Sat, 12 May 2018
Anybody can be PM, Rahul popular with public, says Shatrughan

Timeline  Refresh

20:56   Indore man sentenced to death for rape and murder of 4-month-old
The Indore district court today awarded death penalty to a 26-year-old man for rape and murder of a three-month-old girl, while likening him to "gangrene".
The verdict came within 22 days of the incident.
Additional Sessions Judge Varsha Sharma sentenced Naveen Gadke, the accused, to death under IPC section 376 (A) (death due to injuries during rape) which was introduced under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, and section 302 (murder).
He was also found guilty under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
In the 51-page verdict, Judge Sharma said, "Given the heinous and gruesome manner in which the cruel act was done by the accused, this person is like a gangrene disease in the society. Like the doctor cuts off gangrene-affected parts of a patient's body through operation, in the same way it is also necessary to keep such criminal away to protect the society from them. Such person is deadly for the society."
District prosecution officer Akram Sheikh said the special investigation team formed by the police completed the investigation within seven days of the incident and filed a charge sheet on April 27.
The charges were framed on April 28 and the case was heard on a daily basis from May 1, he said.
Prosecution examined 29 witnesses, including the accused's estranged wife.
Gadke was distantly related to the victim's parents, who sold balloons and slept outside the historical Rajwada building here, Sheikh said.
According to the police, Gadke's wife had left him, and he went to the victim's mother on the night of April 19, asking her to intervene in the marital dispute.
As he started arguing, he was driven away. He abducted the girl from the spot while her parents were asleep in the wee hours of April 20, the police said.
CCTV footage of the area revealed his actions. "After abducting her, he carried the sleeping girl on his shoulder so that passers-by could not suspect him. He took her to the basement of a commercial building 50 metres away from where her family was sleeping and raped her," said a police official.
After raping her, Gadke banged the girl's head on the ground and killed her, he said. The child's body was found on the afternoon of April 20 and soon Gadke was arrested. -- PTI
20:37   Anybody can be PM, Rahul popular with public, says Shatrughan
Firing a fresh salvo, disgruntled Bharatiya Jantaa Party MP Shatrughan Sinha today questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's criticism of Rahul Gandhi for expressing readiness to become PM, and alleged that he was indulging in "attention diversion politics" instead of answering the "pertinent" questions raised by the Congress president.
In a series of tweets on a day when assembly polls are being held in Karnataka, the Patna Sahib BJP MP said the Congress president , who has "matured in the past few years",  was popular with the general public and asked what was wrong if the leader heading the biggest, oldest national party saw a possibility of becoming the next Prime Minister.  
"Anybody can become PM in our country. Naamdar, Kaamdar, Daamdar or for that matter any average Samajhdaar, if he has the numbers and support. 
"Why are we making such a hue and cry about it? After all, isn't it their internal matter and any PMship has to be through verdict of majority," Sinha said in a a series of tweets tagging both Modi and the BJP and signing off with slogans of "Jai Karnataka, Jai Hind!"
Modi had mocked Rahul Gandhi's remarks that he is ready to become the PM if Congress emerges as the largest party in the 2019 general election, calling him immature and naamdar' (dynast). "You (Gandhi) are naamdar' , while I am kaamdar' (ordinary worker)," he had said earlier. 
Sinha, who is at loggerhead with party leadership ever since being ignored in Bihar election in 2015, is frequently seen in company of former Union minister Yashwant Sinha who quit BJP recently after consistently attacking Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. -- PTI
20:33   Karnataka poll: Exit polls predict close fight
TV exit polls have indicated a close fight between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.

If neither the Bharatiya Janata Party nor Congress emerge as a clear winner, the Janata Dal-Secular may assume the role of kingmaker in the 224-member state assembly.

The counting of votes will be done on May 15.

Times Now-VMR

Congress: 90-103
BJP: 80-93
JD-S: 31-39

ABP and C-Voter  

Congress: 87-99
BJP: 97-109
JD-S: 21-30 
Others: 1-8

Republic TV-Jan ki Baat

Congress: 73-82
BJP: 95-114
JD-S: 32-43
Others: 2-3

News X-CNS 

Congress: 72-78
BJP: 102-110
JD-S: 35-39
Others: 3-4

India Today-Axis 

Congress: 106-118
BJP: 79-92
JD-S: 22-30


Congress: 72-78
BJP: 102-110 
JD-S: 35-39 
Others: 3-5 
19:32   Pak hockey legend Mansoor Ahmed passes away in Karachi
Pakistan's World Cup-winning hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed passed away at a hospital in Karachi today after battling a prolonged heart ailment.
The 49-year-old Olympian had been suffering for weeks from complications stemming from a pacemaker and stents implanted in his heart, and had reached out to India for help in securing a heart transplant.
Pakistan government had reportedly offered Ahmed a mechanical heart transplantation which, had he accepted, would have been the first time the procedure was to be conducted in the country.
But Ahmed had refused the offer as he wanted a more conventional and proven procedure, for which he had wanted to go to India. 
The hockey legend, who was known as the 1994 World Cup hero for Pakistan, had been suffering from heart ailment for the past three years and was under treatment at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases here. 
"Mansoor passed away this afternoon due to heart complications," Dr Naveed Qamar said.
Mansoor was advised by senior heart surgeons at the hospital to undergo an operation to have a Left Ventricular Assist Device implanted to help pump blood to his heart.

