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Exit polls predict BJP hat-trick in Guj

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December 17, 2012


23:12  Exit polls predict BJP hat-trick in Guj:  Exit and opinion polls on television channels at the end of voting in Gujarat today projected BJP performing a hat-trick in the state while the Congress is predicted to have an edge in BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh.

Exit poll carried out by C-Voter for Times Now predicted 119 to 129 seats for BJP while the Congress is projected to win between 49 and 59 seats out of the total 182 seats in Gujarat Assembly.

News 24 showed that the BJP is likely to get 140 against 117 seats it had won in 2007 Assembly polls as the party is expected to get 46 per cent of the total vote share.

The poll carried out by Chanakya for the channel projected the Congress to get 40 seats, 19 short of 59 it won in the 2007 polls.
22:33  Fast track courts for rape cases in Delhi:  In the wake of the rape incident involving a 23-year-old girl, Delhi government today indicated that it might set up fast track courts to ensure speedy justice to victims of such crimes.

The Delhi Cabinet is expected to take up a proposal in this regard very soon, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's Parliamentary Secretary Mukesh Sharma said. He said Dikshit called Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar more than once to seek details about the probe and asked him to take immediate steps to arrest the perpetrators.

The Chief Minister also wanted Kumar to make visible steps that would make women in the capital feel safer after this 'horrific' incident, Sharma said.
22:26  Kingfisher has funds to resume ops: Mallya:  Kingfisher promoter Vijay Mallya is ready to infuse funds, estimated to be in the region of Rs 425 crore, into the airline to restart operations in a phased manner as and when the DGCA gives the go-ahead.     

"They have a plan for limited restart. They may start with a certain number of flights, of say five aircraft, and go up within three to four months. They need Rs 425 crore for resuming the operations, which they will manage on their own," SBI Deputy Managing Director for mid-corporates Shyamal Acharya told reporters.
22:21  Investors ready to invest in Bengal: Mamata:  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said industrialists are "very happy" with her policies and are ready to invest in the state.     

"Earlier there was a perception that nothing is there but today we clarified our position. Now they are very happy and they have said that they will invest in West Bengal," she said.
22:02  Ayodhya case: Warrant against SP MP, Sena MLA:  A special CBI court in Lucknow, hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case, today issued non-bailable warrants against Samajwadi Party MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and former Shiv Sena MLA Pawan Pandey after they failed to appear before it.        

Special Judge, CBI, Lucknow Shashimouli Tiwari passed the order and fixed December 22 as the next date of hearing.        

The process of the recording of evidence of witnesses is going on in the court, but both the accused, Singh and Pandey, were not present neither did any counsel appear on their behalf.
21:00  Sadhvi Pragya moves court for bail, medical treatment :  Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, who is in jail in connection with the murder of RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, today filed applications for bail and 'better' medical treatment before Additional District Judge V KPandey.     

Pragya was brought before the court from the Central Jail in Bhopal. The applications would be heard on January 14, 2013.
20:59  I-T Dept probing HSBC list of accounts: Chidambaram:  The government today informed Parliament that the income tax department and its other wings are probing the information received with regard to foreign bank accounts of individuals and entities with HSBC bank.        

"HSBC's list of accounts is being investigated by the income tax department and other departments," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said during a discussion on the Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha.        

The case of money laundering, he said, would arise only if there was a predicate offence and the proceeds were used for money laundering purposes.
19:57  India tightens visa rules for Maldivians:  Reflecting recent strains with Maldives, India has tightened its visa regulations for the citizens of the island nation. Maldivian Nationals now intending to stay in India for more than 90 days for medical, study or any other purpose have to obtain appropriate visa otherwise they may face deportation as there is no provision in India for extending the visit visa or converting to any other type. 

In a notice, the Indian High Commission in Male also said, "Due to technical reasons, the HCI will henceforth require one week's processing time to issue visas for travel to India. The applicants are, therefore, advised to plan their travel and apply for visa well in time to avoid inconvenience.
19:32  Hoax call victim Jacintha laid to rest:  The body of Indian origin nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who was found dead in London after a hoax call to a UK hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife Kate, was laid to rest at Shirva here in the presence of a large number of well-wishers, family and friends. 

The funeral cortege began from the residence of Benedict Barboza, her husband, after a short prayer service by parish priest Father Stany Tauro. The body, which was brought here from London yesterday, was laid to rest at Our Lady of Health Church.
19:09   This is a payback time for the UPA2 for the BSP, which had supported the government during the vote for FDI on retail in both houses. 
19:02  Promotions Quota Bill passed in Rajya Sabha:   Hamid Ansari says that the question is that the bill to amend the constitution be taken up. Two-thirds of the members have to present and yes, they have the quorum. Ayes: 184, Noes: 08, nobody has abstained. That's 184 out of 192 votes. So, the Quota Bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha.  
18:56  The voting procedure is being explained now, which is the same as the FDI voting. Buttons for Aye, No, Abstain, Present.   
18:54   The Promotions Quota Bill is being put to vote now in the Rajya Sabha.  
18:44   Congress' V Narayanswamy's dulcet tones reverberating in the Rajya Sabha. Earlier, the BJP's Arun Jaitley said that the bill cannot be applied in a retrospective effect and cannot therefore affect existing government employees.

