Monday kickstarted with a lot of buzz in the political circles, starting from Kamal Haasan's controversial remarks to Rahul Gandhi bashing Sam Pitroda over "hua to hua" comments on 1984 anti-Sikh riots and finally culminating with KCR's meeting with DMK President MK Stalin. We bring to you an election wrap of May 13 in 10 points:
1. Actor-politician Kamal Haasan has said India's first "extremist was a Hindu" -- Nathuram Godse who killed Mahatma Gandhi, stoking a controversy with the BJP asserting that an "assassin" is very different from a terrorist. Addressing an election campaign in Tamil Nadu's Aravakurichi on Sunday night, Haasan said he was one of those "proud Indians" who desires an India of equality and where the "three colours in the tricolour remained intact", in an obvious reference to different faiths."I am not saying this because this is a Muslim dominated area, but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Independent India's first extremist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it (extremism, apparently) starts," he said. Haasan's comments immediately drew sharp reactions with the state BJP unit approaching the Election Commission seeking action against him for alleged "gross violation" of the Model Code of Conduct and in New Delhi, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying he does not understand the difference between an assassin and a terrorist. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Minister KT Rajenthra Bhalaji said Haasan's tongue should be cut off for the remarks.
2. Amid a mounting attack from the BJP, Congress President Rahul Gandhi rebuked his party's overseas unit chief Sam Pitroda saying he should be "ashamed" for his "totally wrong" remarks on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and should apologise to the country. "What Sam Pitroda said about 1984 was totally wrong and he should seek an apology from the country."I am saying this publicly and I also told the same to him over phone. Pitroda ji, what you had said was completely wrong and you should be ashamed of yourself. You should seek a public apology," Gandhi said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, said Congress chief Rahul Gandhi should be "ashamed" of himself and sought to know whether Sam Pitroda was admonished for his "hua toh hua" remarks. Replying to a reporter's question on the 1984 riots, Pitroda, a close aide of Rahul Gandhi and head of the Overseas Congress had last week said "Hua to hua...". Pitroda later said his words have been twisted.
3. Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrashekhar Rao's bid to rope in DMK in his proposed alternative front appeared to be a non-starter with the
Dravidian party chief M K Stalin urging the Telangana Chief Minister to extend TRS's support to the Congress. Continuing his efforts to bring together regional parties, Rao called on Stalin at his residence in Chennai and discussed with him his proposal for a federal front, DMK sources said. In the meeting that went beyond an hour, Stalin conveyed to Rao that his party was in a pre-poll alliance with the Congress and he had also pitched the name of Rahul Gandhi for the office of the Prime Minister.
4. The slugfest between BJP and Trinamool Congress in West Bengal turned acrimonius ahead of the ultimate phase of Lok Sabha polls over BJP president Amit Shah's "Kangal Bangla" remark and TMC leader Derek O'Brien hitting back calling him "puke-worthy" and a "low-life". Shah had been denied permission to land his chopper and hold a meeting at Baruipur under Jadavpur constituency during the day forcing him to call off his programme. "TMC can stop me from attending rallies but can't stop the victory march of BJP in Bengal .... The Mamata Banerjee government is visibly perplexed. She wants to stop me from attending rallies. Can you (Banerjee) prevent your defeat this way?," he claimed at a rally at Canning under Joynagar Lok Sabha constituency and dared Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to arrest him for chanting 'Jai Shri Ram'. Throwing a challenge at the fiesty TMC supremo, who is among the most strident critics of BJP, Shah said "Mamata didi gets angry if someone chants 'Jai Shri Ram'. I am chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' here today, if you (Mamata) have the guts, arrest me. I will be in Kolkata tomorrow."
5. Lashing out against Shah in the most virulent terms for his "Kangal Bangla" comment, TMC leader and Rajya Sabha member Derek O' Brien called him "puke-worthy" and a "low-life" who has "insulted" the state. O'Brien said in a tweet "That puke-worthy Shah had the audacity to use the term ????? ????? Kangal Bangla today at a rally. The people of Bengal will give him and Modi a fitting reply in Phase 7. That #LowLife insults Bengal." "Puke-worthy Shah is ignoramus about Bengal. Knows nothing about the State. Doesnt even care enough to find out where Rabindranath Thakur was born. And yet comes to beg for votes," Brien said. O' Brien also said that Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will get a befitting reply from the people of the state.
6. Unleashing a flurry of personal attacks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BSP supremo Mayawati alleged that he "abandoned his innocent wife for political gains", drawing angry reaction from the BJP which called her "unfit for public life". Mayawati also alleged that women in the BJP are scared of their husbands meeting the PM fearing they might "abandon their wives like him" and that Modi deserves the abusive language used against him by the opposition. BJP leader and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that instead of answering political questions raised by Modi on the rape of a Dalit woman in Rajasthan, Mayawati resorted to personal attacks, showing her anxiety that her party's grand alliance with SP in Uttar Pradesh was "going nowhere". Mayawati should apologise, she demanded."Behan Mayawati - She is firm on becoming a Prime Minister. Her governance, ethics and discourse stoops to an all-time low. Her personal attack today on the Prime Minister exposes her as unfit for public life," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tweeted.
7. A BJP polling agent has been arrested for allegedly trying to influence voters at a polling booth in Haryana's Palwal after a video of the purported act went viral, officials said on Monday. He was arrested following a complaint by the Election Commission and subsequently released on bail. In Delhi, Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa said the polling agent was arrested on Sunday after an FIR was registered. An inquiry has been ordered and further action would be taken based on the report, Lavasa said. The incident took place at Asawati village in the Faridabad parliamentary constituency where polling was held on May 12. In the video clip, the polling agent could be seen going near the enclosure meant for casting votes and trying to influence voters. Krishan Pal Gurjar of the BJP is seeking re-election from Faridabad.
8. Veteran actor and former BJP lawmaker Dharmendra said he would not have let his son Sunny Deol contest the Lok Sabha elections from Punjab's Gurdaspur had he known who his rival is - Congress' Sunil Jakhar, the sitting lawmaker from the constituency. "Balram Jakhar was like my brother. Had I known his son Sunil Jakhar was contesting from Gurdaspur, I would have not allowed Sunny," the 83-year-old was quoted as saying by ANI. Dharmendra even went on to say that his son cannot debate with an experienced politician like Sunil Jakhar.
9. Punjab minister and Congress's star poll campaigner Navjot Singh Sidhu has again injured his vocal cords because of "continuous speech" in election rallies. The cricketer-turned-politician has been put on anti-inflammatory injections and steroid medication by doctors for two days. Sidhu addressed 80 rallies across the country in 28 days as part of the poll campaign for the Congress.
10. The Supreme Court has rejected a plea seeking a direction to the Election Commission (EC) to advance polling timing to 5:30 am from 7 am for seventh phase of the Lok Sabha election in view of searing heat and Ramzan. A vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna said that court cannot go into the issue of poll timings and most phases of the Lok Sabha elections were already over.