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Mon, 21 October 2019
Every person living in Bengal is Indian: Mamata

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23:06   Every person living in Bengal is Indian: Mamata
Iterating that she would never allow the implementation of NRC in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said every person living in this state is a citizen of India.

Those who have turned 18 should immediately enrol themselves in voters' list, she asserted.

Speaking at a programme in Siliguri in Mallaguri, Banerjee said, "There will be no NRC implementation in West Bengal. We will not allow any division among the people of the state. Do not be worried. Be rest assured we are your custodians."

The chief minister also said that the people of this state have earned their right to be called an Indian citizen through their participation in freedom struggle and contribution to Bengal renaissance.

"We, who stay in West Bengal, are all Indian citizens and we have earned this right through our fight for freedom,through our contribution to renaissance.

"This right was given to us by Raja Rammohan Roy, (Iswar Chandra) Vidyasagar, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and several patriots who sacrificed their lives fighting for the independence of the nation," she said.

The chief minister, who embarked on her north Bengal tour on Monday, her first visit to the region since Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, stated, "We vote because it's our democratic right. And I request all those who have attained the age of voting to get their names enrolled as voters."

Banerjee had always been vocal against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise, recently conducted in neighbouring Assam, while describing it as a ploy of the BJP-led central government to distract people's attention from the economic crisis in the country.

"We want peace in every family of West Bengal. We will not allow anybody to disrupt peace. There is no question of that (allowing people to disrupt peace here). People from every walk of society have the right to stay in Bengal. Not a single person will be forced out.

"Do not forget that our government will never allow such implementation (of NRC)... Remember that our government was, is and will continue to run the state," she maintained.

Contending that the safety of Bengal people was of primary importance to her, the Trinamool Congress supremo said she stayed up all night during the four-day Durga Puja celebrations to ensure no untoward incident happen anywhere in the city.

"I could not leave Kolkata during Durga Puja because I had to remain alert, keep guard to ensure the safety of my people," Banerjee added.  -- PTI
21:51   Abhijit Banerjee to visit Kolkata tomorrow
Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee will come to his paternal home in Kolkata on Tuesday to visit his 83-year-old mother after winning the global award.

Banerjee will be in Kolkata for two days and his mother Nirmala Banerjee, an economist in her own right, is busy overseeing the last minute preparations to welcome him.

She said she is personally preparing the room where her elder son will stay at their home in an apartment.

Banerjee, who wasd declared to be winner of the Nobel Prize on October 14, is now in New Delhi.

He will be at his home on October 23 and leave for the US early next morning, a family member said.

Nirmala Banerjee told reporters that she would be preparing fish items for food to welcome her Nobel laureate son.

"He loves fish and eats fish items whenever he is in Kolkata. I will prepare Katla fish curry and other fish items and some sweet dish," she said.

The family and his friends have decided not to make it a gala affair this time as he will be on a tight schedule.

"He will be in the city in December-January and we are planning some big celebrations then," Banerjee's childhood friend Bappa Sen said.

"For now some of us who are his friends have decided to meet him and congratulate him in person," he said.

Banerjee, an Indian-born American professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has won the Nobel in economics for 2019, jointly with French-American Esther Duflo, his wife and Michael Kremer of Harvard University for 'experimental approach to alleviating global poverty'.

Banerjee did his schooling at South Point School and had graduated in economics from the famed Presidency College (now University) in the city.

On Saturday he had visited his alma mater Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, where he completed had completed his Masters.   -- PTI
21:45   BSF arrests two Pakistani 'fishermen', seizes their boat
The Border Security Force (BSF) captured two Pakistani nationals along with a fishing boat from the 'Harami Nala' creek area off the Gujarat coast in Kutch district on Monday evening, an official said.

The incident took place when a team of BSF personnel was patrolling the creek area near Indias maritime border with Pakistan, the official said.

The duo was apprehended while trying to flee after abandoning their boat and primarily they appeared to be 'fishermen', he said.

"Two Pakistani nationals were captured when they tried to flee after abandoning their boat in the Harami Nala creek area.

"They were captured at around 5:30 pm and their boat was also seized. Primarily, they appeared to be fishermen," the official said.

The BSF launched an intensive search operation after the incident and was further investigating the matter, he said.

This comes days after a BSF team seized five Pakistani fishing boats in the same area, a sluggish and shallow water channel in Sir Creek in the Arabian Sea, from where the border guarding force had recovered several abandoned Pakistani boats in the last couple of months.

Pakistan and India regularly arrest each other's fishermen who inadvertently stray into their territorial waters due to absence of any proper technology to confirm the coastline border between the two neighbours near Sir Creek.

Sir Creek is a tidal estuary (partially enclosed coastal body) that separates Gujarat from the Pakistani province of Sindh.   -- PTI
20:33   Pak shells 2 sectors along LoC in Poonch
Pakistani troops resorted to heavy mortar shelling on civilian areas and forward posts in two sector along the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, an Army official said.

This came a day after the Indian Army in a major counter-offensive after Pakistan's unprovoked firing carried out heavy artillery strikes targeting four terror launch pads and several Pakistani military positions in Neelam Valley in Palistan occupied Kashmir, killing six to 10 of their soldiers and as many terrorists.

"Today, at about 3.45 pm, Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing of small arms and shelling with mortars in Qasba and Kirni sectors of Poonch district," the Army official said.

He said the Indian Army is retaliating befittingly.

On Saturday, Pakistan military had resorted to firing in Tangadhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir along the Line of Control to assist infiltration by terrorists, killing two Indian Army personnel and a civilian.

Three others were also injured in the attack.  -- PTI
20:19   Farooq Abdullah has a quiet birthday
It was a quiet birthday for Lok Sabha parliamentarian and three-time chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, who is detained under stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), as he turned 82 on Monday.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was among the first ones to greet Abdullah, who continues to remain confined to his house.

'Birthday wishes to Farooq Abdullah Ji. These are difficult times for you. We stand by you. Please stay positive. We pray for your good health @OmarAbdullah,' she posted on twitter.

