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LIVE! Modi likely to visit Varanasi before swearing-in

May 24, 2019


23:40  Modi likely to visit Varanasi before swearing-in:  
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi all set to herald a second term after winning the Lok Sabha elections, there is a possibility of his visit to Varanasi before taking oath.

Ravindra Jaiswal, Member of Legislative Council (MLC), informed about the possible visit before he takes oath as the prime minister.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the hero of BJP's victory, who was also in the fray from the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency, this time won by a huge margin of 4,79,505 votes.

During the election campaign, he did road shows in Varanasi and also participated in Ganga Aarti. Five legislators of Varanasi district, two MLCs and District President of BJP Varanasi met the Prime Minister to deliver a certificate of his victory.

The Prime Minister also reviewed the work that was stopped due to Model Code of Conduct in Varanasi.

With the official count in the Lok Sabha elections over on Friday, the BJP has secured 303 seats, which is 22 more than it got in the 2014 elections and along with its allies the NDA took its tally up to 352 in the 17th Lok Sabha. -- ANI
23:14  Modi receives official winning certificate:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday received his official certificate of election from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.

Prime Minister Modi received the certificate from his party colleagues. Prime Minister Modi posted about it on twitter: 'Party colleagues from Kashi gave me the official certificate of election from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency! Feel happy to be representing one of the oldest and most vibrant centres of Indian culture.'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the hero of Bharatiya Janata Party's victory, was in fray from the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency and won it by a huge margin of 4,79,505 votes.

During the election campaign, he did road show in Varanasi and also participated in Ganga Aarti.

Five legislators of Varanasi district, two MLCs and District President of BJP Varanasi met the Prime Minister to deliver a certificate of his victory.

The Prime Minister also reviewed the work that was stopped due to the Model Code of Conduct in Varanasi.

After his euphoric win in the 2019 elections, there is a possibility of his visit to Varanasi before taking the oath. Ravindra Jaiswal, Member of Legislative Council (MLC), informed about the possible visit before he takes oath as the prime minister.

With the official count in the Lok Sabha elections over on Friday, the BJP has secured 303 seats, which is 22 more than it got in the 2014 elections and along with its allies the National Democratic Alliance took its tally up to 352 in the 17th Lok Sabha. -- ANI
22:43  CBI charges Pollachi rape accused with rape; files charge sheet:  
The Central Bureau of Investigation filed its first chargesheet on Friday in a case of alleged sexual assault of a woman in Tamil Nadu's Pollachi and charged five suspects with rape, within a month of taking over the probe, officials said.

CBI spokesperson Nitin Wakankar said the chargesheet has been filed against Sabarirajan alias Riswanth, K Thirunavukkarasau, M Sathish, T Vasanth Kumar and R Mani in a special court in Coimbatore.

The agency said Sabarirajan worked as a site supervisor at a private construction company, while Thirunavukkarasau and Vasanth were in money-lending business.

Mani and Sathish were businessmen and are in their twenties.

All the five accused are in judicial custody in Coimbatore jail, he said.

The agency has alleged that they were acting as an 'organised criminal gang' and were in regular touch with each other.

The agency has charged them under Indian Penal Code sections related to sexual assault, rape, robbery, besides provisions related to violation of privacy and publication and circulation of lascivious material in electronic form under the Information Technology Act.

The agency has also slapped provisions of a special law, the Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, against the accused.

Citing the need for special attention, dedicated investigation with technical expertise and the extremely serious nature of the crime, the Tamil Nadu government had given its consent to transfer the harassment case and a related assault case from the state's CB-CID to the CBI.

A gang of men had on February 12 allegedly tried to strip the woman inside a car near Pollachi, over 500 km from Chennai.

They had shot a video of the act and blackmailed her using the visuals. Not giving into the blackmail, the victim, who managed to free herself, lodged a complaint with police on February 24.

The case assumed political overtones since a local functionary of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam allegedly attacked the victim's brother.

The attack by the functionary, who was later expelled from the AIADMK, coupled with reports in a section of media that the gang had sexually harassed several other women, led to an outrage.

The issue eventually snowballed into a political row and the main opposition DMK targeted the AIADMK asking if it was protecting the accused persons.

A slew of protest demonstrations by parties including the DMK, students and the youth outfits had escalated the row, bringing more pressure on the government and police for speedy action.  -- PTI
22:21  Trump telephones Modi to congratulate him:  
President Donald Trump on Friday telephoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi to congratulate him on his 'historic' electoral victory during which both the leaders pledged to continue to strengthen the US-India strategic partnership, the White House said.

Prime Minister Modi on Thursday led his Bharatiya Janata Party to a landmark victory for a second five-year term in office, winning 302 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

The two leaders also agreed to meet at the G-20 Summit, to be held on June 28 and 29, in Osaka, Japan.

"President Donald Trump called Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to congratulate him for his Bharatiya Janata Party's historic election victory," according to the White House.

"The President and Prime Minister pledged to continue to strengthen the United States-India strategic partnership, building on the achievements of the last two years." it said.

The leaders also expressed that they look forward to seeing one another at the G-20 Summit in Osaka, where the US, India, and Japan will hold a trilateral meeting to pursue their shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.  -- PTI
21:51  People of Amethi wanted development: Irani on her win:  
Union minister Smriti Irani, who emerged as a giant-killer by dealing a shock defeat to Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, said on Friday that her win was not a 'rocket science' as people of the Lok Sabha constituency wanted a representative who would work for them for the next five years.

Her victory was due to the development agenda of the Modi government, she said, adding that people of Amethi had reposed their trust in her by voting in large numbers for the BJP in 2014 and that she worked in the past five years to keep their faith.

Irani had put up a strong fight in 2014 but lost to Gandhi.

The BJP fielded her again in this general election in which she trounced him by over 55,000 votes in his family pocket borough.

Asked about her big win, she told TV channels that it was not a rocket science as people of Amethi wanted development and a representative who could work for them for the next five years.

On the massive win of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which bagged 303 of 542 seats, she said it was because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's development agenda as he wanted people to judge his government on this.

The meaning of a people's representative has changed in the past five years, she said.

Irani said she has already started working for Amethi and said the constituency lacks many facilities, as she took a jibe at Gandhi for not working for its development.

The BJP governments at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh have been working for development of the constituency, she said.  -- PTI
21:04  Rahul likely to offer resignation tomorrow:  
Severely mauled for a second time in consecutive Lok Sabha elections, the Congress Working Committee will be meeting in New Delhi on Saturday to take stock of the situation as party president Rahul Gandhi is likely to offer his resignation accepting moral responsibility for the debacle.

Though there was no official word on the agenda for the meeting, sources said Gandhi's offer may not be accepted and the party may reaffirm its faith to work under his leadership.

Gandhi apparently wants to send a signal that he was also accountable for the party's performance which was not any better than the 2014 results.

In the last elections, the Congress won 44 seats, the lowest-score in its history, and improved its tally marginally by 8 to reach 52 in the current elections.

The CWC is expected to discuss the reasons for the party's debacle, especially in states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where it had won the assembly elections only five months ago and in Karnataka where the the BJP nearly swept the elections winning 25 of the 28 seats.

In one seat, the candidate backed by the party won the election.

