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LIVE! Peaches Geldof dead at 25: Mother of two found dead at home

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April 07, 2014


23:34  US television icon Barbara Walters to retire May 16:  Trailblasing US television journalist Barbara Walters, famed for her political and celebrity interviews in a career spanning more than half a century, is to retire next month, the ABC network confirmed today. 

Walters, 84, who had already confirmed she would retire in 2014, will bring the curtain down on 53 years of broadcasting when she co-hosts her chat show "The View" for the last time on May 16.
23:11  Peaches Geldof dead at 25: Mother of two found dead at home:  Peaches Geldof, the daughter of Bob Geldof and a mother of two, has died at the age of 25.

Police were called in to an address in Kent following a report of concern for the welfare of a woman on Monday afternoon, the BBC reported.

She was pronounced dead by South East Coast Ambulance Service.Kent police is treating her death as "sudden and unexplained".
22:38  Volvo suspends Russia tank project over Ukraine 'uncertainty':  Volvo today said it had suspended a project to build an armoured infantry fighting vehicle with a Russian company due to uncertainty over the Ukraine crisis. Renault Trucks Defense, which is owned by the Swedish truck manufacturer, in February 2013 signed an agreement to develop a combat vehicle with Russia's state-owned Uralvagonzavod.
22:37  Steve Jobs biographer writing about digital age:  After writing a best-selling book about a superstar of the digital age, Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson is working on a tribute to teamwork. Isaacson has a book out October 7 about the forces behind the rise of computers and the Internet. 

Simon & Schuster announced today that the book will be called "The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution."
20:48  Nine Kingfisher trademarks put up for sale:  
Kingfisher lenders today put on block nine trademarks of the grounded carrier to recover dues running into crores of rupees.

The trademarks put on on the block include Fly Kingfisher and Fly Kingfisher (Label), both registered with KFA and each having a validity of up to January 10, 2017. Flying Models registered with United Breweries (airline promoter) and valid up to August 6, 2014 is also put up on sale. 

The others are Fly the Good Times and the Funliner (registered with KFA and valid up to August 6, 2014); the Kingfisher (Label) registered with UB and valid up to November 1, 2014; and the Flying Bird Device, registered with UB and valid up to November 5, 2014, SBI Caps Trustees said in a public notice. 

SBI Caps has been tasked by a 17-member consortium of lenders, led by SBI, to recover their dues running into over Rs 7,500 crore in principal alone from Kingfisher Airlines, promoted by Vjay Mallya. 

"A notice has been issued under Rule 5 of the Security Interest (Enforcement) Rules of 2002, for estimation of the market value of trademarks pertaining to Kingfisher Airlines and for identifying interested parties," it said. 

The crippled carrier's other debt includes over Rs 13,000 crore in accumulated losses and unpaid salaries, taxes, and vendor dues.
20:17  Narendra Modi will never become PM: Mulayam:  
Predicting that Narendra Modi will "never" become the Prime Minister, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav today said there would be a Third Front government at the Centre after the Lok Sabha elections.

"A person like Narendra Modi will never be able to become the Prime Minister of the country. After Lok Sabha polls, BJP and Congress will not be able to form the government and there will be a Third Front government," Yadav said while addressing election rallies. 

He held meetings for party candidates in Meerut, Saharanpur and Bijnor. 

SP has fielded Shahid Manzoor from Meerut, Shajan Masood from Saharanpur and Shahnawaz Rana from Bijnor. 

Attacking BJP over claims of development in Gujarat, Yadav said the party had spread "false propaganda" on "Gujarat model" and the condition of the state was "worse" as compared to other states.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
19:54  Sahara withdraws proposal to free Subrata Roy:  
Sahara group has withdrawn its proposal from the Supreme Court in which it had assured to pay Rs 2,500 crore immediately and rest Rs 2,500 crore in cash in three weeks for getting bail for its chief Subrata Roy and two directors.

The Group had made the proposal on April 3 when it expressed its inability before the apex court to immediately pay Rs 10,000 crore for securing bail for Roy and its two directors who have been in jail since March 4.

It had, however, proposed to pay Rs 2,500 crore immediately and rest Rs 2,500 crore in cash within three weeks after the release of Roy and two directors, Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary.

The apex court had earlier imposed a condition that Roy will be freed on bail only if he pays Rs 10,000 crore out of which Rs 5,000 crore has to be in bank guarantee and rest in cash.

Roy and the other two directors of the Group have been in judicial custody since March 4 for not abiding by the apex court's order for depositing Rs 20,000 crore of investors money with SEBI.
19:37  Over 92 EVMs malfunctioned, replaced in Assam:  
At least 92 EVMs malfunctioned and were replaced today during the first day of Lok Sabha polls in five constituencies in Assam. 

