"The bypolls were a contest between development and caste and, yet again, caste has won," a BJP spokesperson in Uttar Pradesh said.
The BJP's offering of vikas (development) is how the party explains its election victories. When it loses, caste gets the blame.
Read the column here.
The broader NSE Nifty fell below the key 10,400-mark and touched a low of 10,346.20, before ending down 50.75 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 10,360.15.
The World Bank and Fitch projected India's GDP growth at 7.3 per cent for the next financial year and accelerate further to 7.5 per cent in 2019-20, which helped limit the fall.
"Whenever there is any issue to be discussed, any foreign ambassador of that country is called for consultation. It is not a recall," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said during a press briefing.
The development has taken place after missions of both the countries complained of alleged harassment of its diplomats in the two countries.
Kumar said the issue of alleged harassment of Indian diplomats has been raised and taken up with the authorities in Islamabad.
"We will not give details of the issue which we have taken up with the Pakistan government. This is something which should be taken up through established diplomatic channels and not published in media. We expect them to look into and resolve those issues as soon as possible," the spokesperson stated. -- ANI
This was in addition to the construction of a "grand memorial" at her burial site at the famous Marina beach in the city, at a cost of Rs 50.80 crore, he said in his budget speech in the assembly.
Officials have recently commenced preliminary work on the proposed conversion of Jayalalithaa's residence in Poes Garden locality here into a memorial. Jayalalithaa died on December 5, 2016. -- PTI
Image: The TN government says it will build a 'grand memorial' at her burial site at Marina beach at a cost of Rs 50.80 crore.
Yadav, whose party wrested both the high-profile seats from the ruling BJP with BSP's backing, claimed the victory margin of his candidates would have been larger, had paper ballots been used.
Yadav also said that his party's relations with Congress too continued to be good.
Yesterday, in a scene which seemed unimaginable only till the recent past, Yadav had rushed to the residence of the BSP supremo shortly after his candidates emerged victorious and thanked her.
"Samajwadis always give due respect to all and that is why today we have good relations with all. People were recalling old incidents but sometimes they have to be forgotten," Yadav told mediapersons in Lucknow.
The SP and the BSP, bitter foes of UP politics, have been at daggers drawn ever since the infamous state guest house case of 1995.
In June 1995, Samajwadi Party workers, who were angry with Mayawati for withdrawing support to Mulayam Singh Yadav, had targeted the BSP chief who was present at the state guest house on Meera Bai Marg in Lucknow.
Following SP's win in the bypolls, there has been much speculation about UP's two biggest regional parties joining hands to take on a formidable BJP in the 2019 general elections. On ties with the Congress, with which SP had an electoral truck in the last Assembly elections, Yadav said the good relations would continue. "We both are young and together will have to find a way out to the problems facing the country. Rahul Gandhi has congratulated me as well as other senior leaders and I have thanked them all," Yadav said referring to the Congress chief. -- PTI
Macron was given a traditional welcome with a shower of flower petals, a shehnai recital and chanting of mantras before he took a boat ride along with PM Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath between Assi and Dashwamedh ghats.
People gathered in large numbers along the ghats waved flags of India and France.
And this is precisely where the problem arose.
The AIADMK had festooned the road from the Varanasi airport to the venue where Jayalalithaa's birthday celebrations were to be held with party flags.
The AIADMK flag is a tricolour of black, white and red, which is rarely seen in the BJP bastion of Varanasi. The French flag, incidentally is also a tricolour -- red, white and blue.
The Uttar Pradesh police, nervous that the visiting dignitary would mistake the AIADMK flag as a blacked-out French flag, had the party flags removed.
Obviously, the AIADMK is peeved.
Chaudhary said, "I would like to congratulate Mayawatiji and give my greetings to her. According to my view, there should be an alliance in future and it will definitely happen."
The BJP received an unexpected blow in the by-elections after it lost both Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats, which were previously held by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya respectively.
Both the seats, especially Gorakhpur, were hence seen as a matter of prestige for the party ruling in both state and Centre.
