Tue, 27 February 2024
How Abhishek Singhvi lost despite name being drawn

Timeline  Refresh

23:38   President Murmu on four-day visit to Jharkhand, Odisha from tomorrow
President Droupadi Murmu will be on a four-day visit to Jharkhand and Odisha from Wednesday, the Rashtrapati Bhavan said. 

The President will grace the third convocation of Central University of Jharkhand in Ranchi on Wednesday. 

On the same day, Murmu will lay the foundation stone for the Central Government Holiday Home at Rairangpur, Odisha. 

"On the occasion, she will also virtually lay the foundation stones for various road projects and a sports complex at Rairangpur as well as inaugurate Eklavya Model Residential School, Barsahi," according to a statement issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday. 

On February 29, the President will interact with the members of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups of Kadalibadi village at Gonasika, Keonjhar. 

Later, she will inaugurate a national seminar on Tribes of Keonjhar: people, culture and heritage' and address the students of Dharanidhar University at its North Campus, it added. 

In the evening, the President will grace the 53rd convocation of Utkal University in Bhubaneswar. 

On March 1, Murmu will grace the 25th convocation of Berhampur University in Bhanja Bihar. 

"Later at Cuttack, she will grace the golden jubilee celebration of Brahma Kumaris, Odisha. The President will witness a presentation of PM JANMAN by the Government of Odisha at Raj Bhavan, Bhubaneswar," the statement said. -- PTI
File image
File image
23:26   Fire at Delhi's Lok Nayak Hospital, around 50 patients, staff evacuated
Around 50 people, including patients and staff members, at the Lok Nayak Hospital in Central Delhi were evacuated after a fire broke out in the seven-storey emergency block building, an official said on Tuesday. 

Chief of Delhi Fire Services Atul Garg said they received a call about the blaze from the hospital at around 10.18 pm on Monday. 

A total of 10 fire engines were immediately pressed into service. 

The fire broke out due to a short circuit in the OPD main casualty ward. It took almost an hour to extinguish the blaze completely, he said. 

Around 50 people, including patients and hospital staff, were evacuated, Garg said. 

According to police, the fire broke out on the third-floor emergency ward. 

They rushed to the spot and flames were found in a shaft of cables on the third and fourth floors. 

"Fire tenders were provided a clear passage up to the emergency ward. Police and hospital staff evacuated the patients from the ground floor. The fire was soon extinguished. No one was injured," a senior police officer said. 

A senior doctor at the LNJP Hospital said, "It would have been a major accident had our staff not been alert." 

"The fire broke out on the third floor of the seven-storey emergency block building, and our staff responded to the fire immediately and also alerted the Delhi Fire authorities," the doctor said. -- PTI
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi
23:11   How Abhishek Singhvi lost despite name being drawn
Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Harsh Mahajan was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday after a draw of lots after he and Abhishek Manu Singhvi of the Congress secured an equal number of votes. 

Keeping such eventualities in mind, the Conduct of Election Rules have a provision for draw of lots for both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha elections. 

The key difference in the draw of lots in both the elections is that in Rajya Sabha elections, the candidate whose slip is drawn loses the poll, whereas in the Lok Sabha polls, the candidate whose slip is drawn wins, a former Election Commission functionary explained. 

According to the rule, the first preference votes of candidates are counted. 

The next step is to "eliminate" one of the candidates in case of a tie. 

In Himachal Pradesh, both Mahajan and Singhvi got 34 votes, one less than the "winning quota" of 35. 

The returning officer goes for a draw of lots and the candidate whose slip is picked up gets "eliminated" and the other is declared elected. 

In the Lok Sabha elections, if two top candidates get the same number of votes in counting, a draw of lots is called. -- PTI
22:37   SC asks TN DMs to appear before ED over illegal sand mining case
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed five district collectors of Tamil Nadu to appear before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with an ongoing money laundering probe pertaining to alleged illegal sand mining. 

A bench of justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal termed the plea of Tamil Nadu and its officials against the ED summons as "strange and unusual" and stayed the Madras high court order granting the relief to the five district collectors. 

"The writ petition (of Tamil Nadu and others in the high court) is thoroughly misconceived. Accordingly, the execution of the impugned order (of the high court) is stayed and thus the district collectors shall appear before the Enforcement Directorate on the next date," the bench said in its order. 

Earlier, the bench said the state machinery should help the ED in finding out if an offence has been committed as there is no harm in it. 

The central probe agency had summoned the district collectors of Vellore, Tiruchirappalli, Karur, Thanjavur and Ariyalur in connection with its probe in the money laundering case related to alleged illegal sand mining. 

The officers were summoned as witnesses, the ED had said. 

The state government along with the bureaucrats had moved the high court that stayed the summons issued by the ED. 

The probe agency has moved the top court against the high court order. -- PTI
22:16   BJP wins 8 RS seats from UP thanks to SP votes
Samajwadi Party candidate Alok Ranjan conceded defeat in the Rajya Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday night. 

His defeat suggests cross-voting by some party legislators. 

There was a keen contest to one of the 10 Rajya Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh after the BJP fielded eight candidates and the Samajwadi Party three. 

Asked if he got 19 votes, Ranjan, a former chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh, told PTI, "Yes, this is what I am seeing on news channels." 

Citing news reports, he said that two other SP candidates Jaya Bachhan and Ramji Lal Suman got 41 and 40 votes respectively. 

Asked whether he had conceded defeat, Ranjan told PTI, "Yes. Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to the national president of the Samajwadi Party (Akhilesh Yadav) who nominated me and the SP voters who had voted for me." 

The ruling BJP and the principal opposition SP had the numbers to send seven and three members respectively unopposed to the Rajya Sabha, but the BJP fielded an eighth candidate, which made the contest interesting. 

To get elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, a candidate needed nearly 37 first-preference votes. 

The BJP fielded former Union minister RPN Singh, former MP Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, general secretary of the party's Uttar Pradesh unit Amarpal Maurya, former state minister Sangeeta Balwant (Bind), party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, former MLA Sadhna Singh, former Agra mayor Naveen Jain, and industrialist Sanjay Seth. 

Seth, a former SP leader, joined the BJP in 2019.
File image
File image
21:52   Manipur cop abducted by Meitei group, rescued
Meitei activist organisation Arambai Tenggol abducted a Manipur additional superintendent of police Tuesday evening and he was rescued within hours after the force launched an operation swiftly, officials said. 

ASP Amit Kumar, posted with the Operations Cell of the Manipur police, was taken away from his residence in Wangkhei by a group of Arambai Tenggol members who came firing shots. 

Alarmed by the gunshots, the officer's father contacted his son who rushed to the scene with a small team. 

But, the outnumbered police force was unable to prevent the kidnapping as the activist members swiftly took Kumar and fled. 

