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LIVE! HC dismisses petition seeking SPG security for Jayalalithaa

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December 09, 2013


22:33  HC dismisses petition seeking SPG security for Jayalalithaa:  The Madras High Court today dismissed a petition seeking Special Protection Group security to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, after the state government submitted that adequate security has been provided to her.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice Sathish K Agnihothri and Justice K K Sasidharan, in its order said, "In view of the submissions made by the state that adequate security is being provided to the chief minister, there is no need for issuance of any direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Government of India on the matter at this point of time."

Petitioner R Balaji, an advocate, sought SPG protection to Jayalalithaa apprehending security threat to her following strict actions taken by her against terrorist outfits.
21:36  PM registers condolence message for Mandela at SAfrica Mission:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today visited South African High Commission here to register his condolence message for Nelson Mandela, whom he described as "a giant among men".

Singh paid tributes to the late South African leader who passed away on Friday last. "A giant among men has passed away. In the demise of Dr Nelson Mandela, South Africa and India have lost a great Gandhian of our age. May his soul rest in peace," he wrote in the condolence book at the Mission.

The prime minister had earlier hailed Mandela as a beacon of hope for those struggling against oppression and injustice and said his passing away is as much a loss to India and the world as it is to South Africa.
20:58  J-K upper house summons Gen V K Singh to appear on Jan 9:  The upper house of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has summoned former Army Chief Gen V K Singh to appear in person before its privileges committee on January 9 to explain his allegations that Army had paid bribes to politicians in the state.

The decision was taken at a Privilege's Committee meeting which met here under the chairmanship of Jugal Kishore Sharma, an official statement said.

The summoning is besides a breach of privilege pending against Gen Singh with Jammu and Kashmir assembly speaker Mubarak Gul who issued a notice on October 24 asking him to explain his position on allegation of pay-offs to some ministers from the army's secret funds during his tenure.

The notice was issued in response to a privilege motion moved against former Army chief by 15 ministers and MLAs, including those of National Conference.
19:47  Dalai Lama not to attend Mandela's funeral:  Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama will not attend the funeral ceremony of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela in South Africa where he has been denied visa. 

The Dalai Lama, who is currently away for a winter sojourn, has no plans to attend the ceremony and he has also not applied for visa clearance, joint secretary at the Lama's office, Tenzin Taklha confirmed today.
19:28  Chouhan to take oath as MP CM on Dec 14:  After the ruling BJP's landslide victory in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, Shivraj Singh Chouhan will take oath as the state Chief Minister for the third consecutive time on Thursday. 

The swearing-in ceremony will be held at Jamboree Maidan here on December14, in the presence of senior BJP leaders, including former deputy prime minister L K Advani and party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
19:08  Mandela had "wonderful time" in last few days: daughter:  Nelson Mandela had a "wonderful time" in his last few days as his wife Graca, his children and grandchildren were all there to say goodbye, the anti- apartheid icon's daughter has said. 

"Until the last moment he had us, you know...The children were there, the grandchildren were there, Graca was there, so we are always around him and even at the last moment, we were sitting with him on Thursday the whole day," Makaziwe Mandela was quoted as saying by the BBC.
18:38  LIVE! Sheila: I thought people wouldn't vote for instability, but they did :  Still trying to absorb her party's drubbing in Assembly polls, Sheila Dikshit today accused Delhi Congress party and its president JP Agarwal of not enthusiastically backing her but stopped short of saying that it was deliberate.

Dikshit (75) lost her bid for a fourth term as Delhi's Chief Minister with Congress only bagging eight seats in the 70-member assembly, way behind BJP's 31 and newcomer AAP 28.

Her own defeat at the hands of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal by a whopping 25,000 votes was an additional shock. Has defeat, both of the party and her own sunk in, Dikshit was asked during an interview with PTI.

In a philosophical vein, she responded by saying that "in a democratic set up there is nothing beyond the people. So, they have taken a decision."

What worries her a lot is the fact that the people's verdict in Delhi is fractured with no party in a position to form the government raising the likelihood of a spell of President's rule followed by fresh elections.

"I was so certain that Delhi people will be sensible and will not go in for instability and bad governance. But it has happened," she said
18:22  Rahul Gandhi failed to charm MP:  Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi's magic apparently failed to work in Madhya Pradesh as the number of Congress seats went down at most of the places, where he had addressed election rallies ahead of the November 25 assembly polls.

The total number of seats held by the Congress in the state assembly went down from 71 to 58 this time.

Gandhi had addressed more than six election meetings in the state. The Congress Vice-President started off with election meetings at Gwalior and Shahdol held on October 17.

