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Efforts for an anti-BJP front: Mamata Banerjee meets leaders of different political parties

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Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee

Once again, there are moves to form a common front against the dominant political party in the country, the BJP this time.

Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee is spearheading the campaign, with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar playing a key role. The TMC chief’s present visit to New Delhi is seen as a bid to assemble forces against the BJP in the run-up to 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Whether it results – if it results in anything – in a third front without the Congress or the latter joins it remains to be seen. But even if it joins in, it seems the Congress would have to be content with a secondary role. Past experience of third front with Congress – or with the BJP, for that matter – have not been happy as both have ditched the alliance mid-way.

Besides, the Left parties are not part of these talks – at least yet. Apart from Left parties own reservations, a major stumbling block would be part of a tie-up involving bitter rival Mamata’s TMC. In comparison, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party have been more willing to work together.

As of now, talks are on with others. Mamata Banerjee is in Delhi and meeting various leaders. On Tuesday, March 27, Banerjee held a series of meetings with several leaders of the opposition parties in New Delhi, including Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MP K Kavitha, daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

“When political people meet then, of course, they will discuss politics, there is nothing to hide in that. The Lok Sabha election of 2019 will certainly be very interesting,” Banerjee told reporters after the meeting with Raut. The meeting assumes significance as the Shiv Sena, the BJP’s embittered ally in Maharashtra, has announced to break the tie-up before 2019.

She said that she will be meeting rebel BJP leaders Shatrughan Sinha, Yashwant Sinha, and Arun Shourie on Wednesday.

The West Bengal chief minister urged all the political parties to come together to stop the winning streak of BJP in the elections. “We want all opposition parties to work together. We should help the strongest opposition party in a particular state to fight the BJP. It should be one fight,” the TMC chief told reporters.

The TMC leader said that the BJP has lost all credibility and there is an anti-BJP wave in the country. “People are against the BJP. I have travelled to all the states. I know the mood of the people. Issues like demonetization, GST, bank fraud have affected people even at the grassroot level. The time has come for this BJP to pack up and go,” she said.

While the signals on the Congress’ inclusion in such a front are mixed, party leader Ashwani Kumar has called on Mamata Banerjee.

On meeting Sonia Gandhi, with whom the Trinamool Congress shares a warm rapport, Mamata said that she would meet the UPA chief “once she is fine”.

“Yes, Soniaji is not well right now and recovering. We will meet her once she is fine,” she said.

The Trinamool chief also had a one-on-one interaction with Ram Gopal Yadav, a Samajwadi Party MP and a close aide of Akhilesh Yadav. At a press conference later, she said, “I am ready to speak to Maya-Akhilesh. Let Akhilesh call a meeting in Lucknow, we are ready to meet them in Lucknow itself.”

“Will certainly go if they (Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav) call us to Lucknow,” she said.

Banerjee’s meetings on Tuesday came at a time opposition parties as well as former BJP ally Telugu Desam party (TDP) have come together to move a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.

The TDP has recently ended its four-year alliance with the BJP and announced its exit from NDA over its demand for special status for Andhra Pradesh.

Mamata Banerjee could also meet Aam Aadmi Party convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during her stay in the Capital.

According to sources, Mamata Banerjee is likely to meet National Conference leaders Omar and Farooq Abdullah later.

In her interaction with DMK MP Kanimozhi, Mamata Banerjee said that she is confident that the “DMK is coming to power” and the party has her support.

Mamata also met Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP and Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti and senior party leader JP Yadav. Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Anubhav Mohanty and his wife also called on Mamata Banerjee.

Following her meeting with NCP and RJD leaders, Mamata said the “Lok Sabha elections of 2019 will certainly be interesting”.

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AAP leader Sanjay Singh accuses BJP of planning an attack on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

The AAP leader accused PM Modi and the BJP of being immersed in hatred so much that they are conspiring to kill the Delhi Chief Minister. He added that the Prime Minister Office, BJP and PM Modi will be responsible if anything happens to Kejriwal.

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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh on Monday accused BJP of planning an attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Singh was addressing a press conference in New Delhi where he said the BJP has been in a state of panic ever since Arvind Kejriwal came out of jail.

He said BJP is now plotting to launch a deadly attack on Arvind Kejriwal. This conspiracy is being conducted directly from the Prime Minister’s Office. A threat of attack on Kejriwal ji has been written at Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar Metro stations.

The AAP leader accused PM Modi and the BJP of being immersed in hatred so much that they are conspiring to kill the Delhi Chief Minister. He added that the Prime Minister Office, BJP and PM Modi will be responsible if anything happens to Kejriwal. He pointed out that Kejriwal had not been given insulin for 23 days when he was in judicial custody in Tihar jail.