However, the Manipur police quickly mobilised forces, launching a successful rescue operation to ensure the safe return of the abducted officer within hours. -- PTI
The Kerala high court
The Kerala high court
21:26   HC awards life term for killers of Kerala's ex-CPI-M leader TP Chandrasekharan
The Kerala high court on Tuesday sentenced the 12 persons convicted in the sensational TP Chandrasekharan murder case of 2012 to life imprisonment and observed that it's time to take a serious view on political murders as they undermine democratic principles. 

A Division Bench of Justices AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Kauser Edappagath upheld the life terms given by the trial court to 10 out of the 11 persons convicted for the murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader Chandrasekharan at Onchiyam in Kozhikode district on May 4, 2012. 

"Crimes that have the effect of inducing fear in the people to the point where they are prevented from freely exercising their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech and expression ought to be dealt with firmly, for they cannot be tolerated in a society that is governed by the rule of law," the bench said, making a serious observation on political murders. 

The high court handed down life sentences to two others -- K K Krishnan and Geothi Babu -- whose acquittal by the trial court was reversed by it. 

Of the 11 persons convicted and sentenced to life terms by the trial court in 2014, Kunhanandan had died during the pendency of the appeal against the punishment, the bench noted. -- PTI
21:11   Water supply in Mumbai, neighbouring areas cut by 15% till Mar 5: BMC
The city civic body on Tuesday announced a 15 percent reduction in water supply across Mumbai and neighbouring areas where it supplies water till March 5. 

The water supply to some parts of the eastern suburbs was impacted after a transformer caught fire at the pumping station in the neighbouring Thane district on Monday evening. 

The supply from the Golanji, Fosbery, Raoli and Bhandarwada reservoirs was also hit. 

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation issued a release on Tuesday evening stating that it has started 15 pumps at the affected Pise pumping station but the repairing of the third transformer is expected to take time till March 5. 

"A 15 percent water cut will be imposed in the island city, eastern suburbs and western suburbs, some areas in Bhiwandi and Thane cities and elsewhere where the BMC supplies water, till March 5," as per the release. -- PTI
Former MP and actor Jaya Prada
Former MP and actor Jaya Prada
21:00   UP court orders arrest of ex-MP Jaya Prada
A court in Rampur in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday declared former MP and actor Jaya Prada as an "absconder" in connection with two cases of election code violations and directed the police to arrest her and produce her before it on March 6. 

According to senior prosecution officer Amarnath Tiwari, two cases were registered against the former MP from Rampur at Kemari and Swar police stations for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 

The actor was the BJP candidate from Rampur in the 2019 polls and was defeated by Azam Khan of the Samajwadi Party. 

She was elected to the Lok Sabha from Rampur in 2004 and 2009 on a Samajwadi Party ticket. 

The SP expelled her subsequently. In these cases, the special MP-MLA court had issued summons several times but the former MP did not appear before it. 

Subsequently, non-bailable warrants were issued against her seven times, but the police could not produce her before the court. 

He said that the police, in its reply filed in the court, said that Jaya Prada was evading arrest and all her known mobile numbers were switched off. -- PTI
Former Supreme Court judge A M Khanwilkar/Courtesy PIB
Former Supreme Court judge A M Khanwilkar/Courtesy PIB
20:37   Former SC judge AM Khanwilkar appointed new Lokpal chairperson
Former Supreme Court judge A M Khanwilkar was appointed as the chairperson of the anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal on Tuesday, nearly two years after the post fell vacant. 

The Lokpal has been working without its regular chief after Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose completed his term on May 27, 2022. Justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty, a judicial member of the Lokpal, is currently the acting chairperson. 

President Droupadi Murmu is pleased to appoint Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar as the chairperson of the Lokpal, according to a communique issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

Justice Khanwilkar retired from the Supreme Court in July 2022. 

Retired justices Lingappa Narayana Swamy, Sanjay Yadav and Ritu Raj Awasthi have been appointed as judicial members of the anti-corruption ombudsman, it said. -- PTI
20:31   Cross-voting in HP, Cong's Abhishek Singhvi loses
Amid cross-voting, BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan on Tuesday won the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Himachal Pradesh, defeating ruling Congress's Abhishek Manu Singhvi, officials said. 

The contest was tied at 34-34 votes, after which Mahajan was declared winner by draw of lots, they said. 

It is a major jolt for the Congress which has 40 MLAs in the 68-member state assembly and claimed support of the independents. 

The result made it clear that nine MLAs voted in favour of the BJP which was confident that Congress MLAs would exercise 'conscience vote'. 

At present, the BJP has 25 MLAs in the state assembly.
File image
File image
19:51   CAA rules may be notified before election code
The ministry of home affairs is expected to announce the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 regulations prior to the enforcement of the model code of conduct, sources said.  

The CAA rules, introduced by the Narendra Modi government, aim to confer Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants -- including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians -- who migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and arrived in India before December 31, 2014.  

Following the passage of the CAA by Parliament in December 2019 and its subsequent Presidential assent, significant protests erupted in various parts of the country.  

Sources privy to the development told the ANI that "the regulations for the CAA could be announced anytime before the enforcement of the model code of conduct". 

There is a possibility that the code of conduct might be in place in March.  

As per an official, the CAA law can be put into action with the issuance of MHA notifications, allowing eligible individuals to obtain Indian citizenship.  

The implementation of the CAA, which has been delayed for over four years, necessitates the formulation of its associated rules.  

"The regulations are prepared, and an online portal is already set up for the entire process, which will be conducted digitally. Applicants will need to disclose the year of their entry into India without any travel documents. No additional documentation will be required from the applicants," stated the official.  -- ANI
19:17   Hoax message delays Delhi-Kolkata flight for 5 hrs, woman with infant detained
A Kolkata-bound SpiceJet flight was delayed for more than five hours on Tuesday after the Delhi airport received a threat message about explosives being hidden in the passengers' luggage, official sources said. 

A woman carrying an infant has been detained by security agencies for questioning in the case, the sources said. 

The flight, SG-8263, was scheduled to depart around 5:40 am but it was allowed to leave only after 11:30 am after the security agencies completed an anti-sabotage check and repeat frisking of check-in and cabin baggage of the travellers and crew, they said. 

The airport duty manager at the Indira Gandhi International Airport received an email around 5:20 am that "there is a safety issue" on the said flight and that "somebody was taking explosion goods in bags and luggage" onboard, a senior official said. 

The message was immediately flashed across and a bomb threat assessment committee comprising various security agencies and airport officials was convened. 

The aircraft was sent to be parked at an isolation bay at the airport, the official said and added that after a complete re-check and scanning of luggage, the said message was declared a hoax and the flight was allowed to depart. 

A woman passenger along with a infant was later intercepted at the terminal area and the security agencies have detained them for questioning. 

