This article is from the source 'bbc' and was first published or seen on . The next check for changes will be

You can find the current article at its original source at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-47114401

The article has changed 152 times. There is an RSS feed of changes available.

Version 31 Version 32
Mayawati: India dalit icon delivers election shock India election 2019: Politicians play nice for Holi
(about 20 hours later)
India has entered full election mode: voting is due to begin on 11 April, with the final ballot cast more than five weeks later on 19 May. Every day, the BBC will be bringing you all the latest updates on the twists and turns of the world's largest democracy.India has entered full election mode: voting is due to begin on 11 April, with the final ballot cast more than five weeks later on 19 May. Every day, the BBC will be bringing you all the latest updates on the twists and turns of the world's largest democracy.
The latest from the campaign trailThe latest from the campaign trail
Mayawati delivers poll shock Politicians play nice for Holi
Mayawati, the Dalit icon and leader of the powerful regional Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), based in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, has just announced she is not contesting the general election. What happened?
Her party had tied up with regional rival Samajwadi Party (SP) in a bid to counter the influence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP. It's Holi - the festival of colours that marks the beginning of spring - in India today. That means that people are casually walking around with bright orange, pink and green skin, roads are stained with coloured powder... and politicians are taking a break to play nice - for once.
As a result, Twitter handles are being used to deliver greetings instead of attacks on political rivals.
Why does it matter?
It doesn't really, but we thought it was a nice change.
On Wednesday.... Mayawati delivered a poll shock
Mayawati, the Dalit icon and leader of the powerful regional Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), based in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, announced she is not contesting the general election.
Her party has tied up with regional rival Samajwadi Party (SP) in a bid to counter the influence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP.
Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to parliament.Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to parliament.
Why does it matter?Why does it matter?
We still don't have too much detail about what is behind her decision.We still don't have too much detail about what is behind her decision.
All we know for now is that she addressed a press conference in the state capital, Lucknow, where she said she would concentrate on the "alliance".All we know for now is that she addressed a press conference in the state capital, Lucknow, where she said she would concentrate on the "alliance".
Ms Mayawati is an extremely important figure in the politics of the country. She speaks for millions of people from the Dalit (formerly known as untouchables) community, and has been the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh four times. It was widely anticipated that she would be a key figure in any coalition alliance, so it is unclear how her decision to not run will impact this.Ms Mayawati is an extremely important figure in the politics of the country. She speaks for millions of people from the Dalit (formerly known as untouchables) community, and has been the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh four times. It was widely anticipated that she would be a key figure in any coalition alliance, so it is unclear how her decision to not run will impact this.
She was also an MP in the upper house of parliament before resigning in July 2017 in protest, complaining that her voice was being "muzzled" after not being allowed to complete an impromptu speech about the treatment of Dalits.She was also an MP in the upper house of parliament before resigning in July 2017 in protest, complaining that her voice was being "muzzled" after not being allowed to complete an impromptu speech about the treatment of Dalits.
Watching the watchmen Also on Wednesday.... Watching the watchmen
What happened?What happened?
The newest buzzword on the campaign trail is "chowkidar" or "watchman".The newest buzzword on the campaign trail is "chowkidar" or "watchman".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has used the term for a while now, telling the people that he is their "watchman" - someone who looks out for them and serves them.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has used the term for a while now, telling the people that he is their "watchman" - someone who looks out for them and serves them.
However in recent weeks, he has really upped the ante, even changing his Twitter handle to "Chowkidar Narendra Modi" - prompting other senior members of his cabinet to do the same.However in recent weeks, he has really upped the ante, even changing his Twitter handle to "Chowkidar Narendra Modi" - prompting other senior members of his cabinet to do the same.
He is also going to address a crowd of 250,000 watchmen across the country through an audio link on Wednesday.He is also going to address a crowd of 250,000 watchmen across the country through an audio link on Wednesday.
Why does it matter?Why does it matter?