While the number of seats held by the party came down from three to two in Gwalior, the party could win only one seat in Shahdol, although it had won three seats in 2008. Similarly, in Rahatgarh and Indore, Rahul had addressed election meetings on October 24.

Rahatgarh is part of Surkhi constituency, from where sitting Congress MLA Govind Singh Rajput lost by a slender margin of 141 votes.

On November 20, Rahul addressed election meetings at Kukshi in Dhar district and Sidhi. In Dhar district, the number of Congress seats came down from five to two, although its nominee in Kukshi managed to win.
18:16   Fresh elections in Delhi inevitable, says Sisodia:  Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia said today that fresh elections in Delhi are inevitable as neither the AAP nor the BJP has got a clear majority.

"The kind of situation that we are in, we can say that we will not be able to form a government," said Sisodia.

"If the BJP says they do not want to form a government either, holding fresh elections would be inevitable,'' he added.

Responding to the question about AAP being confident about getting a majority, if the polls were held again, he said it was not a question of confidence but the situation called for it. He added that they were prepared incase fresh elections were held.

"It is not a question of being confident or overconfident, it is about the situation that has emerged. The public has not given a clear majority to AAP or the BJP and therefore fresh elections is the only option and we are prepared for it," he said.

Commenting on their option of merging with either the Congress or the BJP to form a government he said they are never going to merge with either.

"We have always said we will never merge will either the Congress or the BJP to form a government and we will stick to it," he said. "We will not form a government just for the sake of doing it," he added.
18:08  HC asks govt if it will table Adarsh scam report in Assembly:  Refusing to accept the contention of the Maharashtra government that it was not mandatory on it to table the Adarsh inquiry commission report, the Bombay High Court today directed the government to say whether or not it is going to table the report in the ongoing winter Assembly.
18:07  Congress gets two thirds majority in Mizoram winning 27 of the 40 seats.
18:07  V K Singh defamation: Court sets 4-month deadline for sanction:  A Delhi court today set a deadline of four months for the Centre to grant sanction to prosecute four army officials, who are accused in a criminal defamation case along with former Army Chief General V K Singh.

The court directed complainant former Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh to approach the Centre on the issue and clarified that if the government fails to grant or refuse sanction to prosecute the accused within the stipulated three-four months, then the permission would be deemed to have been granted.
17:44  PM congratulates BJP:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today congratulated BJP leaders Vasundhara Raje, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh for the victory in Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Dr Singh called up Raje, who is set to become the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, and wished her well, PMO sources said. Ms Raje led BJP to an emphatic victory in the Assembly elections, ousting Congress from power.
17:22  Why Sheila Dikshit is bitter :  "Jab main khud hi haar gayi to swabhaavik hai ke ye meri hi haar maani jayegi," says Sheila Dikshit. 

Reacting to the partys stunning defeat in the Assembly elections in Delhi, its three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday blamed her party and said that she did not get the required support.

She said since she had lost her own seat, it was but natural for the party's loss to be fobbed off on to her.

17:10  BJP has not approached me with a formal invite: Yeddy:  BS Yeddyurappa says he has not got any formal invite from the BJP to rejoin them and says his priority would be to work for the Karnataka Janatha Party for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.

In the just concluded executive committee meeting of the KJP, the party sent out all sorts of mixed signals.

On one hand, the party authorised Yeddyurappa to take any decision he wanted on the other hand they resolved to fight the Parliamentary elections with vigour.

His party members told him not to commit anything to the BJP unless there is an official written communication.

The party workers also felt that it would be better if they allied with the BJP instead of merging with it.

Yeddyurappa however said that he would launch a state wide KJP campaign from December 20th but also added that he would not put forth any conditions to the BJP.

He also denied all news that him joining the BJP would have conditions and added that there is no need for that. -- Vicky Nanjappa.
17:05  LIVE! Kejriwal: People who want honest politics should form new front:  AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal speaking to CNN IBN's Rajdeep Sardesai says that all those who want honest politics should form a new front.

Kejriwal says this is the first time people are seeing honesty in politics. He says politicians are corrupt, not politics.

He also beseeched Anna Hazare to support him.

He said AAP was ready for a repoll and he would not support either party since it was run by the mafia.
16:59  Complete list of dignitaries attending Mandela's funeral:  The South African Government confirms that the following Heads of State and Government and their representatives, as well as royalty, are travelling to South Africa to join the people of South Africa in bidding a final farewell to the late Former President Nelson Mandela. Read
16:52  BJP: Will try to give Delhi a government:  A day after election results threw up a hung assembly for Delhi, the BJP on Monday said it would try its "level best" to give a government to the people though it would not resort to horse trading.

