Congress accuses Modi government of deceiving armed forces

Jaipur: Congress on Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of deceiving the armed forces, alleging that it has failed on the national security front – BJP’s prime poll plank in the Lok Sabha elections.
“The government has deceived th…

Jaipur: Congress on Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government of deceiving the armed forces, alleging that it has failed on the national security front - BJP's prime poll plank in the Lok Sabha elections.

"The government has deceived the armed forces. Modi is politicising the martyrdom of the soldiers for electoral gains but the security personnel get nothing other than disappointment and disdain from this government," said senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala at a press conference here.

The Congress said the Pulwama attack could have been prevented had intelligence agencies not failed.

Surjewala said, "Pulwama attack is a result of our intelligence failure. It is still unknown how terrorists get hundreds of kilograms of RDX, rocket launcher, and MI 4 carbines in Srinagar. How a car filled with RDX collided with the CRPF convoy given there is a standard security protocol in place."

"PM was busy in shooting a film before and after the attack. When the country was saddened, he was busy in addressing a rally via telephone," Surjewala said.

The Congress leader questioned, "Why did the Union Home Ministry not permit the airlifting of the CRPF jawans (instead of taking road) which only costs Rs 10 lakh."

The Congress released a list of 15 points on alleged security lapses and soldiers' welfare related issues under the Modi government. The list includes topics ranging from intelligence failure on Pulwama attack, fund shortage for armed forces, outdated security equipment, number of ceasefire violations in the last five years to 'martyr' status to slain troopers of BSF, CRPF and ITBP.

"Is it not true that the Army has no money to build roads along the China border? Is it not true that around 500 soldiers and 300 civilians were killed in the last 5 years in Jammu and Kashmir due to Modi's policies," Surjewala read out from the list.

He cited an RTI reply by the Defence Ministry to claim that Modi government did not sanction Rs 1600 crore needed for strengthening military installations.

"If the government can spend Rs 6000 crore on Modi's publicity and Rs 2,500 crore on his foreign tours, why can't it give Rs1600 crore to the military," the Congress leader questioned.

Accusing Modi of cheating the security personnel, he said that the government does not recognise BSF, ITBP and CRPF security personnel killed on duty as 'martyrs'.

Citing a report by a parliamentary committee headed by BC Khanduri, Surjewala claimed that 68 per cent equipment of armed forces are very old and decorative.

Surjewala said that Prime Minister Modi was resorting to politicising the services of armed forces to divert people's attention from his failures on farm distress, job losses due to demonetisation and attacks on Dalits and marginalised sections of society.

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Rahul Gandhi: PM Modi, BJP treated farmers as ‘liability’

New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP have treated farmers as a “liability” and asserted that the farmers are now rising up to demand “Nyay” (justice).
Taking to Twitter, he also sha…

New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP have treated farmers as a "liability" and asserted that the farmers are now rising up to demand "Nyay" (justice).

Taking to Twitter, he also shared a video of the Congress party's campaign focusing on farmers and talking about party's promises such as the 'Kisan budget', loan waiver, and appropriate prices for produce.

"Our farmers are our pride & strength. For the past 5 years, Mr Modi & the BJP have treated them as a liability. India's farmers are now rising up to demand NYAY," Gandhi tweeted.

The Congress chief has been alleging largescale farmers distress in the country, a claim denied by the BJP.

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Donald Trump: Don’t want to lose Saudi Arabia, they buy a lot

Wisconsin: US President Donald Trump reinforced his support for Saudi Arabia on Saturday during a rally at Green Bay here, highlighting that he wouldn’t want to “lose” the ally which purchased goods to the tune of USD 450 billion from the United States…

Wisconsin: US President Donald Trump reinforced his support for Saudi Arabia on Saturday during a rally at Green Bay here, highlighting that he wouldn't want to "lose" the ally which purchased goods to the tune of USD 450 billion from the United States.

"They have nothing but cash, right? They buy a lot from us, USD 450 billion they bought," Al Jazeera quoted the US President as claiming.

"You had people wanting to cut off Saudi Arabia...I don't want to lose them," he added.

The US-Saudi Arabia relations came under the scanner recently following the murder of The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Many criticised Trump for siding with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was found to be involved in the scribe's killing by a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report.