"They are all looking after me very well here but I want to go for a proper heart transplant as the are donors available in India right now," the weak and frail looking Mansoor had told PTI from his bed on May 1.
He had said that the LVAD procedure basically is a plastic mechanical pump implanted in a heart to help it function but he preferred to have a proper heart transplant which was available in Chennai, India.
A renowned heart surgeon, Dr Komarakshi Balakrishnan at the Fortis Malar hospital in Chennai had looked at Mansoor's case and assured him if he came to India he could do the heart transplant immediately.
Dr Qamar who is the administrative head at the NIVCD said Mansoor's condition was not right for him to travel anywhere. -- PTI
19:29   Congress misused power, BJP will form govt in K'taka: Yogi
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today accused the Congress of misusing its powers in Karnataka and exuded confidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party would form government in the southern state with a clear majority.  
The chief minister who reached in Gorakhpur after receiving the first bus carrying pilgrims from Janakpur in Nepal to Ayodhaya, will stay at the Goraknath temple tonight. 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma Oli yesterday jointly inaugurated a direct bus service between Janakpur and Ayodhya - the two sacred cities for Hindus.
About the Karnataka Assembly elections, voting for which was held today, Adityanath said, "The Congress misused its power there. Their ministers were found distributing money openly and they also used other ways to get votes."
"But the people of Karnataka are in full enthusiasm and we got their immense support. We believe that we will win in the state with a massive majority," he said.
In what is projected as a tight race, voting was held in 222 out of 224 seats in a three-cornered contest among the ruling Congress, the BJP and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's Janata Dal-Secular.
"Suicide by farmers is the highest in Karnataka... The benefits of government schemes were not reaching the needy. The government there was working with a feeling of political hostility... I feel they will pay for it," Adityanath said.
"I am certain that after witnessing the negative attitude of the Congress government, people there will ensure that the BJP takes over the charge of governance," he said.
On a tweet of Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav asking the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh to fulfil the promises made by the ruling party for Ayodhaya, the chief minister said, "Whatever development work is done in Ayodhay has been done by us." -- PTI
19:09   70 per cent turn out in Karnata assembly polls
The high-stakes Karnataka assembly elections saw a 70 per cent voter turnout today, the Election Commission said.
The last assembly election in 2013 had witnessed 71.4 per cent polling, it said.
The polling figure is likely to go up as some voters were still queued up at the polling stations after 6 pm.
In what is projected as a tight race, voting was held in 222 out of 224 seats in a three-cornered contest among the ruling Congress, the BJP and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's JD-S.
Over 2,600 candidates are in the fray-- more than 2400 men and and over 200 women. There are a total of 5,06,90,538, voters of whom 2,56,75,579 male voters, 2,50,09,904 female and 5,055 transgender voters.
 Counting of votes will take place on May 15. -- PTI 
18:52   PM Modi back home after 2-day visit to Nepal
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in New Delhi after two-day visit to Nepal during which he held talks with his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma Oli and visited famed 20th century Janaki temple, Mukhtinath and Pashupatinath temples. 
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj recieved him at the airport. 

During his visit, the prime minister also called on President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Vice-President Nanda Bahadur Pun and discussed the issues of mutual interest.
Modi met Nepal's former prime ministers Prachanda and Sher Bahadur Deuba, and opposition leaders and held wide-ranging discussions on ways to strengthen bilateral ties.
This was the third visit of Prime Minister Modi to Nepal and the first high-level visit from India since the formation of the new government in Nepal this year. 
18:37   Polling for Karnataka assembly elections ends
The voting has been ended in the Karnatala assembly elections. 

Till 5 pm, the voting percentage was recorded at 64.35 percent. 

The Election Commission will announce the final turnout in short while. 

The polling which began at 7 am at 58,546 polling stations in 222 seats, concluded at 6 pm. 

The Karnataka Legislative assembly has 224 seats but elections in two constituencies, Jayanagar and Rajarajeshwari Nagar, both in Bengaluru, have been postponed.

