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LIVE! Devyani Khobragade gets UN accreditation

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December 23, 2013


23:38  Devyani Khobragade gets UN accreditation:   Senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, facing a visa fraud case, has been granted accreditation to the UN headquarters here and the process to get a separate State Department identity card which would give her full diplomatic immunity is underway.

Khobragade has got the UN badge which states that she is a delegate and counsellor at the Indian mission to the UN and that identity card will enable her to enter the UN premises, sources told PTI.

"As of now the UN badge has been issued and the relevant papers for her to get a State Department Identity card have been sent by the UN to the state department as per the normal procedure," a source said.
23:18  Narayan Sai sent to Surat police's custody in bribe case:  A local court today sent self-styled godman Asaram Bapu's son Narayan Sai, facing rape charges, to police remand till January 1 in a bribery case.

Sai, accused of hatching a conspiracy after his arrest to give bribes to weaken the rape case filed against him, was produced before Additional Session Judge M R Mengeda.

The prosecution sought 14-day police remand for Sai but the Judge granted only nine days custody. Public prosecutor Nayan Sukhadwala sought remand of Sai to find out how sitting in a jail he planned and tried to execute the conspiracy of bribing police officers, doctors and judicial officers.

The police also wanted to know which officers were contacted by Sai to weaken the rape case against him. During Sai's earlier remand, Surat Crime Branch had unearthed a plan to bribe policemen, doctors and judicial officers to weaken the rape case against him.

The police had arrested six persons, including Sub-Inspector C K Kumbhani, in the bribery case.
22:21  Inventor of Kalashnikov rifle dies at 94:   BBC reports: The inventor of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, has died aged 94, Russian TV reports. He was admitted to hospital with internal bleeding in November.

The automatic rifle he designed became one of the world's most familiar and widely used weapons.
22:09  Daunting task ahead, ready for all possibilities including fresh polls: AAP:   NDTV reports: Top leaders of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party say they are entering into an alliance with the Congress with their eyes open to the possibility that the government might not "survive for long."

"Given the past track record of the Congress party, I don't expect that our government will survive for long... one month, four months or six months, it is to be seen," said AAP leader Prashant Bhushan, soon after party chief Arvind Kejriwal met Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Nadeem Jung to stake claim to form government in Delhi.
20:56  Former Union Home Secretary V K Duggal appointed Governor of Manipur, the  Rashtrapati Bhavan announced today.
20:45  Government to soon accept SMS as official document:  People may soon be able to use SMS communication with government departments as a documentary proof while utilising citizen-services for making payments, registrations and various other schemes.

The Centre today launched a platform with about 241 applications for the public after completing pilot project of mobile governance with about 100 departments and testing proof of concepts.

The applications relate to services covering areas such as Right to Information, health, Aadhaar, education, directory services and so on.
19:52  India, Pak border guarding forces to meet tomorrow in Lahore:  Drug trafficking, infiltration, smuggling of arms and fake Indian currency are among the main issues India will take up with Pakistan in Lahore at a high-level meeting between the border guarding forces of the two countries from December 24-28.

"Defence constructions, border incidents and trans-border crimes like drug trafficking, infiltration, smuggling of arms/ammunition and fake Indian currency, inadvertent border crossings and other matters of mutual interest will be discussed for effective border management," said DIG Punjab Frontier, BSF, R P S Jaswal.
19:43  AAP-Cong alliance aimed at containing BJP: Sources:   Bharatiya Janata Party leaders on Monday indicated the party is looking at the Aam Aadmi Party-Congress "alliance" to form a government in Delhi with the Congress support as an attempt by the ruling party at the Centre to contain it in the national capital and adjoining areas in the Lok Sabha elections.

BJP leaders, preferring anonymity, said with the Congress losing support in the wake of corruption cases and scams against the United Progressive Alliance government, the party is now banking on the AAP to build a credible counter to the right-wing party.
19:32  Nuclear cooperation with Pakistan to continue: China:   Close on the heels of Pakistan launching work on its largest atomic power project with Chinese help, Beijing today said close cooperation between the two sides on nuclear energy will continue as it was for "peaceful purposes".

