23:15 UP MLA's sons held for murdering stepmother:
The two brothers who had allegedly murdered their stepmother Rehana Begum, wife of BSP MLA Haji Aleem Choudhary, in October last year before going on the run from the law were arrested here this morning, police said.
The accused, identified as Danish (24) and Anas (23), evaded arrest for five months but were arrested from a madarsa at Hazrat Nizamuddin here today. They were carrying a reward of Rs 30,000 each on their heads.
"We received information yesterday that both accused would be visiting the madarsa at Hazrat Nizamuddin in the morning.
"The (accused) went to Lucknow and from there proceeded to Mewat, where they had remained in hiding. Today, they came from Mewat to visit the Marqas Madarsa and were nabbed," said a senior police official.
Rehana, Aleem's second wife, was found murdered on the morning of October 9 at her New Jafrabad residence in northeast Delhi. The MLA was outside the country at the time.
Although police managed to crack the murder mystery on October 13 with the arrest of their driver Mohd Nadeem, the two brothers had been at large since then.
22:31 Ready for an alliance with TRS: Congress:
The Congress is ready for an alliance with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, party general secretary Digvijaya Singh said today, amid no sign from the TRS of budging from its 'no merger' stand.
"The Congress party is considering forming a group with all senior leaders of party from the Telangana region who will talk about this (alliance) with TRS leaders," Singh told reporters.
He said that as far as merger issue is concerned, a statement has come from Rao himself rather than from the Congress.
"Now that TRS has ruled out a merger, that is an issue with them, not with us. We would have definitely welcomed the merger, because this is what he had promised to Sonia Gandhi when Rao had met her," said Singh.
22:27 Naveen had rejected Modi's help during Cyclone Phailin: BJP :
The BJP today rejected Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's allegation that Gujarat had not extended any help for the victims of Cyclone Phailin.
"A day after the cyclone made its landfall, Modiji called up Naveen and asked if the Gujarat government can be of any help to Odisha. Naveen said the situation doesn't warrant any outside help," state BJP president K V Singh Deo said, reacting to Patnaik's statements given at three different public meetings.
Patnaik, while targeting the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, had said, "Where were Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, BJP President Rajnath Singh and the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi when people suffered due to Cyclone Phailin and the subsequent floods."
22:25 Nisha Biswal meets Foreign Secy:
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal today called on Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh.
Singh stressed the need for officials on both sides to expeditiously resolve outstanding issues in a bid to focus on substantive and strategic aspects of the Indo-US partnership.
On her part, Biswal conveyed the US government's message that ties between the two countries were "important" and both should move forward, putting behind their "differences" over the Khobragade episode.
Ahead of Biswal's departure from Washington, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki had said US Secretary of State John Kerry was sending with her a message that the "relationship is important".
22:24 Is Abu Salem superhuman, asks court:
Pointing out that extradited gangster Abu Salem was not "a superhuman" who would flee when several policemen were guarding him, the special TADA court today granted his plea that police should not handcuff him while ferrying him between the court and the jail.
Salem had filed an application before the court, taking exception to the handcuffing.
"He is not a superhuman," said Judge G A Sanap, allowing Salem's plea.
Earlier, the court had questioned the Navi Mumbai police's argument, where they had said they had intelligence reports saying that he could flee.
22:22 Withdraw 10 per cent surcharge on water: Harsh Vardhan:
BJP's Delhi unit president Harsh Vardhan today demanded that the Lieutenant Governor withdraw the 10 percent surcharge on water tariff ordered by the AAP government.
"Water is the natural and basic need of every person. The Constitution of India does not permit any government to hinder the supply of drinking water to anyone. There is a tradition of providing free drinking water to needy persons in this country. Supplying water at market rates is like trading inhumanity. BJP strongly opposes it," said Vardhan.
He alleged that with the connivance of the Congress and the AAP, the previous Arvind Kejriwal government had taken an "anti-people" decision to impose a 10 percent surcharge on the consumption of water above 700 litre.
22:21 Rahul will not say no to PM post: Congress:
The Congress today said that Rahul Gandhi will have no hesitation in taking over as the prime minister if the Congress-led UPA makes a request in the event of the UPA returning to power.
"Rahul Gandhi has said on more than one occasion that he will follow suggestions and recommendations of the Congress-led UPA post elections," party spokesman Sanjay Jha told reporters.
"We will follow the protocol prevalent in India. He will not say no if he is requested," Jha said.