Someone linked to them is suspected to have sent the email, the sources said. -- PTI
Sidda and DKS
Sidda and DKS
18:58   It's Cong 3, BJP 1, JD-S 0 in Karnataka RS polls
The ruling Congress in Karnataka won three seats and the BJP one in the Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka on Tuesday. 

Those who were elected to the Upper House are Ajay Maken, G C Chandrasekhar and Syed Naseer Hussain, all belonging to the Congress, and Narayansa K Bhandage of the BJP. 

Five candidates were in the fray for the four seats in the elections, including JD-S contestant D Kupendra Reddy. 

The elections were marred by cross-voting. While one of the BJP MLAs, S T Somashekar, voted for the Congress's Maken, the other, A Shivaram Hebbar, abstained.
MLA S T Somashekar
MLA S T Somashekar
18:38   BJP MLA cross-votes in K'taka, another abstains
In a setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party-Janata Dal-Secular alliance, saffron party MLA ST Somashekar voted for Congress candidate Ajay Maken while another MLA Arbail Shivaram Hebbal abstained from voting in the Rajya Sabha elections for four seats in Karnataka on Tuesday. 

Somashekar and Hebbar, who are upset with the BJP, were seen getting closer with the Congress in recent months. Somashekar represents Yashwantpur assembly constituency and Hebbar from Yellapur segment. 

"We have got the information that Somashekar has done cross-voting. I believe that people do not like cheating every now and then," the Leader of Opposition R Ashoka told reporters in Bengaluru. 

"I consulted with advocate Vivek Reddy who is our state legal cell president and a high court lawyer. We will ask the Speaker to initiate action against him (Somashekar) and explore the possibilities to take steps in accordance with the law," the former deputy chief minister said. 

Somashekar had quit the Congress and joined the BJP. 

He served as the minister (in the BJP government) and was made the Mysuru district in charge. Ashoka termed Somashekar's decision as "political suicide". 

Soon after voting, Somashekar told reporters that he voted as per his conscience. 

"I went by my conscience and voted for those who worked for building schools and carry out development works in my constituency," the rebel BJP leader said. -- PTI
18:09   AAP announces 4 LS poll candidates from Delhi, 1 from Haryana
The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday announced five candidates for Lok Sabha polls from Delhi and Haryana, fielding senior leader Somnath Bharti from the New Delhi constituency. 

The party announced the five names after a meeting of its political affairs committee chaired by Delhi Chief Minister and party's national convener Arvind Kejriwal. 

It fielded Somnath Bharti, who is also the Delhi Jal Board vice-chairman, from the New Delhi constituency, Kondli MLA Kuldeep Kumar from East Delhi, Sahiram Pehelwan from South Delhi and former MP Mahabal Mishra from the West Delhi Lok Sabha constituency. 

The party declared former Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Gupta its candidate from Kurukshetra in Haryana. 

In Delhi, the party has joined hands with INDIA bloc ally Congress for the Lok Sabha polls. 

The AAP and Congress have arrived at a 4-3 seat-sharing arrangement for Delhi. 

The AAP had already announced its three candidates for Assam and two for Gujarat. -- PTI
File image
File image
17:44   Water supply to Mumbai partially restored after Pise pumping station fire
The Birhanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Tuesday said the city's water supply has been partially restored as 14 out of 20 pumps have been made operational at Pise pumping station, where a fire broke out. 

A transformer caught fire at the pumping station in the neighbouring Thane district on Monday evening, impacting the water supply to some parts of the eastern suburbs and the supply from the Golanji, Fosbery, Raoli and Bhandarwada reservoirs. 

Following the fire, the civic body imposed a 30 to 100 percent water cut in several parts of the island city and eastern suburbs. 

The BMC, in a release, said efforts are being made to restore the water supply to the city. 

Eight out of 20 pumps were started by 4 am, and the supply resumed at low pressure from the Golanji, Rawali, Fosberry, and Bhandarwada service reservoirs, and six more pumps were started by 11 am, it said. 

Mumbai receives 3,800 MLD of water every day from Bhatsa, Upper Vaitarna, Middle Vaitarna, Tansa, Modak Sagar, Vihar, and Tulsi reservoirs, located in Mumbai, Thane, and Nashik districts. -- PTI
17:22   'Congress government may topple in Himachal'
Himachal Pradesh Leader of Opposition and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jairam Thakur on Tuesday claimed that the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led Congress government is in a minority in the state. 

 When asked if the State BJP would demand a floor test, Thakur said, "The budget will be presented tomorrow. We will discuss the budget tomorrow and then we will see the situation there. But I can see that the government has lost the majority." 

 Voting is underway for a high-octane Rajya Sabha election battle in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday, and the BJP has exuded hope in its candidate winning the poll. 67 out of the total 68 legislators have exercised their votes in the ongoing Rajya Sabha elections in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. 

Sudarshan Singh Babloo, Congress MLA, has not come so far due to illness. He was hospitalised. 

 There is fierce competition in Himachal Pradesh for the sole Rajya Sabha seat between Congress candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi and the BJP's Harsh Mahajan. 

 Harsh Mahajan is a three-time Congress MLA and former minister who resigned from the party in September 2022 ahead of the Assembly polls and joined the BJP. Notably, the Congress has a clear majority with 40 out of 68 MLAs and the support of three independent MLAs. 

Despite the fact that the BJP, with 25 MLAs, is far behind in the number game, it has forced a contest by fielding Mahajan against Singhvi.
Big problems loom for Tejashwi Yadav
Big problems loom for Tejashwi Yadav
16:54   3 Bihar Oppn MLAs sit on treasury benches
In fresh trouble for Bihar's opposition Mahagathbandhan', three MLAs of the Congress-RJD combine on Tuesday sat with the treasury members inside the state assembly. 

 The drama unfolded in the post-lunch session when RJD's Sangita Kumari, besides Murari Gautam and Siddharth Singh (both Congress), were seen entering the assembly behind Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Choudhary, who is also the state BJP president. 

 They sat on the ruling side, upon being signalled by Choudhary to do so, and legislators of the ruling NDA thumped their desks in approval. 

 The episode comes about a fortnight after three RJD MLAs deserted the party on a day its senior leader and former Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary got voted out in a no-confidence motion, and the new government headed by JD(U) president Nitish Kumar, with BJP as an ally, won the trust vote. 

 The RJD has baulked at seeking disqualification of Chetan Anand, Neelam Devi and Prahlad Yadav, none of whom has so far formally resigned from the party. 

 The latest development marks the first sign of rebellion within the Congress, which had packed off all but one of its 19 MLAs to Hyderabad ahead of the trust vote, fearing a split. 

 Siddharth Singh, who is said to be unhappy with the Congress' state leadership, had then refused to leave Bihar, citing prior engagements in his Bikram constituency. Murari Gautam lost his cabinet berth last month as a result of Nitish Kumar's abrupt exit from the Mahagathbandhan' and return to the NDA. PTI
16:31   Rahul: History won't forgive Modi for this crime...
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday attacked BJP over recent incidents of exam paper leaks and issues in recruitment alleging that the government has "eclipsed" the dreams of students and that history will never forgive Prime Minister Narendra Modi for it. 