Chairman Hamid Ansari is trying to wind up the proceedings and get the house to vote on the bill. This is what the bill is about. Read
18:33  RS debating SC/ST Quota Bill now, voting today:  Voting is scheduled in the Rajya Sabha on the SC/ ST reservation in promotion bill on Monday, the opponents of the bill had locked government offices in Lucknow even as those supporting the reservation are sitting on protest outside the offices in Uttar Pradesh's capital.

The Samajwadi Party disrupted the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, arguing that if reservation for Dalits in promotion could be proposed, why not the same could be done for the Muslims. Samajwadi Party MPs also asked why the Sachar Committee report was not being implemented. Read more
18:31  Govt steers clear of SP's demand on proportionate reservation:  The government today steered clear of SP's demand for proportionate reservation to Muslims but expressed the hope that its decision to provide 4.5 per cent quota to minorities will see the light of the day despite Andhra Pradesh High Courts' rejection.

"What can I say if their party says something. A demand can be made for anything...The promise of Congress made in its election manifesto (to provide reservation to backward Muslims) is our first priority....We never talked about proportonate reservation. We never made any such promise," Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan told reporters.

He was responding to questions on Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav's demand in Rajya Sabha that Muslims should be given reservation in proportion to their population through an amendment in the Constitution.
18:27  Stay away from Tibet, China warns international community:  Riled by calls from UN Human Rights body and some Western countries to address the recurring self immolations in Tibet protesting Chinese rule, Beijing today slammed them saying foreign nations should stop interfering in its "domestic affairs".

"Tibetan affairs are totally China's domestic affairs," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a media briefing here. Recently, politicians in the US, the European Union and Canada had disregarded facts, confused right and wrong and groundlessly accused China on Tibet-related issues, Hua said.
18:18  Large-scale practice of paid news in Guj polls: Katju:  There has been large-scale practice of 'paid news' in the Gujarat elections, a fact- finding team of the Press Council of India has claimed. Calling the prevalence of paid news as "shocking and very disturbing", PCI chairperson Justice Markandey Katju said that the information provided by the panel, appointed by him, only shows that self regulation by media was proving to be ineffective.

"I have been informed today by Rajeev Ranjan Nag, member of Press Council of India and convener of the team I appointed for looking into complaints of paid news and violation of Press freedom in the Gujarat election, that large scale practice of paid news in the recent Gujarat elections has come to the notice of the fact finding team," Katju said in a statement.
18:11  93 cult members held in China for spreading apocalypse rumours:  China has detained 93 people from a cult for spreading rumours about "impending apocalypse" on December 24. The arrested include 37 members of the Christian "Almighty God" cult in northwest China's Qinghai Province. These cult members recently latched on to the Mayan doomsday scenario to predict the sun will not shine and electricity will not work for three days beginning on December 21, according to the public security bureau of Xining, the provincial capital. A large number of banners, discs, slogans, books and printing machines were seized by police, state media reported.

And remember the Falun Gong cult? Read
17:55  For Sushilkumar Shinde, Hafiz Saeed is 'Mr' and 'Shri':   Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed may be the key conspirator of the Mumbai terror attacks, but Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde referred to him in Parliament using honorifics like 'Mr' and 'Shri'. Shinde, during the course of a statement on the visit of Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik, addressed Saeed as 'Mr' and 'Shri' twice each.

"Mr Rehman Malik, Interior Minister of Pakistan has been telling us repeatedly that he had arrested Mr Hafiz Saeed thrice and that on each occasion, he was let off by the courts for lack of evidence," Shinde said in an identical statement in both Houses of Parliament.

"We had been given to understand by the Interior Minister of Pakistan that Mr Hafiz Saeed had been arrested on the charges of being a part of the conspiracy for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. ....

"When we pursued this matter, they have given us papers pertaining to the detentions of Shri Hafiz Saeed in 2002 and 2009. "From the papers given to us, it is clear that the detentions of Shri Hafiz Saeed in the aforesaid cases were for other reasons and not for his role as a conspirator in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Therefore, I can only say that Mr Rehman Malik appears to have been misinformed in the matter," the minister said.
17:41  Queen to attend Cabinet meeting at Number 10:  The Queen is to become the first monarch since Queen Victoria to attend a Cabinet meeting in Downing Street.Number 10 has revealed that Queen Elizabeth II will observe the ministers' meeting on Tuesday morning. Read more
17:37  Why Pakistan will NEVER nail Hafiz Saeed:  Indian investigators say that for Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence the 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed is a friend who furthers their policy against India. Vicky Nanjappa reports. Read  