Sources said a decision to go into the defeat probably by setting up a committee like the A K Antony in a similar situation in the past also cannot be ruled out, the sources said.

Meanwhile, presidents of the party units in states like Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha have offered to resign from their post accepting responsibility for the poor showing of the party in the just-concluded elections. -- ANI
21:01  BJP bags thrice the number of poll duty votes that TMC:  
The Bharatiya Janata Party bagged almost three times the election duty votes that the Trinamool Congress got in West Bengal, Election Commission data has shown, indicating the state government employees chose the saffron party over the Mamata Banerjee-led outfit, who not long ago compared them to barking dogs.

The BJP received 73,541 votes through postal ballots as compared to the Trinamool Congress which got only 25,791 votes.

The Left Front got around 7,377 votes, the Congress about 5,770 votes and there were 5,143 NOTA votes.

The state government employees and security personnel deployed in election duty cast their votes through postal ballots.

"This is on expected lines. The security personnel in the state have all voted for the BJP and the state government employees have been upset with Mamata Banerjee over the dearness allowance issue for a long time. We were counting on their votes," said Kalicharan Shaw, a state BJP leader.

In September 2017, while addressing a meeting of state government employees, Banerjee had used the words 'gheu gheu', the vernacular equivalent of the sound of a barking dog, while slamming government employees demanding a raise in Dearness Allowance (DA).

It seems the employees have held onto the grudge.

The issue of payment of DA to the state government employees had dragged in the State Appellate Tribunal (SAT) at Calcutta High Court for a long time.

In January this year, Banerjee announced that the state government would clear all pending Dearness Allowance for state employees benefiting around eight lakh people.

The BJP in West Bengal breached the impregnable fortress of the TMC supremo by winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats and grabbing a vote share of 40.5 per cent.

Up from the two seats and 17 per cent vote share it had in 2014, the BJP not only pulled through an unprecedented victory here, but also took a lead in around 130 assembly segments of the state in terms of vote share.

The legislative assembly polls are scheduled to be held in 2021.  -- PTI
20:35  President of District Congress Committee in Amethi resigns:  
Yogendra Mishra, president of District Congress Committee in Amethi, has resigned from the post, taking responsibility for the defeat of Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha polls from here.

In a letter addressed to the party president, Mishra took responsibility for the loss the grand old party suffered in Amethi in the general elections.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Smriti Irani won Uttar Pradesh's Amethi constituency with a margin of 55,120 votes against Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Amethi has remained a bastion of the Congress party for decades. Irani got 4,67,598 votes.

Gandhi had been winning on the seat since 2004. -- ANI
19:33  PM, ministers resign; NDA meet tomorrow:  
President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday accepted resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him to continue till a new government assumes office, a communique from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said.

The prime minister met the president and tendered his resignation along with the council of ministers, it said.

"The president has accepted the resignation and requested Modi and the council of ministers to continue till the new government assumes office," the communique said.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the National Democratic Alliance will be held on Saturday when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition is expected to elect Narendra Modi as its leader to head the new government.

The meeting will be held at 5 pm in the Central Hall of Parliament, BJP tweeted on Friday.

On May 21, during a meeting of NDA leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the coalition represents the country's expectations and ambitions.

BJP has secured 303 seats in Lok Sabha, 22 more than it had got in the 2014 elections.

The NDA would have a strength of 351 in the House.   -- PTI/ANI
19:20  JuMB banned as terror outfit:  Just In: Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh banned as a terrorist outfit, the  home ministry has announced.
19:06  After LS polls results, SP removes its media panelists:  
The Samajwadi Party on Friday withdrew its spokespersons who appear on television debates in the wake of its electoral debacle in uttar Pradesh.

A letter issued by SP spokesperson Rajendra Choudhary said that as per the instruction of the party chief Akhilesh Yadav all the media panellists for the party have been withdrawn with immediate effect.

The letter contained a direction to the party's media panelists  not to participate in debates on television channels.  It also requested the channels not to invite the panelists from the party for discussions.

The party has received a severe drubbing the elections with only 5 of its candidates, Mulayam Singh Yadav and  Akhilesh Yadav,  have won from Mainpuri and Azamgarh Lok Sabha  constituencies respectively.   SP's alliance partner, BSP, won 10 seats  and the RLD drew a blank.

-- ANI
18:34  Gujarat fire: PM asks state govt to provide all assistance to those affected:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed anguish over the fire tragedy in Surat and asked the Gujarat government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected.
 
At least 15 students of a coaching class were killed when they jumped off a commercial complex after it caught fire Friday afternoon.

"Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy in Surat. My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Have asked the Gujarat government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected," Modi tweeted.

The fire engulfed the third and fourth floor of the Taxshila Complex in Surat. Visuals on TV channels showed students jumping off the third and fourth floors of the building.

-- PTI
18:16  15 dead in fire at Surat coaching centre:  
At least 15 people were killed when a major fire broke out on Friday afternoon in a coaching centre in the Surat city of Gujarat, including students and teachers. 

The classes of a coaching institute were being held on the top floor of the building when the fire broke out and in panic, as many as 20 students jumped from the building. 

More than 50 students were inside the building when the mishap took place and 20 students have been safely evacuated from the building.

More than 18 fire tenders have been rushed to the spot. The fire took place in Takshila Arcade in the city. More than 20 people are still stuck inside the building. The fire broke out on the second floor of the building. According to the Surat Mayor, eight bodies have been retrieved from the building.
17:54  Union Cabinet passes resolution to dissolve the 16th Lok Sabha.
17:48  Cabinet passes resolution to dissolve Lok Sabha:  Union Ministers leave after the Union Cabinet meeting concluded. The Cabinet passes a resolution to dissolve the 16th Lok Sabha.
17:37  All MLAs with us, K'taka govt fine: Cong:  Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Working President Dinesh Gundurao on Friday expressed confidence that the coalition government of Congress and JD(S) in Karnataka will  stay its course and take everybody together going forward.


"All MLAs are with us, there shouldn't be any problem. No persuasion is required. Everybody is with us. We are confident that senior leader Siddaramaiah and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy both will take up the responsibility of managing the government affairs well," he said after the BJP routed the ruling coalition in the Lok Sabha elections.


The BJP won 25 of the 28 seats along with an Independent backed by it just leaving one seat each to Congress and JD(S). 


"The entire cabinet has discussed many issues and the coordination between both parties is fine," Rao said.


BJP is the single largest party with 105 members in the 225 member assembly while the ruling coalition has 117 members with 79 legislators from Congress, 37 from JD(S) and 1 from BSP.  -- ANI
17:31  Sushma Swaraj attends Cabinet meet :  External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrives for the Union Cabinet meeting. Swaraj was in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, for the Council of Foreign Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.  
17:16  Sensex jumps 623 points on euphoria over Modi win:  Equity benchmark indices extended gains in the afternoon session on Friday and jumped 1.6 per cent after Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led coalition won an absolute majority in the recently held General Elections.


Investors were cheerful on hopes that Modi 2.0 will pursue business-friendly policies and fast track several innovative mega missions to boost economic growth.