 In a post in Hindi on X, Gandhi alleged that the Modi government has become the "enemy of the country's future". 

 "At some places students are yearning for recruitment, at some places students are frustrated due to paper leaks, at some places students are visiting courts for appointments and at some places students are facing lathicharge for raising their voice," the former Congress chief said. 

 The BJP government, which has failed to conduct even a single examination from RO-ARO to police recruitment and from railways to the army in a fair manner, is venting its anger on the youth, he claimed.

 "Selling job-creating institutions to their friends and hiring youth on contract is Modi's policy, and exploitation is Modi's guarantee," he alleged. 

 The Modi government has eclipsed the dreams of students and their families and has taken away the light of hope from them, Gandhi claimed. "History will never forgive Narendra Modi for this crime," Gandhi said.
16:12   A day of defections
Congress MLAs Murari Prasad Gautam and Siddharth Saurav, and RJD MLA Sangita Kumari joined the BJP today. 

Earlier today, Rajya Sabha member and former Union minister Naran Rathwa joined the BJP along with his son.
15:50   Govt sitting with eyes shut: SC on Patanjali ads
The Supreme Court today came down heavily on the Centre for not taking any action in a case of "misleading and false" advertisements by the Patanjaliu Ayurved -- which is co-owned by yoga guru Ramdev.

"The government is sitting with its eye closed," the Supreme Court said.

The Supreme Court said that the entire country is being misled through such advertisement. 

"This is very unfortunate. The government will have to take some immediate action," the bench said. 

 The bench directed the company to stop all electronic and print advertisements of its medicines giving misleading" information with immediate effect.

The Supreme Court had in November last year cautioned Patanjali Ayurved against making "false" and "misleading" claims in advertisements about its medicines.

"What happened to this Guru Swami Ramdev Baba?... Ultimately we respect him as he popularised yoga. We all go for this. But, he should not criticise the other system. You see the type of advertisements accusing all the doctors as if they are killers or something. Huge advertisements (have been given)," the bench headed by the then CJI NV Ramana, since retired, had said.

The top court had asked the counsel appearing for the Centre to find a remedy to the issue of misleading medical advertisements.
The first Indian in space: Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma
The first Indian in space: Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma
15:30   Gaganyaan four trained at Rakesh Sharma's centre
The four astronauts who will be part of India's first human space flight program, Gaganyaan, were trained at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia, the same centre where Rakesh Sharma underwent training. 

Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian to go into space in 1984. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC), at Star City, is about 30 kilometers north of Moscow. 

It was named for the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin. 

 The center offers high-tech training facilities, including integrated simulators. It also offers survival training for many possible landing situations, including mountains, woodlands, marshes, deserts, in the Arctic and on the sea.

 Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday the names of the four astronauts who will be in Gaganyaan, slated to be launched in 2024-25. The four chosen Indian Air Force pilots are Group Captain Prashanth Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla. The four astronauts were trained at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia.
15:04   Gaganyaan: GC Prasanth's neighbours super excited
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the names of four astronauts undergoing training for the groundbreaking Gaganyaan mission, residents of Nenmara in Palakkad on Tuesday erupted in joy as one of them, Group Captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, hails from their locality. 

 Though his family members were in Thiruvananthapuram to witness the PM unveiling the names of the astronauts, Nair's neighbours and friends could not contain their excitement. 

 Nair's house in Nenmara seemed to remain closed, but neighbours, people's representatives, and news channel reporters gathered in front of it to share their happiness over the unique achievement. 

 An elderly woman in Nair's neighbourhood reminisced fond memories of his childhood and said she was sure that he would have reached a good position. But this achievement was beyond her expectations, she said.

"I was sitting in front of the television till now to see the Prime Minister announcing his name. Prasanth was such a good child... I have known him since he was four or five years old," the elated neighbour told a television channel. 

 The woman also gave complete credit for Nair's growth to his parents, whom she said was responsible for moulding a good person like him. 

 In his address, the Prime Minister, however, conveyed some concerns about the celebrity attention to the four astronaut-designates which can create disturbance in their training. 

 "I urge all people, including media professionals, to allow them to do their duties without hindrances. It's the beginning of the real story. Let's support them to the fullest," Modi said. 

 Nenmara MLA K Babu, who visited Nair's house, said the excitement of people was beyond words. 

 "He has now become a pride of not just Kerala but of the entire nation," the legislator said. 

 PM Modi announced the names of the four astronauts who are undergoing training for the country's maiden human space flight mission, Gaganyaan during a function held at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram. 

 The four astronauts are -- Group Captains Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, Angad Pratap, Ajit Krishnan, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla, he said bestowing 'astronaut wings' to them. 
14:41   India will have own space station by 2035: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the country will have its own space station by 2035 which will help in the study of unknown expanses there.

 Addressing a gathering at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, the PM said that Indian astronaut will land on the surface of the moon on our own rocket. 

 "By 2035, India will have its own space station in space that will help us study the unknown expanses of space. In this period of Amrit Kaal, Indian astronaut will land on the surface of the moon on our own rocket...," the PM said. 

 He further said that the India in the 21st century is emerging as a dynamic global player, showcasing significant developmental strides across sectors.

 "India of the 21st century, is today surprising the world with its potential. In the last 10 years, we have launched about 400 satellites, whereas 10 years before that, only 33 satellites were launched..." the PM added. 

 PM Modi further expressed his happiness over the equipment being used in the Gaganyaan mission are mostly made in India.

 "I was very happy to know that most of the equipment used in Gaganyaan is Made in India. What a great coincidence it is that when India is taking off to become the top 3 economy of the world, at the same time India's Gaganyaan is also going to take our space sector to a new height..." the PM said. 

Modi also announced the names of the four astronauts who will be part of India's first human space flight program, Gaganyaan, slated to be launched in 2024-25. 

 The four chosen Indian Air Force pilots are Group Captain Prashanth Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla. The four astronauts were trained at Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia.
14:26   ED issues 8th summons to Kejriwal
The Enforcement Directorate issues its 8th summons to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal for questioning on March 4 in the excise policy money laundering case. 

The AAP National Convenor Arvind Kejriwal did not appear before the Directorate of Enforcement on Monday for the seventh summons.

"The matter is in the court and the next hearing is on March 16. Instead of sending summons daily, the ED should wait for the court's decision. We will not leave the INDIA alliance. Modi government should not create pressure like this," a party source said. 

