Updated January 30th, 2024 at 23:16 IST

Election LIVE: BJP Slams Kharge's 'Last Poll' Remark, Says Polls Will be End of Dynastic Politics

Check all the LIVE updates ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 in India.

Reported by: Shweta Parande
Congress Leaders Sonia Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge | Image: PTI/File
11: 16 IST, January 30th 2024

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday accused the BSF of “managing” voters standing in queue to vote during an election held earlier in Balurghat, the Lok Sabha constituency of BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar.

Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, also said that she would not allow anyone to take away the citizenship of people during her lifetime.

Her assertion came a day after Majumdar expressed optimism about implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

"I have information that the BSF had managed voters' standing in queue during the last election held in Balurgat. Who gave them this authority?” she said at a public distribution programme at Balurghat in Dakshin Dinajpur district.

The election is the responsibility of the Election Commission, the DMs, and the SPs, Banerjee said.

"But if I hear similar incidents this year... then remember that elections will be over... but we will remain here… I want all people to vote. Even the migratory labourers must vote," she said.

The BJP wrested the Balurghat Lok Sabha seat in the northern part of the state from the TMC in the 2019 elections.

Earlier at a programme held in Raiganj in Uttar Dinajpur district, Banerjee expressed concern over reports that BSF is issuing identity cards to residents in border areas.

The chief minister directed the DMs to issue work permit cards for those who cross the border for work.

The TMC chief cautioned people against accepting such cards, labelling those as potential tools to get into an "NRC trap".

Banerjee also lambasted the BJP for allegedly bringing up issues like the National Register of Citizens (NRC), CAA and Uniform Civil Code ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

“This is nothing but politics. We have given citizenship to everyone (and) they (people in border areas) are getting everything. They are citizens, which is why they are allowed to vote," she said.

"But let me make it very clear that as long as I am alive, I will not allow implementation of NRC in West Bengal. I will not allow them to take away the citizenship of anyone... everyone here is a citizen," Banerjee said.

Earlier on several occasions, Banerjee has said her government won't allow implementation of CAA in the state.

Her latest remarks on the issue were prompted by BJP leaders such as Majumdar and Union minister Shantanu Thakur's recent assertion that the CAA would be rolled out across the country ahead of the parliamentary elections.

The CAA, enacted by the BJP-led government at the Centre in 2019, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim immigrants, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians, from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.

Reacting to Banerjee's statement, the state BJP said that the CAA is a law of the land and no one can stop it from being implemented.

"Why is she making confusing statements about NRC implementation? The Centre has never said anything about NRC implementation," senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha said.

Banerjee also alleged that people are not allowed to have non-vegetarian food in BJP-ruled states.

"In BJP-ruled states, they are not allowing people to eat eggs, fish and meat. They have even demolished shops using bulldozers in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh… But here, We have not taken away people's freedom of choice," she said.

The chief minister urged people to unite under the TMC’s banner to counter the alleged alliance formed by the Congress, CPI (M) and the BJP in the state.

"It is the TMC that is fighting for the rights of the people of the state. We all have to unite to defeat the Congress-CPI (M)-BJP nexus in Bengal," Banerjee said.

The TMC boss recently announced that her party will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal alone, and not as a part of the opposition bloc INDIA.

Banerjee stated that the central government has stopped clearing funds dues to West Bengal in various schemes.

"I have given them an ultimatum till February 1 and if they fail to clear the dues, I will hold a sit-in," she said. 

10: 47 IST, January 30th 2024

The BJP's target in Haryana is to repeat its 2019 performance by winning all 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Tuesday.

In recent months, both the BJP and the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) -- which govern Haryana in an alliance -- have said that they are preparing to contest all 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state while remaining non-committal about field candidates jointly in the parliamentary polls.

Khattar was speaking after the inauguration of a BJP election office for the Ambala Lok Sabha constituency. Offices for the other nine seats were also inaugurated on Tuesday.

The chief minister said the bugle for the Lok Sabha polls has been sounded with the opening of these offices.