At the closing bell, the BSE S&P Sensex was up 623 points at 39,435 while the Nifty 50 gained 187 points to 11,844.At the National Stock Exchange, all sectoral indices were in the green with PSU banks elevated 5.6 per cent and realty 4.4 per cent.
17:02  TMC leaders want to abandon sinking ship: BJP:  West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh on being asked if he is in contact with TMC MPs and MLAs: Even earlier many people were in contact with me, it'll increase going ahead. When there is a possibility that a government could fall, people leave. Who wants to be in a sinking ship?"


The ruling TMC has won 22 out of 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal, after surviving a massive scare from the BJP, which made deep inroads into the state.


The Mamata Banerjee-led party had won 34 parliamentary seats in the state in the 2014 general elections.BJP made huge strides in West Bengal by garnering 18 seats, 16 more than it had won in the 2014 polls, thereby breaching the once Left-ruled bastion and now the TMC citadel.
16:53  500 kg bomb successfully test fired at Pokhran:  The DRDO today successfully test-fired an ingenuously developed 500 kg inertially Guided Bomb at the Pokhran test firing range in Rajasthan. The bomb hit its target at 30 km with high precision.
16:20  NDA winners to meet tomorrow, elect Modi leader:  
The newly elected MPs of the BJP-led NDA will meet at 5 pm tomorrow where it is expected that they will formally elect PM Narendra Modi as their leader. BJP president Amit Shah is also expected to discuss portfolios with the winners tomorrow. 


Reports also say that PM Modi will visit his constituency Varanasi on May 28th.

As you would recall, in 2014, after Modi's BJP won the election, he went to Varanasi and along with Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah were present during the Ganga aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat. 


Sealing its phenomenal electoral victory with a 302-plus win, the BJP on Friday began discussing the process of government formation while the Congress dealt with the fallout of defeat with a spate of resignations from its top state leaders.


As the counting of votes for 542 Lok Sabha seats neared its end, the Narendra Modi-led party had 302 seats in its kitty and was leading in one, a super-sized victory that had its leaders excitedly looking forward to a second successive term in government.
16:15  No Lal Salaam: Left wins just 6 seats :   Registering its worst poll performance in over six decades, the Left Front was virtually wiped off its bastions with the Lok Sabha poll results showing it managed just six seats across the country. The CPI has won 2 seats, the CPI-M 3 and the RSP 1 seat. 



On its erstwhile turf in West Bengal, where it failed to win even one seat, its vote share reduced to a paltry 7 per cent from 23 per cent in 2014. And in Kerala, where it managed only one seat, its vote share was around 32 per cent. 


In the eastern state it was a debacle wherein all but one Left-wing party candidates lost their security deposits. This was also the first time since 1952 that the Left Front did not end up with double digits in the general election. 


Till now, while it had put up its most dismal show in 2014, winning only 12 seats -- 12 less than what it had won in 2009 -- its highest ever tally of 59 seats had come in 2004.


"The political ideology of the Left still has relevance, but it is not in tune with electoral politics. We need to do serious introspection, rework strategies, reorganise and reconnect with the masses," CPI leader D Raja said, adding that young blood had to be infused to resurrect the Left in the country.


Once a Left stronghold, the CPI(M) has one seat in Kerala -- Alappuzha. Another Left party, the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), has won the Kollam seat in Kerala, but it is a part of the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in the southern state. 


In West Bengal, a state ruled by the Left for 34 uninterrupted years, it has drawn a blank, while it had won two seats in the state in 2014. 


Five years since, it has not even managed to bag the second spot in any of the state's 42 Lok Sabha seats. 


"To think that the Left Front has an ideological influence over people is the basic failure of the Left parties. Communities seem to be Left-leaning because of class interests like farmers, who feel their issues will be addressed by these parties. However, I am not sure they vote for the Left as their ideology may be different.


"The Left has failed to culturally influence them with its ideology and, thus, it remains confined to their basic class interests," professor, author and Left ideologue Chaman Lal said.


The Left Front, comprising the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the RSP, enjoyed its golden period in electoral politics in the 1990s and early 2000s. 


It had governments in three states during this period and held around 55-60 seats in Parliament. It played the role of kingmaker for the Third Front governments during 1996-98 by joining a 13-party coalition and for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in 2004. 


Image: A TMC supporter in Bengal. With the loss at the hands of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in West Bengal in 2011, to the Bharatiya Janata Party in Tripura in 2018 and staring at a humiliating defeat against the Congress in Kerala in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, its ideological influence seems to be waning.
15:26  Theresa May to resign as UK PM:   UK Prime Minister Theresa May resigns as Conservative Party leader but will continue as PM until a new leadership is chosen. 

Reading from a statement outside 10, Downing Street, Theresa May says that she has striven to make the UK a country that works for the many, not the few, and to deliver Brexit.

She says she has done her best to deliver Brexit. "I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal sadly I have not been able to do so."

She will resign as leader of the Conservative party on Friday 7 June. The process to select a new leader will begin in the following week.


May, who has been under constant pressure to step down since having survived a vote of no-confidence in December 2018, had even announced that she would set out her Downing Street exit plan once she had seen the first stage of Brexit through. However, that exit has been precipitated as it became clear that the first stage of Brexit, passage of her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, is unlikely to go through a fourth parliamentary vote.
15:26  After bitter defeat Kejriwal to begin planning for assembly polls :  After getting a massive jolt from the BJP and being decimated to zero in the national capital, Aam Aadmi Party's top leadership held an introspection meeting with party convener and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and concluded that EVMs can't be blamed as there was an undercurrent in favour of the BJP.In the meeting, sources told ANI, the party's top brass decided that voting machines can't be a reason for the defeat, as polarisation of votes favoured the BJP.


Apart from Arvind Kejriwal, other top leaders including Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh were present in the meeting held on Thursday evening.


AAP candidates from Delhi - Atishi, Raghav Chadha and Pankaj Gupta - were also a part of the huddle.


Sources in the party told ANI that the leadership also decided that no one can be held responsible for the drubbing owing to the public mood strongly favouring the BJP.


AAP, which is running the government in Delhi, slipped down to the third position with a vote share of a little over 18 per cent, while BJP got over 56 per cent and Congress over 22 per cent.


Three of AAP's candidates lost their deposits getting less than 16.66 per cent votes.


The party's most popular candidate, Atishi, who contested from East Delhi barely managed to save her deposit with 2,19,328 votes, far behind BJP's Gautam Gambhir who won the seat with 6,96,156 votes.


BJP won all seven seats in Delhi, not only repeating the 2014 feat but also bettered its vote share by nearly 10 per cent.


In contrast, AAP, which had won 67 out of the 70 Delhi Assembly seats in 2015, fell from 33 per cent in 2014 to 18.12 per cent in these elections.


Kejriwal will hold a meeting with party volunteers on May 26 to chalk out a strategy for assembly elections to be held early next year.


Delhi, which is mostly a battle of prestige for political parties, went to polls on May 12 in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections. -- ANI
15:22  DMK Parliamentary Committee meet to be held the party headquarters in Chennai at 5 pm tomorrow.
15:17  Lotus blooms in North East:  When protests on the citizenship bill erupted in North East India earlier this year many believed it had spoiled the BJP's chances in the region for the Lok Sabha polls. 


