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LIVE! YSR Congress not to contest Rajya Sabha elections

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January 23, 2014


23:47  YSR Congress not to contest Rajya Sabha elections:  YSR Congress Party  today said it would not contest the biennial elections to be held to fill six Rajya Sabha seats from Andhra Pradesh as it does not have the strength to get its candidates elected.

"Our party would not contest the Rajya Sabha elections as our party does not have the numerical strength to get our candidate elected.

"Our MLAs would not take part in these elections (to be held next month)," senior YSRCP leader M V Mysoora Reddy said in a release. He alleged that ruling Congress, main Opposition TDP and TRS, who are in favour of Andhra Pradesh's division, have entered into clandestine understanding for the polls as they want to field candidates without having requisite legislative strength.
23:25  Congress, BJP councillors get into fist fight in Gujarat:  A fist fight broke out between BJP and Congress councillors as well as their supporters during a general body meeting of Bhuj municipality here today. After the incident, police protection has been provided at the residences of leaders of both parties.

Before the general body meeting began, a consensus had been arrived at, that only elected municipal councillors would participate and supporters would not be allowed to do so.

However, BJP leader Parakramsinh Jadeja's supporters attended the meeting, which infuriated Congress leader Hamid Bhatti, who objected to their presence.
23:00  Kerry hails diplomat Pandith as 'trailblazer, visionary' :  Indian-American Farah Pandith,the first-ever US Special Representative to Muslim communities, today departed her post, with Secretary of State John Kerry hailing her as a "trailblazer and visionary".        

"On so many issues, Farah Pandith has been a trailblazer and a visionary. She travelled to more than 80 countries and launched critically important youth programmes, including Generation Change, Viral Peace, and the Hours Against Hate campaign," Kerry said as the State Department announced the Kashmir-born diplomat's departure.
22:59  Congress has created division among people of Amethi: Vishwas :  Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas today alleged that the "divisive policies of the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi" had created division among the people of Amethi.        

Addressing his party workers on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Vishwas said, "Rahul has created two sets of people here -- one are his followers and the other the common man. He has also neglected his Amethi constituency."
22:58  Poll surveys are 'items of entertainment': Nitish:  With election surveys predicting the BJP getting a majority of Bihar's 40 Lok Sabha seats and the share of the JD-U going down, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today discarded such polls, saying they are "entertainment items."    

"Surveys based on the opinion of 200-400 persons cannot be authentic," he told reporters, discarding the survey reports beamed on television news channels.
22:47  EC calls all-party meet on Feb 4 over Lok Sabha polls:  The Election Commission has called an all-party meet on February 4 to discuss and finalise dates and phases for Lok Sabha elections.
22:45  TRS moves privilege motion against Andhra CM :  The TRS today moved a privilege motion in the Andhra Pradesh assembly against the chief minister for "misleading the House" and going back on his word by opposing the draft AP Re-organisation Bill-2013 that provides for the creation of a separate state of Telangana.        

TRS MLA K T Rama Rao moved the motion when AP Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy rose to continue his speech on the draft Bill today afternoon.        

Recalling the AP chief minister's statement on the floor of the House on February 20, 2011 -- that he would implement the government of India's decision on the bifurcation issue -- Rama Rao alleged that the chief minister has gone back on his promise.
22:43   Please don't blow this out of proportion: Salman on SRK's injury:  Actor Salman Khan today expressed his happiness that Shah Rukh Khan is doing well after he suffered a minor injury, insisting that the matter should not be blown out of proportion.        

Shah Rukh Khan was rushed to the Nanavati Hospital in suburban Vile Parle after he was injured while shooting for Farah Khan's movie titled Happy New Year at a five-star hotel.        

"I heard about it (injury). Please don't blow this out of proportion. He has neither been subjected to any sort of murderous attack nor has he lost his memory. I was worried when I heard about it, but later I heard that he is fine. I am happy that he is all right," Salman said.
21:45  Move to withdraw pre-2005 notes 'anti-poor': BJP:  The BJP today slammed the government's decision to withdraw by March 31 all currency notes issued prior to 2005 and said that, instead of curbing black money, it had formulated an "anti-poor" move which would badly affect the illiterate and poor living in the remote areas of the country.        

"The latest gimmick of the finance ministry to demonetise the notes before 2005 is an attempt to obfuscate the issue of black money stashed outside the country... This measure is strongly anti-poor.        

"The aam aurats and the aadmis, those who are illiterate and have no access to banking facilities, will be the ones who are hit by such diversionary measures," he said.
21:43  Will probe Netaji's disappearance after coming to power: BJP:  BJP president Rajnath Singh revived the debate over the mysterious disappearance of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose on his 117th birth anniversary and promised to take steps to unveil it if his party came to power at the Centre.        

"When the BJP will form the government at Centre, we will order for an inquiry into the mystery," Rajnath Singh said after visiting the house where Netaji was born and garlanding his statue.
21:41  Iran woos global investors, says no desire for nukes:  Energy-rich Iran today sought to allay fears over its controversial nuclear programme and invited global investors to visit the nation to explore opportunities in its bid to normalise relations with the West.        

Reaching out with the message of "friendship and peaceful co-existence", Iranian President Hassan Rouhani today said his country wants to engage with the world and declared it never desired to have nuclear weapons.        

