20:45 Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag's name forwarded for new army chief:
Notwithstanding objections by BJP, the Defence Ministry is going ahead with the process of appointing the new army chief and has recommended the name of vice chief of army staff Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag to the Prime Minister's Office.
The recommendation of the defence ministry will have to be approved by the appointments committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, official sources said today.
As per tradition, the government announces the name of services chiefs-designate two months before the retirement of the incumbent. Sticking to that, it is expected to announce the name of the new army chief by May 1, three months prior to the date of retirement of Gen Bikram Singh.
The appointment of incumbent Chief Gen Singh was also done three months prior to the retirement of his predecessor Gen V K Singh, who had a turbulent relationship with the defence ministry and even dragged the government to the Supreme Court over his age controversy.
20:43 It will be a 'disaster' if Modi becomes PM: Buddhadeb:
It would be a "disaster" if Narendra Modi becomes prime minister of the country, Senior CPI-M leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said and called for a non-BJP, non-Congress government at the Centre.
"What will happen if Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister and after that riots take place? Disaster will occur," Bhattacharjee said at an election rally here in the Murshidabad district.
"He has never apologised for the Gujarat riots during his tenure as the chief minister," he said. "Never has such allegations risen against any chief minister. But he is saying he won't apologise," the former West Bengal chief minister said. Training his guns also on the Congress, the CPI-M Politburo member said, "Congress has to be removed as it is a party of the rich, while BJP has to be prevented as it is also a party of the rich as well as that of riots."
19:24 Nepal halts search for missing Sherpa guides:
Nepal today called off the search for three missing Sherpa guides due to heavy snow fall, two days after 13 people died in the deadliest accident on Mount Everest, the world's highest peak.
"Following heavy snow falls in the area the search and rescue operations have been halted as we were unable to locate the place where the climbers might have been buried," said Tilak Pandey, an official at the tourism ministry.
"It was not possible to carry out search for a long time in such a high altitude due to heavy snow fall," he pointed out. Thirteen dead bodies have been recovered from the mountain, while 10 guides have been rescued alive since the avalanche swept them away on Friday.
18:47 Vote for BSP to keep fascist forces: Mayawati tells Muslims:
BSP supremo Mayawati today said that her party has given maximum number of tickets to Muslims and they should vote unitedly in favour of her party to save the country from the "fascist forces and dynasty rule".
Addressing election rallies in Barabanki and Sitapur, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said, of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state, her party has fielded Muslims candidates in 19, which no other party has done.
She claimed that even Dalits and people belonging to backward castes would vote for BSP's Muslim candidates in these seats. "If the Muslim community really want to keep communal forces out of the power, they must vote unitedly in favour of BSP candidates," Mayawati said while addressing an election rally.
18:22 Congress is a mother-son party: Ramdev:
Launching a frontal attack on Nehru-Gandhi family, Yoga guru and supporter of Narendra Modi, Baba Ramdev today criticized the Congress, calling it a party of 'Maa-Beta
' (mother and son).
"Supreme Prime Minister is Sonia and her son Rahul Gandhi. Yeh maa-beta party desh ko chala rahe hain
(The party of mother and son is ruling the country)," he said, while addressing a press conference.
party has no sympathy towards the people in the country. They are not concerned about the woes of the people," he alleged. Exuding confidence that BJP-led by Modi would get a thumping victory, Ramdev said the time has come to bid adieu to Congress.
18:13 Bangladesh HC bans male doctors from examining rape victims:
Bangladesh's high court today banned male doctors from examining rape victims to save them from embarrassment.
"You must ensure no male doctors take part in examining the victims of rape," a two-judge bench said summoning the director general of health services. The bench comprising judges Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and ABM Altaf Hossain issued the ruling while director general Deen Mohd Noorul Haque informed the court that the female doctors were already appointed in government facilities in compliance with a previous order by the same court.
The same bench passed the order in June last year ordering recruitment female doctors, nurses and staff at government hospitals for checking up rape victims. It was responding to a newspaper report that women rape victims were subject to embarrassment as male doctors conduct their medical examinations.
16:58 Rajnath hits out at Cong over Vadra's alleged land deals:
BJP President Rajnath Singh today attacked Rahul Gandhi over alleged land deals involving his brother-in law Robert Vadra, saying just like the 2G scam there is also a "jija ji scam" during the Congress' rule.
Singh said poor farmers must be given insurance cover for their agricultural land. "Just like there is insurance cover given to persons, there needs to be insurance of agricultural land as well," he said at a public meeting in Sidhpura under Etah Lok Sabha constituency. Singh said Congress has divided the country and the people must be wary of "shackles of slavery" in the country.
He was campaigning for former Uttar Pradesh chief minsiter Kalyan Singh's son and BJP candidate from Etah, Rajvir Singh.
The BJP President said that if voted to power his party would provide six months skill training to unemployed youth and provide loans to render them self-employed.
16:47 Kejriwal heckled by women protesters in Amethi:
AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal and his supporters were today heckled by a group of women protesters during a road show in Ayodhyanagar here.