"The target which is before us is very clear; there is no confusion. We formed a government with a majority at the Centre during the past two elections. In the upcoming general elections, some people will say (the BJP will win) 400 seats, some will give a figure close to this," Khattar said.

"In Haryana, too, one thing is certain … like we had won 10 Lok Sabha seats (in 2019), this time, too, our target is to win all 10 seats," he added.

Khattar also urged the people to be wary of the opposition parties.

He claimed that the opposition parties will adopt all kinds of tactics, spread confusion on social media, make false statements on television, in newspapers and in meetings prior to the elections.

The senior BJP leader said collectively "we are committed to fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of making India a developed nation" and emphasised the necessity for every citizen's participation in the endeavour.

While India gained independence in 1947, no one had envisioned making the country a "Vishwa Guru", he claimed.

"Under the present government and Modi's leadership, continuous efforts have been made in this direction over the past decade. The period until 2047 is referred to as 'Amrit Kaal' during which India aims to be among the developed nations," Khattar said.

9: 52 IST, January 30th 2024

 Meeting of BJP General Secretary meeting over Lok Sabha elections 2024 was held at the party office in Delhi. The meeting was being held under the chairmanship of party president JP Nadda.


8: 11 IST, January 30th 2024

Hitting back at Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge for his "last election" barb, the BJP on Tuesday said dynastic politics under the garb of democracy is coming to an end in the country and the emergence of true democracy is in the offing.

Kharge on Monday had expressed apprehension that the 2024 Lok Sabha elections would be the last opportunity for the people to save democracy, and "if Narendra Modi wins another election, there will be dictatorship in the country. The BJP will rule India like (Vladimir) Putin in Russia." Slamming Kharge for the remarks, BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said, "Dynastic politics under the garb of democracy is coming to an end, and they are wondering what will be their future." "Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has given a totally baseless, irresponsible and objectionable statement behind which he has the evil intention of creating unrest and disturbing peace in the country. The so-called Rajvansh which is trying to save its family oriented politics is terrified over its bleak future in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections," he said.

He also took a jibe at Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, facing an Enforcement Directorate summons in a money laundering case. The agency searched his house in Delhi on Monday and claimed Soren was "missing". The chief minister arrived at his official residence in Ranchi and chaired a meeting of alliance legislators on Tuesday.

"The opposition parties talk about democracy, but the chief minister of Jharkhand, the state where the Congress party is a partner in government, is untraceable for the past 40 hours," Trivedi said.

"Whether it is Abdullah and Mufti families in Jammu and Kashmir, or Badals in Punjab, Hooda family in Haryana, all of them lost elections. Ashok Gehlot's son also lost, Akhilesh Yadav's wife lost election, in Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav's daughter lost election...and the biggest symbol of dynastic politics Rahul Gandhi lost election," he said.

"Whatever Kharge ji is saying, the real meaning is dynastic politics under the garb of democracy has been totally discarded by voters in the last election....and the true emergence of true democracy is in the offing," he added.

Trivedi asserted that only two prime ministers were elected democratically in India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi.

"The Congress party gave so many prime ministers, but not one was elected or chosen by the people of our country. In the long political history of our country there have been just two prime ministers who were democratically elected -- Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji and Narendra Modi ji," he said.

Trivedi said Jawaharlal Nehru was first elected as prime minister with "zero votes".

He said in April 1946, at the Congress Working Committee meeting, out of 16 votes, all but two went to Vallabhbhai Patel.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh was chosen as PM by the Congress president and not elected by people, he said.

"Did Indira Gandhi come to power through votes? No, she first became the prime minister by an internal decision of the Congress," he said, adding Rajiv Gandhi became the prime minister as he got sympathy after his mother Indira Gandhi's death. 

5: 10 IST, January 30th 2024

 AAP leader Raghav Chadha on Tuesday questioned the Chandigarh mayoral poll process and said they will approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking fresh elections.

The BJP swept the Chandigarh mayoral polls, winning all the three posts including of mayor, as it defeated the Congress-AAP alliance.