Saudi Arabia has strongly refuted such reports, reiterating that the Crown prince was not involved in Khashoggi's killing in any way.

At the rally, the US President also described a recent phone call he had with the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

"We lose USD 4.5 billion on a country to defend them, and they're rich. So I called them. I said listen, no good. They were in a state of shock because they've never got a call like this in 25 years, right," Trump said to a cheering crowd.

"I said we're losing USD 4.5 billion every year, we can't do this anymore. This is crazy. He (King Salman) got very upset, angry, said this is not fair. I said, of course, this is fair. He said we'll give you USD 500 million more...I said I want more. We argued. So they paid us more than USD 500 million for one phone call, it took me one call," he stated.

Trump then recollected how the Saudi King asked why the US President made the call as "nobody had made such a call".

"That's because they were stupid!" Trump exclaimed during his address.

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Elections 2019: Fadnavis held maximum rallies, followed by Munde, Pawar

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has topped the list of political leaders, who held maximum number of public rallies for the Lok Sabha elections in the state. While Fadnavis addressed as many as 87 rallies for the BJP-Shiv Sena across Mahar…

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has topped the list of political leaders, who held maximum number of public rallies for the Lok Sabha elections in the state. While Fadnavis addressed as many as 87 rallies for the BJP-Shiv Sena across Maharashtra, NCP leader Dhanajay Munde ranks second with his 80 public meetings.

While both Fadnavis and Munde are in their forties, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, who is 79 years old, ranks third as he addressed 78 political rallies in the state, which sends 48 members to the Lok Sabha. While polling for three out of four phases in Maharashtra has already got over, the fourth and final phase will be held on Monday. Fadnavis not only addressed rallies for the BJP candidates, but also canvassed for ally Shiv Sena's nominees. He also held talks with voters and prominent people in the respective regions. Besides, the chief minister was present at all the nine rallies addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Maharashtra.

While addressing a rally in North Maharashtra, Modi even praised Fadnavis saying, "You don't have to follow the protocol and attend every rally that I address. But I have seen you attending every rally of mine in Maharashtra." A BJP leader said, "Fadnavis addressed as many as 87 rallies in Maharashtra. He had prepared a plan of holding of holding at least one rally in every Lok sabha constituency and he managed to do it." "Fadnavis even addressed one rally in Vadodara and he is likely to address a few rallies in Uttar Pradesh as well once polling in Maharashtra gets over on Monday," he added. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray held 24 rallies in Maharashtra.

However, all his meetings were only for the Sena candidates. He did not address even a single rally for those contesting on BJP ticket. Thackeray also shared the dais with the prime minister in two rallies. The BJP and the Sena are contesting 25 and 23 seats respectively. An NCP leader said, "It is interesting to note that instead of a Congress leader, it was Dhananjay Munde of the NCP, who held maximum rallies after Fadnavis. He addressed 80 rallies across 21 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, mainly in the rural parts of the state."

Former Union minister Sharad Pawar campaigned for both NCP and Congress candidates and also held meetings with NCP workers and local key persons, where he appealed them to vote, another BJP leader said. "Pawar planned his rallies as per the geographical proximity of constituencies. He held public meetings accordingly and used the helicopter service extensively," an NCP leader. BJP national chief Amit Shah held four public meetings in the state, but his other rallies got cancelled at the last moment.

Interestingly, MNS chief Raj Thackeray addressed eight rallies in different parts of Maharashtra, although his party is not contesting the general election this time. In his speeches, Thackeray lashed out at Modi, Shah and the policies of the BJP-led government, including demonetisation and GST. During the rallies, the MNS chief showed videos of sharp contrast of old promises made and the delivery, which became the talk of the town.

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Elections 2019: Elections in 3 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand on April 29

Ranchi: Over 45.26 lakh voters will on Monday decide the fate of 59 candidates in the first phase of polls for three Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand amidst tight security and air surveillance. The three constituencies, all won by the BJP in …

Ranchi: Over 45.26 lakh voters will on Monday decide the fate of 59 candidates in the first phase of polls for three Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand amidst tight security and air surveillance. The three constituencies, all won by the BJP in 2014 elections, are Lohardaga (ST), Palamu (SC) and Chatra.