Abdullah was wished by his wife Molly and daughter Safia who were permitted to see him on Monday.

The former chief minister has been detained along with other political leaders of the state since the Union government abrogated Article 370 on August 5.   -- PTI
19:54   Kumaraswamy meets Shivakumar in Tihar Jail
Former Karnataka chief minister and Janata Dal-Secular leader H D Kumaraswamy met Congress leader D K Shivakumar at Tihar Jail on Monday.

Shivakumar is accused of evading tax and being involved in alleged hawala transactions worth crores of rupees. He was arrested on September 3 by the Enforcement Directorate and his judicial custody has been extended till October 25.

"It was a cordial meeting. He looked very confident despite in this situation. He is mentally very strong. He is prepared to fight the next battle," Kumaraswamy told reporters after meeting his former cabinet colleague in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

Terming the meeting a 'personal visit', he also said, "Anyone can guess why this is all going on. DK (Shivakumar) has said he is prepared to face anything and will come out victorious."

Shivakumar, 57, was the main troubleshooter of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government headed by Kumaraswamy that lost power to the BJP in July this year.

The ED had, in September last year, registered the money-laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at the Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others.

The case was based on a charge sheet filed by the Income Tax department against them before a special court in Bengaluru last year, alleging tax evasion and 'hawala' transactions worth crores of rupees.

The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his alleged associate S K Sharma of indulging in transactions involving huge amounts of unaccounted money on a regular basis through 'hawala' channels with the help of three other accused.   -- PTI
18:56   Exit polls predict BJP return in Maha, Haryana
As voting for assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana comes to a close, various exit polls give clear majority to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in both the states.

Here are some of the exit polls:

Maharashtra (288 seats)

Times Now:
BJP+Shiv Sena- 230
Congress+NCP- 48
Others- 10

India Today-My Axis
BJP+Shiv Sena- 181
Congress+NCP- 81
Others- 26

CNN News 18
BJP+Shiv Sena- 243
Congress+NCP- 41
Others- 4

ABP-C Voter
BJP+Shiv Sena- 204
Congress+NCP- 69
Others- 15

TV9 Marathi
BJP+Shiv Sena- 197
Congress+NCP- 75
Others- 16

Jan Ki Baat
BJP+Shiv Sena- 223
Congress+NCP- 54
Others- 11

Republic TV
BJP+Shiv Sena- 216-230
Congress+NCP- 50-59
Others- 8-12

Haryana (90 seats)

Times Now:
BJP- 71
Congress- 11
Others- 8

News X
BJP- 77
Congress 11
Others- 2

TV9 Bharatvarsha
BJP- 47
Congress- 23
Others- 20

Jan Ki Baat
BJP- 57
Congress - 17
Others- 16

Republic TV
BJP-52-63
Congress- 15-19
Others- 12-19

IMAGE: Voters show their inked fingers after casting their votes at a polling station for the Haryana assembly elections, in Faridabad, on Monday. Photograph: PTI Photo
18:28   India to sign Kartarpur agreement on Oct 23
India on Monday said it is ready to sign an agreement with Pakistan on October 23 for the operationalisation of the Kartarpur Corridor, but asked Islamabad to reconsider its demand of charging $ 20 service fee per pilgrim.

The government has taken the initiative to put in place state of art infrastructure and open the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on the auspicious occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev so that pilgrims from India and those holding Overseas Citizen of India Card can undertake visit to the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

"It is a matter of disappointment that while understanding has been reached on most of the elements for facilitating the visit of pilgrims from India, Pakistan continues to insist on levying a service fee of $ 20 per pilgrim per visit," the MEA said.

The government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee, it said.

In view of the long pending demand of the pilgrims to have visa free access to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib and in the interest of operationalisation of the corridor in time before the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak falling on November 12, the government on Monday conveyed that India would be ready to sign the agreement on the corridor on October 23, the MEA said.

While agreeing to sign the agreement, the Pakistani government has been once again been urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee on pilgrims, it said. India would be ready to amend the agreement accordingly at any time, it said.   -- PTI
17:59   Delhi court takes cognisance of CBI chargesheet against Chidambaram
A Delhi court on Monday took cognisance of the Central Bureau of Investigation charge sheet in the INX Media corruption case accusing former finance minister P Chidambaram and others, including bureaucrats, of causing loss to the exchequer by allegedly committing offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar took cognisance of the FIR and posted the matter for October 24, when ED custody of Chidambaram will come to an end and he will be produced in court.

The accused in the charge sheet include Peter Mukherjea; chartered accountant S Bhaskaraman; ex-NITI Ayog CEO Sindhushree Khullar; former secretary in Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Anup K Pujari; Prabodh Saxena; Rabindra Prasad; INX Media; ASCL & Chess Management Services.

Accused-turned approver Indrani Mukerjea's also appears in the final report. The report was filed under various sections of the PCA and the Indian Penal Code.   -- PTI
17:41   ED to issue fresh summons to Shivakumar's wife, mother
The Enforcement Directorate told the Delhi high court on Monday it will issue fresh summons to wife and mother of Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar, arrested in a money laundering case, as the investigation is still on.

Justice Brijesh Sethi was told by ED's counsel that the earlier summons issued to Shivakumar's wife Usha and mother Gowaramma, 85, are not in existence and fresh summons will be issued as the investigation has to be completed.

The court was hearing separate pleas by the two women challenging the summons issued to them by the ED in the money laundering case.

The ED had summoned Gowramma and Usha to appear before it on October 15 and 17 respectively. Gowramma had skipped it.

Central government's standing counsel Amit Mahajan, appearing for ED, said the investigation cannot be stalled and it has to be completed for which fresh summons will be issued soon.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on October 24 to hear arguments on the two petitions.

Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, representing Gowaramma, said whenever the ED will issue summons to the old woman, they have to comply with the provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure which says a girl below 15 years and a woman of over 65 years cannot be called to the police station.

Shivakumar, a seven-time MLA in Karnataka, was arrested by the ED on September 3 under the PMLA. He is lodged in Tihar jail.

He has also approached the high court challenging a trial court's order denying him bail.