Yet, the saffron party and its allies walked away with 18 of the 25 seats up for grabs in the northeastern states, successfully weathering the storm of unrest that rocked most parts of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. 


The Congress, the grand old part of India, was restricted to just four seats, while its allies bagged two. One constituency was won by an Independent candidate.


When protest broke out against the Centre's plan to bring the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, (CAB) -- dubbed to be against the interest of the indigenous people of the region -- many political commentators believed that it would mar the BJP's chances in the general elections in the North East. 

The bill had proposed to give citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis from Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Violent agitations in Assam, Manipur along with protests in Mizoram, Meghalaya and Tripura against the bill forced the Centre to abort plans to introduce it in Rajya Sabha allowing it to lapse. 


However, proving the naysayers wrong, the BJP and its allies gained majorly, especially in Assam where a total of 14 seats were up for grabs. BJP on its own won in nine seats in the state. In 2014, the saffron party had won seven seats. -- PTI
14:50  It's all about family for Poonam Mahajan :  BJP MP Poonam Mahajan who won from the Mumbai North Central seat tweeted this image earlier this day. "During all the hardships in my political journey, my family stood by me like a rock! Thank you for being my strength."

To the right next to her mother, is her brother, Rahul. 

The picture was 'liked' by the Congress party's Mumbai South candidate, Milind Deora. Deora lost to Arvind Sawant.  
14:18  Varun Gandhi: Every Indian is proud of you, Sir:  BJP's winner from Pilibhit, Varun Gandhi, tweets: "The sheer magnitude and grandeur of the 2019 victory is a reflection of the blessings that our leader Shri @narendramodi ji has earned due to his tireless and selfless life of service to the nation. Every Indian is proud of you, Sir."


BJP: 302 (wins), 1 (leads), Cong: 52
13:47  Cong's Amethi chief quits :  Yogendra Mishra, President of District Congress Committee, Amethi, resigns from the post taking responsibility for the defeat.


The third resignation for the Congress this morning. Karnataka and Odisha party chiefs have also quit. 
13:45  61/69: BJP score in three Hindi heartland states that Congress won 5 months ago:  The BJP has won 61 of 65 Lok Sabha seats in the three Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan that the Congress won in the Assembly polls barely five months ago.


The saffron party has bagged 28 of 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 24 of 25 in Rajasthan and nine of 11 in Chhattisgarh. 


The Congress, its main competitor, has been wiped out in the three states it governs. 


In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress managed to bag just Chhindwara, from where Chief Minister Kamal Nath's son Nakul Kamal Nath won by 37,536 votes. 


Kamal Nath, a long time MP from Chhindwara, had to vacate the seat when he took over as chief minister in December last by elbowing out BJP's Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. 


Nakul Nath got 5.86 lakh votes over his nearest rival BJP's Nathansaha Kawreti's 5.48 lakh votes. The BJP wave swept away senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, who lost his stronghold Guna constituency in the state. Scindia, a scion of the erstwhile royal family, lost the seat by a margin of over 1.25 lakh votes to BJP's Krishna Pal Singh. In the 2014 general elections, BJP won 27 seats and lost two seats -- Guna and Chhindwara -- to Congress. 


In neighbouring Chhattisgarh, where BJP changed all its sitting Lok Sabha members, the saffron party won nine seats, leaving Congress with just the Bastar and Korba constituencies. Both these seats were won by the BJP in 2014. BJP won 10 of 11 seats in Chhattisgarh in the last Lok Sabha polls. Chhattisgarh also saw a change of government last year. Three-time chief minister Raman Singh lost to Congress party in the Assembly elections. 
13:36  Congress is dying. Heres what could replace it:  "A revival of the Congress party is also improbable because it is unlikely that Rahul Gandhi will become a politician smarter than Modi and mesmerise the masses. It is equally unlikely that he will abdicate the throne of Congress party president for someone more competent. Even if he does, and the Congress gets another Sitaram Kesari, it would start withering away like it did under Sitaram Kesari. It might win a state or three in the next five years but come 2024 and it would again be destroyed by Narendra Modi."


Shivam Vij writes of the terminal decline of the GoP. Do read
13:22  Mamata's meeting with TMC leaders tomorrow :  West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee to hold a meeting with her party leaders at her residence in Kalighat, Kolkata tomorrow. 


The ruling TMC has won 22 out of 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal, after surviving a massive scare from the BJP, which made deep inroads into the state.


The Mamata Banerjee-led party had won 34 parliamentary seats in the state in the 2014 general elections.


BJP made huge strides in West Bengal by garnering 18 seats, 16 more than it had won in the 2014 polls, thereby breaching the once Left-ruled bastion and now the TMC citadel.


Congress, on the other hand, managed to win just two seats while Left parties drew a blank.


From BJP, the winners were -- Babul Supriyo (Asansol), Arjun Singh (Barrackpore), SS Ahluwalia (Burdwan-Durgapur), Locket Chatterjee (Hooghly) and Dilip Ghosh (Medinipur).


Congress' Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury defeated TMC's Apurba Sarkar by 80,696 votes. Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee (TMC) retained his Diamond Harbour seat, defeating his BJP rival Nilanjan Roy by 3,20,594 votes.


Other TMC candidates who won from their respective seats were Sougata Roy (Dum Dum), Satabdi Roy (Birbhum), Sunil Kumar Mondal (Bardhaman Purba), Mimi Chakraborty (Jadavpur) and Sudip Bandyopadhyay (Kolkata North).
12:49  K'taka Cong chief resigns :  And another resignation for the Congress. 

Karnataka Congress Campaign Committee President, HK Patil writes to party president Rahul Gandhi, saying, "It is time for all of us to introspect. I feel it my moral duty to own up the responsibility, hence, I submit my resignation from the post."
12:46  Odisha Cong chief resigns after election debacle:  Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik Friday announced his resignation from the post in the wake of the party's electoral debacle in the state.


"I have sent my resignation to AICC President (Rahul Gandhi) owning moral responsibility for the party's poor show in both Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state," Patnaik told reporters.


"While the Congress faced defeat in the state, I too lost at the hustings," the Congress stalwart said. Admitting that the Congress had failed to win the confidence of the people, Patnaik said "the party needs to take concrete steps to set the organisation in proper shape by getting rid of opportunists and attracting youths into its fold." He said that he had tried his best to bolster the party's poll prospects. -- PTI
12:24  Saffron rides to Bhopal:  Madhya Pradesh: Pragya Singh Thakur reaches BJP state headquarters in Bhopal. She defeated Congress' Digvijaya Singh with a margin of 3,64,822 votes from Bhopal parliamentary constituency.
12:23  CWC tomorrow, Rahul may offer to resign :  After a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, top Congress leaders will deliberate on party losses at a meeting of the working committee slated on Saturday where party chief Rahul Gandhi is likely to offer his resignation. According to sources, the party has convened a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the highest decision making body of the party at 11 am tomorrow. Rahul Gandhi is likely to offer his resignation at the meet, party sources said. 


The top Congress leadership will deliberate on the reasons of the humiliating loss in Lok Sabha elections and assess them. The party suffered a loss for the second time in a row at the hands of the Narendra Modi led BJP. 


The party bagged only 52 seats in this election. 