Tweet from Subramaniam Swamy: Let entire India BOYCOTT India-Pak Cricket Series. Despite Hafiz Saeed roaming free in Pakistan, GREEDY BCCI wants Cricket
17:20  US school shootout: Tales of courage emerge:  Elementary school library clerk Mary Ann Jacob heard gunshots and shouted "Lockdown!" to a class of fourth graders. Then she discovered the classroom door wouldn't lock.Quickly, quietly she and other library staff got the 18 children down on the floor and crawled with them to a classroom storage closet. Read more
17:16  Advani to EC: Look into gap between voting and counting day:  Expressing concern over the long time gap between the day of voting and counting in Himachal Pradesh polls, veteran BJP leader L K Advani today urged the Election Commission to look into the matter.

"In Gujarat, electors and candidates won't have to wait for too long a period as the results would be out after two days. But my concern is for the voters and candidates in Himachal Pradesh," Advani, the Lok Sabha MP from Gandhinagar, told mediapersons after casting his vote.

"They have been waiting for a long period. I don't think that electoral results in one state would affect voting patterns or result in another state. This is one area I urge the Election Commission of India (ECI) should look into," Advani said.

He added, "I had a discussion with the Prime Minister regarding holding Lok Sabha and Assembly elections simultaneously in all states. What is happening in the last few years is that every year, some state goes to polls." "But, this is not what the founding fathers of the Constitution of India had envisaged as they wanted elections to be held after every five years," he said.
16:40  Gujarat polls: 55 per cent turnout till 3 pm:   An average 55 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 3 pm in the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections today.

"Voter turnout of 54 to 55 per cent was recorded till 3 PM," state Election Commission officials said.

Around 1.98 crore voters will decide the fate of 820 candidates, contesting in the second phase of the election.

Veteran BJP leader L K Advani exercised his franchise at a polling booth in Shahpur area here. Earlier in the day, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and Chief Minister Narendra Modi cast their vote. Modi, who is contesting from Maninagar Assembly constituency, is locked in a direct contest with Congress candidate Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.

A new entrant, Shweta (pictured) is testing political waters for the first time. The constituencies where polling started include 17 in Ahmedabad city, 40 constituencies in five districts-Vadodara, Dahod, Panchmahal, Kheda and Anand-of central Gujarat, 32 seats in five districts -Patan, Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Gandhinagar and Banaskantha-of north Gujarat, and six seats in Kutch district.
16:34  Delhi gangrape: Six suspects ferried school kids:  Update on the gang rape of a para-medical student: The police have identified the five men who beat and raped a young Delhi student in a bus. They work for a school bus service and the bus was used to ferry school students.  
16:30  Cal HC reserves order on contempt plea against Mamata:   The Calcutta High Court today reserved its order on a plea for suo motu contempt against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for allegedly making comments against the judiciary. After hearing the verbal prayer for initiating the suo motu contempt, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi reserved its order on whether it was criticism for betterment of the judiciary or disrespect shown to it.

The bench, which heard the plea by counsels Bikash Bhattacharya and Rabishankar Chatterjee, observed that it was a seminar where Mamata had spoken and everyone could have their own opinion. It observed that Banerjee had not mentioned any particular case or court.
16:25  TDP demands probe: Jagan using cellphone in prison :  While on jail and such like, the TDP today demanded that the AP government immediately conduct an inquiry into the irregularities in the Chanchalguda prison where undertrial prisoner Y S Jaganmohan Reddy is allegedly allowed to use a mobile phone.   

In a letter to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, TDP Politburo member Yanamala Ramakrishnudu referred to UnionMinister of State for Tourism K Chiranjeevi's address at the Pradesh Congress brainstorming session yesterday, wherein the latter alleged that "Y S Jaganmohan Reddy has been using the cell phone to run political affairs from the jail."
16:19  Zee editors get bail on bond of Rs 50,000 each:  The two Zee editors who are in judicial custody for their involvement in the case filed by Jindal Steel and Power Limited get bail. Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia have been accused of trying to extort Rs100 crore as advertisements for diluting the campaign launched against the company in the coal blocks allocation scam. They presented a bond of Rs 50,000 each.
16:10  From Darjeeling, distinguishing between flushes:  Tea is tea, or so I thought before a recent trip to Darjeeling. I had not realized there were different tea seasons. And I had never associated the word flushes' with tea. Read

Also see: Good name is restored in terrain known for tea
15:46  The open privacy of the sky: Telegraph's Aveek Sen on terrace love. (The pic on the story is from the Satyajit Ray film, Jalshaghar. If you haven't watched it, do.) Read
15:39  Idli, vada and Mamata's rare appearance in Parl :   West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was main attraction in Parliament's Central Hall today. The temperamental lady kept moving in her seat (impatience?) while her face reflected her annoyance and anger against UPA2. She has forecast a early Lok Sabha elections next year.

