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LIVE! Oscar Pistorius says he never picked on Reeva Steenkamp

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April 10, 2014


23:15  Oscar Pistorius says he never picked on Reeva Steenkamp:  Oscar Pistorius denied he picked on girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, his murder trial heard Thursday, as the chief prosecutor sought to portray the track star as an arrogant hothead who is reckless with guns.

In a second day of blunt and aggressive questioning, prosecutor Gerrie Nel accused the double amputee of blaming other people for his mistakes, as he sought to prove the Olympic and Paralympic athlete murdered Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year
22:35  Colbert to succeed Letterman as host of 'The Late Show':  Stephen Colbert will succeed David Letterman as host of "The Late Show," CBS announced on Thursday, one week afterLetterman told his audience that he would retire sometime in 2015.

CBS said Colbert had signed a five-year contract to helm the iconic late-night broadcast.Colbert, 49, has been the host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" since 2005.
21:52  EC seeks CD of Amit Shah's speech from UP poll officials:  The Election Commission has sought the original CD of Amit Shah's speech from the Uttar Pradesh poll officials for handing it over to the BJP leader, who has been issued a notice for prima facie violation of the Model Code of Conduct over his "revenge" remarks. 

Sources in the EC said that after the CD is received from the UP poll authorities and handed over to Shah, the poll body will initiate further action only after hearing the BJP leader further on the issue.
21:17  Putin warns Europe of gas shortages over Ukraine debts:  Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned European leaders that Ukraine's delays in paying for Russian gas have created a "critical situation".

Pipelines transiting Ukraine deliver Russian gas to several EU countries and there are fears that the current tensions could trigger gas shortages.

Armed pro-Russian separatists are holed up in official buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine.
20:31  AAP unveils Mumbai manifesto, vows to decriminalise gay sex :  Decriminalisation of gay sex by repealing section 377 of IPC, bringing more women officers in police force and "zero tolerance" towards crimes against women are some of the promises made by Aam Aadmi Party which today unveiled its Mumbai-centric "sankalp patra". 

"Mumbai is special (in itself), "activist-turned-politician and AAP's candidate from Mumbai North East seat Medha Patkar said.
20:27  Pistorius admits 'no reason' to fire fatal shots:  Under pummelling cross- examination, Oscar Pistorius admitted today that he had "no reason" to fire the shots that killed Reeva Steenkamp, as prosecutors began to zero in on apparent inconsistencies in key parts of his account. 

During the second day of gruelling questioning, prosecutor Gerrie Nel began to pick at Pistorius's explanation of why he fired four times through his toilet door on Valentine's Day 2013.
20:05  Revealed: Why Narendra Modi walked out of his marriage with Jashodaben:  A day after BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi declared in his poll affidavit filed in Vadodara that he was a married man and that his wife's name is Jashodaben, his elder brother Sombhai Modi issued a statement here on Thursday to explain that the marriage was forced on a teenaged Narendra.

Sombhai said the marriage was forced on Modi by his parents when he was a teenager in keeping with the old orthodox tradition of fixing marriages between children and that it was never consummated as Modi walked out of the marriage soon after it was solemnised.

20:02  NOTA option barely impresses voters in Delhi LS polls:  Although hailed as a historic electoral reform, the None of The Above (NOTA) option did not find many takers during the general elections in the national capital on Thursday.

As Delhi witnessed a tripartite electoral battle between BJP, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, there were many voters who seemed disenchanted with the candidates but still chose not to tap the newly included NOTA button considering it as a "wastage of vote".
20:00  Mulayam says boys make mistakes, slams rape laws:  Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said rapists should not be handed death penalty for their 'mistakes', ANI and news channels reported on Thursday. 

He also reportedly said during a rally in Moradabad that there would be changes in the tough anti-rape law if his party came to power after the 2014 general elections. An ANI tweet quoted Mulayam as saying, "Rape ke liye phaansi dena ghalat hai, ladkon se ghalti ho jaati hai, hum satta mein aaye to kanoon mein badlav karenge (Handing death sentence for rape is not fair... boys make mistakes... there will be changes in the law if we come to power)."
19:35  AAP candidates pledge not to jump into well of Parliament or use pepper sprays:  In typical AAP style, three Aam Aadmi Party candidates from the city today took a unique oath before a veteran Gandhian to not jump into the well of Parliament, snatch microphones or use pepper sprays at MPs, if elected. 

AAP candidates - former Infosys top executive V Balakrishnan (Bangalore Central), Nina Nayak (Bangalore South) and Babu Mathew (Bangalore North) - took the oath and signed an affidavit before Doreswamy at a press conference here.
19:00  UP strongman Mukhtar Ansari will not contest against Narendra Modi in Varanasi.

The jailed mafia don-turned-politician and independent legislator Mukhtar Ansari, who had earlier declared that he would also take a plunge in the electoral battle at Varanasi and contest against BJP PM nominee Narendra Modi, withdrew his candidature from the high-profile seat on Thursday.

Earlier, there were indicators from his family that he could opt out of the contest and instead support a 'joint nominee' from the 'secular parties' against Modi.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
18:40  Bastar LS poll: 47 pc turnout amid firing, explosives seizure:  A low voter turnout of 47 per cent was recorded in the insurgency-hit Bastar parliamentary seat of Chhattisgarh today, amid violence by Naxals, who had called for poll boycott, leaving a police personnel injured.