Rouhani told the World Economic Forum that Tehran was ready to open up to western investments and offered constructive cooperation in promoting global energy security.
21:34  Japan PM to hold talks with PM:  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will arrive in Delhi on a three-day official visit from Saturday, will attend the Republic Day Parade as the chief guest and hold talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh for the annual summit in a bid to add substance and content to the bilateral partnership.        

Briefing reporters on Abe's visit, officials of the external affairs ministry said all aspects of the relationship will be discussed during the restricted and delegation-level talks between the two prime ministers.        

Afghanistan, United Nations reforms and economic ties will among the important points for deliberations between the two sides, they said.
21:32  India can log 8 pc growth: Chidambaram :  The Indian economy has stabilised and would certainly return to 8 per cent growth rate if mistakes of the past are not repeated, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said today.        

He asserted that reform measures and fast-tracking of the decision-making process have yielded results.        

"In the last year and a half, we decided that we need to do more and be more decisive...the results are there to see. Our economy has stabilised," Chidambaram said.
21:31  Congress's blood-sucking policies have hurt poor: BJP :  Taking exception to Finance Minister P Chidambaram's reported comments that the BJP is following a "blood-eyed" economic model, senior party leader M Venkaiah Naidu today alleged that the UPA's "blood-sucking" policies had made the poor poorer.        

"It is atrocious on the part of the finance minister to criticise the Opposition party on foreign soil. It is the Congress's 'blood sucking' economic model that pushed the country backwards.        

"Mr finance minister (who spoke at WEF, Davos), let me remind you that it is your party which ruled the country for most of the time after independence. Because of your bloodsucking policies, the poor have become poorer and rich have become richer," he said.
21:28  Modi had to hide under a cot for over an hour: SP:  The Samajwadi Party today ridiculed BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for his "56-inch chest" remarks, claiming that it was he who "had to hide under a cot" for one-and-a-half hours in Chhattisgarh in 2000.        

"Everyone in Chhattisgarh is laughing at Modi over his 56-inch chest remarks. He is the same person who, when sent to the state by the RSS to oversee BJP's presidential polls in which Lakhiram Agarwal and Brijmohan Agarwal were contesting, had to hide under a cot for over one-and-a-half hours when their supporters clashed," SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury said.
21:26  Sonia discusses LS poll tie-ups with Shinde, Antony:  Congress President Sonia Gandhi held consultations with senior party leaders today amid talk of an early decision on the key issue of alliances for the Lok Sabha polls.     

Gandhi's meeting with leaders including Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Defence Minister A K Antony came on a day when seven more days were given to Andhra Pradesh assembly till January 30 to discuss and debate the draft Telangana bill in the House before returning it to the Centre.        

The decision was taken by President Pranab Mukherjee following a request of the Andhra Pradesh government which sought a four-week extension of the January 23 deadline fixed by him while sending the bill to the state assembly.
20:53  No dilution in BJP's stand on Article 370, says Jaitley :  Weeks after Narendra Modi advocated a debate on Article 370, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley today said there is no dilution of the party's stand that the provision which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir should be scrapped.        

He said a debate was needed to assess whether it has caused harm or provided benefits.        

Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, said Article 370 is the root cause of the feeling of separatism in Kashmir valley and the BJP wanted a debate over its profits and loss.
20:51  AAP rules out action against Somnath Bharti :  The Aam Aadmi Party today ruled any action against Somnath Bharti even as pressure mounted on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for the removal of the controversial law minister for allegedly leading a group of assaulters in a mid-night raid in South Delhi last week.        

Notwithstanding the growing chorus for Bharti's sacking from the Congress, BJP and other quarters, Kejriwal "has not changed" his position on the issue and is unlikely to take any action against the minister before the completion of a judicial probe into the case, sources said.
20:50  China denounces Abe's defence over shrine visit:  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi today denounced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's defence of his controversial visit to the Yasukuni shrine, describing it as futile.        

"In China, there is an old saying: the more one tries to hide, the more one is exposed," said Wang, who is attending the international conference on Syria in Montreux, Switzerland.
19:44  Gorbachev urges Putin and Obama to broker Ukraine peace talks:  The last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev today appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama to broker peace talks to end the deadly violence rocking Ukraine. 

 "I am sure that you are capable of achieving this aim. The sides fighting each other must sit down together for talks," the 82-year-old statesman said in an open letter published on the website of his Gorbachev Foundation.
19:42  Pope says Internet 'gift from God':  Pope Francis described the Internet today as "a gift from God" and called on Catholics to "boldly become citizens of the digital world". 

"The internet... offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God," the Argentine pontiff said in his first World Communication Day message, given annual by the pope.
19:25  Pak PM Sharif meets army chief to review security:  Reeling from a spate of terror attacks that killed over 30 security personnel, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today chaired a meeting during which army chief Gen Raheel Sharif briefed him on the prevailing law and order situation. 

The army has retaliated against back-to-back Taliban attacks in Bannu and Rawalpindi this week by bombarding hideouts in North Waziristan, which claimed over 50 lives.
19:09  AAP looking for 'wanton martyr's status': CPI:  CPI today came down heavily on the recent dharna by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was looking for "a wanton martyr's status" instead of governing and tackling problems politically. 

"Many rightly believe that the Kejriwal team feels politically uncomfortable to continue in power with the outside support of the Congress. In place of tackling (problems) politically, it wants excuses
19:07  6 killed, 8 injured in Peshawar blast:  At least six persons, including two children, were killed and eight others injured in a bomb blast in the restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan today. 

The bomb, planted in a vehicle at a workshop on the busy Kohat-Peshawar Road, went off with a loud bang. The blast killed six persons instantly and injured eight more, a police spokesman said.
19:07  Iraq executes 11 more 'terrorism' convicts: ministry:  Iraq executed 11 men convicted of charges related to "terrorism" today, the justice ministry said, just days after another mass execution of 26 convicts. "The ministry executed 11 people today, after they were convicted of terrorism charges," it said in a statement. "The total of those executed this week is now 37, all of them Iraqis."
19:05  Taliban issue fatwa to Pakistan's media:  The Pakistani Taliban have issued a fatwa against the media, declaring it a "party" to the conflict in the country, and drawn up a hit-list of journalists and publishers, a media report said today.
18:56  'PM Sharif has not interfered in probe against Musharraf':  The prosecutor in the high treason case against Pervez Musharraf today said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had not interfered in the probe against the former Pakistani military ruler. 

A three-judge special court formed by the government to try 70-year-old Musharraf on charges of high treason for imposing emergency in 2007 heard arguments by prosecutor Akram Sheikh.
18:53  Several 'inconsistencies' in new Lokpal Act: CBI Director:  Will Lokpal have jurisdiction to conduct investigations abroad? This was the question asked by CBI Director Ranjit Sinha to the government as he sought clarification about various "inconsistencies" in the Act passed by Parliament recently. 

In his five-page letter to Personnel Department Secretary S K Sarkar, Sinha said Section 36 of the 'The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013' states that a Lokpal officer, making a preliminary probe, can approach the local court and secure an order for making any evidence available if it is in "different contracting state".
18:51  Sonia for action on gold duty; government says not now:  With the clamour for a duty cut on gold imports growing and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi seeking action on such demands, the government today said there is no immediate plan to relax the curbs as they are working well. 

Gandhi, without spelling out her own opinion, has asked the Commerce Ministry to look into demands made by gems and jewellery exporters for a cut in customs duty on gold and relaxation of a rule linking imports of the metal with exports.
18:32  80% of Indians jailed in UAE don't want to be repatriated:  Almost 80 per cent of Indian prisoners in the UAE are eligible for relocation to Indian jails but only 10 per cent wish to serve the remainder of their sentence back home, citing reasons like better facilities. 

Indian Ambassador to the UAE T P Seetharam said under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement signed between India and the UAE in November 2011, almost 80 per cent of Indian prisoners are eligible for relocation to Indian jails.
18:07  China conducts long-range nuclear missile drill: military:  
China's military has released images of an intercontinental ballistic missile with enough range to reach the United States, as Beijing is involved in a series of rows threatening to embroil Washington. 

The pictures of Chinese soldiers test-firing a Dongfeng-31 missile, which is said by experts to be able to carry nuclear warheads 8,000 kilometres appeared in the People's Liberation Army Daily newspaper on Tuesday.

Further images showing soldiers dressed in protective suits, suggesting that the drill was simulating the launch of an armed warhead, were also posted on the sohu.com news portal, attributed to the newspaper.

Sohu.com said it was the first time that images of such an exercise had been released.

The images could not be found on the PLA Daily's website when checked by AFP on Thursday.

China is embroiled in a series of territorial disputes with its neighbours in the South China Sea, and is locked in a row with Japan in the East China Sea over islands administered by Tokyo and claimed by Beijing.
18:03  Manmohan India's weakest PM, does not get respect: Uddhav Thackeray:  
CNN-IBN reports: In a no-holds-barred attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said that Manmohan Singh was the weakest PM India had ever had.

"India hasn't had as weak a Prime Minister as Manmohan Singh. He doesn't get any respect anywhere," Uddhav said at a rally marking the birth anniversary of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.

The 53-year-old also accused Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde of playing vote-bank politics. 

"Shinde tells states to be careful before arresting Muslims in terror cases. Shinde has an eye on the elections. Why should you look at the religion of a person?" he said, adding, "This January 26 will be the last time a Congress Prime Minister speaks from the Red Fort."
18:01  AAP senior leaders meet to discuss Somnath Bharti issue:  Meanwhile, news just coming in that the Aam Aadmi Party leadership is holding a meeting in New Delhi possibly to decide the fate of its controversial law minister Somnath Bharti
17:49  Bald men take offence at Rahul's 'selling comb to bald' barb:  
This kind of stuff happens only in India.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's barb aimed at BJP at recent AICC meet has hurt the sentiments of bald people Nashik district of Maharashtra who feel the remarks smacked of lampooning the natural phenomenon. 

A number of bald men in Amalner town of Jalgaon district in North Maharashtra on Wednesday took out a morcha against Rahul's statement that "opposition can even sell a comb to a bald man".

A memorandum was submitted to Sub-Divisional Officer Tukaram Hulwale by a delegation. 

The members said Rahul's comment though aimed at BJP has hurt their feelings and is smacked of ridicule. 

"Baldness is a natural process. We protest against remarks made by Rahul", said Shivaji Patil, a member of the delegation.
17:16  Sunanda death case transferred to Crime Branch:  
The probe into the mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, was today transfered to the elite Crime Branch of Delhi Police, a week after she was found dead in a luxury hotel in the national capital

Sources said the high-profile case has been handed over to Crime Branch considering "various aspects" involving it. 

On Tuesday, a sub-divisional magistrate, who probed Sunanda's death, had directed the police to investigate murder or suicide angles in the case after the autopsy report mentioned "poisoning" as the reason for her demise. 

52-year-old Sunanda was found dead in a 5-star hotel in South Delhi on Friday night, a day after her twitter spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar over an alleged affair with Tharoor. 

In a report to the police, SDM, who has recorded the statements of Sunanda's brother, son, Tharoor and his staff, said that no family member suspected any foul play in the death.

The sources had said autopsy report also mentions a "deep teeth bite" on the edge of the left palm apart from mentioning over a dozen injury marks.
17:09  Congress has nothing to sell, nothing to show to India: Arun Jaitley:  
Senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley slammed the Congress on Thursday and said that the party had nothing to sell and nothing to show to the electorate of this country. 

Jaitley took on Union Finance Minister, P Chidambaram and Law Minister, Kapil Sibal and said that both of them had decided to speak out after UPA government had displayed a lack of will to fight in an adverse political scenario. 

The BJP leader said that Chidambaram, who was in Davos to attend the World Economic Forum, was expected to market the Indian economy but instead chose to speak on Modi. 

Jaitley said, He questions the BJPs ability to administer the national economy. The audience still had fair memories of management of Indias economy between 1998 and 2004. Not many critical mentions are there for that period, adding, Coincidentally, on the day that he chose to speak about the BJP and Narendra Modi at Davos, Moodys has come out with its India report which is highlighted in the media. Its reporting indicates that the Industry is today waiting for a political change led by Narendra Modi for a major turn-around to take place. 
17:04  Treat acid attack, rape victims for free: Delhi govt to hospital:  
All the government and private hospitals in the national capital have been directed to provide "immediate and free" medical treatment to the victims of acid attack or rape. 

Special Secretary of the Health Department of Delhi government, S B Shashank, issued a circular in this regard to all the medical superintendents of all the hospitals in the national capital along with the president of the Delhi Medical
Association. 

Hospitals can't refuse treatment to the victims of acid attack (which falls under section 326 of Indian Penal Code)
and of rape (under section 376 of IPC). 

"Directors/medical superintendents of all hospitals, including those under the private management, within the national capital territory are hereby required to take note and ensure free medical treatment to any victims of offence covered under sections 326A, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D or 376F of the IPC and to simultaneously inform the incident to police," the circular reads. 

As per the circular, the order has to be implied by all the government, private hospital and nursing homes. 

The circular clearly states that no acid attack or rape victim can be denied treatment if taken to a particular hospital citing it is a police case. 
16:59  Metro services to be curtailed on R-Day:  
In view of tight security for Republic Day parade, metro train services will be partially curtailed in the city on January 26. 

"As per instructions of Delhi Police, the services of Delhi Metro will be partially curtailed on the January 26 as part of the security arrangements for the Republic Day celebrations," a DMRC official said today.

Besides, all metro station parking lots will remain closed from 2 PM of January 25 to 2 PM of January 26. 

Metro train services schedule for Line 2 (HUDA City Centre to Jahangirpuri), Line 3 (Noida City Centre to Dwarka Sector 21), Line 4 (Yamuna Bank to Vaishali) and Line 6 (Central Secretariat to Badarpur) have been partially modified. 

On January 26, HUDA City Centre to Jahangirpuri, Line 2, entry and exit at Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan metro stations will remain closed from 6 AM to 12 noon. 

Patel Chowk and Race Course Metro stations entry and exit will remain closed from 9 AM to 12 noon. 
16:49  HK tycoon offers $1bn for man who can woo lesbian daughter:  Hong Kong-based real estate tycoon Cecil Chao Sze-tsung raised eyebrows everywhere when, in September 2012, he announced a HK$ 500 million for anyone who can lure his daughter Gigi Chao from her lesbian ways to have a heterosexual marriage with her. 

The offer, not unexpectedly, brought in more than 20,000 suitors, not all of them drawn by the bounty, we are sure, but the sad story is not one of them could win the fair maiden. Or the unfair sum. 

So what does a fat cat father do when all else fails? He ups the stake, that's what.

So Cecil Chao has now doubled the award for his daughter's hand. The man who can win her over now stands to gain HK$1 billion.

Does Gigi Chao have any say in all this, you ask? The South China Morning Post quotes her as saying, 'First of all, I'm concerned about his use of the word 'dowry' in a Southeast Asian country, as it is well known that dowry deaths are a human rights concern in India, and I don't want people to step backward in hearing this news. 

'Secondly, I don't think my dad's offering of any amount of money would be able to attract a man I would find attractive. 

'Alternatively, I would be happy to befriend any man willing to donate huge amounts of money to my charity Faith in Love, provided they don't mind that I already have a wife. 

'Third and lastly, thank you Daddy, I love you too.' 

For those of us whose only source of insight into the lifestyles of the rich and famous are the famous K television serials, Hong Kong's unfolding love story can be accessed here.
16:42  'AAP's remarks on R'Day parade have not hit morale of Army':  
The remarks made by leaders from the Aam Aadmi Party against the holding of functions such as the Republic Day have not affected the morale of the Army and it is continuing its rehearsals for the event, a senior officer said today.

"This did not have any effect on us and we are continuing with our preparations for the parade," Delhi Area Deputy Commander Maj Gen Rajbir Singh told reporters in New Delhi

The officer was asked if the remarks made by the AAP leaders against the Republic Day parade during their two-day protest near the Rajpath affected the morale of the personnel participating in the show.

During their two-day protest in front of the Rail Bhawan, AAP leaders had reportedly said that the Republic Day function was meant for elite class people only.
16:27  Sunanda Pushkar's case to be transferred to crime branch: Sources:  The case of Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar's death has been transferred to the crime branch of the Delhi police, sources tell PTI.

Tharoor's wife Sunanda was found dead in Hotel Leela Palace on Jan 17, just a couple of days after an open spat on Twitter that threw spotlight on the couple's personal life and a Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar.

Mystery shrouds her death. The autopsy report of Sunanda has attributed her death to poisoning by drug overdose.
16:12  SRK leaves Nanavati Hospital after treatment:  Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who was today injured during the shooting for the film, Happy New Year, at a five-star hotel in Mumbai, was discharged from the Nanavati hospital after receiving treatment
16:11  Nagaland's descent into chaos:  'The absence of a credible state in Nagaland has created a power vacuum that is being filled by chaotic sub-nationalist forces often at war with one another,' writes R N Ravi, a retired Special Director, Intelligence Bureau and Rediff.com columnist, in The Hindu here.
15:58  Mukul Kesavan writes in The Telegraph, Kolkata, on Delhi minister Somnath Bharti's persecution of African women in a part of the national capital: 'If Kejriwal, Ilmi, Yadav and Marlena believe their own rhetoric, if they see the AAP as the embodiment of a popular desire for change, they owe it to themselves and to the janata that they so fluently invoke, to apologize to Khirki's African community. They should apologize not just for Bharti's behaviour, but as a token of their belief in the goodness of ordinary people in this country: from members of khap panchayats in Haryana who vote, to African women in Delhi who don't.'

Read his incisive damnation, The Ugandan Persecution, here.
15:56  You can't turn UP into Gujarat: Modi takes a dig at Mulayam:  At the Gorakhpur rally, Narendra Modi takes a dig a Samjwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh. "They said Modi ji ki haisiyat nahi hai Gujarat bana sake. Netaji do you know what it means to make Gujarat?"

"Netaji, Gujarat means giving 24/7 electricity. You are right you cannot make Gujarat. Iske liye chappan inch ka seena lagta hai?"

"Neta ji, having agriculture growth over 10 per cent is making Gujarat, not stopping between 3 to 4 per cent," he said.
15:25  West Bengal CM had approached cricket great last week:  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee scored a coup of sorts by getting actor Mithun Chakraborty to agree for a Rajya Sabha nomination, but she may not be so lucky with cricketing legend Sourav Ganguly, it seems.

That she sounded out the greatest Indian cricket captain, till MS Dhoni came along that is, is old news. Even the BJP, it was reported, was keen to rope in Sourav, who is perhaps the second biggest crowd-puller in Bengal, after Mamata herself.

However, The Telegraph of Kolkata reports that the ex-captain has nixed the proposal that would have placed him alongside his former colleague, Sachin Tendulkar, in the Upper House.

The newspaper quotes a 'well-placed source' as saying: "The offer was made last week. Sourav conveyed his regrets as he has no intention of joining politics."

Will Narendra Modi succeed where Mamata Banerjee couldn't? Let's wait and see.
15:05   Cong mocked my origins as tea seller; insulted the poor: Modi @ Gorakhpur rally:   "But, why is it that poverty only increased? The reason is the Congress sees their gain in keeping the poor in poverty," Modi said at a rally on Gorakhpur.

Hitting back at the Congress over their tea-vendor jibe, he said, "See their (Congress party's) mentality. They do not like if a chaiwallah, a son of a poor mother walks with his head held high. The has Congress insulted the poor, mocked my origins as a tea seller."

"Will you tolerate the poor being insulted? Will you allow poor being treated as vote banks."
14:58  "There is a trust that the Dalit and marginalised communities are placing in the BJP. As soon as the elections come Congress remembers the poor," Modi said. 
14:57  People have decided the results of polls; it'll be Cong-free India: Modi:   Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addresses a massive rally in Gorakhpur. Here are the highlights of his speech:

"It seems as if every region of UP is competing to go ahead of the other! Each rally has broken record of last one," he said. "I was seeing from the helicopter, there were people all over! It is a sea of humanity."

"The strong presence in the rallies show the change in the direction of the wind."

"The people have already decided the results of the election, Congress mukt Bharat will be a reality," he said.
14:56  Trailer of 2014 happended in December: Modi :   The trailer for 2014 Lok Sabha elections happened in December and see the results, said Narendra Modi in Gorakhpur.

"Some people feel poor, Dalits, Tribals, marginalised people are in their pockets. They treat them not as humans but as vote banks. It was said the BJP could not win among the SC and ST communities. But, I want to say the truth from this land," he said.
14:46  Delhi coiurt seeks report from police on plea against Bharti :  Delhi court seeks report from the police on another African woman's plea for FIR in connection with midnight raid allegedly lead by Somnath Bharti.
14:30  Shah Rukh Khan has a minor injury:  Official Statement from Shah Rukh Khan's office: Khan had a minor accident on the sets while shooting. He has a minor injury and has got the necessary medical aid.

Khan is absolutely fine now. Thank you for all your wishes!
14:25  Senior priest slaps journalist when questioned on Modi:  Senior priest of the Dwarka Shradha Peeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati is caught in a controversy after he slapped a media person, reports CNN-IBN

Swaroopanand Saraswati had been vocally critical of the BJP's decision to project a PM candidate. He had said in Jabalpur that the prime minister should be elected by MPs.

"I slapped the journalist because he kept on asking about Narendra Modi. An effort is being made to keep Modi in the news, whether it be by getting people to praise him or insult him," Swaroopanand Saraswati said.

14:23  Nanavati Hospital casualty says: Shah Rukh is in physiotherapy.   
14:14  Shah Rukh injured during film shoot, hospitalised:  Accident on sets of Farah Khan's Happy New Year:   Superstar Shah Rukh Khan was today injured during the shooting for the film, Happy New Year, at a five-star hotel in Mumbai, and he has been taken to Nanavati hospital.

The film, sporting an ensemble cast, is being directed by Farah Khan.

Updates as we get them. 
14:08  Accident on sets of Farah Khan's Happy New Year:   Superstar Shah Rukh Khan was today injured during the shooting for the film, Happy New Year, at a five-star hotel in Mumbai, and he has been taken to Nanavati hospital. The film, sporting an ensemble cast, is being directed by Farah Khan.

Updates as we get them. 
14:03  It's not Brinda Karat for CPM in Tamil Nadu but sitting RS member:  With the AIADMK extending support to the CPI-M in the Rajya Sabha elections, the party today nominated sitting member T K Rangarajan for a successive term. 

The party's state unit secretary G Ramakrishnan said the state executive had decided in this regard. "T K Rangarajan is our candidate," he told reporters in Chennai. 

He thanked the AIADMK for extending support to his party, which came days after he led a party delegation to meet the ruling party general secretary and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at her Kodanad camp office on January 21. 

While announcing four of her party candidates for the February 7 biennial elections today, Jayalalithaa had also extended her party's support to the CPI-M.
13:39  Andhra assembly gets extension till Jan 30 for Telangana debate:   The Andhra Pradesh assembly gets extension till January 30 on the Telangana Bill. The MLAs had sought extension of four weeks to continue debating the Bill.

President Pranab Mukherjee had sent the draft bill to the state legislature on December 12 and had earlier given time until January 23 to discuss and return it.

Now with the deadline extended, the Centre will have a very narrow window to get the Telangana Bill passed in the Parliament which will commence on February 5 to pass the Vote on Account.

Our Correspondent, Vicky Nanjappa, had in fact reported this yesterday itself, you can read his report here.
 
Image: Andhra CM Kiran Kumar Reddy has been opposing the bifurcation of the state in the assembly 
13:36  More trouble for Bharti: Another Ugandan woman testifies against him:  More trouble for Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti. One more Uganan woman has moved court asking for an FIR to be filed against men who misbehaved. She has identified Bharti as one of them.

Earlier, another Ugandan woman had said that Bharti led to mob in Khikri and manhandled her.      
13:14  The Delhi high court reserves its order on a plea seeking a stay on operationalisation of Tata-AirAsia deal.
13:05  They raped me through the night: WB survivor, who was 'raped as punishment':   NDTV reports: A 20-year-old tribal woman was allegedly gang-raped by 13 men in West Bengal's Birbhum district on the orders of a village "court" that decided to punish her for her relationship with a man from a different community.

The young woman, who is in hospital in a critical state, reportedly told the police that she was gang-raped through the night, so many times that she lost count.

"People from the village, men my father's age, raped me," she said. 13 people named by her have been arrested.
12:59  BJP delegation to meet Delhi police chief on Somnath Bharti issue:  And there's more trouble for Somnath Bharti. The Delhi BJP delegation will meet Police Commissioner B S Baasi at 3.30 pm today on the issue regarding the midnight raid conducted by the law minister.     
12:54  'Delhi raid not to affect India-Uganda trade ties':  The recent incident in Delhi involving an alleged face-off between the Aam Aadmi Party and Ugandan nationals will not affect the trade ties between India and the African nation, Ugandan Minister of State for Industry and Technology James Mutende has said.   

"I think it causes some social discomfort but not business discomfort. No. It (trade) will not be affected because issues of misconduct normally affect social relations."   

"Business people are not affected because every day they are looking for more business ties between Uganda and Indi aand business is growing," Mutende told PTI on the sidelines of India Engineering Sourcing Show in Mumbai.
12:49  Cong leader Lovely meets Lt Guv, to seek Bharti's resignation and arrest:  After Chief Minster Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely meets Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on the Somnath Bharti issue.

The Congress is likely to demand Bharti's resignation and arrest, reports CNN-IBN.

Bharti finds himself in the middle of a controversy after a midnight raid in Khirki. A Ugandan woman has said he manhandled her and other women during the raid.  
12:43  Now, Lanka navy men pelt stones at Tamil Nadu fishermen :  About 2,700 fishermen from Rameswaram returned without fishing after Sri Lankan naval personnel allegedly pelted stones at them and cut the fishing nets of some boats off Katchativu, officials said today.   

They said the fishermen had put out to sea in 683 mechanised boats last night and were fishing off Katchathivu islet when the naval personnel came in boats, pelted stones at them and cut the nets on six boats.
12:33  Mukesh Ambani, Rahul Bajaj, Anand Mahindra give WEF a miss:  While the rich and famous from across the world have assembled in Davos for their annual talk fest and networking for business, many top Indian business leaders like Mukesh Ambani and Rahul Bajaj have given this year's WEF annual meeting a miss, reports PTI.

Others who have been in Davos earlier but could not make it to the ongoing meeting include Anand Mahindra, Kumar Mangalam Birla and Chanda Kochhar. Among these, people like Bajaj, Mahindra and Kochhar have been very active in WEF meetings and used to speak on a host of issues very vocally, although leaders like Ambani and Birla have always kept a low profile.

Despite these dropouts, Indian delegation still runs into about 125 business and political leaders, which makes India's presence fourth largest after the US, UK and the host country Switzerland.
12:24  Somnath Bharti not discussed in Kejriwal-Lt Governor meet: AAP :  The Aaam Aadmi Party said today that Arvind Kejriwal's meeting with Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung was a routine meet that takes place every week, reports NDTV.

There was no discussion on Law Minister Somnath Bharti, AAP said.  
12:11  Bharti should be dismissed immediately: BJP:  And after the Congress, it's the Bharatiya Janata Party that is demanding action against Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad today said, "Bharti should be dismissed immediately."

After his midnight raid, Bharti has been under fire for his controversial remarks against BJP's Arun Jaitley and senior lawyer Harish Salve. He said, "I want to spit at their faces."    
12:03  The Delhi Commission for Women has warned Law Minister Somnath Bharti to appear before it by tomorrow or an FIR may be registered against him.

This even as Bharti continues to maintain that he hasn't received any summons from the DCW, reports CNN-IBN.
11:55  Solar scam accused Biju Radhakrishna guilty for wife's murder:  The main accused in the solar scam Biju Radhakrishna has been found guilty for the murder of his first wife. His mother has also been held guilty for murder and dowry harassment. 
11:47  Huffington Post plans India edition, to be launched in May:  US-based leading online newspaper Huffington Post is planning to launch an India edition by May this year and negotiations are currently underway to finalise a local partner for this venture. 

"We are working very hard on our India edition. We are in negotiations right now and we hope to launch it in May," Huffington Post CEO Jimmy Maymann said in Davos. 

Starting with the English language, the India online edition would also eventually offer news in other local languages, Maymann told PTI on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. 

Having established itself as a major media force in India through its namesake online newspaper, Huffington Post has already begun its expansion in other markets with ten international editions already under its stable. It has just launched a new section called World Post.
11:39  Solar scam accused Biju Radhakrishna guilty for wife's murder:  The main accused in the solar scam Biju Radhakrishna has been found guilty for the murder of his first wife. His mother has also been held guilty for murder and dowry harassment. 
11:17  Malini Parthasarathy, editor of The Hindu newspaper, tweets: Great additions to the editorial team at The Hindu: Varghese George as Political Editor & Amit Baruah as Resident Editor, Mumbai.
11:11  Jayalalithaa leaves one RS seat for CPM, who will the latter put up?:  Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has announced four nominees from the state for the Rajya Sabha, leaving the last one that her party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, commands, to ally the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

The AIADMK's four candidates are Sasikaka Pushpa, the mayor of Tuticorin; Chinnadurai, Vijila Satyanand, and Muthukaruppan, all from the southern districts of the state.

But media attention is on the fifth RS seat Jaya has left for the CPM and who the Marxist party will put up from there.

Informed sources say that the CPM could be putting up its polirburo member Brinda Karat from the seat, but watch this space for more information.
11:06  Kejriwal meets Lt Governor as demand for Somnath Bharti's resignation grows:   Amid growing clamour over the resignation of Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti, CM Arvind Kejriwal meets  Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.  
11:06  US Congress needs to raise debt limit by late February: Treasury secretary:   Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has warned that the United States could be on path of default if the Congress did not increase the nation's borrowing limit by late February.

In a letter to the Congress, Lew said the treasury would hit the borrowing limit by February 7 and by taking some extraordinary measures, it can avoid default by late February.

The current US debt limit stand at $17.3 trillion. "I respectfully urge the Congress to provide certainty and stability to the economy and financial markets by acting to raise the debt limit before February 7, 2014, and certainly before late February," Lew said in his letter to the top Congressional leadership.
10:57  Telangana: As deadline ends today, Andhra CM likely to quit :   Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy strongly opposed the proposed bifurcation of the state yesterday.

As the January 23 deadline set by President Pranab Mukherjee for the Andhra Pradesh Assembly to return the state Bill on Telangana ends today, sources say that he is likely to quit and float his own party.

A public notice was issued in a couple of local dailies in Hyderabad about a new political party to be registered as Samaikya Praja Vani (United People's Voice) yesterday, reports The Indian Express

This new party is likely to be the one launched by the Andhra CM.


Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Wednesday stoutly opposed the proposed bifurcation of the State and said it would be detrimental to all regions.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/politics/andhra-cm-reddy-opposes-telangana-bill-in-assembly-1354093.html?utm_source=ref_article
10:37  Cong leader Lovely to meet Lt Governor, to demand Bharti's resignation :  Even Congress leader Arvinder Singh Lovely will meet Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jungto demand Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti's arrest. 
10:29  Kejriwal to meet Lt Governor as demand Somnath Bharti's resignation grows:   As the clamour over Law Minister Somnath Bharti's resignation grows, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will meet Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung today.

Even Bharti's colleagues in the Aam Aadmi Party are now questioning his verbal abuse of Opposition leaders and the midnight raid in the Khirki Extension area in a bid to unearth prostitution and drugs racket.

10:21  Bite mark found on Sunanda Pushkar's hand, says forensic report :  The mystery over Sunanda Pushkar's death deepened with the latest revelation hinting at a scuffle before her death, reports Zee news.

In the latest details emerging out of Sunanda's forensic report, a deep bite mark was found on her hand. Her upper extremity was dotted with over a dozen of injury marks on hand, an arm, chin, and neck and these were termed as 'scuffle marks', sources said.

The autopsy report of Sunanda has attributed her death to poisoning by drug overdose, while ruling out the 'scuffle marks' as minor injuries.

Read the full report here

09:57  Rupee falls 17 paise against dollar in early trade:   The rupee fell by 17 paise to 61.98 against the US dollar in early trade today at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market on increased demand for the American currency from oil importers.

Forex dealers said a weak opening at the domestic equity market also weighed on the rupee.
09:50  AAP effect: Cong MP Sanjay Nirupam's hunger strike over power bills in Mumbai:   NDTV reports: Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam plans to sit on an indefinite hunger strike outside Reliance Energy's Mumbai office from 11 am today to demand that electricity prices be reduced in the city.

Earlier this week, power tariffs were cut by nearly 20 per cent across the state, except in Mumbai.

Last Monday, hundreds of Congress workers led by MPs Sanjay Nirupam and Priya Dutt protested outside the Kandivali West office of the Anil Ambani-owned power company that provides electricity in their constituencies. 
09:09  Indian born Professor wins Marconi Prize for contribution to WiFi:  Indian born scientist and professor (Emeritus) at Stanford University Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj has been awarded the prestigious 2014 Marconi Society Prize for developing the theory and applications of MIMO antennas.

His idea for using multiple antennas at both the transmitting and receiving stations -- which is at the heart of the current high speed WiFi and 4G mobile systems -- has revolutionised high speed wireless delivery of multimedia services for billions of people, said the Marconi Society in a release said.

"Paul has made profound contributions to wireless technology, and the resulting benefit to mankind is indisputable. Every wifi router and 4G phone today uses MIMO technology pioneered by him," Chairman of the Marconi Society Professor Sir David Payne said.
09:00  AAP a talking point at World Economic Forum in Davos :  The Aam Aadmi Party is a talking point even at the World Economic Forum in Davos, reports CNN-IBN

There has been a mixed reaction to the AAP from India Inc. Some leaders do feel that its economic policy will move from Left to Centre.

"Once they figure things out and create a base, probably they will move towards the Centre," said Infosys Vice Chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan.

Read the full report here

08:52  Quentin Tarantino scraps film after script leak:  Oscar-winning director Quentin Tarantino has decided to scrap his supposed next 'Hateful Eight' after its script got leaked.

The 'Django Unchained' helmer said he has now decided to publish it as book instead of a movie, reported Contactmusic.

"I'm very, very depressed, I finished a script, a first draft, and I didn't mean to shoot it until next winter, a year from now. I gave it to six people, and apparently it's gotten out today," Tarantino said.

"I don't know how these agents work, but I'm not making this next. I'm going to publish it, and that's it for now. I give it out to six people, and if I can't trust them to that degree, then I have no desire to make it. I'll publish it. I'm done. I'll move on to the next thing. I've got 10 more where that came from," he added.
08:27  Khurshid raises concerns over Devyani issue with John Kerry:  Upset over the Devyani Khobragade episode, India yesterday raised with the United States its concerns over "trafficking" visas issued to family members of Sangita Richard, the absconding maid of the Indian diplomat whose arrest had triggered a row between the two countries.

The concerns were conveyed by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to his American counterpart John Kerry during nearly a half-an-hour-long meeting on the sidelines of Geneva 2 talks on Syria in the Swiss resort city of Montreux.

Khurshid and Kerry recognised the need to put in place institutional arrangements to look at all outstanding issues relating to the privileges and immunities of diplomats of both countries so that such issues could be resolved in a timely manner, the External Affairs Ministry said in a release after the meeting.

00:28  Bluestar probe: UK Sikh MP's meeting with cabinet secy sparks row:   A meeting between Britain's only Sikh member of parliament and the Cabinet Secretary conducting a probe into the country's alleged involvement in planning Operation Bluestar in 1984 to flush out militants holed up in the Golden Temple has sparked a controversy with the Labour party asking why no other MP was invited for an interaction.

Prime Minister David Cameron directed his Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood to probe the facts behind claims of British collusion in the operation that emerged as part of recently declassified documents.

Britain's only Sikh MP, Paul Uppal, outed a meeting with Heywood on the issue, triggering questions over why only the Conservative Party politician was being allowed access.

"On Monday night I am actually going to go and see Sir Jeremy Heywood with some other Sikhs, just to impress on him the level of sentiment and how sensitive this is," the Wolverhampton MP told the Sikh Television Channel last week.
00:10  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  Khurshid, Kerry meet; commit to take ties forward
Amethi: Rahul skirts comment on AAP; trains guns at Akhilesh govt
Jaguar aircraft crashes in Rajasthan
No military solution to Syrian crisis: India
Midnight raid case: Probe still to determine facts of case, says AAP
Which way will Guj, Maharashtra and MP go if LS polls are held today
Prez extends deadline to discuss Telangana bill by a week

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