However, she was undeniably warm to women reporters in Parliament who she plied with sweets, idli and vada and even hugged

Our sources say she also met President Pranab Mukherjee earlier in the day.  Mamata's rare presence in Parliament meant that her party MPs surrounded her in the Cental Hall, even as Congress ministers and CPM MPs avoided her. TMC leader Mukul Roy's take on this is that she has proved she is a mass leader.  Well...  
15:19  Call off Indo-Pak cricket series: BJP:  BJP today demanded cancellation of the upcoming Indo-Pak cricket series in the wake of visiting Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik "insulting" India. The party also accused Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde of remaining silent by not responding appropriately to Malik, who triggered controversy by equating 26/11 Mumbai attack with Babri Masjid demolition and describing LeT terrorist Abu Jundal as an operative of Indian intelligence agency. New Delhi has rubbished Malik's assertions.

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Singh said, "The Indo-Pak cricket series (commencing on December 25) should be cancelled. "What kind of goodwill we are creating by playing cricket matches after Malik's visit," he told reporters outside Parliament House. "...our Home Minister has shown weakeness by not reponding to Rehman Malik in kind. He should have immediately responded, if he (Malik) used hard words, he (Shinde) should have used hard words," Sinha said.
15:16  Africa-watcher Hari Sharan Chhabra is no more. His elder son, Aseem Chhabra, is a contributor for Rediff.com and its sister publication India Abroad. Read
15:13  Irrigation scam: Water expert to head SIT probe:   News alert: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee disfavours cash transfer scheme; says it cannot be implemented. Bengal is the latest to oppose the Centres direct cash transfer to beneficiaries claiming it would lead to breakdown of the existing public distribution system and closure of Food Corporation of India.

The basic objective of the PDS to arrest hunger among the poor will be defeated if the beneficiaries are provided cash instead of cheap food leading to closure of the Food Corporation of India, state Minister for Food and Supplies Jyotipriya Mullick said on Sunday.  More


The Maharashtra government announces a SIT probe into alleged irrigation scam in Maharashtra. The SIT will probe the irrigation scams from the BJP-Sena tenure. Water expert Madav Chitale to head the team.
15:12   Lok Sabha adjourned for the day following repeated disruptions over quota in promotion bill.
15:00  Bird watching: When Sienna Miller met Tippi Hedren:  Tippi Hedren endured Alfred Hitchcock's claustrophobic attention for years, while Sienna Miller -- who plays her in a  new film -- has her own experiences of being hounded. Here, they talk to Tim Adams about the dark side of being a star. Read
14:55  Five Things To Watch in Gujarat's Election. Read
14:38  Concern over shortage of personnel, arms in Indian Army:  Concerns were voiced in Rajya Sabha today over national security issues in the wake of severe shortage of personnel and arms in the Indian Army. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Shanta Kumar said it is a matter of grave concern that Indian Army is facing a shortage of 12,500 officers and 30,000 jawans.

The shortage has been accepted by Defence Minister A K Antony and has been widely reported in media leading to a sense of insecurity among masses, Kuamr said. Demanding filling up of the vacant posts immediately, he said even former Army Chief V K Singh had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding shortage of arms and equipment in the Indian Army.
14:25  Obama and George W Bush's reactions to shootouts:   Update on the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre: There is no official definition of a "mass shooting," but FBI classifications describe the term as any incident in which a perpetrator kills four or more people, not including him or herself. Under that definition, 19 mass shootings have taken place since April 16, 2007, the date of the Virginia Tech massacre. That's a rate of more than one every four months -- only considering these most brutal examples. Other devastating shootings go largely unnoticed on the national stage. Read

Also read: Gun control: Change is possible -- and fast
14:21  Pak never arrested Saeed for 26/11 attacks: Shinde:  More on Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's statement in Parliament today. Calling Pakistan's bluff, India today said JuD chief Hafiz Saeed had never been arrested in connection with Mumbai terror attacks even though its Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed so. Making a statement in both Houses of Parliament, Shinde said Malik, who just concluded his visit here, was "misinformed" about the actual reasons for the arrest of Saeed whom India blames as the main conspirator in the 26/11 attacks. "From the papers given to us, it is clear that the detentions of Hafiz Saeed in the aforesaid cases were for other reasons and not for his role as a conspirator in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. 
14:10  SC/ST promotion quota row: SP for reservation to Muslims:  In an apparent move to counter the push for quota in promotion for SC/ST in government jobs, Samajwadi Party in Rajya Sabha today demanded proportionate reservation for Muslims through a Constitutional amendment.

The issue triggered an uproar in the House in the morning with SP members rushing into the Well leading to its adjournment for 30 minutes during Question Hour.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) said the Rajinder Sachar Committee in its report pointed out that the condition of Muslims was worse than Dalits and so there should a Constitutional amendment to provide for quota to Muslims.