Cooperation between China and Pakistan on nuclear energy is exclusively for peaceful purposes and in the interests of the local people, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The two countries have cooperated on civilian nuclear energy for years, she told a daily news briefing when asked to comment on reports about the construction of the mega nuclear power plant in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.
19:21  Kejriwal taking huge risk by joining hands with Cong: Kiran Bedi:  Kiran Bedi tells CNN-IBN: Arvind Kejriwal is taking a huge risk by joining hands with the Congress. If Kejriwal orders probe in the CWG scam he will face trouble from the Congress.

  
18:55   BJP wants AAP to investigate the Commonwealth Games scam:  BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Aam Aadmi Party  should fulfill their promise to take action against corruption and should have the courage to probe into the Commonwealth Games scam, with the support of Congress.

"I would like to wish him luck Also, I would like him to fulfill all his promises including, claim to take against corruption. I would like him to take action against corruption involved in the Commonwealth scam," he said.

"I hope Kejriwal as a chief minister, taking the support of Congress, would show the courage to take action. Otherwise it would prove, as apprehended earlier, that the AAP is team B of the Congress," he added.
18:53  Shazia Ilmi: Arvind will crack the whip on public servants who don't comply:  Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson Shazia Ilmi said today that they are going to be very tough on public servants who do not comply and Aam Chief Ministerial candidate Arvind Kejriwal will crack the whip.

"We will be very tough on the public servants who do not comply and Arvind is there to crack the whip. There will be complete transparency and less scope for mischief," said Shazia Ilmi.

"There is a lot to manage; our task is daunting .For instance, we have to set the Delhi equation right. It is a tough one and quite unstable. We are going to remove all the ''MLA-giri'' and turn it into ''Sevagiri,'' she said.

She added that AAP had a long way to go. "This may seem like a small step but it is a giant leap for democracy. I am glad this fight has reached this point. We have come a long way but we have an equally long way to go," said Ilmi.

"AAP is going to focus on basic governance, implementing policies to start with which would make a lot of difference," she added.
18:28  INSIDE STORY: How this aam aadmi rose to power in Delhi:  An ordinary man -- Saurabh Bharadwaj -- has become a legislator elected from one of South Delhi's most posh constituencies. He recalls the struggles in his journey from being a volunteer to a leader. Read
18:23  LIVE! God will protect me, says Arvind Kejriwal as he refuses Z security:   Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi's next chief minister today refused to accept security cover for himself by the New Delhi police.

The letter addressed to the Kejriwal's secretary says since Arvind Kejriwal is going to take over as the Chief Minister of Delhi, he should be given Z category protection. The letter which comes from the additional commissioner of security, asks where the security personnel should report.

Kerjiwal had has replied to the letter thanking the police for their offer of security, but said he does not need it. He says God is his biggest security. All he has asked for is some security arrangement for crowd control since he tends to get mobbed.

In October too, Kejriwal had refused security cover from the Ghaziabad police saying it was against the party's ideology.

AAP has pledged that none of its MLAs, including the CM, would take red beacon cars, bungalows or security cover.

This is the Delhi police's letter to Kejriwal.

This is Kejriwal's reply
17:50  Deracinating the evidence, in the language of the courts. Read
17:39  IM terrorist Yasin Bhatkal pens memoirs: His path, betrayal by 'close friend':  Behind the bars of a police lock-up inside the Delhi Police Special Cell headquarters at Lodhi Colony, a bearded young man sits on the floor, writing on sheets of white paper bundled together.

 A reflection on the 30 years of his life and how a "close friend" tipped off the intelligence agencies, leading to his arrest. The prisoner is top Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Yasin Bhatkal, arrested on August 29 for his alleged role in bomb blasts across the country.

Read the full story here.
17:31  Sensex up 21 points; profit booking erases most of day's gains:   The benchmark Sensex gave up most of today's gains and managed to close 21 points higher after a late bout of profit booking as heavyweights ITC and ONGC advanced while tech stocks Infosys and TCS declined. Stocks had traded firm for most part of the day on global cues and continued capital inflows. 
17:26  My father, my critic:  When he was a child, his father, Kshema, would throw him balls and instruct him on technique in the backyard of their beautiful hillside home in Kandy. Kumar would move on to badminton and tennis with great success, before eventually circling back to cricket, but in countless hours of conversation and batting drills, for a long time he clung to every word his father spoke.

