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LS Polls 2024 updates: BJP releases star candidate list, MEA slams US

Lok Sabha elections 2024: From PM Modi's election campaign in Maharashtra to Rahul Gandhi's bike rally in Odisha, here are the latest updates in politics on May 15

Mumbai: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar speaks during a session on 'Navigating Global Shifts', at the Thakur College of Engineering and Technology, in Mumbai, Monday, May 13, 2024. (Photo: PTI)

Mumbai: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar speaks during a session on 'Navigating Global Shifts', at the Thakur College of Engineering and Technology, in Mumbai, Monday, May 13, 2024. (Photo: PTI)

Vasudha Mukherjee New Delhi
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its star candidate list for the upcoming phases of the Lok Sabha Elections 2024. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will continue his campaign in Maharashtra, while Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to participate in a bike rally in Odisha. Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Chief Arvind Kejriwal will address a joint press conference in Lucknow with INDIA bloc leaders.

With three more phases of polling left, here are the biggest updates in the Lok Sabha elections 2024 and politics today.

BJP unveils list of 40 star campaigners for Lok Sabha elections

The BJP revealed its lineup of 40 star campaigners on Tuesday, featuring prominent leaders set to hit the campaign trail ahead of the forthcoming elections. Among the notable names included in the list are Union ministers Smriti Irani, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal, and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav, and Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma are also among the star campaigners, along with several other chief ministers and former chief ministers from various states.

Union minister and BJP candidate from the Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency, Anurag Thakur, has been designated as a star campaigner, alongside actress Kangana Ranaut, who is contesting from Mandi, and the party's nominees from Shimla and Kangra, Suresh Kashyap and Rajeev Bharadwaj, respectively. Former Himachal Pradesh chief ministers Prem Kumar Dhumal, Shanta Kumar, and Jai Ram Thakur are also set to join the campaign trail in support of BJP candidates.

Recently elected Rajya Sabha member and former Congress leader Harsh Mahajan has also been enlisted among the star campaigners. Additionally, the BJP has announced a diverse array of party leaders, including Saudan Singh, Trilok Kapoor, and Bihari Lal Sharma, to bolster their campaign efforts across the electoral landscape.

Haryana government to call emergency cabinet meeting

In the midst of political upheaval, the Nayab Singh Saini-led Haryana government has convened an urgent cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday. This development follows closely after three Independent MLAs withdrew their support from the BJP government.

While the primary agenda of the meeting is to unveil and endorse the excise policy for the financial year 2024-25, there are speculations at the possibility of the cabinet recommending the convocation of an assembly session to address the escalating political tensions.

'Pledge to Vote': Mumbai eateries offer discounts to voters

To incentivise voter participation in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, hotels and restaurants across Mumbai and various parts of Maharashtra are offering discounts to individuals who exercise their voting rights. Under initiatives such as "Pledge to Vote" and "Democracy Discount," voters can avail themselves of special offers at eateries in the metro city on May 20 and May 21.

According to a report by the Indian Express, the "Pledge To Vote" campaign, spearheaded by the Hotel and Restaurant Association (Western India), encompasses several hotels and restaurants in Maharashtra. These establishments will extend discounts ranging from 10 per cent to 20 per cent to customers who cast their votes in the elections.

Countries going to court on election results should not give 'gyan': Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar criticised the Western media for its perceived bias and negative portrayal of the Lok Sabha elections 2024. Speaking at an interaction in Kolkata after the launch of the Bengali edition of his book Why Money Matters, Jaishankar accused the Western media of attempting to influence India's democratic process.

"Why are these newspapers so negative on India?... They would reputationally damage you, somebody will bring out an index and put you down in that. Countries which have to go to court to decide the result of their election are giving us gyan about how to conduct the election. That is the mind game that is happening in the world," he said.

Election rallies today:

Prime Minister Modi continues campaign in Maharashtra

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to continue his election campaign in Maharashtra today, with rallies planned in Dindori, Kalyan, and Ghatkopar within the Mumbai North East Lok Sabha constituencies. This event follows a tragic incident where an illegal hoarding collapsed in Ghatkopar during a storm, resulting in 14 fatalities and numerous injuries. All three constituencies are scheduled for polls in the upcoming fifth phase on May 20.

BJP, Shiv Sena rallies in Dindori

In Dindori, Union Minister Bharati Pawar represents the BJP's candidacy, while Shrikant Shinde, son of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, is the Shiv Sena's nominee from Kalyan. The BJP has nominated Mihir Kotecha for the Mumbai North West constituency.

Amit Shah to address public meeting in West Bengal, Odisha

Union Home Minister Amit Shah is slated to address a rally in Hooghly, West Bengal, before proceeding to Odisha for further engagements. Upon arrival in Bhubaneswar, Shah will host two public meetings in Sorada and Boudh before culminating the day with a roadshow in Cuttack. While Aska and Kandhamal will cast their votes in the fifth phase, Cuttack is scheduled for polling on May 25 in the sixth phase.

Rahul Gandhi's bike rally in Odisha

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is gearing up for a bike rally in Bolangir, Odisha. Samarendra Mishra, the Congress candidate for the Bolangir Assembly segment, said that Gandhi will also participate in a public meeting today.

Joint press conference by Mallikarjun Kharge, Arvind Kejriwal, and Akhilesh Yadav

Congress party president Mallikarjun Kharge is expected to convene a joint press conference with AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal and Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow. The collaborative event is likely to follow Kejriwal's campaign in the city.

AAP's national convenor will further spearhead campaigns for INDIA bloc candidates across various regions, including Lucknow on May 15, Jamshedpur on May 16, and Mumbai on May 17, as announced by Sandeep Pathak, the party's national general secretary.

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First Published: May 15 2024 | 12:01 PM IST

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