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LIVE! Lalu trashes exit polls, calls them a conspiracy against him

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May 14, 2014


23:54  Catholic priest deported to India for molesting minor in US:  A Catholic priest from India who previously worked with the Archdiocese of Winona, Minnesota was deported today following his conviction for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old.

Leo Charles Koppala, 48, was escorted by officers of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's on a commercial flight and turned over to Indian authorities on May 14 in New Delhi, the federal agency said. This deportation was conducted by officers with ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations in Bloomington, Minnesota.

On June 8, 2013, the Blue Earth (Minnesota) Police Department arrested Koppala and charged him with second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The victim was 12-year-old at the time of the offense. On June 10, 2013, Koppala posted bail and was released from local custody.
21:24  Reporter admits hacking Prince William's phone 35 times:  The former royals editor of a notorious British tabloid told a London court Wednesday that he had hacked Prince William's phone 35 times and Kate Middleton's 155 times.

Clive Goodman, 56, worked for the now defunctNews of the World, which media mogul Rupert Murdoch shut down in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal.

The hacking uproar also led to allegations that journalists had bribed police for news tips.
21:03  Reporter admits hacking Prince William's phone 35 times:  The former royals editor of a notorious British tabloid told a London court Wednesday that he had hacked Prince William's phone 35 times and Kate Middleton's 155 times.

Clive Goodman, 56, worked for the now defunctNews of the World, which media mogul Rupert Murdoch shut down in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal.

The hacking uproar also led to allegations that journalists had bribed police for news tips.
21:00  Iran, 6 powers wrestle over text of nuke deal:  Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers moved to an ambitious new stage today, with the two sides sitting down to start writing the text of a final deal. But with major issues still unresolved, any initial draft is likely to be a patchwork affair, and agreement remains uncertain. 

The talks are being coordinated by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and her spokesman, Michael Mann, said the two sides are "getting down to the nitty-gritty" in discussions scheduled to adjourn Friday, about two months before the July 20 target date for a deal.
20:59  Russian minister cancels Italy visit after protest:  A university in Venice today said that the Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky had cancelled a planned visit to collect an award following a protest by students and professors over his nationalist views. 

"The minister cancelled his visit. The ceremony has been postponed indefinitely," said Federica Scotellaro, a spokeswoman for Ca' Foscari University.
20:16  Lalu trashes exit polls, calls them a conspiracy against him:  RJD president Lalu Prasad today dubbed exit polls for the Lok Sabha elections a conspiracy against him and his alliance with Congress.

"These exit polls being shown on television channels are completely fake, especially regarding the Lok Sabha elections in Bihar. It is a part of the conspiracy to undermine our alliance with the Congress and demoralise our counting agents," Prasad said.

Claiming that RJD would win all the 40 Lok Sabha seats inthe state, he said, "What do those who conducted the poll surveys know about the real situation? I am not at their mercy. I have laboured hard on the ground and I know what the voters have opted for. Let the result come and then you will believe my words."
20:06  6 injured in Kudankulam Nuclear plant accident:  Six workers at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu sustained nearly 50 per cent burn injuries today due to spillage of hot water in the turbine building. 

The incident happened at 12.10 pm in Unit 1 of the Kudankualm Atomic reactor. These are the first such injuries at the plant after the nuclear chain reaction was initiated in July last year. 

The injured have been shifted to a hospital in Nagarcoil.
19:41  6 injured in Kudankulam Nuclear plant accident:  Six workers at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu sustained nearly 50 per cent burn injuries today due to spillage of hot water in the turbine building. 

The incident happened at 12.10 pm in Unit 1 of the Kudankualm Atomic reactor. These are the first such injuries at the plant after the nuclear chain reaction was initiated in July last year. 

The injured have been shifted to a hospital in Nagarcoil.
19:32  Delayed Afghan election result to be released tomorrow:  Afghanistan's presidential election result will be announced tomorrow, officials said, after a one-day delay over fraud investigations into the first round of voting to find a successor to Hamid Karzai. 