22:19 Sanjay Nirupam damages BJP leader's cell phone:
Congress Lok Sabha MP Sanjay Nirupam was today involved in an angry exchange of words with a BJP corporator at an event in Mumbai, during which he allegedly damaged the latter's mobile phone.
A non-cognisable offence has been registered against Nirupam on a complaint lodged by Corporator Vinod Shelar, police said.
The incident took place during a foundation stone laying ceremony for a road in suburban Dindoshi. The ceremony was organised by Congress workers under Nirupam's leadership.
20:47 Delhi Election office submits report on Arvind Kejriwal :
The Chief Electoral Office of Delhi has submitted its report to the Election Commission of India on the issue of over-expenditure involving former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal during assembly election campaigning in December last year.
According to the report, Kejriwal had spent over Rs 21 lakh during the campaigning while the maximum limit of expenditure in the assembly poll is fixed at Rs 14 lakh per candidate.
"The returning officer of the New Delhi assembly constituency, the district election officer, and expenditure observer have submitted their reports to the Election Commission of India. The matter is in the active consideration of the ECI. The ECI will now take a decision on whether a case is made out for disqualification or not," said Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev.
20:45 UP govt acts tough, HC seeks resolution but docs unrelenting :
Acting tough, the UP government on Wednesday clamped the ESMA against striking doctors, hours after the Allahabad high court directed it to transfer police officials and ordered a judicial probe to end the deadlock arising out of the stir, but the medicos said they would not back down.
As the strike by the doctors in several parts of the state against the attack on their colleagues in Kanpur entered the sixth day today, paralysing health services, the government said it was invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act, amid reports of deaths in different districts of the state due to the strike.
20:35 Be ready to lay down ur life but never raise hand: Kejriwal:
After violence broke out following his brief detention, the Aam Aadmi Party's national Convener Arvind Kejriwal today appealed to his volunteers to stay calm and not to resort to any kind of violence.
"I urge all volunteers not to raise their hand n to stay calm n non-violent. U shud be prepared to lay down ur life but never raise hand," Kejriwal tweeted after violent clashes were reported between BJP and AAP workers in Lucknow and Delhi.
As he embarked on his four-day tour to verify Modi's claims of providing water, power, education and healthcare to people of Gujarat, Kejriwal was taken to Radhanpur police station in north Gujarat and allowed to go after half an hour.
20:16 Congress, RJD and NCP seal alliance in Bihar:
Congress, RJD and NCP sealed their alliance in Bihar on Wednesday night.
The Congress will contest on 12 Lok Sabha seats, NCP one and RJD on 27:
The Congress hailed Lalu Prasad as an "extremely supportive" ally as the two sides sealed a deal under which it will contest 12 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.
"We have a very good rapport with RJD chief Lalu Prasad. He has been extremely supportive of Congress inside Parliamen tand outside," party spokesperson Sanjay Jha told reporters.
Asserting that there was "no dispute" between the two parties, the Congress spokesperson said that the issue of an alliance during any election is a very complex issue that cannot be dealt with in a hurry.
20:15 Mulayam has the right to scold me: Akhilesh:
A day after Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav publicly admonished his son's government in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today said it was his right as the party supremo.
"Which father doesn't scold his son? As party chief, Netaji (Mulayam) has the right to say this," Akhilesh said.
The chief minister, however, said, "I sometimes fail to understand when he (Mulayam) becomes father and when he is the party chief."
20:13 BJP confident about getting clear majority: Rajnath:
With the Election Commission announcing the dates for the Lok Sabha polls today, BJP President Rajnath Singh said his party was prepared for the upcoming elections and aims to win a clear majority on its own strength.
"The Election Commission has declared the polling schedule and we are confident of a fair election. Our party is confident about attaining a clear majority," Singh said.
"We are prepared and our effort is to win at least 272 seats on our own strength," he further said.
20:11 Congress using AAP to stop Modi: BJP:
BJP's national spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said today that the Congress is "using" the Aam Aadmi Party and the Third Front to stop Narendra Modi from becoming the prime minister.
"The Congress party is left with nothing to talk about. So their leaders are pushing AAP and the Third Front against Modi. We believe that all votes given to the AAP and the Third Front are actually given to the Congress," Javadekar said while addressing a press meet today.
19:42 AAP, BJP workers clash in Lucknow, Gujarat:
Workers of the BJP and the AAP reportedly clashed in Lucknow on Wednesday evening over the 'detention' of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal in north Gujarat.
Footage on news channels showed members of the two parties running on the streets of Lucknow, purportedly chasing each other, with lathis.
Meanwhile, some media reports suggested that Kejriwal's convoy had been stopped again in Gujarat.
19:08 Ashwini Kumar alleges AAP tickets were all pre-decided:
In fresh dissidence in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), National Council member Ashwini Kumar today alleged that most of the Lok Sabha tickets were "pre-decided" and given to candidates who have an association with Ford Foundation.
Addressing a press conference, Kumar, who also claimed to be a founder member of the party, said that tickets for the Lok Sabha were pre-decided and that the party only used the data of the people who had submitted the forms.
18:56 AAP supporters stage protest outside BJP HQ:
Scores of AAP supporters today staged a protest outside BJP headquarters here today hours after Arvind Kejriwal was detained in Radhanpur town of North Gujarat for violation of model code of conduct.
Police resorted to use of water canon to disperse the demonstrators. AAP activists also clashed with BJP workers.
18:34 BJP leaders say AAP members behaving like Maoists:
This is what Arvind Kejriwal tweeted an hour ago
: This is the state in many villages. Primary Health Center, Village- Badi Pipli, Patan, Gujarat. Kejriwal is in Gujarat on a four-day tour to check if Narendra Modi's development story is really true.
18:21 AAP: No former CM has been treated like this :
AAP leader Rajmohan Gandhi appeals for calm. AAP says no former CM has been treated like this (Kejriwal's detention in Gujarat).
Section 144 has been imposed in the area.
AAP leader Ashutosh (a former journalist) tries to scale the BJP office HQ.
18:00 AAP protestors try to scale walls of Delhi BJP office in protest of Kejriwal 'detention':
In the aftermath of AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal's brief 'detention' in Gujarat, party workers have been protesting outside the BJP office at Ashoka Road in Delhi.
AAP workers have been trying to scale the walls of the BJP office, while others have been grappling with the police, trying to get in.
AAP leader Shazia Ilmi says Narendra Modi is scared of Arvind Kejriwal. She says BJP workers inside
the office have been throwing stones at AAP protestors. She says the AAP
workers have only been raising slogans, but BJP workers have been throwing stones and water at them.
They say they want Modi to apologise for 'detaining' Kejriwal in Gujarat.
It is still unclear whether Kejriwal was actually detained by the Gujarat police or just asked for his papers. The police said they stopped him because he did not have the necessary clearances to hold a road show.
Outside the BJP office in Delhi, is a mixed group of protestors. Some anti-AAP supporters (not clear whether they are BJP or Congress) call Kejriwal a thief and say he has cheated the voters of Delhi. Yet others say the protestors are hired goons of AAP.
17:43 'Jayalalithaa's alliance with Left almost over' :
Less than a fortnight after 11 parties stitched up a third front to take on the Congress and the BJP in the general elections beginning next month, it is coming apart at the seams with J Jayalalithaa refusing to give in to ally Left's demand for six seats in a seat-sharing pact in Tamil Nadu. Read
17:29 Delhi HC stays release of Gulaab Gang:
The Delhi HC has stayed the release of of Gulaab Gang starring Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla. The film cannot be released in censored or uncensored form, the HC said. The film is set for release on March 7.
The order comes in the wake of activist Sampat Pal moving the Delhi High Court today for blocking the release of of the film, which is reportedly based on her life. Pal formed Gulabi Gang, a group of pink sari clad women vigilantes from Uttar Pradesh. Pal has said the filmmakers did not take permission from her to make the film. Read:
'Madhuri has never met me, I will stop Gulaab Gang no matter what'
17:28 Cut down on shorshe ilish: Bangladesh not to lift ban on export of hilsa :
Bangladesh today said it has no immediate plans to lift the ban imposed in 2012 on the export of hilsa to ensure a smooth supply in local markets.
"How much we get from export of hilsa fish? We do not have any immediate plan to resume hilsa export," state-run BSS news agency quoted Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed as saying.
He said the ban on the fish, declared the National Fish of Bangladesh upon the country gaining independence in 1971, was needed to ensure supply to local markets and check its prices.
Ahmed's comments came despite continued lobbying by Indian businesses for resuming the export in view of its high demand from India particularly in West Bengal.
This is the music review of Gulaab Gang. Read
17:04 Mamata announces list of 48 candidates:
The Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has released the list of the candidates.
The TMC is a part of the Third Front which has other regional parties - Samajwadi Party, CPM, CPI, AIADMK, Janata Dal United, Janata Dal Secular.
West Bengal will go to polls on April 17, 24, 30, May 7, 12.
What we have so far are:
Baichung Bhutia: Darjeeling
Moon Moon Sen: Bankura
Deb (Actor): Ghatal, West Midnapore
Sugata Bose (Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was his great uncle): Jadavpur
Forty-eight candidates have been named, 11 women candidates have been given tickets. Composer, singer, Kabir Suman, a TMC MP, has been denied a ticket. Suman has publicly criticised Mamata Banerjee earlier.
16:23 Villagers wave black flags at Kejriwal, term him anti-Gujarat:
So, this was what AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, faced on his visit to Gujarat today (apart from a very brief detention). Kejriwal who is on a Gujarat tour to "assess" development claims of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, today faced protests over nomination of Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar for Lok Sabha elections.
When Kejriwal and his team, comprising AAP workers from the state unit, reached at a turning outside Shankheshwar village near Patan in the afternoon, 10 to 12 villagers standing by the roadside waved black flags at Kejriwal and shouted slogans, labelling him "anti-Gujarat".
Kejriwal, who today embarked on his four-day visit of the state to "verify" Modi's development model, was heading towards Sami village in the district.
"Medha Patkar is against the Narmada project...Narmada is our mother and also the lifeline of Gujarat," said one of the protesters. The agitators are apparently livid over candidature of Patkar by AAP for the Lok Sabha elections. Patkar is the AAP nominee for Mumbai North East constituency. When asked, a villager, who participated in the protest, said he was supporter of BJP ideology but not associated with any party.
16:20 Final talks on alliance with Congress complete, says RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav.
16:10 AirAsia India, Centre get notice on plea opposing nod given for flight operations:
A Delhi High Court today sought responses of the Centre and AirAsia India on a plea by Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) opposing the go-ahead given to the airline to begin its flight operations in country.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice S Mridul also issued notice to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and renotified the matter for March 12 to be heard with BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's plea challenging clearances granted to the airline.
16:06 SC issues contempt notice to man who threw ink at Subrata Roy:
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has issued a contempt of court notice to former advocate and ink thrower Manoj Sharma. The SC took suo moto cognizance of the the incident which happened at the court lawns yesterday when Sahara chief Subrata Roy was presented before the court. Sharma threw black ink on Roy's face calling him a thief and a person who looted from the nation.
SC says the ink attack was deemed as an obstruction of justice.
15:56 Baichung Bhutia, Moon Moon Sen to contest LS polls on TMC ticket :
Just in: Former Indian football skipper Baichung Bhutia to contest the LS polls from Darjeeling on a Trinamool ticket. Darjeeling is one of the few Lok Sabha constituencies among the 42 in West Bengal in which the Trinamool Congress does not have a chance of winning.
Yesteryear actress Moon Moon Sen will be contesting the polls on TMC ticket as well, from Bankura.
15:26 Gujarat police say Arvind Kejriwal and AAP supporters have been detained because the model code of conduct is in force since the election dates have been announced.
15:17 Kejriwal has been taken to Raghanpur police station.
15:14 Kejriwal detained in Gujarat, cops say he does not have permission to hold road show:
Meanwhile, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal has been detained in north Gujarat, while he was travelling from Becharji to Radhepur. The Gujarat police claim that the party had no permission to hold a road show. Kejriwal, who is in Gujarat today said he would verify the development claims made by the state Chief Minister and BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Kejriwal is accompanied by other AAP leaders, including Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh. They were welcomed by a large number of AAP members, who were seen carrying brooms (party symbol) and shouting slogans 'Sheila Dikshit hari hai, ab Modi ki bari hai' (Sheila Dikshit has lost, now it's Modi's turn).
Remembering the Uphaar tragedy: "Everyday we live the same pain". Read
15:03 LIVE! SC upholds conviction of Ansal brothers in Uphaar cinema case :
The Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of Sushil and Gopal Ansal held guilty in the 1997 Uphaar
cinema tragedy case. The Ansal brothers had sought an
acquittal from the Supreme Court.
The High Court had reduced their sentence from two years to one
year whereas the CBI and victims of the fire tragedy have demanded that
the Ansals be convicted under more stringent sections.
A total of 59 people had died when a fire gutted the Uphaar theatre on June 13, 1997.
14:41 "Let us see," says Kejriwal on contesting LS poll against Modi:
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal today did not rule out his election face-off with BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi, saying "let us see."
Replying to a question if he will contest against Modi, Kejriwal said, "Let us see," and added that to fight an election or not to fight it is not the main issue. His party has earlier said that Kejriwal may contest elections against Modi, if he stands from anywhere outside Gujarat.
14:26 BJP may announce DMDK, PMK, MDMK alliance. Central BJP leaders have summoned these leaders to Delhi tomorrow for forging an alliance tomorrow. And of course, there will be a photo op.