On February 22, the Directorate of Enforcement issued the seventh summons to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to appear before the agency. Sources say the Delhi CM has been asked to appear before the ED on February 26.
14:02   Cong's RS MP from Gujarat joins BJP
In a major blow to the Congress in Gujarat ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, its Rajya Sabha member and former Union minister Naran Rathwa joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with his son and a large number of supporters here on Tuesday. 

 The tribal leader from Chhota Udepur in Gujarat, Rathwa's tenure as the Rajya Sabha member will end in April this year. He was elected to the Lok Sabha five times - first in 1989, then in 1991, 1996, 1998 and 2004. Rathwa's son Sangramsinh had unsuccessfully contested the 2022 Gujarat assembly elections as a Congress candidate from Scheduled Tribe (ST)-reserved Chhota Udepur seat. 

He joined the BJP along with his father and a large number of supporters at a function. Rathwa was a Minister of State for Railways in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2004, and lost to BJP candidate Ramsinh Rathwa in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. 

Gujarat BJP chief C R Paatil inducted Rathwa and others into the party by offering them saffron scarves and caps at the party's state headquarters 'Kamalam' here. PTI
13:35   Kamal Nath speaks on 'joining' BJP...
Former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and veteran Congress leader Kamal Nath has put a full stop over speculation made about him regarding switching sides to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying, "Have you ever heard this from my mouth? Is there any indication? Nothing." 

 Nath made the remark while addressing the media persons in Madhya Pradesh's Chhindwara district on Tuesday. 

The Congress leader arrived in Chindwara on a five-day visit to the district. He will go to various assemblies in the district and hold meetings with workers and party officials in view of upcoming Lok Sabha elections. 

 When Nath was asked about joining the saffron party, he said, "You (media) are saying this and no one else is saying this. Have you ever heard this from my mouth? Is there any indication? Nothing. You (media) run this news (about switching sides), and then ask me about it. First, you (media) should refute it."
13:30   We told you first....
Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the names of the four astronauts who are undergoing training for the country's maiden human space flight mission, Gaganyaan. 

 The other three astronauts are Angad Prathap, Ajit Krishnan, and Shubhanshu Shukla.
13:26   SIT to probe Jarange's remarks against Fadnavis
Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar on Tuesday directed the government to set up an SIT and conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the controversial remarks of Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange against Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The issue was raised by Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ashish Shelar in the Lower House. He said that provocative language to incite violence has no place in democracy.

Shelar demanded to know who was behind Jarange's actions, aimed at creating "unrest" in the state.

Speaking in Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district on Sunday, Jarange alleged Fadnavis was trying to kill him. The activist also said he would march to Mumbai and protest outside the residence of the deputy CM.   
Jarange had also claimed that a poisoning attempt was made against him through saline, though he did not elaborate on it.

Shelar alleged there was a conspiracy to unsettle Maharashtra and malign the Maratha community, known to be brave and disciplined.
"We have been supporting Jarange's demands but are critical of his threatening remarks against Fadnavis," the BJP leader said.
Speaker Narwekar instructed the government to conduct a detailed inquiry by setting up a special investigation team.

 Fadnavis said in the House that he has no complaints against Jarange. The SIT will investigate whose "script" he is speaking, the deputy CM said.

"Jarange may have made wild allegations against me. But the entire Maratha community supports me," he said.

On Monday, Jarange announced he is withdrawing his 17-day-old fast undertaken over the Maratha quota issue, but insisted he would continue his agitation until the Maharashtra government starts issuing Kunbi caste certificates to extended family members of people already having such documents, thereby allowing them to avail reservation benefits.

The decision by Jarange, who has launched fast multiple times since August 2023, came a day after he announced a march to Mumbai to press for his demands related to quota in jobs and education for the Maratha community and coincided with the start of the state legislature's budget session in Mumbai. -- PTI
Get vaccinated
Get vaccinated
12:50   Covid claims 24-year-old man in Kolkata
A Covid-19 patient died in a state-run hospital in Kolkata, the third such virus-related death in West Bengal this year, a senior official of the health department said on Tuesday. 

 The deceased, identified as Ashish Hazra, was first admitted to the National Medical College and Hospital with breathing trouble, the official said. 

 "He was diagnosed with meningitis and then tested positive for Covid-19 following which he was shifted to Beliaghata ID Hospital. His condition soon started to deteriorate and he passed away on Sunday night," she told PTI. 

 Hazra's body was handed over to Kolkata Municipal Corporation officials after which his last rites were performed on Monday evening following Covid-19 protocols, she added. In January, the state had registered two Covid-19 deaths -- one in the city while another in Barasat in North 24 Parganas district. PTI
12:34   PM announces astronauts for Gaganyaan, they are...
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday the names of the four astronauts who are undergoing training for the country's maiden human space flight mission, Gaganyaan.

 The four astronauts are -- Prashanth Balakrishnan Nair, Angad Prathap, Ajit Krishnan, and Shubhanshu Shukla -- Modi said at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at Thumba near the Kerala state capital. 

 He bestowed 'astronaut wings' to the four. 

 The PM was at the VSSC to inaugurate three major technical facilities of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). PTI
12:28   Rahul's Yatra will enter MP on March 2, agenda is...
The 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will enter Madhya Pradesh on March 2 and the mass outreach programme, being held ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, will continue in the state till March 6, a party leader said on Tuesday. 

 Gandhi will hold a roadshow on March 2 after the yatra enters MP at Piprai in Morena district, state Congress vice president Rajiv Singh said. Later in the day, the yatra will reach Gwalior city where the former Congress president will address a public meeting, he said.

 On March 3, the yatra will resume from Gwalior with Gandhi's address to Agniveer ex-servicemen and reach Shivpuri after passing through different villages and towns. 

 On way to Shivpuri, Gandhi will interact with tribal community members in Mohkheda. Gandhi will hold a roadshow in Shivpuri city and later reach Badarwas town, where he will address a public meeting. There will be an overnight halt of the yatra at Badarwas (Shivpuri district), Singh said. 

 On March 4, the yatra will resume from Miyana in Guna district and reach Raghogarh after passing through various villages. After a roadshow in Raghogarh, Gandhi will address a public meeting at Pipal Chouraha in Biaora of Rajgarh district and interact with the farmers at Bhatkhedi, Singh said. 

 After night halt in Bhatkhedi, the yatra will resume from Pachore on March 5 and reach Shajapur, where Gandhi will hold a roadshow. Gandhi will also interact with students at Maksi town in Shajapur district and the yatra will later proceed to Ujjain. 

 The Wayanad MP will offer prayers at the Mahakaleshwar temple and address a rally in Ujjain on March 5. 

 After night halt at Ingoria, the yatra will resume on March 6 from Badnagar where Gandhi will interact with women. He will also hold a roadshow in Badnagar and a public meeting in Badnawar, Singh said. The yatra will go to Ratlam and Sailana later that day, he added. PTI
12:08   Not everyone has guts to take on Centre: Akhilesh
On Rajya Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav says, "Not everybody has the guts to stand against the government ... pressure is put on everybody. Is there anyone who doesn't know that BJP would go to any extent to win. 
"BJP was dishonest during Chandigarh elections also... When it comes to UP, BJP did everything to get votes and those who left, might not have had the guts to stand against the govt. 
"Action will be taken because our party leaders want such people to be kept away from the party..."