Image: Voters stand in a queue to cast their votes for Karnataka Assembly election 2018 at a polling station in Mangaluru. Photograph: PTI Photo
18:11   BCCI treasurer raises questions about timing of IPL play-offs
The friction between Committee of Administrators and principal office bearers of BCCI came to fore once again after treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhry questioned the decision of advancing the timing of IPL play-off matches to 7 pm instead of the usual 8 pm start.
The IPL Governing Council headed by Rajiv Shukla had decided that the matches during the business end of the tournament would start early. 
While CoA chief Vinod Rai in his reply to the treasurer said that the decision was taken in consonance with Shukla, the treasurer alleged it as an "ad-hoc decision making" process without confirming if other GC members are in concurrence or not. 
Rai said that since double-headers are not involved and prize distribution ceremony takes a lot of time, the 7 pm start looks practical. The treasurer however feels otherwise.
"A decision such as this ought to have been taken well before the tournament started after proper consideration of all factors. We cannot really make up things as we go along as it is not a good practice in my view. It does give an impression of ad-hoc decision making. We are half a month away from the finals and we cannot be deciding on the timings right now," Chaudhry wrote in his mail to the CoA, a copy of which is in possession of PTI.
The treasurer questioned why the decision was not taken at the start of the tournament and why now. 
"Prior to the start of the tournament, in an officially convened IPL GC meeting, there was a discussion on the timings for the whole tournament but we did not hear anything on it thereafter and now all of a sudden one saw this being covered in the media and after that this suggestion has come forth and the arguments being given are two:
a. This would be in line with the bilateral T20 match start time (international matches) 
b. It would be helpful if we plan to do a closing ceremony which could be in between 2 innings and an early presentation/prize distribution after the final match."
Chaudhry in his argument said that all players over the years have adjusted to 8 pm starts and it's a non-issue.
While BCCI/CoA plans to do closing ceremony between the two innings (during final), Chaudhry questioned the rationale of a 7 pm start in Mumbai when the natural light is still there. -- PTI
61.25% voter turnout recorded till 5 pm in  Karnataka Elections 2018.
17:26   PM's Nepal visit dates decided in advance: FS
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Nepal was decided soon after K P Sharma Oli's election as the prime minister, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said on Saturday amid speculation over its timing which coincides with the Karnataka assembly election.
Responding to a question at a press meet, Gokhale said Prime Minister Modi had telephoned Prime Minister Oli, who was sworn to the post on February 15, to congratulate him and the visits were discussed then.
"When Prime Minister Modi had telephoned Prime Minister Oli upon his election as the prime minister of Nepal, they had discussed the visit then. Prime Minister Oli had then expressed his desire for an early visit by Prime Minister Modi. They had discussed the visits, and the Prime Minister (Modi) had said you (Oli) come first.
"So that's how the sequence has been, first Prime Minister Oli visited India and now Prime Minister (Modi) is in Nepal," Gokhale said.
Oli had visited India in April.
On questions over the timing of the visit which coincides with the high-stake Karnataka assembly election, he said, "whenever state visits take place they are decided as per the convenience of the two nations. No one prime minister alone can say that I will come at this time."
"So, don't focus on the dates, but focus on the content of this visit," the foreign secretary said.
Modi arrived in Kathmandu yesterday on a two-day visit and held discussions with Oli on strengthening ties between the two neighbouring countries.
During the visit, the prime minister also offered prayers at the famed 20th century Janaki temple, the Mukhtinath and Pashupatinath temples and attended a civic reception at  Janakpur.  -- PTI
17:15   Rabri becomes opposition leader in Bihar legislative council
Former Bihar Chief Minister and senior Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Rabri Devi was today accorded the status of the leader of opposition in the state legislative council on the basis of her party's enhanced strength in the upper house.
The development followed the recent biennial elections to the legislative council after which RJD's tally in the 75-member upper house rose from seven to nine, required to get the status.
"We received an application on behalf of Rabri Devi yesterday, brought by (state RJD president) Ramchandra Purve, seeking her recognition as the leader of the opposition in the house," legislative council Deputy Chairman Haroon Rashid told reporters.
"Today, we decided to accord recognition since a vibrant opposition is essential to the functioning of any democracy. Moreover, the RJD has the requisite numbers now," he said.
Last year, after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar walked out of the Grand Alliance comprising his JD(U), the RJD and the Congress, a similar application by Rabri Devi was turned down as the members of the party founded and headed by her husband Lalu Prasad constituted less than 10 per cent of the total strength of the house.
Welcoming the development on a day Rabri Devi's son Tej Pratap Yadav is getting married to the daughter of party MLA Chandrika Rai, RJD spokesperson Ejya Yadav said, "we are delighted at the recognition of Madam as the leader of opposition. The wedding has proved lucky for the entire party."
Lalu Prasad's younger son Tejashwi Yadav is the leader of opposition in the state legislative assembly.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi were among the 11 people elected to the legislative council last month, along with Rabri Devi. -- PTI  
17:14   Nawaz Sharif admits Pak's role in 26/11 Mumbai attacks
Ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today appeared to admit that Pakistani terrorists carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks in an interview to Dawn newspaper.

"Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can't we complete the trial?" he said in a reference to the Mumbai attacks-related trials which have stalled in Pakistan.

Sharif's comments assume significance as Pakistan has been firmly denying India's allegation that state actors were involved.

India has accused Lashkar founder and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed of masterminding the Mumbai attacks. 
16:49   Parties advocating ceasefire playing politics over Ramzan: Jitendra Singh
Parties advocating a unilateral ceasefire by the Centre in Jammu and Kashmir are playing politics over Ramzan, Union Minister Jitendra Singh today said and asserted that the government had a consistent policy with regard to Pakistan and terrorism.  
"I want to ask a question to those who are suggesting a unilateral ceasefire whether they are true followers of Islam? As long as we understand Islam and Holy Quran, those who observe fast it is imperative for them not to indulge in any type of violence or harm anyone.
"Instead of advising them (militants), suggesting others means that you are not faithful to Ramzan but you are playing politics over it," Singh told reporters.
On May 9, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said the Centre should consider a unilateral ceasefire in the state starting from Ramzan in mid May till the completion of the Amarnath Yatra in August. 
She made the remarks after chairing an all-party meeting, which was convened to discuss the present situation in Kashmir Valley, especially after a tourist from Chennai was killed in stone pelting on May 7. 
"Everyone (all parties) agreed that we should appeal to the Centre to consider a ceasefire like the unilateral ceasefire in (former PM Atal Bihari) Vajpayee's time during Ramzan (later this month) till Amarnath Yatra and Eid," she had told reporters.
The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the BJP, which is sharing power with Mufti's PDP, opposed her call for a unilateral ceasefire claiming such a step was not at all in "national interest". 
"An opinion came up during the discussion for a unilateral ceasefire on the lines of one declared by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. We have a strong view...Unilateral ceasefire in the present situation is not in national interest at all," BJP state unit's chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi earlier said.
Sethi said that militants were demoralised due to the army's action and a unilateral ceasefire would ease pressure and allow them to re-energise.  -- PTI
16:14   Thunderstorm, squall likely in north India hill states tomorrow: IMD
Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh are likely to witness thunderstorm accompanied with squall, while parts of Rajasthan might see dust storm over the next two days, the IMD said today.
Thunderstorm over these hill-states states and its subsequent effect on plains in north Indian is due to a new western disturbance from tomorrow.
Western disturbance originates in the Mediterranean Sea that brings sudden rains to northwestern parts of India.
Thunderstorm accompanied with squall with wind speed reaching 50-70 kilometres per hour are "very likely" at isolated places over east Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Gangetic West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand, it said.
"Thunderstorm accompanied with gusty winds also very likely at isolated places over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, west Uttar Pradesh, Vidharbha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Telangana, north coastal Andhra Pradesh, south interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Kerala," an Indian Meteorological Department advisory said.
Heat wave conditions are very likely at one or two pockets over Rajasthan, west Madhya Pradesh and Vidharbha.
Several states in north India have witnessed erratic weather pattern over the fortnight. Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have alone witnessed over 120 deaths due to thunderstorm and violent winds in the first week of May. --  PTI 
16:05   PM trying to 'influence' K'taka polls via temple visits in Nepal: Congress
The Congress today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to "influence" voters in Karnataka on the polling day through his temple visits in Nepal. 
Modi today prayed at Nepal's iconic Muktinath temple that is regarded sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists, becoming the first world leader to offer prayers there. 
He also offered prayers at the Pashupatinath temple, located on the banks of the Bagmati river. The Pashupatinath temple is regarded as the most sacred and oldest temple of Shiva (Pashupati) in Nepal.
Polling is underway in 222 out of 224 seats in Karnataka which is witnessing a three-cornered contest.  
Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot alleged that the prime minister had timed his visit to the Himalayan nation on the Karnataka poll date, and was "giving a message to Hindus" in the southern state.
Alleging violation of the model code of conduct, he said Modi's temple visits in Nepal were being aired on the day of polling in Karnataka.   
"This is not a good tradition in a democracy. In Gujarat also, he held a road show after voting. Today, he has adopted a new path. When Karnataka is polling today, he has gone to Nepal and is worshipping in temples there, as he could not do so in the southern state due to elections," Gehlot said.
The AICC general secretary said Modi, through his temple visits, was giving out a message to voters in Karnataka of how religious he was and that he was a Hindu. 
"If one asks him (Modi), no other person is Hindu, except the BJP and RSS people, besides him and Amit Shah," he said. 
On the Nepal visit being planned earlier, the former Rajasthan chief minister reiterated that the prime minister had timed his Nepal visit to coincide with the Karnataka polls. -- PTI

Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering prayers at iconic Muktinath temple in Nepal. Photograph: @narendramodi/Twitter
Karnataka poll: 56% voter turnout recorded till 3 pm 
15:26   Nepal would not allow its territory to be used against India: PM Oli
Nepal is sensitive to India's interests and would not allow its territory to be used against India, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has assured his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
Briefing reporters at the end of Prime Minister Modi's two-day visit to Nepal, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale today said it was a "significant statement" from Prime Minister Oli and India was "satisfied" with discussions.
"Oli reiterated that Nepal would be sensitive to India's interests and its territory would not be used against India," Gokhale said. 
Nepal shares a border of over 1,850 kms in the east, south and west with five Indian states Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. 

There has been a long tradition of free movement of people across the borders sharing family ties and culture. Travellers from both sides do not need visas.
During a joint press meet yesterday after a one-on-one meeting with Oli, Modi had said the open borders between India and Nepal plays an important role in the strong bilateral ties.
"We will not allow its misuse by anti-social elements," Modi said after the marathon delegation-level talks during which the two sides had extensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship.
"We have agreed to further strengthen our joint efforts on defense and security to control cross-border crimes that have been taking place by misusing our open-borders that are quite important for people on both the sides," he said.
Indo-Nepal border is open, porous and thickly populated. The movement of people across the border is governed by Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, 1950, which provides for free movement of citizens of both the countries across the border.
During her meeting with Prime Minister Modi, Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari said high-level visits strengthen people-to-people contact.
Gokhale said Nepali leaders who called on Prime Minister Modi expressed confidence that his visit to cultural places like Janakpur and Muktinath would enhance tourism.
He also said that the two sides have agreed to an informal timeline to discuss all matters by September this year.
The two leaders also discussed implementation of various India assisted projects in Nepal and decided to bridge the implementation gap in some of the projects, the foreign secretary said.
"Two visits in two months of two state leaders sets our bilateral relationship on a very positive and forward looking path," Gokhale said.
In response to a question, Gokhale said there was no discussion on the issue of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation or SAARC. Nepal is the current chair of the SAARC. -- PTI
14:53   Yeddyurappa 'mentally disturbed', says Siddaramaiah
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today asserted that the Congress would come back to power with a clear majority and dubbed his political  rival, BJP's B S Yeddyurappa as "mentally disturbed" on his claim that he would form the next government in the state.
He also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, charging that income tax raids were ordered against Congress workers and well-wishers out of  desperation because the saffron party was sure of losing the election.
The issue would be raised with the Election Commission after the polls and in Parliament, he said.
Sounding confident about Congress victory, Siddaramaiah dubbed Yeddyurappa "mentally disturbed" for his claim that he would take oath as the chief minister on May 17.
"The Congress will get the clear majority. There is no confusion about this. We are very confident that Congress will come back to power with clear majority. He (Yeddyurappa) is mentally disturbed. BJP can't get more than 60-65 seats," Siddaramaiah said.
He also dismissed the BJP's allegations that the Congress misused government machinering during the assembly polls.
"How can it be? Is it possible? I can never do it in my political career.They (BJP) are making false allegations. On the other hand, they (BJP) are doing it," Siddaramaiah told reporters in Varuna consituency in Mysuru from where his son is contesting,
Siddaramaiah is contesting from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru apart from Badami in north Karnataka.
Predicting his victory from Chamundeshwari, he ruled out the possibility of a hung assembly saying the Congress would get a clear majory.
The situation of hung assembly would never arise, Siddaramaiah asserted. -- PTI  
14:40   K'taka poll: 38% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm
37% voter turnout has been recorded till 1 pm in Karnataka Elections 2018. 
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his son Yatindra cast their vote. 
13:38   Pink booths to third generation EVMs, several firsts in Karnataka poll
From all-women managed 'Pink Booths' to the use of third generation electronic voting machines, the assembly elections in Karnataka are marked by several firsts.
The country's IT hub saw electoral authorities initiate a slew of initiatives targeting a voting percentage of 75.
As the outcry about the alleged vulnerability of the EVMs to tampering grew louder, the Election Commission has come up with the 'M3 EVMs' that are tamper proof and stops when attempts are made to meddle with it.
On a pilot basis, the Election commission chose five assembly constituencies in Bengaluru -- Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Shivajinagar, Shanthinagar, Gandhi Nagar and Rajaji Nagar in Bengaluru.
However, election to the Rajarajeshwari Nagar has been deferred owing to large scale malpractices and a row over seizure of over 9,750 voter ID cards from a flat.
The machine, according to sources in the office of the chief electoral officer, has features like display of battery status and digital certification. The machine can report about the malfunction on its own, they said.
In a women-oriented step, 450 "pink booths" called 'Sakhi' have been set up.
Sending a message of women empowerment, they are entirely managed by women, right from the returning officer to the security personnel, the sources said.
Adding a riot of colours, the EC has set up ethnic polling booths in Mysuru, Chamarajnagar and Uttar Kannada districts where polling booths match the lifestyle of tribal masses living there.
 Like in every election, each booth is equipped with facilities such as wheelchairs for the differently-abled to exercise their franchise easily. -- PTI

Image: BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje casts her vote. Photograph: Kind courtesy @ShobhaBJP/Twitter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's message in the visitor's book at Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu. 
12:49   Govt mulling six-month jail term for those abandoning elderly parents
The Narendra Modi government is planning to increase the jail term for those who abandon or abuse their elderly parents, to six months from the existing three months, according to a senior official.
The ministry of social justice and empowerment, which is reviewing the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, has also proposed widening the definition of children to include adopted or step children, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and minors represented by their legal guardians, the senior ministry official said.
Only biological children and grandchildren come under the provisions of the existing act.
The ministry has drafted the the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Draft Bill, 2018, which once approved will supersede the existing act.
The draft act also proposes doing away with an upper limit of Rs 10,000 per month as maintenance amount, thus making it variable.
"Those who earn well can and should of course shell out higher amount for the upkeep of their parents. Also the definition of  the term maintenance should go beyond providing food, clothing, housing, health care and include safety and security of parents," the official said.
The act in its current form makes it a legal obligation for children and heirs to provide maintenance to senior citizens and parents, by monthly allowance of Rs 10,000.
Elderly parents can approach a Maintenance Tribunal in case their children neglect or refuse to maintain them. -- PTI 
12:48   Modi offers prayer at Pashupatinath temple
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hopping from one temple to another in Nepal.

After offering prayers at Nepal's iconic Muktinath temple, he offered prayers at Pashupatinath temple.
Photograph: @PIB_India/Twitter
12:41   Karnataka poll: Everything you need to know
As polling is underway in Karnataka, HERE is your guide to know all about the assembly poll 2018. 
12:26   Forget 150, BJP will not win more than 60-70 seats: Mallikarjun Kharge
Expressing confidence over Karnataka assembly elections, Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge today said that the Bharatiya Janata Party will not win more than 60-70 seats.

Kharge further said that the BJP is just dreaming of forming the government.

"We are confident. The BJP will not win more than 60-70 seats maximum, forget getting 150. They (BJP) are just dreaming of forming the government," Kharge told ANI.

Earlier in the day, BJP Karnataka chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa claimed that the party will get more than 150 seats and they will form the government in the state.

Yeddyurappa urged the people of Karnataka to vote for the BJP and assured them of good governance in the state.

The BJP chief ministerial candidate casted his vote in Shikarpur, Shimoga. -- ANI
11:55   Rahul asks people to participate in 'festival of democracy' by voting
Congress president Rahul Gandhi today urged the people of Karnataka to participate in the "festival of democracy" by voting in large numbers.
Gandhi also welcomed first-time voters to take part in the electoral process.
"Voter exercising his right without fail is the sign of functional democracy. I welcome all my young friends who are casting their vote for first time in Karnataka," Gandhi said in a tweet in Kannada.
"I request people of Karnataka to celebrate this biggest festival of democracy in large numbers with fervour, and make it successful," he said.
The Congress chief had extensively campaigned across the state with an aim to bring the party back to power in Karnataka, which is the only large state ruled by it after Punjab.
Gandhi had made nine visits, each one spanning about three days, to the state as part of his 'Janashirvada Yatre'. He had addressed roadside meetings and rallies and taken part in road shows across the state in a customised bus.
The Congress has not announced any chief ministerial candidate but maintains that incumbent Siddaramaiah will be the party's face during the campaign.
Siddaramaiah tweeted, "Today people of Karnataka are standing in queues to create history and show the nation the way to liberal, progressive, peaceful and compassionate politics and governance. I thank them for their support and wish them well." -- PTI  
11:44   Priyanka Chopras TV show Quantico cancelled
ABC network has decided to drop Priyanka Chopra-starrer Quantico and Kiefer Sutherland's Designated Survivor.
Quantico features Priyanka as FBI recruit framed for a bombing attack. The show's current season, which premiered last month, will continue to air through mid-July, reported Variety.
Three episodes into its third season, Quantico is averaging a 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demo and 2.3 million total viewers, according to Nielsen live-plus-same day numbers.
Apart from Qunatico and Designated Survivor, ABC has also cancelled Zach Braff's comedy series Alex, Inc, The Crossing, an acclaimed allegorical sci-fi drama series that's only aired six episodes, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, and The Mayor.
The network, however, renewed The Goldbergs, The Good Doctor, Grey's Anatomy, Modern Family, Speechless and Roseanne. -- PTI    
11:34   Karnataka poll: 24% voter turnout recorded till 11 am
About 24 per cent voter turnout has been reorded till 11 am during voting in Karnataka, which is witnessing a three-cornered contest among the ruling Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda's Janata Dal-Secular.