As there are some Naxal pockets in Palamu and Chatra, the borders with Bihar have been sealed and adequate security arrangements have been made for the polling, an official said.

Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer L Khiangte told a press conference here that there are a total 45,26,693 electorate for Lohardaga, Chatra and Palamau Lok Sabha seats and 6,072 polling stations for the three seats going for polls on Monday from 7 am to 4 pm. A total 25,727 polling personnel have reached their polling centres while some personnel deputed at 137 polling stations were airdropped as their destinations are situated in remote areas, he said.

Due to security reasons, Khiangte added, a total 132 polling stations were relocated with the consent of political parties and candidates, Khiangte said.

Among the total polling stations, 2092 are hyper sensitive and 2710 are sensitive across the three constituencies, he said. An air ambulance will be available at the Birsa Munda Airport here from this evening till April 30 evening while cashless medical treatment would be provided for election-related cases, he said.

Inspector General of Police (Operation) Ashish Batra said that 200 companies of central paramilitary forces, 300 companies of various state police forces and 4500 home guards have been deployed to oversee voting in the state. He said five helicopters have begun air surveillance. Since the notification of elections on March 10, there was continuous anti-naxal operations, four encounters took place with three rebels being gunned down and 41 naxalites arrested, the IGP said. Huge quantity of weapons, landmines and 190 kg explosives were seized, besides Rs 2.26 crore cash being recovered, he said. Among the contestants, Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Sudarshan Bhagat is seeking re-election from the Lohardaga(ST) seat. He is pitted against Sukhdeo Bhagat, Congress MLA and Mahagathbandhan candidate. In Palamu, it is a straight contest between the BJP and the 'Mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance). Former Jharkhand police chief and BJP candidate Vishnu Dayal Ram is facing challenge from RJD's Ghuram Ram, supported by the Mahagathbandhan, comprising Congress, JMM and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik).

The RJD has fielded Subhas Yadav in Chatra, resulting in a friendly fight with the Congress nominee, Manoj Yadav, there. The BJP has re-nominated its sitting MP Sunil Kumar Singh from the seat. Senior BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah had campaigned asking the people to re-elect the NDA to take forward the developmental works and protect the country's security.

No prominent national level leader of the opposition parties had campaigned in the three seats. Lok Sabha elections in 14 parliamentary constituencies of Jharkhand will be held in four phases.

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Key political figures to contest 13 seats UP in fourth phase

Lucknow: The fourth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh will Monday witness key political figures like SP leader Dimple Yadav, Congress’s Salman Khurshid and Sakshi Maharaj of the BJP testing their electoral fortunes.
Thirteen co…

Lucknow: The fourth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh will Monday witness key political figures like SP leader Dimple Yadav, Congress's Salman Khurshid and Sakshi Maharaj of the BJP testing their electoral fortunes.

Thirteen constituencies of politically crucial Uttar Pradesh will vote Monday in the fourth phase in which 2.38 crore people will exercise their franchise. The seats which will go to polls are Shahjahanpur (SC), Kheri, Hardoi (SC), Misrikh (SC), Unnao, Farrukhabad, Etawah (SC), Kannauj, Akbarpur, Jalaun (SC), Jhansi and Hamirpur.

Former Union ministers Salman Khurshid (Farrukhabd) and Sriprakash Jaiswal (Kanpur) of Congress, UP Cabinet minister Satyadev Pachauri (Kanpur), Sakshi Maharaj of BJP (Unnao) and Annu Tandon of Congress (Unnao) are among others who are in fray for the polls.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, barring Kannauj, the BJP had registered victories on rest of the 12 seats. Kannauj was won by former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple Yadav.

On four of the seats-- Shahjahanpur (SC), Hardoi (SC), Misrikh (SC) and Etawah-- the BJP dropped its sitting MPs. Former Union ministers Murli Manohar Joshi (Kanpur) and Uma Bharti (Jhansi) are also not in the fray this time.

The SP-BSP alliance has fielded six BSP and seven SP candidates. While the BSP is contesting from Shahjahanpur (SC), Misrikh (SC), Farrukhabad, Akbarpur, Jalaun

(SC) and Hamirpur, the SP has fielded candidates from Kheri, Hardoi (SC), Unnao, Etawah, Kannauj, Kanpur and Jhansi.
The Congress has fielded candidates from 12 parliamentary constituencies, and it is not in the fray from Kannauj.