The women protesters, shouting slogan "Rahul Gandhi Zindabad, Delhi ka Bhagoda Wapas Jao (escapist of Delhi go back), showed black flag to Kejriwal, who was in Congress bastion Amethi to campaign for AAP's Lok Sabha candidate Kumar Vishwas.
The former Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief held his roadshow and corner meetings here backing Vishwas, who has been pitted against incumbent MP and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in the May 7 Lok Sabha polls.
16:46 Surge in BJP and Modi wave marks end of Cong era: Naidu:
Claiming that the "wave" in favour of BJP and its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is getting stronger, senior party leader M Venkaiah Naidu today said the "Congress era" is coming to an end.
"The only way for better future of the country is BJP coming back to power and Narendra Modi becoming prime minister. Because, we have got the credibility, we have got the ability and we could provide the stability. That's why this confidence among the people.
"The Congress era is coming to an end. The dynasty is over. It is a good news for the country. The BJP era will start and Narendra Modi's era also is beginning," he told reporters here.
15:47 Third Front govt will be formed after polls: Mulayam:
SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav today claimed that neither BJP nor Congress would get majority in the Lok Sabha elections and the Third Front would form government at the centre.
Addressing an election rally here, Mulayam said it would be decided after the elections as to who would be the Prime Minister in the Third Front government.
The former Defence Minister accused to UPA government of failing to provide adequate facilities to soldiers on the border. "If the Third Front comes to the power, then special attention would be paid to jawans and farmers," the SP supremo said.
With parties in Uttar Pradesh trying to woo Muslim voters, he claimed the Samajwadi Party enjoyed the support of 80 per cent members of the community in the state.
13:32 Jaitley demands immediate stop to attempts to appoint Lokpal:
Demanding an immediate stop to attempts to appoint a Lokpal, BJP today said it would be a "gross political impropriety" and "violation" of the model code if the UPA government rushes through the appointment of the anti-corruption watchdog.
BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the procedure is legally "suspect" and such "unholy haste" will destroy the credibility of the Lokpal even before it is formed. According to sources, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is planning to convene a meeting of the Lokpal Selection Committee on April 27 or 28.
"Half the elections have been completed. 26 days remain for the declaration of the results and the formation of a new government. Is it proper for the UPA, on the eve of its certain departure, to rush through with the appointment of the Lokpal? Certainly not.
13:31 42 killed in road accident in south Pakistan:
At least 42 people, including women and children, were killed and several others injured today when a bus they were traveling in collided with a trailer on the National Highway in southeast Pakistan's Sukkur district.
The accident took place near Pano Akil area in Sukkur when a bus en route to Karachi from Dera Ghazi Khan collided head-on with the trailer coming from the opposite direction.
The bus was carrying over 60 passengers when the driver lost control of the vehicle and collided with the trailer. Police personnel and rescue teams immediately reached the site of the incident and began cutting through the wreckage of the bus to rescue the victims.
13:12 Justice for 'dukhi pati' on poll promise list:
There are promises galore for voters in Ahmedabad East constituency with fringe political parties and Independent candidates promising justice for "aggrieved husbands" and "lavish" lifestyle for the poor in their manifestos.
Dashrath Devda, who runs an NGO 'Akhil Bhartiya Patni Atyachar Virodhi Sangh
' and is an Independent candidate from Ahmedabad-East Lok Sabha seat, promises to bring an Act to protect men.
"I promise to bring a law in favour of 'dukhi pati
' (aggrieved husband). We have the Domestic Violence Act to protect women so why cannot we have a law which can protect men?..." Devda told PTI.
Though he has applied to register his party but is yet to get the nod from the Election Commission. Devda has released a manifesto even though he is contesting as an Independent.
12:59 Emissary row: Saraf says he did not carry any message from BJP:
Sanjay Saraf, who belongs to a party which is part of the NDA, today confirmed that he had met Syed Ali Shah Geelani but dismissed reports that he had carried any message from Narendra Modi to the hardline Hurriyat leader.
Lok Janshakti Party National Youth President Saraf said his relations with the separatist leader were "personal".
"I have been meeting Geelani for the past so many years. I have not met him in the context that has been reported," Saraf told PTI. Saraf said he rushed here from Bihar after he was named as one of the emissaries of Modi that Geelani claimed had called on him for opening a dialogue with the BJP leader.
"This is a completely baseless report. I have not met Geelani since he was taken to Delhi for treatment in early March this year," he said. Asked about media reports identifying him as one of the two emissaries, Saraf said he was exploring legal options against a daily which carried the report for "spreading falsehood and dragging my name into something that I was never part of".
12:46 'Gujarat model' has become a 'political currency': Montek :
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has said the term 'Gujarat model' has become a "political currency" in the ongoing election campaign but he is not sure of its meaning.
"The term 'Gujarat model' has become a political currency in the election campaign, but I am not sure exactly what it means," he said. Ahulwalia was replying to questions whether he feels the 'Gujarat model' is a good one for the rest of India at a India business conference at the Columbia Business School here.
