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LIVE! Delhi assembly elections to be held with LS polls: EC

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February 14, 2014


22:43  Delhi Assembly elections to be held with LS polls:  The Election Commission today said it is ready to hold polls for the Delhi assembly along with the Lok Sabha polls.
22:19  Iranian Foreign Minister to visit India later this month:  Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is likely to visit India later this month as the Persian Gulf nation seeks to boost energy and trade ties with easing of sanctions. "The Iranian Foreign Minister is to visit India. The visit most probably will happen towards the month end," a source said.
22:13  Princes William, Harry join flood relief effort in UK:  Prince William and his younger brother Prince Harry today joined colleagues from the armed forces to help flood victims in Britain, which has been hit by severe flooding. 

The royal duo helped soldiers unload sandbags near their grandmother's residence at Windsor Castle since early morning.
22:08  Kejriwal leaves Delhi LG's residence after tendering resignation:  

Arvind Kjeriwal has left the residence of Delhi Lieutenant General Najeeb Jung after handing over his resignation letter.  

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal resigned on Friday after suffering a defeat in the assembly on the Jan Lokpal Bill and in a political gamble he recommended dissolution of the assembly and holding of fresh polls.

22:03  YSRC urges TDP, others to join protest in Delhi over T-Bill:  YSR Congress today appealed to all the parties, including TDP, to take part in the dharna to be held by the party in New Delhi on February 17. YSR Congress will stage a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi against the division of Andhra Pradesh.
22:01  President Mukerjee unhappy with K Rosaiah:  President Pranab Mukherjee is unhappy with K Rosaiah, Governor of Tamil Nadu for skipping the three-day Governors conference.  

Without taking Rosaiah's name, the President indirectly mentioned that one governor sought my permission on medical grounds to stay put in his state. But the other governor did not even bother to inform about abstaining.  

Pranab Mukherjee also told the governors not to make frequent trips and overstay in their home state.  
21:08  Sucheta Dalal tweets: Kejri did not resign at Ramleela? How come?
21:07  AAP's 49 days in power :  Shortly after coming to power, the AAP government announced 20 kilolitres of free water to every household per month.

In yet another populist measure, it decided that consumers who did not pay their electricity bills as part of AAP's power agitation will have to shell out only half of their total dues, a move that cost the exchequer Rs 6 crore.

Keeping a pre-poll promise, Kejriwal had announced a 50 per cent subsidy on electricity consumption of up to 400 units.

The AAP government also ordered the Comptroller and Auditor General to audit the finances of the three private power distribution companies serving Delhi.
21:05  Rain in Delhi doesn't keep AAP supporters away:   It's pouring in Delhi, but the mood outside the AAP offices is jubilant. Supporters call him a messiah. With Arvind Kejriwal now free to campaign across the country, the Lok Sabha elections just got a little more exciting.
21:02  Formed in November 2012, AAP cemented its place in politics, tapping students, farmers, civil rights groups, NGOs, social activists, women's groups and the urban youth to emerge as a force.
21:01  Kejriwal plays to the gallery with his speech saying the Centre thinks its the British Raj, the L-G the Viceroy. Just the kind of 'swaraj' tones that will get the frontbenchers cheering. 
20:54  Kejriwal heads to Lt Gov to give resignation, Delhi heads for Prez rule:  So, Delhi heads for President's rule, Arvind Kejriwal heads to meet Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and give his resignation. 
20:46  Minhaz Merchant: After dumping water & power subsidies on Delhi taxpayers, AK walks away. No follow-up on FIRs. Governance by escapism.
20:43  Legal notice to Penguin over Doniger book:  Interrupting the Kejriwal drama to tell you that Advocate Lawrence Liang, part of the Bangalore-based Alternative Law Forum, has issued a legal notice to Penguin India, claiming that the publisher has violated freedom of speech laws and readers' rights by agreeing to destroy all copies of Wendy Doniger's book The Hindus. Read
20:41  Repeating what he said in the Delhi Assembly today, Kejriwal said he would not follow what the Centre said. "I will follow what the Constitution says," he added,  "the BJP and the Congress have shamed the Delhi Assembly and Parliament."
20:36  Hanging on to every word, Kejriwal's supporters euphoric, screaming and clapping, as if it were a victory speech. Kejriwal says he is an ordinary person, he has no power. "I'm a nobody," he said.

He apologised to his supporters saying if he had made mistakes, he was sorry, to which they cheer saying, "No, No!"

"The moment we laid hands on Ambani, the BJP and the Congress joined hands. For the last on year, Ambani is behind Modi too. Where is Modi getting so much money from? I am against those who rule the government out of fear for Mukesh Ambani.

"After the FIR, Mukesh Ambani said the AAP government is a thorn in my side. They fear that more than half of them will go to jail if the Jan Lokpal bill gets passed," he said.
20:28  LIVE! Kejriwal: Cong, BJP came together to defeat Jan Lokpal Bill :   Frenzied crowds listen in to Arvind Kejriwal at the party HQ. Flanked by Manish Sisodia and other party members, Kejriwal says he was resigning because passing the Jan Lokpal Bill was the biggest party promise. "Congress went back on the Janlokpal promise," he said.

He asks how does Narendra Modi fund his massive rallies. "It is because Mukesh Ambani is behind the rallies," he said. 

He says Kamal Nath, Sharad Pawar would have come up on the AAP list next, so the BJP, Congress came together to defeat the Jan Lokpal Bill.    
20:20  BJP leader Dr Harsh Vardhan speaking to TV channels.

"People of Delhi feel they have been betrayed. He has miserably failed to deliver. He has never delivered anything except for making false speeches," said Dr Harsh Vardhan.

"We are not against the Jan Lokpal bill. We support it 100 times more than the AAP government," he said.

"He should stop telling lies and making such baseless allegations," Harshvardhan said adding that Kejriwal should resort to transparent politics.
20:16   Delhi is now headed for President's rule. 
20:13  Arvind Kejriwal quits as Delhi CM:   "Pehle Sheila hari hai, Ab Modi ki baari hai," shouts Aam Aadmi Party supporters outside party headquarters.

Kejriwal has apparently written a one-line letter to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung saying he would like to step down as CM. His entire cabinet has resigned with him.

Kejriwal has now formally quit as Delhi CM.
20:07  Shiv Aroor tweets: AAP cabinet unanimously decides Kejriwal and his entire team will resign at 9 pm.
20:05  LIVE! Kejriwal en route to AAP HQ to address frenzied supporters:  Many supporters at the AAP office wearing party caps also said Kejriwal should in fact resign, but go on to fight the national elections. AAP has said it will contest a massive 350 seats in the Lok Sabha polls.  
19:59  Comrades in arms:   A meeting of minds? Congress MLA Arvinder Singh Lovely and BJP's Dr Harsh Vardhan pose for the cameras. The opposition united in the Delhi Assembly today and got the Speaker to get a vote on whether the Jan Lokpal Bill should be tabled. With 42:27 vote, it was decided not to table the Bill. 
19:52  Chetan Bhagat tweets: Am I sad? Yes, a little bit. Am I defeated? No. I've learnt something. We not only need honest leadership, but also capable. Jai Hind!
19:48  AAP supporters don't want Kejriwal to quit :  Few AAP supporters at the party headquarters in Ghaziabad say Arvind Kejriwal should resign. They say they wanted the party to govern and quitting from the CM's post is not the answer.   
19:45  'Hats off, yaaron!':  AAP supporter Ashutosh Mishra tweets: Ist time ever in the history party workers like Aam Admi Party have no regret or sad even after their government collapsed. Hats off yaaron!
19:41  So, CM for 49 days, Arvind Kejriwal on the way out. Formalities on right now, before he quits. AAP supporters waiting for him to address them at 8 pm. 
19:39  LIVE! Kejriwal writes resignation letter to Lt Gov Najeeb Jung :  NDTV reports that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is at the secretariat writing his resignation letter to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.  
19:36  Dr Kumar Vishvas tweets: Jan Lokpaal Bill ke samarthan me 26 ek saath aur virodh me 42 ek saath. A team B team Kaun-Kaun hain aur kis-kis ki hai?
19:27  And hope still floats for AAP. On Twitter: If, in the wake of the defeated Jan Lokpal Bill, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal resigns, I will again vote for AAP in the re-election.
19:22  AAP supporters feel let down after Kejriwal's dramatics in the Assembly.

On Twitter: "With my heart and soul I regret visiting Jantar Matar almost 3 yrs ago and for lighting that candle in support! I want my money back!"
19:15  Arvind Kejriwal says AAP will take the fight against corruption to the Lok Sabha, in effect hinting at his plans for a larger political platform.
19:06  Kejriwal ready to quit, to address party workers at 8 pm:  Doordarshan News: Delhi HC agrees to hear on Tuesday a plea against LG's power to prevent tabling of a bill in the Assembly.

Kejriwal says he has been targeted because he brought up the gas pricing issue.

Historical day in the Delhi Assembly.

The action moves to the streets of Delhi. Kejriwal will address party workers at 8 pm.
18:59  Harsh Vardhan: Delhi CM has consistently lied, misled people :  Similar scenes outside the AAP office now, and on December 8, when the counting of votes for the Delhi Assembly took place. Supporters holding brooms raise slogans in Kejriwal's support but the difference is that then, the AAP was on the threshold of forming a government. 

Harsh Vardhan says the Delhi CM has consistently lied to the people and misled them. 
18:54  BJP: Kejriwal's lies exposed before the world:  BJP's Dr Harsh Vardhan addressing the media now. He says Kejriwal's allegations that Mukesh Ambani is linked to Congress and BJP is a lie.