In Etawah, MP Ashok Kumar Dohare was dropped by the BJP and he was given ticket by the Congress. The BJP has fielded Ram Shankar Katheria, who was the sitting MP from Agra

(SC). Katheria is also the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.

Three Lok Sabha seats of Bundelkhannd -- Jalaun (SC), Jhansi and Hamipur -- will also vote on Monday. The fourth seat Banda will go to polls in the fifth phase on May 6. As many as 2,38,88,367 (2.38 crore) voters are likely to exercise their voting rights at 27,513 polling booths located in 17,011 polling centres.

The last day of campaigning Saturday saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi slamming the SP-BSP-RLD alliance in Uttar Pradesh, and saying the tie-up of "opportunists" wants a helpless government because its mantra is "jaat, paat japna, janata ka maal apna".

Modi addressed election rallies in Kannauj, a SP stronghold, Hardoi and Sitapur. Dubbing the alliance as 'mahamilavati (highly adulterated) and opportunists', he said in Kannauj that he does not believe in politics of caste.

"Mayawatiji (BSP chief), I am most backward... I request with folded hands not to drag me into caste politics, 130 crore people are my family," he said.

In addition to the 13 Lok Sabha seats, voting will also take place for bypoll to Nighasan assembly constituency on Monday.
The bypoll has been necessitated following the death of BJP MLA Patel Ram Kumar Verma.

Verma had died in September 2018 at a hospital in Lucknow after a prolonged illness. He was 64.

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Elections in 3 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand on April 29

Over 45.26 lakh voters will on Monday decide the fate of 59 candidates in the first phase of polls for three Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand amidst tight security and air surveillance. The three constituencies, all won by the BJP in 2014 election…

Over 45.26 lakh voters will on Monday decide the fate of 59 candidates in the first phase of polls for three Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand amidst tight security and air surveillance. The three constituencies, all won by the BJP in 2014 elections, are Lohardaga (ST), Palamu (SC) and Chatra.

As there are some Naxal pockets in Palamu and Chatra, the borders with Bihar have been sealed and adequate security arrangements have been made for the polling, an official said. Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer L Khiangte told a press conference here that there are a total 45,26,693 electorate for Lohardaga, Chatra and Palamau Lok Sabha seats and 6,072 polling stations for the three seats going for polls on Monday from 7 am to 4 pm. A total 25,727 polling personnel have reached their polling centres while some personnel deputed at 137 polling stations were airdropped as their destinations are situated in remote areas, he said.

Due to security reasons, Khiangte added, a total 132 polling stations were relocated with the consent of political parties and candidates, Khiangte said. Among the total polling stations, 2092 are hyper sensitive and 2710 are sensitive across the three constituencies, he said. An air ambulance will be available at the Birsa Munda Airport here from this evening till April 30 evening while cashless medical treatment would be provided for election-related cases, he said. Inspector General of Police (Operation) Ashish Batra said that 200 companies of central paramilitary forces, 300 companies of various state police forces and 4500 home guards have been deployed to oversee voting in the state. He said five helicopters have begun air surveillance. Since the notification of elections on March 10, there was continuous anti-naxal operations, four encounters took place with three rebels being gunned down and 41 naxalites arrested, the IGP said. Huge quantity of weapons, landmines and 190 kg explosives were seized, besides Rs 2.26 crore cash being recovered, he said.

Among the contestants, Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Sudarshan Bhagat is seeking re-election from the Lohardaga(ST) seat. He is pitted against Sukhdeo Bhagat, Congress MLA and Mahagathbandhan candidate. In Palamu, it is a straight contest between the BJP and the 'Mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance). Former Jharkhand police chief and BJP candidate Vishnu Dayal Ram is facing challenge from RJD's Ghuram Ram, supported by the Mahagathbandhan, comprising Congress, JMM and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik).