14:20 Theres a new fashionista in town:
If dressing for the Bollywood red carpet were an Olympic event, here's how it would play out: Sonam Kapoor would lead the pack and claim the gold, probably in an Alexander McQueen dress and jadav jewellery, followed a half mile behind by Deepika Padukone and maybe another quarter mile behind her by Jacqueline Fernandez, who, like Padukone, subscribes to a tidy and taut school of dressing. Read more
"We have not withdraw Doniger's book," says Aleph. Read
Here's the context: Within weeks of Penguin controversially recalling Wendy Doniger's book, 'The Hindus: An Alternative History', another publisher, Aleph, pulled out the American author's previous work, 'On Hinduism', on Tuesday.
Bookshops across Bangalore received calls from representatives of Aleph Book Company, promoted by Rupa Publications, seeking return of all copies of the book.
Catholic church in Mumbai launches app that suggests 40 earth-saving ways to fast. Read
13:39 Activist Aires Rodrigues on Wednesday petitioned the ECI not to hold Lok Sabha election in Goa on April 17 as it is Maundy Thursday.
13:35 Meerut university suspends 67 Kashmiri students for cheering Pak victory over India :
In an incident which has left Meerut on the edge, 67 Kashmiri students of the privately run Swami Vivekanand Subharti University were suspended for cheering Pakistan victory over India in Sunday's Asia cup tie.
According to reports, a fight broke out between two groups of students after the match. University vice chancellor Manzoor Ahmed said some Kashmiri students were celebrating Pakistan's victory in the community hall of the hostel and raising slogans. This was followed by heated exchanges with other students which soon escalated into stone-throwing. The students also vandalised their hostel premises.Read
13:20 Govt eulogises AK Antony and how! :
As the waters around the Sindhuratna settle down, the criticism against Defence minister AK Antony simmers. The submarine mishap saw the exit of the Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi, who chose to take moral responsibility for it and other mishaps
under his watch. Antony has been criticised for his undue haste in accepting Joshi's resignation.
If that weren't enough, the government has now eulogised the minister with nothing short of a 11,220-word profile, blandly called: Shri AK Antony as Defence Minister - A Look Back. Indeed, take a look.
13:10 Laying down arms before the war :
In other reads: Rahul Gandhi appears to be engaged more in "democratising" the Congress
and less in working on a plan to retain power. Read
12:57 Click here
for a state-wise breakup of constituencies.
12:48 In Bihar, Congress will contest seats in Sasaram, Kishangaj, Hajipur, Samastipur, Gopalganj, Nalanda, Patna Sahib, Supaul, Purnia, Valmiki Nagar, Aurangabad.
12:47 Behind the preplanned Oscar selfie: Samsung's ad strategy:
So, there was a purpose to it: Samsung Electronics Co. spent an estimated $20 million on ads to run during breaks in the Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday night.
But Samsung may have got more promotional mileage from Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres during the show itself.
DeGeneres toyed with a white Samsung phone during the broadcast, including when she handed a Galaxy Note 3 to actor Bradley Cooper so he could take a "selfie" photo of himself and other stars including Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Lawrence surrounding the host.Read more
12:32 After Penguin, another publisher recalls Wendy Doniger's book:
Within weeks of Penguin controversially recalling Wendy Doniger's book, 'The Hindus: An Alternative History', another publisher, Aleph, pulled out the American author's previous work, 'On Hinduism', on Tuesday. Bookshops across Bangalore received calls from representatives of Aleph Book Company, promoted by Rupa Publications, seeking return of all copies of the book. Read
12:24 Sahara Group stocks fall 5% as Roy, 2 directors sent to jail:
In other news: Shares of two Sahara firms fell by up to 5 per cent today, after the group's chief Subrata Roy and two directors were jailed for a week for not complying with the Supreme Court order on refunding around Rs 20,000 crores of investors money.
Sahara One Media & Entertainment's scrip tanked 4.92 per cent to Rs 61.80 -- its lowest trading permissible limit for the day at the BSE. Shares of Sahara Housingfina Corporation were also down by 3.15 per cent touching its lower circuit limit of Rs 39.25.
12:12 First reactions on polling dates :
Narendra Modi tweets: Poll bugle has been sounded! Best wishes to EC in conducting polls & congrats to people on commencement of biggest festival of democracy. My special welcome to 10 crore new voters! You have an important role to play in strengthening & continuing democratic tradition of India. Thankful to EC for giving all eligible voters 1 last chance on 9th March to ensure they are registered. This opportunity must be used.
Yashwant Deshmukh who heads the opinion poll compnay CVvoter: On 16th May high probability to witness the best ever tally of BJP and the worst ever tally of Cong. Save this tweet. We will discuss later.
Kiran Bedi :New Government hopefully (not d one which hastily drafted Rules of lokpal) would scrap+redraft them,to ensure Lokpal delivers its potential.
12:02 Kejriwal hits Gujarat to check Modi's development claims :
Arriving in Gujarat for a four-day tour, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal today said he would verify the development claims made by the state Chief Minister and BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
"Gujarat government and the media says there is 'Ramrajya' in this state. (They say) Education has developed, health issues have been resolved, corruption has been finished... So we have come here to see that development in Gujarat," he said after his arrival at the city airport.
Kejriwal was accompanied by other AAP leaders, including Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh.
They were welcomed by a large number of AAP members, who were seen carrying brooms (party symbol) and shouting slogans 'Sheila Dikshit hari hai, ab Modi ki bari hai' (Sheila Dikshit has lost, now it's Modi's turn). Kejriwal is likely to go to Becharaji from the city where Maruti's new facility will be set up.
11:51 Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken reacts to the poll date announcement: Glad to know that General Elections in Delhi are on 10th April. Looking forward towards support from all!
The complete text of CEC VS Sampath's address to the media announcing the poll dates today. Read
11:37 First reactions from BJP spokesperson Smriti Z Irani: Onwards to Indore. Look forward to May 16 wen all our efforts give BJP led NDA a chance 2 serve the Nation under Narendra Bhai' s leadership.
11:33 So, here's a date-wise break-up.
Poll date 1: April 7: Assam and Tripura
Poll date 2: April 9: Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland
EC says all Naxalism-hit seats will be covered in one single day.
Map courtesy: Election commission website.
11:11 Delhi votes on April 10:
Andhra: April 30, May 7
Kerala: April 10
MP: April 10, 17, 24
Maharashtra: April 10, 17, 24
Manipur: April 9, 17
Meghalaya: April 9
Mizoram: April 9
Nagaland: April 9
Odisha: April 10, 17
Punjab: April 30
Rajasthan: April 17, 24
Sikkim: April 12
Tamil Nadu: April 24
Tripura: April 7, 12
UP: April 10, 17, 24, 30, May 7, 12
Uttarkhand: 7 May
West Bengal: April 17, 24, 30, May 7, May 12
Andaman Nicobar: April 10
Chandigarh: April 10
Dadra and Nagar Haveli: April 30
Daman and Diu: 30
Lakshwadeep: April 10
Delhi: April 10
Puducherry: April 24
11:04 Live! LS polls from April 7 to May 12, counting on May 16 :
April 7: Held in two states and and 6 parliamentary constituency
April 9: Nine states, 7 parliamentary constituencies
April 10: 14, 92 constituencies
April 12: 3 states, 5 Parl constituencies.
April 17: 13 states and UTs, and 122 Parl
April 24: 12 states and 117 Parl constituencies.
April 30: 9 states and 89 Parl constituencies.
May 7: Seven states, 64 Parl constituencies.
May 12: Three states, 41 Parl constituencies.
Counting will take place on May 16. Single day counting process.
10:58 Flying squads, video surveillance will be used to keep a close watch and check on the use of money power.
10:55 Photo voter slips to be home delivered :
Elections will be conducted by polling officials. They should discharge duties without fear or favour and their conduct will be supervised by the Election Commission. They will be under constant scrutiny of the EC.
Photo voter slips: Will be introduced for the first time in this general elections. This was not there in the last Lok Sabha polls. The address of the polling station, the photograph of the voter will be put on the photo voter slips and will be distributed to the voter's doorstep close to the date of the polls.
10:52 Model code of conduct comes into effect immediately:
More of what the CEC says at the presser...
9.30 lakh polling stations in India.
On March 9, there will be a review of electoral rolls across the country. This is the last date for poll enrollment.
Toilets, drinking water, standard voting compartments, ramps for handicapped across polling stations.
EVMs to be used. NOTA facility will also be provided in polling stations.
Model code of conduct comes into effect immediately
10:47 10 crore more voters in 2014 than in 2009 :
Sampath says the Election Commission had held a series of meetings including those with representatives of recognised political parties on February 4. During the meetings the parties raised a wide range of issues relating to security, election expenditure.
Few participants were highlighting the need for holding elections in phased manner.
He says there are 10 crore more voters in 2014 than in 2009. A total of 81.4 crore voters in this polls.