"It is our responsibility to give a popular government to the people of Delhi. We will find a solution and try our level best to give an alternative to the people of Delhi by forming a government under the leadership of Harsh Vardhan," former BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who was also the party's in charge for the Delhi elections, told a news channel.

Asked whether the BJP was mulling over drawing support from the debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), he said: "This question does not arise, neither there is any proposal from their side."

The party's chief ministerial candidate for Delhi, Harsh Vardhan added that the party would not resort to horse trading to form the government.

"As we don't have majority, we are not thinking about forming the government. If the other parties are not ready to form an alliance with us, we won't disturb them or resort to horse trading," Harsh Vardhan told a news channel.
16:44  Global health: One million deaths:  What researchers are learning from an unprecedented survey of mortality in India. Read
16:30  Documentaries on Delhi gang rape incident:  The brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old in Delhi in December last year is the subject of a couple of documentaries, which seek to report on the incident. "The Fearless One", a documentary by CNN international explores the tragic event that has been a watershed moment for India.

"The 27-minute film seeks to make sense of who the victim was and what she meant to her parents. We have talked to important people related to the story and that includes the doctors in the hospital and the policemen to make sense of the key moments of the girl after the gruesome incident," says Sumnima Udas, who covered the story.

The film, part of the network's series "World Untold Stories" has visuals from the hospital room to the court room along with interviews with her parents, the police investigators, doctors and others who were directly involved in the case.

The documentary film, which premiered here recently, is set to be shown globally.
16:27  Sena dubs BJP's win as "step towards revolution":  Shiv Sena today hailed the win of its ally BJP in three states saying it is a step towards "revolution" and also praised AAP president Arvind Kejriwal for his party's electrifying performance in Delhi Assembly polls.

Taking a dig at the Congress, which got a drubbing by the BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi and the prevalent AAP wave, the editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana' said that the Assembly election results in four states show how weak the base of the Congress has become.
16:23  Mandela's favourite poem:  Nelson Mandela's favourite poem from which he drew inspiration while in prison, often reciting it to fellow inmates at Robben Island, was Invictus, by English poet William Ernest Henley.

Out of the night that covers me,     
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be     
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance     
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance     
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears     
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years     
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,     
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,     
I am the captain of my soul. 
16:16  Delhi MLA's with criminal cases:
BJP 17 of 31
AAP 3 of 28
INC 2 of 7.
15 of 22 reelected;
Avg assets
BJP Rs 12 cr
AAP Rs 1.8cr
INC Rs 10.3cr
16:11  Pranab, 52 other leaders to attend Mandela-linked memorial events:  President Pranab Mukherjee will join 52 other heads of state and government at memorial events for former South African president Nelson Mandela this week.

South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told a news conference in Johannesburg on Sunday that there has been unprecedented interest to attend Mandela's funeral week.

The dignitaries who have confirmed attendance at upcoming memorial events include US President Barack Obama, Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

President Mukherjee will lead a five-member delegation to the memorial service.

Pic: The PM pays tribute to Nelson Mandela at the South African embassy.
16:08   Mamata heads to Delhi in the "interest of Bengal, not personal work":  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today left on a three-day visit to Delhi, a day after the Congress suffered a rout in the Assembly elections in four states, giving rise to intense speculation.

Though Mamata insisted that her visit to the capital was "in the interest of Bengal, not any personal work", the visit nonetheless assumed significance because she had earlier floated the idea of a non-BJP and Non-Congress front of regional parties with an eye on Lok Sabha polls
16:06  The Philanthropists Who Built Mumbai:   Numerous works of public infrastructure in Mumbai were built by the city's new millionaires of the 19th century, writes Naresh Fernandes. Read
15:58  AAP MLA from Tilak Nagar Jarnail Singh is NOT the guy who hurled a shoe at Chidambaram, tweets Pritha Chatterjee. 
15:56  Ramesh Srivats: No, PA Sangma. No. Even if no one else wants to, you can't become CM of Delhi. This time also, it'll be Pranab Mukherjee.
15:53  Mandela was Africa's George Washington:   Nelson Mandela was a world leader who made such a change, not only in South Africa, but he inspired so many people around the world. Read

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a last minute decision not to participate in a memorial service for the late South African President Nelson Mandela, despite having notified the South African government that he would attend the event.

15:38  Modi factor doomed BJP in Delhi: Nitish:  The result of Assembly polls in four states was 'anti-Congress', Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said today but rubbished Modi-factor for BJP's victory which was evident in its "below par" performance in Delhi.

"There is no doubt that the results in Assembly elections in four states are anti-Congress. But there is no reason for BJP to jump in joy.

"There is no wave in favour of BJP... The results show that BJP performance will be dismal in the Lok Sabha elections," Kumar told reporters in the Assembly premises.