Kejriwal has been exposed before the whole country for his lies and baseless allegations, says Harsh Vardhan.
18:49  LIVE! Delhi Assembly adjourned sine die, Kejriwal says he's ready to quit :  Delhi assembly has been adjourned sine die. 
18:46   Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar calls for an emergency meeting of the Committee on Security in the Parliament complex on Monday. Up for discussion obviously are pepper sprays, knives and broken microphones...
18:44  Arvind Kejriwal has been Delhi CM for less than two months. 
18:42  Arvind Kejriwal says this is the party's last session, which in effect means resignation as CM is inevitable.
18:39  Kejriwal says they will take the fight against corruption to the streets of Delhi. He says he took an oath on the Constitution not the Centre. 
18:38  Ready to quit as CM in my fight to end corruption: Kejriwal :   Kejriwal says he is ready to quit as CM not once but a 100 times in his fight to end corruption. Opposition continues to ask for his resignation. 
18:35  LIVE! Opposition demands Kejriwal's resignation as he addresses Assembly:   Kejriwal says the law says there is no need to take permission from the L-G or the Centre to pass bills. "We need to clean up politics both from inside and outside," says Kejriwal. "Will give up my life, but will not accept orders from the Centre," he says. Waving a copy of the Constitution, Kejriwal says he did not disrespect the law.

Opposition demands Kejriwal's resignation while he is addressing them.

"Mukesh Ambani is behind the Congress, BJP," he says. 
18:28  'Why are you tearing up documents, breaking mikes':  Kejriwal says they are inexperienced and hoped they would learn from the opposition.

Outside the AAP HQ, supporters watching the live telecast of the Assembly proceedings. The mood seems upbeat, yet sombre.

Kejriwal says the assembly is like a temple, a place of worship. He says nobody tears up the Gita or Koran like the way papers are torn to bits in the Assembly. "Why are you breaking the mike, why are you tearing up documents," he beseeches the opposition.

Relentless din from the opposition, but Kejriwal ploughs on. This is his first address to the Assembly since the session convened this morning.
18:23  LIVE! Kejriwal apologises in Assembly: Sorry if I've hurt anyone :  Arvind Kejriwal speaking in the Assembly now. Apologising in the Assembly, he says he is sorry if he's hurt anyone.

Kejriwal says he is upset at the proceedings in the house. A mike had been broken earlier and Kejriwal said he was upset at how MLAs behaved.

An opposition MLA says, "Mike todne se dil toota hai, samvidhan todne se nahin!" "You felt hurt when a microphone was broken, not when you broke the Constitution."

bit youve broken the constitution you did not feel bad
we
18:20  AAP supporters want Kejriwal to quit :  Massive crowd of supporters outside the AAP office in Ghaziabad. Holding brooms and cheering, AAP workers says Arvind Kejriwal should quit because the opposition will not allow the party to work for the people. 
17:58  AAP's message on Valentine's Day on its website. 
17:57  'CM feels there's no point in remaining in govt':  Sources close to Arvind Kejriwal said the Chief Minister may take the "extreme step of resigning soon" as the biggest bill of the government has not been allowed to be introduced.

"The Chief Minister feels there is no point in remaining in the government," the sources told PTI, adding all the party workers have been asked to come for consultations.
17:54  On Twitter. "Mass text messages sent to AAP volunteers in Delhi to gather for protest."
17:45  Yogendra Yadav on Kejriwal quitting: Nothing can be ruled out:   AAP leader Yogendra Yadav answering a question on whether Arvind Kejriwal will quit as CM says the party will hold a meeting and decide but nothing can be ruled out. "We will weigh all options. Kejriwal has made the party position clear," he said.  

After the Delhi Assembly session concludes this evening, Kejriwal will go to his party office and call a meeting. Expect some kind of announcement today.
17:32  The NDTV interview where Arvind Kejriwal had said he would quit 'instantly' if the Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed. Watch
17:27  The Delhi Assembly is still in session, but other matters being discussed right now. 
17:20  This is what the L-G's letter to the Speaker says, clearly saying that the Bill cannot be tabled. Read
17:16  Will Kejriwal step down now?:   The Assembly moves on to the other business of the day, but the pandemonium continues.

Now, that the Jan Lokpal has not tabled, will Arvind Kejriwal step down as CM? That is precisely what he is has been saying for the last few days. No signs of the CM stepping down as yet.

The other proviso Kejriwal had said that would make him step down, was if the Jan Lokpal Bill is tabled but not passed.

So, a protest at Jantar Mantar and yet another referendum?
Apart from the AAP, the entire Delhi Assembly voted against the tabling of the bill. The CM has painted himself into a corner.
17:06  42 against tabling bill, 27 for the bill :   The numbers are: 42 against the tabling of the Bill, 27 for the Bill of a total of 70 MLAs in the Assembly.