This is important for two reasons.This is important for two reasons.
Firstly, it is a clever use of the term to address the issue of national security. Last month's suicide attack in Indian-administered Kashmir saw the entire discourse around the election shift. Mr Modi and his government had been battling real discontent over issues like rising unemployment, increasing farmer suicides and a slowing economy.Firstly, it is a clever use of the term to address the issue of national security. Last month's suicide attack in Indian-administered Kashmir saw the entire discourse around the election shift. Mr Modi and his government had been battling real discontent over issues like rising unemployment, increasing farmer suicides and a slowing economy.
After the attack in Pulwama however, all this was laid aside in the interest of heightened patriotism and national fervour. When Mr Modi confirmed that India had carried out air strikes against militant camps inside Pakistan, his approval ratings soared. Even at that point, as he addressed a campaign rally in the northern state of Rajasthan, his message was clear: the nation is in safe hands.After the attack in Pulwama however, all this was laid aside in the interest of heightened patriotism and national fervour. When Mr Modi confirmed that India had carried out air strikes against militant camps inside Pakistan, his approval ratings soared. Even at that point, as he addressed a campaign rally in the northern state of Rajasthan, his message was clear: the nation is in safe hands.
Since then - and in spite of a crackdown on the use of the military in campaign materials - Mr Modi and his party have ensured it is national security, and not the other issues, which are firing up voters.Since then - and in spite of a crackdown on the use of the military in campaign materials - Mr Modi and his party have ensured it is national security, and not the other issues, which are firing up voters.
The second reason this is important is the fact that Mr Modi is once again demonstrating he is utterly in control of the narrative - forcing opposition parties to counter him on his own terms.The second reason this is important is the fact that Mr Modi is once again demonstrating he is utterly in control of the narrative - forcing opposition parties to counter him on his own terms.
So even when a leader like Rahul Gandhi says "Chowkidar Chor Hain" (The watchman is a thief), he is still essentially playing by Mr Modi's rules.So even when a leader like Rahul Gandhi says "Chowkidar Chor Hain" (The watchman is a thief), he is still essentially playing by Mr Modi's rules.
In the meantime, the "Chowkidar" theme has proverbially broken the internet in India with memes, tweets and posts galore. There's even a ring tone. Apart from leaders, supporters of the BJP have started changing their social media handles and pictures to include the word.In the meantime, the "Chowkidar" theme has proverbially broken the internet in India with memes, tweets and posts galore. There's even a ring tone. Apart from leaders, supporters of the BJP have started changing their social media handles and pictures to include the word.
Being a watchman in India has never quite been so glamorous.Being a watchman in India has never quite been so glamorous.
New kid on the blockNew kid on the block
What happened on Tuesday?What happened on Tuesday?
Pramod Sawant, a lawmaker from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is Goa's new chief minister. The former CM, Manohar Parikkar, died on Sunday.Pramod Sawant, a lawmaker from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is Goa's new chief minister. The former CM, Manohar Parikkar, died on Sunday.
Mr Sawant, 46, was sworn in around 02:00 local time (20:30 GMT) on Tuesday, only fitting in a state famous for its nightlife.Mr Sawant, 46, was sworn in around 02:00 local time (20:30 GMT) on Tuesday, only fitting in a state famous for its nightlife.
Why does this matter?Why does this matter?
Parrikar's death sparked some late-night political wrangling as the BJP rushed to retain its hold over the coalition government.Parrikar's death sparked some late-night political wrangling as the BJP rushed to retain its hold over the coalition government.
The Congress tried to woo some of the lawmakers to challenge the BJP's majority, but their hopes were dashed when the ruling party scraped together enough seats by partnering with two regional allies.The Congress tried to woo some of the lawmakers to challenge the BJP's majority, but their hopes were dashed when the ruling party scraped together enough seats by partnering with two regional allies.