Singh said a 3 time elected chief minister is being openly threatened with attacks and murder, and nobody is saying anything. He said AAP leaders are writing letters to the Election Commission and if Kejiriwal gets a scratch, the PMO, BJP and PM Modi will be held responsible.

The Supreme Court has given interim bail to the Aam Aadmi Party supremo till June 1 ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in New Delhi. But according to the terms of his bail, the Delhi chief minister cannot make any comments about his role in the Delhi liquor scam case.

 Kejriwal has spent over 50 days in Tihar Jail the Enforcement Directorate arrested him in an excise policy case on March 21, days after the election schedule for the general elections was announced. The bail is applicable until June 1 and Kejriwal has to surrender to authorities on June 2.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

36.73% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in 5th phase of the Lok Sabha elections

36.73% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in 8 states and UTs; Maharashtra continues to put up a poor show

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Voter turnout at 1 pm was recorded at 36.73% for the 5th phase of the Lok Sabha elections. As this unfolds, significant political showdowns are set to take place across eight states and union territories. Bihar: 34.62%, Jharkhand: 41.89%, Jammu and Kashmir: 34.79%, Maharashtra 27.78%, Ladakh: 52.01%, Uttar Pradesh 39.55%, Odisha 35.31%, West Bengal: 48.41%

Voters in 49 Lok Sabha seats will decide the fate of 695 candidates, with many high-stakes contests featuring political dynasties and senior leaders striving to retain their influence. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Raebareli, a seat held by his mother, Sonia Gandhi, since 2004. He is also contesting the election from Wayanad in Kerala. After losing Amethi to Union Minister Smriti Irani in 2019, the Congress has fielded dedicated worker KL Sharma to challenge Irani this time.

Rohini Acharya, daughter of former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, makes her political debut from Saran Lok Sabha seat. Chirag Paswan of the LJP (Ram Vilas) aims to retain the legacy of his late father, Ram Vilas Paswan from Hajipur Lok Sabha seat.

13 out of 48 parliamentary seats in Maharashtra are undergoing elections including high-profile candidates: Dindori: Union Minister Bharati Pravin Pawar (BJP) vs. Bhaskar Bhagare (NCP). Dhule: BJP’s Subhash Ramrao Bhamre vs. Congress’s Shobha Dinesh Bachhav.

Palghar: Hemant Vishnu Savara (BJP) vs. Bharti Kamadi (Shiv Sena UBT). Nashik: Rajabhau Waje (Shiv Sena UBT) vs. Godse Hemant Tukaram (Shiv Sena). This election phase will also serve as a crucial battleground for the factions of Shiv Sena to measure their support among voters.

In Ladakh, an independent candidate is posing a significant challenge to both BJP and Congress contenders. Simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha polls are taking place in Odisha with the fifth phase, covering 5 Lok Sabha seats and 35 assembly constituencies. Voters in 3 parliamentary Lok Sabha seats — Chatra, Koderma, and Hazaribagh—will cast their votes in this phase.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his wife cast their votes in Lucknow

In the ongoing Lok Sabha election in Lucknow, Singh is contesting against Samajwadi Party candidate Ravidas Mehrotra. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded Sarwar Malik

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh along with his wife Savitri Singh, cast their votes on Monday in Lucknow during the 3rd phase of the Lok Sabha elections. Singh, who is the sitting MP and BJP candidate from the Lucknow constituency, appealed to voters all over India to exercise their franchise.

Rajnath Singh said the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) aims to cross 400 seats this time. He did not wish to predict the exact number of seats at this moment. In the ongoing Lok Sabha election in Lucknow, Singh is contesting against Samajwadi Party candidate Ravidas Mehrotra. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded Sarwar Malik. After casting their votes, the couple showed their inked fingers, symbolising their participation in the democratic process.

Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj Singh an MLA from Noida also cast his vote and called on voters to come out in large numbers He requested all voters to vote in record numbers. The more the voting, the stronger the democracy will be. He urged all young voters and Nari Shakti to come forward in large numbers to cast their votes. He said voting is important to build a self-reliant and developed India.

Earlier, while addressing a public meeting in Lucknow, Rajnath Singh said that he tried to fulfil the dreams of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and had left no stone unturned for the city’s development.

He said they have diligently worked towards realising Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji’s vision for Lucknow, and BJP remains committed to advancing it further in the future.  He said Lucknow currently ranks 10th globally, and BJP aims to elevate it to the 5th position.

There are 5 assembly constituencies under the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat. These include Lucknow West, Lucknow East, Lucknow North, Lucknow Central and Cantt Assembly seats. There are a total of 39.33017 lakh voters in Lucknow Lok Sabha seat.

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