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March 23, 2021 / 11:00 PM IST

Assembly Elections 2021 News Highlights | BJP's stand on CAA varies from state to state, claims Assam Congress

Assembly Elections 2021 News Highlights: Less than four days to go for the first phase of voting. Catch latest updates of the poll campaign in all four states and the Union Territory

Elections 2021 News Highlights: Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Puducherry will be heading for assembly elections over the next few weeks. Polling will happen in a single phase in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on April 6. While voters in Assam will cast their ballots in three phases, polling in Bengal will happen across eight phases. Counting of votes in all states will happen on May 2. With less than four days to go before the first phase
of voting, the election campaign and canvassing is now gathering steam. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping to retain power in Assam even as it faces ‘Mahajot’, the joint opposition alliance comprising the Congress, AIUDF and other regional parties. In Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress is fighting to keep BJP’s surge at bay. The saffron party has shown a dramatic electoral rise in the state over the last few years. Congress and the Left Front, which are allies in West Bengal, are competing for power in Kerala. The Congress-led UDF and the ruling LDF have been winning alternate elections since the early 1980s. Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK has continued its alliance with the BJP amid a challenge from MK Stalin-led DMK and its alliance partners. However, one of the key things to watch out for in the southern state is how some of the smaller parties – including that of actor Kamal Haasan and TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK – may impact the poll outcome. With their government having collapsed due to defections weeks before the election, V Narayanasamy-led Congress is battling the BJP-NR Congress alliance in Puducherry.
  • March 23, 2021 / 11:00 PM IST

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  • March 23, 2021 / 10:49 PM IST

     Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates | India abstaining from voting in UN meet on Sri Lanka is 'betrayal' of Eelam Tamils: DMK

    The main opposition DMK and its allies, including the MDMK, in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday condemned the Centre over India abstaining from voting on a UN Human Rights Council resolution against Sri Lanka and termed it "an unpardonable betrayal" of the Eelam Tamils. Abstaining from voting only reflected support for Sri Lanka and it was against the Eelam Tamils by the BJP-led Central government, DMK chief M K Stalin alleged. ''Eelam'' denotes homeland and ''Eelam'' Tamils is a term used by political parties and others in Tamil Nadu to refer to the Tamils in neighbouring Sri Lanka.

    "Today, the Indian representative, without taking part in voting, has walked out. This is an unpardonable, huge betrayal of Eelam Tamils by the Indian government," Stalin claimed. The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution against Sri Lanka's rights record, which gives the UN body a mandate to collect evidence of crimes committed during the country's brutal civil war (2008-09) against the LTTE.

    India abstained from voting, saying its approach to the question of human rights in Sri Lanka is guided by two fundamental considerations. One is support to Lankan Tamils for equality, justice, dignity and peace and the other is ensuring the unity, stability and territorial integrity of that nation. It urged Colombo to fulfill its commitments on the devolution of political authority, to carry forward the process of reconciliation and address the aspirations of the Tamil community in the island nation.

    Stalin said days ago he wanted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence on the matter since Lanka had been hoping that India would support it in the UN body. It did not, however, happen and the Centre did not come up with any proper explanation. "We expected that the Modi government would take a stand in favour of the Eelam Tamils in the UNHRC. But the Modi government has deceived the world Tamils," Stalin, who is in the thick of campaign for the April 6 assembly polls, alleged in a statement. 


  • March 23, 2021 / 09:39 PM IST

     Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates | BJP's stand on CAA varies from state to state, claims Assam Congress

    The Congress on Tuesday wondered why the BJPs manifesto for the Assam assembly election is silent on the issue of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and claimed that the stand of the saffron party on the controversial Act varies from state to state. The party in a statement also alleged that Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah sought to deny the existence of those people who lost their lives during the anti-CAA agitation in the state.

    "Their (BJP''s) stand on the CAA is ambiguous. In West Bengal, they say they want it. In Tamil Nadu, they do not want it and in Assam they are silent. But the Congress has only one stand. We oppose the CAA and will leave no stone unturned to nullify it," it said.

    In the BJP''s manifesto for West Bengal, the party promised to clear the implementation of the CAA in the first cabinet meeting of the new government. The saffron party in Tamil Nadu has forged an alliance with the AIADMK which in its manifesto said that it will urge the Centre to scrap the contentious law.

    However, in the manifesto released by BJP president JP Nadda for Assam earlier in the day, there is no mention of the CAA. In the statement, the Congress wanted to know the reason behind the omission.


  • March 23, 2021 / 08:47 PM IST

    Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates | MK Stalin powers DMK campaign in Salem

  • March 23, 2021 / 08:10 PM IST

     Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates | Shah hits back at Mamata over 'religious polarisation' charge

    Asked about Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's charge of religious polarisation against the BJP, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said if raising the issues of people amounts to religious polarisation then this is a "new definition" he has heard. When her government "obstructed" Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja processions, was it not polarisation, he asked.

    "We are making a positive statement that everyone should observe their festivals. We have no objection if someone is observing Ramzan or Christmas. But you cannot impose restrictions on Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja," he said.