Full results from the April 5 election were released late last month, but the final declaration will factor in the outcome of weeks of deliberation over fraud allegations.
19:03  Expulsion of journalists by Pak a retrograde step: India:  

In a strong reaction, India today termed as "regrettable and unfortunate" expulsion of the two Indian correspondents in Pakistan and said not allowing independent journalists to function was a "retrograde step".        

 

Asserting that free flow of information between India and Pakistan has long been recognised as an important confidence building measure, the External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said this CBM should be safeguarded by all concerned.        

 

In an abrupt action, Pakistan has expelled the two Indian journalists -- Press Trust of India's Snehesh Alex Philip and Hindu newspaper's Meena Menon- posted there and asked them late last night to leave within seven days without assigning any reason.        

 

"It is regrettable and unfortunate that the two Indian correspondents in Pakistan have been asked to leave prematurely and suddenly only a few months after their arrival there.

18:42  Mooh meetha ho jaye?:  Workers of Ganesh Bhandar Sweets at Girgaum in South Mumbai get busy packing around 30,000 laddoos ordered by the BJP, before the Lok Sabha Election results are announced on May 16.  Pic:/Sahil Salvi


18:40  LIVE! RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat calls for meet tomorrow ahead of results :   RSS top brass to meet in Delhi on May 15 to discuss current political situation ahead of election results, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat to attend the meet. 
18:25  Munde rules out support from NCP to form govt:  Confident of getting majority to form government at the Centre, BJP today ruled out the possibility of taking support from NCP. "There is no possibility of NCP coming with NDA. We will not feel their need," senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde said, responding to a query on whether NDA will take support of the Sharad Pawar-led outfit.

Munde, along with other senior leaders from the state, today assessed the party's performance in 24 seats it contested in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections.
18:21  Laddoos ordered by the BJP ahead of the results. The party is planning huge celebrations on May 16.   
18:07  Just in: Narendra Modi could be sworn as the next PM on May 20 if there's a clear majority. Rajnath Singh may get the home ministry. 
17:59  Cannes opens with a royal biopic worse than Diana:  Naomi Watts set the bar high with last year's Princess-Di disaster. But Nicole Kidman has outdone her: this Grace Kelly film, which kicks off Cannes 2014, is a breathtaking catastrophe. Read
17:43  We party leaders keep meeting, now the campaigning is over leaders are meeting, not a big news, says BJP's Shahnawaz Hussain. 
17:34  Berlusconi mafia ties exposed:  Despite denying rumors of mob ties for years, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has officially been linked to Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia.
17:33  Yatra to Badrinath resumed, Kedarnath aborted :  Pilgrimage to Badrinath shrine in Garhwal Himalayas resumed today as the weather cleared up even as landslides blocked the pedestrian road between Sonprayag and Gaurikund on way to Kedarnath where the yatra has been suspended till May 16 . There is no chance of Kedarnath yatra being resumed before May 17 as fresh landslips have occurred between Gaurikund and Sonprayag en route to the shrine.
16:51  Top BJP leaders have gathered for a crucial meeting ahead of results in Gandhinagar.  
16:48  LIVE! Rajnath: Narendra Modi will be PM, BJP-led NDA will get clear majority:  BJP president Rajnath Singh says what we have been repeatedly told in the last few days:

"BJP-led NDA will get clear majority. It is certain that Narendra Modi will be PM," says Singh.  Rajnath said that he will convene a meeting with senior party leaders to decide on LK Advani's role in the government.  
16:42  Ambani leads billionaire gains on Modis lead:  Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, was the biggest gainer among the world's billionaires as exit polls signaled Narendra Modi's opposition bloc would win a majority in the country's election. Read
16:32  Why Manmohan sarkaar wasn't really bekaar:  The United Progressive Alliance has collapsed amid recrimination and hostility and contempt.Manmohan Singh is widely despised for speaking too little and acting too late; Sonia Gandhi's party is believed to be heading for one of its worst defeats in history.