Voting is being held in 222 out of 224 seats where polling began at 7 am.
Over 2,600 candidates are in the fray-- more than 2400 men and and over 200 women.
10:57   Look who turned up to vote...
Anil Kumble and his family flash their fingers after casting their vote in the Karnataka assembly polls. He posted the image, captioning it, "We have!!! Have You!!!"

About 11 per cent polling was recorded in the first two hours of voting in Karnataka. which is witnessing a  three-cornered contest among the ruling Congress, the BJP and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda's JD-S.

Election authorities said "moderate to brisk" voting has been witnessed in  222 out of 224 seats where polling began at 7 am.

People were seen standing in queues to cast their votes in the early hours itself, factoring in that the temperature may go up later in the day. Also, it has been raining in different parts of south interior Karnataka for the last couple of days during the evening hours.
10:40   Himanshu Roy shot self in mouth, wrote on cancer fight in suicide note
Himanshu Roy shot himself in the mouth and the wound was visible right up to his skull, said a doctor, as his colleagues and others struggled to come to terms with the high-profile Maharashtra police officer's suicide. 

A handwritten suicide note has indicated that the officer, who was battling cancer, had been depressed and killed himself out of "frustration" over his health.

Gautam Bhansali, a doctor at Mumbai's Bombay Hospital, also said Himanshu Roy "looked much thinner compared to what he was before and he had even grown a beard". 

Himanshu Roy, Additional Director General of Police (Establishment), allegedly shot himself with his licensed revolver at his home in Mumbai's Nariman Point around 12.40 pm.

Mumbai police, citing his suicide note, said the 1988-batch Indian Police Service officer took the extreme step out of "frustration" due to his prolonged battle with cancer.

"Mr Roy had been on medical leave for the last two years and the suicide note, in his own handwriting, makes it clear that he ended his life out of frustration due to this illness," a police statement said.

The 54-year-old lived with his wife and mother.

As chief of the anti-terror squad or ATS, Roy handled major cases including 26/11, the 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing, the 2012 murder of lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha and the J Dey murder.
10:13   Himesh Reshammiya ties the knot
It's the season of weddings in Bollywood. 

After Sonam Kapoor tied the knot with Anand Ahuja and Neha Dhupia married Angad Bedi, singer Himesh Reshammiya heard wedding bells on Friday. 

The singer tied the knot with longtime girlfriend Sonia Kapoor in a private ceremony at his residence in the presence of close friends and family. His son from his first marriage, Swaym, also attended the ceremony.

The beautiful clicks of the newlyweds have them looking much in love with each other. If reports are to be believed Himesh and Sonia have been together for over 10 years now. It was in June 2017 that Himesh got officially divorced from Komal, his first wife of 22 years.
09:42   PM asks voters in Karnataka to come out in large numbers to cast vote
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged voters in Karnataka to come out in large number to cast their vote.
Polling is underway in 222 out of 224 seats in Karnataka which is witnessing a three-cornered contest among the ruling Congress, the BJP and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's JD-S.

"Urging my sisters and brothers of Karnataka to vote in large numbers today. I would particularly like to call upon young voters to vote and enrich this festival of democracy with their participation," Modi tweeted.

The prime minister often uses social media to urge people to vote during elections.

-- PTI
BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar casts his vote at Karnataka Reddyjana Sangha in Bengaluru's Koramangala.

Photograph: ANI/Twitter
09:09   PM Modi offers prayer at iconic Muktinath temple in Nepal
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today prayed at Nepal's iconic Muktinath temple that is regarded sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists.
Modi wore Buddhist traditional red dress and carried out rituals both according to the Hindu and Buddhist tradition.

Modi will also offer prayers at Pashupatinath temple after his return from Muktinath today. This will be followed by meeting with leaders of political parties of Nepal.

He is scheduled to attend a civic reception hosted by Kathmandu Metropolitan City at Rastriya Sabha Griha before returning to New Delhi.

High security alert has been maintained in Mustang in view of Modi's visit. The local administration had put in place a special security plan to make Modi's visit safe and systematic. 
Muktinath Temple is regarded as sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists located in Muktinath Valley. The temple at an altitude of 3,710 metres at the foot of the Thorong La pass in mountainous Mustang district. 