"The gamble BJP took (by appointing Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate) has doomed it... Delhi is the test case of this," said Kumar, who led JD(U) to severe ties with the BJP after 17 years over the elevation of Narendra Modi as party's prime ministerial nominee.
15:33  Telangana row: Cong MPs give notice for no confidence motion:   In more problems for Congress on Telangana issue, six party MPs from Seemandhra region today gave notice for moving a no-confidence motion against the Manmohan Singh government.

The members -- R Sambasiva Rao, Sabbam Hari, V Arun Kumar, A Saiprathap, L Rajagopal and G V Harshakumar, have written to Speaker Meira Kumar on the issue.

In the letter, they sought permission to move a motion expressing no-confidence in the Union Council of Ministers under Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha.

The plan of the MPs appears to be to embarrass the government on the Telangana issue by seeking support of those opposed to the division of Andhra Pradesh or creation of smaller states.
15:19  Omar Abdullah tweets: Never did I imagine I'd see the day when people would fight to be leader of the opposition with no one fighting to be leader. And here we were thinking there would be no #AAP effect on the way politics is done.
15:16  Arun Jaitley writes: BJP's march to comfortably majority interrupted by AAP:  The BJP-Akali Dal Alliance has won 32 constituencies of Delhi. This is about six to eight seats short of our expectations. We have narrowly lost in some assembly segments.

Even though we have managed to retain a large part of our traditional votes, there was some shift even in middle class localities to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The Congress was no longer a serious option in Delhi. Residents of Delhi were considering which of the two alternatives to vote for -- the BJP or the AAP.

The AAP may have got lesser votes and seats than the BJP.  However, that is not a ground for satisfaction for the BJP. The BJP's march to comfortable majority has not been interrupted by the Congress. It has been interrupted by AAP.

The lesson of the 32 constituencies that the BJP has won clearly reveals that most candidates who were well grounded in the constituencies and appeared to be electorally acceptable have won.

The lesson for the BJP of these results is that the credibility-quotient counts in an election. The image of the leadership, as also of the candidate, must inspire confidence amongst the voters.

The announcement of Dr. Harsh Vardhan's name as the BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate helped the BJP. Those who have a track record of serving their constituency well, have a better chance of being elected. Just getting a party nomination even in a stronghold is not enough. The days of conventional politics are now over.Is the AAP merely a freak phenomenon? Or is it going to be a lasting experiment?

The last word on this cannot be said at this moment. This party is unconventional. It has attempted to exploit the general mood of cynicism. It has made unrealistic promises and does not want to sit in a position of responsibility where it has to walk its talk.

The very suggestion of being in government to implement its policy and promises appears to be scary for this party. In a democracy, the voters vote in order to elect the government.

When there are no clear majorities, the government formation is an art of the possible. The Congress Party can give the AAP outside support in order to form a government.

In power, such a party would be like a fish out of water. It is possible to make exaggerated promises, and capture the imagination of a few by making unimplementable promises.

The strategy of the party is to avoid power rather than be in a position to implement the unimplementable.
14:45  LIVE! Sheila Dikshit: Congress did NOT back me :  Former chief minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit, says she did not get enough support from the Congress party. She says there should have been more cohesion between the party and the government and she feels that the party did not back her.

Sheila Dikshit created history by becoming the longest-serving chief minister of Delhi. Her supporters had also started making plans for her to assume a greater role in national politics. Some started projecting her as a possible prime ministerial nominee against Narendra Modi (also a three-time chief minister) while others said she would make an excellent home minister.
14:39   No indication of 'Modi wave' in assembly results: US experts:   The results in four assembly polls in India have given the opposition BJP the necessary momentum ahead of the general elections, but there is neither an indication of a 'Narendra Modi wave' nor a guarantee of a similar performance next year, experts have said.

Giving due credit to its emphatic victories in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and in Delhi, where the Aam Aadmi Party's performance has surprised many, these experts, who are closely following the Indian elections, concluded that the Modi factor is not the only reason for the BJP doing well.
14:21  The rout of the Congress:  For the Congress, the humiliation in Delhi was more crushing than the defeats elsewhere. More ignominious than the failure to win Madhya Pradesh after two successive defeats and the fall of the Congress government in Rajasthan was the partys miserable third-place finish in Delhi.  Read more
14:17  LIVE! JD-U: Want Kejriwal to be Delhi CM, will extend unconditional support :  JD-U's KC Tyagi extends support to AAP. He says the party wants Arvind Kejriwal to be the next Delhi chief minister and would extend unconditional support. 
14:09  Congress will be OUT in 2014, say gleeful BJP leaders:  Yesterday, Narendra Modi took a jibe at the Congress, saying its total number of seats in four states is less than what his party has won in one state.