The court has reserved its order on the bail plea.

The ED had in September last year registered the money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah -- an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others.

The case was based on a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income Tax Department against them last year before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and 'hawala' transactions worth crores.

The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his alleged associate S K Sharma of indulging in transactions involving huge amounts of unaccounted money on a regular basis through 'hawala' channels with the help of three other accused.  -- PTI
17:28   Haryana: 50.59%, Maharashtra: 43.70% by 4 pm
Over 50 per cent of voters had cast their votes for Haryana assembly polls by 4 pm on Monday while the polling percentage was 43.70 per cent in Maharashtra.


The polling percentage in Haryana was 50.59 per cent in Haryana, according to the Election Commission of India.


The polling percentage was high in some states where assembly by-elections are being held but low in some others.In Uttar Pradesh where assembly by-poll is being held on 11 seats, the voting percentage was 36.94 per cent. -- ANI


Image: Salman Khan votes in Bandra 
16:50   All in a De's work
Shobhaa De@DeShobhaa Duty done. Because i am not an idiot. But may have voted for one! #voting #MaharashtraElections2019
16:49   Siachen opened for tourists
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announces that the Siachen area is now open for tourists and tourism. "From Siachen Base Camp to Kumar Post, entire area has been opened for tourism purposes," the union minister announced.
16:43   Pak has unilaterally stopped postal services to India: RS Prasad
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Pakistan has unilaterally stopped postal services to India for the last two months, and this is in direct contravention of international norms. He said that Pakistan has taken the step without any prior notice or information to India.


"Pakistan has stopped postal services to India for the last two months. After Pakistan has stopped it our postal department has also thought of taking appropriate action," said the Minister of Communication and Information Technology.


"All come under the system of the World Postal Union. Pakistan's decision is directly in contravention of the World Postal Union's norms. But Pakistan is Pakistan, it has stopped the letters belonging to India," he said.-- ANI
16:30   Maha, Haryana polls: Senior citizens show the way
Setting an example for the future generations, senior citizens in Haryana and Maharashtra turned out in large numbers to cast their respective votes on Monday.


Both youngsters and senior citizens showed equal interest in exercising their franchise in both Haryana and Maharashtra. In Gondia, a 76-year-old man, Purushottam Joshi has been casting his vote for the past five and a half decades. Urging youth vote in large numbers, Joshi said, "I appeal to youngsters to come and vote in large numbers, bring your fresh ideas and create the society you want to see in the future through your vote."


Another Mumbai-based senior citizen, who came to exercise a vote in an electric scooter, aimed to spread the message of environment conservation.


"Factors that I kept in mind while casting my vote were nationalism, corruption and creating a Swachch Bharat," he said.


A grandson, who brought his grandmother to cast vote, said, "My grandmother is almost 100 years old now. Even though she finds it difficult to walk or talk but she still teaches us about what kind of leader we should elect. We have voted for someone who will develop our region and serve our needs," he added.


The electoral fate of over 4,400 candidates -- 1,169 in Haryana and 3,237 in Maharashtra will be sealed in EVMs by the voters who will exercise their democratic franchise in the assembly elections.Counting of votes will take place on October 24. -- ANI


Image: Haji Ibrahim Aleem Joad, a 102-year-old man cast his vote along with his family at a polling booth in Lohegaon, Pune. He says," I was admitted to hospital for 4 days but today I'm here to cast my vote. I urge everyone to come forward & vote."
16:04   EVMs malfunctioning, says Cong, complains to EC
When the going gets tough, EVMs malfunction. 

So, the Maharashtra Congress has now claimed that the electronic voting machines were malfunctioning in several booths across the state.


"We have been sitting here in the Congress war room since 6 am and have received many complaints of EVMs not functioning properly in various polling booths, some of which were even changed after the complaint," Avinash Pandey Congress general secretary and the party's war room in-charge in Mumbai told ANI.


Pandey gave the example of a polling booth in the Ramtek assembly constituency."For example, in booth number 337 in the Ramtek assembly constituency, a complaint came that while the button against one party's symbol was being pressed the VVPAT showed the symbol of another party. This is a serious fault," Pandey said.


"We have complained to the Election Commission regarding this and we are hopeful it will be resolved soon," he further said.Voting for 288 assembly seats in Maharashtra began at 7 am today and will continue till 6 pm in the evening. -- ANI


Image: Aishwarya, Abhishek, Jaya vote at Juhu 
15:33   SC seeks report on trees transplanted in Aarey
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited to submit a report on the number of saplings it has sown and trees transplanted in the Aarey colony area which was razed to make way for a metro car shed.


A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta also clarified that a stay was never imposed on the metro project but only on the further felling of trees in the area. 


The matter will now be heard on November 15.Over 2,185 trees were razed in the area in concurrence with the Bombay High Court's which had upheld the permission granted to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's tree authority to cut down trees to make a metro-car shed.


In pursuance to the widespread protests which erupted after the felling of trees in Mumbai's Aarey colony, the apex court ordered the Maharashtra government not to axe any more trees and maintain the status quo till further orders. -- ANI
15:31   Khans vote
Shah Rukh Khan and his wife Gauri cast their votes at polling booth no 177 in Bandra West, Mumbai. (Don't hotfoot it here, they've left.) 
15:04   SC won't stop construction of metro shed in Aarey
The Supreme Court on Monday said it is not stopping the construction of Metro shed project in Mumbai's prominent green lung Aarey Colony. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta sought a status report with pictures on plantation, transplantation and felling of trees in Aarey colony area of  the BMC. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the civic body BMC, assured the bench that no further tree felling is being done in Aarey colony and complete status quo is being maintained following apex court's last order. The top court posted the matter for further hearing in November. -- PTI 
14:55   Tejpal rape case: Victim cross-examined by defence in Goa court
The woman who lodged a sexual assault case against Tehelka magazine founder Tarun Tejpal was cross-examined by the defence counsel in a Goa court on Monday. This was the first time the victim was present in the court for the trial, which was being held in-camera. 