Samajwadi Party MLA Manoj Kumar Pandey on Tuesday resigned from the post of party chief whip a day after he skipped a meeting called by party chief Akhilesh Yadav on the Rajya Sabha elections.

Voting was underway in the elections for the 10 Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday with eight BJP candidates and three from the Samajwadi Party in the fray.
11:54   Sitharaman urges India Inc to embrace...
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday exhorted India Inc to align itself with the goal of 'Viksit Bharat' by 2047, when India will complete 100 years of independence. 

 Addressing a session on 'Viksit Bharat @ 2047: Viksit Bharat & industry', organised by Ficci, the minister also assured the industry that reforms will continue in the third term of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government. 

 The new government will be formed after the general elections due in April-May and the BJP is confident that Prime Minister Modi will return to power with a greater majority. 

 Sitharaman said that India has moved up to become the fifth largest economy and is on the way to become the third largest global economy. 

 The minister said that several reforms were undertaken by the government during the last 10 years and the trend will continue. She said that the reforms to be undertaken by the next Modi government will touch on factors of production. PTI
11:41   Three more held in INLD chief's killing, total 15
Three more people have been booked in connection with the murder of the Indian National Lok Dal's Haryana unit president Nafe Singh Rathee and a party worker in Bahadurgarh near Delhi, police said on Tuesday. 

 With this, the total number of people booked in the murder case rises to 15. 

 A police official said that based on a statement by the INLD leader's son Jitendra Rathee, Vijendra Rathee, Sandeep Rathee and Pale Ram have been named in the FIR. Rathee and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) worker Jai Kishan were killed when unidentified assailants sprayed their sports utility vehicle (SUV) with bullets on Sunday. The attack, which came with less than two months to go before the Lok Sabha polls, drew sharp reactions from the opposition parties in the BJP-ruled state.

 In the FIR registered on Monday, police named former BJP MLA Naresh Kaushik, Karambir Rathee, Ramesh Rathee, Satish Rathee, Gaurav Rathee, Rahul and Kamal in the FIR. 

The report also mentioned five unnamed accused. The case was registered under various sections, including section 302 (murder), of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act. 

 In his police complaint, Nafe Singh Rathee's nephew Rakesh, said five unidentified killers, who were following them in a car, came out and fired indiscriminately near the Barahi railway crossing. Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij on Monday said the probe into the killing of the INLD's state unit chief will be handed over to the CBI. Senior INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala has accused the BJP-JJP government of failing to provide security to Rathee, despite there being a threat to his life. PTI
11:17   1 dead in collision with Tejashwi's escort vehicle
A 50-year-old home guard was killed when a police vehicle escorting RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav collided head-on with a car in Bihar's Purnea district, a senior official said on Monday. 

 According to Purnea SP Upendra Nath Verma, six personnel of Bihar Military Police (BMP), who were in the same police jeep, were also injured in the accident late Monday night. 

"Tejashwi Yadav, the former deputy chief minister and the leader of the opposition, was passing through the district, on his way to Katihar. As per protocol, we had sent a vehicle from the police lines to escort him," the superintendent of police said. The police jeep, while trying to keep pace with Yadav's vehicle, "ended up on the wrong side of the Purnea-Katihar road and crashed into a car coming from the opposite side.

 Home guard Mohd Halim who was driving the vehicle, died on the spot", the SP said. Notably, Yadav is touring the state as part of "Jan Vishwas Yatra". The injured BMP jawans were admitted to the government medical college at Purnea where their condition was said to be out of danger, the police official said. The occupants of the car received minor injuries as airbags installed in their vehicle minimised the impact of the crash. PTI
11:12   Shami undergoes ankle surgery, set to miss IPL
Senior India pacer Mohammed Shami has undergone a successful surgery on his left achilles tendon, which rules him out of next month's Indian Premier League and possibly the T20 World Cup in June. 

 The 33-year-old, who last played for India in the ODI World Cup final against Australia on November 19, went under the knife in London on Monday. Shami, who is eager to "get back on my feet soon" stares at a recovery time of a minimum of three months. He will thus miss the IPL slated to be played from March 22 to May 26, as reported by PTI last week. Shami is also a doubtful starter for the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA. 

 "Just had a successful heel operation on my achilles tendon! Recovery is going to take some time, but looking forward to getting back on my feet," Shami tweeted, along with several pictures of him in the hospital, on X on Monday.

 Shami, who was one of the architects of India's stupendous ODI World Cup campaign with 24 wickets, had played through pain as he had problems with his landing but didn't let it affect his performance. He had flown to London in January to take special ankle injections. However, the medication didn't work and the fast bowler had to opt for surgery.
10:51   Delhi airport gets bomb threat call, turns out to be hoax
The Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport received a bomb threat call by an anonymous caller in New Delhi on on Tuesday, police said. On enquiry, the threat was found to be a hoax, they said. 

 "At around 5.15 am, a bomb threat call was received at IGI Airport regarding a flight from Delhi to Kolkata, which was scheduled to depart from IGI Airport," they said. An officer said during enquiry the call was found to be bogus. Necessary safety protocols were followed keeping in view the security of the passengers, he said. PTI
10:50   RS polls: Profiteers will leave, says Akhilesh
Amid fears of cross-voting by Samajwadi Party MLAs in the Rajya Sabha polls on Tuesday, party chief Akhilesh Yadav said those who are looking for "profit" in the situation will leave. 

Speaking to reporters ahead of casting his votes, Yadav slammed the BJP saying it will adopt all means to win elections. 

 Asked about the absence of some party MLAs from a party meeting on the polls called on Monday, Yadav said, "Those who wanted to profit from the situation will go. Those who were promised will go." 

 "Those who put spikes in someone else' path or dig holes for others themselves fall," Yadav said in a swipe at the BJP. 

 "You have seen what happened in Chandigarh in front of CCTV cameras. I thank the Supreme Court which saved the Constitution. BJP can adopt all tricks to win elections. It must have given assurance (to some MLAs) of some profit... BJP will do anything to win," he said. 

 As many as eight SP MLAs did not attend a meeting called by Yadav on Monday. A senior SP leader, requesting anonymity, said that the party chief had called a meeting to brief the MLAs about the voting process of the Rajya Sabha elections.
10:26   More trouble for Akhilesh: Chief whip resigns
Samajwadi Party MLA Manoj Kumar Pandey resigns as party's chief whip in UP Assembly. The resignation of Manoj Kumar Pandey, MLA from Unchahar, comes hours after as many as eight MLAs skipped a dinner hosted by party chief Akhilesh Yadav amid the cross-voting buzz in the election to the Upper House.   
10:02   Akhilesh's SP expects to win 3 RS seats but...
 Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday expected to win three seats, where the party has put up candidates, in the Rajya Sabha election.

