Rahul Gandhi, the president of India’s main opposition Congress party, and Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, who heads the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have been unable to agree on a seat sharing agreement, ahead of polls in Delhi – and the spat has spilled on to Twitter.
Delhi has seven seats in the Lok Sabha or lower house of parliament – The Congress had said it would give AAP four seats and contest in just three. But AAP, which dominated the Delhi state assembly, is insisting on contesting in 5 seats.
In a tweet, Mr Gandhi accused Mr Kejriwal, of “taking a U-turn” on talks of an alliance.
Mr Kejriwal hit back at Mr Gandhi, saying that talks were still going on. “Your tweet shows that an alliance is not by desire but only a pretension. I am pained that you are giving mere statements,” he wrote on Twitter in Hindi.
India’s Election Commission temporarily banned Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Dalit leader Mayawati from campaigning for violating election guidelines.
Mr Adityanath, a senior politician from the ruling BJP, cannot address any public meetings or rallies, and cannot even speak to the media for 72 hours starting from 06:00 local time on Tuesdat. The same applies to Ms Mayawati, president of the regional Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), but her ban ends in 48 hours.
Why does this matter?
Ms Mayawati was pulled up for cautioning Muslims against splitting their vote – she urged them to vote against the BJP and for her party and its allies.
And Mr Adityanath has been reprimanded for two different remarks against Muslims, both made during rallies leading up to the first phase of voting on 11 April.
In one speech he had said the main opposition Congress party was infected with a “green virus”, a reference to Muslims. In another speech, he said, “If you have faith in Ali, we have faith in Bajrang bali”. The provocative remark plays on the religious differences between Muslims (Ali is the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad) and Hindus (Bajrang bali is another name for the Hindu god, Hanuman).
The remarks by both leaders violate election guidelines because they are polarising and appeal to voters on the basis of identity.
Mr Adityanath, a Hindu hardliner, has repeatedly made controversial remarks, especially against Muslims. And the action against him comes on the heels of the Supreme Court asking the Election Commission what is was doing to curb violations
This commission’s decision is also a setback for Ms Mayawati and Mr Adityanath ahead of the second phase of voting in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.
Both leaders are regional heavyweights in what is a crucial state for any party looking to win a majority at the centre – it sends 80 MPs to parliament.
Indian politician Jaya Prada hit back at Azam Khan, a sitting lawmaker, for allegedly making a remark about her underwear.
“I am a woman and I can’t even repeat what he said. I don’t know what I did to him that he is saying such things,” she told ANI news agency.S
Jaya Prada: He shouldn’t be allowed to contest elections. Because if this man wins, what will happen to democracy? There’ll be no place for women in society. Where will we go? Should I die, then you’ll be satisfied? You think that I’ll get scared & leave Rampur? But I won’t leave.
In a video that was shared widely, Mr Khan was heard saying that the politician wore “khaki” underwear – a reference to the brown shorts worn by members of the rightwing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological fountainhead of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Although Mr Khan did not name anyone, his comments have been widely interpreted as a reference to Jaya Prada, a former actress, who is contesting on a BJP ticket from Rampur in the northern Uttar Pradesh state – and directly taking on Mr Khan.
A police case has been registered against Mr Khan, who is from the Samajwadi Party (SP) – a regional force in the bellwether state.
But he has denied that he was referring to Ms Jaya Prada. He said he was referring to a man.
Why does this matter?
Mr Khan has a reputation for courting controversy.
In 2014, he was banned from addressing any rallies in Uttar Pradesh after the election commission found him guilty of making communally divisive remarks.
But this, many observers say, is a new low and proof of the casual misogyny female politicians continue to encounter in India although women leaders play a big role in many political parties.
His remarks, reportedly made at a rally on Sunday, quickly drew ire from opposition politicians and other observers. The National Commission for Women also took note, with chairperson Rekha Sharma calling it “disgraceful” and saying she would ask the Election Commission to bar him from contesting.S
End of Twitter post by @sharmarekha
Ms Jaya Prada unfortunately, is not a stranger to such remarks from male politicians. Firoz Khan, another SP leader, had earlier likened her to a dancer who would entertain the people of Rampur with her “moves” and make campaigning “colourful”.
She especially attracts nasty comments from SP leaders because she used to be a member of the party. Possibly because they see her as a formidable opponent – she won the Rampur parliamentary seat in both 2004 and 2009.
How do you vote in the election?
Here’s a video explaining everything that happens inside a polling station – and what happens to your vote after that: