Voting is over for almost one-third of total Lok Sabha seats and now the campaigning is on for the third phase -- the highlight from the campaign trail is arch-rivals Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati sharing the stage.
BSP supremo Mayawati has campaigned for her arch-rival and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. The two shared the stage for the first time after 24 years in UP's Mainpuri. Mayawati asked voters to ensure a historic victory for Mulayam Singh Yadav -- the BSP chief also went on to admit that stitching an alliance with SP was a tough decision but she did so in the interest of the backward classes. The SP patriarch welcomed Mayawati to his constituency.
BJP candidate from Bhopal and terror accused Sadhvi Pragya has stirred a fresh controversy -- Pragya, who is an accused in the Malegaon blast case said that Hemant Karkare, who was investigating the blast, was cursed and hence died in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
The IPS Association has slammed Sadhvi Pragya for her statement. In a tweet, the association has said, "Ashok Chakra awardee late Sri Hemant Karkare, IPS made the supreme sacrifice fighting terrorists. Those of us in uniform condemn the insulting statement made by a candidate and demand that sacrifices of all our martyrs be respected." The election commission has received a complaint in the matter and has initiated an inquiry.
In the third phase on April 23, polling will be held in 116 seats spread across 14 states and union territories -- Gujarat and Kerala will be the top two battlegrounds in this phase. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state will vote for 26 constituencies and in Kerala, where Congress president Rahul Gandhi is also a candidate, voting will take place for 20 seats.
To discuss this, CNBC-TV18 caught up with Sharat Pradhan, senior journalist, Pranshu Mishra, CNN-NEWS18, PS Pasricha, former DGP of Maharashtra, Rajiv Pathak, Editor, News18 Gujarati and Pradeep Pillai, Political Editor, News18 Kerala.
Sharat Pradhan said, "The Mayawati and Mulayam 'gathbandhan' is making a difference. I agree that it may not have the kind of arithmetic that is being played out in several television channels but there is no reason why this gathbandhan will not have its impact. It will seriously mar the chances of the BJP and there is a reason for the BJP to be rattled about it.
"The only forte of Yogi Adityanath is divisive politics, he cannot look beyond turning everything into Hindu and Muslims. He thinks that is his strength but the manner in which he has overdone the politics of polarisation is going to prove counterproductive this time. I wonder how the election commission is going to take it because this is defiance. The election commission needs to be more strict about it."