Lok Sabha polls top updates: Rahul Gandhi will lose from Wayanad like he lost in Amethi, says Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday claimed that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi would lose his Lok Sabha seat in Kerala’s Wayanad constituency in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections just as he had lost from Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi in 2019.

Later in the day, Wayanad district Congress committee secretary PM Sudhakaran on Saturday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. Two other Congress leaders from Punjab, including its national secretary Tajinder Pal Singh Bittu, also defected to the Hindutva party.

In Maharashtra, Nationalist Congress Party leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that the ongoing election is not one about family relations but rather a battle between Gandhi and Modi.

The Congress, responding to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s remarks on Friday that the electoral bonds scheme will be brought back after wider consultations, said that the BJP wants to “continue the loot” of public money.

Here’s a look at today’s top developments:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally in Nanded on Saturday claimed that Congress MP from Wayanad Rahul Gandhi would lose from his current Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala and that his party would have to find another seat for him, the Hindustan Times reported. Modi said that the Congress leader had been “chased away” from Amethi by Minister of Women and Child Development and BJP leader Smriti Irani, who won the seat in the 2019 general election. “The shehzade [prince] of Congress is facing a danger in Wayanad,” the prime minister said. “Like he was made to escape Amethi, believe me, he will have to leave Wayanad as well.”

  • Ahead of polling in Kerala, Wayanad District Congress Committee Secretary PM Sudhakaran on Saturday joined the BJP in the presence of its state party president K Surendran, The Indian Express reported. Sudhakaran alleged that Gandhi was not making himself available to district Congress committee members. “So you can imagine the condition of ordinary workers,” he said. “If Rahul continues to represent Wayanad for another term, the district would perish. Is he ready to say that he would not contest from Amethi?”

  • The Congress has demanded a repoll in 47 polling stations in Manipur, PTI reported. The party claimed that booths were captured on Friday and that elections to two Lok Sabha constituencies in the BJP-ruled state were rigged. Manipur was among the 17 states and four Union Territories that headed to the polls in the first phase of the general elections on Friday. Manipur Congress President K Meghachandra said that the party had filed a complaint with Manipur Chief Electoral Officer PK Jha and demanded a repoll in 36 polling stations in the Inner Manipur constituency and 11 in Outer Manipur. Meghachandra said: “Unidentified armed miscreants have been threatening Congress candidate Angomcha Bimol Akoijam and party election agents for some days.” Meanwhile, Jha said on Saturday that he has asked returning officers to submit reports on the alleged violence and to ascertain if repolling was needed, NDTV reported. He added that the Election Commission had received complaints from three candidates about alleged violence, vandalism and electoral malpractice.

  • Punjab Congress leaders Tajinder Pal Singh Bittu and Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary on Saturday also joined the BJP in the presence of party leaders Ashwini Vaishnaw and Vinod Tawde in New Delhi, PTI reported. Bittu, who was the Congress’ national secretary, announced his resignation from the party hours ahead of joining the BJP. Tawde said that their induction will boost the saffron party’s presence in Punjab. Chaudhary, the wife of late Congress leader Santokh Singh Chaudhary, had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha bye-polls in Jalandhar last year after the death of her husband, who was the sitting MP.

  • Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday said that the general elections were a battle between Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and not one about family relations, PTI reported. Pawar made the comments at Kanheri while launching his wife Sunetra Pawar’s campaign. The Mahayuti alliance – comprising Ajit Pawar’s faction of the Nationalist Congress Party, the BJP and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena group.– has fielded Sunetra Pawar from the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency against Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) leader Supriya Sule. Sule, who is Ajit Pawar’s cousin, has represented the constituency since 2009.

  • The Congress on Saturday criticised finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s remarks that the BJP would bring back the electoral bonds scheme after wider consultations if it came back to power in the general elections. Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said that the Hindutva party wanted to “continue the loot” after allegedly pocketing “Rs 4 lakh crore of public money” through the scheme, which the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional on February 15. “If they win and restore the Electoral Bonds, how much will they loot this time?” Ramesh asked.

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