Election Commission officials said that the number was likely to go up as information from many interior places was yet to be received.

The highest number of malfunctioning EVMs was reported from Jorhat constituency, the home turf of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Jorhat Returning Officer Vishal Vasant Solanki told PTI "We have changed 36 machines at different places. Besides, some other machines developed some snag that were corrected by engineers." 

Tezpur Returning Officer Lalit Gogoi said 19 machines did not work properly in the constituency and were replaced. 

"We have replaced 14 in Tezpur and one in Bihpuria. Two units were changed in Biswanath Chariali and Gohpur," he added.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
19:29  Modi's 3D rally postponed till April 11:  
BJP's Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi's poll rallies using 3D holographic projection technology, by which he was to address more than 100 locations simultaneously, have been postponed due to technical reasons, official sources said today.

"The poll rallies using 3D technology have been postponed due to technical reason," a Gujarat BJP office bearer said.

"The rallies have been postponed till April 11," he said. 

Modi was to address today at more than 100 locations simultaneously using the 3D holographic projection technology, where those present at different locations could virtually see his holographic image and experience his live address. 

Modi had used this technology for the first time in the campaigning for 2012 Gujarat Assembly elections 
19:25  Rajasthan sought solar power but got 'damad' power: Modi:  
argeting Congress over Robert Vadra's controversial land deals in Rajasthan, Narendra Modi today said that farmers' land was acquired in the name of solar power plant but instead the state got 'damad (son-in-law) power'.

Addressing a rally in Rathkudia area in Pali constituency, Modi said "there is nuclear power, hydro power, wind power and solar power but for the first time, 'damad power' is beign heard of in Rajasthan". 

"Thousands of acres of land belonging to farmers was given to 'jijaji' (brother-in-law) of Shehzade (Rahul Gandhi) in the name of solar power. Board of Solar power was put up but what happened actually is that it became 'damad power in Rajasthan," he said without naming Vadra, son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, while accusing the Congress party not giving answer on
the issue. 

"It is they (Congress people) who are running the Government but they seek answers from Modi," he said. 

He claimed that Asia's biggest solar power plant was set up in Gujarat, but in Rajasthan there was "damad power not solar power".

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
18:54  Retail stocks fall amid BJP's no to multibrand FDI:  Leading retail stocks today fell up to 6 per cent on the BSE amid the BJP saying no to foreign direct investment in the multi-brand retail sector.
18:49  80 per cent voting in Tripura, 72 per cent in Assam:  Over 80 per cent of the electorate in Tripura cast their votes for one seat and 72 per cent Assam in five seats as the massive nine phase Lok Sabha elections began peacefully today from the Northeast.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
18:46  Time for Congress' farewell as it has made people suffer: Modi:  Accusing the Congress of failing the country's farmers and soldiers, Narendra Modi today said the ruling party should be given such a "farewell" that India does not see it in power "for seven generations".

"During former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's time Indian was proud of its "jai jawan, jai kisan" slogan.... now its (UPA government's) new slogan is 'mar jawan, mar kisan' (die soldiers, die farmers)," the BJP's PM candidate said at a rally in Jat dominated belt of Nagaur district in Rajasthan.

"A person who cannot save the party, how will he save the nation," he said in a veiled attack on Rahul Gandhi.

This is not the first time Modi has used Mar Jawan, Mar Kisan. Probably catchy but in bad taste.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
18:37  Trinamool to fight alone against Cong, BJP and CPI-M : Mamata:  Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today said the party will fight the ongoing Lok Sabha polls alone and will still emerge as the third largest party.

At election rallies in Jamalpur and Balagarh in West Bengal today, Mamata said, that the Congress, BJP and CPI-M had entered into a 'tacit pact', and urged people not to vote for them.

"Trinamool will fight it alone and taste victory," she told an election rally at Jamalpur.
18:19  LIVE! BJP manifesto is copy-paste from my 10-yr-old speech: Jairam:  Union Minister Jairam Ramesh today said the BJP's manifesto is a hastily prepared "high school essay" prepared by "lifting" some of the portions from his own speeches and writings.

Describing the BJP manifesto as a "deeply disappointing document", the Congress leader also alleged the programmes and initiatives that it talks about were initiated by the UPA Government. "Finally, all I can say it is a great deal of personal satisfaction for me. Because there are some portions in the manifesto which somebody has lifted from my earlier speeches and writings," Ramesh said.