In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has put up eight Rajya Sabha candidates and the Samajwadi Party 3 for the 10 seats at stake. 

As per the numbers in the Legislative Assembly, the BJP is guaranteed to win 7 seats while the SP should win 3 seats. 

However, there are reports that several MLAs could cross-vote.

On Monday, some legislators of the SP went missing from a dinner hosted by SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav. 

Reports suggest at least 8 MLAs were missing from the dinner and now the fear is these legislators could abstain from the vote or cross vote, either of which will result in BJP winning its eighth seat in the state.

"We hope all three candidates of Samajwadi Party will win... BJP can use all the tactics to win elections. BJP will do everything possible for victory. Some of our leaders who want personal gains can go to the BJP..." said Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.

"Our MLAs who are in contact with the Bharatiya Janata Party and those who want to take advantage of it will go with the Bharatiya Janata Party. They are being lured by the Bharatiya Janata Party camp," added SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav.

The National General Secretary of Samajwadi Party, Shivpal Singh Yadav, also said that democratic values have been finished off.

"Democratic values have been finished off...let's see what happens if things happen this way..." said National General Secretary of Samajwadi Party Shivpal Singh Yadav.
09:59   10,000+ applicants for BJD's LS, Assembly poll tickets
More than 10,000 people have applied for Biju Janata Dal (BJD) tickets for the upcoming Lok Sabha and the Odisha Assembly elections which will be held simultaneously, a senior party leader said. 

 The Odisha Assembly has a strength of 147 MLAs while there are 21 Lok Sabha MP seats in the state. 

 "More than 10,000 people, including many professionals, have applied for party tickets for the coming polls", BJD organisational secretary Pranab Prakash Das said in a post on X. 

 "We strongly believe that BJD is moving towards a historic victory in this election with the blessings of 4.5 crore people of Odisha," Das said. 

 The BJD leader claimed that the people of Odisha have already made up their minds to install Naveen Patnaik as the chief minister for the sixth consecutive time. 

 "The BJD is all set to register a massive victory in the upcoming elections," Das claimed. 

 The BJD leader claimed that all the national-level survey reports in recent years have found Naveen Patnaik as the number one Chief Minister of the country. Das said the regional party has won more than 52 per cent of the votes in the 2022 panchayat elections. 

 "There should be no doubt that the BJD is the number one political party in the state," he said, claiming that Patnaik is the tallest leader in the state.
09:56   ISF MLA stopped from visiting Sandeshkhali, arrested
Police on Tuesday arrested ISF MLA Nausad Siddique near the Science City area here while he was on his way to trouble-torn Sandeshkhali in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district, an officer said.

Siddique was arrested under preventive laws, the officer said.

The district administration has imposed prohibitory orders in sensitive areas of Sandeshkhali primarily to avert any untoward incident there.

"I do not know why they have arrested me. This is several kilometres away from Sandeshkhali. I was going to Sandeshkhali to meet the villagers there. I did not break any rule or anything", Siddique told reporters.

Siddique said he was scheduled to hold two programmes in Sandeshkhali.

The ISF MLA was taken to the Kolkata Police headquarters in Lalbazar. -- PTI 
09:39   Sri Lanka ends visas of Russians staying there to avoid war
Investigation launched into order asking Russians to leave country amid blacklash over 'whites only policy'. Read the report here. 
09:32   BJP planning horse trading in HP RS polls: Cong
Himachal Pradesh is bracing for a tight contest for the lone Rajya Sabha seat. The Congress candidate is senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi while the BJP has put up former Congress MLA Harsh Mahajan for the seat. 

On Monday, the BJP nominee complained to the Chief Election Commissioner saying that the Congress has issued a three-line whip to its MLAs for the polls, which he said was unethical. 

 "Such a whip is not only unethical but also against the conducting of elections to the Rajya Sabha as it will affect the decision making ability of the MLAs," Harsh Mahajan said in his complaint. 

 After the complaint was filed the Congress hit out at the BJP, state minister Harsh Wardhan Chauhan said that the charges to the poll body were a result of 'frustration' in the BJP. 

 Harsh Wardhan Chauhan, Himachal Pradesh Minister alleged that the BJP is planning for "horse trading". "This is BJP's frustration because the number of MLAs is not in favour of the BJP. 40 MLAs are with Congress and 3 are independent. BJP only has 25 MLAs. ...even without numbers, BJP is fielding their candidate, which means they're planning horse trading..." Chauhan said. 

 Harsh Mahajan is a three-time Congress MLA and former minister who had resigned from the party in September 2022 ahead of the Assembly polls and joined the BJP.
09:25   Voting underway for four RS seats in Karnataka
Voting for the four Rajya Sabha seats are underway in Karnataka on Tuesday. The Congress has 133 MLAs, the BJP has 66, JD (S) 19, while others account for four. 

Of the four others, the Congress claims the support of two independents and Darshan Puttanaiah from Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha, and is confident of winning three seats. Interestingly, the fourth one -- G Janardhana Reddy (of Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha) met the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday. 

The MLAs will exercise their voting rights using an open ballot system. The voting started at 9 am and will go on till 4 pm. The counting will start from 5 pm. 