In the last Assembly elections, the BJP had dethroned the Samajwadi Party from the state government, but the recent bypolls saw a turn in the electoral mood. -- ANI
Also read: Explained: Why Akhilesh, Mayawati joined hands
"There is a depression over South West Bay of Bengal and this will be moving westward and entering the Arabian Sea. This will bring moisture to the state," said Ajay Kumar, scientist, IMD.
According to the IMD, rainfall is expected only in the south Konkan region on the first day, followed by two days of isolated rainfall in most parts of Maharashtra.
The apex court also transferred to itself the matter pending before the Delhi High Court keeping in view that several high courts in the country have given conflicting views on interpretation of section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) which relates to ED's power to arrest an accused.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said it would hear the matter on March 26 and the top court would answer the question regarding the interpretation of section 19 of the PMLA.
The apex court's order came hours after the high court extended Chidambaram's protection from arrest in the ED case from March 20 to March 22. Karti Chidambaram, son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, is in jail in connection with the INX Media corruption case lodged by the CBI. -- PTI
Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule was also in yesterday's meeting, which took place at her home in Delhi. In fact, it was Sule who organised the meeting between her father and Rahul.
Rahul has always had a good working relationship with Sule and confides about political developments to her.
When Sonia Gandhi hosted a dinner for leaders of 17 opposition parties on Tuesday, it was Rahul Gandhi who who was seen engaging Sharad Pawar with both seated at the same table.
This Rahul-Pawar meeting marks the Congress president's attempts to bring together anti-BJP parties and also explore an alliance to challenge the BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, in the general election due in 2019.
"Had the EVMs worked smoothly and had no time been wasted (in the voting process), the victory margins of the Samajwadi candidates would have been much higher. In several EVM machines, votes had already been cast (even before polling began)." he told the media in Lucknow.
Yadav, who congratulated the two victorious candidates in the Uttar Pradesh by-elections, said the party had complained about the EVMS and "the Election Commission should take note of it". "The entire anger of the voters could not come out through the EVMs. Had ballot papers been used the impact of the anger would have been clear," he stressed. -- PTI
"Our High Commissioner in New Delhi has been asked to come to Islamabad for consultations," he said.
On Tuesday, the Foreign Office had summoned India's Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh over the alleged harassment of its officials and their families in New Delhi. The Pakistan Foreign Ministry claimed that the staff and their families have been facing "harassment, intimidation and outright violence" from Indian state agencies in recent weeks.
Faisal today alleged that this deliberate continuing bullying was not confined to a single isolated event and "continues unabated despite repeated official protests lodged with the Indian High Commission in New Delhi and also with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs at the highest (level)."
He said the Pakistan High Commission shared with the External Affairs Ministry photographs identifying the individuals, who forcibly halted and took pictures of the officers but regrettably no positive action was taken by the Indian side so far.
"The total apathy and failure of the Indian Government to put a halt to these despicable incidents, sparing not even young children, indicates both a lack of capacity to protect foreign diplomats posted in India or a more reprehensible, complicit unwillingness to do so," he said.
He said that under the Vienna Convention, the safety and the security of Pakistani diplomats and their families is the responsibility of the Indian government. He claimed that in the latest incident, Indian officials stopped the car of the deputy high commissioner for 40 minutes and harassed the occupants of the vehicle.
"Pakistan will go to any limit to ensure safety of the staff of (its) high commission in India," he said. He said India should not drag Pakistan in its electoral politics. Faisal said that Pakistan wants peace in the region and was against any arms race. PTI
Gandhi met Pawar last night within hours of the BJP's defeat in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls in Uttar Pradesh. The meeting took place at the latter's residence, they said. It has been learnt that they discussed efforts of putting up a joint opposition front against the saffron party, the sources in the Congress said.
The meeting comes a day after UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi hosted a dinner for opposition leaders, which was attended by leaders of 20 parties including the Congress.
The Congress chief is also likely to meet TMC president and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee soon. Banerjee is expected to attend a joint opposition meet being hosted by Sharad Pawar on March 28, the sources said.