"For example, they talk about 'Rurban India'-- the area which are rapidly urbanising. This I wrote almost 10 years ago...," the Rural Development Minister said.
18:08  Rumbles in the PMO:  The buzz heard in the corridors of power is that Pulok Chatterjee, who is the  Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, is all set to join the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation as a managing trustee.

Chatterjee will assist Priyanka Gandhi who is the chief custodian of the Trust and at the same time be a link to the new administration. 
18:01  An unspectacular day in the life of a Narendra Modi Look-alike.

Full story here.
17:56  LIVE! EC explores voting through Internet for NRIs:   Non-resident Indians may be able to cast their votes through Internet from overseas as the Election Commission on Monday told the Supreme Court that it is exploring such a possibility.

The Commission, however, told a bench headed by Justice K S Radhakrishnan that it is almost impossible to make any such arrangement for NRI to cast their votes from overseas in the ongoing general election as electoral rolls have been concluded in almost all the constituencies.

The bench, however, asked the Commission to do something in this election itself.

"You still have time,' the bench said and wondered whether NRIs, who are registered voters, can be allowed to use their franchise through postal ballot."Why don't you examine at least this (regarding 11,844 registered NRIs),' it said.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
17:44  Kannada writer makes U-turn on Modi remarks: Won't leave the country:  Kannada writer U R Ananthamurthy, who had said that he would leave the country if Narendra Modi becomes the PM, today said those remarks were made when he was "overcome by emotion" and clarified that he had no such plan, though he continues to oppose BJP.

At a media interaction, Ananthamurthy said he favoured a "supple" government, which can meet diverse demands rather than a strong government which would impose homogeneity.

"A few months ago in Bangalore in a meeting, I was overcome by emotion, and I said I will not live in a country where Modi is Prime Minister. That was too much to say because I can't go anywhere except India," he said, flanked by Planning Commission member Sayeda Hameed and litterateur Ashok Vajpeyi.

He, however, said that if Modi comes to power it may result in a "shift in our civilisation."
17:34  Khurshid wants fixed tenure for US envoy:   Our sources in Delhi tell us that Foreign minister Salman Khurshid who is campaigning in Uttar Pradesh is believed to have called up the Prime Minister's Office as well as Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who is campaigning in Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, to approve a file which will give two years fixed tenure for S Jaishankar, India's ambasador in the US.

The department of expenditure is objecting to this proposal as there should be a Union Cabinet decision to ensure fixed tenure to IFS officials posted
outside India.  Insiders in the foreign office like senior diplomats smell a rat.
17:34  UPA keen to push through 2-year term for envoys in US, Russia, China:  A top secret file has been submitted to the PMO. Our sources tell us that the file pertains to a fixed tenure for Indian envoys posted in the USA, China and Russia.

But the point to note is that the UPA is keen to get a policy decision pushed through during the poll campaign, which is likely to be in contravention of the Election Commission rules.

Remains to be seen whether the EC will approve this or whether the new government at the centre, after May 16, will review the UPA's last minute decisions. Stay with us.  
17:11  The Hindustan Times announcing the Lok Sabha polls. While we loved the Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee sketches, but the likeness to Asterix comics is unmistakable.  
17:08  Sonia take the road, not a chopper after heavy rains in Kochi:   Unexpected heavy rains in Kochi today forced Congress President Sonia Gandhi to take the road to Thrissur, where she is to address an election meeting.

Even the special flight in which she arrived here was forced to remain airborne for about 30 minutes over the airport due to the downpour and landed around 4 pm.

Gandhi was to take a helicopter to Thrissur, about 60 km from Kochi. However, due to the inclement weather, the chopper ride was abandoned, police sources said. After a slight delay, the UPA chairperson left for Thrissur in a bullet-proof car.
17:07  Sun Pharma to buy troubled Ranbaxy in regions largest deal this year:   Sun Pharmaceuticals said Monday it is acquiring Ranbaxy Laboratories, the generics drugs maker currently owned by Japan's Daiichi Sankyo, for around $3.2 billion, making it the Asia-Pacific's largest deal in the sector this year. Sun Pharma, a company born in Calcutta in 1983 but is now run out of Mumbai, will become the largest pharmaceutical company in India, and the fifth-largest specialty generics company in the world following the acquisition.
16:37  Rahul rakes up 'snoopgate':  While on Amit Shah, Rahul Gandhi rakes up the snoopgate issue in his speech in  Raichur, Karnataka, saying the CM's office had been misused. "Police in Gujarat is used to chasing women, tapping their phones and on the other hand they (BJP) put up posters saying give strength to women!" says Rahul.