"When quota in promotion (for SC/ST) can be given by amending Constitution, then why Muslims should not be given reservation in proportion to their population through a Constitution Amendment Bill," Yadav asked. LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and RJD members supported him.
14:06  For 200 million Indians, a life steeped in discrimination:  One in six Indians -- approximately 200 million people in all -- is born a Dalit. From the day a Dalit is born, life is predestined. Caste discrimination seeps through social symbols, practices and traditions, dooming Dalits to a lifetime of inequity and a position on the lowest rung of Indian society. Read the report on India Ink. 
14:01  How Sandeep Gajakas built unique shoe-laundry business in Mumbai:  "I can make out the story of a person's life by looking at his shoes. Does he walk a lot? What does he do for a living? What is his lifestyle?" says Sandeep Gajakas. And how does he divine these insights? Well, experience, he shrugs. "I would have cleaned 30,000 pairs of shoes and repaired some 60,000 pairs personally since 2003," he says. That might sound like an extraordinary claim, but then many things about Gajakas are just that: extraordinary. Read more
13:54  Priyanka Gandhi on two-day visit to Rae Bareli:  On the sidelines, Priyanka Gandhi has begun a two-day visit to her mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi's parliamentary constituency Rae Bareli. During the two-day visit, Priyanka, who reached here last night, would be holding meetings with party workers at Bhuemau guest house, party sources said.

This is her second visit to Rae Bareli within a span of one month. Earlier, she had held meetings with party workers during her two-day visit here on November 8 and November 9.

On the first day of her visit last time, Priyanka, held block-wise meetings of party workers up to nyaya panchayat level and talked about strengthening the organisation and discussed development works. She had also assured people in her brother Rahul's constituency Amethi that she would visit them regularly and keep in constant touch. Congress had won only two seats in Amethi while in Rae Bareli it drew a blank.
13:46  Delhi gang rape in bus: Four suspects held:  The Delhi Police on Monday detained four suspects for gang raping a 23-year-old student of medicine in Delhi University in a moving bus last night and throwing her from the moving vehicle in a semi-naked condition near Mahipalpur flyover.  

"We have detained four people and have impounded two buses,' said a police official. The victim along with a male friend had boarded a whiteline private bus at around 11 pm from Munirka in south Delhi to go to Palam, where she lives.  

Police said that around five to seven bus crew started misbehaving with the girl a few minutes after she boarded the bus, which was traveling without other passengers.  

The victim''s boyfriend tried to prevent the men from molesting her, but the men beat him up and sexually assaulted the girl. The accused then threw the girl and her boyfriend out of the bus near Mahipalpur in south Delhi''s Vasant Vihar area.

"They took out a rod and beat him badly and then dragged her to the bus cabin where they raped her," the uncle of victim''s friend said. Her friend, who used to work in a software firm, was escorting her home after watching a film at the Select City Walk mall in Saket. The police said it was not clear yet whether the five assailants were passengers or bus staff. No arrests have been made so far; the police have seized two buses.

The victim's friend registered a complaint with the Vasant Vihar police station at around 1.15 am. A First Information Report (FIR) has been lodged at the Vasant Vihar police station. The cops have seized two buses, however, no arrests have been made so far.
13:43  Rahul's exit will be good for democracy: Ramachandra Guha:  In the wake of his latest book Patriots and Partisans, noted historian Ramachandra Guha spoke to TOI's John Cheeran of the danger posed to the nation's liberal polity as much by thoughtless consensus as chauvinism. Invariably, cricket too came up. Read
13:40  1 dead in large explosion near NATO base in Kabul:  A blast inside a Kabul compound owned by a contractor working for the Afghan army killed one person and wounded 15 more, police and witnesses said. Initial reports said one person had been killed and 15 wounded, Kabul police said. The blast happened today inside a large compound on the Jalalabad road heading east from the capital which is owned by a company contracted to provide supplies for the Afghan army, an AFP reporter at the scene said. There were signs of a huge explosion on a road within the compound he said.
13:35  SP firmly opposed to reservation in promotion bill:  The Land Acquisition Bill will be tabled in Parliament at 2 pm today. Earlier in the day, the Samajwadi Party today that despite pressure from the government and the threat of CBI, it is firmly opposed to the reservation in promotion bill and will vote against it in Parliament.

"We are fully opposed to the Bill and whenever it comes up for voting in the House, we will vote against it," SP spokesperson Mohan Singh told reporters outside Parliament House.

He said though the SP is isolated on this issue in Parliament, it enjoys wide support from the people outside. Asked if SP is under CBI pressure to support the government, Singh said, "We have accepted in the past that CBI is used to exert pressure. CBI is misused by the government."

On a sarcastic note, Singh said, "It appears there is no corruption in the Congress and all corruption is in other parties. CBI is there only to probe against Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh and M Karunanidhi." 
13:33  Shinde in Parl: Told Malik that Pak has to act on 26/11 :   In Parliament, Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's statement on Pakistan Interior minister Rehman Malik's three day visit and his controversial statement. Shinde says that he told Malik that Pakistan has to act against the 26/11 accused and bring Hafeez Saeed to justice. "Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik was "misinformed" about reasons for the arrest of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed," says Shinde.