It's a crucial win for the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls as it proves that regional allies are willing to bet on them.It's a crucial win for the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls as it proves that regional allies are willing to bet on them.
But it's a blow for the Congress, which has been struggling to forge alliances in other key states. To add insult to injury, their rushed attempts to wrest power - before Parrikar's funeral had even been held - earned them flak on Twitter from BJP supporters.But it's a blow for the Congress, which has been struggling to forge alliances in other key states. To add insult to injury, their rushed attempts to wrest power - before Parrikar's funeral had even been held - earned them flak on Twitter from BJP supporters.
And soon, the hashtag #VampireCongress was trending.And soon, the hashtag #VampireCongress was trending.
Highlights from the last week:Highlights from the last week:
You can read a full recap of everything political from the last week here.You can read a full recap of everything political from the last week here.
But here are some of the stand-out moments:But here are some of the stand-out moments:
Read all our latest election coverageRead all our latest election coverage
Other highlights included Narendra Modi bombarding Bollywood with democracy-loving tweets, Priyanka Gandhi's very first tweet and controversy over the alleged withholding of yet another jobs report by the government.Other highlights included Narendra Modi bombarding Bollywood with democracy-loving tweets, Priyanka Gandhi's very first tweet and controversy over the alleged withholding of yet another jobs report by the government.
What about the week before?What about the week before?
The election hadn't even been announced, but no one could have been unaware that it was coming: the BJP had placed adverts in 150 newspapers across the country extolling its successes over the last five years - all of which had to come to a stop on Monday, due to election rules.The election hadn't even been announced, but no one could have been unaware that it was coming: the BJP had placed adverts in 150 newspapers across the country extolling its successes over the last five years - all of which had to come to a stop on Monday, due to election rules.
How do the Lok Sabha elections work?How do the Lok Sabha elections work?
India's lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, has 543 elected seats. Any party or coalition needs a minimum of 272 MPs to form a majority government.India's lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, has 543 elected seats. Any party or coalition needs a minimum of 272 MPs to form a majority government.
Some 900 million voters - 86 million more than the last elections in 2014 - are eligible to vote at 930,000 polling stations.Some 900 million voters - 86 million more than the last elections in 2014 - are eligible to vote at 930,000 polling stations.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used at all polling stations. The entire process will be overseen by the Election Commission of India.Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used at all polling stations. The entire process will be overseen by the Election Commission of India.
Who are the main players?Who are the main players?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who won a landslide victory in 2014 is seeking a second term for both himself and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).Prime Minister Narendra Modi who won a landslide victory in 2014 is seeking a second term for both himself and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
His main challengers are the main opposition Congress party led by Rahul Gandhi, and a consortium of regional parties called the Mahagathbandhan (which translates from the Hindi into massive alliance).His main challengers are the main opposition Congress party led by Rahul Gandhi, and a consortium of regional parties called the Mahagathbandhan (which translates from the Hindi into massive alliance).
The Mahagathbandhan has seen some of India's strongest regional parties, including fierce rivals, come together.The Mahagathbandhan has seen some of India's strongest regional parties, including fierce rivals, come together.
This includes the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led by Dalit icon Mayawati, normally fierce rivals in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, which sends the most number of MPs to parliament.This includes the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led by Dalit icon Mayawati, normally fierce rivals in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, which sends the most number of MPs to parliament.
The alliance also includes the Trinamool Congress which is in power in the state of West Bengal and Arvind Kejriwal whose Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rules Delhi.The alliance also includes the Trinamool Congress which is in power in the state of West Bengal and Arvind Kejriwal whose Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rules Delhi.
The aim of the alliance is to consolidate regional and anti-BJP votes, in order to oust Mr Modi from power.The aim of the alliance is to consolidate regional and anti-BJP votes, in order to oust Mr Modi from power.
