INDIA 2024 India News Politics

LS polls: Omar to contest from Srinagar

NC has already announced its candidate, senior Gujjar/Bakarwal leader, Mian Altaf Ahmad from the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency…reports Asian Lite News

Former J&K Chief Minister and vice president of National Conference (NC), Omar Abdullah will fight the Lok Sabha election from the Srinagar constituency.

Sources within the NC said that Omar Abdullah will contest the Srinagar constituency while former minister and senior party leader, Chowdhary Mohd Ramzan will fight from the north Kashmir Baramulla seat.

NC has already announced its candidate, senior Gujjar/Bakarwal leader, Mian Altaf Ahmad from the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency.

Another former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, president of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has also announced her decision to fight from the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency.

PDP has fielded its youth wing president, Waheed Parra for Srinagar and former Rajya Sabha member, Fayaz Ahmad Mir from the Baramulla seat.

BJP has not so far announced its candidates for three Lok Sabha seats from Kashmir. The party has fielded Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (PMO) from Kathua-Udhampur and Jugal Kishore Sharma for the Jammu-Reasi seat.

NC and Congress have entered an alliance agreement for the elections with the NC supporting Congress candidates for Jammu-Reasi and Kathua-Udhampur seats while the Congress will not field its candidates against the NC in the three seats in Kashmir.

Sajad Gani Lone of the Peoples Conference (PC) is fighting Lok Sabha elections from the Baramulla constituency.

Kathua-Udhampur constituency goes to vote on April 19, Jammu-Reasi on April 26, Anantnag-Rajouri on May 7, Srinagar on May 13 and Baramulla on May 20.

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BJD declares fresh list of candidates for LS & Assembly seats

The party has nominated ex-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lekhashri Samantsinghar from Balasore Parliamentary constituency….reports Asian Lite News

 The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Thursday announced the fresh list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and Assembly elections.

BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a video message declared the names of nominees for one Lok Sabha and nine Assembly constituencies.

The party has nominated ex-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lekhashri Samantsinghar from Balasore Parliamentary constituency.

The former firebrand women leader had joined the ruling BJD on April 7, hours after resigning from the primary membership of BJP.

With the announcement of Samantsinghar’s candidature for the Balasore constituency on Thursday, the party has announced candidates for all the 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

She will fight her maiden electoral battle against former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Pratap Chandra Sarangi as the principal opponent in the Balasore Parliamentary constituency.

The BJD also declared its candidates for nine state Assembly constituencies in the state.

The party has renominated five sitting MLAs while it fielded new faces in the four Assembly seats.

The party has renominated Braja Kishore Pradhan from Talcher Assembly segment in Dhenkanal Lok Sabha constituency, Ananta Narayan Jena for Bhubaneswar central Assembly seat, Rohit Pujari on Rairkhol Vidhan Sabha seat in Sambalpur district, Prabhu Jani from Laxmipur Assembly segment in Koraput Lok Sabha constituency and Chakramani Kanhar on Baliguda Assembly seat in Kandhamal district.

Meanwhile, veteran leader Prasanna Acharya has been nominated for Sambalpur Assembly seat, while the party fielded Giitanjali Routray in Paradeep assembly seat, this time replacing her husband and the sitting Paradeep MLA Sambit Routray.

The BJD has named Manorama Mohanty in Narla constituency in Kalahandi district, replacing Bhupinder Singh.

Similarly, Madhab Sardar has been fielded as the candidate for Telkoi Assembly segment in Keonjhar Lok Sabha constituency in place of defector Premananda Nayak who recently joined BJP after quitting BJD.

Nayak, the sitting Telkoi MLA along with BJP leader Arabinda Dhali have been disqualified by the Speaker Pramila Mallik from the state assembly on the ground of defection on April 10.

The BJD is yet to declare candidates for 30 more constituencies out of the 147 Assembly seats in the state.