This is what Malik said. Read
13:14  BJP candidate injured in firing: Reports:   The Twitter handle Desh Gujarat says that BJP candidate in Shehra, Jetha Bharwad has been injured after eight rounds of firing by rivals.

Bharwad was shot at in Panchmahal district today and is said to be very close to Narendra Modi. He was among the two MLAs caught watching porn in the Gujarat Assembly.

13:09  Second phase of Gujarat polls: Key numbers: Polling in 12 districts, 95 seats, 23,318 polling booths at 14,162 locations, 7,256 micro observers on duty.
-- DeshGujarat
12:56  Maninagar is trending on Twitter with pro and anti Modi tweets in equal measure.. A sampling:

Akil Bakhshi: Shweta Bhatt's contest from Maninagar is historic. More than the result, it has symbolic value. Dictatorship will never go unchallenged.

Dhaval Parekh: How i wish my name was enrolled in maninagar constituency ,giving me a chance to elect another term for namo.
12:53  SAURASHTRA PROJECTION: BJP 20, Cong 10, 16 too close:  Sheela Bhatt, Arvind Bosmia and Kinner Acharya in Rajkot --  Rediff editors on the field -- speak with experts, common people, media personalities and others to project how the election will go in Saurashtra which voted on Thursday. Read
12:49  Rediff Projection: Which way would Vadodara tilt?:  A political storm has broken in the form of 71 per cent voting in the first phase. In the second and final phase on Monday, 1.98 crore people will cast their vote for the 95 seats in central and north Gujarat. The polling will take place in 40 constituencies in five districts of central Gujarat, which includes the city of Vadodara. Rediff.com gives an exclusive insight into the constituencies that are going to poll on Monday. Read
12:46  Guj polls: So far, it's 21% in first three hours :  An average 21 per cent voting was recorded in the first three hours across 95 seats in Gujarat where polling is underway for the second phase of elections which will decide the fate of 820 candidates including Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

"Around 20-21 per cent voting has been recorded across 95 Assembly constituencies till 11 am, where brisk polling is underway in second phase," a state Election Commission official said. Modi, who is seeking a third term in office, exercised his franchise at Nishan High School in Ranip area of the city.

Confident of returning to power, Modi said, "I thank all the voters. In this election, people of Gujarat will make a hat-trick by giving a third term to us. People of the state will once again vote BJP to power...the sentiments of people here is giving you an clear indication of that".

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely cast his vote at Chimanbhai Patel Institute opposite Karnavati club. Jagruti Pandya, the wife of slain former MoS of Home Haren Pandya casted her vote at New Sharda Mandir school in Paldi. Shweta Bhatt, the Congress candidate contesting against the Chief Minister, exercised her franchise in Memnagar Panchayat Balmandir. Serpentine queues were seen since morning at 23,318 polling stations, with women and youths coming out in large numbers.
12:43  Mid-year economic review tabled in Parliament :  The government has tabled the mid-year economic review in Parliament. The  Economic growth likely to be 5.7 to 5.9 per cent in 2012-13,  inflation likely to moderate in January-March, while March-end inflation likely at 6.8-7 per cent. Fiscal deficit likely to be 5.3 pc of GDP this fiscal. 
12:23  Govt 'deaf and dumb' on Rehman Malik comments: BJP:  Even as the Parliament remains adjourned till 2pm over the SC/ST quota bill, the BJP today managed to corner the UPA government over Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik's controversial remarks during his three-day visit to India, reports India Today.

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad raised the issue on Rehman Malik's comment in Rajya Sabha as Yashwant Sinha gave notice to Lok Sabha to discuss Malik's remarks during zero hour.The

BJP has accused the UPA govt of letting Rehman Malik off the hook and acting 'deaf and dumb' on the Rehman Malik's statements.
12:16  Gen Y and gadgets: the cant-do (without) attitude:  Every now and then, surveys on Internet behaviour -- most of them their eyes set on e-commerce environment -- remind us that we're living in an increasingly wired world, that the Internet juggernaut in India is growing, outpacing all other media, and that we're turning into digital natives. Read
12:13  A ray of hope for Afzal, other death-row prisoners:  The Supreme Court judgment, in the case of Sangeet v. State of Haryana, delivered on November 20 could make the government give the benefit of the doubt to 14 death-row convicts including Afzal Guru, whose mercy petitions have been turned over to it by the President for fresh advice.Read
12:11  Woman bishop no bar in state:  Less than a month after the Church of England voted against the appointment of women bishops, Ranchi's Gossner Evangelical Lutheran (GEL) Church, Chotanagpur's oldest, has declared it would surely have one in the "not-too-distant future'. That's the story on the Telegraph. Read
12:09  Bollywood warms to Sena biopic:  Uddhav Thackeray is wining and dining top Bollywood directors to immortalise his late father on celluloid, now that his hopes of having a memorial to Balasaheb at Shivaji Park have been set back, sources said.

"If the film can be released before the 2014 elections, as Uddhav wants, it has the potential to be his electoral trump card against estranged cousin and political rival Raj Thackeray,' a senior Shiv Sena leader said. Read
12:04  Church asks faithful to vote for Shweta Bhatt: Cong:  Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweets: Church has asked its faithful to vote for Shweta Bhatt in Maninagar
11:59  Cong complains to EC: Modi arrived in convoy:  The Congress party has complained to the Election Commission against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, saying he arrived to cast his vote at Maninagar this morning in his official convoy and thereby violated the code of conduct. The Congress also said that Modi waved to people and also flashed the victory sign.
11:55  Ex-Japanese PM Shinzo Abe returns to power :  Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won by a landslide in Sunday''s House of Representatives election, as it solo secured 294 seats in the election. The LDP''s key ally, the New Komeito Party, got 31 seats, helping the two-party coalition gain 325 seats in the lower house. The president of the LDP, ex-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is expected to reclaim the premiership soon, said his party''s victory is due to failure of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which is ruling the country over the past three years.
11:49  Europe's gypsies have ancestors in India's Doms:  A genetic study has for the first time traced the origins of Europe's gypsy populations to the ancestors of today's Doms, a Dalit sub-caste in India.Indian scientists collaborating with European and US researchers have shown that Europe's Romani people, or gypsies, are the descendants of the Doms from northwest India who migrated to Europe about 1,400 years ago.Their study, published in the journal PLoS One, is the first to establish a source population in India for gypsies, though linguistic and genetic research had already pinpointed India as their original homeland.
Interesting read on the Telegraph.
11:38  Helping Buffett Crack the Indian Market:  In other news: India may prove a tough nut to crack for Warren Buffett. His maiden Indian venture -- an online insurance distributor called Berkshireinsurance.com -- made a big splash when it launched in March 2011.

The company, which sells Bajaj Allianz General's non-life-insurance products, wants to be among the top three companies in India selling insurance on the Internet in the next three to five years. But even with a name like Mr. Buffett's behind it, that's a lofty goal for a newcomer to India's $40 billion insurance industry. Read
11:34  Exclusive: The SECRET behind Gujarat's super voter turnout!:  Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer Anita Karwal tells Rediff.com's Prasanna D Zore about the amazing ways state electoral officers boosted voter sentiment, and the likely reasons behind the high turnout in the first phase of the assembly election. Read the exclusive interview.
11:32  Why Rahul tamed his 'angry avatar' in Gujarat :  Congress general secretary and the scion of India's First Political Family Rahul Gandhi remains an enigma. In a recent cover story on Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, Time magazine surmised that the firebrand leader may emerge as the biggest threat to Rahul's run for the Prime Minister's chair in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Read more
11:29  Shoot First, Mumble Later:  Girish Shahane's blog on how the tirade against the north Indians from the 'Marathi manoos' will continue. Read
11:22  Between Delhi and the deep blue ocean:  Also on the Hindu: After the GMR fiasco in the Maldives, India needs to engage its neighbours in a mutually beneficial way. Read
11:21  Muddy waters made muddier :  Either Narendra Modi is completely clueless about how countries negotiate territorial disputes, which is worrying because he has prime ministerial ambitions and India has bigger boundary problems than Sir Creek; or, equally worryingly, he was being deliberately misleading about the facts in a cynical vote-catching attempt, with no thought to the larger consequences. Read the opinion piece on the Hindu. 
11:16  Nurse Jacintha Saldanha's funeral in Karnataka today:  ANI: The body of Indian origin nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who was found dead following a hoax call to a London hospital, will be buried at Shirva town in coastal Karnataka today.

Family sources said, her body will be kept in Our Lady of the Health Church at Shirva in Udupi district for two hours for the public to pay homage before the funeral service there at 4pm.

The body of Jacintha arrived in Mangalore on Sunday afternoon.Jacintha's husband Benedict Barboza and her son Junal,16, and daughter Lisha,14, accompanied the coffin from London.Meanwhile, the parish priest in Shirva village said Jacintha Saldanha's funeral would take place here on Monday.

Also see: The saddest journey home
11:14  'It's not difficult for Modi to convince Muslims':  Zafar Sareshwala, a businessman and Muslim activist, initiated the dialogue between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarati Muslims. In the final part of his interview with Rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt, Sareshwala explains why he had a change of heart after vehemently opposing Modi at first. Read
Here's the first part of the interview.
11:12  Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha has been adjourned following a ruckus over the SC/ST Quota Bill. 
11:09  I live for my six crore Gujaratis: Narendra Modi :  Update on the second and final phase of polling in Gujarat today. Chief minister Narendra Modi, who cast his ballot today, said the BJP's victory would be as grand as big voters turnout in the assembly polls.