"The total number of seats the Congress has won in all the four states today cannot even match the seats @BJP4India won in 1 state!" Modi said on Twitter.

Read more
14:05  LIVE! Modi prays for Sonia's 'long and health life' on her birthday today:  Leaving the acrimony behind, Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Monday greeted UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on her birthday.

On Twitter, Modi wrote, "Wishing UPA Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi on her birthday. I pray for her long and healthy life."

In election campaigns, both the political heavy-weights have taken on each other viciously. Modi has always addressed the Congress chief as Madam Sonia and Rahul as Shehzade during his rallies.

Modi had also referred to Sonia's illhealth at a poll rally last month, saying: "Madam, you are ill. Let the shehzada (prince) take over. And let's see then if he can deliver round-the-clock electricity to Chhattisgarh."
13:54  Nelson Mandela shared final moments with wife and former wife:  Graca Machel and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela were at bedside of former South African president. Read
13:43  In Parliament today...:  Buzz from Parliament.

Jagan Reddy met many MPs across parties in the Central Hall of Parliament today to garner support for his move not to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.

President Pranab Mukherjee to refer the union cabinet decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh to the state assembly. The assembly has given 42 days to deliberate.

On her birthday today, Sonia Gandhi, was greeted by Harsmirat Kaur Badal, daughter-in-law of Prakash Singh Badal. Jagan Reddy, who was present did not acknowledge her. 
13:25  Omar Abdullah: Why can't we have one day earmarked for all parties to collectively disrupt parliament, take the whole day to disrupt & then do some work?
13:22  JPC report on 2G tabled in LS amid din, DMK walks out:  The controversial report of the JPC, which gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the 2G spectrum scam saying he was "misled" by the then Telecom Minister A Raja, was today tabled in Lok Sabha amid pandemonium.

The report was tabled in the Lok Sabha by JPC Chairman P C Chacko after Speaker Meira Kumar disallowed any debate on the issue at the presentation stage during Zero Hour.

This prompted members of DMK, UPA's erstwhile partner, and Opposition members, including those from the BJP, Left, Trinamool Congress, BJD and Shiromani Akali Dal, to stand up in protest.

Yashwant Sinha, Harin Pathak (both BJP), Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) and Kalyan Banerjee (Trinamool) shouted that the report was a "fraud" on the Constitution, while DMK members walked out of the House.

Senior BJP leader L K Advani also rose to say something to the Speaker but could not be heard in the din.
13:19  Why No. 2 is the real No.1 for Kejriwal:  Knowing him, Kejriwal probably isn't terribly ruing he didn't win Delhi; knowing him, he's probably elated he has been spared the reins and afforded the freedom to travel beyond with the message of his big-bang debut.

It was not merely Delhi he had set out to take, it was always a place called India.

That objective lies plainly stated on his Twitter handle for anyone to grasp. "Political revolution in India has begun,' it goes, "Bharat jaldi badlega.' (India will soon change.) 

Sankarshan Thakur reports.
12:58  AAP, BJP can work together on a common minimum program: Kiran Bedi:   Kiran Bedi tweets: "AK (Arvind Kejriwal) and AAP have brought in new ways of fighting elections. They can equally explore new ways of Governance! One of common minimum program! AAP & BJP by working together on a CMP they will be serving not ruling! This is the new expectation from split verdict. Need to be respected!"

She also tweeted that she was ready to mediate between BJP, AAP.
12:55  Ramesh Srivats: Hmm. Anna Hazare always seems to go on a fast for the Jan Lokpal Bill in December. I hope he doesn't think Jan stands for January.
12:54  Rare riot over Indians death shocks Singapore:  Singaporeans woke up to unfamiliar images of burned cars and littered streets on Monday after a fatal road accident triggered a riot by South Asian workers -- the worst outbreak of violence in more than 40 years.

The riot erupted late on Sunday in tightly-controlled Singapore's congested Little India district after a 33-year-old Indian worker was run over by a private bus. Read more
12:47  For AAP, a brilliant 2013. but for 2014, the challenges are many:  After a Godzilla-sized electoral debut in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party say they will strategize for how to contest the national election next year. The challenges are formidable.

Not only did it push the incumbent Congress into a distant third place, the AAP even deprived the main opposition BJP  of a majority in Delhi, underlining its potential to damage both of India's two main parties.