Top party leaders, including UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, are expected to attend the meeting. There have already been voices within to introspect on why the party failed to reach out to the people. -- PTI


Image: So long and thanks for the ride: File pic of Rahul Gandhi at an election rally.  
12:17  Won't win by saying 'desh ke tukde-tukde: Ravi Kishan to Kanhaiya:  Actor-turned-politician Ravi Kishan who registered victory from the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat for the BJP, slammed former JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar who was decimated by BJP's Giriraj Singh in Begusarai, saying those who talk of breaking the nation into 'tukde-tudke' (pieces) can never win the confidence of people.


"When you say 'desh ke tukde-tukde' you will never win the confidence of the people. By being anti-national and speaking against the nation, by abusing the established government you will never be able to win," said Ravi Kishan.


Kumar shot to fame in 2016 after the alleged raising of anti-India slogans in the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.


Kishan had contested and lost from Jaunpur Lok Sabha seat during 2014 general elections on a Congress ticket. The actor joined BJP two years ago.


The Gorakhpur seat was represented by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for five terms since 1998 until Praveen Kumar Nishad of Samajwadi Party won the seat in a by-poll last year.


The seat was vacated by Yogi when he became the chief minister of the state in 2017.


Ravi Kishan secured 7,17,122 votes defeating Rambhual Nishad of SP by a margin of 3,01,664 votes.While in Bihar's Begusarai, BJP's Giriraj Singh bagged 6,92,193 votes leaving Kanhaiya Kumar of CPI far behind with 2,69,976 votes. -- ANI
12:14  Four new SC judges administered oath of office:  Four new judges of the Supreme Court were on Friday administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. With the swearing in of four judges, the number of judges in the Supreme Court stands at 31, the full sanctioned strength of the top court. Justices B R Gavai, Surya Kant, Aniruddha Bose and A S Bopanna were administered oath of office by the CJI in court no.1 in the presence of several other sitting apex court judges. 
--PTI
12:12  Maha: BJP wins 23, Sena 18:  The BJP-Shiv Sena combine won 41 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, while the Congress won one and NCP 4 seats. Two Union ministers and two former chief ministers tasted defeat in the election, which saw the Sharad Pawar-led NCP managing to retain its tally, while the Congress bagged just one seat, down from two it won in 2014. The last result was declared early Friday. 


The BJP-Sena ruling alliance had secured 42 seats in 2014 elections. 


The AIMIM got its first MP from the state as its nominee Imtiaz Jaleel won from Aurangabad, defeating the Sena nominee Chandrakant Khaire. 


Congress candidates, including former Union minister Sushilkumar Shinde, state president Ashok Chavan and Mumbai unit chief Milind Deora, lost the polls. 


Sujay Vikhe Patil defeated NCP rival Sangram Jagtap in Ahmednagar. The BJP nominee, son of Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, quit the Rahul Gandhi-led party to join the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.


In Maval, sitting Shiv Sena MP Shrirang Barne defeated his NCP rival Parth Pawar, the grand nephew of former Union minister Sharad Pawar.


In Mumbai-North, BJPs Gopal Shetty defeated Congress nominee Urmila Matondkar. In Raver, BJPs Raksha Khadse trounced her Congress rival Ulhas Patil.
12:01  Over 5,000 voters opted for NOTA in UP's Muzaffarnagar:  Over 5,000 voters opted for the none of the above (NOTA) button in elections to the Muzaffarnagar parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh, election officials said. 


Ten candidates were in the fray for Muzaffarnagar seat which was retained by BJP's Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, who defeated his nearest rival and Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh by 6,526 votes. 


According to the election officials, 5,061 voters opted for NOTA. While Balyan secured 5,73,780 votes, Singh polled 5,67,254 votes. Independent candidate Neel Kumar got 4,884 votes -- less than what was polled for NOTA. -- PTI
11:41  It's a new morning for Amethi: Smriti :  Buoyed by her win against Congress President Rahul Gandhi in his home turf, Union Minister Smriti Irani said that it's a 'new morning' for Amethi.


"It's a new morning for Amethi, a new determination. Thanks, Amethi, my obeisance. You put your trust in development and let the lotus bloom. Thankful to Amethi #PhirEkBaarModiSarkaar #VijayiBharat," tweeted Irani.


Talking to ANI, she said, "On one hand there was a family and on the other an organisation which works like a family. The credit goes to the organisation and its workers and to the workers who died in Kerala and Bengal. I dedicate my victory to their families," she said.


The BJP leader on Friday won the Amethi parliamentary seat with a margin of 55,120 votes. Irani polled a total of 4,67,598 votes. 


Amethi is considered a stronghold of the Congress party since years. Gandhi has been winning on the seat since 2004. 


Despite the poor performance of the party in 2014 general elections at the Centre, the Congress president had defeated Irani on the seat with a margin of 1,07,903 votes. -- ANI
11:33  The seat count this morning:  BJP has won 299 Lok Sabha seats, while is leading on four other seats, as per the latest details of vote counting on the website of Election Commission of India (on Friday.


The counting of votes polled in the Lok Sabha elections is still underway on 11 seats. 


People voted for 542 seats in the seven-phased Lok Sabha polls, beginning April 11 and ending on May 19.


The Congress party has been declared victorious only on 52 seats.


In all, the result has been declared for 531 seats so far.


All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) has bagged a total of 22 seats out of 42 in West Bengal. 


Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has won eight seats and is leading on four seats in Odisha.


Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu won 23 seats out of 39 seats. 


Janata Dal-United, an ally of BJP in Bihar has won 16 seats while Shiv Sena in Maharashtra has won 18 seats.


In Andhra Pradesh, YSRCP has won 21 seats and is leading on one seat. 


In Telangana, TRS has won nine seats, as per the details updated by the 
11:28  Deve Gowda's grandson offers to resign:  Prajwal Revanna, JD(S) leader and grandson of HD Deve Gowda, who won from Hassan: "To reinstate confidence of the JD(S) cadre, we have to fill the gap left by the defeat of HD Deve Gowda, therefore, I've decided to tender my resignation. I want him to be victorious once again from Hassan."


Deve Gowda lost from Tumkur and by thrusting him down people's throats, it's a clear disrespect of the mandate. 
11:12  MM Joshi has mentored me: Modi:  PM Modi and Amit Shah at Dr Murli Manohar Joshi's residence. The PM tweets, "Dr Murli Manohar Joshi is a scholar and intellectual par excellence. His contribution towards improving Indian education is remarkable. He has always worked to strengthen the BJP and mentor several Karyakartas, including me. Met him this morning & sought his blessings."
11:09  Sycophancy has undone Congress: SM Krishna:  Former External Affairs Minister and BJP leader SM Krishna: "It's a decisive snub to dynastic politics in Delhi & Karnataka.I think people have seen through the game of dynastic politics. Congress will survive as a small party. In Congress sycophancy to a dynasty has undone the party."
11:00  Sambit Patra loses :  Even Modi magic could not help the party's candidate from Puri, Sambit Patra, who lost by by over 11,000 votes to BJD's Pinaki Misra.
10:58  BJP's success because of greats like Advani: PM:  PM Narendra Modi tweets: "Called on respected Advaniji. The BJP's successes today are possible because greats like him spent decades building the party and providing a fresh ideological narrative to the people."