District judge Shama Joshi in Mapusa town of North Goa is hearing the case against Tejpal lodged by his former woman colleague. Tejpal's counsel Rajiv Gomes said the victim was present in the court on Monday and was cross-examined.


"The cross-examination is yet to be completed. The court will hear the case on Tuesday and Wednesday," he said. Tejpal was also present during the trial. 


A Supreme Court bench in August asked the Goa court to complete the trial in the case, preferably within six months, and refused Tejpal's plea to quash the FIR filed against him. Tejpal allegedly sexually assaulted the complainant inside an elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa in 2013. He has denied the allegations levelled against him. Tejpal was arrested on November 30, 2013 by the crime branch after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the court. He has been out on bail since May 2014. -- PTI
14:38  
Deepika Padukone voted at a polling booth in Bandra (West).
14:34   Naam Shabana
Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar after casting their vote at a polling booth in Mumbai.
14:23   Anil Kapor votes
Actor Anil Kapoor votes in Andheri (West). Doesn't seem to age, does he.
14:17   BJP to form govts in Haryana, Maha: Minister
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday said that the BJP will retain power and form the governments in Haryana and Maharashtra. "BJP is going to form the governments in both Haryana and Maharashtra. We are confident that people will continue to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his philosophy and his policies," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi. 


Polling for 90 seats of Haryana and 288 constituencies of Maharashtra began at 7 am today and will continue till 6 pm in the evening.The electoral fate of over 4,400 candidates -- 1,169 in Haryana and 3,237 in Maharashtra will be sealed in EVMs by the voters who will exercise their democratic franchise in the assembly elections.


Of the 288 seats, BJP is contesting in 164, this includes candidates of smaller allies contesting on its lotus symbol. On the other hand, BJP's key ally Shiv Sena has fielded 126 candidates in the state.


The Congress has 147 candidates in the fray while its ally NCP is contesting in 121 seats. The alliance has left the rest of the seats for its smaller partners. Counting of votes will take place on October 24. -- ANI


Image: Actor Hrithik Roshan votes
14:06   Smriti's hero is this army man
Smriti Irani hails feisty voter: "Today's hero is Khannaji (man standing next to her), he had served in Army. He is 93 & came out to vote. It is an inspiration. I request people to come out and vote, if at 93 he can vote, who is stopping you?
14:02   'Narendra Modi' votes
Vivek Anand Oberoi votes: "My family and I just voted, have you? This is not just our right but also our responsibility. Let's not take this right and privilege for granted. Urge you all to please go out & vote if you haven't already."

Oberoi had essayed the role of PM Modi in the 2019 film, Narendra Modi. 
13:58   Dream run for BJP?
Actor and BJP MP Hema Malini casts her vote at a polling booth in Mumbai's Andheri (West).
13:33   At 1 pm, Haryana (27%) ahead of Maha (18.5%)
Union Minister Smriti Irani casts her vote at a polling booth in Mumbai. Voting began on a brisk note in the Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana on Monday with people queuing up outside polling booths since early morning. Maharashtra polled 18.5 per cent, while Haryana polled 27 per cent till 1 pm. 


Polling is also being held in the by-election to 51 Assembly seats and two Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 18 states. 


The voting commenced at 7 am and will end at 6 pm. 


 Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who was among the early voters in Nagpur, said people will vote on the basis of the five-year performance of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the Devendra Fadnavis-led dispensation in Maharashtra. 


"The BJP-Sena will have a record-breaking victory and Fadnavis will be the chief minister again," he told reporters after casting his vote. In Maharashtra, where the 'Mahayuti' alliance of BJP, Shiv Sena and smaller parties is against the 'Maha-agadhi' led by the Congress and the NCP, a total of 8,98,39,600 people, including 4,28,43,635 women, are eligible to vote. 


As many as 3,237 candidates, including 235 women, are contesting in 288 seats and 96,661 polling booths are in place with 6.5 lakh staff for the voting exercise. 


The ruling BJP is locked in a contest with the opposition Congress and the fledgling JJP for the 90 assembly seats in Haryana which has over 1.83 crore voters, including 85 lakh women and 252 transgenders, while 19,578 polling stations have been set up. 


Counting of votes will be on October 24.
13:18   Hockey player-turned-candidate Sandeep Singh votes
Sandeep Singh, the BJP candidate from Pehowa and the former Indian hockey captain, cast his vote in Kurukshetra on Monday.


Polling for 90 seats of Haryana and 288 constituencies of Maharashtra began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm in the evening.BJP has fielded Singh against Congress' Mandeep Singh Chattha and INLD's Manjit Singh.


The Pehowa constituency, dominated by Jat Sikhs, is a significant religious place and has been almost always represented either by the Congress or the INLD.


In 2014, Jaswinder Singh Sandhu of INLD defeated Jai Bhagwan Sharma of BJP. In 2009 elections, Hormohinder Singh Chattha of Congress had defeated Sandhu.


The BJP has fielded three high-profile sportspersons including Singh in Haryana Assembly elections, who made the country proud with their achievements.Commonwealth gold medalist Babita Phogat and Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt are the newly inducted sportspersons in BJP will contest from Dadri and Baroda Assembly constituencies respectively.


The counting for Haryana and Maharashtra elections will be held on October 24. -- ANI
13:04   If you don't vote, you have no right to complain later: Gulzar to senior citizens
Lyricist and poet Gulzar on Monday made a special appeal to senior citizens in Maharashtra to exercise their franchise.


The Oscar-winning lyricist lauded the younger generation by calling them "responsible" and urged the senior citizens to cast their votes so that they don't have any reason to complain later.


"Even during the Aarey protest I saw younger generation arriving to support the cause, I think they are more to the point and responsible. That's why my appeal is to senior citizens. If you don't cast your vote, you have no right to complain later," said the veteran artist.


Other than Gulzar, many Bollywood celebrities including Aamir Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Lara Dutta, Riteish Deshmukh, Genelia D'Souza, Ravi Kishan and Padmini Kolhapure also cast their votes. -- ANI
12:50   Goan cows turn non-veg
Stray cattle brought to a cow shelter in Goa are found to have turned non-vegetarian, state minister Michael Lobo has claimed. The animals developed this habit by feasting on leftover chicken and fried fish dumped in garbage, he said.


"We brought 76 cattle from Calangute area to the gaushala where they are being looked after. We realised that they have turned non-vegetarian," Lobo said during a function at Arpora village in North Goa district on Sunday. These stray cattle do not eat grass. 


"They neither eat gram nor the special feed given to them," he said. The cattle from Calangute and Candolim are used to eating non-vegetarian food, like leftover chicken scraps and stale fried fish dumped by restaurants, the minister said.


"We always say cattle are vegetarian. But, the cattle from Calangute are non-vegetarian. They (gaushala operators) are facing this issue now," he said. Those running the cow shelter have sought help from veterinary doctors to treat these animals, he added. -- PTI


Representational image
12:43   Make way for the king
In Mumbai, Sachin Tendulkar, wife Anjali and their son Arjun cast their vote at a polling booth in Bandra (West). 
12:42   India wants good relationship with all its neighbours but not at gunpoint: Madhav
Calling out Pakistan for fuelling terrorism in India, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav on Monday said that New Delhi wants a good relationship with all its neighbours but "not at the gunpoint".


Speaking at US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, Ram Madhav said: "We always said that we want a good relationship with our neighbour country but not at the gunpoint. Yesterday evening I just returned from Srinagar, for the last 48 hours, relentless shelling from Pakistan is on, in an effort to push terrorists into Kashmir. Our forces had to go and destroy terror launch pads once again," he said.


Madhav's response comes after Pakistan Army on Saturday carried out artillery firing on Indian positions to facilitate the infiltration of terrorists into India. In response Indian Army launched artillery attacks on terrorist launchpad situated inside PoK opposite the Tangdhar sector on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday. 


Four to five Pakistan Army soldiers were killed in the exchange of fire.Urging the international community to "persuade" Pakistan to act against terrorism, Madhav on Monday said that terror infrastructure in the Islamic country is not only an issue for India but has become a "global problem". -- PTI
12:30   Winter Session of Parl from Nov 18 to Dec 13: Sources
The next session of Parliament will be held from November 18 to December 13, sources said, adding that the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has communicated it to the secretariats of both Houses. A number of bills are likely to be taken up during the Winter Session.


Further, two crucial ordinances are on the list to be converted into law during the session. One ordinance reducing the corporate tax rate for new and domestic manufacturing companies to arrest slowdown in the economy and boost growth was issued in September to give effect to amendments in the Income Tax Act, 1961 and Finance Act, 2019. 


The second ordinance, also issued in September, banned the sale, manufacture and storage of e-cigarettes and similar products. In the last two years, winter sessions have been convened on November 21 and ended in the first week of January. -- PTI
12:28   Turnout till 11 am: Maha: 17.5%, Haryana: 20.3%
Altogether 17.5 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 11 am in Maharashtra, after polling for the 288 Assembly seats began at 7 am on Monday, officials said. Haryana, on the other hand, recorded a polling percentage of 20.3 per cent till 11 am. 


In Mumbai, queues were observed outside several polling stations, indicating the percentage may go up in subsequent hours, the official said. Voting will end at 6 pm.


The Mumbai suburban area, comprising 26 Assembly seats, recorded 5.64 per cent polling in the first two hours, he said.  Other urban areas like Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad reported a moderate response, while the turnout in rural areas was on the higher side, he said. 


In Haryana, the Congress is hoping to make a comeback following a change in guard in the state, while the BJP led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has set a target of winning 75 seats out of 90 in which 1,169 candidates of various political outfits are contesting. 


Currently, the BJP has 48 members in state assembly and had won all 10 Lok Sabha seats in the recent election. Prominent amongst those in the contest are Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar (Karnal), former chief minister and Congress Legislative Party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Garhi Sampla-Kiloi), Randeep Singh Surjewala (Kaithal), Kiran Choudhary (Tosham) and Kuldeep Bishnoi (Adampur) and JJP's Dushyant Chautala (Uchana Kalan). 


The BJP has fielded three sportspersons -- Babita Phogat (Dadri), Yogeshwar Dutt (Baroda in Sonipat) and Sandeep Singh (Pehowa) -- besides TikTok star Sonali Phogat (Adampur). Voting will also be held in bypolls to 51 assembly seats spread across 17 states. -- PTI


Image:  Director-lyricist Gulzar leaves the polling booth in Bandra(West). 
11:52   Khattar takes a train to Karnal, then rides cycle to vote
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Monday travelled by train from Chandigarh to Karnal and then rode a bicycle to reach a polling booth to cast his vote. Polling in the 90 assembly constituencies began on Monday morning. Khattar said he had a lively interaction with co-passengers during his train journey to Karnal.


"I travelled by Jan Shatabdi train to reach Karnal. Then I travelled in a e-rickshaw and then rode a bicycle to reach the polling booth," he told reporters after casting his vote in Karnal, from where the 65-year-old first-time MLA is seeking re-election.


Sharing his experience about the two-hour train journey Khattar tweeted, "had a lively interaction with my co-passengers during my journey to Karnal to cast my vote!" Khattar, who has on past many occasions used a bicycle to travel from his official residence in Chandigarh to reach the civil secretariat, said as far as possible people should use a cycle to commute, at least for the short distances, as it will help protect environment. Khattar appealed to voters to turnout in record numbers. 


"I appeal that all of you must participate in the festival of democracy and exercise your right to franchise in great numbers". "It is my humble request to every citizen that they must go and cast their votes. For a strong government, every single vote is decisive," he said in a tweet. He told reporters that as per reports, people were turning up at most places in the state since morning to cast their vote. The ruling BJP has set a target to win over 75 seats. -- PTI
11:42   Thackerays vote, will Aaditya win debut poll?
Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray, wife Rashmi and sons Aditya and Tejas, show the finger after casting their vote in Bandra (East). Aditya Thackeray (29) is a candidate from the Worli constituency. The Yuva Sena chief is the first from the Thackeray family to make debut in electoral politics. 