Chadha said the poll process was not only "unconstitutional and illegal" but also an act of "deshdroh" (treason) as he accused the BJP of "orchestrating" it after sensing its defeat in the election.

Accompanied by senior Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal, the AAP MP said they will approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking fresh elections and also action against the presiding officer.

BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar defeated AAP's Kuldeep Kumar, who was fielded as part of an alliance with the Congress, to win the post of mayor.

Sonkar polled 16 votes while Kumar secured 12. Eight votes were declared invalid.

The councillors of the AAP and the Congress later boycotted the elections to the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor, leading to the victory of BJP candidates Kuljit Sandhu and Rajinder Sharma on their respective posts.

The poll results came as a setback for the AAP and the Congress which were contesting the mayoral polls in an alliance.

"What we saw in the Chandigarh mayoral polls today was not only unconstitutional and illegal but also was an act of 'deshdroh'," alleged Chadha while speaking to reporters here.

He said the AAP-Congress alliance was destined to win the Chandigarh mayoral polls as they had 20 votes in the 35-member Chandigarh Municipal Corporation House.

"Victory of our alliance was certain, but sensing imminent defeat, the BJP hatched conspiracies. First, the presiding officer, who was to conduct polls on January 18, was made to fall ill. Thereafter an attempt was made to buy councillors of the AAP. When BJP's 'operation lotus' failed, then they did fraud (in the mayoral polls)," he alleged.

Chadha said elections were held with Anil Masih, who was an office-bearer of the BJP's minority wing, being announced as the presiding officer.

"BJP's presiding officer did not allow any election agent of any party to come forward during counting of votes. Whenever counting takes place, election agents of parties are allowed to come," he said.

The AAP leader further alleged that the presiding officer himself used his pen on certain ballot papers and declared them invalid during counting.

"It was for the first time that out of 36 votes (including vote of Chandigarh MP), eight votes were declared invalid," he said while demanding an FIR against the presiding officer.

Congress leader and former Union minister Bansal said that such "jungle raj" was never seen and blamed the BJP for the same.

5: 07 IST, January 30th 2024
5: 07 IST, January 30th 2024

BJP was given victory in Chandigarh Mayor election by dishonesty in broad daylight. This hooliganism is very dangerous for the democracy of the country," said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. 


4: 21 IST, January 30th 2024

Punjab CM and AAP leader Bhagwant Mann speaking at a press conference following BJP Defeating AAP-Congress Candidate in Chandigarh Mayoral Polls said, "Today will be written and remembered as a 'black day' in the democracy of our country. Unfortunately, this is the same month when we celebrate Republic Day. Today, Constitution has been shredded. The manner in which Chandigarh mayor election was 'looted' by the BJP before the media, in front of the cameras. They did this in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, northeastern states before this. So, this is their old habit..."

1: 15 IST, January 30th 2024

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Manoj Sonkar was declared the winner in the Chandigarh mayoral polls. Sonkar defeated Kuldeep Singh, a joint candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Indian National Congress (INC). 

1: 03 IST, January 30th 2024

Ahead of the interim Budget session of Parliament, the Centre called for a meeting with the floor leaders of political parties in both Houses on Tuesday. The meeting was chaired by Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi at 11:30 am in the Parliament Library building.

11: 24 IST, January 30th 2024

The voting for Chandigarh mayoral polls has begun and the first vote has been cast by Chandigarh BJP MP Kirron Kher.

10: 55 IST, January 30th 2024

The Chandigarh mayoral polls that were postponed due to presiding officer Anil Masih falling ill are scheduled for today.

10: 56 IST, January 30th 2024

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has targetted Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his latest comment at a party rally. Kharghe has said that if PM Modi wins another election, it may be the “last election” in the country. "This will be the last opportunity for the people to save democracy in India. If Narendra Modi wins another election, there will be dictatorship in the country. The BJP will rule India like Putin in Russia," said Kharge.

Published January 30th, 2024 at 10:58 IST