The call for putting up a common front by the opposition in the 2019 elections came after BJP's yesterday defeat in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the constituencies of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya. -- PTI
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked Jay Shah and others, who have filed the complaint against the scribes, to respond within two weeks to the plea filed by the journalists against the Gujarat High Court's order, refusing to quash summons issued against them by the trial court.
The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, observed that the media should be more responsible and said it cannot write whatever it feels about anyone. The chief justice, while repeatedly stressing that he was not commenting on the case before it, also said that sometimes journalists write in a way that amounts to "sheer contempt of court".
"I have told many times about Freedom of Speech and Expression. We are not going to gag the media.The question of gagging the media does not arise. But the press should be more responsible," he said. "How can anyone write whatever they feel about anyone. There are limits," the chief justice observed.
"... they are writing sometimes which amounts to sheer contempt of court," he added. The Gujarat High Court had on January 8 rejected a petition filed by the news portal, seeking quashing of a criminal defamation case filed against it by Jay Shah over an article related to his company.
The high court rejected the petition on the grounds that the article, "The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah", is per say "defamatory" and the trial court should proceed with the case.
Jay Shah had moved the lower court alleging criminal defamation by the petitioners after the article published by the website claimed his company's turnover grew exponentially after the BJP-led government came to power at the Centre in 2014.
After the suit was filed on October 9, 2017, the court initiated proceedings against them under CrPC's section 202 (to inquire into a case to decide whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding).
The suit has been filed against the author of the article Rohini Singh, founding editors of the news portal Siddharth Varadarajan, Siddharth Bhatia and M K Venu, managing editor Monobina Gupta, public editor Pamela Philipose and the Foundation for Independent Journalism. The foundation publishes The Wire.
Jay Shah has separately filed a civil defamation suit of Rs 100 crore against the website over the article. Jay Shah had rejected the charge made in the article, insisting the story was "false, derogatory and defamatory".
Image: Amit Shah with his son, Jay.
"Our High Commissioner in New Delhi has been asked to come to Islamabad for consultations," he said. The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday claimed that the staff and their families have been facing "harassment, intimidation and outright violence" from Indian state agencies in recent weeks. -- PTI
It was a show of strength today by sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran who named his party after late leader J Jayalalithaa and unveiled its flag amid thousands of cadres who hailed him as the next Tamil Nadu "chief minister".
Naming his party "Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam" at an event in Madurai, Dinakaran said the new outfit would capture power in the state.
Dinakaran, who has the support of several dissident party workers and leaders, arrived in style in an open-top van acknowledging greetings from several supporters who had lined-up on streets in Melur with placards sporting his image.
Several party workers gave him the traditional 'poornakumbham', considered auspicious and a sign of respect. It has mango leaves and a coconut in a decorated traditional vase or pot. Banners and hoardings hailing Dinakaran as the "future chief minister" were put up at several roads and junctions.
Former ministers V Senthil Balaji and P Palaniappan, senior leader S Anbazhagan, disqualified MLAs and Dhinakaran loyalists, including P Vetrivel and Thanga Tamil Selvan, attended the event.
Giant hoardings of Dhinakrana along with AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa, Dravidian icon C N Annadurai, and jailed leader V K Sasikala were also put up for the event. The venue had a green backdrop (Jayalalithaa's favourite colour).
As soon as he arrived, a popular yesteryear number from an MGR film 'vangaiyya vathiyar ayya', (welcome our leader) was played. Dinakaran paid floral tributes to MGR and Jayalalithaa. Notwithstanding the move, he had said yesterday that his camp has not given up its right over the two-leaves symbol.
Cadres at the event claimed that it "overshadowed" party functions, including the Ilangyar Pasarai-Illam Pengal Pasarai at Theni, held by "betrayers" (ruling AIADMK led by K Palaniswami).
The 'pasarai,' event had witnessed an attendance of about 50,000 cadres, according to the ruling AIADMK. -- PTI
"Nishad has joined the roll of honour of the giant slayers in India's electoral history but for the 29-year-old, the names of Ravindra Pratap Singh and Raj Narain invokes nothing. Ravindra Pratap and Narain respectively vanquished Sanjay Gandhi and Indira Gandhi from Amethi and Rae Bareli in the 1977 elections after Emergency was lifted. In Pravin's words, he breached the "Gorakhpeeth fortress', seat of the Nath "sampradaya', a Hindu monastic order of which the present custodian is Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh's chief minister. "
Read the profile here.