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Why are country’s borders shrinking, asks Akhilesh 

Yadav highlighted concerns about law and order, unemployment, press freedom, healthcare, and poverty levels…reports Asian Lite News

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, in a thinly veiled critique of the BJP-led central government, questioned the state of affairs in the country, particularly focusing on the shrinking borders and the state of press freedom.

Speaking at Aishbagh Eidgah on Eid-ul-Fitr, Yadav highlighted concerns about law and order, unemployment, press freedom, healthcare, and poverty levels.

While refraining from naming any specific party or individual, Yadav emphasized that voters are cognizant of these issues and are poised to bring about change through the upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, the Congress took aim at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response to China’s border transgressions, labeling it as “ineffective and feeble.”

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh criticized Modi’s remarks in an interview with Newsweek magazine, describing them as “cowardly.” In the interview, Modi stressed the importance of stable relations between India and China and expressed hope for peaceful resolution through diplomatic and military engagement.

However, the Congress demanded an apology from Modi for his previous statement in June 2020, where he denied any Chinese intrusion into Indian territory.

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BSP returns to its roots with new motto

This shift underscores the party’s renewed focus on its core constituency, marking a departure from its previous inclusive stance…reports Asian Lite News

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has recently signaled a strategic reorientation by altering its motto from ‘sarvjan hitai, sarvjan sukhai’ to ‘bahujan hitai, bahujan sukhai’ ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, indicating a return to its foundational principles. This shift underscores the party’s renewed focus on its core constituency, marking a departure from its previous inclusive stance.

Initially propelled to power in Uttar Pradesh through Mayawati’s ‘social engineering’ approach, which amalgamated upper castes with Dalits in the 2007 assembly elections, the BSP now appears intent on reclaiming its traditional base. The revised slogan, ‘bahujan hitai, bahujan sukhai,’ encapsulates the interests of the ‘bahujans,’ encompassing scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes (OBCs), and religious minorities.

The BSP’s adoption of the new motto was evident in its press note announcing Mayawati’s election meetings in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Formerly, the party’s posters prominently featured the motto ‘sarvjan hitai, sarvajan sukhai.’ This shift underscores a strategic recalibration aimed at realigning the party with its core values and constituency.

The party’s press release emphasized its commitment to contesting the general elections independently, without any external alliances, to champion the welfare of the ‘bahujans.’ This decision reflects a strategic imperative to assert the BSP’s autonomy and consolidate its electoral base without relying on external support.

Following its peak performance in the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, where it secured an absolute majority with 206 seats, the BSP has witnessed a steady decline in its electoral fortunes. Subsequent electoral setbacks, notably in the 2012 and 2017 assembly polls, underscored the need for the party to reconnect with its core support base to remain politically relevant.

Critically, there is a growing acknowledgment within the party of the need to address grievances among its traditional supporters, particularly Dalits, who have felt marginalized amid perceived shifts in the party’s priorities and leadership. The BSP’s historical stance against ‘brahminvaad and manuvaad’ underscores its commitment to championing the interests of marginalized communities.

Central to the BSP’s electoral strategy is the preservation of its core vote bank, which has historically remained loyal to the party. This core constituency serves as the bedrock of the BSP’s electoral support, facilitating alliances with other caste groups. Therefore, maintaining the cohesion of this support base is essential to the party’s electoral prospects.

By prioritizing the interests of the ‘bahujan samaj’ and emphasizing its commitment to social justice, the BSP aims to reassert its relevance and appeal among marginalized communities. This strategic realignment underscores the party’s determination to reclaim lost ground and advance the interests of the deprived sections of society.

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Fund issues strain Congress in supporting its candidates

Ramesh raised concerns about the freezing of the party’s bank accounts by the Income Tax department…reports Asian Lite News

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh recently addressed the media, shedding light on the challenges the party faces in supporting its candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. He attributed these difficulties primarily to a financial crunch exacerbated by what he described as actions taken by the central government. Despite these obstacles, Ramesh expressed confidence in the party’s electoral prospects, asserting that the opposition alliance would secure a resounding victory.