The PM and party president Amit Shah meet senior BJP leader LK Advani. They will also meet Murli Manohar Joshi later today. 


The BJP veteran had put out a statement yesterday conveying "heartiest congratulations" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "unprecedented victory". He also credited BJP president Amit Shah for an "enormous effort" in taking the BJP's message to voters.


"Heartiest congratulations to Narendrabhai Modi for steering the BJP towards this unprecedented victory in the elections," said Advani in a statement as the BJP's victory surpassed its 2014 win. 


"Amitbhai Shah as the BJP president and all the dedicated workers of the party have put in enormous effort in making sure that the message of the BJP reaches every voter of the country," Advani said, adding that it was a "wonderful feeling" that the elections were successfully completed.
10:39  Cong wrests lone Lok Sabha seat in Pondy from AINRC:  Senior Congress leader and former Assembly Speaker V Vaithilingam emerged victorious in the election to lone Lok Sabha seat in Puducherry. Vaithilingam polled 4,44,981 votes while his nearest rival K Narayanasamy of AINRC, a doctor-turned-politician garnered 2,47,956 votes. Vaithilingam, a former chief minister of the union territory, won by a margin of 1,97,025 votes to wrest the seat from the opposition AINRC. Counting of votes which began at 8 a.m on Thursday ended past midnight. Vaithilingam was declared elected at 2 a.m Friday, official sources told PTI.
10:31  PM, Shah meet Advani :  In Delhi, PM Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah meet senior BJP leader LK Advani. They will also meet Murli Manohar Joshi later today. 


The BJP veteran had put out a statement yesterday conveying "heartiest congratulations" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "unprecedented victory". He also credited BJP president Amit Shah for an "enormous effort" in taking the BJP's message to voters.


"Heartiest congratulations to Narendrabhai Modi for steering the BJP towards this unprecedented victory in the elections," said Advani in a statement as the BJP's victory surpassed its 2014 win. 


"Amitbhai Shah as the BJP president and all the dedicated workers of the party have put in enormous effort in making sure that the message of the BJP reaches every voter of the country," Advani said, adding that it was a "wonderful feeling" that the elections were successfully completed.


Advani, a founder member of the BJP, is upset with Modi and Shah over the way he was benched in this election. This was the first national election in two decades in which veteran BJP leader LK Advani voted but was not a candidate himself. Amit Shah who contested from Advani's seat in Gandhinagar, won by a margin of over 5 lakh votes. 


File pic. 
10:16  Sensex holds firm, rallies over 400 points :   The benchmark BSE Sensex rallied over 400 points in early trade Friday a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP got an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha elections. Amid market euphoria, the rupee also appreciated 23 paise to 69.78 against the US dollar. 


After hitting a high of 39,223.85, the 30-share index was trading 170.51 points, or 0.44 per cent, higher at 38,981.90. 


Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty spurted 54.15 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 11,711.20. 


Top Sensex gainers in morning trade include L&T, Bharti Airtel, SBI, Tata Motors, Bajaj Finance, Asian Paints, M&M, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank, Infosys and HDFC twins, rising up to 2 per cent. 


While, Bajaj Auto, ONGC, HUL, Coal India, HCL Tech, TCS, NTPC and RIL fell up to 2 per cent. 


In the previous session, the BSE Sensex surged over 1,000 points to touch the 40,000-mark for the first time ever following the BJP's stellar electoral show, but could not sustain the momentum as investors chose to cash in on the gains. 


The Sensex ended 298.82 points, or 0.76 per cent, lower to close at 38,811.39, while the Nifty settled 80.85 points, or 0.69 per cent, down at 11,657.05. 


Prime Minister Modi on Thursday led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a thumping victory for a second term in office, winning an absolute majority and on course to touch the 300-seat mark in the 543-member Lok Sabha. 
-- PTI
10:07  KCR's daughter Kavita loses to BJP's first-time candidate D Arvindh:  Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's daughter K Kavita defeated from Nizamabad parliamentary constituency by the BJP's first-time candidate D Arvindh with a margin of 70,875 votes.


"Win or lose, my life is dedicated to the public. I fought hard during Telangana Agitation and as an MP worked sincerely for my constituency and will continue to fight for the people of Nizamabad," she said.


"I thank people of Nizamabad who gave me a chance to serve for last five years," she added.


She also congratulated D Aravind for winning the election.Uttam Kumar Reddy, president, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) won Nalgonda parliamentary constituency with a margin of 25,682 votes against TRS candidate Narasimha Reddy.


TRS won nine parliamentary seats in Telangana, wherein the BJP won four parliamentary seats, the Congress won three and the AIMIM won one seat.


BJP Secunderabad parliamentary constituency candidate Kishan Reddy also won with a lead of 62,114 against TRS candidate Sai Kiran Yadav. 
-- ANI
10:04  Narendra Modis landslide: bad for India's soul:   "A divisive figure, Mr Modi is undoubtedly a charismatic campaigner. Rather than transcend the faultlines of Indian society -- religion, caste, region and language -- Mr Modi's style is to throw them into sharp relief. He is a populist who speaks in the name of the people against the elite despite being a seasoned public figure. Mr Modi deployed with terrible effect false claims and partisan facts."


The Guardian editorial says, "The world does not need another national populist leader who pursues a pro-business agenda while trading in fake news and treating minorities as second-class citizens."

Do read 
09:30  Polls in India an inspiration around world: US:  

Congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his re-election, the United States has said that the just concluded elections in India, the largest democratic exercise in human history, is an inspiration for people around the world.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday led his Bharatiya Janata Party to a super-sized victory for a second term in office, winning an absolute majority and on course to touch the 300-seat mark in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
"Congrats to an American ally and friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his party's win in India's parliamentary election," Vice President Mike Pence tweeted.
"This was a strong display of the Indian people's commitment to democracy! We look forward to continuing to work with India for a freer, safer, and more prosperous region," he said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo too took to Twitter to congratulate the prime minister.
"Congratulations to @narendramodi and the NDA for their victory in India's election, and to the Indian people for casting their votes in such historic numbers. As the world's largest exercise in democracy, #India's election is an inspiration around the world," he said.
During an off-camera gaggle with reporters, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said India's elections are the world's largest exercise in democracy, a marvel of logistics and planning with 900 million people an eighth of the world's population eligible to vote. 
"We applaud the high turnout, estimated at around 66 per cent or roughly 600 million people, and the government of India for their excellent execution of this incredible event," Ortagus said.
India, she said, is a crucial partner for the US in many areas, especially  counterterrorism. "We are certainly underscoring today a historic democratic movement of at least 600 million people voting. I think it is pretty amazing," Ortagus added.
Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said it was truly an inspiration to see so many Indians exercise their democratic rights. "I look forward to working with PM Modi and the Indian government to strengthen the US-India partnership," he said. -- PTI
09:14  Mulayam, Akhilesh register victory:  
Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav won Mainpuri and Azamgarh Lok Sabha Parliamentary seats, respectively.

The winning margin of Mulayam Singh Yadav, however, plummeted to 94,389 from 3,64,666 in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Akhilesh Yadav won by a margin of 2,59,874 seats.