The figures are clear: AAP won 28 seats of which one MLA Vinod Kumar Binny was expelled. This makes AAP numbers in the Assembly 27. All 27 in favour of the tabling of the bill.
16:55  LIVE! Voting on Jan Lokpal Bill takes place, bill NOT tabled:  The Speaker says the Bill has not been tabled according to the vote. 
16:53  Voting on the tabling of the Jan Lokpal Bill is taking place now. 
16:50  Harsh Vardhan says AAP must follow LG's message to the house.
16:47  Cong: Bill was introduced WITHOUT permission from the House :  BJP's Dr Harsh Vardhan says the Speaker must act impartially. Reading out from the L-G's letter to the Speaker, the section that asks him not to consider the Bill.

"The only reason Arvind Kejriwal despite his party getting 28 seats is the CM, and the BJP is the oppostion is because of the LG's directions. If we can follow that, why can't we follow his directions on the Bill. By disregarding the law and insulting the LG, we cannot discuss the Jan Lokpal Bill," says Harsh Vardhan.

He says every party can back the bill if it is brought in constitutionally.

Expelled AAP MLA Vinod Binny says tabling the bill is unconstitutional. 

Congress's Arvinder Singh Lovely says the Bill was introduced without permission from the house, just the Speaker's permission, which is not enough.
16:37  The Delhi Assembly reconvenes.

AAP minister Somnath Bharti had said earlier that the Congress was free to bring in a no-confidence motion against him.
16:31  NE students protesting Nido Tania's death lathicharged:   Students from the north-east protesting in Delhi over the murder of Nido Tania were lathi-charged today. The protestors were moving to Raisina Hill from Jantar Mantar when the police lathi-charged them.
16:16  Opposition accuses Speaker of taking AAP's side :  Expect more pandemonium when the house resumes in a few minutes. Both the Congress and the BJP have accused the Speaker of taking AAP's side. Unlikely they will allow any discussion on the Bill when the house reconvenes.  
16:13  And on Valentine's Day, Bihar's first couple.
16:04   Kejriwal, meanwhile, has walked out of the Assembly amid pandemonium.
15:57  House adjourned for 30 minutes:  Lovely says that no bill can be introduced before discussion. He says the Congress only wants the procedure of the house is followed. MLAs surround the speaker and heckle him following which the house is adjourned for 30 minutes.

For all that, the proceedings are remarkably peaceful as compared to the Parliament proceedings yesterday. No flying computers, knife-wielding members, or pepper spray. No torn papers, snatched microphones either. So far.  
15:53  The House has been adjourned for 30 minutes. 
15:53  Cong: This is not an AAP dharna that you can do what you want:  Chaos and pandemonium continues in the House. Congress leader Arvinder Singh Lovely who is on his feet shouting, says, "This is not an AAP dharna that you will do what you want."

So far, what has happened is that the Jan Lokpal Bill has been introduced, defying Lt Gov's Najeeb Jung's letter to the Speaker saying tabling the bill is unconstitutional.
15:50  The Speaker now announces that the discussion and debate on the Jan Lokpal Bill should begin. 
15:49  Kejriwal defies LG:  Defying the Lt Governor Najeeb Jung's reservations, the Delhi CM has indeed tabled the Jan Lokpal Bill. Uproar continues in the Assembly as the BJP and Congress accuse the Speaker of partisan behaviour.  
15:46  LIVE! Arvind Kejriwal tables the Jan Lokpal Bill before the Delhi Assembly :  Arvind Kejriwal beams. The Jan Lokpal Bill is tabled before the Delhi Assembly
15:42  No censure motion against Somnath Bharti as yet. 
15:41  Kejriwal and Sisodia look bemused at the proceedings in the house. 
15:40   Arvind Kejriwal moves to table Jan Lokpal bill. BJP, Congress want house to adopt the L-G's letter. Both parties want a vote on the letter, AAP wants a discussion.

And ruckus continues, but not in an unseemly way. 
15:31  LG writes to the Delhi Speaker saying that "the bill may not be introduced in the house as it has not be presented before me."
15:30  Congress, BJP oppose any discussion on the L-G's letter. 
15:30  AAP wants discussion on L-G's letter:  The AAP wants a discussion on Najeeb Jung's letter. "We must debate and discuss if L-G's letter should be considered," says AAP minister Manish Sisodia. He says nowhere does it say that there cannot be a discussion on the Jan Lokpal Bill.

The L-G's letter says that the Jan Lokpal Bill was not presented to him.

All the MLAs across party lines are on their feet. 
15:24  Delhi Assembly reconvenes. Speaker MS Dhir reads Lt Governor Najeeb Jung's letter to him.  
15:21  The Speaker MS Dhir has called for an all-party meeting in his chambers. 
14:55  The house has been adjourned for 20 minutes. 
14:54  Kejriwal can't digest food till he blames someone every day: Harsh Vardhan:  Arvind Kejriwal's wife and daughter are inside the Delhi Assembly. Kejriwal in a huddle with Manish Sisodia as Harsh Vardhan attacks him. Dr Harsh Vardhan says Kejriwal can't digest his food till he blames someone every day.
14:49  The Speaker says he will reveal what the L-G's letter said in due course. BJP and Congress says it is mandatory for the Speaker to share the L-G's message. Speaker refuses to make the letter public. 
14:46  BJP issues notice for censure motion against Bharti. 
14:38  BJP: Kejriwal lied on Facebook that we would oppose Jan Lokpal Bill:  Dr Harsh Vardhan objects to Kejriwal's attempts to paint all politicians as corrupt. He says it should not be forgotten that the Lokayukta Bill was passed when the BJP was in government.

"We helped the Congress pass the Lokpal Bill in Parliament. Kejriwal lied on Facebook when he said that we would not allow the tabling of the Jan Lokpal Bill. We have been given a copy of the bill only last night, and we haven't had the time to study it," said the BJP leader. "In fact, the BJP is more dedicated to passing the Jan Lokpal bill than the AAP," he said.

He also stated that the Speaker must reveal what Lt Gov Najeeb Jung wrote to him on the tabling of the Lokpal Bill.

Harsh Vardhan also said he wanted the Delhi CM to sack Somnath Bharti. "The house must take up a censure motion against Bharti," he said.
14:26  LIVE! Cong refuses to allow 'ashleel' Somnath Bharti to speak in Assembly:  The Congress opposes Somnath Bharti's attempts to speak in the assembly, saying, "Ashleel mantri ko nahin bolne denge."

Dr Harsh Vardhan points to various seats in the Assembly that had been occupied by political stalwarts across parties, an attempt to draw attention to the falling standards in the assembly.
14:22  Cong: Bill placed in the house at the last minute:  Arvinder Singh Lovely speaking in the house now. He says the Bill has been placed in the house at the last minute. "We should have got a copy of the bill a week ago," said Lovely and backs the notice for the suspension of the House. However, the Speaker disallows it.

BJP's Harsh Vardhan accuses the government of breaking all norms and rules and regulations of the house. Harsh Vardhan wants law minister Somnath Bharti sacked.
14:14  Speaker disallows suspension of house:  Delhi Speaker disallows notice to suspend the house saying it will be a good homage for Sant Ravidas if the house works today. 
14:10   Proceedings begin in the Delhi Assembly amid pandemonium. 
14:06  The notice has been served as today is restricted holiday, the birth anniversary of Sant Ravidas. 
13:55  MLA seeks suspension of Delhi Assembly:  Just in: MLA Ram Singh Bhiduri serves notice for suspension of the proceedings of the Delhi Assembly.
13:55  The AAP government is expected to go ahead with tabling of the Jan Lokpal Bill despite Lieutenant Governor's advice to Delhi Assembly Speaker.
13:53  Cong: Kejriwal should stop acting like a child, we support Jan Lokpal Bill:  Delhi Congress President Arvinder Singh Lovely states his party's stand on the Jan Lokpal Bill.

He said the Congress was very much with the AAP. "We support the AAP government and the Delhi CM should stop misguiding people. We support the Jan Lokpal Bill and the AAP government, but we do not back any unconstitutional methods," said Lovely.

He said the party had already written to Arvind Kejriwal pledging their support for the bill. "But we should have got a copy of the bill a week ago. Kejriwal should stop acting like a child. In fact, he has been misguiding the people. The AAP govt will find a place in the Guinness Book of records for lying," he said.
13:36  Happy V-Day! TMC website lists '14 love zones' in Kolkata:   The TMC is probably the only political party in India to play Cupid. A tweet says: Happy Valentine's Day to all the love birds' AND lists '14 love zones' in Kolkata where couples can cuddle.

Read this MNS, Shiv Sena. 
13:16  Larger SC bench to hear plea against Justice Swatanter Kumar:  The Supreme Court today said that the plea of a former law intern seeking probe against its retired judge Swatanter Kumar for allegedly sexually harassing her be heard by a three-judge bench and posted the case for hearing on March 26.
13:15  Indian to plead guilty in Singapore riot case:  A second Indian, who has worked in Singapore for less than a year, is to plead guilty under charges of rioting last December. Singaravelu Vignesh, a 23-year-old construction worker, was originally charged with rioting in the Little India precinct here and faced jail term of up to seven years and canning.
13:09  Schulz: The Sixth Extinction Examines Human Overkillers and the Next Great Die-Off. Read
12:48  Gujarat develops India's swankiest bus station!:  A world-class bus terminal, which has redrawn the architectural landscape of Vadodara, will be inaugurated by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday. Read
12:46  Review: Highway is extremely disappointing!:  'It is rare that a Hindi language film delivers so much promise in the first half.'' And so it is extremely disappointing when the director and his script lead us on a journey that eventually fizzles out, collapses and dies in front of our eyes, says Aseem Chhabra after viewing Imtiaz Ali's Highway in Berlin.
Read
12:41  Dealing with new lows in Parliament:  Even for a country with a long and unedifying history of parliamentary pandemonium, nothing can be as shameful and disgraceful as the use of pepper spray by a member on his peers to disrupt proceedings.  Read more
12:38  Book MPs who misbehaved in Parliament: Somnath Chatterjee:   The lawmakers who vandalised and shamed Parliament on Thursday should be expelled and a criminal complaint can be filed against them, Somnath Chatterjee, a former Speaker of the Lok Sabha has said, calling for the strongest possible action.
12:16  Delhi govt files affidavit in SC opposing death penalty for Khalistani terrorist Bhullar :   Just in: The AAP government files and affidavit in the Supreme Court saying it is opposed to the death sentence to Khalistani terrorist Devender Pal Singh Bhullar. In April last year, the Supreme Court had confirmed the death penalty and refused to entertain his petition seeking review of the judgment.

The Delhi government is opposing the death penalty saying Bhullar is mentally ill.
12:15  Rose called Sonia at Rashtrapati Bhavan gardens:  Why is there a rose named Sonia in the Rashtrapati Bhavan gardens. Sycophancy? You decide
12:06  The Congress, which provides external support to the Aam Aadmi Party government, has called for a vote on the Lieutenant Governor's letter to the Speaker, which will be read out in the assembly. If the house votes in favour of the objections, the bill can't be tabled.
12:00  The method behind AAP's madness:  The AAP is arguing quietly that indifference, alienation have to go. These are symptoms of disempowerment. For AAP, the battle to empower people demands new engagements with the marginals and corporations, says Shiv Visvanathan. Read
11:59  LIVE! Jan Lokpal Bill unlikely today? L-G writes to Speaker not to introduce Bill :   Arvind Kejriwal arrived in the Delhi assembly, with his parents, today. Law Minister Somnath Bharti is to table the Jan Lokpal Bill in the assembly at 2 pm today. As we mentioned before, Kejriwal has said categorically that he will quit if the bill is not passed.

However, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has written to Delhi Speaker MS Dhir saying that the Bill cannot be tabled without his approval.
11:49  No Jan Lokpal Bill today:  Just in: Lt Governor Najeeb Jung writes to Speaker saying Assembly may not consider introducing Jan Lokpal Bill today.
11:35  LIVE! Moily: Kejriwal's FIR unconstitutional, no question of stalling gas price hike:  Meanwhile, oil minister Veerappa Moily says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's FIR against him and others in the gas pricing case is unconstitutional. He said there is no question of stalling the gas price hike from April 1.

Kejriwal on Tuesday directed the anti-corruption branch of his government to register an FIR against Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani, petroleum minister Veerappa Moily, former petroleum minister Murli Deora and former director general of hydrocarbons VK Sibal for increasing the price of natural gas produced in India.
11:31  Do you want a government that gives your freebies or good governance?:  A few months on, India will get your chance to redefine the way it wants to be governed.

Some of us have longed for change; some are not sure whether the dreams that are being sold to them will fructify.

Irrespective, India is on the brink of a path-breaking election. The verdict will spell out what the nation wants.

Rediff.com, with its first-of-a-kind survey, attempts to get a sense of what lies ahead, what the voter wants.

In what should make our netas sit up and take note, over 80 per cent of people who have voted on this poll say they want good governance NOT freebies from the government.

What do you think? Click here and tell us.
11:23  Delhi Assembly drama today :  All eyes today on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal as the Jan Lokpal Bill will be introduced in the Assembly today. Kejriwal has stated that he will resign if the bill is opposed. Both the Congress and the BJP are opposed to passing the bill. 
11:05  On V-Day eve, Air India hostesses refuse to fly, one suspended:  In other news: The Maharaja of Air India and his hassled passengers are used to cabin crew tantrums. But this one takes the cake.

An Air India airhostess on Thursday refused to fly on the Delhi-Sydney flight as per her duty schedule and told the airline she was well enough only to zip off to some place nearby like Dubai. The doctor, though, found her fit and a livid airline management suspended her.

Read more
11:00  What Arundhati Roy told Penguin India:  This is Arundhati Roy's open letter to Penguin India yesterday: 'You owe us writers an explanation'. Read
10:42  LIVE! Penguin's statement on pulping The Hindus: We have a moral responsibility:  Two days after Penguin decided to pulp Wendy Doniger's book, The Hindus - An Alternative History, the publishing house has finally issued a statement standing by its decision.

This is what it writes on it's Facebook page.

"Penguin Books India believes, and has always believed, in every individual's right to freedom of thought and expression, a right explicitly codified in the Indian Constitution.