Other regional players including Tamil Nadu's DMK and AIADMK and Telangana's TRS in the south are not part of the alliance, but are expected to perform well in their own states, which is likely to make them key to any coalition government.Other regional players including Tamil Nadu's DMK and AIADMK and Telangana's TRS in the south are not part of the alliance, but are expected to perform well in their own states, which is likely to make them key to any coalition government.
When do I vote? The dates at a glanceWhen do I vote? The dates at a glance
11 April: Andhra Pradesh (25), Arunachal Pradesh (2), Assam (5), Bihar (4), Chhattisgarh (1), J&K (2), Maharashtra (7), Manipur (1), Meghalaya (2), Mizoram (1), Nagaland (1), Odisha (4), Sikkim (1), Telangana (17), Tripura (1), Uttar Pradesh (UP) (8), Uttarakhand (5), West Bengal (2), Andaman & Nicobar (1), Lakshadweep (1)11 April: Andhra Pradesh (25), Arunachal Pradesh (2), Assam (5), Bihar (4), Chhattisgarh (1), J&K (2), Maharashtra (7), Manipur (1), Meghalaya (2), Mizoram (1), Nagaland (1), Odisha (4), Sikkim (1), Telangana (17), Tripura (1), Uttar Pradesh (UP) (8), Uttarakhand (5), West Bengal (2), Andaman & Nicobar (1), Lakshadweep (1)
18 April: Assam (5), Bihar (5), Chhattisgarh (3), Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) (2), Karnataka (14), Maharashtra (10), Manipur (1), Odisha (5), Tamil Nadu (39), Tripura (1), UP (8), West Bengal (3), Puducherry (1)18 April: Assam (5), Bihar (5), Chhattisgarh (3), Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) (2), Karnataka (14), Maharashtra (10), Manipur (1), Odisha (5), Tamil Nadu (39), Tripura (1), UP (8), West Bengal (3), Puducherry (1)
23 April: Assam (4), Bihar (5), Chhattisgarh (7), Gujarat (26), Goa (2), J&K (1), Karnataka (14), Kerala (20), Maharashtra (14), Odisha (6), UP (10), West Bengal (5), Dadar and Nagar Haveli (1), Daman and Diu (1)23 April: Assam (4), Bihar (5), Chhattisgarh (7), Gujarat (26), Goa (2), J&K (1), Karnataka (14), Kerala (20), Maharashtra (14), Odisha (6), UP (10), West Bengal (5), Dadar and Nagar Haveli (1), Daman and Diu (1)
29 April: Bihar (5), J&K (1), Jharkhand (3), MP (6), Maharashtra (17), Odisha (6), Rajasthan (13), UP (13), Bengal (8)29 April: Bihar (5), J&K (1), Jharkhand (3), MP (6), Maharashtra (17), Odisha (6), Rajasthan (13), UP (13), Bengal (8)
6 May: Bihar (1), J&K (2), Jharkhand (4), Madhya Pradesh (MP) (7), Rajasthan (12), UP (14), Bengal (7)6 May: Bihar (1), J&K (2), Jharkhand (4), Madhya Pradesh (MP) (7), Rajasthan (12), UP (14), Bengal (7)
12 May: Bihar (8), Haryana (10), Jharkhand (4), MP (8), UP (14), Bengal (8), Delhi (7)12 May: Bihar (8), Haryana (10), Jharkhand (4), MP (8), UP (14), Bengal (8), Delhi (7)
19 May: Bihar (8), Jharkhand (3), MP (8), Punjab (13), Bengal (9), Chandigarh (1), UP (13), Himachal Pradesh (4)19 May: Bihar (8), Jharkhand (3), MP (8), Punjab (13), Bengal (9), Chandigarh (1), UP (13), Himachal Pradesh (4)
23 May: Votes counted23 May: Votes counted
Key: Date: State (number of seats being contested))Key: Date: State (number of seats being contested))
Find out exactly when you are voting by visiting the Election Commission of India's websiteFind out exactly when you are voting by visiting the Election Commission of India's website