This is so much a part of our mental baggage that we usually seek to validate it by declaring the UPA itself a disaster. And, certainly, it has often been both lazy and incompetent.  Read more
16:24  LIVE! Eagerly waiting for results, can't say anything more: Jaya :   "I'm eagerly waiting for results to be declared, then I will give my comments," J Jayalalithaa, TN CM on extending support to new government.
Jayalalithaa has called a meeting of top AIADMK leaders on Wednesday to discuss the post poll situation in the wake of exit poll predictions about BJP-led NDA coming to power with a comfortable majority in the recently held Lok Sabha elections.

AIADMK sources said that if Narendra Modi becomes PM, Jayalalithaa would like to have close ties with the BJP. "They are good friends though they may differ politically," party sources said.

According to reports, the AIADMK chief is keeping all options on joining the Third Front or supporting the Modi government open at the moment and has decided to wait till the counting of votes on May 16.
16:20  Wanted to meet them ahead of polls, this was a courtesy visit: Sushma:   More on Sushma Swaraj's meeting with Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari:

"Any speculation about my meetings with Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari is totally wrong," she said. Terming the meetings as merely "courtesy visits", she said, "We wanted to meet each other ahead of poll results. When they came to know that I was going to Bhopal and will not be here, they came to meet me. It was a routine courtesy meeting. It was nothing more."

This picture of a much younger Sushma Swaraj was tweeted yesterday by Caravan magazine from their archives.
16:09  Will not leave Amethi whether I win or lose: Kumar Vishvas:  Dr. Kumar Vishvas tweets that whether he wins or loses, he will not leave Amethi. Dr Vishvas is the AAP candidate from Amethi against Rahul Gandhi and BJP's Smriti Irani. Exit polls predict a Congress win from Amethi, with AAP occupying the third spot.

Also read: 'Rahul is a national bojh, Modi's model is Mr India' 
16:00  Did PG Wodehouse succeed in creating a world beyond class?:  There's no mistaking PG Wodehouse's world is a privileged one, but the warmth of his writing and his characters make it difficult to protest. Read
15:52  "No question of taking support from BSP or SP, these parties are not trustworthy at all," Laxmikant Bajpai, BJP.
15:36  LIVE! Meetings with Rajnath, Nitin courtesy calls: Sushma :  My meetings with Rajnath-ji and Nitin-ji were just normal meetings, courtesy calls, says Sushma Swaraj. 

Top BJP leaders, including its president Rajnath Singh, his predecessor Nitin Gadkari and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, will be meeting Narendra Modi in Gandhinagar today to discuss their party's strategy after the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha polls.

Rajnath Singh and Gadkari met Sushma Swaraj earlier this morning.

Among the issues that is likely to be taken up for deliberations is to craft a proper role for the party patriarch, L K Advani, commensurate with his stature and standing. It is believed that the exercise has been undertaken at the behest of the RSS, the BJP's ideological mentor.
15:09  LIVE! Dr Singh's last signature as PM :  Dr Manmohan Singh's last signature as Prime Minister was on the file appointing Dr Mahesh Rangarajan as Director of the Nehru Memorial Museum Library. The library is an outfit of the Union Ministry of Culture and since it is a gazzetted post, it has to be cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. Rangarajan's services have been extended to 2016. He is a well-known political journalist and a columnist and has served the library since 2010. Dr Singh will demitt office on May 17, a day after the results are announced.
15:03  Kishwar tweets: FB messages warning Muslims of massacre :  Madhu Kishwar tweets: Vicious tweets, FB messages "warning" Muslims they'll be massacred from May 16 onward by "Sanghi goondas" being sent by Congi/jehadi. Zafar shared horrific messages being circulated on social media to Muslims "forewarning" them of riots, rapes by "fascist Modi".
14:50  The dominance of India's most famous political dynasty may be finished:  Exit polls suggest the hold of the Nehru-Gandhi family over Indian politics is over, as Narendra Modi draws closer to win. Read
14:34  Jackie Kennedy letters: correspondence shines light on 'lonely' First Lady:  An Irish auction house is to sell a collection of 30 previously unpublished letters by Jackie Kennedy that reveal the deeply private thoughts of an American icon. Read
14:31  Pistorius ordered to take mental health tests:  The judge in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial ordered the athlete to undergo psychiatric evaluation, a move that will put the trial on ice for at least a month.

