32,782 are male and 1,06,27,319 are female," he said.
Mar 11, 2019 15:57 (IST)
The BJP accused some opposition parties of deliberately triggering a row over the Lok Sabha polls being held during Ramzan, when Muslims fast, saying it is a "communal" ploy to divide the country ahead of the elections.

Leaders of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are among those who have claimed that holding elections during Ramzan will inconvenience Muslims and help the BJP as the community is largely seen to be backing the opposition parties against the ruling alliance.

BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain pointed out that Navratas, when many Hindus observe fast, will also fall during the elections.

"Muslims do not observe roza by not doing their work. Islam also does not ask us to stop our work for worship. It is not that people who have jobs do not attend them during Ramzan. They keep roza and do their work as well. Creating such a controversy is unfortunate," he said.

People who want to divide the country on communal lines are causing a controversy over it deliberately, Mr Hussain added.

The BJP leader noted that the Lok Sabha by-poll in Kairana in 2018 was held during Ramzan. The saffron party had lost the seat to the united opposition.

AAP leader Amanatullah Khan had tweeted Sunday that elections will be held in Delhi on May 12, when Muslims will be observing Ramzan.

"There will be less polling among Muslims, and it will directly benefit the BJP," he had said.

Some leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal had also spoken on similar lines.

Reacting to the controversy, the Election Commission had said that polls are conducted during Ramzan as an entire month cannot be excluded from the schedule. However, dates of main festivals and Fridays are avoided as poll days, it added.
Mar 11, 2019 15:52 (IST)
"I thought that already two members of my family are contesting polls this time and hence I felt this is right time to take decision to not contest since I already have contested 14 times in the past."

-- Sharad Pawar to news agency ANI.
Mar 11, 2019 15:34 (IST)
Sharad Pawar was rumoured to be contesting from the Madha seat.
Mar 11, 2019 15:33 (IST)
BREAKING: Sharad Pawar, former union minister and NCP chief, will not contest national elections
Mar 11, 2019 15:28 (IST)
AIADMK said those aspiring to contest in the Assembly by-elections to be held for 18 constituencies have to submit their applications on Wednesday.

In a statement, the party said applications priced at Rs 25,000 per constituency will be available at the party headquarters here on Wednesday morning.

According to the statement, aspirants have to submit their filled in applications by Wednesday evening itself.

The Election Commission on Sunday said by-elections for 18 vacant Assembly constituencies will be held on April 18.
Mar 11, 2019 14:48 (IST)
PMK founder S Ramadoss asks party workers to strive for victory of the AIADMK-led alliance in all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the April 18 elections, and also ensure the success of ruling party candidates in the Assembly by-polls. 

People will face many hardships if the DMK-led alliance was voted in good numbers, he says.
Mar 11, 2019 13:56 (IST)
Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK has interviewed its probable candidates likely to contest from 10 of the 39 Lok Sabha constituencies on April 18.

The party says Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his Deputy O Panneerselvan were among those who interviewed the candidates.

The candidates had sent in their applications to contest from Salem, Kallakurichi, Namakkal, Karur, Erode, Tiruppur, Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Pollachi and Villupuram.
Mar 11, 2019 13:29 (IST)
Kerala Chief Electoral Officer TR Meena tells news agency ANI: "Citing or invoking or doing some sort of religious propaganda based on the Sabarimala temple issue or judgement will be a clear violation of the model code of conduct and we will be taking action."
Mar 11, 2019 13:04 (IST)
BSP supremo Mayawati, on Twitter, says the decision against holding Assembly polls along with Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir indicates the "failure" of the Kashmir policy of the Narendra Modi government.
Mar 11, 2019 12:55 (IST)
Congress president Rahul Gandhi donates 'chaadar' to be presented at the Ajmer Dargah on the occasion of the annual Urs fair.

Mar 11, 2019 12:12 (IST)
Mamata Banerjee to meet Trinamool Congress' 12-person Election Core Team tomorrow. 
Mar 11, 2019 11:18 (IST)
Telugu actor and comedian Ali joins YSR Congress Party in the presence of party president YS Jaganmohan Reddy.
Mar 11, 2019 10:47 (IST)
BJP chief Amit Shah is expected to meet top leaders of the party today to discuss Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Arun Jaitley is scheduled to meet party spokespersons today.
Mar 11, 2019 10:16 (IST)
Telugu Desam Party delegation will meet Chief Election Commissioner of India in New Delhi today at 5:30pm and submit a representation on election-related issues in Andhra Pradesh.
Mar 11, 2019 10:00 (IST)
As the Election Commission announced dates for the Lok Sabha Polls today and the model code of conduct came into place, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has avoided taking a special aircraft and chose to board a commercial flight to New Delhi from Chennai, the party said.

Mar 11, 2019 08:58 (IST)
Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee on Twitter says: "All the best sir (PM Modi) for your future role as a leader of opposition..."
Mar 11, 2019 08:51 (IST)
An election management committee meeting of the Asom Gana Parishad is scheduled in Guwahati at 5pm today to decide over their alliance with the BJP.

The AGP recently snapped its ties with the BJP due to the contentious Citizenship Bill.
Mar 11, 2019 08:49 (IST)
The Aam Aadmi Party in New Delhi launched its mega campaign for Lok Sabha polls on Sunday, with full statehood as its central theme, staging a protest near BJP headquarters over the issue.
Mar 11, 2019 08:43 (IST)
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu says the Telugu Desam party (TDP) is ready for elections. He says the state government has successfully implemented several welfare programmes and strived hard for the development of the state in all sectors despite state bifurcation problems. 

He has termed the elections as a test to protect the self respect of people of Andhra Pradesh.