  • March 23, 2021 / 07:26 PM IST

     Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates | BJP will win more than 200 seats in Bengal, improve tally in Assam: Amit Shah

    Home Minister Amit Shah said Tuesday the Congress' tie-up with the AIUDF will be a factor in the BJP-led alliance's win in the Assam assembly polls as voters will back the saffron party decisively because its main rival cannot stop the influx of illegal immigrants by joining hands with Badruddin Ajmal, accused by the ruling bloc of protecting infiltrators.

    In an interview to PTI, the senior BJP leader also predicted a thumping win for his party in West Bengal, asserting that people there are yearning for a change from the Trinamool Congress'' "misrule" and will embrace Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision for the state's development. "We will win more than 200 seats in Bengal and improve our tally in Assam," he said.

    Asked about the ground for his confidence about the BJP''s big victory in the elections to 294-member West Bengal assembly, Shah said the party has only strengthened its position since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls while the TMC's support base has eroded with a large number of its leaders quitting the organisation. Most of them have joined the BJP.

    "We won 18 Lok Sabha seats out of the total 42 in 2019 and lost three by small margins. That too when people had doubts about our victory. Now they have confidence that we can win. People are yearning for a change and are with us," he said.


  • March 23, 2021 / 06:33 PM IST

    Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates | Bengali pride, sub-nationalism emerge as rallying points in WB polls

    With the "insider-outsider" debate in West Bengal gaining strength before the state election, Bengali sub-nationalism appears to have become visible like never before.

    The ruling TMC has embraced it as its main poll plank to counter the rise of the BJP's Hindutva narrative in the state. It has branded BJP as a "party of outsiders" and has fanned the 'Bengali pride' by coming up with a poll slogan "Bangla Nijer Meyekei Chai" (Bengal wants its own daughter) creating a poll narrative of sub-nationalism to counter the saffron party's identity politics.

    The electoral discourse in Bengal, where poll battles are fought on ideological lines, had in the past mostly steered clear of sub-nationalism like identity politics. "This is for the first time we have made Bengali pride our main poll plank. Bengali pride is not just about Bengalis; it appeals to all sons of the soil," senior TMC leader and MP Sougata Roy said.


  • March 23, 2021 / 05:59 PM IST

     Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates | BJP's Nandigram nominee Suvendu Adhikari harbouring criminals, TMC tells EC

    The Trinamool Congress has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission accusing BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari of "harbouring criminals" in Nandigram, where he is pitted against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The ruling party in the state also alleged that outsiders of the high-profile constituency have been staying at four locations there.

    The TMC also charged Adhikari, the protege-turned- adversary of Banerjee, of visiting one of these locations. "It has come to our knowledge that Suvendu Adhikari, the candidate fielded by BJP in Nandigram has been harbouring criminals, who are non-residents of Nandigram," the letter dated March 22 said.

    TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'' Brien alleged in the letter that no action has been taken by the local police and sought the Election Commission''s intervention into the matter. "We request you to immediately intervene and direct necessary steps to be taken by police to forthwith apprehend all the outside anti-social elements hired and harboured by Suvendu Adhikari," the letter said. The Nandigram assembly constituency will go to the poll on April 1.


  • March 23, 2021 / 05:07 PM IST

    Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates | BJP to solve problems of recurring floods, illegal migrants in Assam: Yogi Adityanath

    Promising to solve the issues of recurring floods, illegal migrants and condition of tea garden workers in Assam, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP leader Yogi Adityanath Tuesday accused the opposition Congress of failing to solve them during its days in power in the northeastern state.

    Asserting that the saffron party will permanently solve the problems of illegal migrants and flood menace if it is re-elected in Assam, Adityanath claimed at an election rally in Udarbond that peace, unity and development have been ushered in the state in the past five years.

    His party will also undertake a scheme for giving a new identity to tea gardens and its workers in the state.

    "Five years back (during Congress rule) there was no discussion on development of Assam and divisions were created among people on the basis of areas, for political gains. There were also problems of Bodoland, illegal migrants and insurgency.

    "But that changed under Prime Minister Narendra Modi who converted the 'Look East' policy to 'Act East' policy changing the image of the northeastern region," the UP chief minister said.


  • March 23, 2021 / 04:31 PM IST

    Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates | TMC swindling Amphan relief fund in West Bengal: Amit Shah

    Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday slammed the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal for allegedly "swindling" the money sent for cyclone Amphan relief in the Sunderbans region. Criticising the TMC's "cut money" culture, Shah claimed that "Bhatija (nephew) and company swindled central funds sent for Amphan relief". If voted to power, Shah said the BJP would constitute a committee to probe the alleged siphoning off relief funds.

    "The central government had sent relief funds for the affected people. But the TMC leaders siphoned off the funds and did not allow it to reach them. "If we are voted to power, the BJP will constitute an inquiry committee to probe corruption in disbursement of funds. All those involved in scam would be sent to jail," he said while addressing the election rally in Gosaba. Read full report.

  • March 23, 2021 / 04:29 PM IST

    Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates | Amit Shah holds roadshow in West Bengal's Medinipur

  • March 23, 2021 / 03:50 PM IST

    Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates | Assam CM and BJP leader Sarbananda Sonowal to ANI: You ask the Parliamentary Board (who will be the chief minister if BJP retains power in the state), why are you asking me? We are BJP workers, our target is to form a BJP government in the state. That's our highest level of satisfaction. Who becomes CM is not the question.

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