Judge Thokozile Masipa based her decision on testimony by a psychiatrist who evaluated the athlete for the defense. "A doubt has been created" that Pistorius may have a psychiatric issue that would affect the court's verdict, so she must order the testing, the judge said Wednesday. Read
14:07  An ORG by any other name:  On May 12, Times Now's "super prime time" began early with even more panelists than usual. Called the Mega Poll, Times Now was announcing its exit polls conducted by research consultancy, ORG over six hours.

Things went fairly well if you discount the fact that a lot of the panelists didn't think much of the numbers projected by ORG. However, the next morning (today), Arnab Goswami's contemporaries -- Rahul Kanwal (Editor-At-Large, HeadlinesToday and Aaj Tak) and Rajdeep Sardesai (Editor-In-Chief, IBN 18 network) decided to drop a bombshell on Twitter.

Read
14:03  Goodbye Dr Singh:   Good bye Dr. Manmohan Singh.

You had once said that you hoped that history remembers you more kindly than the present does. Given that history at least in our country is written by a cabal of  historians that are ideologically well-oriented towards your world-view and viscerally opposed to your opponents, you might very well get your wish. Be as it may, and I would not grudge you the odd hagiography, the thing is Dr. Singh I will not remember you kindly.

And let me explain why. Read Arnab Ray's blog 
13:55  'Modi likely to be pragmatic towards China':  As exit polls pointed to the BJP's victory in general elections, a leading Chinese daily today expressed hope that the new government likely to be headed by Narendra Modi will be "pragmatic" towards China while adopting a tougher line on the border dispute and Tibet.

"Modi likely to be pragmatic towards China," the ruling Communist Party of China's flagship English newspaper Global Times said in its lead story on the front page with mixed projections by official Chinese think tanks.

The experts suggested that while Modi could pursue a "more flexible" economic policy toward China, he may follow a tougher line on the border dispute, Tibet and the Dalai Lama.
13:45  Rajnath will continue to steer the party: Gadkari:  Amid reports that he is lobbying for a comeback as BJP chief, Nitin Gadkari today said there would be no change in the party's leadership. Gadkari, who was removed as party chief after he faced allegations of irregularities by a business group floated by him, said Rajnath Singh will continue to steer the party even after government formation as he did ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

"No...this type of promise has never been given to me by anybody. I am not expecting that. My role whatever it may be it, will be decided by the party," Gadkari, who recently got a clean chit form the income tax department, said.

Making it clear that he had never asked for anything, the former BJP chief said that he has a strong conviction that politics is a instrument of socio-economic reforms. "For that purpose my conviction is country first, party second party after that I consider myself," he said.
13:32  L K Advani for Speaker!:  Will L K Advani accept Narendra Modi's invitation to become Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha?

The BJP, which is set to form the next government, is keen to settle intra-party issues quickly and amicably.

Modi wants to send Advani a goodwill gesture since both men have had a troubled relationship in recent months, with Advani making it clear that he was no fan of Modi's.

The Speaker's office is a high Constitutional office and keeps the option of Advani adorning higher office -- maybe the Presidency -- open.Will Advani spring a surprise and accept the Speaker's post? Or will he be content being the Elder Statesman in the House of the People?
13:18  LIVE! Two killed in police firing in Hyderabad, curfew imposed :  Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa reports: Two persons have been killed at Hyderabad after police opened fire to disperse two groups involved in a clashes.

The Bahadurpura police in Hyderabad had to open fire to control the violence which erupted last night.

The police said that the problem began when some miscreants tore down a flag belonging to one group yesterday.
12:59  NCP rubbishes speculation of pact with BJP :  The NCP today rubbished reports that it was cosying up to BJP ahead of formation of the next government, a day after its senior leader Praful Patel's "stable" government remark triggered speculation of a BJP-NCP pact.

"We are with UPA and will remain with UPA. If there is an NDA government headed by Narendra Modi, we will sit in the opposition," party chief spokesperson D P Tripathi said.

When asked about reports that the Sharad Pawar's party was cosying up to BJP, Tripathi said, "There is no question... it is not true".

Tripathi remarks came after Patel said yesterday that the country should have a "stable" government which will "decisively govern" for the next five years. He said the people's mandate has to be respected as the country has to move forward.
12:52  LIVE! BJP top brass to decide LK Advani's fate today:  Top BJP leaders, including its president Rajnath Singh, his predecessor Nitin Gadkari and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, will be meeting Narendra Modi in Gandhinagar today to discuss their party's strategy after the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha polls. Rajnath Singh and Gadkari met Sushma Swaraj earlier this morning.

Among the issues that is likely to be taken up for deliberations is to craft a proper role for the party patriarch, L K Advani, commensurate with his stature and standing. It is believed that the exercise has been undertaken at the behest of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or the RSS, the BJP's ideological mentor. -- NDTV
12:46   Salman Khurshid on Giriraj Singh's comment: "Terror not related to religion, if someone misuses it for terror it doesn't mean religion is bad, Giriraj Singh doesn't understand.
12:38  What is a vote worth? :  Vote buying and electoral malpractices are not just acts of corruption, but forms of oppression where leaders try to win elections by excluding people's social choices. Read
12:32  Why the new government must not act dumb by playing tough:  The choice before the next government is not between being a soft State and a tough State; it is between being a smart State and a dumb State, says former foreign secretary Shyam Saran. Read the column on Rediff.com
12:30  Reactions to Giriraj Singh's comments 'terrorists from one community':  We totally condemn this comment, this is not a way to show your patriotism: Ninong Ering, Congress on Giriraj Singh.

Desh ke liye acche ke bajae bure din aane waale hain: KC Tyagi, JDU. 
12:21  Batman and Batmobile: first look:  Ben Affleck's new Batsuit has been revealed by Batman vs Superman director Zack Snyder. Read
12:19  Double joy for Federer:  As a seven-time Wimbledon champion, not to mention a universally admired athlete, Roger Federer has seen many glorious moments. But nothing quite like this. A week after his wife Mirka gave birth to twin boys, Federer still finds himself floating on the most beatific high.  Read
12:16  Correcting a historic injustice :  So far, the electoral promises of allocation of six per cent of GDP to education have remained as pious wishes. Read
12:13  How the exit polls looks like to Rahul Gandhi 
12:10  Open to support from parties: BJP:  The BJP today said it is open to any support extended by parties which were not part of a pre-poll alliance even though the combine will get a majority on its own in the Lok Sabha polls.

"Actual results of election will be giving more seats than what exit polls are predicting and, therefore, we will get absolute majority but still all parties which want to support the NDA from the national development viewpoint or in the national interest are all welcome," BJP national spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
12:00  Ambani's Mumbai residence Antilia most expensive home in the world:  Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani's skyscraper residence in Mumbai is the most expensive billionaire home in the world, according to a Forbes list which also includes Indian-origin steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal's houses in London.

Ambani's 27-story, 400,000-square-foot skyscraper home Antilia named after a mythical island in the Atlantic, tops the Forbes list of the most expensive homes in the world.

"The title of the most outrageously expensive property in the world still belongs to Mukesh Ambani's Antilia in Mumbai," Forbes said adding it is the world's most expensive home "far and away" with construction costs reported between a range of USD one billion to two billion.

The house has six stories of underground parking, three helicopter pads, and reportedly requires a staff of 600 to keep it running.
11:54  New Army Chief starts with a handicap he could have done without:  Getting elevated as the next Army Chief starting August 1 is like winning only a quarter of the battle for the current Vice-Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh (apparently, he doesn't like to use the 'Suhag' in his name, according to his spin doctors).  Read
11:47  Heads of state and government are eligible for A1 visas: US:  Continuing to maintain silence on granting a visa to BJP leader Narendra Modi, US has said the heads of state and government are eligible for A1 visas and no individual automatically qualifies for an American visa.

"Heads of state and heads of government are eligible for A1 visa classification under the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act). No individual automatically qualifies for a US visa," State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters yesterday.

"US law exempts foreign government officials, including heads of state and heads of government from certain potential inadmissibility grounds," Psaki said when asked about the possibility of issuing visa to Modi, whose party-led NDA is projected by exit polls to form the next government in India.

Refusing to go into details, Psaki refrained from responding to direct questions on Modi visa issue, except for saying that the US looks forward to working with new Indian government.
11:41  LIVE! Pak asks two Indian journalists to leave by May 20:  New Delhi is likely to take up with Pakistan the case of two Indian journalists who have been asked to leave the country.

Snehesh Alex Phillip of the Press Trust of India and Meena Menon of the Hindu were reportedly told verbally to leave the country by May 20.

Their visas have not been renewed for two months. Sources say the Indian mission in Pakistan and the foreign ministry were not informed why the visas of these journalists were not extended.

Follow latest poll updates on Twitter: @RediffElections
11:36   Tunku Varadarajan tweets: There's a bright side in a Modi win even for those who dislike the man: The impossibility of a Modi Dynasty in Indian politics.
11:21  Two Indian journalists asked to leave Pakistan by May 20; Government likely to raise the issue with Islamabad, say sources. Details awaited.
11:16  In Delhi, Nitin Gadkari meets Sushma Swaraj at her residence.
11:13  Dr. Singh bows out:  Dr Manmohan Singh's stewardship of India's geo-strategic challenges must be given fair marks and future historians may debate if the gains were born of circumstance or strategy. Read
11:10  "People like Giriraj Singh are the biggest enemies of Narendra Modi,his earlier comment harmed BJP in Bihar, now again," tweets Shahid Siddiqui.
11:09  Giriraj courts controversy again:  BJP leader Giriraj Singh today again courted controversy by saying that all terrorists belong to a "particular community".

"Since terrorism is a matter relating to the country and not to a community, why secular leaders remain silent when all persons arrested in terrorism cases belong to a particular community," he said.

"Are there only a few to define religious non-discrimination? Is it not true that all the terrorists caught belong to one community? I am not saying that all the people in that community are terrorist but whoever is caught belongs to same community," he said.

The BJP leader, who was recently booked for his hate speeches, said this mindset was "posing a danger" to the country.

"This is a naked example of pseudo secularism and patronisation of a community for vote bank politics. This mindset is posing danger to the country," said the Nawada Lok Sabha candidate of the saffron party.
11:04  A sense of disquiet:  A person who was never religious, never saw himself as belonging in a narrow sense to a particular community, who was quintessentially a part of the progressive secular intelligentsia of the country whose commitment to the values enshrined in the Constitution has been an important factor sustaining this nation, is now forced to seek refuge among his supposed co-religionists. The Telegraph on the vanishing liberal.  Read
10:59  AIADMK: Modi, Jaya good friends :  Just in: AIADMK says that if Narendra Modi becomes PM, Jayalalithaa would like to have close ties with the BJP. They are good friends though they may differ politically.

Obviously, everyone loves a winner.
10:49  Naveen Patnaik's BJD indicates conditional support to NDA:   A senior leader of the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal today indicated his party's conditional support to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance to help form government at the Centre.

