INDIA bloc seeks to keep southern citadel intact as Lok Sabha polling kicks off | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

INDIA bloc seeks to keep southern citadel intact as Lok Sabha polling kicks off

Apr 19, 2024 10:26 AM IST

The largest chunk of seats going to polls in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections are in Tamil Nadu, where voting is being held in all 39 constituencies

The first and largest phase of the general elections on Friday kicked off the world’s largest democratic exercise over the next six weeks. Nearly a billion citizens are eligible to vote. In 2019, opposition parties won the largest chunk of the 102 seats going to polls in the first phase.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Kerala’s Kannur on Thursday. (X)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Kerala’s Kannur on Thursday. (X)

The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) hopes to cut into the Bharatiya Janata Party’s electoral track record and keep its southern citadel intact. The largest chunk of seats going to polls are in Tamil Nadu, where voting is being held in all 39 constituencies. The INDIA bloc holds 38 out of these seats. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led grouping in the state hopes to repeat the performance.

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Kejriwal’s blood sugar levels

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday told a local court that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was having mangoes, sweets, and tea with sugar in Tihar jail to spike his blood sugar levels and create grounds for bail. It claimed Kejriwal, a type-2 diabetes patient, is trying “to create a medical emergency to obtain sympathetic treatment from the court”.

Delhi minister Atishi responded to the claim saying there was a “huge conspiracy” to kill Kejriwal in prison. She blamed the denial of insulin for the jump in Kejriwal’s blood sugar levels. Atishi accused ED of lying to deny Kejriwal home-cooked food. She said Kejriwal has been suffering from diabetes for 30 years and takes 54 units of insulin daily. Atishi said Kejriwal has been using sweetener erythritol which is low-calorie and was prescribed by his doctor.

Sena (UBT) tries to placate Congress’s Mumbai chief

The Shiv Sena (UBT) has proposed nomination of Mumbai Congress chief Varsha Gaikwad from the Mumbai North Central Lok Sabha constituency as part of an attempt to placate her. Gaikwad, a legislator from Dharavi, wanted to contest the seat that her father the late Eknath Gaikwad once represented. Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray unilaterally announced the candidature of former Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai from the seat.

The Congress, meanwhile, wants the Sena (UBT)’s former corporator Tejasvee Ghosalkar to fight the polls on a Congress ticket from Mumbai North. History sheeter Mauris Norhona shot dead Tejasvee’s husband, Abhishek, live on Facebook.

Dissent within Congress in Bhatinda

The Congress’s move to nominate Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu as its Lok Sabha candidate from Punjab’s Bhatinda has sparked dissidence within the party. Khushbaz Jattana, a local party functionary, said Sidhu joined the Congress only six months ago. “Jeet Mohinder was a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and the Congress unit has been fighting him in the Talwandi Sabo assembly segment since 2014. Now, he has suddenly joined the Congress and our party gave priority to a turncoat over the loyal cadre. There is bound to be resentment,” said Jattana. Earlier, Manish Tewari’s nomination from Chandigarh sparked protests within the Congress.

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