General Elections 2019 – Day 37
President orders EC to countermand elections to Vellore Lok Sabha seat
The Vellore Lok Sabha seat elections stand canceled. President Kovind directed countermanding the Vellore seat after receiving a report of Rs 11.48 crore in cash seizures from the house of DMK treasurer Duria Murugan’s house and a cement factory in Vellore.
Mr Murugan’s son Kathir Anand is contesting the Vellore seat on a DMK ticket. The EC officials opined the cash seizures were meant to influence voters of Vellore constituency and it would be difficult to hold free and fair elections under present conditions and recommended countermanding the Vellore polls.
The IR department has focused its attention in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, both states are known to use large amounts of cash to buy voters.
In yet another cash seizure, IT officials raided the floor above TTV Dinakaran’s AMMK party office in Theni, TN. Officials discovered Rs 1.48 crore cash stashed neatly in 94 plastic packets with ward numbers of Andipatti assembly constituency segment written on packets.
On 18 April, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry hold elections for 38 + 1 Lok Sabha seats and bypolls to 18 TN assembly seats.
BJP pitches Sadhvi Pragya Thakur to take on Digvijay Singh in Bhopal
In a move bound to raise debate, BJP has inducted Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and is fielding her to contest the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat against Digvijay Singh. What is controversial is that she was an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case and was released by the NIA for lack of prosecutable evidence. She continues to be out on bail granted by the Bombay High Court for cases open against her under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), reports Times of India.
The opposition is bound to object to BJP’s choice of candidate as she will sit in Parliament as an MP should she defeat Digvijay Singh.
How will AIADMK and DMK fare in the absence of their star leaders?
Tamil Nadu voters will vote for their choice of party candidates for the first time in decades as the two main parties in contention the AIADMK and DMK are both contesting the 2019 elections without their star leaders and old rivals – AIADMK’s J Jayalalithaa and DMK’s Karunanidhi.
AIADMK, in particular, faces a bigger challenge as the party split post the passing away of Jayalalithaa and no leader has been able to take her place as she did not create a second line of leadership.
DMK is better placed with Karunanidhi officially appointing son MK Stalin as his successor. Stalin has been at the helm for some time and has a strong support base within the party.
Stalin holds the advantage of the anti-incumbency factor which has exacerbated further for AIADMK due to infighting post-Jayalalithaa’s death.
DMK is contesting the elections in alliance with the Congress and Stalin has publicly supported Rahul Gandhi as the alliance choice for PM.
MHA cancels Bangladeshi actor’s visa for canvassing in India
It was an unusual sight to see Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed actively campaigning in West Bengal in support of TMC. Ferdous, a popular Bangladeshi actor with over 200 films to his credit, has a significant fan following on both sides of the border. The BJP reported him to the EC for openly canvassing in Raiganj Lok Sabha constituency in North Dinajpur, West Bengal.
The actor spotted in an open vehicle supporting the TMC candidate for Raiganj, Kanhaiya Lal Agarwal. North Dinajpur has a sizeable minority population, and his inclusion for canvassing was aimed to garner minority votes, as per BJP sources.
As per a report published in The Indian Express, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) acting on a report received from the Bureau of Immigration Kolkata has canceled Ferdous Ahmed’s business visa and issued him a notice to leave India. He stands blacklisted.