Naxals ambushed a team of police personnel escorting a polling party when they were returning after conclusion of polling under Gadiras police station limits of Sukma district in south Chhattisgarh, injuring a state police constable.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
18:38  Delhi gang-rape victim's father slams Mulayam :  The Delhi gang-rape victim's father slams Mulayam Singh's remarks on rape, saying such a party should never be voted to power. He also said in the aftermath of the rape and his daughter's death, the SP government had promised jobs to his sons, but the promises were not kept. 
18:33  At Mahupadar village (Odisha), Maoists warn people not to cast their votes for the 2014 LS elections. The text in this picture is unclear. Pic tweeted by ANI. 
18:29  75.8 pc voting during repolling in six booths in Assam:   Nearly 76 per cent polling was recorded today in six booths of three Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam where re-polling was ordered due to EVM malfunctioning.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
18:22  The Nowhere People of Muzaffarnagar:  "Even if Akhilesh Yadav opens up the entire state treasury for us we will not vote for the Samajwadi Party. 'I don't want to return to my village, my head will be chopped off. They want me to press the button on the lotus."

Caught between an aggressive BSP cornering Dalit votes and the BJP cornering other Hindu votes, the Muslims of Muzaffarnagar have nowhere to go, no one to turn to. Rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt presents the grim situation on the ground in western Uttar Pradesh. Read
18:20  Mulayam commits political harakiri:   More reactions on Mulayam Singh's rape statement: Social activist Ranjana Kumari says: Mulayam keeps giving misogynist statements, it's condemnable. NCW should take cognizance of this. Mulayam Singh must apologize to the women of the nation. His party should be boycotted.
18:07  Gurgaon polls 67.4%
18:05  BJP's Prakash Javadekar tweets on Mulayam's rape statement: Shameless justification of rape by #Mulayam Singh Yadav for vote bank politics. EC must take suo-motto action.

And this is from the BJP: BJP is asking for Judicial Reforms so that misuse of laws are stopped. Mulayam Singh wants law to be changed so that criminals are forgiven.
18:01  Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's motorcade stoned heavily:  Peoples Democratic Party Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's motorcade was today stoned heavily by some anti-social elements in Shopian town in south Kashmir, forcing the opposition leader to take shelter in a police camp.

Sayeed, who had gone to Shopian for an election rally in support of PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, came under heavy stone pelting in Meemandar locality, police said.
17:58  Mulayam calls rapists 'bechara':  Mulayam Singh also implied that the photo-journalist who was gang-raped at Shakti Mills in Mumbai in August 2013, went to the police because of "differences with the men."

"The boys and girls ... later they had differences, and the girl went and gave a statement that I have been raped. And then the poor fellows, three of them have been sentenced to death. Should rape cases lead to hanging? They are boys, they make mistakes. Two or three have been given the death sentence in Mumbai. We will try and change such laws...we will also ensure punishment of those who report false cases," he said in Moradabad. 
17:49  Dissent in the ranks?  Madhu Kishwar tweets: Hard to believe: Sushma Swaraj cancelled 3 major rallies in Orissa. An act of brazen sabotage? Orissa BJP leaders raging.
17:47   Here's the video of the statement Mulayam Singh Yadav made at the Moradabad rally today. Watch.
17:34  Congress reacts to Mulayam's rape statement: "Unfortunate that leaders try to minimize rape. We condemn his statement," says Shobha Oza of the Congress.
17:31  Delhi records 60.1% till 5 pm:  Delhi records 60.1% till 5 pm. Here's the break-up: Chandni Chowk 60%, East 61.2%. New Delhi 59.3%, South 57.2%, West 61.1% North west 59.3 % northeast 63%.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
17:28  Medha slams Mulayam for rape remark, agrees on abuse of death penalty:  AAP's Medha Patkar on Mulayam Singh's statement that "boys make mistakes" and that the death penalty is warranted for rapists." Patkar said, "Rape isn't a small mistake and can't be forgiven. But I am against death penalty too."

Mulayam made the statement at a rally in Mordabad and said women often screamed rape when an affair went bust and the boys landed in trouble. "Young boys make mistakes and the women use the law to get back at them," said Mulayam. 
17:21  Why we think Milind Deora is a gentleman politician. @milinddeora "Wild allegations, probing personal lives, abusive rhetoric etc may get media attention but not win elections. Lets show restraint & be civil."
17:01  Meet Jashodaben:  If you still haven't been able to stumble on to this report, let's make it easier for you. The story on Narendra Modi's wife (with her picture) on the 2009 issue of Open magazine. Read

In fact, "Who is Narendra Modi's wife?" was one of the most-searched item on Google. Rahul Gandhi's girlfriend and Arvind Kejriwal's family followed.
16:48  How and why to change your passwords today :  In news that is NOT on polls: On Monday, security researchers found an issue so scary they called it "Heartbleed.' It's a flaw in an encryption tool used by about two-thirds of Internet servers that could be exploited to leak your login names and passwords. Read
16:40  LIVE! Mulayam protests death for rape accused: Boys make mistakes:  At a time when women's security is a key issue in every single party manifesto, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said today that he does not support the death sentence for rape victims. "Boys make mistakes, if we come to power, we will change the law," he said. "Rape ke liye phaansi dena galat hai. Ladkon se galti ho jaati hai, hum satta mein aaye to kanoon mein badlav karenge."

Three men found guilty of gang-raping two women in the abandoned Shakti Mills in Mumbai last year were sentenced to death by a court last week.

The men were convicted under a new legal provision (Sec 370 E of the IPC) that punishes repeat offenders in rape cases with a life term or death sentence.
16:32  Cong MP asks Modi to clarify on "false" affidavit:  Congress Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik today askedNarendra Modi to clarify why he filed a "false" affidavit vis-a-vis declaration about his marital status. Modi had kept the column blank during Gujarat Assembly election, while in his affidavit filed before the Election Commission for the Lok Sabha polls yesterday, he revealed his wife's name as Jashodaben, Naik said in statement issued in Panaji.
16:16  Top-secret MI5 files released online to mark first world war centenary:  Spies such as Mata Hari, heroic nurse Edith Cavell, suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst and the Boy Scouts feature in documents released by MI5. Read
16:14  Penn stabings suspect will be tried as an adult :  The suspect in the Pennsylvania school stabbings has been charged as an adult with four counts of attempted homicide.

Read the eyewitness account of the stabbings.
15:55  About 50 per cent polling in four LS seats in Jharkhand:  About 50 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise till 3 pm in four Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand where Maoists exploded a series of landmines before voting began. Polling was on in Palamau, Chatra, Koderma and Lohardaga seats.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
15:52  I NEVER picked on Reeva: Pistorius:  If you've been following the trial of the tragic South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, here's an update. Pistorius has denied "picking on" his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, as his cross-examination continues.  Read
15:48  Malaysia plane MH370: Possible new signal in search:  In other news: A plane searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has detected a possible new underwater signal.

An Australian P-3 Orion aircraft picked up the signal in the same area where an Australian vessel detected audio pings earlier this week, officials said.

The signal would require further analysis, but could have been from a "man-made source", officials said.Flight MH370 vanished on 8 March, with 239 people on board.  -- BBC
15:46  Voting in Delhi till 3pm:   Chandni Chowk 49%
East Delhi 52%
New Delhi 52%
NE Delhi 55%
South Delhi 50%
West Delhi 54%
Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
15:42  Unless she criticises me, her food does not get digested: Modi on Mamata:  Taking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee head on, the BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi accused her of playing vote bank politics and said no real 'parivartan' (change) has taken place in the state during the TMC rule.

"When the government changed in Bengal, I thought there would be development. But nothing has happened. They are only indulging in vote bank politics," Modi told an election rally in Siliguri. "Unless she criticises Modi, her food does not get digested," Modi said in a sharp attack attack on Banerjee, who has been hitting out at him in most of her public rallies, terming him communal and also blaming him for the Gujarat riots.

Modi's address was in contrast to his earlier speech in Kolkata in February when he had gone soft on Banerjee and had even asked the people to have "Didi in Bengal and BJP in Delhi".

"It's been two years since the new government took charge, but have you seen any parivartan? People have been cheated. If you have a strong and progressive-minded government in Delhi, every small thing will fall in place," he said.

"You have seen fake parivartan, now it's time to see the real parivartan," Modi said. "Mukyamantriji, aap jitne kichar uchaloge, utna jyada kamal khilega (Madam Chief Minister, the more you indulge in mudslinging, the more will the lotus bloom)," Modi said.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
15:29  Cong targets Modi on marital status:  Union minister for commerce and industry Anand Sharma on Narendra Modi's marital status: Humari parampara nahi kuch bhi ashobhniya kehna, mubarakbaad de di, acchi baat hai, pheli baar pata chala. (It is not in our culture to say something unsavoury, I have congratulated him, it's a good thing, but this is the first time I've heard of it.)

Narendra Modi has for the first time declared himself as a married man by revealing his wife's name as Jashodaben in an affidavit filed before the Election Commission.


Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
15:21  CPI complains of BJP's communal whatsapp messages:  The CPI releases a press release complaining of the BJP's communal messages on 'whatsup'(sic).  The press release says the messages hurt sentiments and are a total violation of the Indian constitution and the model code of elections. The messages, says the CPI, are mainly to seek votes for the BJP and Narendra Modi.  This is what the text messages say.
15:12  'TMC' workers attack poll officials in Malda:  Officials of the Election Commission were attacked in West Bengal's Malda district today, allegedly by workers of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress party.

The incident, that comes days after a standoff between  and the poll panel over transfer of some officials, happened in Manikchak area reportedly after the EC team objected to a rally of the party's candidate from Malda South.
15:07  Prove your identity, Ghulam Nabi Azad told at Jammu polling booth :  Union Health Minister and former state chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was on Thursday told to prove his identity at a polling booth in the Jammu Lok Sabha constituency.

Azad had gone to cast his vote at the DPS polling station at Jogi Gate area, but was refused permission by the presiding officer who demanded his identity proof.

The matter was later settled when a local Congress leader went to stand surety for Azad's identity.

The local Congress leader told the presiding officer that Azad is the district president of the party for Jammu and a senior leader at the national level.

BJP leaders too said Azad is a senior national level leader and they did not dispute his identity. He later cast his vote.

Azad is himself fighting the elections from Udhampur Lok Sabha seat although he is registered as voter in Jammu.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
15:01  India's 'Womanifesto:' How central are women's rights to the polls?:   The gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi in December 2012 marked a sharp turning point for the debate on women's rights in India.

The protests that exploded nationwide following the incident brought the issue forcefully to the political table in a way that revealed the power of the Indian masses, according to a prominent advocate for women's rights.

Read

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
14:52  MUST SEE! Who's that guy... Rahul something?:  So how clued in are India's youth about Indian politics? Watch this unintentionally funny video on Rediff.com and find out. 
14:49  LIVE! Cong pulls out Brahmastra: Priyanka will campaign in Rae Bareli, Amethi:   Amid growing demand in the Congress for a "larger role" for her, Priyanka Gandhi today said she would campaign in Rae Bareli and Amethi, the constituencies being represented by her mother Sonia Gandhi and brother Rahul.

Priyanka has been looking after these two constituencies for quite sometime now and there have been demands in the recent past from various quarters in the party that she should extend her role beyond the confines of Rae Bareli and Amethi.

"I will be in Amethi and Rae Bareli," 42-year-old Priyanka, who was accompanied by husband Robert Vadra, said after casting her vote at a polling booth in Lodhi Estate.

She was responding to a volley of questions about her campagning. Party leaders have been maintaining that during every election there is a demand that Priyanka should campaign in maximum number of constituencies but she has so far not heeded to such demands.
14:30   Firing, explosives seizure in Bastar; 30 pc polling till noon:  Naxals opened fire on security forces near ten polling booths in Chhattisgarh's Maoist-hit Bastar Parliamentary seat, where around 30 per cent of the electorate cast their votes till noon.

Besides, a huge haul of explosives, including 15 IEDs and three pressure bombs, were today recovered by security forces from separate places, averting a massive strike by the ultras in the insurgency-hit region.

"Naxals opened fire on security forces near around ten polling booths while voting was underway there. No injury or casualty was reported in the incidents," a senior police official told PTI.
14:11  Meira Kumar busy in Sasaram, fails to vote in Delhi:   Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar failed to cast her vote in Delhi as she is busy in Sasaram constituency which witnessed polling today.

Kumar is registered in the voters' list at her Delhi address of New Friends Colony and since she is now confined to the Sasaram Parliamentary constituency from where she is contesting as a Congress candidate, the Speaker will not be able to cast her vote in the national capital, sources in her election office at Mohania said.

The 69-year-old former diplomat, however, is very much involved in the polling as she is moving around her constituency to keep a watch over any malpratice, they said.

Kumar, seeking a third consecutive term in Lok Sabha, is locked in a triangular contest with BJP'S Cheddi Paswan and IAS-turned politician K P Ramaiah of JD(U).
14:07  35 per cent polling in Ghaziabad till 1 pm:   35 per cent polling in Ghaziabad till 1 pm. Long queues could be seen in most of the polling booths across the constituency that has around 22.64 lakh voters.

"Till 1 pm, around 35 per cent polling has been recorded. It has remained peaceful. There has been no untoward incident. Going by the trend, the voting per centage is likely to be around 60 per cent," election officials said.

Police officials said that people started coming to cast their votes since 7 am and voting has been smooth and peaceful so far.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
14:03  AAP's Soni Sori votes :  AAP candidate Soni Sori, currently facing trial for her alleged links with Naxals, votes in Dantewada. The lone parliamentary seat of Bastar went to the polls today. 
13:59  I have no doubt Modi will be PM: Advani's daughter :  Pratibha Advani, the daughter of BJP leader LK Advani, exuded confidence that Narendra Modi will become the next prime minister of the country.

"In this general election, BJP is going to form government at the Centre," Pratibha, whose father has shared an uneasy relationship with Modi in the recent past, said after casting her vote at a polling station in New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.

Asked if Aam Aadmi Party would get more seats in the national capital, she said: "I know that AAP performed well in the Delhi Assembly election, but the belief of people in AAP has declined in the last few days".
13:39  LIVE! Brother clarifies: Modi was married as a child, walked away to serve country:  Narendra Modi's older brother Somabhai Damodar Modi, issued a statement this morning explaining that their family had married him off as a child, but he walked away because he wanted to serve the country.

"What happened 45-50 years ago should be seen in context with the circumstances of a poor and superstitious family," Somabhai Modi said, urging Indians to vote for his brother.

Narendra Modi has for the first time declared himself as a married man by revealing his wife's name as Jashodaben in an affidavit filed before the Election Commission.

In an affidavit submitted along with his nomination papers filed on Wednesday for the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat, the 63-year-old Gujarat Chief Minister stated that he is married.

So far, Modi used to leave the column of spouse which is to be filled in an affidavit as blank. He had kept the column as blank in 2012 Assembly elections as well.

Also read: Narendra Modi's brother never wanted him to join politics
13:35  For those who sneeze without apology:  Post-lunch dessert: A sneeze is not a bunch of droplets, but a cloud that can infiltrate your ventilation system.  Read
13:28  41.56 per cent in Muzaffarnagar till 1 pm.