The RJD has fielded Subhas Yadav in Chatra, resulting in a friendly fight with the Congress nominee, Manoj Yadav, there. The BJP has re-nominated its sitting MP Sunil Kumar Singh from the seat. Senior BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah had campaigned asking the people to re-elect the NDA to take forward the developmental works and protect the country's security. No prominent national level leader of the opposition parties had campaigned in the three seats. Lok Sabha elections in 14 parliamentary constituencies of Jharkhand will be held in four phases

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Brajesh Goyal hits out at BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi over sealing drive

New Delhi: Attacking his opponent and sitting MP Meenakshi Lekhi, AAP’s Lok Sabha candidate Brajesh Goyal on Sunday alleged that the BJP leader ignored the problems of sealing drives in several prominent markets in the New Delhi parliamentary constitue…

New Delhi: Attacking his opponent and sitting MP Meenakshi Lekhi, AAP's Lok Sabha candidate Brajesh Goyal on Sunday alleged that the BJP leader ignored the problems of sealing drives in several prominent markets in the New Delhi parliamentary constituency.

"Who the BJP selects as its candidate is their party's decision, but having been an absentee MP during the last five years, I challenge Lekhi to break her silence on how her party's central government ruined traders of several prominent markets in New Delhi constituency due to brutal and mindless sealing of legal shops and commercial establishments," stated Goyal who is contesting from New Delhi Lok Sabha seat against Lekhi.

The AAP leader said that he had tried to meet Lekhi to discuss the issues of traders, but she not only refused to meet but also paid no heed to the issues.

"I also challenge Lekhi to make her road map public on how these shops can be desealed. When the sealing began in 2017, I had tried to meet Lekhi with delegations of traders but she refused to meet anyone, leave alone taking any step to save the livelihoods of traders of New Delhi," he said.

Goyal also attacked the BJP for not bringing an ordinance to resolve traders' issues.

"I had pleaded with all concerned authorities particularly the BJP ruled MCDs and Union Urban Development Ministry that no illegal construction exists in any of these markets, there were no pending dues and traders can be saved from being ruined if the BJP's central government simply brings an ordinance to change the surface area norms and conversion charges," he said.

Delhi, where 7 Lok Sabha seats are at stake will go to polls on May 12 in the sixth phase of ongoing elections.

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Elections 2019: India’s economic hub in high stakes election war

Stretching from the imposing skyrises of Colaba and Malabar Hill to the fishermen’s colonies in Worli, the prestigious VVIP Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency is the richest in the country making it a high-stakes affair for the two main contestants – …

Stretching from the imposing skyrises of Colaba and Malabar Hill to the fishermen's colonies in Worli, the prestigious VVIP Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency is the richest in the country making it a high-stakes affair for the two main contestants - Shiv Sena sitting MP Arvind G. Sawant and rival Milind M. Deora of the Congress.

Despite being wealthy, the constituency is barely 'generous' in exercising its franchise - it was way back in 1967, when George Fernandes won on a single point agenda of providing sufficient water supply to all, that 67.42 per cent electorate voted.

Again in 1991, the voting percentage plummeted to an abysmal 38.65, giving credence to the belief that people in high-rises remain indifferent to the political process. But in 2014 the percentage went up to a modest 52.48.

The population of Mumbai South is approximately 20 lakh and the voter strength is 14,85,846 including 15 per cent of some of the country's richest, a large 70 per cent dollop of middle-class and a sprinkling of 15 per cent eking out an existence in slums in what is one of the few fully urbanized constituencies of India.

Unconcerned by the turnout figures, Shiv Sena's Sawant exudes is optimistic of winning again.

"I am the voice of the masses and the classes. I have been present whenever and wherever I was needed in the past five years," Sawant told IANS.

On his rival Deora, he shot back: "Where was he for the past four years and nine months? This is what commoners and business community ask me. It is my work for all sections and my contacts with the masses that will decide the election."

Though incommunicado despite repeated attempts by IANS, the former Union Minister Deora has remained unflustered by the opposition barbs.

After all, in a political-corporate coup of sorts, last fortnight, he secured the open support of key players from India Inc, sending panic waves in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Sena combine.

Ranked as one of the most cosmopolitan constituencies, Mumbai South is beset with many problems that have remained unresolved over the years.

"There are hundreds of old buildings, ancient sewage lines, house gullies, traffic congestion and slum pockets in Darukhana, BPT, Colaba and Worli which are of great concern," Waris Pathan, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen's sole Mumbai MLA, told IANS.