Two investigative news portals, Cobrapost.com and Gulail.com, had claimed on November 15 that former minister of state for home in Gujarat government, Amit Shah had ordered illegal surveillance of a woman at the behest of one "Saheb".

They had released taped conversations between Shah and suspended Indian Police Service officer GL Singhal to support their claim, but said that its authenticity could not be confirmed.
16:28  Two-pronged attack on Amit Shah: EC notice, FIR for 'revenge's speech:   The Election Commission has sent a notice to key Narendra Modi aide, Amit Shah over his 'revenge' comment.

On Sunday, the Uttar Pradesh police lodged an FIR in Bijnore against Shah, who is the BJP general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh for his alleged speech in Muzaffarnagar.

Shah had asked Jats to avenge the killing of their community members in last year's riots by voting for the BJP.

Shah has been booked under Section 153(A) of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between different groups) and Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act (promoting enmity between classes in connection with election).

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
16:13  Madhu Kishwar: Nightmare "interview" with Madhu Trehan of NL. Had no idea she had such anger & hatred against me 4 exposing NDTV-Chiddu scam. Poured venom! Didn't know NL Trehan had such outrage at my video recorded conversations with Modi. Hauled me over the coals 4 airing "substandard stuff".
16:10  Pistorius apologises to Reeva's mom: "I was trying to protect her':   Update on the Oscar Pistorius trial:  South African Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius took the witness stand in his own defence at his murder trial on Monday, saying the shooting of his girlfriend had left him sleepless, terrified and plagued by nightmares.

He also apologised to the mother of Reeva Steenkamp in the public gallery, saying he fired four shots through a toilet door in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year in the belief that he was defending her from an intruder.

"I was simply trying to protect Reeva," he told the court, his voice quavering with emotion.-- Reuters
16:07  Don't see any wave, anywhere: Pt Chaurasia on LS polls:  Noted flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia has said that he "did not see any wave, anywhere" in the country.

"People who create a lot of noise attract attention and those who work silently are regarded as weak and foolish," Chaurasia said when asked if there was a 'Modi wave' in the country.

Chaurasia participated in a voter awareness programme here last evening and urged people to exercise their franchise without fear and prejudice.
15:58  LIVE! No differences with Narendra Modi over manifesto: MM Joshi :  MM Joshi says there were no differences with Narendra Modi over the party's poll manifesto, released today. In an interview with CNN IBN, Joshi says, there is no rift with Modi and there was no interference in the writing of the manifesto. "Unlike the Congress, this is not a one-man manifesto," says Joshi, who is the chairman of the party's manifesto drafting committee. "Everyone was consulted, while writing the manifesto," he says.
15:51  UPA-II ministries hit pause button, keep files pending for new government:  In the time of polls, governance in New Delhi has almost come to a halt. While most Secretaries of key ministries and departments are busy preparing their agenda for the new government -- as required by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth -- others are simply passing on all key financial and administrative decisions to the Election Commission.  Read more
15:43  Alphabet soup: The A,B,C,D of the Lok Sabha polls. Take a look.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
15:37  Old, infirm keep their date with democracy:   Poll vignettes from Assam: Radhika Mohan Gohain, who has always cast his vote since the first general elections in 1952, was taken to the polling booth by his nephew in Tinsukia town.

''As long as I am alive and in my senses, I will continue to vote. I read the newspapers regularly and am aware of the latest political developments in the country. I will exercise my vote according to my conscience'', he said.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
15:25  Lalu campaigns for Meira:   Amid speculation about fissures in RJD-Congress alliance in Bihar, RJD President Lalu Prasad campaigned for Speaker Meira Kumar in Sasaram and said unity among the two "secular" parties would keep communal forces away from power.

The rally was held on Sunday evening at Tilauthu three days after Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi campaigned for Kumar in Sasaram.

Congress and RJD are fighting separately the by-poll to five assembly seats and Prasad had been kept away by Congress from rallies of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in Aurangabad last week fuelling the rumours.

He told the poll rally that the unity among secular parties Congress and RJD would keep away the communal forces from power.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
15:18  Modi's brother seeks Shiva's blessings for PM candidate:  When BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's younger brother Prahlad Damodardas Modi paid obeisance at the Kashi Vishwanath temple and sought Lord Shiva's blessings for NaMo's victory, he was a man who had overcome all his doubts.

"Doubts about my brother's poll prospects flooded my mind as I boarded a train to Varanasi on Thursday. The journey was a learning curve. The chatter in the journey erased all my doubts. I am quite confident that the entire nation is looking towards NaMo for a change in country's politics," Prahlad said. Read
15:13  S Gurumurthy, the BJP candidate against A Raja from Nilgiris, has been disqualified by the EC for lack of documents. 
15:04  Manish Tewari gets bail in Gadkari's defamation case:  Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari was today granted bail by a local court in connection with a defamation case filed by senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.
15:02  2 cops killed in Bihar IED blast :  Two cops have been killed in the IED blast in the Dhibra police station in Aurangabad, Bihar. 
14:44  'Kejriwal banda A1 hai... but he broke our hearts':  In Arvind Kejriwal's home turf, Kaushambi in Ghaziabad, the honeymoon with India's most famous aam aadmi is near its end. Read
14:41  LIVE! BJP complains to EC over Imam Bukhari's support to Congress :  The Election Commission has forwarded a complaint against the Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid - Syed Ahmed Bukhari - to the police in Chandigarh, asking them to file a report within a week over the religious leader's appeal to Muslims to vote in favour of the Congress and its allies.

According to sources, an FIR against Bukhari was also likely to be registered soon in this connection.The EC action came following a complaint by the local unit of BJP in Chandigarh days after Bukhari exhorted Muslims to vote for the United Progressive Alliance.

The BJP saw red after Congress president Sonia Gandhi met Bukhari last week seeking his support in wooing Muslims to vote for her party. The BJP had termed the Congress move as open communalism.

Following the meeting, Bukhari on April 4 made the appeal to Muslims, clarifying that he was not issuing a fatwa. He urged the people of the community to support the Congress and ensure that secular votes do not get divided.
14:30  India test fires BrahMos supersonic cruise missile :  India successfully test-fires 290 km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile at Pokharan in Rajasthan. The 290-km supersonic BrahMos cruise missile is one of the deadliest in India's arsenal.
14:27  Brisk polling in Assam, Tripura:  Brisk polling was reported from both Assam and Tripura today where people turned up to vote in the first of the nine-phased Lok Sabha elections.

Till noon an average 35 per cent polling was reported from five constituencies in Assam which was peaceful so far, a Guwahati report quoting Election Commission sources, said. According to sources, 27 per cent voting was registered in Tezpur, 45 per cent in Jorhat, 32 per cent in Lakhimpur, 38 per cent in Dibrugarh and 30 per cent in Koliabor till noon. A report from Agartala said that around 40 per cent peaceful polling was recorded till noon in the Tripura West Lok Sabha seat.
14:18   Lok Sabha elections update:

-- 41 per cent polling in Tripura till noon; EVM malfunction reported in Assam.

-- Smriti Irani campaigns in Amethi, attacks Rahul for lack of progress
14:03  IED blast at police station in Bihar, three cops injured :  Just in: Three cops have been reportedly injured in an IED blast at Dhibra police station at Aurangabad in Bihar. The blast took place when the cops were trying to diffuse the IED which was recovered late last night.
14:00  Villagers to boycott polls in Amethi:  About two dozen villages in Amethi represented by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi vow not to vote as their demands not met. Read
13:57  The real threat to India's democracy:  'If one observes a common man passing a church or gurdwara or dargah, he instinctively bows his head. It is this prevalence of polytheism that has ensured that monotheists and minorities flourish in India. This may sound preposterous in wake of the recent communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar. But it must be understood that in a county of over one billion people that was at worst an aberration,' says Colonel Anil A Athale (retd). 
Read the column on Rediff.com
13:55  Under the BJP's Big Tent:  The new and the old in the politics of Hindutva as the BJP turns 30: Cows and climate change. Antyodaya and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Readthe 2010 report on the Caravan magazine. 
13:52  CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat today said that the Congress will face the 'worst electoral defeat' in its history. 
13:49  Problems that women staff on election duty face:  "I was posted to a government school in Bangalore South and the toilets were in such a bad condition that I did not use them until my election duty was over late in the evening. Others preferred to use toilets in the houses of acquaintances living nearby,' says Juliana Vincent, a Union Government employee, recalling her experience during an earlier election when she was posted as a polling officer. Read more
13:39  We need to talk about this Manifesto:  A close look at the BJP's election manifestoes from 1996 shows a consistent pattern of fielding the core Hindutva issues. What does the failure to present a serious manifesto this time mean for the party that hopes to lead the next government? Read N Ram's column in the Hindu.
13:34  Ace cinematographer and Guru Dutt right hand VK Murthy passes away. The man who can be credited with the unforgettable rays of light in the song, Waqt ne kiya in Kagaz Ke Phool?

And 101-year-old freedom fighter Dattaji Tahmane is no more.
13:32  In Delhi, a mother-son are doing business: Modi:  At his rally in Haryana, Narendra Modi, invokes his favourite whipping boy -- Rahul Gandhi. He says: In Delhi, a mother-son are doing business. The son-in-law has also stepped in. Can Shehzada tell us who is the magician who has gained from policies of Haryana? In three months the brother-in-law made crores. Are these your policies in Haryana?"
13:20  The Congress has complained to the Election Commission (EC) that the BJP has released its manifesto on polling day. 
12:55  Mooh mein Ram... bagal mein chhuri: SP on BJP manifesto:  Poll updates:

1. Narendra Modi is now addressing a rally in Jhajhar, Haryana.
2. 25 per cent turnout in Assam since since 10 am
3. 15 per cent turnout in Tripura since 9 am.
4. And some spice, Naresh Agarwal, SP spokesperson on the BJP manifesto: Moonh mein Ram baghal mein chhuri.
12:50  Kalmadi still casts shadow on Pune contest:  After placating sitting MP Suresh Kalmadi who was sulking over the denial of a ticket, the Congress managers are confronted with a tough task of retaining the Pune Lok Sabha seat by overcoming the main challenge from a resurgent BJP in a quadrangular contest which is on cards.

Keeping in check dissensions and discontent in the faction-ridden city party unit, where the CWG scam tainted but resourceful Kalmadi still wields considerable influence, had not been an easy task for the Congress strategists.

Kalmadi, who made frantic efforts to get the party ticket for his wife, finally backed out and announced unconditional support to Congress nominee Vishwajeet Kadam.

The contest has become an interesting one with the entry of MNS, AAP in the fray even as BJP, riding high on a perceived "Modi wave", is keeping Congress on tenterhooks in their traditional bastion.
12:43  'People in Kerala don't vote for money':  "It is like a war. People see you only on the day of the war, but how well you prepare during peacetime determines how well you face the battle," Nalini Netto, the Chief Electoral Officer (and Additional Chief Secretary) of Kerala, below, left, tells Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier. Read
12:39  Foreign tourists buy 6 day-7night election tourism packages :   As the poll juggernaut rolls on, tourists from countries like the US, France, Nigeria and UAE have decided to witness the rough-and-tumble of polls in the world's largest democracy, especially the keen contest in the holy city of Varanasi.

Notwithstanding the scorching Indian summer, many foreigners have registered for a USD 1200 six-night, seven-day election tourism package offered by a private tour operator which includes visit to public rallies, poll campaigns, meeting party leaders and Election Commission officers.

However, the NRIs and Gujaratis settled abroad are mainly interested in the contest between BJP's PM nominee Narendra Modi and AAP's Arvind Kejriwal in Varanasi.

"In spite of summer, more people have committed to visit India during polls under 'Election Tourism' initiative," said 'Election Tourism India's city-based chairman Manish Sharma.
12:29  LIVE! I hereby swear .. Narendra Modi's three personal promises:  Faced with a taint over the 2002 Gujarat riots, Narendra Modi today vowed that he will not do anything with "bad intent" if he becomes Prime Minister as he outlined his vision.

"The party has bestowed me with certain responsibility. I want to make three promises personally:

1. I will never be found wanting on hard work,
2. I will not do anything for myself and,
3. I will not do anything with bad intent," the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate said.

His thrust on doing nothing with "badh irada (bad intent)" assumes significance as certain sections, particularly the minorities, haveapprehensions about his rule given the taint of the 2002 riots.
12:22  Rahul Gandhi a challenge for Amethi, not me: Smriti Irani:   Television actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani wasted no time in attacking Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi as she arrived in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh today to campaign for the Lok Sabha polls.

The day-long visit is her first to the high-profile constituency from where she was picked by her party, the BJP, last week to take on Rahul Gandhi.

"I don't consider Rahul Gandhi a challenge as he himself has emerged as a major challenge for the people of Amethi," Irani said.

Amethi, which  Gandhi has held since 2009, votes on May 7, the penultimate phase of the nine phase general election.  Read more
12:05  Are Muslims really scared of Narendra Modi?:  ''Why do sections of Muslims seem to prefer Lalu and Mulayam who symbolise wilful neglect of governance and development?''In this election, secularism is less at stake. What is more at stake is the degenerative, cynical, opportunistic, and discredit-worthy misuse of secularism by the non-BJP leaders and their social constituencies,' says Mohammad Sajjad. Read
11:57  There's Tarun Gogoi magic, not Modi magic in Assam:  On the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections in five seats in Assam and the Tripura, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said there was no 'Modi magic' in the state and Congress would win more than 10 seats.

"There is no Modi magic, but Tarun Gogoi magic in Assam. Earlier, I have said we'll win 10 seats, but now I am sure Congress will get more than that," he said after casting his vote.