Read: Kumar Sangakkara's ode to his father.
17:19  Road project in Iceland delayed to protect "hidden" elves:  No, this not a story out of the Onion. It's true.

Humans in Iceland are standing up for the rights of elves -- and not because Father Christmas works them too hard. Elf advocates have joined forces with environmentalists to urge the Icelandic Road and Coastal Commission and local authorities to abandon a highway project because it might disturb the creatures' habitat.   Read more
17:09  Ilayaraja hospitalised :  Well-known musician Ilayaraja was today admitted to a private hospital in Chennai after he complained of chest pain, sources close to the composer said.

Raja (70), fondly addressed as 'maestro,' complained of uneasiness this morning, sources said, adding, he was said to be stable.  He was expected to be discharged soon,they added.
16:49  Christmas turkey with an Indian twist:  As India celebrates Christmas on Wednesday, a fledgling Indian company is hoping to turn tastes toward turkey for the first time in the country. Read
16:47   Ganguly should have resigned by now : Forward Bloc:   Minutes after retired Justice AK Ganguly complained to the Chief Justice of India today saying he has not been addressed correctly by the apex court in the law intern case, Forward Bloc general secretary Debabrata Biswas said he should have resigned by now. "We feel that Justice Ganguly should have resigned and fought his battle. He should have resigned by now," said Biswas.
16:44  Politics as unusual:  The AAP's electoral debut is stunning. It won 30 per cent of Delhi's vote within a year of its birth. It relegated the Congress to third place, eating away 15 per cent of its vote.

The AAP also chipped away roughly three per cent of the BJP's vote, and reduced the BSP, which held great promise, with 14 per cent of Delhi's vote in 2008, to insignificance.

With less money than the Congress or the BJP, and driven by volunteer energy, the AAP has stolen the thunder from an otherwise quite impressive BJP performance.

It has rattled the Congress and planted doubts in the BJP's mind, making it unsure of what lies ahead. Read more
16:33  Several maids have fled homes of Indian diplomats in US :  A day before Ambassador Meera Shankar was to return home after completing her tenure in the US in the summer of 2011, her maid, without informing anyone, left her official residence on the outskirts of Washington never to return.

The highly-secretive Indian Embassy in Washington hushed up the matter from the media and is believed to have registered a formal complaint with police and the State Department, in addition to cancelling the maid's official passport.

The woman domestic worker, who served the Ambassador quite well during her tenure of more than two years in Washington, is still untraceable and believed to be living illegally in the US. And she is not the only Indian maid - officially called "India-Based Domestic Assistant" - to have fled from the homes of senior Indian diplomats in the past few years.

Sources familiar with such incidents said that the number of such maids or India-Based Domestic Assistants (IBDAs) from the Indian Embassy in Washington - one of the largest Indian diplomatic missions - could be at least a dozen in the past decade.
16:25  All in the family? Police arrest Asaram's wife, daughter; release them:   The Ahmedabad police arrested self-styled godman Asaram Bapu's wife and daughter and later released them as they procured anticipatory bail in connection with a rape case filed against him by a Surat-based woman.

"As a part of the procedure we arrested Asaram's wife Laxmi and daughter Bharti yesterday as their names appear in the FIR filed in the rape case," a police official said.

The victim, one of the two Surat-based sisters, had in her complaint also named wife and daughter of Asaram as co-accused, alleging that they were hand-in-glove with the godman in exploitation of girls like her.

The two sisters had lodged complaints against Asaram's son Narayan Sai and the godman of rape, sexual assault, illegal confinement and other charges.

The elder sister, in her complaint against Asaram, had accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006 during the time she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

The younger sister had accused Sai of repeated sexual assault between 2002 and 2005 when she was living at the Surat ashram. Sai is at present in Surat police custody.

Asaram (72) is currently lodged in a Jodhpur jail after being arrested in September for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram.
16:19  Justice Ganguly: Why wasn't I given copy of intern's affidavit!:  More on Justice Ganguly's letter to CJI P Sathasivam: In the letter, Ganguly says he was denied access to the affidavit containing allegations against him.

"I asked for a copy of hearing before the Supreme Court committee but denied on the ground of the confidentiality. In normal law a person whose reputation is at stake should be given the affidavit to respond, I had asked for it but denied," he said.

"I wish to make it clear that I never harassed nor did I make any unwelcome advances to any female intern."

He adds, "I have been distressed by some recent happenings. I am anguished that Supreme Court did not address me correctly."
16:00  Rajasthan's rani may be inducted into all-powerful BJP poll committee:  Rajasthan CM Vasundara Raje Scindia is likely to be part of the BJP's 2014 poll committee headed by Narendra Modi. The 13-member poll campaign committee, which will meet on December 31, will be expanded to include more members, including Raje.

The Central Campaign Committee will meet tomorrow to chalk out a new strategy for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls after the AAP's shocker win in Delhi.

The big winners of the state legislative polls  -- MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Chhattisgarh CM Dr Raman Singh, apart from Goa CM Manohar Parrikar are already members of the poll committee. 

Though Scindia is not a member of the CECC, there is a likelihood of her being inducted into the all-powerful body.  As many as 20 sub-committees of the BJP poll panel have been constituted under the campaign committee including the one for preparing the party's 'Vision Document' headed by Nitin Gadkari.
15:46  Three-day special Parliament session in Jan to pass Rahul, Sonia's pet bills :   Parliament may convened for three days beginning January 13, say our sources in Delhi. The mystery of the winter session of Parliament closing sine die, two days ahead of it its scheduled end of session, has yet to be resolved.

The UPA leadership has decided that a special session of Parliament should be convened to pass all the pending bills including Rahul Gandhi's six anti-corruption bills.  Sonia Gandhi also wants her Women's Reservation Bill to be passed during this special session. After these bills are passed, Sonia Gandhi is likely to declare at the AICC session on January 17/18 that the party has fulfilled the promises in its manifesto. 
15:22  Method of functioning of environment ministry puzzles me: Jaitley:  Arun Jaitley's blog on the ministry of environment and forests: "The method of functioning of the Ministry of Environment & Forests   in the last one decade has continued to puzzle me.  One had hoped that with   a regime of de-licensing  initiated in 1991, entrepreneurs  would not have to lobby in the corridors of power in Delhi.  Regrettably, the Ministry of Environment and Forests  has brought back the quota licensing regime."

Read the full blog here.

In a shake up ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan resigned on Saturday from the Union Council of Ministers and more may be in line for being drafted into party work.
15:19  VE! Justice Ganguly writes to CJI: My side of story has not been heard:  And Justice AK Ganguly is back grabbing headlines. Writing to CJI P Sathasivam, the retired Supreme Court judge says his side of the story has not been given a fair hearing. He also questioned how the law intern's affidavit to the Supreme Court panel was leaked to the media.

Ganguly is accused of sexually harassing a law intern. Attorney General of India on Friday found Ganguly prima facie guilty and sent his opinion Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal.

The government had indicated that Ganguly may be sacked as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission.

Also read: Justice Ganguly asked me to share his room
14:47  Child dies of cold in relief camp in Muzaffarnagar :   A three-year old child has died reportedly due to cold in a private riot relief camp in Muzaffarnagar, UP.  The death took place on the same day when Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi visited government relief camps in Shamli in the district.

Earlier, three children had also died due to cold in the camp. Yesterday, Rahul Gandhi made an unannounced visit to the riot-hit areas of Muzaffarnagar district during which he hit out at Uttar Pradesh government alleging the conditions in relief camps were "very bad".

More than 60 persons were killed and over 40,000 displaced in communal violence that had broken out in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas in September this year.

This is what Rahul Gandhi said yesterday. Read
14:47  This wedding invite has been doing the rounds on Twitter.
14:41  An abuse of immunity?:  Notwithstanding the several privileges and immunities Indian diplomats and consular officers are entitled to, they have a corresponding duty under the 1961 Convention and the 1963 Convention to respect the laws and regulations of the host State. Read
14:39  RBI springs a surprise:  Everyone had assumed that the latest monetary policy statement of the Reserve Bank of India would be entirely on predictable lines, and because of that it would be reduced to being a non-event. A mid-quarter review such as this one, as a rule, causes much less excitement than, say, a quarterly statement. Read more
14:37  Digvijaya Singh tweets: Congratulate Arvind Kejriwal for being given an opportunity to serve the State of Delhi as CM. I am sure he would fulfil his promises.
14:34  LIVE! Khobragade a step closer full diplomatic immunity, won't have to appear in court :   Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade gets accreditation to India's permanent mission to UN. Accreditation to India's permanent mission to the UN will entitle Khobragade to a US State Department Identity card. This means she is exempted from making a personal appearance in court in the visa fraud case and is a step closer to getting full diplomatic immunity. 

The UN ID card is likely to be issued after Christmas.

Khobragade's attorney had said that her diplomatic status provides her with immunity irrespective of whether she has been reassigned to the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations.

"Our position has always been that she always has that diplomatic immunity. All of the charges should be dropped because she has diplomatic immunity. If her transfer to the permanent mission makes that fact clearer to the prosecutor's office, then perhaps they would agree more rapidly (to drop charges). The case needs to be dismissed. She has always enjoyed immunity and I can tell you that," he asserted.
14:27  Dale Steyn tweets: Tough test... Back my decision even if others don't! I'm no Tin Cup and come 2 Durbs ready 2 win a series! Congrats to our boys 4 that fight

In India's first innings Steyn ended with figures of 1 for 61 in 26 overs as India were bowled out for 280. The real shock for Steyn was to come in the second innings as he went wicket-less, conceding 104 runs in 30 overs. It was the first time in a stellar Test career that Steyn leaked hundred runs in an innings without taking a wicket. It was also the first time that he went 30 overs without success.


14:20  Thread Bared :   They had invested hope in the village pradhan. He had said he'd protect them. Instead, what happened at his house during the morning of the riots will make you shudder. Outlook meets Muslim women at the camps, the faceless Nirbhayas of Muzaffarnagar....  Read the full story here.
14:16  A tale of two citizens:  In the Khobragade case, India had two standards: one for what a middle-class woman needs and feels and another for what a working-class woman needs and feels.  Read
13:56  Devyani Khobragade to appear in US court on January 13:  Devyani Khobragade, deputy consul general at the Indian Consulate in New York, who was arrested two weeks ago on changes of allegedly submitting fraudulent documents in support of her maid and babysitter to the US State Department, will have to appear in court on January 13.

"There is no court appearance Monday as has been reported in newspapers. The date has been Monday but it has been cancelled. She will appear before the magistrate judge Debra Freeman for pre-trial proceedings on Jan 13,' her lawyer Daniel Arshack told Rediff.com's Suman Guha Mozumder.

Read the full story here.
13:53  Tarun Tejpal to remain in jail for another 12 days :  Tehelka's founder Tarun Tejpal, who has been accused of sexual assault of a woman journalist, will spend the Christmas and New Year's eve in a prison cell. A magistrate, on Monday extended Tejpal's remand for 12 days up to January 4. Tejpal was arrested November 30 after a woman journalist accused him of sexual assault during a conference held at a Goa resort.
13:50  US to waive Khobragade's pre-trial appearance today :  US authorities will waive Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade's pre-trial appearance for today.

Khobragade, posted as Deputy Consul General in New York, was arrested on December 12 over allegations that she paid her domestic help a small fraction of New York's minimum wage and lied about the latter's salary in a visa application.
13:32  AAP-Congress tie-up undemocratic: Prashant Bhushan:   Aam Aadmi Pary (AAP) leader Prashant Bhushan on Sunday said his party had no choice but to form a government in Delhi with the Congress's support. The Supreme Court advocate, however, termed the tie-up undemocratic. He said the BJP, despite wining the highest number of seats, will be left out of the government, "which is not democratic".  Read more
13:25  Open letter to Anna Hazare:  The anti-corruption movement is very important. The impression must not be created that it is a fractured movement, writes Ramaswamy R Iyer, in an open letter to Anna Hazare.  Read more
13:22  New Indian envoy to arrive amid row over diplomat's arrest:   In other news: S Jaishankar, the new Indian Ambassador to the US, will arrive in Washington tomorrow to take charge amid a raging diplomatic row over the arrest and strip-search of senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade on visa fraud charges.

Jaishankar, who till recently was India's Ambassador to China, arrives in Washington at a time when bilateral ties threatens to hit a low in more than a decade now in the aftermath of the arrest of Khobragade.

In protest against her arrest and her mistreatment by US Marshals, India has demanded an apology and withdrawal of charges against the 39-year-old Deputy Consul General at the Indian consulate in New York. New Delhi has retaliated by withdrawing a slew of privileges being provided to American diplomats in India for decades.

But, the US has refused to drop charges and tender an apology.
13:21  Teen raped, rod thrust into throat:   In other news: A 14-year-old girl in Malda, West Bengal, was allegedly raped by a farm labourer who shoved an iron rod down her throat and left her speech-impaired after luring her with the promise of warm clothes and a cycle.

A doctor at Malda Medical College Hospital, where the schoolgirl is admitted, said her vocal cord had been damaged. The brutality has some parallels with the Delhi gang rape on a bus last year that triggered a nationwide uproar.  Read more
13:20  Live! Sheila Dikshit: People got carried away by AAP's promises :  Former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit when asked what advice she has for AAP, says, "I am nobody to give advice to Arvind Kejriwal, but I wish him well."

She says the ball of stability is in their (AAP's) court. "They are ones who will have to fulfill the promises. Stability comes from them. How can we provide a stable government to Delhi?" she asked. 

She added that people have got carried away by AAP's promises.
13:06  The deadline for American diplomats and consulate staff to submit their ID cards ends on Monday, a fallout of the arrest of senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade.
13:03  Live! Governor nod for Kejriwal to take oath at Ramlila Maidan :  Arvind Kejriwal met the Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung for half an hour and said his party, AAP, would be forming the government in Delhi. The Lt Governor will send the letter to the President.

In a departure from tradition, the oath-taking ceremony will be held at the Ram Lila Maidan.  
12:57  Huge challenge ahead for AAP.

The Aam Admi Party which is now forming the government in Delhi on December 26, had contested the polls on an anti-Congress, anti-BJP plank, anti-corruption platform.

The decision to form the government with Congress support, even from the outside, exposes it to attack from the BJP. The BJP itself, though the party with the single-largest votes in the Delhi polls had refused to form government by horse trading. And it is there for being made to sit out in the opposition.

For the Congress itself, it will be wait and watch -- to see how soon Kejriwal falls. Sheila Dikshit had said earlier that AAP must fulfill the promises it made to the public of Delhi.
12:54  Here's what Digvijaya Singh from the Congress says on AAP's decision to finally form the government in Delhi.

"It is between AAP and the Delhi Congress. I congratulate him. I appreciate his courage. He needs to fulfill his promises. By entering politics, he has strengthened democracy."
12:47  Kejriwal had a separate manifesto for each of the 70 constituencies:  Arvind Kejriwal has said that AAP refuses to be guided by ideologies and that they are entering politics to change the system: "We are aam aadmis. If we find our solution in the left we are happy to borrow it from there. If we find our solution in the right, we are happy to borrow it from there."

The party produced a separate manifesto for each of the 70 constituencies. The candidates were being screened for potential criminal backgrounds and the party claimed to have selected honest candidates.

The AAP's central manifesto had promised to implement the Jan Lokapal Bill within 15 days of coming to power.


Pic: That's a picture of Arvind Kejriwal on his way to meet Lt Gov Najeeb Jung.
12:37  'No confusion about CM's post, Kejriwal has always been our choice':  Asserting that there was no confusion over the Chief Ministerial candidate, Manish Sisodia said Arvind Kejriwal has been party's choice for the top post.