Elections to be held in a phased manner in critical states so that security can be moved to the states.
Late summer and early monsoon a decider for the election dates, says Sampath. For certain parts of the country, harvesting and board exams have to be kept in mind as well.
10:40 The terms of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim assemblies will come to an end and the Election Commission is mandated to complete the election process to the 16th Lok Sabha before May 31, says CEC VS Sampath.
10:39 The 15th Lok Sabha ends on May 31 and therefore the EC is mandated to finish the polls before the date.
10:36 CEC announces poll dates:
CEC VS Sampath begins the press conference to announce the poll dates for the 16th Lok Sabha.
10:31 Left luggage:
To Indian communists, some 'imperialists' are less worse than others. Their silence on Russia's invasion of Ukraine is thus not surprising.
It fits into their history of shamelessly endorsing acts of aggression by communist regimes of the former Soviet Union or China.
Moscow's invasions of Hungary in 1956, of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and of Afghanistan in 1979 had seen Indian comrades supporting the aggressor. When the Chinese attacked India in 1962, though, the then undivided Communist Party of India was split in the middle. Read
10:20 Model code of conduct to come into effect immediately:
The model code of conduct will come into force immediately after the dates are announced, which means the government cannot make any policy announcements. Election Commission sources however said this would exclude the process to appoint the Lokpal or national anti-graft ombudsman, which has already begun.
process to elect 543 Lok Sabha members will be spread over nine phases,
from April 8 or 9, to May 16, sources said.
The long election
schedule will ensure that security forces can be moved across the
country for adequate deployment in sensitive areas. The North Eastern
states could go to the polls in the first phase.
10:12 SP is no longer a mom and pop venture :
Good fences do not always good neighbours make. It's moot if Chirag Paswan ever read Robert Frost, but there's no debating the newest son to mount the succession block has convinced father Ram Vilas politics and poetry need not turn on different meters. Forget the romance, Papa, confront reality, move on. Read more
10:09 Sensex up 123 points in early trade:
The benchmark BSE Sensex today rose over 123 points in early trade, extending gains for the second straight session, on sustained buying by funds amid a firm trend in global markets on signs of easing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
The 30-share index, which had rallied 263.08 points yesterday, rose further by 123.47 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 21,333.20 in morning trade with all the sectoral indices led by realty, IT and metals trading in the positive zone with gains up to 0.93 per cent.
09:41 Obama calls Germany's Merkel on Ukraine:
President Barack Obama called German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the next course of action by the US and its international allies.
It is part of the US effort to galvanise international support against Russian military action in Ukraine. The Obama administration considers Germany as an important player in resolving the Ukrainian crisis.
The call yesterday is believed to have lasted about an hour. The White House said the two leaders expressed their grave concern over Russia's clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity and agreed on the importance of de-escalating the situation, including through the deployment of international observers and human rights monitors, and of initiating direct talks between Russia and Ukraine.
08:34 Lok Sabha poll schedule to be announced today:
The much-awaited schedule for the Lok Sabha polls will be announced by the Election Commission today.
With the announcement of poll dates, the Model Code of Conduct for governments and political parties will come into force with immediate effect.The schedule will be announced at a press conference by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath along with two Election Commissioners H S Brahma and S N A Zaidi.
The conference this time is being held at Vigyan Bhawan instead of at Nirvachan Bhawan, the EC headquarters.
Polling is likely to commence from the second week of April and may be spread over six to seven phases, the longest so far, highly placed sources said.
The probable dates for the commencement of polling are between April 7 and 10, sources have said.
07:49 Sheila Dikshit appointed Kerala governor:
Sheila Dikshit, a former three-term chief minister of Delhi, was on Tuesday night appointed governor of Kerala within three months of her defeat in the recent Assembly polls.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said that 75-year-old Dikshit succeeds Nikhil Kumar, a former Delhi police commissioner, who resigned today. The resignation of 72-year-old Kumar, who took over as Governor of Kerala in March last year, has been accepted.
Kumar was earlier governor of Nagaland from October 2009. Earlier in the day, Dikshit, a senior Congress leader, had met Union Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and the decision to make her Kerala Governor was conveyed to her.
03:14 Putin: Russia will protect its own in Ukraine:
Accusing the West of encouraging an "unconstitutional coup" in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow reserves the right to use its military to protect Russians there but hopes it doesn't have to.
The Russian leader's first comments on Ukraine since its fugitive president fled came as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kiev to meet with Ukraine's new government.
Putin declared that Western actions were driving Ukraine into anarchy and warned that any sanctions the West might place on Russia for its actions there will backfire.