The father-son duo polled 5,24,926 and 6,21,578 in their constituencies, respectively.

While Mulayam was pitted against Prem Singh Shakya of the BJP, Akhilesh contested against Dinesh Nirahua of the ruling party at the Center.

Last time, Mulayam Singh had won from Azamgarh, with a margin of 63,204 votes. -- ANI
09:08  Curfew imposed in parts of Kashmir following Tral encounter:  
Curfew was imposed in parts of Kashmir on Friday, a day after Zakir Musa, the so-called chief of a group affiliated to the Al-Qaeda, was believed to have been killed in an encounter with security forces in Tral.
 
Educational institutions have been closed and curfew was imposed in places in Kashmir as a precautionary measure, following the Thursday incident, officials said. 
Internet was also shutdown, they said. 
Musa, who is believed to have been killed in the gunfight with security forces, was the so-called head of the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind.
Two terrorists were killed in the encounter in a village south Kashmir's Tral area but there was no confirmation about their identities. 
However, Musa's family confirmed that he was present at the site. 
Spontaneous protests had broken out in Shopian, Pulwama, Awantipora and downtown Srinagar, with people raising slogans in favour of Musa.
Senior police officials had said security forces had launched a cordon and search operation at Dadsara village and when the terrorists tried to escape, a gunfight broke out.
They had said efforts were made to make them surrender but the request fell on deaf ears and the holed up terrorists started lobbing grenades using a launcher. -- PTI
09:02  Amarinder, Sidhu face-off intensifies in Punjab:  
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday said he intended to change the portfolio of cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for his "inept" handling of local bodies department.
   
Singh said he would approach the Conghress high command over Sidhu's remarks on the sacrilege issue during sacrilege. A day before polling, Sidhu had raised questions on the probe into the desecration of religious texts in 2015.
 
Singh claimed that the remarks "might have affected the party's performance in Bathinda".
 
He said the urban votebank had been the backbone of the party in the state but Sidhu's failure to do any development work had impacted the Congress, which had performed well this time in rural areas.
   
"I intend to change Sidhu's portfolio for his inept handling of his department," the chief minister said in a statement.
 
Singh said it was wrong on his part to make the controversial remarks and the minister evidently did not understand that a special investigation team had been set up to probe the sacrilege issue.
 
Asked if the party high command would agree to change Sidhu's portfolio, Singh said he had raised the issue with them some months ago and it was agreed that any decision in the matter would be taken after the Lok Sabha elections. 
 
The chief minister said he was confident that not just party president Rahul Gandhi but even Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was believed to have a soft corner for Sidhu, would agree in the interest of the state and for strengthening the party.
 
Singh said Sidhu, who was the minister for local government, had not been able to handle his department and the Congress had performed poorly in urban areas in Punjab. -- PTI
08:55  Chandrababu's son loses maiden electoral battle:  
Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu's son and Andhra Pradesh Information Technology minister Nara Lokesh lost his maiden electoral battle from Mangalagiri assembly constituency.
 
He was defeated by YSR Congress's sitting MLA Alla Ramakrishna Reddy by a margin of 5,337 votes.
In 2014, Reddy had won the seat by a margin of 12 votes.
Lokesh is currently a member of the AP Legislative Council.
His father-in-law and Telugu film star Nandamuri Harikrishna retained the Hindupur assembly seat by 17,028 votes. He defeated retired IPS officer Sheik Mohammad Iqbal of the YSRC.
The YSRC, which is set for a landslide victory in the 175-member AP Assembly, so far bagged 104 seats, as per ECI data. It is leading in another 46 seats.
The ruling TDP won 17 seats and is ahead in another seven. 
The final results are expected by Friday morning. -- PTI
08:17  In a first, RJD draws a blank in LS poll:  
In a first, the Rashtriya Janata Dal could not manage to win even a single seat in the 17th Lok Sabha elections which concluded on May 19.

The RJD, led by Lalu Prasad Yadav's son Tejashwi Yadav, fought the election in alliance with the Congress and others. 

The party, which contested on 20 seats, didn't manage to win even a single seat this election and nose-dived from 27 in 2014 to nil in 2019.

Constituted in 1997, the RJD received the status of the recognized national-level party in 2008. 

In its first election in 1998, it had won 17 seats in Bihar.

Meanwhile, the Congress, which is the part of the RJD-led mahagathbandan, managed to win one seat in Bihar. 

The grand old party had fielded contestant on nine seats.

Besides, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) and the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), which contested on five and three seats respectively, also failed to open its account.

The ruling BJP-JDU-LJP alliance in Bihar achieved a resounding victory in the Lok Sabha elections with BJP winning 17 seats, while its allies Janata Dal-United getting 16 seats and Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party winning six seats. 

In all, the alliance won 37 seats. -- ANI
07:54  Pompeo congratulates Modi; calls India's polls inspiration:  
Terming "India's elections an inspiration" across the world, United Statets Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the National Democratic Alliance on their resounding victory in 17th Lok Sabha elections.

"Congratulations to @narendramodi and the NDA for their victory in India's election, and to the Indian people for casting their votes in such historic numbers. As the world's largest exercise in democracy, #India's election is an inspiration around the world," tweeted Pompeo.

US President Donald Trump also congratulated Modi on his win, outlining that "great things are in store for the US-India partnership with the return of PM Modi at the helm."

Scores of world leaders including Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended their wishes to PM Modi, as he's slated to undertake his second consecutive term as India's Prime Minister.

The BJP on Thursday got an overwhelming majority in the Lok Sabha, crossing on its own the 300-mark while storming back to power for the second consecutive term. -- ANI
03:42  CWC to meet on Saturday:  
After facing a humiliating defeat in the parliamentary elections, Congress Working Committee is expected to meet on Saturday in Delhi, sources said.

The grand old party could only manage to get 49 seats while leading on other three seats.

Whereas the BJP repeated its 2014 landslide victory with winning more than 300 seats so far.

Even Congress' chief Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, and former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijay Singh could not save themselves from the saffron' wave.

Earlier in the day, Rahul held a press conference and congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for BJP's bumper win in the general elections.

Boosting the morale of the party candidates and workers, he said, "Our candidates fought with all their heart. I say to the people of Congress party and those who believe in our ideology that you do not need to be scared."

Gandhi congratulated Modi but refused to comment on the mandate his party got.

"Frankly, today is the not the day to discuss what I think went wrong because people of India have clearly decided that Narendra Modi is going to be their Prime Minister and as an Indian, I respect that," he said.

He also conceded defeat in Amethi parliamentary constituency - a bastion of the Nehru-Gandhi family and congratulated his BJP opponent Smriti Irani, whom he defeated with a landslide margin in 2014 general elections.

After the Congress' drubbing in elections, there were reports that Gandhi offered to resign as party president.

However, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala termed these reports as 'incorrect'.

When asked on fixing responsibility for the electoral loss, Gandhi said, "This is between my party and I. Between me and the Congress CWC."  -- ANI
02:37  BJP wins absolute majority: EC:  
The Bharatiya Janata Party has won an absolute majority of 272 seats and is leading in another 31 constituencies, according to the Election Commission.