"There were rumours about who will be the chief minister. AAP had said earlier that the party would contest election with Arvind Kejriwal as CM candidate. Then in our manifesto also we have reiterated this. After the election results were out, he was elected as the leader of the legislative party. So Arvind Kejriwal will be the Chief Minister," Sisodia said.
12:24  Arvind Kejriwal meets Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to stake claim to form the government in Delhi. The AAP chief will take oath on December 26, and wants the swearing-in ceremony to be held at Jantar Mantar.

Jantar Mantar, is the place where Arvind Kerjiwal's journey from a supporter and chief aide to Anna Hazare to the next chief minister of Delhi, began. A journey from an activist to a neta.
12:15  The meeting with Lt Gov Najeeb Jung is scheduled for 12:30 pm. 
12:13  Live! Kejriwal reaches Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form govt in Delhi :  Five AAP leaders including Arvind Kejriwal on their way to meet Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to form the government in Delhi. Kejriwal reaches Raj Bhavan to meet Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, to say that his party is ready to form the government. Five people packed into Kejriwal's Wagon R.

Pic: The AAP headquarters at Ghaziabad where the announcement to form the government was made. Pic/Sheela Bhatt
11:49  Kanchan Gupta, who is a BJP sympathiser, tweets: Reminded of vitriolic abuse by khAAPis when I said before poll Kejriwal working in tandem with Congress, meets Sandeep Dikshit late night.


11:48  Arvind Kejriwal to take oath as Delhi CM on December 26. 
11:40  BJP: AAP has betrayed Delhi :   BJP's Dr Harsh Vardhan says AAP has betrayed Delhi, since the vote was anti-Congress. AAP has compromised on its principles.

Sheila Dikshit: We have supported AAP only for its programmes and policies for the public. The support is NOT unconditional and it is only an outside support.
11:34  AAP wants swearing-in ceremony at Jantar Mantar:   Kejriwal also said that he would speak to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung whether the swearing-in ceremony can be held at Jantar Mantar. The meeting is slated for 12:30 pm today.

Former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit says the Congress wishes AAP good luck and hopes it can fulfill its promises to the people. She said some of the promises he has made to the people are impossible to fulfill.
11:23  Live! AAP ready to form govt in Delhi: Kejriwal :  The Aam Aadmi Party press conference begins in Ghaziabad. Manish Sisodia and Arvind Kejriwal at the helm of things at the press conference.

Sisodia says 74 per cent of the people who have voted on the referendum through text messages want AAP to form the government in Delhi.

Nearly seven lakh people responded to the referendum on whether AAP should form the government.

Kejriwal announces that on the basis of the referendum, AAP is ready to from the government in Delhi. "I am going to the L-G to inform him that AAP is ready to form the government," says Kejriwal.

Sisodia says Keriwal will be the chief minister.
11:15  Live! Anna on AAP government formation: I have already wished him well :  Anna Hazare on Arvind Kejriwal and AAP government formation: I have already wished him well.
Cryptic and non-committal.
11:11   White House petition launched to drop charges against Devyani:  In other news: An online White House petition demanding the Obama Administration drop the visa fraud case against Devyani Khobragade has been launched here by a group of Indian-Americans who said the senior Indian diplomat's public humiliation hurts the sentiments of the community.

Protesting the manner in which India's Deputy Consul General was arrested on December 12 in New York, the online petition said there was perceptible animus in handling the arrest.
11:06  The meeting between AAP MLAs are over. Arvind Kejriwal is likely to address the press shortly.   
10:53  Will AAP deliver on its top 5 promises to Delhi?:  As AAP is set to form the government in Delhi, the party has insisted that it will end VIP culture in Delhi. Kejriwal has decided to scrap what is seen as the most "offensive symbol" of that culture - red beacons or lal battis on vehicles.

No AAP minister will ride in a lal batti car, or stay in the traditional bungalows allotted to ministers, he has reportedly said.

Kejriwal's pledge to reduce water and electricity bills has been described as impractical by the outgoing Congress, which is supporting the AAP.

The fledgling party vowed to halve the power bills and conduct an audit of discoms, or electricity distribution companies, accused of overcharging consumers.

AAP has vowed to provide 700 litres of free water to every household in Delhi. According to some estimates, that would cost the state some 340 crores a year.