Read more
12:44  The anti-incumbency divergence :  One puzzling aspect of today's Assembly poll results lies in the way anti-incumbency worked. It reduced the Congress's Rajasthan and Delhi governments to rubble but spared the BJP dispensations in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Read more
12:27  A change in national mood... and how!:  The results, while anticipated, have clearly shaken up the Congress. But the history of elections in the four States shows no direct correlation can be drawn between victory in the latest round and a general election. Read more
12:23  Kejriwal: No desire to be CM or PM:  In an interview with NDTV yesterday, Arvind Kejriwal said he has no desire to become Prime Minister or Chief Minister. He said he was just a common man, an aam admi. He said people elect their own leaders from the grassroots. 
12:17  BJP largest party in Delhi, it should form the govt, says AAP:  The AAP also said that it was the responsibility of the BJP, which is the single largest party, to form the government in Delhi.

After a meeting of top party leaders at party chief Arvind Kejriwal's residence, AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said, even if Lt Governor Najeeb Jung invites the party to form the government it will decline such an offer citing lack of majority.

"We are not going to form the government. We will sit in the opposition and play the role of a constructive opposition. As per the Constitution the largest party has to take the responsibility of forming government," Yadav said.

"We have not got majority so it is very surprising that the number one party (BJP) is not ready to form the government and telling us to do so," he said.

Yadav also strongly ruled out taking support of Congress to form government.

The BJP has also expressed its reluctance to stake claim, saying it did not have the numbers to provide a stable government.
12:14  AAP rejects Kiran Bedi's offer to mediate with the BJP. 
12:13  The rout of the Congress:  For the Congress, the humiliation in Delhi was more crushing than the defeats elsewhere.

More ignominious than the failure to win Madhya Pradesh after two successive defeats and the fall of the Congress government in Rajasthan was the party's miserable third-place finish in Delhi.

The Congress trailed way behind the Aam Aadmi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal, which has made a sparkling debut.  Read more
12:11  Kiran Bedi: BJP, AAP should work together :  Kiran Bedi, a well wisher of AAP, says Delhi has voted for governance, not a hung assembly. It is in the larger interest of the city for AAP and BJP to work together. 
12:08  AAP reiterates: Will sit in opposition, WON'T stake claim to form govt:  Aam Aadmi Party reiterates what it said yesterday. AAP will not stake claim to form government in Delhi, to sit in opposition.

The hung verdict in Delhi assembly polls has raised intriguing questions about government formation in the national capital. Read
11:54  The not-quite semi-final and what it portends:  Everything now points to the BJP emerging as the single largest party, by some distance, in the sixteenth Lok Sabha. But the Modi-led alliance will not go into the mid-2014 'finals' as the favourite, in any event not the overwhelming favourite. Read N Ram's piece on the Hindu
11:53  AAP strategy meet at Kejriwal's residence:  Meanwhile, the AAP Core Committee is in a strategy meet at Arvind Kejriwal's residence. AAP will also meet its candidates at 3 pm and 6 pm today. 
11:51  Anna elbows his way into the news: Begins indefinite fast for Janlokpal Bill:  Anna Hazare elbows his way back to being a newsmaker. Anna says the Congress went back on its promise on a Janlokpal Bill and paid a
heavy price for it. He will being a fast from tomorrow in protest against the Centre's failure to pass the Bill.

Hazare on Sunday said Arvind Kejriwal could become the chief minister one day and warned the Congress that people will teach them a lesson in the Lok Sabha elections.

Hazare, who had refused to campaign for Kejriwal's party, expressed happiness over the AAP's performance in the Delhi elections where Sheila Dikshit has served as the chief minister for 15 years.

"Delhi is the centre of the country's politics. It is not an easy task to defeat a government which is ruling there with just a broom in hand. The old parties have a lot of money. I feel happy that in such a situation, his party has emerged victorious," Hazare told reporters when asked about the AAP's performance.


11:37  Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla wins Serchhip seat:  Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla wins Serchhip seat. He is also leading from Hrangturzo seat.

The Congress was leading in seven seats and the MNF in one in Mizoram according to latest trends available.

Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla is seeking a fifth term. Congress candidates were also leading in Tuivawl, Tawi, South Tuipui, Hachhek and Tuichawng.

The Mizo National Front (MNF) nominee L. Thangmawia was leading in Lengteng seat where Forests Minister H. Rohluna of Congress was trailing.

The ruling Congress and the opposition Mizoram Democratic Alliance, comprising MNF, MPC and Maraland Democratic Front (MDF), contested from all 40 constituencies.

11:31  CEC Sampath lauds political parties for their maturity:  Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath has praised all political parties for displaying maturity during the recently-held assembly elections in Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Speaking after the counting of votes in these four states, he said measures taken to enhance voter participation had paid dividends.

He credited district magistrates and electoral officers for their efforts including door to door campaigns, and distribution of photo voter slips for enhanced voting in the elections.

He revealed that the Election Commission has now begun a revision of electoral rolls for the 2014 general elections and added that voters' lists would be published by January 6.

He said the Election Commission has recommended punishment of two years in jail and immediate disqualification for candidates who had filed false affidavits. 
11:29  0-4 score hits Sonia hard on her birthday:  Today is Congress President Sonia Gandhi's birthday. Sadly, the party handed her a 0-4 defeat in the assembly elections in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The party headquarters at 24 Akbar Road remained deserted on Sunday. Read more
11:26  Sonia calls for poll debacle meeting with top brass:  A day of the meetings after the four-state results came in yesterday.

Sonia Gandhi has called for a meeting with top party leaders after the phenomenal thrashing it took yesterday, scoring 4-0. The meeting is expected this evening.

Arvind Kejriwal, the man of the moment, will also hold a meeting with AAP top brass to discuss the way ahead.

Read on Rediff.com: The six big lessons of the assembly polls

Also read: 12 ways the Congress can fight back
11:18  In the Rajya Sabha, BSP MPs march to the well of the house over the Muzaffarnagar riots. 
11:17  LS adjourned till noon, Telangana ire in Parliament:  The Lok Sabha has adjourned till noon after uproar over various issues including Telangana. This is the third day of the winter session of Parliament, which began on Thursday. On the first day, both houses were adjourned after obituaries were read out. On Friday, both houses were adjourned as a mark of respect to Nelson Mandela's death.
11:09  Op-ed: What the 2013 results mean for 2014:  The results of the 2013 assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are out but those looking for clear pointers towards how the next general election will play out are likely to be left scratching their heads. Read Siddharth Varadarajan's column.
11:01  Just in: The allegation against Sahara chief Subrata Roy for interfering in the probe in 2G scam is "maintainable", says the Supreme Court. 
10:53  LIVE! Abdul Basit likely to be Pakistan's envoy to India :  Pakistan drops plans to send Ibne Abbas as its new envoy to India, instead career diplomat Abdul Basit likely to be the new Pakistan High Commissioner to India.

Basit who holds a Masters Degree in International Relations joined Foreign Service of Pakistan in October, 1982.
10:18  Sensex hits new record high of 21,483.74; Nifty crosses 6,400:  
The BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty soared to hit new all-time high of 21,483.74 and 6,415.25 points, respectively, on sustained fund inflows after the Bharatiya Janata Party's spectacular performance in assembly elections amid a firming overseas trend.

The 30-share index, which had gained 287.82 points in the previous two sessions, zoomed to hit an all-time high of 21,483.74 by surging 487.21 points, or 2.32 percent.

All the sectoral indices, led by banking and capital goods, were trading in positive territory with gains up to 3.68 percent.

The 50-share NSE Nifty also recorded its all-time high of 6,415.25, surpassing the previous closing high of 6,357.10 registered on January 8, 2008.

Brokers said frenzied buying by funds and retail investors after BJP's good show in Assembly elections buoyed the trading sentiments.
08:49  Let's see how long Aam Aadmi Party's politics lasts: Jaitley:  
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley termed his party's massive 4-0 victory in the 2013 assembly elections as an 'unprecedented' win saying it was the 'anti-Congress' wave at work. 

The debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) found a mention when Delhi's results came up, and Jaitley wondered how long the Arvind Kejriwal-led party can sustain its charm. "AAP is a new party and people wanted to experiment by voting for the new party. How long this type of politics last, let's see," he said.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of BJP's victory in Delhi against the three-time chief minister, Sheila Dikshit, Jaitley said, "There is anti-Congress wave in the country and BJP will certainly benefit from it."

"It is an unprecedented victory as far as the BJP is concerned. For the third time we have won in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh," he added. 
08:49  The Modi effect on voter behaviour:  Other than in Rajasthan, where his huge rallies translated into increase in seats for the BJP, the impact of Narendra Modi's campaign was less than that claimed by his supporters

Read more about this HERE
08:48  What voters want:  
Apart from the stunning defeat of the Congress party in 3 of the 4 states, the spectacular debut of the Aam Aadmi Party that won 28 of Delhis 70 assembly seats will force political parties to relook their future strategies. 

While barriers to entry remain high in Indian politics, a rank newcomer doing so well should get the BJP especially, given its urban bias, to think of the consequences of an AAP extending to more urban centres. 

The other big lessons of the mini elections are that economic governance is at a premium and voters cant be won over by freebies alone.

Read more HERE
08:38  Vasundhara Raje to chair legislature meet today:  
Bharatiya Janata Party's chief ministerial candidate Vasundhara Raje will chair the party's legislature party meeting on Monday, a party release said.
 