"We aren't going to fight the Ukrainian people," Putin said, adding that Russian military manoeuvres involving 150,000 troops near Ukraine's border had been planned and were unrelated to the current situation in Ukraine. He ordered the troops back to their bases today.
The US, meanwhile, announced a $1 billion aid package in energy subsidies to Ukraine, which faces a looming financial disaster. NATO members met in Brussels and said the alliance would hold talks on Wednesday with Russian officials about Ukraine. World markets rose, buoyed by Putin's apparent efforts to de-escalate tensions.
03:13 Russia tests 'advanced' ballistic missile: reports:
Russia today carried out a successful test launch of an "advanced" intercontinental ballistic missile, state news agencies reported amid a fierce standoff between Moscow and the West over Ukraine.
"The purpose of the launch is to test the advanced payload of the intercontinental ballistic missile," Russia's three main news agencies quoted a top defence official as saying.
03:10 Obama unveils $3.9 trillion budget:
US President Barack Obama today proposed a $3.9 trillion budget package for the fiscal year 2015 which calls for raising taxes on the rich and expanding tax credits for the poor and middle class.
The president's spending plan for the fiscal year that begins on October 1 also proposes a rise in the minimum wage and for new spending on infrastructure.
The blueprints are unlikely to produce much immediate legislative action, but they provide road maps for Democrats and Republicans heading into midterm elections in November.
"This budget expands apprenticeships to connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs," Obama said in his remarks at a school in the national capital moments after the White House sent his annual budget proposals to the Congress.
"This budget gives millions more workers the opportunity to take advantage of the tax credit, and it pays for it by closing loopholes like the ones that let wealthy individuals classify themselves as a small business to avoid paying their fair share of taxes," he said.
"This budget will also continue to put our fiscal house in order over the long term, not by putting the burden on folks who can least afford it but by reforming our tax code and our immigration system and building on the progress that we've made to reduce health care costs under the Affordable Care Act," he said.
01:35 Moral brigade gets another Doniger book trashed:
Within weeks of Penguin controversially recalling Wendy Doniger's book, The Hindus: An Alternative History, another publisher, Aleph, pulled out the American author's previous work, On Hinduism, on Tuesday.
Bookshops across Bangalore received calls from representatives of Aleph Book Company, promoted by Rupa Publications, seeking return of all copies of the book.
Confirming the move, an Aleph spokesman said, "We don't want to get involved in any controversy. Officials from our Delhi office sent a clear message to us -- recall all copies of On Hinduism we had sold to across Karnataka. We got back about 100 copies till Tuesday evening."
Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti has demanded that the Aleph Book Company stop sales and pulp all remaining copies of Doniger's book On Hinduism, published in 2013.
Dina Nath Batra, who had led the charge against Doniger's previous book, said that the contents of On Hinduism were, like the previous work, "malicious and offending".
00:17 Putin can't fool anybody on Ukraine: Obama:
US President Barack Obama has said that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin's claim that an invasion of Ukraine was needed to protect ethnic Russians is not "fooling anybody" and this "meddling" would drive other countries away from Moscow.
"We have all seen that, from the perspective of the European Union, the United States, allies like Canada and Japan and allies and friends and partners around the world, there is a strong belief that Russia's action is violating international law," Obama told reporters in response to a question.
"I know (the Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations, but I don't think that's fooling anybody," Obama said.
"I actually think that this has not been a sign of strength but rather is a reflection that countries near Russia have deep concerns and suspicions about this kind of meddling, and if anything, it will push many countries further away from Russia," he said hours after the White House announced a $1 billion aid to support the fledgling Ukrainian Government.
00:15 Russia looking for 'pretext to invade' Ukraine: Kerry:
US Secretary of State John F Kerry has condemned Russia's intervention in Ukraine and said Moscow appears to be seeking a "pretext for being able to invade further."
"I think it's is clear that Russia has been working hard to create a pretext for being able to invade further," said Kerry, who is currently on a trip to Ukraine's capital Kiev.
"Together, the international community has condemned Russia's violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. We've condemned their intervention in Crimea. And we are calling for a de-escalation of the situation and international monitors that can go into the country right away," he said.
He said said that there is no evidence to support the Russian claims that they had to intervene in Crimea because the Russian speaking population was in danger.
"Not a single piece of credible evidence supports any one of these claims (by Russia on Ukraine)...None," said Kerry. Coming up strongly against the Russia's action, Kerry said the Russian government wants people to believe that the Ukraine government somehow is illegitimate or led by extremists.