Of the results declared for 458 seats past midnight, the BJP was on course to cross the 300-seat mark in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

The BJP is all set to surpass its 2014 performance when it won 282 seats.

The Congress in all likelihood will fall short of the 54-mark needed for the leader of opposition status in the Lok Sabha, winning in 45 seats and leading in 7.   -- PTI
02:31  Modi thanks Trump for his wishes:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday thanked United States President Donald Trump for his wishes on the National Democratic Alliance returning to power, saying the victory represents the aspirations of a nation of 1.3 billion people.

"I too am looking forward to working closely with you for closer bilateral ties, which also augur well for global peace and prosperity," Modi tweeted.

In his tweet, Trump had congratulated Modi and his BJP on their 'BIG' election victory.

"Great things are in store for the US-India partnership with the return of PM Modi at the helm. I look forward to continuing our important work together!" Trump said.

Modi also thanked Congress president Rahul Gandhi, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's M K Stalin and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for their wishes.  -- PTI
02:10  Hema Malini is surprised by her victory margin:  
Actor-turned-politician Hema Malini on Friday won the Mathura Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 2,93,471 votes.

This is the second time the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate has retained her sway in the city of Hindi heartland.

Speaking to the media persons, the lawmaker said: "I knew I was going to win, but I did not fathom that I would win by this big margin.

"I would like to thank the people of Mathura and the nation."

On being asked about the loss of Congress in the states where they had a stronghold, she said: "It shows that they did not do any work."

Malini had contested against Narendra Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal and local industrialist Mahesh Pathak of Congress from Mathura.

In 2014, the 'Dream Girl' had won by over 3 lakh votes in the constituency.   -- ANI
01:23  After poor show, pressure on Kamal Nath to quit:  
After poor Cong show, Nath faces heat from within party, BJP Bhopal, May 23 (PTI)

After the Congress's poor showing in the Lok Sabha polls in Madhya Pradesh, murmurs of protest have started against Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who took charge just six months ago, in the ruling party.

On the other hand, buoyed by its speculator performance in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party is seeking to put pressure on the Congress government, which has a wafer thin majority in the 230-member assembly, and also sought Nath's resignation.

Till late night, the BJP had won 26 of the 29 Lok Sabha seats and was leading in two others.

The Congress has won only seat -- Chhindwara -- till now.

The saffron party has already petitioned Governor Anandiben Patel, requesting her to convene a special session of the Assembly to test the Congress's legislative strength.

Besides being the chief minister, Nath is also the state Congress president.

"Nath ji should take the moral responsibility for the defeat as he is chief minister and mostly importantly the state party chief as well, a Congress leader said.

"He remained too busy in Chhindwara to ensure his son Nakuls victory from there and left other candidates to fend for themselves in Lok Sabha elections," he added.

"Congress leaders have to wait for days to meet him," he said.

"He should resign from either post (the CM or state Congress president)," he opined.

Already Nath has ruffled feathers of party stalwart Digvijay Singh, who lost to BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur in Bhopal by a big margin.

Singh was averse to fight elections from Bhopal and was keen to contest from Rajgarh, his home district, but Nath prevailed over the central leadership, Congress insiders said.

Besides, the BJP has stepped up efforts to put pressure on the Nath government. Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava of the BJP on Monday wrote a letter the Governor, requesting her to convene a special session of the assembly to test the Congress's legislative strength on the floor of the House.

The Nath government is backed by two Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs, one legislator of Samajwadi Party and four Independent lawmakers.

In the 2018 assembly polls, the Congress won 114 of the state's 230 seats, two short of the majority mark of 116.

The BJP, which ruled the state since 2003 before being ousted from power, bagged 109 seats.

"Nath should resign, not on moral ground but due to the overwhelming people's mandate in favour of the BJP in the state," state BJP president Rakesh Singh said.

"Neither the Congress won the assembly polls last year, nor we lost it," said the BJP leader, referring to the close contest between the two parties.

The BJP won half a per cent more vote share than the Congress, but failed to bag enough seats to retain power in the state.

Nath on Wednesday had claimed 10 of his MLAs have told him that they were receiving phone calls and being offered money and posts to switch sides.

However, he had expressed complete faith in his party's MLAs.

His statement came after the BJP said the Congress-led government in Madhya Pradesh was in a minority.  -- PTI
00:46  Modi thanks Imran Khan for congratulatory tweet:  
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, after his party Bharatiya Janata Party swept the Lok Sabha elections.

Responding to Khan's message, Modi on Thursday said that he has always 'given primacy to peace and development in our region'.

Messages of support for PM Modi have been pouring in after the BJP secured a resounding mandate in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Dozens of world leaders have either personally called him to laud his victory in the general elections or have extended their wishes on Twitter.

'I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,' Khan tweeted earlier on Thursday.

Responding to him, PM Modi wrote: 'Thank you PM @ImranKhanPTI. I warmly express my gratitude for your good wishes. I have always given primacy to peace and development in our region.'

Ahead of the polls, Khan had said that there might be a better chance of peace talks with India if PM Modi wins the elections.   -- ANI
00:17  Record victory for Modi's ministers:  
Riding the Modi wave, a record number of Union ministers marched to Lok Sabha, although former bureaucrats and senior cabinet ministers Hardeep Puri and KJ Alphons failed to make it.

Textile Minister Smriti Irani emerged as a giant-killer against Congress president Rahul Gandhi who conceded defeat from Amethi in one of the most keenly watched contests in the country. She led by 55,686 votes in the contest  against Gandhi till midnight.

The official announcement of results on the seats was delayed as matching of electronic voting machine counts with voter verifiable audit trail slips continued till late night.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi retained Varanasi by defeating Samajwadi Party candidate Shalini Yadav by over 4,79,505 votes. He increased his victory margin as compared to 2014 by over one lakh votes.
Giriraj Singh, who was up against CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar defeated the former JNU students union president by a margin of 4,22,217 votes in Begusarai constituency. 
Radha Mohan Singh fielded from Purvi Champaran was ahead of his rival Aakash Singh by a margin of nearly two lakh votes. In Arrah, RK Singh defeated his nearest rival Raju Yadav of CPI(ML) by a margin of 147285 votes.

Ravi Shankar Prasad defeated Congress's Shatrughan Sinha on Patna Sahib seat by 284657 votes.
Firebrand leader and Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey too sailed through against RJD's Jagadanand Singh, winning the Buxar seat by 117609 votes.
Cabinet minister KJ Alphons faced a humiliating defeat in Kerala. He trailed at the third place behind Congress's Hibi Eden and CPI-M candidate P Rajeev on Ernakulam seat. Eden won by a margin of 169153 votes.

His colleague and Union Housing and Urban Affairs minister Hardeep Puri lost in Amritsar by a margin of over 99626 votes against Congress's Gurjeet Singh Aujala.

Another big loss of the BJP was Union minister of state for Railways Manoj Sinha who lost by 119392 votes against BSP's Afzal Ansari on Ghazipur seat.
The big winners included Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari.  Singh defeated Samajwadi Party candidate and Shatrughna Sinha's wife Poonam Sinha in Lucknow by 347302 votes.

Gadkari won from Nagpur by a margin of around 2.13 lakh votes. He was up against Congress's Nana Patole.

-- PTI

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