Though there is the ambitious Coastal Road project coming up, Patyan says "a lot will depend on its implementation, or it will be disastrous for the entire city".

Besides, there is the gnawing problem of security in the region which has witnessed two of the worst terror strikes in the country - the 1993 serial bomb blasts and the 2008 terror strikes.

Not surprising, since this constituency is home to the country's most affluent business districts which contribute hugely to the national exchequer, some of the poshest residential complexes, Indian and foreign banks, and national and international firms are headquartered here.

There are also offices of global corporates, airlines, embassies, luxury hotels, swanky restaurants and pubs, global tourist attractions, open shopping plazas, malls and multiplexes, reputed schools, colleges, an array of heritage buildings, the official residences of Maharashtra Governor, Chief Minister, the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court and other judges, the Legislature and the Mantralaya.

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Voting for 6 LS seats, Chhindwara Assembly bypoll on April 29

Bhopal: Polling in six Lok Sabha seats of Madhya Pradesh and by-election to Chhindwara Assembly constituency where Chief Minister Kamal Nath is in the fray will be held on Monday. Lok Sabha constituencies of Sidhi, Shahdol, Jabalpur, Mandla, Balaghat a…

Bhopal: Polling in six Lok Sabha seats of Madhya Pradesh and by-election to Chhindwara Assembly constituency where Chief Minister Kamal Nath is in the fray will be held on Monday. Lok Sabha constituencies of Sidhi, Shahdol, Jabalpur, Mandla, Balaghat and Chhindwara will go to polls in the first phase of general elections in the central state.

Total 108 candidates are in the fray, including maximum 26 in Sidhi, followed by Balaghat-23, Jabalpur-22, Chhindwara-14, Shahdol-13 and Mandla-10. Nine candidates are trying their luck in the Chhindwara Assembly bypoll.

Altogether 1.05 crore people, comprising 51.55 lakh women, 53.90 lakh men 178 third gender persons are eligible to vote, state chief electoral officer V L Kantha Rao said, adding that 9,864 services voters will cast postal ballots. Rao said barring the Naxal-affected Baiher, Lanjhi and Paraswada Assembly segments under Balaghat parliamentary seat, polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm.

In Naxal-affected areas, polling will be held from 7 am to 4 pm, he added. Rao said there are 2,515 booths falling under critical category out of 13,491 polling stations set up in these six parliamentary seats, adding that 2700 booths would be monitored through webcasting and CCTVs. He said 44,200 security personnel, including 85 companies of central armed forces and 38 companies of state armed forces, will be deployed in addition to 60,000 polling staff in the first phase. Rao said 645 all women polling stations have been set up while 27 booths would be managed by physically challenged employees and officials.

Of the 9000 vehicles being used in this phase, 5800 are equipped with GPS mechanism for easy monitoring, Rao said, adding that two IAF helicopters have also been arranged for Naxal affected Mandla and Balaghat districts. In 2014, riding on the 'Modi wave', the BJP won five of these six Lok Sabha seats.

Congress veteran Kamal Nath had won from his bastion Chhindwara, where his son Nakul Nath is the party candidate this time for the Lok Sabha polls. State BJP president Rakesh Singh and former Union minister and BJP's tribal face Faggan Singh Kulaste are contesting from Jabalpur and Mandla, respectively.

After taking over as chief minister following Congress' victory in the last year's Assembly polls, Kamal Nath needs to get elected to the state Legislature within six months. Congress MLA Deepak Saxena quit from the Chhindwara Assembly seat to make a way for him. In the last leg of electioneering for the six Lok Sabha seats, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held rallies in Sidhi and Jabalpur whereas Congress chief Rahul Gandhi addressed public meetings in Shahdol and Jabalpur. BJP chief Amit Shah also addressed a public meeting in Chhatarpur. Kamal Nath and his predecessor and senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan also campaigned extensively for the first phase of Lok Sabha polls in the state. In 2014, the BJP won 27 out of the total 29 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Later, the Congress reclaimed Ratlam seat in a by-election, taking its tally to three. The Congress is hoping to do better in the polls after ending the BJP's 15-year reign in the state last year, while the saffron party is hoping to repeat its 2014 performance. Lok Sabha elections in MP will be held in four phases on April 29, and May 6, 12 and May 19, and counting of votes will take place on May 23.