Ramesh raised concerns about the freezing of the party’s bank accounts by the Income Tax department and alleged that a substantial amount of money received through public funding had been misappropriated by the Prime Minister. He also highlighted instances of what he termed as daily humiliations faced by Congress leaders, attributing these attacks to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Acknowledging the challenges posed by governmental actions, Ramesh emphasized the party’s resilience and determination to persevere. He underscored the importance of supporting candidates who represent diverse sections of society, including youth, women, and farmers, and dismissed attempts by the BJP to intimidate the Congress.

Ramesh projected confidence in the prospects of the opposition INDIA bloc, predicting a clear majority of over 272 seats in the Lok Sabha. He anticipated that regional parties from the Northeast would align with the anti-BJP coalition following the election results.

Switching focus to China’s territorial claims and renaming of Indian places, Ramesh reaffirmed India’s sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh and criticized the BJP government’s response to Chinese incursions. He accused the Prime Minister of weakening India’s negotiating position by denying Chinese occupation, emphasizing the need to safeguard India’s territorial integrity.

Characterizing the current election as a battle to safeguard democracy, the Constitution, and the country’s diversity, Ramesh criticized the BJP for perpetuating injustices against various segments of society. He outlined the Congress manifesto’s focus on addressing unemployment, price rise, and social inequalities, presenting it as a solution to rectify past injustices.

Addressing the exodus of leaders from the Congress, Ramesh dismissed concerns, portraying it as an opportunity for dedicated young individuals to step up within the party. He derided those who left as opportunists seeking refuge in the BJP, likening the party to a “washing machine” and Prime Minister Modi to a purifying agent.

Refuting Prime Minister Modi’s comparison of the Congress manifesto to that of the Muslim League, Ramesh condemned the analogy as shameful and highlighted historical alliances between the BJP’s ideological predecessors and the Muslim League. He affirmed the Congress’s commitment to its manifesto and expressed confidence in the electorate’s support for the party in the upcoming election.

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‘BJP in quest for dominance of Hindi, Hindutva, Hindustan’

Tharoor emphasized that despite the BJP’s aggressive campaigns focusing on ‘vikas’ (development)…reports Asian Lite News

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor recently offered a comprehensive critique of the BJP’s claims regarding its performance in South India during the Lok Sabha polls. In a detailed analysis, Tharoor dismantled the notion propagated by the BJP’s “propaganda mill” that it has made significant inroads in the southern region. He pointed out that the narratives and agendas pushed by the BJP, such as communalism, religious division, and nativist social cleavages, which resonate in the northern parts of the country, find little traction in the south.

Tharoor emphasized that despite the BJP’s aggressive campaigns focusing on ‘vikas’ (development), the actual region experiencing substantial development remains largely unswayed by the ruling party’s agenda. He highlighted the disconnect between the BJP’s rhetoric and the ground realities in South India, suggesting that the BJP’s claims of exemplary performance in the region are unfounded.

Furthermore, Tharoor cautioned against the BJP’s overarching quest for dominance through the promotion of “Hindi, Hindutva, Hindustan,” identifying it as a grave threat to India’s pluralistic ethos. He stressed the enduring nature of Indian secularism, deeply embedded in the country’s cultural fabric, which he believes will withstand attempts to erode it.

In addressing the BJP’s politicization of religion, particularly concerning the Ram temple issue, Tharoor questioned the party’s appropriation of Lord Ram, a figure deeply revered across India. He criticized the BJP’s exploitation of religious sentiments for political gains and downplayed the notion of a “Ram temple wave,” suggesting that voters prioritize substantive issues such as unemployment, inflation, and communal harmony over religious symbolism.

Tharoor also raised concerns about the BJP’s divisive tactics and its impact on national unity. He warned against the BJP’s attempts to exacerbate regional divides, particularly between the North and the South, accusing the party of exacerbating communal, linguistic, and regional tensions for its political advantage.