Newly elected MLAs of the party will attend the meeting which is convened at 11am at the party office in Jaipur.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, MP Bhupendra Yadav, party's national general secretary Amit Shah, state in-charge Kaptan Singh will also be present, it said.
08:35  Won't form govt till BJP has the numbers: Harsh Vardhan:  
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday emerged as the single largest party in the national capital but could not achieve complete majority. The hung verdict in Delhi assembly polls has raised intriguing questions about government formation in the national capital. 

Keeping the situation in mind, BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Dr Harsh Vardhan said, "I don't have requisite majority, won't approach Lt Governor till I have the numbers." 

Harsh Vardhan added that he will not stake claim to form a government as his party is short of a clear majority and would prefer to sit in the Opposition than indulging in any "horse trading". 

"...Since I don't have number I cannot stake my claim in forming my government in Delhi...Since I don't have the magic number of 36, I really cannot be a part of the government formation in Delhi. And honestly, I think selflessly, I prefer to sit in the opposition, try and help any government that is there in the offing by anyone and support them for the people's cause," he said. 
08:32  Counting of votes begins in Mizoram:  
Counting of votes for the 40-member Mizoram Assembly, election to which was held on November 25, began at 8 am today in the headquarters of all eight districts of the state amidst tight security.

The exercise began with the counting of postal ballots. 

The fate of 142 candidates, including Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla of the Congress, 11 of his cabinet colleagues, Zoram Nationalist Party president Lalduhawma, Mizo National Front chief Zoramthanga and Mizoram People's Conference chief Lalhmangaiha Sailo, will be decided.

The results would reveal if four-time Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla faced anti-incumbency this time. 

He contested from two seats -- his home turf Serchhip and Hrangturzo. 

Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) president Lalduhawma also contested from two seats -- Aizawl West II and Kolasib.
01:11  Lenin statue toppled in Ukraine protest:  Protesters knocked down a statue of Vladimir Lenin on Sunday as outrage mounted over the Ukrainian government's push for closer ties with Russia.

A crowd of cheering protesters chanted "Good job" after the statue fell in Kiev's Bessarabska Square.

Some pounded the monument with hammers, leaving pieces of the statue scattered on the ground. Only parts of the Soviet hero's legs remained at the base. A man waving a Ukrainian flag stood atop the pedestal beside them.
01:08  Thailand: Opposition party resigns from parliament in protest:  After several days of relative calm in Bangkok, the main opposition party raised the stakes Sunday by resigning en masse from parliament in protest over a government they claim is illegitimate.

By aligning with street protesters, the opposition Democrat party is threatening to deepen the country's political standoff. The Democrats, who have not won an election since 1992, are betting that their political fortunes will be advanced by aligning with anti-government street protesters.
01:05  African Union honours Nelson Mandela's pan-Africanism:  African Union leaders gathered today to mourn the death of Nelson Mandela, honouring the former anti-apartheid leader's fight for pan-Africanism and liberation on the continent. 

"Madiba's life was the mirror image of the continent for the liberation of which he so relentlessly fought," AU Chairman and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said, referring to Mandela.
01:04  Netanyahu says military option 'necessary' on Iran:  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today that a "military option" was "necessary" for the success of negotiations aimed at reining in Iran's disputed nuclear programme. 

Netanyahu said the Jewish state shared US President Barack Obama's "preference" to pursue diplomacy "but for diplomacy to succeed, it must be coupled with powerful sanctions and a credible military threat."
01:04  Accident triggers riot in Singapore's Little India:  Hundreds of South Asian workers staged a riot in Singapore late today following a road accident, leaving 10 police officers injured and at least six vehicles damaged, police said. 

A police statement said the disturbance started in the congested Little India district when one person was killed after being hit by a bus. The victim's identity was not immediately disclosed. About 400 people on the scene began attacking police vehicles after officers responded to the accident.
00:17  News As It Happens:   The BEST election stories from the last 24 hours

Modi and the BJP's challenges lies ahead

'The message we want to spread is of a Congress-free Bharat'

A maharani's GRAND return to power

The rise and fall of Sheila Dikshit

Anti-Congress vote sets the mood for 2014 election 

Who will form the next govt in Delhi? No one knows!

The monumental poll debacle has hit Sonia Gandhi hard 

Aam Aadmi Party celebrates, Congress licks wounds, BJP introspects

AAP's spectacular debut: Not a 'clean' sweep, but close enough!

'For the first time Cong won't have a Muslim MLA in Raj Assembly' 

Digvijaya speaks up: This is NOT Narendra Modi's victory

Stars spotted!  What's this?

Spotted: Vidya Balan in Panchgani
Reader Kaushal Pandya sends us a photograph

More stars spotted

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