"The so-called Modi wave is the creation of private electronic media channels, but the Congress wave is there in the fields, plains and hills of Assam," Gogoi said.

The polling percentage in the current Lok Sabha polls in the state was expected to cross 75 per cent turnout in the 2011 state assembly elections, he said.

Referring to Kaliabor, where his son Gaurav Gogoi is contesting as a Congress candidate, the chief minister said the people of the constituency had a lot of love and affection for him and his family and they came out in large numbers since 6 am to cast their votes. 
11:51   Senior journalist Ashok Malik tweets: Decent BJP manifesto on economy but cannot get myself to agree with opposing FDI in multibrand retail.
11:46  The BJP on Article 370 in the chapter on Jammu and Kashmir: "The BJP reiterates its stand on the Constitution provision and will discuss this with all stakeholders and remains committed to the abrogation of this article."

Return of the Kashmiri Pandits to the land of their ancestors with full dignity, security and assured livelihood will figure hight on the BJP's agenda, it said.
11:45  PHOTOS: World's biggest show of democracy begins:  The high-stakes battle in the virtual presidential-style contest between BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with a few other regional satraps also in the fray in the Lok Sabha elections began on Monday in six constituencies in two states in the first of the nine-phased polls. Here's the action in pictures.
11:38   On the Uniform Civil Code, the manifesto said Art 44 of the Constitution lists Uniform Civil Code (UCC) as one of the directive principles of the state policy. "BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a UCC which protects the rights of all women and the BJP reiterates its stand to draft a UCC drawing upon the best traditions and harmonising them with modern times," said the document.
11:34  Here's the full text of the BJP manifesto. Read
11:20  Asked about the reported differences within the party over inclusion of the Ram Temple issue, Murli Manohar Joshi, Chairman of the manifesto committee, said "whatever is there is there in the manifesto. If you want to write something on the basis of your own perceptions, you are free to do".
11:18  MM Joshi on the BJP manifesto: Swadeshi doesn't mean going back to bullock carts.
11:17  LIVE! Ram mandir in manifesto has nothing to do with Hindutva: MM Joshi:  MM Joshi on Ram Mandir, "The temple has nothing to do with Hindutva, it is simply a developmental program." 
11:14  So, the BJP's new slogans are: "Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat" and "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas".
11:10  Since 1952 this manifesto is the only one which can't be defective. We should have done things in the last century, but now we have to do it now. This century will be ours, Advani says.
11:07  Advani: Party has made an excellent manifesto:  If you were expecting Advani to make headlines by criticising the manifesto, stop reading this. Advani says, "The party has made an excellent manifesto. I have never been as happy at the release of a manifesto as I have been today."  
11:01  First reactions from the Congress: Sanjay Jha, party spokesperson says, "This is the ultimate "Copycat Manifesto"; ROTFL! BJP's manifesto is a brazen rip-off of the @INCIndia Congress . A monumental joke!
11:00  Modi says that good governance and development is a goal, and ends his speech. Rajnath Singh asks L K Advani to address the meet.  
10:58  Meanwhile, Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar pleads before
the SC to allow him to withdraw from dealing with the coalgate probe cases on the ground that he was earlier working with the coal ministry.
10:56  Narendra Modi says the poll manifesto isn't an election formality, it emobodies the party's goal, their dream. and represents the hopes and aspirations of every citizen.  
10:52  LIVE! BJP manifesto: Build 'grand' Ram temple, modernise madrassas :   The big takeaways from the BJP poll manifesto:

-- New national health policy including National Health Assurance Mission to be formulated.
 
-- Modernisation of hospitals.  AIIMS in every state.     

-- Universalisation of secondary education to be put in mission mode.  

-- Madrasas to be modernised with by inducting Maths and Science teachers.

-- Scheme to end open defacation. Manual scavenging to be
abolished.  

-- Dedicated fund and mission for integrated development of Himalayan Region.

Rajnath Singh says that the UPA government failed to implement manifestos. Had it been even partially implemented, India would be a super power. He said that the nation was facing a crisis of credibility. Modi has been a subject of maximum attacks since he was anointed PM candidate.  BJP and Modi projected as untouchables by parties, Singh said. 

The manifesto is being presented at the BJP HQ in New Delhi.
10:24  Building Ram temple, addressing policy paralysis key promises:  

The BJP manifesto to address issues of policy paralysis, system reforms, corruption with Team India as a concept, Joshi said, adding, "The manifesto also focuses on judicial, electoral and police reforms'.    