Rajinikanth began his annual spiritual pilgrimage on Saturday and reached an ashram in Uttarakhand on Tuesday.
The actor till now has refused to answer any questions about politics, stating that he has not become a full-fledged politician yet.
Earlier this year, Rajinikanth had announced that he would be entering active politics and contesting all the 234 assembly seats in Tamil Nadu in 2021. He has not yet announced his party's name yet.
Yesterday, as the trends for the two seats -- Gorakhpur and Phulpur -- in the UP bypolls showed the SP-BSP alliance emerging victorious -- SP MPs in the Upper House wipped out their red caps and wore them in the House.
It seems SP chief Akhilesh Yadav called his party colleague and MP Prof Ram GopalYadav suggesting that SP MPs should wear the red topi.
The MPs wore their red topis at 2 pm when the Rajya Sabha reassembled after lunch and later to the Central Hall as well. It was a visible celebration of their hard-fought victory in UP CM Yogi Adityanath's bastion of Gorakhpur.
Seeing the reds in her midst, Jaya Bachchan, who will continue as the party's Rajya Sabha MP, gamely asked for a red cap.
As an MP pulled out a cap from a packet he was carrying and gave it to her, BJP MPs observing the bonhomie, wondered why Naresh Aggarwal was missing in parliament.
As it may be recalled, Aggarwal had quit the SP to join the BJP angered by the party's decision to give Jaya Bachchan the RS ticket. His debut speech in the BJP, calling Bachchan a dancer and actor, drew flak from the BJP and the entire opposition.
Image: Samajwadi Party supporters celebrate their success in Phulpur and Gorakhpur bypolls in Allahabad. Photo: PTI
"It was basically a mosquito, when it came and when it flew back no one knew. It was a 'shani' over our party which has now gone," Jayakumar told reporters.
Earlier in the day, Dhinakaran launched his party, 'Amma Makkal Munetra Kazhagam', amid much fanfare, in Melur.
In December, the sidelined AIADMK leader won the key RK Nagar Assembly seat, previously held by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalaithaa, as an independent candidate, with pressure cooker as his symbol.
Last year, amid the political turmoil in the state, Dhinakaran had lost the AIADMK party name and the 'two leaves' symbol to the Palaniswami- Panneerselvam faction. -- ANI
A Goa court will on today start hearing the rape case against the former Tehelka editor-in-chief.
Previously, the court was supposed to hear the case from February 26 to March 1. However, it was postponed after Tejpal informed the court that he has changed his lawyer.
Public Prosecutor, Fransisco Tavora informed that charges against Tejpal have been farmed under section 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-B (assault or use of criminal force on a woman with intent to disrobe), 341 and 342 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Tavora also informed that "Tejpal has pleaded not guilty."
During his address to the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, the Chief Minister accused the Congress party of causing destruction in Telangana since 1956.
"In 58 years, Telangana has not been developed. In 2001, I said that Telangana has been neglected and its problems have been ignored and the main villain for Telangana was the Congress party," he added.
The Chief Minister also accused former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for mixing Telangana in Andhra Pradesh for political benefits.
"Jawaharlal Nehru has mixed Telangana in Andhra Pradesh state at that time and local Congress party members supported him, every time when Telangana agitation started the Congress party has spoiled it many times," he added. -- ANI
Dinakaran said the aim of the party was to retrieve Amma's party, the AIADMK.
He also launched the party flag, a black, white and red tricolour with the image of Jayalalithaa at the centre.
The rally had huge cutouts of party mentor MG Ramachandran, Dinakaran's nephew VK Sasikala.
Dinakaran had appealed to his supporters and the public to attend the function. The announcement comes days after superstar Kamal Haasan entered the political scene with the launch of his party 'Makkal Needhi Maiam' from Madurai.