"Keeping in view the opinion of the whole country and the state's interest, there should be no problem in providing conditional support to NDA to form government at the Centre," BJD's chief whip Pravat Tripathy said. -- NDTV
09:57  Sensex up 33 points in early trade:  
The benchmark BSE Sensex rose 33 points in early trade today on sustained buying by funds and retail investors amid a mixed trend in other Asian markets. 

The 30-share index was up by 33.00 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 23,904.23. The gauge had touched an all-time intra-day high of 24,068.94 in yesterday's trade. 

The Sensex had gained 1,527.19 points in the previous three sessions after exit polls predicted that BJP-led NDA will form the government at the Centre. 

The NSE Nifty also moved up by 15.40 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 7,124.15. 

Brokers said continued capital inflows on hopes of a stable and business friendly government at the Centre buoyed the trading sentiments. 

However, emergence of profit-booking in banking, auto and capital goods sector stocks at record levels slowed down the rising pace, they said. 
09:29  201 dead, many trapped in Turkish coal mine:  
Turkey's energy minister says the death toll from an explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey is now 201.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 80 mine workers were injured and at least four of them are in serious condition. 

The accident in the mine in the town of Soma some 250 kilometers south of Istanbul is one of the worst mining disasters in Turkish history. 

Rescuers were struggling early today to reach more than 200 miners still trapped inside the coal mine. More than 360 workers have been evacuated so far. 

Yildiz says the rescue effort is "reaching a critical stage" with the death toll likely to rise as time passes. 
09:15  Sonia to host farewell dinner for Manmohan today:  
Congress president Sonia Gandhi will host a farewell dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, two days before the announcement of results of Lok Sabha elections. 

A memento is also expected to be presented to Dr Singh signed by all members of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and Union Ministers, sources said. 

Yesterday, which was also his last day at work, a standing ovation and emotional farewells greeted the Prime Minister as he prepared to demit office on Saturday, a day after the national election verdict. 

To his staff at South Block, his office of 10 years, Dr Singh said, "You served the nation well. God bless you." 
 
He later chaired the last meeting of his Cabinet's economic panel. 

Dr Singh, 81, had announced earlier this year that he would not seek a third term even if the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance won this time. 
09:13  Top BJP leaders to meet Modi to discuss future strategy:  
Top BJP leaders will meet Narendra Modi in Gandhinagar on Wednesday to discuss their party's strategy after the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha polls. 

Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari are arriving here today to discuss with Modi the situation that will arise out of the declaration of Lok Sabha poll results on May 16. 

State BJP spokesperson Harsad Patel told a news agency that Rajnath Singh, the party chief, and the other two leaders will discuss with Modi election-related issues as well as the situation that will arise out of declaration of poll results on May 16.
 
In the run-up to their meeting with Modi today, Rajnath Singh and his predecessor as BJP president Gadkari had a long meeting at Singh's residence in Delhi discussing the party's future strategy. They also held confabulations with senior RSS leaders, sources said in Delhi.
00:39  US welcomes move to broker talk between Kiev,pro-Moscow rebels:  The US today welcomed moves to broker talks between the Ukrainian government and the Russian separatists in the country.

"We've worked very closely with our key ally, Germany, on this matter, and we commend the Ukrainian government's efforts to hold roundtables on constitutional reform and national unity, facilitated by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe including with Ukrainians from the eastern and southern regions of the country," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was in Ukraine to push Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels to hold talks after the OSCE drew up a roadmap aimed at easing the crisis. The US calls on Russia to support this effort, Carney said in response to a question.
00:16  Top headlines of the last 24 hours:  Discussions about new Indian government continue in Washington
Danger to Modi as prime minister 'will be from his right': Stephen Cohen
Seven Indian Americans awarded for cancer research
Lt Gen Dalbir Suhag to be next Army Chief
'Sonia called shots on appointments and policies'
Congress jumps to Rahul's defence after exit polls show debacle
TMC rules out alignment with BJP, claims it will do better than 2009

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