 

The manifesto also mentions the BJP's old promise for a Ram temple at the disputed site of the razed Babri mosque in Ayodhya. It calls for the building of a grand temple at the site "within the Constitutional framework', NDTV reported.    "Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat" and "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas" are the main slogans of the 40-page BJP manifesto.    

 

 The BJP government will reform tax system to attract investors. Tax terrorism will be ended and people's woes reduced, Joshi said.     Prices have to be contained. Minorities need more opportunities in education and industry, Joshi added, pointing at the key features of the manifesto.  

 

FDI will be welcomed except in the area of multi-brand retail, Joshi pointed out, adding, "Water to every village, water to every field will be one of the priorities of the  government'.

10:17  Building Ram temple, addressing policy paralysis key promises:  

The BJP manifesto to address issues of policy paralysis, system reforms, corruption with Team India as a concept, Joshi said, adding, "The manifesto also focuses on judicial, electoral and police reforms'.  

 

The manifesto also mentions the BJP's old promise for a Ram temple at the disputed site of the razed Babri mosque in Ayodhya. It calls for the building of a grand temple at the site "within the Constitutional framework', NDTV reported.

 

 "Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat" and "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas" are the main slogans of the 40-page BJP manifesto.  

 

The BJP government will reform tax system to attract investors. Tax terrorism will be ended and people's woes reduced, Joshi said.  

 

Prices have to be contained. Minorities need more opportunities in education and industry, Joshi added, pointing at the key features of the manifesto.

10:05  BJP poll manifesto promises system reforms, tackling graft:  

Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi has released the party manifesto for the 2014 general elections even as the first phase of polling began in 6 seats Assam and Tripura.  

 

The BJP manifesto committee chairman noted that more than one lakh suggestions from all the sections of the society have been incorporated in the manifesto.  

 

"System reforms, e-governance and ending license raj are the objectives of the manifesto, with focus on employment generation, tackling corruption and back money,' Joshi said.  

 

BJP's PM nominee Narendra Modi, party president Rajnath Singh, senior leader L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely were present at the function.

 

09:46  Step out and vote today, urges Modi:  BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate appealed to voters gather in large numbers a cast their ballot.   "5 seats in Assam & 1 seat in Tripura vote today. Urging voters in these 6 seats to turnout in large numbers & cast their votes,' Modi tweeted.
09:40  Gaurav Gogoi casts his ballot:  Gaurav Gogoi, son of Assam CM Tarun Gogoi, who is making his political debut by contesting from 'family bastion' Koliabor, has cast his ballot in Jorhat.   "I'm confident of winning,' he told mediapersons.
09:35  Is this the world's biggest election loser?:  

He has stood in every Indian parliamentary election since 1962 - and lost every one - but that has not deterred 78-year-old Shyam Babu Subudhi from throwing his hat into the ring once again. Dr Subudhi is a homeopathy practitioner in Berhampur, a town in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.

 

And he is contesting two constituencies, Berhampur and Aska, in India's forthcoming parliamentary polls. Despite losing his deposit in every previous election, having won less than a sixth of the votes cast each time, Dr Subudhi is surprisingly confident he can win both seats this time.

 

His one-page election manifesto even claims that there is "enough of a possibility" of him being appointed prime minister of India after the coming elections. This will be his 13th attempt in a row to enter India's parliament.

 

Read more on BBC

08:34  BJP expected to release its manifesto today:  

The BJP is expected to release its manifesto for the general election today, as India starts voting for its next government in a process spanning nine phases.

 

It is the first time that a manifesto will be released on the day of polling. The manifesto's release was delayed as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and several top leaders of the party reportedly wanted the document drafted by veteran leader Murli Manohar Joshi to be tweaked to provide "greater clarity and sharper focus."

 

 

08:30  'Hate speech' case: 2 FIRs registered against Amit Shah:  

NDTV: BJP's Uttar Pradesh in-charge Amit Shah has been booked for his remarks exhorting a gathering to seek "revenge for the insult" inflicted during the riots in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh last year.  

 

The FIR was registered late on Sunday after the Election Commission examined tapes of Mr Shah's speech on Thursday at a rally in Shamli, one of the worst-affected in the communal riots that ripped through several areas of western UP.

 

Over 60 people were killed and nearly 40,000 were displaced in the clashes between Jats and Muslims in September last.

 

"The elections in Uttar Pradesh, especially in western Uttar Pradesh, is an election for honour, for seeking revenge for the insult, and for teaching a lesson to those who committed injustice," Mr Shah had told a gathering of Jats. The 50-year-old was flanked by BJP legislator Suresh Rana, who is one of those accused of inciting the communal tension.

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