What to Watch out for:
The Political Drama Ahead of Tamil Nadu Elections: I-T Officers Search Kanimozhi’s House, DMK Cries Foul
After conducting several raids on residences of opposition leaders in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the Income Tax department has now trained its guns at Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)’s Kanimozhi. Just less than 48 hours before the constituency hits the polls, a team of I-T officials and a static surveillance team of the Election Commission on Tuesday evening conducted searches at the Rajya Sabha MP’s residence in Thoothukudi in south Tamil Nadu region. As the sleuths didn’t find anything from the searches, Kanimozhi and other DMK leaders slammed the PM Modi-led Centre’s over what they called attempts to subdue the opposition parties.
A scathing criticism: Kanimozhi, the daughter of former chief minister and party chief M Karunanidhi, is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Thoothukudi against Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan.
According to her, the searches were illegal since they were allegedly conducted without a requisite warrant. I-T sources, however, said that the searches were a “normal verification procedure”.
Kanimozhi has accused the EC of unfairly targeting her since she was a member of the opposition party. “These incidents only strongly confirm that Modi is using EC to threaten us. We will not be cowed down by these incidents” she said and added, “Tamilisia has parked several crores of rupees in her residence. Is the EC ready to conduct searches there?”
DMK president MK Stalin also echoed what she said and slammed the poll body saying that it is “deliberately being used by (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi to target opposition party leaders”.
Meanwhile, several DMK party workers staged a protest outside Kanimozhi’s resident in solidarity and raised “Down With Modi” slogans.
Another showdown: Another scene unfolded in Theni district as police and cadres of TTV Dhinakaran-led AMMK engaged in a standoff. The Election Commission had earlier sent a flying squad after they were said to have received information of the hoarded cash on the premises of the party office.
The officials of the team were, however, stopped and held captive by the party workers as they attempted to search the office. The police then fired four rounds of shots in the air in an effort to free the workers.
At least four persons were detained and more than Rs 30 lakh in cash seized.
No polling in Vellore: President Ram Nath Kovind has accepted the Election Commission’s recommendation to cancel the election in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore over excessive use of money power, days after a large sum of cash was seized from the warehouse of a DMK candidate.
The EC’s recommendation had been sent after cash seizures from the premises of DMK veteran leader and party treasurer Duraimurugan’s son Kathir Anand’s house in Vellore on March 29.
Polling for the two Assembly seats under the Vellore LS seat – Ambur and Gudiyattam – facing bypolls, will go ahead as planned on Thursday as the order was specific to the Lok Sabha election, officials told News18.
What You May Have Missed
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Cash-strapped Jet Airways is said to have requested lenders for an interim funding of Rs 400 crore to stave off a temporary closure, even as its current operational fleet further shrunk to five aircraft. “The company’s leadership, in consultation with its board of directors, is engaged with lenders in connection with the said emergency funding request… The company is also in constant engagement with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Civil Aviation in this regard,” it said in a filing to the BSE. As of Tuesday, the airline was operating only five aircraft, which it is required to have to save its operating permit.
50 lakh people have lost their jobs since the demonetisation exercise: Report
India’s unemployment reached its highest at 6 per cent in 2018, double of what it was in the decade between 2000 and 2010. According to a report by Azim Premji University’s Centre for Sustainable Employment, 50 lakh people lost their jobs after Narendra Modi’s demonetisation exercise in November 2016. The report also states that the unemployment rate in the country had been steadily on the rise in the last decade, and hit its worst levels after 2016. Read more about it here.
News18 Election Tracker: Bangladeshi actor reprimanded over TMC campaign, EC action against Sidhu and Azam Khan gets a second EC notice
Bangladeshi actor Ferdous issued ‘Leave India’ notice, blacklisted after campaigning for Trinamool
Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed, who courted controversy for campaigning for the Trinamool Congress in Bengal, has been issued a notice by the Ministry of Home of Affairs directing him to leave the country. The MHA cancelled Ferdous’ business visa and blacklisted the actor. The development comes hours after a BJP delegation met Election Commission (EC) officials over violation of the Model Code of Conduct by the Trinamool Congress for roping in Ferdous for campaigning in Raigunj.
FIR lodged against Navjot Singh Sidhu for violating Model Code of Conduct at Bihar rally
District authorities in Katihar have lodged an FIR against Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu for his remarks in which he allegedly warned the Muslim community that efforts were on to divide their votes in Bihar. The move came after the BJP lashed out at the Congress over its leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s comments in which he asked Muslims at an election rally in Bihar to unite and oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying it was in the opposition party’s “DNA” to divide people.
EC seeks explanation from SP leader Azam Khan for repeatedly making ‘highly objectionable’ statements
The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday issued a fresh show cause notice to Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan with a list of his statements that violated the Model Code of Conduct and sought an explanation from him for the same within 24 hours of receiving the notice failing which the poll panel said it would take further action against him. This came a day the EC banned from campaigning for 72 hours for his sexist jibe against actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada who is contesting on a BJP ticket from Rampur.
News18 Election Lab: With Parties spewing millions, does campaigning affect voter preference in multi-phase elections?
Political campaigning is an integral, and perhaps, an indispensable part of Indian elections. As multi-phase elections become a norm of Indian polity, campaigning has come to play an even larger role in swaying the mood and electoral preference of voters. The preponderance of campaigning in politics, can be gauged by the fact that in the 2014 National Election Studies post-poll survey, it was found that almost two out of every ten voters made up their minds on who to vote for during and on the basis of party’s political campaigns. Read the analysis about how campaigning affects the voters here.