The party has also promised "swaraj" or self-rule. To translate its idea of direct democracy into action, it has planned "mohalla sabhas" or neighbourhood meetings to decide on policies.

The 272 meetings held across Delhi last week to invite public opinion on whether the AAP should form a government with Congress support, offered a preview of these mohalla sabhas.

The party promised to bring in a strong law for a Lokpal or an anti-corruption ombudsman within 15 days.  -- NDTV
10:41  AAP meet on, Kejriwal says govt formation decision at 11 am:  

The Political Affairs Committee meeting of the Aam Aadmi Party has begun in Delhi and a final announcement is expected in 11 am. "We are going in for political affairs meeting now. At 11 am we will announce whether we will form government or not," said AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal. "We will not ally with the Congress party or the BJP. We will go to the Lt Governor and say the public has asked us to form the government. When our majority will be tested, those who wish to serve the people of Delhi will support us. If we form the government, we will deliver on all promises," said AAP leader Kumar Vishwas.

 

However, sources say AAP is likely to take the support of the Congress on conditional grounds to form the next government. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal dropped enough hints on Sunday that AAP would finally lead the next government in Delhi.

 

Read more on CNN IBN

10:04  Sensex gains 105 points in early trade:  

The benchmark BSE Sensex rose by almost 105 points in early trade today on sustained buying by funds and retail investors amid a firming trend in other Asian markets.     

 

Extending its rising streak for the second straight session, the 30-share index was up by 104.82 points, or 0.50 per cent, to 21,184.54 with all the sectoral indices, led by capital goods and oil and gas, trading in positive territory, rising up to 1.11 per cent.        

 

The Sensex had gained 371.10 points in the previous session. The wide-based NSE Nifty also moved up by 31.55 points, or 0.50 per cent, to 6,305.80.         Brokers said continued buying by funds and retail investors amid a firming trend on other Asian bourses after Friday's gain in the US markets, as economic growth figures came in well above expectations, influenced the trading sentiment here.        

 

In the Asian region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 0.68 per cent in the morning trade today, while Japan's Tokyo stock exchange remained closed for a public holiday. 

 

The US Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.26 per cent to close at fresh record highs in Friday's trade.

09:59  Thai protesters block poll registration stadium:  

Anti-government demonstrators in Thailand have surrounded the stadium where candidates were due to register to stand in February's elections.

 

They say political reform is needed before elections take place. On Sunday, tens of thousands took to the streets of Bangkok, calling on the government to step down. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who called the polls in December try to end the rallies, urged protesters to respect the "democratic system".

 

The main opposition Democrat Party has said it would boycott February's elections. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who was previously a senior Democrat Party politician, said on Sunday: "We disagree with the election. We want the country to be reformed before the election."

 

Read more on BBC

08:37  Former cricketer Salil Ankola's wife found dead:  

NDTV: Former cricketer Salil Ankola's wife, Pariniti, has been found dead at her parents' house in Pune, according to reports.

 

The police said that they have found a suicide note, which says she has grown tired of her life.  The 46-year-old was staying with her parents at their Pune residence.Pariniti has two sons with Salil.

08:34  US may take further military action in S Sudan: Obama:  

The US has deployed 46 additional military personnel in S Sudan and may take further military action to support the security of its citizens in the violence-wracked country, President Barack Obama has said.        

 

"As I monitor the situation in South Sudan, I may take further action to support the security of US citizens, personnel, and property, including our Embassy, in South Sudan," Obama said in a communique to the Congress as released by the White House.        

 

Obama said on December 21, 46 US military personnel deployed by military aircraft to the area of Bor, South Sudan, to conduct an operation to evacuate US citizens and personnel.        

 

After the aircraft came under fire as they approached Bor, the operation was curtailed due to security considerations, and the aircraft and all military personnel onboard departed South Sudan without completing the evacuation, he said adding that the purpose of this operation was to protect US citizens, personnel, and property.        

 

Obama said this action has been directed consistent with his responsibility to protect US citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of US national security and foreign policy interests.        

 

Earlier in the day, Obama, who is spending his year end vacation in Hawaii, was updated on the situation in South Sudan.

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