Prominent candidates include Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis from Nagpur South-West, and his predecessors from the Congress -- Ashok Chavan, who is contesting from Bhokar in Nanded district, and Prithviraj Chavan, who is seeking a re-election from Karad South in Satara district.


The BJP, under Fadnavis' leadership, is seeking a second straight term in the state. 
11:33   Pak Army rejects India's claim of destroying terror camps in PoK
The Pakistan military has rejected as "false" the Indian Army's assertion that it targeted at least three terror camps in PoK and said India is welcome to take any foreign diplomat or media to the site to "prove" its claim on ground. 


Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Sunday that six to ten Pakistan Army personnel were killed and three terror camps destroyed in a retaliatory action by the Indian Army opposite the Tangdhar and Keran sectors in Jammu and Kashmir.


Responding to Rawat's claim, Pakistan's military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor in a midnight tweet expressed disappointment at Rawat's assertions. "The Indian Army chief's statement claiming destruction of 3 alleged camps is disappointing as he holds a very responsible appointment," Ghafoor said. 


"There are no camps let alone targeting those. Indian Embassy in Pakistan is welcome to take any foreign diplomat/media to 'prove' it on ground," he said. He said that the "propensity of false claims by senior Indian military leadership especially since Pulwama incident is detrimental to peace in the region." 


"Such false claims by the Indian Army are being made to suit vested domestic interests. This is against professional military ethos,' Ghafoor said. -- PTI 
11:27   Ayodhya verdict will have 'consequences' for future polity: Muslim parties
Ayodhya land dispute case: Muslim parties, including the UP Sunni Wakf Board, have filed their written submissions in the Supreme Court in the decades-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute at Ayodhya and said that the verdict will have "consequences" for the future polity of the country. 


The Muslim parties, which had filed the notes in sealed covers to the five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, later issued a statement for the common public. 


"The Muslim party contestants before this Hon'ble Court wish to state that: the decision by this Hon'ble Court, whichever way it goes, will impact future generations. It will also have consequences for the polity of this country," the note prepared by senior lawyer Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the Muslim parties, said. 


It said that "this court's decision may impact the minds of millions who are citizens of this country and who believe in constitutional values embraced by all when India was declared a republic on January 26, 1950." 


It said since the judgement will have far-reaching implications, it is for the court to consider the consequences of its historic judgement by moulding the relief in a fashion that will reflect the constitutional values that this great nation espouses. 


"We hope that the Court, in moulding the relief, upholds our multi-religious and multicultural values in resolving the issues confronting it. Moulding the relief is the responsibility of this Court, which itself is the sentinel of our Constitution. When moulding the relief, this Court must also consider how future generations will view this verdict," it said. -- PTI
11:14   Congress has already lost: Haryana CM
Haryana CM ML Khattar votes in Karnal: "Voting is underway peacefully across the state. Opposition parties including Congress have already lost and have left the battleground, their tall claims have no value," he said.


In Haryana, the Congress is hoping to make a comeback following a change in guard in the state, while the BJP led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has set a target of winning 75 seats out of 90 in which 1,169 candidates of various political outfits are contesting. 


Currently, the BJP has 48 members in state assembly and had won all 10 Lok Sabha seats in the recent election. Prominent amongst those in the contest are Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar (Karnal), former chief minister and Congress Legislative Party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Garhi Sampla-Kiloi), Randeep Singh Surjewala (Kaithal), Kiran Choudhary (Tosham) and Kuldeep Bishnoi (Adampur) and JJP's Dushyant Chautala (Uchana Kalan). 


The BJP has fielded three sportspersons -- Babita Phogat (Dadri), Yogeshwar Dutt (Baroda in Sonipat) and Sandeep Singh (Pehowa) -- besides TikTok star Sonali Phogat (Adampur). Voting will also be held in bypolls to 51 assembly seats spread across 17 states.
10:45   BJP leader 'advises' Hindus to buy swords instead of utensils on Diwali
BJP's city president for Deoband, Gajraj Rana has urged the members of the Hindu community to buy swords instead of utensils on Diwali and Dhanteras.


"I have said it earlier too and I am saying it now as well...on Diwali, on Dhanteras, I advise Hindus...don't buy silver utensils, buy iron swords instead," Rana said on Sunday.


Asked why he is advising members of the Hindu community to buy swords, he said it was 'for our security.'"I don't want that we are not able to protect ourselves. A weapon is necessary for security and our gods and goddesses have also wielded weapons," he said.


Rana also claimed that people of the country want Ram Temple to be built as soon as possible. -- ANI


Image: PM Modi brandishes a sword during a rally in Gujarat during the Gujarat assembly polls in 2017. 
10:43   Madhuri votes
Actor Madhuri Dixit leaves after casting her vote at a polling booth in Bandra (West). The Mumbai suburban area, comprising 26 Assembly seats, recorded 5.64 per cent polling in the first two hours, he said.
10:41   Equity market closed on account of assembly elections in Maharashtra
The Equity market will remain closed today on account of the assembly elections in Maharashtra. The currency, commodity and debt markets are also shut. The trading will resume on Tuesday. On Friday, the benchmark BSE Sensex closed 0.63 per cent up at 39,298 while the broader NSE Nifty ended 0.65 per cent higher at 11,662.
10:38   Will Latur vote for Deshmukhs?
Ritesh Deshmukh, his wife Genelia D'Souza and his mother cast their votes at a polling booth in Latur. His brothers Amit Deshmukh and Dhiraj Deshmukh are contesting polls as Congress candidates from Latur city and Latur rural constituencies, respectively.
10:34   Maha polls: 5.64% voting recorded in Mumbai in first 2 hrs
Mumbai suburbs on Monday recorded 5.64 per cent polling in the first two hours as voting got underway for the 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra, an election official said. Long queues were observed outside several polling stations, indicating the percentage may go up in subsequent hours, the official said. Voting began at 7 am and will end at 6 pm. 