13:02  LIVE! Cong predicts Advani's fate for Modi if he loses :  Narendra Modi knows if he loses, his state will be like Advaniji in BJP, but Rahulji will remain our leader whether we win or lose," says the Cong's Arvinder Singh Lovely. 
12:43  Building a culture of tolerance:  Religious neutrality has become an accepted behavioural script for the state, but not for society and certainly not for individuals even when they are state actors. Read
12:38  His master's voice: Amit Shahs speeches in UP belie the promise of a new BJP :  Much of the conversation around this election has been driven by the argument that Narendra Modi's BJP is a party whose agenda centres on governance and growth, not on communally divisive and inflammatory issues like the building of a Ram temple at Ayodhya or the demonizing of Muslims.

The BJP's manifesto, released on Monday, which had the Ram Mandir and other sectarian staples consigned to page 41, was cited as more evidence of this evolution.  Read Mukul Kesavan's piece on the Telegraph.
12:35  Punjab: Heavyweights prefer relatives as proxy candidates:  It's family first in Punjab when it comes to fielding covering candidates for the April 30 Lok Sabha polls as major political players like SAD, BJP and Congress are trusting none other than their closest relatives.

Withdrawal of nominations for the 13 seats in the state is on April 12. There are nearly 20 covering candidates in the fray here.

Parties name a covering candidate so that if the main nominee's papers are rejected, the covering candidate becomes its official nominee.

According to the Election Commission website, a majority of the candidates have preferred their spouses as covering candidates.
12:32  Jharkhand's district wise poll percentage till 11am:   Palamu: 19%, Garwah: 24.50%, Giridih: 22.40%, Latehar: 18.70%, Ranchi: 24.10%
12:28  Delhi poll turnout till 11 am:  Chandni Chowk 20%
East Delhi 25%
New Delhi 24%
North East 29%
North West 27%
West 26%
South 25%
12:24  Only 8 pilgrims to take road to Kedarnath this year:  Meanwhile, just eight pilgrims have registered for road travel towards Kedarnath this year as opposed to nearly 13 lakh, who had visited Kedarnath and Badrinath last year.

Rattled by last year's devastation, only 77 devotees have opted for the chopper service for Kedarnath this year.

With the Char Dham Yatra, the backbone of Uttarakhand's economy, scheduled to kick off in the first week of May, it is clear that the state is set to lose hundreds of crores in revenue.

The Char Dham Yatra used to have over 2 crore visitors throug the pilgrimage season. It fueled the economy of Uttarakhand, triggering money circulation in the form of taxi rides, hotel bookings, chopper rides and road taxes.

This year, the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) has only 294 bookings, including 77 for Kedarnath, for the Char dham Yatra.
12:12  LIVE! 30.99% voter turnout in Muzaffarnagar till noon:  Polling for 10 Lok Sabha constituencies spread over 11 districts of Western Uttar Pradesh, including riot-hit Muzaffarnagar district, was underway today.

"The polling started on a peaceful note amidst tight security arrangements. The polling, which started at 7 am, will continue till 6 pm," election officials said.

Ten of the total 80 constituencies where polling is underway in UP include Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Kairana, Aligarh, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Bulandshahar.

Muzaffarnagar riots have changed the political equations of the region dominated by Jats and Muslims which form 15 to 40 per cent of the polpulace, with political parties also fielding riot accused as their candidates.

As of 12 pm, Muzaffarnagar recorded a voter turnout of 30.99 per cent.
12:08  RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat casts his vote in Nagpur. 
11:56  14 pc voting till 10 am in Jharkhand:   An estimated 14 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 10 am in four Lok Sabha seats of Jharkhand where Maoists exploded a series of landmines before polling began.

Barring an incident of a voter attacking a polling official with a knife in Lohardaga, polling in Palamau (SC), Chatra, Koderma and Lohardaga (ST) seats is going on peacefully, police said.

Hours before polling, Maoists exploded a series of landmines near a police picket in Latehar under Chatra constituency, and a brief gunbattle followed, Latehar SP Michael Raj said.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
11:50  The most likely outcome of India's election is unmitigated chaos:  Foreign investors seem confident that Narendra Modi will become India's next prime minister in the elections that began April 7.

They've shown their approval by pouring about $4.4 billion into India since March - roughly around when Modi's BJP began stretching its poll lead over the ruling Congress party.

Read
11:48  Till 11am, lowest voter turnout among Delhi's 7 constituencies is Chandni Chowk with 20%. 
11:47  AAP candidate for Nagpur Anjali Damania tweets: '@anjali_damania  BJP stooping to new lows. Giving dummy ballot papers @ Zenda chowk, Central, booth 240, 241 & 242. Shocking ! Is this free & fair elections?
11:46  Modi in Darjeeling today:  Narendra Modi is speaking at a rally in Darjeeling today.

Meanwhile, 91 of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies vote today -  all seven seats in Delhi, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, six in Bihar, 10 each in Haryana, Odisha and Maharashtra, all 20 in Kerala, four in Jharkhand, nine in Madhya Pradesh and one seat each in Chhattisgarh and in Chandigarh, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshwadeep and Jammu and Kashmir.
11:43  India's dynasty-dominated politics has no space for dissent:   This technocratic India of growth and capitalism is at its most feudal when it comes to its elected representatives. Read 
11:34  Kejriwal's slap worth Rs 85 lakh:  Attacks on Arvind Kejriwal appear to be a blessing in disguise for the Aam Aadmi Party.

Donations to the party have registered a significant increase after four of the five attacks on Kejriwal.