"This commitment informs Penguin's approach to publishing in every territory of the world, and we have never been shy about testing that commitment in court when appropriate.

"At the same time, a publishing company has the same obligation as any other organisation to respect the laws of the land in which it operates, however intolerant and restrictive those laws may be.

"We also have a moral responsibility to protect our employees against threats and harassment where we can. The settlement reached this week brings to a close a four year legal process in which Penguin has defended the publication of the Indian edition of The Hindus by Wendy Doniger.

"We have published, in succession, hardcover, paperback and e-book editions of the title. International editions of the book remain available physically and digitally to Indian readers who still wish to purchase it.

"We stand by our original decision to publish The Hindus, just as we stand by the decision to publish other books that we know may cause offence to some segments of our readership.

"We believe, however, that the Indian Penal Code, and in particular section 295A of that code, will make it increasingly difficult for any Indian publisher to uphold international standards of free expression without deliberately placing itself outside the law.

"This is, we believe, an issue of great significance not just for the protection of creative freedoms in India but also for the defence of fundamental human rights."
10:34  Jan Lokpal: The legal story:  While the UPA government is arguing that the Lieutenant Governor's consent is necessary for the introduction of the Bill, the AAP government wants to make this provision inapplicable. Both positions appear to be incorrect in law. Read
10:03  Delhi HC to hear discoms' plea against CAG audit today:  
The Delhi High Court will on Friday hear pleas by three power discoms against the order of a single judge refusing to stay a Delhi government directive for a Comptroller and Auditor General audit of their finances since their inception in 2002. 

Three power discoms had on February 07 moved the Delhi High Court and a division bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana had posted the pleas for February 14. 

Justice Manmohan had on January 24 refused to stay the government's order for the audit. The discoms alleged that the audit was ordered by the government with a "predetermined mind".

The three discoms -- Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd, BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna -- which supply power to consumers in Delhi, alleged that the Delhi government's order was a political ploy. 

Saying that audit is a serious issue, the discoms had asked the court to examine the legality of the order. 
08:59  Adamant Kejriwal set to introduce Jan Lokpal Bill today:  
The Aam Aadmi Party government led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is set to introduce the controversial Jan Lokpal bill on Friday after it failed to table it on the first day of the Delhi Assembly Session yesterday due to repeated disruptions by the Congress and BJP MLAs. 

Delhi Chief Minister, who is adamant on passing the Jan Lokpal Bill even after the Law Ministry made it clear that it was necessary to take the Centre's consent before introducing the Bill in the Assembly, has blamed the Congress and the BJP for blocking the tabling of the bill in the assembly. 

"We did not introduce the bill today as we wanted the copy of the bill to be seen by all the MLAs . We will table it on Friday," he told reporters yesterday.

Kejriwal alleged that what happened in the Delhi Assembly showed that there was a 'match fixing' between the BJP and the Congress. "Today for the first time both the BJP and the Congress have been exposed. The Congress is not supporting the AAP but it is supporting the BJP," Kejriwal said on Congress and BJP MLAs protesting inside the House. 

The Delhi Assembly was adjourned till 2 pm Friday following protests by MLAs.
08:59  Now, Mexico City may legalise sale of marijuana:  
Leftist lawmakers in Mexico City's legislature introduced a bill that would legalise the sale of marijuana within the capital, expanding on a national law that already decriminalises the possession by users of small amounts of pot throughout the country.

It wasn't immediately clear how wide support was for the idea which was introduced yesterday within the local assembly, which is controlled by the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, but Mayor Manuel Mancera backed the idea and the legislature is one of the most liberal in Mexico. It has previously legalised abortion and gay marriage.

The ambitious plan is sure to create controversy in a country gripped by drug-related violence in several regions and where President Enrique Pena Nieto has insisted that legalisation would not reduce crime. If passed, the legislation would apply only inside the city, which has about 8 million residents, although it's not clear if all 21 million people in the metropolitan area could take advantage of the law. 
08:54  Telangana bill: Jagan Reddy's Andhra bandh today:  
YSR Congress Party led by YS Jaganmohan Reddy has called a general strike across Andhra Pradesh on Friday against the tabling of Telangana Bill in Lok Sabha while terming it as a "mockery" of democracy. 

YSRCP chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy said his party would fight tooth and nail to stall the bill and mobilise support of all opposition parties for united Andhra Pradesh. 

"The Speaker announcing that the Bill is tabled without taking into consideration the opinion of the House is a sheer mockery of democracy which has happened ironically in Parliament where democracy has to be safeguarded.

"We condemn the manner in which the Bill has entered the House and it is a black day for parliamentary democracy," Jagan had said yesterday.
08:52  'The Waltons' actor Ralph Waite dies at 85:  
Ralph Waite, who played the father's role in hit TV series The Waltons has died.

Waite's manager, Alan Mills, says the actor died on Thursday in the Palm Springs area. He was 85.