"Some posts place the blame squarely on BJP chief Amit Shah. They say the BJP didn't listen to Yogi (by giving the ticket to someone who's not from the Gorakhnath peeth). In its eagerness to snub him, the party forgot it did not have its own standing in Gorakhpur. The BJP exists there only because of the influence of the Gorakhnath peeth. Shah was mistaken to believe, one message said, that the seat was won because of the BJP. He thought anybody who's made to contest Gorakhpur would win. Now he must have understood how Yogi can show the BJP its place."
Do read Shivam Vij's piece here.
And Obama's star reference?
This is one of Dr Hawking's memorable quotes.
"Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you dont just give up."?
Dinakaran had said on Sunday that he would announce the name of his political party and unveil the flag in Madurai later this week.
'Following the acceptance of our plea in the Delhi high court, a function to announce the name of the party and introduce the party flag will be held on March 15 at Melur in Madurai district,' he had said in a statement.
The Delhi high court, on March 9, allowed Dinakaran's plea for allotment of a common symbol, preferably 'pressure cooker', and a name of his choice for the AIADMK faction led by him. -- ANI, PTI
The US has some $500 billion trade deficit with China. Ever since coming to power, Trump has sought to reduce this trade deficit which he says is mainly due to the unfair trade practices of China.
"His goal is free, fair, and reciprocal trade agreements in which other countries grant American products and American exports just as much access as we grant to their products and their imports into the US. He's going to be pushing for that, and there could be additional actions," White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters today in a gaggle abroad Air Force One.
Shah was responding to a question on media reports that the Trump administration is working to increase import tariff on a number of Chinese products.
Early this month he had imposed a 25 per cent tariff on import of steel and another 10 per cent on aluminium.
"The president campaigned on, believes in strongly, that American workers and American businesses have been ripped off by foreign trade competitors and partners in the past, and he wants to level the playing field," Shah said. -- PTI
US President Donald Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the former's China visit last year. Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
Kudlow, 70, would replace Gary Cohen, a former Goldman Sachs executive who quit the post after his differences with Trump on imposing a 25 per cent tariff on import of steel and 10 per cent on aluminium.
"Larry Kudlow was offered, and accepted, the position of Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
"We will work to have an orderly transition and will keep everyone posted on the timing of him officially assuming the role," Sanders said.
Kudlow served in the Regan administration when he helped craft the economic policy. -- PTI
The verified account, which has 1,47,000 followers, appeared to be in possession of the hackers.
The cover photo of the verified account showed the image of Turkish Airline and the tweets displaying in the account are also in Turkish language.
Pro-Turkish tweets are being shared on the account and the verified blue tick was also removed for sometime.
One of the re-tweets claimed that the Air India account has been hacked by the Turkish cyber army Ayyildiz Tim.
The tweet reads, 'Your account has been hacked by the Turkish cyber army Ayyildiz Tim.Your DM correspondence and important data have been captured.'
The profile of the page reads, 'Ayyildiz Tim Ozel Operasyon Ekibi.'
Micro-blogging site Twitter usually removes the verification mark from any such account for a brief time when a verified user's handle is changed.
In such incidents, as part of its policy, Twitter requires the user to provide their documents again to ensure that the account is still in the right hands.
However, the account now seems to be recovered with all controversial tweets by alleged hackers deleted. The blue tick has also been recovered. -- With ANI inputs
It also said that the UK's decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the alleged attack was a 'just response'.
"The US stands in solidarity with its closest ally, the UK. The US shares the UK's assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter, and we support the UK's decision to expel Russian diplomats as a just response," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday expelled 23 Russian diplomats -- in the 'single biggest expulsion' in more than 30 years -- and suspended high-level bilateral contacts, saying Moscow was 'culpable' of the nerve agent attack.
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found collapsed after being poisoned last week.
Both remain in a serious condition along with a police officer who came in contact with the same substance.
Russia denies its involvement in the attempted murder. Sanders said the attack fits into a pattern of behaviour in which Russia 'disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes'.
"The US is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again," she said. -- PTI
IMAGE: A police officer stands at a cordon around the bench where former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found after they were poisoned, in Salisbury, on Wednesday. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters