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LIVE! Delhi records highest poll code violations

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December 04, 2013


23:51  Delhi records highest poll code violations:  Delhi Assembly elections this time saw not just the highest voter turnout but also the highest number of violations of the Model Code of Conduct.

A total of 42,000 litres of liquor worth more than Rs 1 crore was seized while Rs 1.64 crore, which was allegedly meant for distribution among voters in order to lure them, was recovered from various constituencies.

Delhi Election Commission also detected 21 cases of paid news out of 80 complaints it received. As many as 346 First Information Reports were also registered against various political parties for various offences.

Leading the pack was the Aam Aadmi Party as 105 cases were filed against them while 88 FIRs were filed against Congress and 86 against BJP. In addition to that, five FIRs were also registered for model code violation today.
22:34  With 2014 elections reduce UPA to a lame duck govt?:  Anita Katyal for rediff.com: If the poll surveys pointing to a near-whitewash for the Congress in the five assembly elections is any indication, the United Progressive Alliance government it heads will find it increasingly difficult to govern, as it will now have to contend with an aggressive opposition and far more assertive allies.

The Congress-led UPA government will feel the immediate effect of the election results in the winter session of Parliament which opens on Thursday.

The confrontation between the ruling alliance and the principal opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party will escalate next week after the declaration of the election results on December 8.

Read the full article on rediff.com shortly
22:11  Delhi witnesses record 66 pc turnout in tight triangular contest:   A record 66 per cent Delhiites voted today in the fiercely fought assembly polls, considered the litmus test for Congress ahead of the next year's Lok Sabha elections, as arch rival BJP and debutant Aam Aadmi Party made it a tight triangular contest. 

The high-pitched battle that saw BJP aggressively campaigning to stop Congress from getting a fourth consecutive term and greenhorn AAP, trying to corner both traditional political parties on corruption issue, culminated with nearly 80 lakh out of the 1.19 crore voters deciding the fate of 810 candidates.
22:08  French Arafat probe fails to allay Palestinian doubt:  A French report ruling out poisoning in Yasser Arafat's 2004 death, rather than laying to rest suspicions of an assassination, has prompted denial and incredulity from Palestinian officials and relatives of the late president. 

The Palestinians, who have long cried foul, with some pointing the finger directly at Israel, cited today apparent inconsistencies between the French findings and separate ones from Switzerland and Russia that gave currency to alleged poisoning by polonium.
21:49  Goa Police submit status report on Tejpal case to Centre:  Midway through their probe into the sexual assault case against Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal, Goa Police have submitted a status report to the Union Home Ministry. 

Last week, the Home Ministry had sought a report on the high-profile case and its direction has been complied with, a senior Goa Police official said today.
21:45  Kidnapped Al-Arabiya reporter walks free in Philippines:  A reporter with the Pan-Arab Al-Arabiya news channel has walked free from the southern Philippines jungle 18 months after he was abducted by Islamist militants, Filipino police said today. 

Bakr Atyani, a Jordanian, was found by a police patrol on the remote southern Philippine island of Jolo, more than 1,000 kilometres south of Manila, police in nearby Patikul town said.
21:19  Mexican truck with radioactive load stolen:  A truck carrying an extremely dangerous radioactive substance has been stolen in central Mexico, the U.N. nuclear agency said Wednesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the truck was carrying cobalt-60, used for radiotherapy treatment to combat cancer. An IAEA statement Wednesday said the truck was stolen Monday while taking the material to a radioactive waste storage center from the northern city of Tijuana.

The IAEA said the heist occurred in Tepojaco, a town near Mexico City, and describes the load as "extremely dangerous" if damaged or removed from its protective shielding. It said Mexican authorities are searching for the material.
20:59  Britain to tweet legal warnings on court cases:  The British government will from today tell Twitter and Facebook users how to avoid "inadvertently breaking the law" by revealing banned details from court cases. 

Legal advisories previously sent only to the mainstream media will be published on social media networks in recognition of the fact that newspapers and television no longer have a monopoly on news.
20:30  Exit polls show 4-0 sweep for BJP in four big states:  The "exit poll of polls" shows the BJP winning 4-0 in Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. 

In Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal's party makes an extra-ordinary debut.
20:02  Tejpal undergoes second round of medical tests:  Arrested Tehelka founder Tarun Tejpal today underwent a second series of tests as part of police probe against him. 

A senior crime branch official associated with the probe against Tejpal, accused by his woman colleague of sexually assaulting her, said this was the second round of medical tests on him since the first one, including potency test, conducted two days ago.
18:50  What the BJP predicts for itself :  Sheela Bhatt reporting from New Delhi says that BJP office-bearers and election managers say that a couple of election rallies in Chhattisgarh which were planned in the last phase of the polls and six rallies in New Delhi in the last week of campaigning by Narendra Modi may have changed the rules of the game.

The BJP believes that if it wins Chhattisgarh and Delhi, the credit should go to Modi. The BJP functionary said the party would emerge victorious in Rajasthan as well.

The party believes it will somehow form the government in New Delhi and in Madhya Pradesh, while they predict a win, it will be with a reduced margin.

In Chhattisgarh, the party expects to sweep the polls.

In MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and New Delhi, the BJP gives a 3:1 to a 4:0 score in its favour.    
18:41  LIVE! Delhi polls: Voting extended to 7:15 pm:  Around 65 per cent polling was recorded in the Delhi Assembly election today even as long queues of people were seen at the booths past the voting deadline of 5 pm. The deadline for voting has now been extended to 7.15 pm.

"Around 65 per cent polling has been recorded. But the figure may change as we are compiling all the data. Around 70,000 people are still standing in queue," a senior official of Delhi Election Commission said.

He said people who queued before 5 pm are being allowed to vote. Polling has also been extended in booths where voting started late due to snag in electornic voting machies.

In 2008 assembly polls, the overall voting percentage was 57.58 per cent. Earlier, Delhi's Chief Electoral officer Vijay Dev said he expected the final percentage of voting to be between 70 and 75 per cent.

There were reports of malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVM) in some parts of the city but they were rectified, election officials said. Time of polling has been extended by an hour in all the booths where voting started late due to snag in EVMs.
18:29  Mandela in fight from 'deathbed' :  South Africa's ailing first black President Nelson Mandela, 95, is putting up a courageous fight from his "deathbed", his daughter says.
18:19  Exit polls indicate BJP victories in MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh:  The Congress is hoping against hope that the exit polls which indicate a victory for the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh will prove wrong, reports Sheela Bhatt from New Delhi. 

Congress's  estimate at the time of the close of voting hours (at 5 pm) in New Delhi is that there will be a hung assembly where neither the BJP nor the Congress will get majority.

The Congress is confident that they will win Mizoram and Chhattisgarh since they believe a huge turnout indicates a message for change.

The party's internal estimate is that in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan its chance of victory was diluted towards the last phase of campaigning.

So Congress is expecting a 2:2 score in four states and New Delhi undecided.
18:03  EC may extend voting to 6.30 pm for some areas in Delhi:   The Delhi EC says that voting may be extended in some areas till 6:30 pm. The EC says there were long queues at certain polling booths.
18:01  CNN IBN exit polls: BJP seats in Chhattisgarh 42-45, Madhya Pradesh 145 Rajasthan 125.

ABP TV: Exit polls for Delhi: BJP: 32, Congress: 18, AAP 18.
17:51  LIVE! PM to Nawaz Sharif: No scope of Pak winning war against India :  PM Dr Manmohan Singh reacts to his Pakistani counterpart saying there is no scope of Pakistan winning a war (against India) in his lifetime.

This comes after Pak PM Nawaz Sharif said Kashmir was a flashpoint that can trigger a fourth war between Pakistan and India anytime. He said he was seeking an early settlement of the issue.

He also said he had a dream of seeing Indian Kashmir free and hoped to see it happen during his lifetime.

"Kashmir is a flashpoint and can trigger a fourth war between the two nuclear powers at anytime," he was quoted as saying by the Dawn daily in his brief address to the budget session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Council in Pak-occupied Kashmir yesterday.

The press release issued by his office last night did not carry the above statement.

The statement had however quoted Sharif as saying that the Kashmir issue should be settled according to the aspirations of the people and the UN resolutions as peace in the region was not possible without it.

"The Prime Minister said that he had a dream of seeing held-Kashmir free from the Indian occupation and desired that this dream could turn into reality during his lifetime," the statement said.
17:42  Having 'little expectations', many Delhiites use 'NOTA' option:   A section of voters here chose to exercise the newly introduced 'None Of The Above Option' (NOTA) option on Wednesday saying they have "little expectations" from any of the political parties engaged in the electoral battle."

This election has given us a unique opportunity of pressing the NOTA button," said Arvind Tyagi who listed a host of problems faced by his colony in Vikaspuri in West Delhi. Read more

Pic: A spirited woman voter during the Delhi polls today
17:29  10 reasons why Delhi is not to be dissed:  Delhi, the capital of the world's largest democracy, has come under a lot of flak in the past year.

The fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in the city earned it the "unsafe' tag internationally.

The city is full of obstacles that make living here challenging. Just getting around is tough.

But there are rays of light in the city, which on a closer look, reveal a certain charm. As the capital went to the polls today, here's a look at 10 things about Delhi that remind us of the brighter side. Read
17:19   Voting has closed in Delhi. EC puts the figure at above 60 per cent to approximately 66 per cent. 
17:12  ABP exit poll figures for state elections to be released today, tomorrow:  ABP News will be issuing a press release with the Exit Poll of Delhi and MP Assembly Elections around 8 pm. Data for exit poll of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections will be released tomorrow.
16:52  LIVE! Tarun Tejpal to be tried in a fast-track court by a woman judge: Goa CM:   The Indian Express tweets: Goa CM Manohar Parrikar says Tarun Tejpal will be tried in a fast-track court and produced before a woman judge.

So far, this is what is happening on the Tejpal case.

Tehelka
Editor Tarun Tejpal, arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman journalist, underwent a potency test which came out positive.

Officials at the Goa Medical College, where he was brought for the potency test that is mandatory in sexual assault cases, said that the examination fetched positive result.

Fifty-year Tejpal was subjected to various other tests, including blood test, at the college's forensic department near Panaji. He was medically examined for five hours in the morning and later brought again at 3.15 pm for further tests, sources said.

Goa Medical College Dean VN Jindal said that the tests were conducted as per the requirement of the investigation agency. He, however, refused to disclose the results of the test.

Tejpal was arrested on Saturday by the crime branch after his anticipatory bail petition was rejected by the sessions court. He was remanded in six-day police custody by a court on Goa on Sunday after which the crime branch officials grilled him for over five hours.

Today, Shoma Chaudhary was summoned by the Goa police.
16:46  Report on Kashmir issue triggering war 'incorrect': Pakistan:  Pakistan today described as "incorrect" a media report that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had contended the Kashmir issue is a flashpoint which "can trigger a fourth war" with India.

"Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is of the opinion that any issue of conflict between Pakistan and India has to be resolved through peaceful means," said a statement issued by his office.

The influential Dawn daily had quoted Sharif as saying that "Kashmir is a flashpoint and can trigger a fourth war between the two nuclear powers at any time".

The report said he made the remarks during a brief address to the Council of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in Muzaffarabad yesterday.

The statement from Sharif's office said: "Prime Minister of Pakistan never uttered these words and the news item is baseless, incorrect and based on malafide intentions."
16:26  LIVE! FIR filed against Justice AK Ganguly in sexual harassment case :  An NGO has filed an FIR against Justice AK Ganguly, the former Supreme Court judge, being investigated for alleged sexual harassment.

Yesterday, Ganguly, who is the chief of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, has said he is undecided about resigning from it.

Today, Ganguly said that he hasn't seen the copy of the FIR and neither has anyone contacted him.

Justice Ganguly retired in February last year. He has said in an interview last week that he was "shattered and disturbed" by the allegations.

The woman who blogged about him and he have testified for a committee of three serving Supreme Court judges. They have delivered their report to P Sathasivam, the Chief Justice of India, naming him.
16:13  Delhi polls: Voter turnout till 4 pm is 55 per cent. 
16:11  Shoma's statements in Delhi crucial, says Goa police :  Update on the Tehelka case: The Goa police had already recorded a statement of Shoma Chaudhury during the initial stage of investigation in the case by meeting her at the Tehelka office in New Delhi, before she quit the position.

Officials said that the statement of Chowdhary is very crucial for the case as she was the first person to have known about the alleged sexual assault.

The official said that all the four would be called after the court gives the date to record the statement. Tejpal was arrested on November 30 by crime branch after his anticipatory bail petition was rejected by a sessions court.

On December 1, he was remanded in six-day police custody by a court here.
16:01  Man kills wife, cuts body into three pieces:  A 30-year-old woman was murdered allegedly by her husband who chopped her body into three pieces inside their flat in Bhayander in Thane the district.

The murder took place in the high-profile Golden Nest apartment in Bhayander yesterday and the accused - Girish Pote (29) -- was arrested at night, Thane Rural Police said today.

Pote and his wife Madhuwanti used to have frequent quarrels over several issues, including financial matters, API Satish Shivarkar of the Navghar police station said.

On Tuesday, after a heated argument with his wife, the accused stabbed her and then cut her body into three pieces inside their flat.

The cousin of the accused and the residents in the apartment alerted the police, who rushed to the spot and recovered the severed body, which was sent for post-mortem.

Based on a complaint filed by his cousin, a case was filed against Girish and he was later arrested, police added. The accused has been charged under sections 302 (murder) and 201 (destruction of evidence), police said.
15:49  Blog: Sexual harassment, hypocrisy and the boys' club:  This is a story about how strong women can and do get harassed. It is also a story about how hypocrisy, silence and the boys' club help the offender get away with it. Read
15:42  LIVE! Delhi polls: 48% turnout till 3 pm, EC expects it to rise to 70%:   At 3 pm, the voter turnout in Delhi has touched 48 per cent. The EC says it is happy with the turnout and expects it to touch 70 per cent by the end of the day.

This, despite people in many polling booths in Tuglaqabad, Karol Bagh, Trilokpuri and Badarpur said they had to wait for a long time to cast their votes as electronic voting machines were not working.
15:30  Sachin takes a different path to old pal Vinod Kambli :  Tendulkar and his school friend Vinod Kambli burst onto the scene together but then went separate ways. Read more 
15:23  People in many polling booths in Tuglaqabad, Karol Bagh, Trilokpuri and Badarpur said they had to wait for a long time to cast their votes as electronic voting machines were not working.
15:17  Now, Pak Taliban targets journos for fabricating anti-Sachin statement:  The Pakistani Taliban has said it will target journalists and media organisations for "fabricating" the statement of its spokesperson asking news outlets not to pay tribute to cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar on his retirement.

"In Tuesday's meeting, we decided to target only journalists and media organisations which twisted the recent statement of Shahidullah Shahid and tried to tarnish Taliban's image nationally and internationally," an unnamed senior Taliban leader and member of the shura was quoted as saying by The News daily.

"The task has been given to a select group of people within the Taliban to collect information about the journalists and media organisations who fabricated statement of the spokesman," he said.
15:09   New Yorkers report 'eerie, howling sound from WTC:  New Yorkers have reported hearing an eerie sound coming from the new One World Trade Centre building.

A strange howling sound from the building is even keeping the residents up at night. According to news.com.au, the building''s 104-storey Freedom Tower is 1776-feet high, making it the tallest building in the US.

On top of the tower is a spire, which appears to be the source of the disturbing sound as the wind blows. The creepy, choral-like sound was first reported during Superstorm Sandy, when the building was lashed with strong winds and rain, the report added
15:06  Japanese Royal Couple arrives on two-day visit to Chennai:  Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrived in Chennai today on a two-day visit to city.

The royal couple were received by State Minister for Higher Education P Palaniappan and senior government officials at the Airport, sources said.

During their visit, the couple is scheduled to visit Kalakshetra Foundation later in the day, sources said.

Tomorrow, they are expected to make a visit to the Children's Park in Guindy before attending the luncheon hosted by Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah.

The royal couple would also attend a function at the Spastics Society of Tamil Nadu and are expected to leave for Tokyo the same day.
15:01  BJP far ahead of Cong, AAP: Harsh Vardhan:   BJP Chief Ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan today voiced confidence that his party will return to power after a gap of 15 years in Delhi, claiming it was "far ahead" of Congress and Aam Aadmi Party.

"I can tell you very categorically that we are far ahead of Congress and the new entrant in Delhi politics. I am 100 per cent confident about our victory. I think nobody can make any dent in our vote bank," he said after casting his vote in Krishna Nagar constituency.

Rejecting claims that a triangular electoral contest has made it tough for BJP in the national capital, he said, "If there is any contest or fight, it is between the Congress and the new entrant (for the second place)."

Vardhan, who was named BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate at a very later stage, is trying to unseat the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government which has been ruling the national capital since the last 15 years.
15:00  Congress candidate booked, BSP workers arrested with liquor:  Two BSP workers have been arrested for allegedly trying to lure voters by distributing liquor in Alipur area of north-west Delhi, while Congress candidate Sushil Kumar Gupta has been booked on charges of holding an illegal political meeting at a banquet hall, yesterday.

Congress MLA from Kondli, Amrish Singh Gautam, has also come under the scanner as his photographs were found pasted on the doors of one Malohtra Properties Office, from where four cartons of liquor were seized by a team of flying squad teams at Kichripur yesterday.

"No direct link has been established with Gautam's picture and the carton of liquors seized. Investigation in the matter is on," said Ankur Garg, Chief Nodal Officer, Model code of Conduct.

The two BSP workers are identified as Lait and Pramod.They were allegedly caught in action by a patrolling team of police yesterday.
14:43  Innocent man: How inmate Michael Morton lost 25 years of his life. Read
14:40  Why slogans won't work anymore, it's time for action:  An opinion poll in this newspaper shows a stark reality: Two-thirds of Delhi women voting still feel unsafe in the Capital. But the poll also shows that most of us believe things can and should be different: 88% of voters are more likely to cast their ballots for a politician who commits to concrete action to stop violence against women and 93% view it as an election priority.

Lawyer Karuna Nundy on why slogans won't work anymore, it's time for action. Read
14:13  A poor neighborhood in Delhi recalls empty promises:  On Tuesday, the crowded lanes of Sangam Vihar were without those rickshaws outfitted with loudspeakers, which had been blaring political slogans in the lead-up to the state legislative assembly vote the next day.

The last pamphlets had been doled out before being trampled under foot or used as napkins.

No more mega rallies were planned, with most of the biggest political names having come and gone in the past few weeks as they campaigned for a contest seen as a preview for the national elections next year. Read more
14:11  In Bihar village, an enduring love for Lalu Prasad Yadav:  My Bihar village of a few hundred is just a few miles from Phulwaria in Gopal Ganj, where the populist leader Lalu Prasad Yadav was born. The leader, who charmed everyone with his wit and simplicity, ruled Bihar for almost 15 years starting 1990 -- seven years himself as chief minister, eight years through his homemaker wife, Rabri Devi, as proxy.  Read
14:02  Tehelka's Shoma Chaudhury receives summons from Goa police :  And news of that other magazine in the news in India -- Tehelka. Shoma Chaudhury, who resigned as managing editor of Tehelka, receives summons from the Goa police to record her statement before a magistrate.

Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal was arrested last Saturday after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected. He was remanded to six days police custody on Sunday. Tejpal is accused of sexually assaulting a woman journalist in a lift during a Tehelka event in Goa.
13:53  LIVE! Pop the champagne: Newsweek returns to print by Jan-Feb 2014:  US current affairs magazine Newsweek, which had ceased publication last year to focus on its website, plans to bring back the print edition early next year.

The magazine expects to begin a 64-page weekly edition in January or February, Newsweek's editor-in-chief Jim Impoco said in an interview to the New York Times.

He said the newly published Newsweek would depend more on subscribers than advertisers to pay its bills, with readers paying more than in the past.

"It's going to be a more subscription-based model, closer to what The Economist is compared to what Time magazine is," Impoco said.

"We see it as a premium product, a boutique product." Newsweek's return to print is being seen as a positive sign for a magazine that had struggled to survive as more readers switched to online versions of newspapers and magazines to get their news.
13:48  LIVE! Delhi polls: 7000 names missing from voters list:   On the eve of the December 4 Delhi assembly polls, the Delhi Election Commission Tuesday sent text messages to people, reminding them to cast their ballots. The messages from the Delhi's Chief Electoral Office read: "Delhi goes to polls on 4 December, 2013 -- don't forget to exercise your rights."

So far, names of 7000 voters are missing from the list.
Till 1 pm, 34 per cent turnout has been recorded.
13:35  Parliaments Winter Session to begin from Thursday:  The Winter Session of Parliament will commence from December 5 and last till December 20. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had earlier this week said that the government is determined to push through the Lokpal Bill and the Women''s Reservation Bill during the session.

Nath also informed that all parties are in agreement that the session will continue for extended hours to expedite pending work.

Nath said leaders of all political parties have assured that session will run smoothly. Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, has demanded the passage of the Telangana Bill and the Lokpal Bill during the winter session.

She said the Women's Reservation Bill, and issues such as the atrocities against women, inflation and unemployment should also be discussed. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury demanded the passage of pending public welfare bills.
13:29  Swapan Dasgupta: Seems deletion of legit voters happened during preparation of final rolls last month. Method behind this arbit step? Middle class affected.
13:26  At least 7000 voters complain that their names are missing from the Delhi voters' list. Details awaited. 
13:23  LIVE! Goa court rejects Tejpal's plea for fan in police custody:   A Goa court today rejected an application filed by Tehelka magazine Editor Tarun Tejpal seeking permission to get a fan installed in the police lock up where he is being kept.

Judicial Magistrate First Class Kshama Joshi rejected the application by Tejpal, who has been lodged in Panaji police custody since Saturday in connection with a sexual assault case.

On December 2, Tejpal's lawyer had argued in the court that a fan be allowed to be put up in the lock-up on humanitarian grounds.

The 50-year-old Tehelka founder was taken for a second round of medical tests today.
13:09  The superlative Ramesh Srivats tweets: Vote Congress: Ink ring finger (family),
Vote BJP: Ink index finger (authoritarian),
Vote AAP: Ink thumb (upbeat),
NOTA: Middle finger.
12:54  Arvind Kejriwal to meditate till Dec 7:  Arvind Kejriwal, 44, said this morning after casting his vote, "I am very confident of the results. It will not be my victory but that of the people."

He added  that he will meditate for the next two days and "return on December 7". The results will be counted on the 8th (Sunday).

Kejriwal has chosen New Delhi as his constituency, a bold move that places him in direct competition with Sheila Dikshit, the 75-year-old chief minister who is looking for a record fourth term. The BJP has fielded former Delhi chief Vijender Gupta for the same area.
12:48  Heard of compulsory waiting?:   Decades after enriching the lexicon with stellar entries such as "gherao' and "load-shedding', Bengal has breathed fresh life into a chameleonic coinage: "compulsory waiting'. K. Jayaraman, the erstwhile commissioner of police in Siliguri, is now on "compulsory waiting". Read
12:42  What happens when the Congress 'High Command' is no longer in command?:  "One senior Congress leader told me: As long as Rahul is seen arriving there is no harm done, but when he opens his mouth, oh God...", reveals T V R Shenoy.  Read
12:37  Jumbo concern: In six years, 354 persons killed by elephants in Orissa :   Rising incidents of human-elephant conflict has become a headache for the state government. As many as 354 people were killed by the jumbos in the past six years, while 368 elephants died during the same period.

Between 2008-09 and 2013-14 (till November 15 this year), the number of elephant deaths caused by poaching, electrocution, and accidents is higher than the casualties due to natural reasons and diseases. Nearly 150 elephants died due to poaching, electrocution, and accidents as against 144 natural deaths.
12:31  India's safest city Mumbai records 229 rapes, 8 gang rapes in 8 months:   Mumbai city has witnessed 237 rapes, including eight gang rapes till August this year, with police saying that in most cases, the victims knew the accused, majority of whom were either "friends and lovers" or neighbours.

As per the information procured under Right to Information Act (RTI) by social worker Anil Galgali, as many as 229 rape cases and eight gang rape cases, including two Shakti Mills gangrapes that jolted the nation, were reported till August this year.

"The number of such cases will go up by the end of this year, as in November alone two gang rapes of minors were reported in suburban Dindoshi and Borivali," said Galgali.

Last year, 223 rape cases and eight gang rape cases were reported, while in 2011 as many as 211 rapes and nine gang rapes were registered. In 2010, a total 188 sexual assault cases while seven gang rapes were reported.
12:28  Goonda act: Nitesh Rane freed on bail after attacking toll booth worker:  Maharashtra Minister Narayan Rane's son Nitesh, who was arrested along with his supporters for allegedly vandalising a toll booth and attacking its staffers near Panaji, has been released on bail.

Judicial magistrate first class Mapusa granted bail to Nitesh and three others, who were released late last night. Pernem police had arrested nine people, including Nitesh, last evening.

While the court granted bail to four, five others would be taken for remand today.

A Goa-bound group, led by Nitesh, travelling in a convoy of private cars, had refused to pay toll fee at the plaza in Pernem village on Goa-Maharashtra border.

Toll fee is charged from all non-Goa registered vehicles when they enter from the neighbouring states.

The group created a ruckus and damaged the toll collection centre and assaulted three workers employed by Goa Public Works Department to man the toll booth. Narayan Rane, a Shiv Sainik-turned-Congressman, wields considerable influence in Maharashtra's Konkan region, which borders Goa.

Rane, a former Chief Minister, currently holds industry portfolio in the Prithviraj Chavan Cabinet.
12:25  Report: Polls are good for growth and Rupee:  If past elections are anything to go by, next year could mark the return of a strong Indian economy and currency, no matter who comes to power.

Deutsche Bank Research recently looked at the last five federal elections in India, starting 1996, to find out what the data says about how politics affects the economics of the world's largest democracy.

India is scheduled to vote for its national leaders again before the end of next May.  Read more
12:19  What Cong, BJP, AAP has promised voters :  The BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan promised to cut power tariff by 30 per cent and slash vegetable prices within 30 days of coming to power.
The BJP has also promised to give 12 subsidised LPG cylinders in a year to each household instead of current nine, besides ensuring full statehood. It has also promised to set up a dedicated Women Security Force to ensure safety of women.

Congress has promised to set up a Single Command System to address the problems of multiplicity of authorities and a common economic zone for the entire National Capital Region to minimise load on Delhi's infrastructure. It has also promised to construct double-decker flyovers to ease traffic congestion.

The AAP said it will pass the Jan Lokpal Bill within 15 days of coming to power, besides promising to cut power tariff by 50 per cent. It said 700 litres of water per day will be given free to each household.
12:11  1.19 crore voters, 66.11 lakh men, 53.20 lakh women, 4.05 lakh first-time voters :  There were some reports of malfunctioning of electronic voting machines  in some parts of the city but they were rectified, election officials said.

The EVM at the polling booth in Aurangazeb Lane, where Rahul cast his vote, malfunctioned when polling began.

In Jungpura, Badli and Krishna Nagar constituencies, some voters complained that their names have been struck from the electoral rolls and they could not vote.

Elaborate security arrangements were made in the capital with deployment of 32,801 personnel of Delhi Police and 10,700 central paramilitary force personnel to ensure peaceful elections.

The voting began at 8 am at 11,753 polling booths out of which 630 have been identified as critical and hyper critical.

The Election Commission has appealed to people not to carry mobile phones while going to cast their votes.

A total of 1.19 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise, out of which 66.11 lakh are men and 53.20 lakh are women.

The number of first time voters is 4.05 lakh. 810 candidates are in the fray in the three-cornered contest between Congress, BJP and AAP.

While BJP has fielded candidates in 66 constituencies Congress and AAP are contesting from all 70 seats. BSP, which was the third largest party in last Assembly election, has fielded candidates in 69 seats, NCP in nine and Samajwadi Party in 27 seats. A total of 224 independents are also in the fray.
12:04  LIVE! Sheila Dikshit: Not nervous at all, verdict will be pro-incumbency:   So far, 17 per cent voting 11 am in Delhi. Sonia Gandhi, Sheila Dikshit, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka and Robert Vadra, AAP's Arvind Kejriwal, BJP's Dr Harsh Vardhan have already cast their votes.

Kapil Sibal has just cast his vote as well. He said the turnout was considerable, and urged people to vote for the right candidates.

Sheila Dikshit said earlier that she was confident and not nervous at all. She said it was the media who was calling it anti-incumbency. "I say it's pro-incumbency."
11:51  Aam admi Rahul Gandhi queues up to vote:  Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was among the high-profile people who queued up this morning to vote in the Delhi Assembly election.

Clad in a while kurta-pyjama and a half-jacket, Gandhi cast his ballot at booth number 88 at Aurangazeb Lane in New Delhi constituency from where Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is contesting.

There were 25 people ahead of Gandhi in the queue when he arrived at the booth at around 10:30 am.

The EVM at polling booth in Aurangazeb Lane, where Rahul cast his vote, malfunctioned earlier but was immediately rectified. Gandhi stood in the queue for around 32 minutes before his turn came to cast his vote.

The Congress Vice President had addressed two election rallies in the city one of which witnessed a low turnout.

Bharti Group chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal was among those who exercised their franchise at the Aurangazeb Lane booth in the morning.

The election is witnessing a triangular contest among Congress, BJP and newbie Aam Admi Party.

In pictures: Delhi bigwigs ink their fingers.
11:43  Ramesh Srivats: Why is he laughing at his own party symbol? RT @ANI_news Delhi Assembly Polls: Rahul Gandhi casts his vote. See
11:40  Feed a cold, starve a fever?:  The popular proverb that we should eat when we have a cold, but not when we have a fever makes some sense intuitively.

Since fevers usually only last a day a two and you tend not to have much of an appetite anyway, eating little isn't difficult.

But colds tend to last between seven and 10 days so you're inclined to eat and would be left feeling pretty weak and wretched if you didn't.  Read more
11:38  Sauce for the goose, but not the gander:  The refrain that the Geneva interim agreement and a diplomatic thaw in US-Iran ties are also good for India is a reminder that New Delhi has not been able to chart an autonomous course with Tehran since 2005. Read
11:36   Transforming bilateral ties:  Through the last decade, India and Japan have made determined efforts to transform their bilateral ties. The week-long two-city state visit to India by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko is evidence that those efforts have been successful.  Read
11:33  Yasser Arafat died of natural causes, French investigators say:  Scientific and medical experts rule out possibility that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned amid reports of high levels of polonium-210. Read
11:29  Indian novelist wins Bad Sex Prize for a cosmic-themed threesome:  In other news: Manil Suri has won the 21st Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award, for The City of Devi (Bloomsbury). The prize was presented by Joan Collins at a ceremony in London on Tuesday night. The prize highlights embarrassing or redundant erotic scenes in novels. Read more
11:24  The loneliness of Sheila Dikshit:  All is not well in the Delhi Congress party. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is said to be upset with the party's central leadership for not doing enough.

Most Congress stalwarts, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram, did not campaign for the Congress in the national capital.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi addressed one rally, party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi opted for two in Delhi in the run-up to the assembly election.

Did whispers of Dikshit nursing ambitions of a bigger role in the 'Delhi durbar' post-polls upset the high and mighty within the party? Read more
11:21  Delhi Lt governor casts his vote :  Lt Governor Najeeb Jung casts his vote in Delhi: I think we all get a chance to exercise our electoral right every five years.The democracy of India is a very successful one. I think as compared to other states, Delhi will have a high polling status being the capital city. Every new government makes better efforts than the previous one." -- NDTV
11:10  Derek O'Brien on why Justice Ganguly should step down:  TMC MP Derek O'Brien on why Justice AK Ganguly should step down as chair of the WBHRC. Read

Remember, Justice Ganguly was appointed WBHRC chairman by the Mamata Banerjee government in 2011, but he fell apart with the TMC supremo over some issues including the suo motu cognisance of the arrest of a professor for posting cartoons lampooning the Chief Minister.

The government had refused to give a compensation of Rs 50,000 to the Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra as recommended by the Commission.
11:06  UPA is poised for a big defeat:  CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat's reaction when asked what he thought of Rahul Gandhi as a leader?

"(Bursts into laughter.) I have nothing to say. All I can say is the Congress party, after nine-and-a-half years as part of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government, is poised to suffer a big defeat."

Read the full interview on Rediff.com.
10:52  LIVE! Vote for any party, but eat after voting, Kejriwal tells Delhi :  Arvind Kejriwal tweeted earlier this morning: "On my way to poll booth to cast my vote. Will eat only after voting. Am on fast till then. Will u also do that? Eat only after u hv voted?Vote for any party. But do go out and vote."
10:46  All government and semi-government offices will remain closed today in Delhi to allow people to vote. 
10:44  In 2008 assembly polls, the overall voting percentage was 57.58 per cent.
10:43  Who voted where:  Sonia Gandhi was accompanied by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to the polling station in Nirman Bhavan at around 10 am. She is a voter in the New Delhi constituency from where Dikshit is contesting.

The other two prominent contestants in the constituency are Aam Admi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal and former Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta. Kejriwal voted at polling booth no 47 at Hanuman Road at around 8:15 am.

"People of Delhi will win and corruption will be defeated in the election," he told reporters.

Vice President Hamid Ansari and Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev were among the first few to cast their votes.
10:41  Dikshit keeping fingers crossed for her toughest battle:   In Delhi, 1.2 crore residents have begun voting today. Facing the toughest battle of her political career, three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today said she has kept her "fingers crossed" on the outcome of the election where ruling Congress, BJP and new entrant Aam Admi Party are locked in a keen tussle.

When asked whether she was worried about AAP's possible impact, Dikshit said "no".

Dikshit (75), who led Congress to three consecutive electoral victories in Delhi, said her government ensured inclusive development in the last 15 years and hoped that people of the city will give the ruling party another opportunity to serve them.

"I am fighting the polls with confidence. We have ensured consistent development. We followed an agenda of inclusive development. We made Delhi the best city.

"The Opposition made tall claims and tried to defame us. But people of Delhi know about our performance. I think they will vote considering what will be good for them," she said before stepping out of her residence to vote.
10:36  Round II of medical tests for Tarun Tejpal :  Tehelka magazine editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, arrested for sexually assaulting a woman colleague, was today taken for a second round of medical tests in Panaji.

Tejpal's medical examination was earlier conducted on December 2 at Goa Medical College and Hospital. Various tests, including potency examination, was conducted on him.

Tejpal would be subjected to various medical tests that are required as part of investigation, a senior police officer said. The 50-year-old Tehelka founder was arrested last Saturday after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected. He was remanded to six days police custody on Sunday.
10:30  Bangalore ATM attacker identified, arrest soon:   Vicky Nanjappa reports: The Bangalore ATM attacker has been identified as one Narayan Reddy, a resident of Nallacheruvu Mandal, Cheruvulavadla village in Andhra Pradesh.

However, the police have not been able to nab him yet. Police sources say that they will arrest him soon, as he is believed to be in Andhra. The man had allegedly attacked a woman with a machete at an ATM kiosk in Bangalore in mid November, leaving her seriously injured.

A CCTV footage showed him threatening the woman, then attacking her. He later cleaned the blood with the woman's napkin, took away her phone and left the kiosk after pulling down the rolling shutter. The Bangalore attacker is also believed to have murdered a woman in the Dharmavaram town on November 10.
10:25  Sonia, Sheila Dikshit cast their votes in Delhi:  Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit have cast their votes the Nirman Bhavan polling booth.

Ten per cent polling has been recorded in the capital till 10 am. 
09:38  The Kejriwal scare? Delhi CM refuses to show victory sign, says that would be premature:  Talking to the media ahead of casting her vote said Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said, "Our government is responsible for the overall development in New Delhi -- both infrastructural and social. We will get vote on consistent and inclusive development. We have made Delhi the best place. All these corruption charges are false."

When asked to show the victory sign she refused and laughed saying, "That would be too premature."
09:21  Narayan Sai was trying to flee disguised as a Sikh man:  NDTV reports: The Delhi police arrested Asaram Bapu's son Narayan Sai at the Delhi- Punjab border, while trying to escape disguised as a Sikh man. He is now being questioned in Delhi.

Both Asaram Bapu and Narayan Sai were booked in October for the alleged rape of two sisters from Surat in Gujarat.
09:16  BJP's Harsh Vardhan casts his vote, says AAP 'doesn't exist' for him:   Delhi polls: Bharatiya Janata Party's CM candidate Harsh Vardhan has cast his vote at the Krishna Nagar polling booth.

He told CNN-IBN that the Aam Aadmi Party did not exist for him. "We are 100 per cent sure of victory, we'll win with a very high margin. The third party does not exist."  
08:55  Asaram's son Narayan Sai arrested:   The son of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu Narayan Sai has been arrested by the Delhi police from the Delhi-Punjab border.

Sai, an absconder in a sexual assault case, has been on the run for over two months. The Gujarat police has conducted raids in five states over the last two months in the hunt for Sai. 

More details are awaited. 
 
08:24  Voting begins in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal casts his ballot:   Voting has begun in Delhi where Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party is making its debut. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal cast his vote around 8. 15 am today at the Hamuman Road polling booth.

While leaving for the poll booth, Kejriwal told CNN-IBN, " "The people of Delhi have to make up their minds on what they want. These are not my elections, these are the elections of the people of Delhi."

Nearly 1.2 crore residents of the capital are expected to choose representatives to the 70-member Delhi assembly today.
00:35  No change in visa policy on Modi: US:  There is no change in the US' visa policy with respect to the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, the Obama administration said today and noted that it looks forward to working with India, irrespective of the outcome of next year's general elections.

"I would just note that there has been no change in US rules or regulations, with respect to its visa policy. That is that all individuals apply and have to undergo a review process," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal, said at a news conference.

"So the point at which there is an application, there will be a review process, and I can't speak to what the outcome of that process would be."

"So as far as I'm concerned, there's no news there," Biswal said when asked about the US visa policy with regard to Modi, the Gujarat chief minister.
"There's no change in policy there. It is as it has always been, which is that visa applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis," she said.
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