Additionally, Tharoor highlighted the BJP’s track record in Kerala, criticizing the party for failing to deliver on its promises to the state. He pointed out instances where the BJP made commitments but failed to follow through, eroding trust among Keralites. Tharoor questioned why any citizen of Kerala would trust the BJP given its history of unfulfilled promises and lackluster performance in the state.

Looking ahead, Tharoor underscored the significance of the ongoing battle for India’s soul, emphasizing the choice between an inclusive vision for the future and one marred by communalism and division. He urged voters to prioritize national unity and reject divisive politics, warning against the potential repercussions of a BJP-led government on the country’s pluralistic ethos.

In conclusion, Tharoor’s analysis provides a comprehensive rebuttal to the BJP’s claims of success in South India, highlighting the party’s divisive tactics and failure to address substantive issues. His insights underscore the importance of safeguarding India’s secular and pluralistic values against threats posed by communalism and political polarization.

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Eshwarappa: The firebrand BJP face to a rebel leader

The senior BJP leader vowed to defeat the candidate of his own party from the Shivamogga Lok Sabha constituency in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, reports M.K. Ashoka

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader K.S. Eshwarappa is one of the frontline members of the party in Karnataka and has played a key role along with former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa in making the BJP a force to reckon with in the state.

The 76-year-old leader is the face of OBCs and the Kuruba community. The man who is regarded as one of the key leaders who built the BJP from scratch in Karnataka is today at ‘crossroads’, having vowed to defeat the candidate of his own party from the Shivamogga Lok Sabha constituency in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, in a strange turn of events.

Eshwarappa has announced that he will file his nomination on Friday as an Independent candidate. He also asserted he would win the seat and “dedicate his victory on the feet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.

This decision has surprised everyone.

Initially, everyone assumed that Eshwarappa would mellow down after the party high command spoke to him. However, his resolve to contest against the BJP candidate has become a major concern. The senior BJP leader would be contesting from Shivamogga as an Independent candidate against BJP candidate B.Y. Raghavendra — the son of Yediyurappa.

Eshwarappa wanted a BJP ticket from the Haveri Lok Sabha constituency for his son, K.E. Kanthesh. However, the party fielded former Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai from the Haveri seat — a development that made Eshwarappa upset, with the ex-Deputy CM eventually deciding to contest against Yediyurappa’s son in the Shivamogga Lok Sabha constituency.

Eshwarappa expressed his outrage against Yediyurappa for not ensuring a ticket for his son Kanthesh for the Haveri LS seat.

Following the incidents of the brutal murder of Bajrang Dal activist Harsha in Shivamogga and the suicide of a contractor Santhosh Patil, Eshwarappa was denied the ticket to contest Assembly election from Shivamogga seat, which he represented for five terms.

When former CM Jagadish Shettar and ex-Deputy CM Laxman Savadi quit the BJP and joined the Congress last year ahead of the Karnataka Assembly polls following the denial of tickets to them, Eshwarappa remained calm and stated that he would abide by the party’s decision.

The “love-hate equation” between former Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa and Eshwarappa is well known in Karnataka political circles.

Sources within the party submitted that Eshwarappa is in a “hyper-sensitive” phase of his political career. And a defeat in the upcoming election could push him to a corner in the state’s political arena.

Karnataka unit BJP president B.Y. Vijayendra has already stated that “if Eshwarappa is willing to end his political career in this manner then no one can help him”.

Eshwarappa, a seasoned campaigner, has also seen a series of setbacks in his political career. He was asked to announce his resignation from the Cabinet in connection with the case of the suicide of a contractor in April 2022. Eshwarappa was denied ticket to contest from Shivamogga Assembly seat which he represented traditionally. And much to his chagrin, the party allotted ticket to his close aide Channabasappa, and he got elected.

Eshwarappa, who did not speak a word then and kept toeing the party line has rebelled this time. He has vowed to challenge the supremacy of his ‘friend-turned-foe’, B.S. Yediyurappa, in the party.

“I can’t simply sit and watch one of his sons becoming Union Minister, another becoming BJP state unit president and getting ready for the CM post. The BJP is in the clutches of the Yediyurappa family and I will get the party out of his clutches,” Eshwarappa said.

Eshwarappa’s parents were daily wage earners. Motivated by his mother’s wish to see him ‘doing good in life’, he went on to become one of the prominent politicians of Karnataka.

Eshwarappa was born in Bellary district. His father Sharanappa and mother Basamma moved to Shivamogga in the early 1950s. His parents worked as daily wage earners. As a boy, Eshwarappa wanted to join his parents in the work. However, his mother did not allow him, and asked him to focus on education and “earn a good name in the society”.

His mother’s words motivated him to continue his studies, and more so, focus on social work. Later, he was introduced to RSS through Narasimha Murthy Iyengar, a VHP leader from Shivamogga.

Since then, Eshwarappa never turned back in his life.

From a student leader in ABVP, he became city unit president of the BJP in Shivamogga and went on to establish himself as a mass leader by defeating a heavyweight leader, then minister K.H. Srinivas, in the 1989 Karnataka Assembly elections.

To date, he lost only once in elections from Shivamogga Assembly segment. Eshwarappa became Deputy Chief Minister in the erstwhile Jagadish Shettar-led Cabinet in 2012. He served as the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister in the previous Basavaraj Bommai-led Cabinet.

He was also appointed state unit party president twice.

However, he was also known for controversial remarks throughout his political career.

Seen as a Hindutva leader, his remarks at times drew national attention.

BJP President J.P. Nadda had once advised him to “slow down” for his “hoisting saffron flag on the Red Fort” remark.

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Delhi CM’s private secretary sacked  

The AAP hit back at the Lieutenant Governor over this latest setback and accused the BJP of trying to finish the party led by Kejriwal…reports Asian Lite News

In a fresh setback for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, his private secretary has been sacked over alleged violation of rules during his appointment.

Bibhav Kumar’s services have been terminated with immediate effect, said the Directorate of Vigilance in its order, stating that he was appointed in violation of the Central Civil Service Rules, related to temporary appointments.

The AAP hit back at the Lieutenant Governor over this latest setback and accused the BJP of trying to finish the party led by Kejriwal.

Kumar faced a police case in 2007 in Noida for allegedly assaulting a public servant, the vigilance department pointed out in its order, adding that this information was not revealed during his appointment as the private secretary.

“This is not only irregular but also creates administrative difficulties. Due to sensitivity of work handled by the ministers, it is not appropriate to allow appointments in the personal staff of ministers without prior verification of character and antecedents,” the order said.

The department said the charges against Kumar are grave in nature and the trial is at the stage of evidence, due to which “Bibhav Kumar is not clear from vigilance angle”.

The AAP slammed the sacking of Kumar with party leader Jasmine Shah alleging that democracy is being dismantled in the national capital.

“First the Delhi CM is arrested in the fake Delhi liquor case. Now, the LG has started sacking his entire staff including his Pvt Secretary. There is no doubt left that BJP’s sole aim is to finish AAP. Democracy is being dismantled in the national capital,” said Shah. Kumar was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate earlier this week in the liquor policy case, in which Kejriwal is in jail. He also met the Chief Minister at Tihar on Tuesday.

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Shivakumar gets notice in disproportionate assets case

Shivakumar has been asked to provide all documents in his defence regarding the case…reports Asian Lite News

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress President, D.K. Shivakumar, has been served a notice by the State Lokayukta on Wednesday in connection with the disproportionate assets (DA) case, sources confirmed.

Shivakumar has been asked to provide all documents in his defence regarding the case.

The development is seen as a setback for Shivakumar, who is busy with strategising and executing election campaigns for the Congress.

Shivakumar is also at the forefront of election campaigns with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

In a controversial move, the Congress government had withdrawn the permission given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the matter.

The case was handed over to the CBI by the then BJP government headed by former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa.

The case was then handed over to the Lokayukta by the Congress government on November 23, 2023.

The CBI had questioned the Karnataka government’s decision in the court, claiming that it is in the last phase of filing the charge sheet against Shivakumar.

The Supreme Court had recently quashed the case probed by the Enforcement Directorate against Shivakumar.

Shivakumar had recently claimed that even after the DA case was quashed and permission withdrawn for the CBI probe, the central probe agencies still served notices to him, his family and business partners and accused that they were harassed.

The CBI had alleged that the assets of Shivakumar’s family, which was amounting to Rs 33 crore in 2013 had increased to Rs 166.79 crore by 2018.

The preliminary probe proved the increase of 44.93 per cent additional property disproportionate to the sources of income, sources said.

Shivakumar ridicules Kumaraswamy

Shivakumar ridiculed JD (S) leader HD Kumaraswamy’s style of politics on Wednesday, stating that his only job was to criticise.

“Tell me what Kumaraswamy has not criticised. His job is to criticise. He is criticising the Congress manifesto now. He criticised Mekedatu in the past and now he is saying he will implement it. He criticised the BJP for bringing his government down and now he has joined hands with them. He doesn’t respect his own words and I don’t bother much about his words,” Shivakumar told reporters at his Sadashivanagar residence.

“Kumaraswamy hasn’t even spared the Vokkaliga Mutt. He has created an alternative Vokkaliga Mutt. We all know what Kumaraswamy said about Yediyurappa and what Yediyurappa said about Kumaraswamy. We also know what Devegowda said about Yediyurappa. Yogeshwar, Ashok and Ashwathnarayan brought down the Kumaraswamy government, but now he has joined hands with the same people. Now, he is accusing the manifesto of the party, which made him the Chief Minister,” he added.

When asked about how Vokkaliga votes are getting divided, Kumaraswamy said, “Vokkaligas and Vokkaliga swamijis won’t advocate a political party just because they visit them. They are wise and they won’t interfere in politics. The swamijis are aware of the fact that JDS leaders divided the Vokkaliga mutts. Swamijis could have questioned the BJP leaders for bringing down a Vokkaliga chief minister but they did not. Now the JDS leaders are taking to Swamijis the same leaders who brought down a Vokkaliga chief minister.”

He further said, “The Congress party has given tickets to eight Vokkaligas. I am the KPCC President and the DCM. Vokkaligas are smart people and they are watching everything. Kumaraswamy is saying he joined hands with the BJP because of the Congress but he doesn’t realise that he has sold himself by this alliance. What is worse is that Devegowda had to field his own son-in-law on a BJP ticket. Now, they are embracing the same people who brought him down.”

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Home voting begins in West Tripura LS seat

Significantly, almost 5000 voters had opted for home voting in the West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency….reports Asian Lite News

The home voting for the elderly and person with disabilities begins in West Tripura Lok Sabha on Wednesday and will persist until April 12.

Significantly, almost 5000 voters had opted for home voting in the West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency.

“People whose age is more than 85+ years and those who have more than 40 per cent PwD can opt for home voting,” stated Returning Officer & District Election Officer Dr Vishal Kumar.

He further said that in the whole West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency, we have arranged about 200 teams for the home voting process. Everything is running fine and we are working on it.

“In Tripura, we have received about 9500 forms for home voting, of which nearly 4500 are in the west Tripura Lok Sabha constituency. The rest of the forms have been received from the East Tripura Lok Sabha constituency,” he added.

Meanwhile, Former BJP MLA and senior advocate Arun Chandra Bhowmik joined the Congress party on Wednesday in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. He was welcomed by AICC-in-charge of Tripura, Girish Chodankar at an election rally held in Agartala today.

Reportedly, Bhowmik was denied a ticket in the last assembly elections by the BJP and since then he has not been active in party activities.

Notably, the elections are scheduled to be held in two phases in the state. The West Tripura seat will go to the polls on April 19, while the East Tripura seat will witness voting on April 26. The counting of votes will be held on June 4.

The election for 543 Lok Sabha seats in the country will be held in seven phases, starting on April 19 and ending on June 1. Nearly 97 crore voters are eligible to cast a vote in the general election. (ANI)

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