-- PTI
08:40   Rahul, Priyanka likely to attend Lalu's son's wedding
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Vadra are among the dignitaries likely to attend the wedding ceremony of RJD president Lalu Prasad's elder son Tej Pratap Yadav today, a close aide of the family said.
"We have received confirmation that Rahul and Priyanka will be coming to attend the wedding. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi is also among the dignitaries invited from across the country. We hope to receive many more confirmations of visit by the end of the day," RJD national general secretary and MLA Bhola Yadav told reporters.

To a query as to whether Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has confirmed his visit, Yadav, who had accompanied the RJD supremo on the flight from Ranchi last evening, quipped "how can 'chacha' (uncle) skip the wedding of 'bhatija' (nephew)?".

Fierce political rivalry spanning over decades notwithstanding, Kumar and Prasad have been close friends since the 1970s, when they had started off as student leaders and were active participants in the movement launched by
Jayaprakash Narayan.

On Thursday, Prasad's eldest daughter and Rajya Sabha member Misa Bharti had said the invitation had been sent out even to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"We would like them all to bless the young couple if their busy schedule permits them to do so," Bharti had said.

Meanwhile, the celebratory mood at the houses of former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, the groom's mother, and MLA Chandrika Rai, the bride's father, has grown more intense since Prasad's arrival.

The bungalows, barely a few hundred metres apart, have been decorated with flowers, and green chillies and lemons have been tied at several points to ward off evil eye.

-- PTI
08:22   Gunfight rages between terrorists and security forces in J-Ks Pulwama
A gunfight started on Saturday between a group of holed up terrorists and the security forces in Jammu and Kashmirs Pulwama district, police said.

Sources in the security forces said that the security forces including the Rashtriya Rifles, Special Operations Group of state police and the Central Reserve Police Force surrounded Wagum village on the outskirts of Pulwama town following information about a group of terrorists hiding there.

As the security forces tightened the cordon, hiding terrorists fired at them triggering an encounter which is going on, sources said. It said a group of four to six terrorists are hiding inside a house in the village which has been marked off.

Meanwhile, authorities suspended mobile Internet services in Pulwama to check spread of rumours. Rail services between Baramulla town and Bannihal town of Jammu region have also been suspended for the day.
07:56   Polling for Karnataka assembly elections begins
Polling for the high-stakes Karnataka assembly elections got underway this morning under a thick security blanket.
In what is projected as a tight race, voting is being held in 222 out of 224 seats in a three-cornered contest among the ruling Congress, the BJP and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's JD-S.
The Election Commission yesterday deferred the polls for the Rajarajeswari Nagar constituency to May 28 after a massive row erupted over a large number of voter ID cards being found in an apartment.
Election for the Jayanagara seat in Bengaluru was countermanded following the death of BJP candidate and sitting MLA B N Vijaykumar.
Over 2,600 candidates are in the fray -- more than 2,400 men and and over 200 women.
The total voters including service electors according to the 2018 final rolls are 5,06,90,538, of whom 2,56,75,579 male voters, 2,50,09,904 female and 5,055 transgender voters.
Officials said 58,008 polling stations have been set up across the state, of which 12,002 have been designated as "critical", with over 3,50,000 polling personnel on duty.
Police have made elaborate security arrangements for the smooth conduct of polls that will go on till 6 pm. Counting of votes will take place on May 15.

-- PTI
00:33   1 killed in pre-rural poll violence in WB; TMC strongman arrested
A 25-year-old man was on Friday shot dead in West Bengal's South 24 Parganas district during an attack on a procession by independent candidates in the May 14 panchayat polls in the state.

Trinamool Congress strongman Arabul Islam was arrested in connection with the incident late in the night on the order of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is also in charge of the home department.

"I have asked the police to arrest Arabul immediately. He has done something wrong," she said in the evening soon after the violence.

Arabul Islam was arrested from the backyard of his house where he was hiding, the police said.

According to the police, Hafizul Islam Mollah, a supporter of an independent candidate, was hit by a bullet on his chest when he along with other supporters were taking part in a procession from Kashipur to Machhibhanga at around 4.30 pm.

Most of the independents are associated with the Jami Rakkha Committee (Save Land Committee), an anti-land acquisition outfit opposing the setting up of a power grid unit in Bhangor.

The procession was taken out in response to an alleged attack by Arabul Islam's associates on the residence of one of the independent candidates last night.

Arabul, who is the chairman of the Bhangor II panchayat samiti, is up against an independent candidate in the May 14 rural polls.

There was tension between the two sides since morning and tyres were burnt on the road allegedly by Arabul's supporters to stop the progress of the procession.

Hafizul was grievously injured when bombs and bullets rained on the members of the procession. He was rushed to a nursing home and then to a hospital, where he was declared brought dead, the police said.

The Jami Rakkha Committee alleged that Arabul's men had unleashed the violence so that he could win the election without any opposition.

They also claimed that several other supporters of the committee were injured in the attack.

A large police contingent was deployed at the spot to maintain peace, the police said.  -- PTI