In a little over a week, the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections will officially begin. Polling would be held in 91 parliamentary constituencies spread across 20 states on 11 April. The results will be announced on 23 May. Catch all the updates on the Lok Sabha 2019 elections here.(The Quint will no longer be on WhatsApp, owing to changes in its policies regarding news publishers. You can now get the latest news updates on our Telegram channel. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram.)The Congress has planned a nation-wide reach out to voters about its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with press conferences across 21 cities on Thursday, reported news agency IANS.Party President Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet on Wednesday that the manisfeto had got an overwhelming response.Authorities have seized Rs 1.80 crore in cash from the son of a BJP candidate in Arunchal Pradesh and a former legislator at a government guest house in East Siang district's Pasighat town, news agency PTI reported quoting officials.The money was seized from two vehicles parked at the guest house, Additional Chief Electoral Officer Kanki Darang said, adding that it was the largest seizure of cash in the state.Smriti Irani will begin on Thursday, 4 April, a two-day visit to Amethi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, reported news agency PTI.Party convenor of Amethi Lok Sabha seat, Rajesh Agrahari, said Irani will be addressing a Kisan Rally in Parshedpur under the Amethi parliamentary constituency.Irani is the Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate for Amethi this time again.In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi had defeated Irani by a margin of over 1.07 lakh votes, retaining the Amethi seat.The Election Commission of India has seized Rs 377.511 Crore cash, Rs 157 Crore worth liquor, Rs 705 Crore worth drugs & precious metals worth Rs 312 Crore till date.(Source: ANI)Announcement of Congress candidates for the ensuing bye-elections to the Legislative Assembly of Gujarat.Union Minister Smriti Irani on Congress President Rahul Gandhi said, “He enjoyed a position of power for 15 years because of the support from Amethi, but now he is going to file nomination from elsewhere.This is an insult of Amethi and people here will not tolerate this.”The Congress has announced the names of two more candidates for the Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat. While Babubhai Katara would contest from Dahod, Sherkhan Pathan would fight it out in Bharuch.The Supreme Court refused to hear plea seeking postponement of scheduled Lok Sabha poll date of 18 April in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, reported PTI.Actor Rajpal Yadav arrives at Delhi Congress Chief Sheila Dikshit's residence in Delhi, reported ANI.Bharatiya Janata Party names HS Patel as its candidate from the parliamentary constituency of Ahmedabad East in Gujarat, reported ANI.Former Rajya Sabha MP Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu joined Bharatiya Janata Party in the presence of Union Minister JP Nadda in Delhi. He had resigned from Congress party last month.Nishad Party leader and Gorakhpur (UP) MP Praveen Nishad allied with the Bharatiya Janata Party, ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.Nishad Party will extend support to the BJP in Uttar Pradesh in upcoming elections.The Aam Aadmi Party and Congress have resumed talks to discuss seat sharing formula for Delhi.The Congress on Thursday fielded Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's son Nakul Nath from the Chhindwara Lok Sabha constituency.The party also announced that Kamal Nath will contest the bypoll from the Chhindwara assembly constituency.A total of 12 Lok Sabha candidates were declared by the Congress for Madhya Pradesh, including Nakul Nath from Chhindwara, Congress Working Committee member Arun Yadav from Khandwa, and Vivek Tankha from Jabalpur.In a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said his government was in the “departure lounge” and that its time to “threaten and mislead” people was over.Sharma also accused Modi of lowering the political discourse, saying his language was “full of bitterness and violence”.He was in the city to launch the Congress' manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.For smooth conduct of the Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir, the Election Commission has appointed 36 observers for four parliamentary constituencies, officials said on Thursday.The observers, including 28 general, six expenditure and two police, have been appointed for Baramulla, Jammu, Srinagar and Udhampur Lok Sabha constituencies, they said.The state has six Lok Sabha seats. The observers for Ladakh and Anantnag constituencies will be appointed later.Attacking Rahul Gandhi in his parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Union minister and BJP candidate Smriti Irani on Thursday said this is a coincidence that "didi" came here and the "missing MP" reached Kerala.Terming herself 'didi' (elder sister), Irani told a gathering in Parsadepur, "This is a coincidence, indication of God that 'didi' arrived here and the missing MP reached Kerala. I have come to take (people's) blessings and he (Rahul) rejected the blessings." This was her first visit to Amethi after the Lok Sabha elections were announced last month."While the BJP workers are working with devotion to make the country capable and strong for which we all have to support, the missing MP files nominations from another place with blessings of those who want to divide the country," she said.Hours after the Samajwadi Party MP from Gorakhpur Praveen Kumar Nishad joined the BJP on Thursday, SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav termed it as a 'ghaatey ka sauda' (loss-making deal) for the saffron party and also alleged that money changed hands.Akhilesh Yadav said that in the by-poll held last year, the people of Gorakhpur parliamentary constituency had voted for the SP-BSP alliance and not for Praveen Nishad."This is BJP's loss making deal as people had voted for the grand alliance (SP-BSP) and not the parliamentarian (Praveen Nishad)," Akhilesh Yadav tweeted.The SP chief insinuated that Nishad switched over to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in return for a bag of 'prasad' (cash) from the 'mathadheesh' (head priest) of Gorakhnath temple, referring to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.The BJP on Thursday changed its Lok Sabha candidate for Jalgaon in North Maharashtra, with its Chalisgaon MLA Unmesh Patil filing nomination papers for the election scheduled for 23 April.Earlier, Member of the Legislative Council and BJP leader Smita Wagh had filed nomination as the party's candidate on 28 March.Patil told PTI that Wagh accompanied him when he filed his papers, but did not comment on why the candidate was changed."I filed my nomination today following the party's directive," he added.Dhanshri Patil, the wife of BJP candidate from Ahmednagar Lok Sabha constituency, Sujay Vikhe Patil, has also filed nomination from the constituency. His office said: “It's just a precautionary measure if any technical objection comes in Sujay Vikhe Patil's nomination.”Congress President Rahul Gandhi has an emotional link with Kerala's Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency from where he is contesting polls besides his family bastion Amethi, party leaders said in Wayanad on Thursday.An urn containing the ashes of his father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was brought to Wayanad in 1991 and they were immersed in Papanasini, a stream connected to a famous temple dedicated to Lord Mahavishnu in picturesque Thirunelli village, Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala recalled."The then chief minister K Karunakaran, myself, Mullappally Ramachandran and K C Venugopal had attended the ritual of immersing the ashes of Rajivji in Papanasini," Chennithala told PTI.The Election Commission has initiated an inquiry into alleged violation of model code of conduct by Meghalaya minister A L Hek by using official vehicle to campaign for BJP candidate on Shillong Lok Sabha seat Wednesday, officials said on Thursday.He had gone to various places in the West Jaintia Hills district Wednesday to campaign for BJP candidate Sanbor Shullai on Shillong Lok Sabha seat, using an official vehicle allotted to him as Health Minister, they said.Union Minister of state for Tribal Affairs, Sudarshan Bhagat, who has been re-nominated by the BJP to contest from Lohardaga (ST) seat, Thursday filed his nomination papers.Chief Minister Raghubar Das and other BJP leaders accompanied Bhagat during filing of nomination.His was the only papers filed from the constituency during the day, election office sources said.BJP president Amit Shah has said that it was his party's decision not to give Lok Sabha poll tickets to those above 75 years of age, leading to veteran leaders like L K Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi missing out.Shah also said he wanted "direct mandate" from people to come to Parliament and that is why he decided to contest the general election.The election department today issued show-cause notices to as many as 71 officers in Kamrup Metropolitan district, comprising the capital city, for being absent in poll training programme."These officers were allotted duties in the parliamentary elections 2019 and have failed to attend their urgent election related training programme without providing any justifications or reasons of their absence," an official release said.Pick-up and drop facilities from dedicated points to polling stations will be provided to transgender voters as part of the Chief Electoral Office's efforts to encourage the community to participate in the electoral process.A special drive was launched Thursday to enrol transgender voters in the Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency.Tanvi Garg, the returning officer for the constituency, said the transgender community is very "closed" and it was difficult to make inroads.(Source: PTI)The Election Commission said Thursday it has found a "clear-cut" violation of its instructions by Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, who allegedly threatened to put the poll panel in jail for two days, and made it clear that he will be booked for his statement.Ambedkar, a three-time Member of Parliament, earlier on Thursday criticised the EC for not allowing political parties speak on the February 14 Pulwama terrorist attack.(Source: PTI)Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi today said there was no "one-size-fits-all" policy on the issue of full statehood to Delhi.He said this at a programme to release the Congress manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls at the party's Delhi unit office.Delhi minister and senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Gopal Rai had asked the Congress on Wednesday to support the demand for full statehood to Delhi so that the people of the national capital could lead their lives with dignity.(Source: PTI)UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will file nomination for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 in Raebareli on 11 April, reported news agency ANI. Congress President Rahul Gandhi will file nomination in Amethi on 10 April. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be present on both the occasions.