Waite was best known for his role as the patriarch in the 1970s series The Waltons but he had had remained a working actor.

Mills says Waite appeared recently in recurring roles on shows including NCIS and Days of Our Lives.
08:49  Facebook unveils new gender options for users:  
You don't have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore. The social media giant is adding a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them. 

Facebook said the changes, shared with The Associated Press before the launch on Thursday, initially cover the company's 159 million monthly users in the US and are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual. 

"There's going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world," said Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison, who worked on the project and is herself undergoing gender transformation, from male to female. On Thursday, while watchdogging the software for any problems, she said she was also changing her Facebook identity from Female to TransWoman. 

Read more HERE
03:20  UK floods 'a clear sign of climate change':  

The devastating floods and storms sweeping Britain are clear indications of the dangers of climate change, according to Lord Stern, the author of a 2006 report on the economics of climate change.

 

Writing in the Guardian, the crossbench peer said the flooding and storm damage demonstrate the need for Britain and the rest of the world to continue to implement low-carbon policies to reduce the probability of greater tragedies in the future.

 

He said the five wettest years and the seven warmest years in the UK have happened since 2000, which is explained by a clear body of evidence showing that a warmer atmosphere contains more water and causes more intense rainfall.

 

When this is combined with higher sea levels in the English Channel, the risk of flooding increases. Recent UK weather is part of an international pattern of extreme weather which proves the dangers of climate change and the need to cut carbon emissions, Stern said.

 

Read more on The Guardian

02:18  Afghanistan releases 65 prisoners despite strong US objections:  

Citing a lack of evidence, Afghan authorities released from prison 65 men Thursday over strong objections from U.S. officials, who said they pose a threat to security forces and civilians.

 

"We took this decision according to our law," said Mohammad Ishaq Aloko, the Afghan attorney general. In a statement posted on its website, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul called the move "deeply regrettable," saying the Afghan government "bears responsibility for the results of its decision."

 

Abdul Shukor Dadras, head of the Afghan Review Board, said the attorney general ordered the releases from the Parwan Detention Center -- formerly known as Bagram prison -- after a careful review of 88 cases.

 

Read more on CNN

02:16  Belgium's parliament votes for child euthanasia:  

Parliament in Belgium has passed a bill allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children without any age limit, by 86 votes to 44, with 12 abstentions. When, as expected, the bill is signed by the king, Belgium will become the first country in the world to remove any age limit on the practice.

 

It may be requested by terminally ill children who are in great pain and also have parental consent. Opponents argue children cannot make such a difficult decision. It is twelve years since Belgium legalised euthanasia for adults.

 

In the Netherlands, Belgium's northern neighbour, euthanasia is legal for children over the age of 12, if there is parental consent.

 

Read more on BBC

00:43  Vijay Kamble named new Mumbai Police Commissioner:  

Additional Director General (state highway traffic) Vijay Kamble has been named as the new Mumbai Police Commissioner.  

 

Kamble, a 1980 batch officer, has been joint commissioner for traffic and additional commissioner in the Mumbai East region. He was also Navi Mumbai police commissioner.

00:23  Italian PM Enrico Letta to tender resignation on Friday:  

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has said he will resign on Friday after his Democratic Party backed a call for a new administration. Party leader Matteo Renzi had earlier called for a change of government at a party meeting, saying the country could not go on in "uncertainty".

 

Speculation has been rife that Mr Renzi wants to take over as prime minister. He is eight years younger than Mr Letta and was elected leader of the party in December.Continue reading the main story 

 

Read more on BBC

00:19  Top headlines at this hour:  

Indian-American convicted of sexually assaulting 5 women

YSR Cong calls for Andhra bandh on Friday over Telangana bill

Khurshid downplays Modi-Powell meeting

Who is responsible for the chaos in Parliament today?

Somnath Bharti does not know how to speak: Ashutosh

Vijaywada's 'hero' Rajagopal says he isn't bothered about his future

Even Sushma, Advani sparred with Speaker over T-Bill

Assam encounter deaths: NHRC orders Rs 25 lakh compensation to kin

Assam becomes first state to ban smokeless tobacco

I only used it in self-defence: 'Pepper-spray MP'

Highlights: Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill

Parliament at its worst: Blame these MPs!

Sonia worse than Hitler: Jagan on T-Bill ruckus

T-Bill ruckus: Fisticuffs and pepper spraying in Parliament

Let the last ball be bowled, AP CM on Telangana fate


 4 MPs in hospital after Lok Sabha tamasha

The 8 minutes that mocked Parliament, shamed democracy

Marines case: UN response leaves Italians fuming

We don't think government tabled T-bill: Oppn

'People must realise that the division of Andhra Pradesh is a reality'

Exclusive: How Congress pre-planned the action-drama today

LS candidates' poll expense ceiling goes up to Rs 40 lakh

I am innocent, says former Kashmir minister accused of sexual assault

 

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