These MLAs have to display their voting preference to the nominated polling agents. The Rajya Sabha seats fell vacant following the retirement of four members -- Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar from the BJP and G C Chandrashekhar, Syed Naseer Hussain and L Hanumanthaiah from the Congress. -- PTI
09:19   RS poll: 8 SP MLAs skip meeting called by Akhilesh
As many as eight MLAs of the Samajwadi Party did not attend a meeting called by party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday, a day before the voting for the Rajya Sabha elections.
A senior SP leader requesting anonymity said that the party chief had called a meeting to brief the MLAs about the voting process of the Rajya Sabha elections. However, chief whip of the party in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Manoj Pandey and seven other MLAs -- Mukesh Verma, Maharaji Prajapati, Pooja Pal, Rakesh Pandey, Vinod Chaturvedi, Rakesh Pratap Singh and Abhay Singh did not attend the meeting.
Speaking to PTI, SP's national spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary admitted that eight MLAs did not attend the dinner and meeting called by party chief Akhilesh Yadav. However, he did not name the MLAs.
On a question whether Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) leader Pallavi Patel, who is an SP MLA, attended the meeting, Chaudhary said that though she was not in the meeting, she had a separate meeting with Yadav. She also assured her support to the SP candidates in the Rajya Sabha elections, Chaudhary said.
The SP's national spokesperson also said that the real stance of the MLAs who were absent from the meeting will be clear only on Tuesday during the voting for the Rajya Sabha elections.
He exuded confidence that all the three SP candidates will win the elections.
The stage is set for a high-pitched electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Lok Sabha polls on Tuesday, with the BJP fielding eight candidates and the opposition Samajwadi Party three for the 10 Rajya Sabha seats.
The ruling BJP and the principal opposition SP have the numbers to send seven and three members, respectively to the Rajya Sabha, but with the BJP fielding Sanjay Seth as its eighth candidate, a keen contest is on the cards for one of the seats.
Seth, an industrialist and former SP leader, had joined the BJP in 2019.
08:46   Indian diplomats were threatened in Canada: Jaishankar
India expects action against the culprits involved in last year's attacks on its high commission in London and consulate in San Francisco as well as those involved in threatening the Indian diplomats in Canada, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said.
The external affairs minister said India had to suspend issuance of visas in Canada as its diplomats were repeatedly "threatened and intimidated in many ways" and we "got very little comfort from the Canadian system that time".
In September last year, India temporarily suspended issuance of visas to the Canadian citizens, a move that came days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations of a "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
The visa services were resumed several weeks later. 
India strongly rejected Trudeau's allegations.
India has been asserting its "core issue" with Canada remained that of the space given to the separatists, terrorists and anti-India elements in that country.
"We expect the culprits in the attack in our consulate in San Francisco to be brought to book, we expect action against people who stormed into our high commission in London and we expect action against people who threatened our diplomats (in Canada)," Jaishankar said at a summit organised by TV9 Network.
The Indian high commission in London was attacked by certain pro-Khalistani elements in March 19 last year while there was an attempted arson at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco in July. 
The Indian diplomats faced threats in Canada in September.
"We had to suspend issuance of visas in Canada because our diplomats were not safe going to work. Our diplomats were repeatedly threatened. They were intimidated in many ways and we got very little comfort from the Canadian system that time," Jaishankar said. 
"We reached a stage when as a minister, I could not risk exposing the diplomats to the kind of violence which was very clearly prevalent in Canada at that time. That part of it has been rectified. Today, our visa operations are pretty much normal," he added.
Jaishankar said the situation has improved since then.
To a question on the space given to the Khalistani elements in Canada, he cited instances of throwing of smoke bombs into the Indian missions in that country.
 "They (Canada) keep telling us that we are a democracy. There is freedom of speech and, therefore, people say these things," Jaishankar said.
"Freedom of speech cannot extend to intimidating diplomats who are doing their duty. Throwing smoke bombs to embassy and consulates, advocating violence and separatism against a friendly state is not freedom of speech, this is misuse of freedom of speech," he added.
Bhojpuri singer Chhotu Pandey/Courtesy Facebook
Bhojpuri singer Chhotu Pandey/Courtesy Facebook
00:54   Bhojpuri singer Chhotu Pandey among nine killed in Bihar accident
Bhojpuri singer Chhotu Pandey was among the nine people killed in a collision between a truck, a jeep and a motorcycle in Bihar's Kaimur district, the police said on Monday. 

The incident took place on GT Road near Devkali village in Mohania police station area on Sunday evening. 

The identities of the deceased were ascertained on Monday, and among them was Bhojpuri singer Vimlesh Pandey alias Chhotu Pandey, Mohania's deputy SP Dilip Kumar told reporters. 

The other deceased were identified as Anachal, Simran Srivastava, Prakash Ram, Dadhibal Singh, Anu Pandey, Shashi Pandey, Satya Prakash Mishra and Bagish Pandey. 

According to eyewitnesses, the accident took place when a jeep, carrying eight people, including two women, first hit a motorcycle while travelling in the same direction. 

"Subsequently, both the jeep and the bike veered into the opposite lane, where a speeding truck collided with them, resulting in the deaths of all nine people, including the motorcyclist, at the spot. The truck driver fled after the accident," Kumar said. -- PTI
Representational image
Representational image
00:46   Two lanes of reconstructed Gokhale bridge in Mumbai thrown open for traffic
A portion of the reconstructed Gokhale bridge over the railway tracks at Andheri station in western Mumbai was opened for traffic on Monday evening, an official said. 

The Gokhale bridge was shut for vehicular traffic from November 7, 2022 due to its dilapidated condition. 

According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation official, two of the four lanes of the reconstructed bridge for east-west connectivity have been opened for light motor vehicles. 

In a post on social media platform X, the BMC said the reconstructed bridge was an engineering marvel. 

"For the first time in India a ground-breaking 1300 MT girder bridge was installed over one of the country's busiest railway tracks using sliding technology and lowered by seven meters without disrupting critical railway services below," the civic body said. 

It said Gokhale bridge is the first bridge in Mumbai that was completed in just 14 months from inception and had, hence, set a "a new benchmark for infrastructure projects" in the metropolis. -- PTI
00:38   As many as 25,478 die by suicide in Gujarat in last 3 years: Govt in assembly
The Gujarat government on Monday informed the legislative Assembly that more than 25,000 people, nearly 500 of them students, have ended their lives due to various reasons in the state during the last three financial years. 

As per data shared by the state government on the floor of the House, as many as 25,478 people have committed suicide in different parts of Gujarat during the last three years and of these, 495 were students. 

In reply to a question by Imran Khedawala (Congress), Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, who handles the Home portfolio, said in a written response that 8,307 people ended their lives in financial year 2020-21, 8,614 in FY 2021-22 and 8,557 committed suicide in FY 2022-23. 

Among these, the maximum number of suicides was reported in Ahmedabad city at 3,280, followed by 2,862 in Surat city and 1,287 in Rajkot city. Some of the reasons for the suicides, as cited by the government, included mental health matters, love issues, serious illness, family problems, financial crisis and fear of failing in exams. 

To stop people from taking the extreme step, the state government provides counselling through '181 Abhayam' and '1096 Zindagi' helpline numbers. 

The government has also deployed 'SHE' teams at different police stations to provide counselling to depressed people, said the CM in his reply. 

As per the data shared by CM Patel, 249 male students and 246 female students (total 495) ended their lives during the last three financial years. -- PTI
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman/File image
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman/File image
00:37   Jaishankar, Sitharaman to fight LS polls from K'taka?
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi on Monday informed that there are chances that Bharatiya Janata Party might field External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman from the constituencies in Karnataka in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.  

"Dr S Jaishankar and Nirmala Sitharaman may contest from Karnataka or from other state constituencies. There is still no clarity about the constituency," Joshi told reporters in Karnataka's Hubballi.  

Currently, Jaishankar is a member of Rajya Sabha from the state of Gujarat whereas Nirmala Sitharaman represents Karnataka in the Upper House.  

Earlier, Karnataka BJP chief BY Vijayendra affirmed that BJP and JDS will fight the elections unitedly in all 28 Lok Sabha constituencies and will make complete efforts to win all 28 Lok Sabha seats. -- ANI