"I thank all the voters. People of Gujarat will vote the BJP to power for a third consecutive term in this election," Modi told mediapersons. "I am committed to the six crore Gujaratis. I live for them. I believe that I am also serving the country through my work in Gujarat. Gujarat is a part of the country and not outside it," he added, when asked to comment on his Prime Ministerial ambitions.  Several BJP leaders, including Sushma Swaraj, have openly endorsed Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate.
11:05  Assam: Ban on ULFA, NDFB will continue, warns govt :   The Union government has extended the ban on the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) with a fresh notification making it clear that the operation against hawkish factions of these two outfits would continue notwithstanding the on-going peace process involving doves of both the outfits, reports K Anurag in Guwahati.

Though a faction of the ULFA led by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa has sat across the table for a dialogue with the government, the faction led by the commander in chief Paresh Barua continues to remain opposed to the peace process.

Similarly, a faction of the NDFB led by Ranjan Dairmari is still not involved in the peace process, while the government has begun peace talks with a faction of the NDFB led by Govinda Basumatary. More on Rediff.com in a bit. 
10:57  In other stories: A road to Birsa's iconic battle hill. Read
10:53  Guj elections: Modi casts vote; 6.7 pc polling in first hour:  Tthe second phase of the Gujarat state assembly elections, has seen about 6.7 per cent polling across 95 constituencies in the first hour. CM Narendra Modi, who is seeking re-election for the third time, exercised his franchise at Nishan High School in Ranip locality amidst much fanfare, flashing a victory sign.

Soon after casting his vote, he told reporters, "It's a very peaceful election. It is such a election that has been contested by people of Gujarat themselves... an election where youth and women folk have taken up the responsibility on their shoulders... It will be a historic one because it has been contested on the issue of good governance and development plank."
10:45  Shaheen back on Facebook, wants to move around without fear:  Palghar girl Shaheen Dhada has reactivated the Facebook account she disabled last month following a row over her comment on the region-wide shutdown in the wake of Bal Thackeray's death. The doughty youngster announced her return on the site with a new photo-- her face no longer draped. Read
10:42  Maliks visit backfires, India rules out joint statement:  India has refused to issue a joint statement with Pakistan at the end of interior minister Rehman Malik's three-day visit, a public protest against the provocations of the visiting Pakistani minister which set the peace process backwards, negating the very objective of the meeting. Read
09:56  Shweta Bhatt casts her vote:  

Congress candidate from Maninagar constituency Shweta Bhatt was also seen casting her vote at Maninagar alongside her husband Sanjiv Bhatt, a suspended IPS officer and a known Modi baiter. 

 

Bhatt is directly taking on Narendra Modi on his home turf Maninagar on a Congress ticket.

09:09  Delhi: Girl allegedly gangraped in private bus:  

CNN-IBN: A medical student was allegedly gangraped in a private bus in the Vasant Vihar area of southwest Delhi. The incident happened on Sunday night. The victim's male friend registered a complaint with the Vasant Vihar police station at around 1.15 am.

 

According to the police, the girl and her friend were stripped and thrown out of the bus after the assault. The girl is said to be in a critical condition at the Safdarjung hospital.

08:33  Iraq attacks kill at least 17:  

AFP: Attacks in Iraq, including a string of bombings against Shiite places of worship and a car bomb at a Kurdish political office, killed at least 17 people and wounded at least 77, officials said.         

 

Two car bombs and seven roadside bombs exploded near two Shiite places of worship, known as husseiniyahs, in the northern city of Kirkuk, while a magnetic "sticky bomb" targeted a policeman near the city yesterday, police said.          Sadiq Omar Rasul, the head of the Kirkuk health directorate, put the toll from the various attacks at 13 killed and 57 wounded.         

 

Oil-rich and ethnically mixed Kirkuk is part of a swathe of territory in northern Iraq that the autonomous Kurdistan region wants to incorporate, over the strong objections of Baghdad.

08:31  Man fires 50 shots at California mall parking lot:  

AP: A man was arrested after firing about 50 shots in the parking lot of a SouthernCalifornia shopping mall, prompting a lockdown of storescrowded with holiday shoppers.       

 

Marcos Gurrola, 42, of Garden Grove was taken into custodyby bicycle police officers patrolling around the open-airFashion Island mall around 4:30 p.m. yesterday, policespokeswoman Cathy Lowe said. She said he fired into the airand onto the ground in the parking lot near a Macy'sdepartment store.        No one was injured, but the gunfire caused panic, coming aday after a gunman killed 26 children and adults at a Connecticut elementary school, and days after a deadly mallshooting in Oregon.       

 

The mall was crowded with holiday shoppers and the parkinglot was full. Witnesses said they ran, screaming and duckingfor cover.       

 

"It's a miracle nobody got injured," said Sven Maric, whosaid he was celebrating his wife's birthday at a restaurantpatio about 40 meters away. "The bullets had

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