The Mumbai suburban area, comprising 26 Assembly seats, recorded 5.64 per cent polling in the first two hours, he said. Other urban areas like Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad reported a moderate response, while the turnout in rural areas was on the higher side, he said. Kolhapur reported 9.93 per cent voting in the first two hours. Maharashtra recorded 63.38 per cent turnout in 2014 Assembly elections. -- PTI


Image: Actor Aamir Khan votes in Bandra(West) and says 'I appeal to all citizens of Maharashtra to come out and vote in large numbers.
10:30   Jeremy Corbyn reading Susmita's book
A break from election news. 

This is a first for sure.

The Daily Mail newspaper reported last weekend that 'Sparring with Boris Johnson hasnt stopped Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn from finding the time to relax at home.' Corbyn, for folks who may not know, heads Britain's main Opposition Labour party.


'I unwind by reading. Im reading a very good book at the moment about a Hindu lesbian," Corby told the Daily Mail, about The Normal State Of Mind by Susmita Bhattacharya.'


"She escapes from Calcutta to Mumbai because her family discovered she was having an affair with a wealthy woman, whose husband also found out and so put a stop to all of it," Corbyn added to the Mail


Susmita, a former Mumbai native and Rediff contributor, won the first prize under the category 'Memoir' at the prestigious University of Winchester Writers' Festival in 2016 for her essay: Touchstone -- A Cancer Diary.

You can read more about Susmita here


Well done, Susmita!

10:25   BJP-Sena will win 225 seats, predicts Goyal
Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday said that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra will win around 225 seats. As polling is underway in Maharashtra and Haryana for Assembly elections, Goyal has expressed confidence and said that both Manohar Lal Khattar-led government in Haryana and Devendra Fadnavis-led government in Maharashtra will come to power again.


"I am confident that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will win around 225 seats, opposition has lost all credibility and is nowhere in the contest. People are with Modi and Fadnavis. In Haryana, we are getting to see our target of 75-plus seats," Goyal said.


Polling for 90 seats of Haryana and 288 constituencies of Maharashtra began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm in the evening.


The electoral fate of over 4400 candidates- 1169 in Haryana and 3237 in Maharashtra will be sealed in EVMs by the voters who will exercise their democratic franchise in the assembly elections.


In Haryana, 19,578 polling stations have been set up whereas there are 96,661 polling booths in Maharashtra for citizens to cast their votes. - ANI


Image: Former tennis player Mahesh Bhupati, wife and actor Lara Dutta after casting their vote at a polling booth in Bandra (West) 
10:19   Cong pins its hope on Shinde's daughter
Former Home Minister and Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde with wife Ujwala and daughter Praniti Shinde cast their votes at a polling booth in Solapur. Praniti Shinde is contesting elections as Congress candidate from Solapur Central.
10:18  
Actress Padmini Kolhapure votes at the Andheri (West) constituency. 
10:17   Ravi Kishan votes
Actor & BJP MP from Gorakhpur (UP) Ravi Kishan votes in Mumbai's Goregaon. 
10:14   7.44 pc polling in first two hours in Haryana
Polling began on Monday morning in 90 assembly constituencies of Haryana and during first over two hours poll percentage in the state was 7.44 per cent.  Polling began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm, officials said.         


As per the Election Commission data, brisk polling was going on in many districts.          


Among other districts, poll percentage in Jind was 7.91 per cent, Bhiwani 10.76 pc, Ambala 6.67 pc, Palwal 8.88 pc, Gurgaon 6.40 pc, Faridabad 6.10 pc, Mewat 10.24 pc, Rewari 6.79 pc, Rohtak 9.80 pc, Hisar 11 pc and in Karnal district it was 5.92 pc. Panchkula district had the lowest polling percentage at 2.46 pc.          


As many as 1,169 candidates including 105 women of various political parties are contesting the election.          


The prominent figures include Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, JJP's Dushyant Chautala and INLD's Abhay Singh Chautala. -- PTI


Image: TikTok star Sonali Phogat who is contesting on a BJP ticket from Adampur constituency, after casting her vote. She is up against senior Congress leader Kuldeep Bishnoi.
10:07  
People arrive to vote amid heavy rain, in Latur.
10:05   Riding on hope
Haryana Assembly Polls: Jannayak Janata Party leader Dushyant Chautala and his family arrive on a tractor to cast their votes at a polling booth in Sirsa.
10:02   Every vote important, says Amit Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday urged people in Maharashtra and Haryana to exercise their right to vote for the Assembly elections in the two states.


"Every vote is important for choosing the government that realizes Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's dream of 'Swaraj' as the basis of development and poor welfare. I appeal to brothers and sisters in Maharashtra to vote to maintain a stable and honest government in the state," Shah tweeted for Assembly elections in Maharashtra.


For polls in Haryana, Shah tweeted, "Casteism, familism and corruption are the biggest inhibitors for the development of Haryana. Your one vote for development and nationalism will keep Haryana on the path of progress. All the brothers and sisters from Haryana vote before having food and participate in the development process of the state.


"Polling for 90 seats of Haryana and 288 constituencies of Maharashtra began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm in the evening.The electoral fate of over 4400 candidates- 1169 in Haryana and 3237 in Maharashtra will be sealed in EVMs by the voters who will exercise their democratic franchise in the assembly elections.


In Haryana, 19,578 polling stations have been set up whereas there are 96,661 polling booths in Maharashtra for citizens to cast their votes.  --ANI
09:56   Govt will ensure good working environment for police personnel: HM
The Union government will undertake time-bound steps to ensure that good working environment, health and family welfare related concerns of police personnel are addressed, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Monday. 


Addressing a joint column of police and paramilitary personnel after paying homage to police martyrs, Shah said India's stride into the world as a powerful nation is ensured by the work of these men and women in khaki who render dedicated national service. The minister said the police is doing an onerous task as against the benchmark 222 personnel for 1 lakh citizens, only 144 are present on the ground. This is the reason why about 90 per cent of police personnel have to render duties of over 12 hours each day and about three-fourth of them cannot even take a weekly off, he said. 


"My government has done a lot for police welfare and I can assure that we will be doing more work, taking more steps to ensure health, housing, family welfare and a good working environment for you in a time-bound manner," Shah said while addressing the troops on the occasion of the police commemoration day.  


Shah said that on the occasion of the police commemoration day, he and the citizens of the country pay a humble tribute to those who have made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty, as also their families.  -- PTI
09:43   Punjab bypoll: Polling underway on four assembly seats
Polling was underway on Monday for the bypolls to four assembly seats'"Phagwara (reserve), Jalalabad, Dakha and Mukerian in Punjab. Polling began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm, officials said.


Around 7.76 lakh voters are eligible to decide the fate of 33 candidates. The results of the elections will be declared on October 24. Seven companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in four assembly segments, a poll official said. 


A total of 920 polling stations have been set up. Some polling stations in Dakha and Jalalabad have been categorized as sensitive. In the last elections, while the SAD-BJP combine had bagged two of the four assembly segments, one each was won by the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party.          


This time, the main contest is between the Congress and the SAD-BJP combine. -- PTI
09:41   Dutt's the verdict
Sonipat: Yogeshwar Dutt, Olympic Medallist and BJP candidate from Baroda casts his vote. He is contesting against Congress candidate Krishan Hooda.
09:40   Wrestling for votes in Haryana
Wrestlers Babita Phogat, Geeta Phogat and their family cast their vote at a polling booth in Balali village in Charkhi Dadri constituency in Haryana. Babita is contesting on BJP ticket from here against Congress candidate Nirpender Singh Sangwan and JJP candidate Satpal Sangwan.
09:35   Gadkari predicts record-breaking win for BJP-Sena
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday expressed confidence that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will form the next government in Maharashtra with a "record- breaking victory".


Gadkari, who was among the early voters in Nagpur, said people will vote on the basis of the five-year performance of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the Devendra Fadnavis-led dispensation in Maharashtra.


"The BJP-Sena will have a record-breaking victory and Fadnavis will be the chief minister again," he told reporters after casting his vote. He also urged people to come out to vote and strengthen the democracy, and said NOTA (none of the above) was not a good option in democracy. Besides Gadkari, NCP MP Supriya Sule and her mother Pratibha Pawar were also among the early voters, who exercised their democratic right at Baramati in Pune.


"The Congress-NCP alliance will form the next government," claimed Sule, who is the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Former state deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who is the nephew of the NCP chief, also voted in Baramati. 


He is the NCP's nominee from Baramati Assembly seat. The early voters also included Union minister Raosaheb Danve, who exercised his franchise at Bhokardan in Jalna. Udayanraje Bhosale, who quit the NCP and is the BJP's nominee for the bypoll to Satara Lok Sabha in the state, voted in Satara.


Former Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde cast his vote in Solapur, where his daughter Praniti Shinde is seeking a third term as MLA. Former chief minister Ashok Chavan and his family members cast their votes at a school in Nanded. Chavan is the Congress' nominee from Bhokar in Nanded. -- PTI


Image: Senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel and his wife Varsha vote at a polling booth in Gondia assembly constituency. Gopal Agarwal from BJP & Amar Varade from Congress are contesting from this constituency.
09:13   Gadkaris vote in Nagpur
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and wife Kanchan cast their votes in Nagpur.
09:04   Do vote, urges Maharashtra CM
As polling is underway in Maharashtra, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said that voting is a right and urged the people to exercise their franchise.

"Voting is our Right, Voting is our Duty, And voting is an integral part of democracy. DO VOTE!" he tweeted.

Fadnavis is seeking re-election from Nagpur South-West constituency and is pitted against Congress' Ashish Deshmukh.
09:00  
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Julio Ribeiro casts his vote in Maharashtra's Worli assembly constituency.  
08:53   Vote on issues, not looking at person: RSS chief
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat was among the early ones to cast his vote on Monday in Nagpur for the Maharashtra assembly polls.
Bhagwat went to a polling booth in Mahal area in Nagpur around 7 am and exercised his franchise.
Later, to a query by reporters on the Congress targeting the RSS over the demand of Bharat Ratna award for Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar, Bhagwat dubbed it as "politics".
"We have been targeted since last 90 years. So, there is no need to worry as the society is one and will always be one. It is politics, all this is part of it. But the society is one and will always will one," he said.
Bhagwat also urged people to come out to vote, saying it is the responsibility of citizens to elect their public representatives.
"We emphasise on 100 per cent voting. Vote on issues, and not looking at the person or the environment," he urged.
Asked what will be the outcome of the ongoing state polls, Bhagwat said, "I cannot presume as I am not a political person. The results will be out in three days and everyone will get to know." -- PTI
08:34   Enrich festival of democracy: PM to voters
As polling is underway in Maharashtra and Haryana on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to come out in large numbers to cast vote and enrich the "festival of democracy".
   
Besides the two states, assembly bypolls are underway in 51 seats and Lok Sabha by-elections in two constituencies across India.
 
"Elections are taking place for Haryana and Maharashtra assemblies. There are also by-polls taking place in various parts of India. I urge voters in these states and seats to turnout in record numbers and enrich the festival of democracy. I hope youngsters vote in large numbers," the prime minister wrote on Twitter.
It is usual for him to use the social media to urge voters to cast their vote on election days.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has also appealed to voters to turnout in record numbers. "I appeal that all of you must participate in the festival of democracy and exercise your right to franchise in great numbers," he said.
 
Congress leader and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda too appealed to voters to come out in large numbers to ensure a record turnout.  -- PTI
08:29   Polling begins in Maharashtra, Haryana
Polling began on Monday morning in Maharashtra and Haryana.

Polling which began at 7 am will go on till 6 pm. 

Tight security arrangements have been made with deployment of more than three lakh personnel from state police and central forces in Maharashtra, while over 75,000 security personnel have been mobilised in Haryana.

Counting of votes will be on October 24.

In Maharashtra, where the 'Mahayuti' alliance of BJP, Shiv Sena and smaller parties is against the 'Maha-agadhi' led by the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, a total of 8,98,39,600 people, including 4,28,43,635 women, are eligible to vote.

In Haryana, the Congress is hoping to make a comeback following a change in guard in the state, while the BJP led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has set a target of winning 75 seats out of 90 in which 1,169 candidates of various political outfits are contesting.

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