Appearing on a video link on last Friday, he told faculty, students and entrepreneurs that people describe the Gujarat model of development as the one having the highest growth rate and attracting foreign capital.
12:03 Saradha scam: SFIO to submit final probe report in June:
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office is expected to submit its final report in June on the chit funds scam perpetrated by West Bengal-based Saradha and other firms.
The investigation was ordered by the corporate affairs ministry in April last year following huge public outcry over the scam that duped hundreds of gullible investors by running fraudulent money-pooling schemes in the garb of chit funds.
Sources said the probe agency is now expected to submit its final report to the Ministry in June. At the time of ordering the probe, SFIO was expected to submit its final report in December 2013.
The agency had given its interim report to the Ministry in September last year. The probe agency has gathered most of the information in the case, including gleaning of details from computer servers, and would require some more time to finalise the report, sources said.
11:59 Only Modi to be PM of NDA govt: Rajnath:
Only Narendra Modi will be the Prime Minister of an NDA government irrespective of its tally in the new Lok Sabha, BJP President Rajnath Singh made it clear today.
"Modi will be the Prime Minister of NDA government under any circumstances," he said in an interview to PTI on board his chartered campaign aircraft.
The BJP leader's categorical assertion came in response to a question about the possibility of NDA falling short of a majority and any new ally insisting on a different leader, other than Modi.
"The country cannot be ruled only by the laws but by a leader who has moral authority. Only a person who has been projected as the PM candidate or CM candidate will have that moral authority," he said.
11:19 Kingfisher staff sells household items for living:
reports: Neelmani Singh, 27, a Delhi-based employee of Kingfisher Airlines, is worried about how he will pay her younger sister's MCA course fees. The grounded airline has not paid salaries for almost two years now.
Read the full article here
11:18 Is India at a turning point?: The Guardian
reports: With the controversial Hindu nationalist set for victory in India's elections next month, supporters and critics say India is at a turning point. Jason Burke reports from the small temple town of Vrindavan on the activists helping Modi wi.
Read the full article here
00:11 Sub search for MH370 to be finished in a week:
Australian officials supervising the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 said on Saturday that an underwater search for the black box recorder based on "pings" possibly from the device could be completed in five to seven days.
A U.S. Navy deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is scouring a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean floor for signs of the plane, which disappeared from radars on March 8 with 239 people on board and is believed to have crashed in the area.
The search for missing flight is at a "critical juncture", Malaysia's transport minister said on Saturday, two days after Australia's premier said a submersible device had one week to find wreckage from the plane in the Indian Ocean.
00:11 Amarinder's 'clean chit' to Tytler is shocking: Badal :
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today described as "shocking" the reported "clean chit" given by Congress leader Amarinder Singh to Jagdish Tytler, one of the accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, during a TV interview.
"Today, Amarinder has chosen to stand by those who tortured and killed innocent Sikhs," Badal said. "Amarinder shamelessly declares that Tyler had no role in the killing of Sikhs. Shock and utter disbelief is what I felt when I was told about this," he said.
00:10 Mount Everest avalanche highlights risk Sherpas face:
The rescuers moved quickly, just minutes after the first block of ice tore loose from Mount Everest and started an avalanche that roared down the mountain, ripping through teams of guides hauling gear.
But they couldn't get there quickly enough. No one can move that fast. Not even the people who have spent their lives in Everest's shadow, and who have spent years working on the world's highest peak.
00:09 Mediator heads to east Ukraine, seeking surrenders:
A mediator from Europe's OSCE security body headed to eastern Ukraine on Saturday seeking the surrender of pro-Russian separatists as the Kiev government declared an Easter truce following a peace accord with Moscow.
Gunmen occupying public buildings in Donetsk and other Russian-speaking border towns refuse to recognize an accord in Geneva on Thursday by which Russia, Ukraine and Kiev's U.S. and EU allies agreed that the OSCE should oversee the disarmament of militants and the evacuation of occupied facilities and streets.
00:05 Islamic militants claim this weeks Nigerian blast:
Nigeria's Islamic extremists are claiming responsibility for the massive explosion at a busy bus station that killed at least 75 people in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, this week.It comes in a new video received Saturday.
The leader of the Boko Haram network threatens more attacks saying "We are in your city, but you don't know where we are.'
00:02 Colombia to pay tribute to Garcia Marquez on Tuesday:
Colombia will pay special tribute to its late native son, the Nobel-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, with a solemn ceremony on Tuesday.
The memorial, led by President Juan Manuel Santos, will be held in Bogota's Primada Cathedral, the country's culture ministry tweeted today.
00:02 Don't have blind faith on Modi: Kejriwal tells Varanasi voters:
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, who is fighting Lok Sabha polls against Narendra Modi from here, today cautioned people against having "blind faith" on the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate on the basis of his portrayal in the media.
Addressing a meet in Tripolia area of Ramnagar here, a BJP stronghold, Kejriwal said, "I went to a village here and on seeing me, some youths started shouting Modi Modi. I asked them why Modi should become the PM of this country and they could not give any answer.