After Tuesday's attack, the party received contributions of over Rs 85 lakh from the previous day's Rs 29 lakh.

Despite this spike, AAP has only managed to collect Rs 24.53 crore from 86,649 donors from 111 countries since December 12. This is a far cry from the Rs 100 crore target that the party has set for itself.  Read
11:32  Polling in 10 of a total of 80 constituencies in UP:   Ten of the total 80 constituencies where polling is underway in UP include Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Kairana, Aligarh, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Bulandshahar.

Muzaffarnagar riots have changed the political equations of the region dominated by Jats and Muslims which form 15 to 40 per cent of the polpulace, with political parties also fielding riot accused as their candidates.

A total of 146 candidates are in the fray including 14 women in this phase on which 8,435 polling centres and 16,913 polling stations are being made.

A total of 1.74 crore voters including 95.96 lakh men and 78.37 lakh women are expected to exercise their franchise.

While a maximum number of 23.57 lakh voters are in Ghaziabad, Baghpat has minimum of 15.05 lakh voters.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
11:24  22 per cent in Ghaziabad till 10 am:   Voter turnout so far...

22 per cent in Ghaziabad till 10 am
27.28 per cent in Muzaffarnagar till 11 am
10.23 per cent voter turnout in Bihar till 9 am
21 per cent voter turnout in Kerala till 10 am

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
11:18  A car story tells why Shashi Tharoor's ride is not so smooth.  Read


Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
11:14  Maken, Lovely accompany Sonia as Delhi votes today:  Union Minister Kapil Sibal, Delhi BJP Chief Harsh Vardhan, Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken, Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev were also among the early voters.

Sonia, accompanied by Maken and Delhi Congress Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, came to the polling station at Nirman Bhavan in Central Delhi at around 9:30 am and went straight inside the booth to vote as there was no queue.

She is a voter in the New Delhi constituency from where Maken is contesting to retain the seat for the third consecutive term.
11:11  And in Mizoram...:  Polling for the lone Lok Sabha seat in Mizoram which is witnessing a three-cornered contest, will be held tomorrow along with the by-poll to Hrangturzo Assembly seat.
11:07  10 per cent voter turnout in Delhi, Sonia, Rahul cast vote:   Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal were among the early voters in the seven Delhi Lok Sabha seats which recorded an impressive 10 per cent turn out in the first two hours.

"10.2 per cent of the electorate have cast their votes till 9 am. The polling has so far been peaceful and there are no reports of any untoward incident," a top official in the Delhi Election Commission said.

The Lok Sabha elections are seen as a test of the Aam Aadmi Party's perceived erosion of support base, BJP's claim of having a 'Modi wave' besides assertion by Congress that it was regaining lost ground after suffering massive defeat in assembly polls in December.

Union Minister Kapil Sibal, Delhi BJP Chief Harsh Vardhan, Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken, Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev were also among the early voters.

Sonia, accompanied by Maken and Delhi Congress Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, came to the polling station at Nirman Bhavan in Central Delhi at around 9:30 am and went straight inside the booth to vote as there was no queue. She is a voter in the New Delhi constituency from where Maken is contesting to retain the seat for the third consecutive term.

Follow the latest election updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
10:57  Polling in Odisha: Voters queue up early to avoid scorching afternoon heat :  The first of the two-phased simultaneous elections to the 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly seats in the Maoist belt in Odisha began on Thursday amidst tight security in view of the poll boycott called by the extremists.

The constituencies where polling is on are spread over the western and southern areas of Odisha and more than 50 of the 70 assembly segments are in the Maoist-affected areas.

With heat wave conditions intensifying in the areas, many voters were seen queuing up in front of booths since the early hours to avoid the scorching sun later.

The Lok Sabha constituencies where polling is on are Kandhamal, Koraput, Kalahandi, Bargarh, Bolangir, Berhampur, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Aska, Nabarangpur.

Thursday's polling will decide the political fortunes of a total 98 candidates, including former Congress chief ministers Giridhar Gamang and Hemanand Biswal, former union ministers Jual Oram (BJP) and Bhakta Charan Das (Congress).
10:54  Gautam Adani, the baron to watch out for if Narendra Modi becomes king:  In the late 1990s, an employee of Adani Exports took a wrong call in sugar trading, resulting in a Rs 20-crore loss. Fearing he would be sacked, he apologized for the grave mistake and handed in his resignation letter.

Gautam Adani, in his thirties then, tore up the resignation and told him with a smile: "I know you will not make a similar mistake in future because of this lesson. Why should your next employer benefit from this learning when I have paid the price for it?" Read
10:42  Chaos as Indigo Airlines' systems at Mumbai airport go down:   Just In: Indigo Airlines' systems at Mumbai's domestic airport are currently down, leading to much chaos at its counters, with passengers unable to check in.
10:03  Congress President Sonia Gandhi cast her vote for the Lok Sabha polls in the national capital where her party is eyeing to regain lost ground following the severe drubbing in the Assembly election four months back.

Gandhi was accompanied by sitting MP of New Delhi constituency Ajay Maken, DPCC Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely and former Delhi Minister Harun Yusuf to the polling station in Nirman Bhavan in Central Delhi at around 9:30 am.
09:53  Polling underway in western Uttar Pradesh:  Polling for 10 Lok Sabha constituencies spread over 11 districts of Western Uttar Pradesh, including riot-hit Muzaffarnagar district, was underway today.

