Lok Sabha elections 2019: Rahul Gandhi speaks at a rally in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
Two days after the Election Commission announced dates for Lok Sabha elections, the Congress party kick-started its campaign for the polls and conducted a brainstorming session, to give a final shape to the party's election strategy. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress in-charge for eastern Uttar Pradesh is speaking at an an election rally in Gujarat. Now, Congress President Rahul Gandhi is speaking at the rally. Launching a sharp attack on PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi said that inspite of his schemes, young people are struggling to find jobs. He also accused the government of not waiving off farmers' loans despite their tall promises. Recounting demonetisation, Mr Gandhi said the step broke the backbone and entrepreneurial spirit of Gujarat. He also repeated his Rafale accusations against the government.
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 Congress Working Committee (CWC) has chosen Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home turf Gujarat for its high profile strategy meeting today.
Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel also joined the Congress today in the presence of its chief Rahul Gandhi.
Meanwhile, the BJP has already kicked off its campaign, spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi across most states.
Here are the LIVE Updates from Election Campaigning:
"Anil Ambani Can't Even Make A Paper Plane": Rahul Gandhi's Rafale Jibe
"Anil Ambani Can't Even Make A Paper Plane": Rahul Gandhi's Rafale Jibe | NDTV.com Video | As Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed a packed crowd in Gujarat's Gandhinagar after the Congress Working Committee meet today, the theme of his speech was clear as soon as he started speaking - target Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale fighter jet deal."
Rahul Gandhi on minimum income guarantee
We have decided in 2019, we will do something historic. If they can give all the money to rich, we can give money to the poor. I want to assure everyone, we will form the government in 2019 and will implement minimum income guarantee
On fugitive offenders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi
When India and Pakistan were fighting, that day he gave five airports to his friend. He wants to create two Indias - Anil Ambani, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and the other for the poor, the downtrodden
Rahul Gandhi on Pulwama
Masood Azhar engineered the Pulwama attack. Who freed him? This BJP government on a special plane NSA Ajit Doval went as an escort
Rahul Gandhi in Gandhinagar, Gujarat
We chose Gujarat because India is witnessing a fight between two ideologies and you'll find both of them here
Mahatma Gandhi and Gujarat has made this country. Today there other powers trying to weaken the country
PM Modi talks of Make In India, Start Up India but truth is the young people are struggling to find jobs
PM Modi can waive 3.5 lakh crore debt of 15 people but cant waive farmers' loans, Arun Jaitley says it is not our policy
PM Modi announced notes ban without any discussion. In one day he broke the spine, the entrepreneurial spirit of Gujarat
Key points from Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's first speech
There is no bigger nationalism than being aware. Your awareness is a weapon, your vote is a weapon. It is a weapon that will not hurt or harm any one. It is a weapon that will strengthen you
You have to think very hard what you are about to choose. You should not vote on unimportant issues
Those who say big things and promise you the moon. Ask them where are the 2 crore jobs they promised. Ask them where are the 15 lakhs
Our institutions are being attacked, hatred is being spread everywhere. There can be no bigger thing than guarding the country and moving ahead together
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addresses first election rally after joining Congress Trinamool announces list of candidates. Satabdi Roy to contest from Birbhum, Moon Moon Swen will be the candidate from Asansol Mamata Banerjee during her press conference
"This is a challenging election for PM Modi and we are seeing a number of strikes - and I mean political strikes, don't misquote me - like demonetsiation. I had opposed demonetisation from the beginning, people have suffered a lot because of it."
Mamata Banerjee speaks in Kolkata
Congress leader Anand Sharma, after CWC meeting, says: "The whole country is standing united at the time of atrocities. Rahul Gandhi has given a clear message to the people related to such incidents that the entire country is united."
"Congress is clear that the constitutional rights are constantly being violated... There are attempts to project a different picture of India as against the ideals on which the constitution was formed."
Congress Working Committee meeting at Sardar Patel Smarak in Ahmedabad concludes.
Trinamool Congress leaders hold a meeting at West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's residence to decide the list of candidates for Lok Sabha polls.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Chief Mayawati tells news agency ANI: "It has been reiterated once again that Bahujan Samaj Party will not have any alliance with Congress party in any state, to contest the upcoming elections."
The meeting of Central Election Committee of Congress party will be held on March 14 at the residence of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Delhi, according to news agency ANI.
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis says: "Sujay Vikhe Patil's name has been forwarded by state unit to Central Parliamentary board for Lok Sabha candidature and we are sure that the recommended name will be accepted by the Central Parliamentary board."
"I have taken this decision against my father's wishes. I don't know how much my parents will support this decision, but I'll try my best to make my family proud by working under the guidance of the BJP. The chief minister and other BJP MLAs were supportive and helped me take the decision," says son of senior Congress leader Sujay Vikhe Patil, who joined the BJP today.
Sujay Vikhe Patil joins BJP in Maharashtra in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, reports news agency ANI. He is son of Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, on Twitter, says: "On the anniversary of Gandhi Ji's historic Dandi March, the Congress Working Committee in Ahmedabad resolved to defeat the RSS/ BJP ideology of fascism, hatred, anger and divisiveness. No sacrifice is too great in this endeavour; no effort too little; this battle will be won."
Patidar leader Hardik Patel reaches Sardar Patel Smarak where Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting is underway.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweets: "People believe that the BJP wants nothing to do with the country, it just wants votes."
Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir may contest the April-May national election as a BJP candidate from Delhi. The 37-year-old may contest from the prestigious New Delhi constituency currently held by the party's Meenakshi Lekhi, say sources.
Prakash Ambedkar of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) confirms to news agency ANI that there will be no alliance between VBA and Congress for upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the party will contest on all 48 seats in Maharashtra.
Arvind Kejriwal On Full Statehood For Delhi
Just like Telangana residents finally got a separate state after fighting and protesting, Delhi will also demand for a full statehhood the same way, says New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
"These elections Delhi will not just vote for a prime minister but will vote for better governance for Delhi... Our internal survey shows a clear win in Delhi. We will win all 7 seats."
Statehood will be the main issue for the Lok Sabha elections, he says.
Congress Working Committee Meet Underway
Congress leaders including chief Rahul Gandhi, Former PM Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and others attend the CWC meet at Sardar Patel National Memorial in Ahmedabad.
AIADMK writes to Election Commission accusing Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy of violating the model code of conduct by extending freebies to public in form of pre-dated cheques from Chief Minister's relief fund.
BJP Election Manifesto Committee meeting being chaired by Union Minister Rajnath Singh.
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav says: "The Bhayankar Jumla Party's 2 1/2 men have failed to deliver jobs or relief to farmers and are now reduced to insults, and petty personal comments."
Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram, to attend prayer meet on the anniversary of 'Dandi March'.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi attends prayer meeting at Gandhi Ashram, Sabarmati, Ahmedabad.
Congress Working Committee (CWC) Meet
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Sonia Gandhi have reached Ahmedabad. The three Gandhis arrived at the Sabarmati ashram in a bus.
Congress General Secretary and star campaigner, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who has been given the charge of the party's fortune in 41 constituencies of Uttar Pradesh, will address the CWC for the first time.
Congress leaders will begin the day with a prayer meet at the Gandhi Ashram in Sabarmati and after paying tribute to soldiers at a memorial, they will proceed to attend the CWC meeting at the Sardar Patel National Memorial.
The Congress in Gujarat, battling infighting, has alleged that the BJP has been "engineering defections of party legislators", with three of them quitting in the last four days. Sources say, a few more Congress lawmakers may quit to join the BJP before the elections, scheduled to begin on April 11.