BSP chief Mayawati has virtually ruled out an apology for seeking votes from Muslims at a rally in Saharanpur. She instead raked up Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s “Lord Hanuman was a Dalit” remark and accused the BJP of dividing the society along communal lines.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, has accused the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) of playing a “dangerous game” in Sabarimala, adding that the BJP “won’t let them destroy our culture”. Addressing rallies in Tamil Nadu, Modi said, “When you vote for Congress-DMK and Muslim League, you vote for lower development. A vote for them will mean free hand for terrorists. A vote for them would mean a vote for criminals in politics.”
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu, meanwhile, has approached the Election Commission to complain about the widespread EVM glitches and violence during the first phase of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the state on April 11.
Claiming that there is a "silent wave" in the state in his favour, Naidu has accused the Election Commission of making the election process a "big farce." "This is a very big farce. Disaster for the nation. I can say it is a big confusion, big mess, big farce," Naidu had said. He claimed that as per "official information" 4,583 EVMs got stuck in the state and noted that it was a "major crisis."
He found fault with the Deputy Election Commissioner's clarification that there was no problem with the EVMs in AP. "I have never seen such an insensitive, unrealistic, irresponsible and useless Election Commission. Do you make a mockery of democracy? EC turned into BJP branch office," the TDP chief said.
"As senior leader I have to warn them (EC). Country should know. They should not commit any more these type of mistakes," Naidu added.
The TDP chief also said he would file a review petition in the Supreme Court over its order on counting of VVPAT slips. "I am going to Delhi tomorrow (to meet the ECI officials). EC should answer why it did all this. After this we will go logically on EVMs," he said and reiterated the demand that the country revert to the old ballot paper system.
To a question, he replied more rigging was happening now, that too in an easier way with the use of EVMs.
The Chief Minister also fired at the ECI over the appointment of the state Chief Secretary, alleging that the latter was a "co-accused with Jagan" in the disproportionate assets case.
"How do you post the CS without consulting us? Do we have to get work done through him? You will run governments? Will you look after my security," Naidu asked, finding fault with the EC over the transfer of Intelligence DG and three other IPS officers.
The TDP president also cried that the general elections in Andhra Pradesh were scheduled in the first phase in one go only to "leave me no time."
"Last time (2014) elections were held in the last phase, this time in the first phase.
What is the rationality? Did you speak to political parties or have you taken lottery or did jumbling? What it indicates?" he asked.
Naidu, however, wound up his press conference announcing that he would take oath (as Chief Minister again) on a "good day" after May 23.
"There is a silent wave, beyond anyone's imagination. We are winning," he added.