"The polling started on a peaceful note amidst tight security arrangements. The polling, which started at 7 AM, will continue till 6 PM", election officials said here. 12 per cent polling was recorded in the first two hours of polling in Gautam Budha Nagar Lok Sabha seat. Long queues of votes were seen in majority of the polling booths in various sectors of Noida.

Ten of the total 80 constituencies where polling is underway in UP include Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Kairana, Aligarh, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Bulandshahar. Muzaffarnagar riots have changed the political equations of the region dominated by Jats and Muslims which form 15 to 40 per cent of the polpulace, with political parties also fielding riot accused as their candidates.
09:42  Congress president Sonia Gandhi casts her vote in New Delhi constituency.
09:25  Jashodaben is my wife, Modi declares in affidavit before EC:  Zeenews reports: In an affidavit submitted along with his nomination papers filed Wednesday for Vadodara Lok Sabha seat, Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi declared himself as a married man and revealed that his wife's name is Jashodaben.In the affidavit submitted to the Election Commission, Modi for the first time stated that he is married.

So far, Modi used to leave the column of spouse which is to be filled in an affidavit as blank. He had kept the column as blank in 2012 assembly elections as well.

Read the full story here
08:55  Polling begins in Lakshadweep islands:   Polling in the Lakshadweep Lok sabha constituency in the Lakshadweep Islands began this morning. There are 44 polling booths in the Island territory comprising 27 islands, of which only 10 are inhabited, including the headquarters island of Kavaratti.

Six contestants are in the fray for the lone seat with a close fight between sitting Congress MP, Hamdullah Sayeed, son of former Union minister, late P M Sayeed and P P Mohammed Faisal of NCP.

The other candidates are: Dr Abdul Muneer (CPI-M), Koya Komalam (Samajwadi Party), M P Sayeed Mohammed Koya (BJP), C T Najumudeen (CPI).

An electorate of 49,821, including 25,342 men will cast their votes during the polling which began at 7 am. There are 101 service voters, 10 of them being women. The polling station in Bitra island has only 233 voters.
08:43  Voting begins for lone Andaman and Nicobar LS seat:   Polling began today in the 386 polling stations spread across the union territory of Andaman and Nicobar islands to elect the lone Lok Sabha member amid palpable enthusiasm among voters.

An estimated 2,57,856 electorate will choose from the 15 contestants, five of them independents. The Bengali votes in North and Middle Andamans along with Tamil in South Andamans and Nicobarese in the Nicobar group of islands hold the key to the battle in the multi-cultural island. Voters headed to the booths as polling began at 7 am.

The poll battle is practically a straight contest between the Congress, which won the seat continuously until 2004 with the exception of 1999, and the BJP though there are national level parties like the NCP, BSP, CPI-M, SP and TMC in the contest.
08:25  LS and assembly poll begins in Odisha amidst tight security:  The first of the two-phased simultaneous elections to the 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly seats in the Maoist belt in Odisha began today amidst tight security in view of the poll boycott called by the extremists.

The constituencies where polling is on are spread over the western and southern areas of Odisha and more than 50 of the 70 assembly segments are in the Maoist-affected areas.

With heat wave conditions intensifying in the areas, many voters were seen queuing up in front of booths since the early hours to avoid the scorching sun later.

The Lok Sabha constituencies where polling is on are Kandhamal, Koraput, Kalahandi, Bargarh, Bolangir, Berhampur, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Aska, Nabarangpur.
08:22  Polling begins for four LS seats in Jharkhand:  Polling began today for four of the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maoist-affected areas in Jharkhand amidst tight security.

Polling is being held in Palamau (SC), Chatra, Koderma and Lohardaga (ST) and will end at 4 pm. A total 62 candidates are in the fray today.

Prominent among them are BJP candidate former Jharkhand police chief Vishnu Dayal Ram, the RJD's Manoj Kumar and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha's Ghuran Ram. Trinamool Congress is making its debut with former Maoist Baitha contesting as its nominee from the Palamau seat where the Congress has won six times.

Other candidates are former union minister and Congress candidate Rameshwar Oraon, sitting BJP MP Sudarshan Bhagat, BJP's state unit chief Ravindra Kumar Ray and former Congress MP Tilakdhari Singh.
08:04  Harsh Vardhan, Rajmohan Gandhi and Meenakshi Lekhi in Delhi poll fray:   Polling began today for the seven Lok Sabha constituencies in the country's capital where BJP, Congress and newbie AAP are engaged in a three-cornered electoral battle.

The voting began at 7 am at over 11,500 polling stations out of which 327 have been declared critical and 90 hyper critical. A total of 1.27 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise which include over 3.37 lakh first-timers. A total of 150 candidates are in the fray.

The Congress had won all seven seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. The prominent contenders in the fray include Union Ministers Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath, Delhi BJP Chief Harsh Vardhan, Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken, journalist-turned-politician Ashutosh, Sandeep Dikshit, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Rajmohan Gandhi, and BJP's Meenakshi Lekhi.
07:37  Voting begins in 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala:   Polling began in all the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala today under clear weather.

Voters began to trickle in most of the polling stations as soon as the polling began at 7 am, to choose their representatives for the 16th Lok Sabha. At many booths, voters queued up well before the start of polling.

Voting will take place in 21,424 polling stations and over 2.42 crore voters are expected to to exercise their franchise. About 1.5 lakh officials including 10,000 women have been deployed for poll duties.

Though 269 candidates are in the fray, the main fight, as in the past, is between the Congress-led UDF, now in power, and the opposition CPI-M-led LDF.
07:25  80 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will go to polls today:  Zeenews reports: 10 of the 80 constituencies in politically key Uttar Pradesh will go to polls today and they include communally-sensitive and riot-hit Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Kairana, Aligarh, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautambudh Nagar and Bulandshahar.

With Narendra Modi aide Amit Shah's controversial "revenge" remarks in Muzaffarnagar having stirred a controversy, significance in attached to polling in these ten constituencies. 
07:12   LJP President Ram Vilas Paswan's son Chirag Paswan is in the fray from the Jamui parliamentary constituency against Bihar Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary of JD-U and Sudhanshu Shekhar Bhaskar of RJD.

Six parliamentary constituencies of Bihar, including Jamui are going to polls in the first phase of the elections in the state today.
07:12   The two CRPF jawans succumbed to their injuries on way to a hospital while the three other injured were taken to the Sadar Hospital in Munger district, about 170 km from state capital Patna.

The incident took place at around 5:30 am, one and a half hour before the start of polling in Jamui (SC, reserved) constituency.
07:09  The CRPF and a Bihar police team were travelling in two jeeps when the Maoists triggered an IED planted under the bridge they were crossing, near Sawa Lakh Baba Mandir at the entrance of Bhimbandh jungle, DSP Khargpur Ranjan Kumar told PTI.
07:07  Jamui is a reserved constituency and falls in Maoists affected district. It goes to polls today.

BJP president Rajnath Singh had addressed an election meeting seeking support for Lok Janshakti Party chief Ramvilas Paswan's son Chirag in Jamui last week.
07:04  2 CRPF jawans killed, 3 injured in blast in Jamui on poll day:   Two CRPF jawans killed and three others were injured in a bomb blast in Munger in Bihar shortly before start of polling today.

More details are awaited.

Image for representation only
01:49  UN rejects aid agency criticism of South Sudan mission:  The United Nations today hit back at criticism of its mission in South Sudan after a leading international aid agency accused it of "shocking indifference" towards thousands of displaced people living in squalor. 

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) launched a stinging attack on UN officials in the country, accusing them of leaving terrified civilians in a section of camp acknowledged as a "death trap" because of its potential exposure to diseases.
01:19  US judge slaps State Department over Blackwater:  A federal judge is calling for an investigation of the US State Department over years of delays in prosecuting Blackwater security guards in the shootings of dozens of Iraqi citizens in 2007. 

Four Blackwater guards are scheduled to go on trial June 11 for the deaths of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 18 others. 

In an opinion, US District Judge Royce Lamberth said the State Department caused the delays by allowing the Diplomatic Security Service to grant legal immunity to the guards in exchange for their statements, which were subsequently leaked to the news media.
00:44  NATO 'totally' denies deploying troops near Russia border:  NATO denied Russian claims today that it was planning to deploy massive numbers of troops near the country's border. 

"I totally dismiss claim by dep defense minister Antonov that NATO plans to deploy large military contingents close to Russia's borders," said NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexandre Vershbow on twitter. 

His tweet was in response to comments by Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov at a news conference earlier in Moscow.
00:36  Armed Russian female 'spy' arrested in Ukraine: official:  Ukraine today detained a young Russian activist on suspicion of organising sabotage during pro-Kremlin protests in which she claims to have shot and wounded several people. 

Ukraine's SBU security service said that 22-year-old Maria Koleda had been arrested in southern Ukraine "while carrying out a mission from the (Russian) secret services to destabilise the situation".
00:33  Indonesian vote to set governor on course for presidency:  Polling stations opened in Indonesia early today in legislative elections expected to boost the main opposition and move their popular presidential candidate a step closer to becoming the country's next leader. 

Jakarta governor Joko Widodo, known by his nickname "Jokowi", is a fresh face in a country long dominated by aloof ex-military figures and tycoons from the three-decade rule of dictator Suharto.
00:32  Twin car bombs kill 25 in Syria's Homs: state media:  Two car bombs killed at least 25 people, including women and children, in a government-held neighbourhood of Syria's central city of Homs today, state news agency SANA reported. 

Another 100 people were wounded in Karam al-Luz, in attacks SANA blamed on "terrorists," the government's term for people fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
00:32  Pak's Interior Ministry dubs claims behind blast 'ridiculous':  Pakistan's Interior Ministry today said the separatist outfit claiming responsibility for a bombing at a fruit market earlier in the day was "ridiculous" as investigation so far found links to "somewhere else". 

In a statement issued late evening, the Interior Ministry said initial probe has revealed that United Balochistan Army has no links to the bomb attack.
00:31  Cuba says fasting jailed American in 'good physical condition':  Jailed American Alan Gross is in "good condition," the Cuban government said today in response to news the USAID subcontractor had gone on a hunger strike to press for his release. 

The foreign ministry said Gross was being "held in a hospital not because his health requires it but because it guarantees that he receives specialized care by highly qualified medical personnel."
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