LIVE: Farmers' stir may continue till December, says Rakesh Tikait

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait
The Bhartiya Kisan Union-led farmer agitation against the three central farm laws may continue till December this year, the outfit national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said on Sunday, according to PTI.

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday named several Union Ministers, MPs and actors as its candidates in the West Bengal Assembly polls, according to IANS. For the high octane polls, the party has fielded Union Minister Supriyo Babul from Tollygunge, actor-turned-politician and Lok Sabha member Locket Chatterjee from Churchura, journalist and MP Swapan Dasgupta from Tarakeshwar, and noted economist Ashok Lahiri from Alipurduar.

The BJP on Sunday also announced that it will be contesting 115 seats in the Kerala Assembly elections and the rest of the 25 seats will be left for 4 parties. State BJP chief K Surendran will contest from two constituencies - from Manjeshwar in Kasaragod & Konni in Pathanamthitta, said BJP National General Secretary Arun Singh.

"Give the BJP five years and infiltration will become a thing of the past in Assam," Home Minister Amit Shah asserted on Sunday at a rally in Assam's Tinsukia. Shah targeted the Congress-AIUDF alliance and questioned if Rahul Gandhi and Badruddin Ajmal can keep Assam safe.

Stay tuned for the latest news of the day.


Exit polls: Defeats for Merkel's party in 2 German states

Exit polls are pointing to defeats for Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right party in two German state elections.
Sunday's votes for new state legislatures in the southwestern states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate kicked off an electoral marathon that culminates in a national election Sept. 26. The national vote will determine who succeeds Merkel.
Merkel's Christian Democratic Union faced a challenging task against two popular state governors from rival parties on Sunday.
Exit polls for ARD and ZDF television indicated that those governors' parties -- the environmentalist Greens in Baden-Wuerttemberg and the center-left Social Democrats in Rhineland-Palatinate -- were set to finish well ahead of the CDU.
Amid discontent over a sluggish start to Germany's vaccination drive, and with coronavirus restrictions easing only gradually, Merkel's Union bloc has been hit over the past two weeks by allegations that two lawmakers profited from deals to procure masks early in the coronavirus pandemic.

Army jawan arrested for leaking confidential info to Pakistan agent: Officials

An army jawan was arrested for allegedly leaking confidential information to a Pakistani agent, an intelligence official said on Sunday.
The 22-year-old jawan, Akash Maharia, is a resident of Sikar district of Rajasthan and is posted in Sikkim.
He came in contact with a Pakistani intelligence agent through social media and shared confidential information with him, the official said.
He said the accused was arrested Saturday night following interrogation by intelligence agencies.

One govt job for each family, six LPG cylinders per year: AIADMK manifesto

Ahead of the upcoming Tamil Nadu elections, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Sunday released its election manifesto in which it promises at least one government job to every family in the state, according to ANI. The party manifesto was released by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and other senior leaders here in the state capital.

Night curfew imposed in Latur amid Covid-19 spike in Maharashtra

As Maharashtra witnesses a fresh spike of COVID-19 cases, the Latur district administration on Sunday imposed a night curfew between 8 pm and 5 am to contain the spread of the virus in the district, according to ANI. According to the order released by the officials, all weekly markets will remain shut till March 31. However, emergency services have been exempted.

Farm laws: Businessmen running Union government, claims Tikait

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh SinghTikait on Sunday said the Union government was being run by businessman who were cashing in on hunger by snatching away land, according to PTI. He was addressing a farmers' rally in Rewa against the Centre's three agri marketing laws.

Delhi govt calls on corporates to promote EV policy

Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, who is leading the 'Switch Delhi' campaign since last two months, on Sunday invited the corporate sector to raise awareness and promote electiric vehicle policy in the national capital, according to IANS. "The Delhi government aims to further capitalise on the positive response received from several sections and now we will involve corporates to be a part of the campaign. I appeal to this segment to switch to EV cabs to facilitate the travel of their employees," Gahlot said.

West Bengal Assembly Polls: Amit Shah holds roadshow in Kharagpur

Ramping up the campaign for the upcoming assembly polls in West Bengal, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a roadshow in Kharagpur for which a huge crowd gathered on Sunday, according to ANI. Besides Shah, Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) West Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh, party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, actor Hiran Chatterjee have also taken part in the roadshow that witnessed a huge crowd.

At least 4 people shot dead in Myanmar anti-coup protests

At least four people were shot dead during protests in Myanmar on Sunday, as security forces continued their violent crackdown against dissent following last month's military coup, according to the Associated Press. Two of the victims were killed in Yangon, the country's largest city. One of them was shot in the head and another was shot in the abdomen, according to local media covering the demonstrations in Hlaing Thar Yar Township.

Accident, not attack that left Mamata injured, says EC

The Election Commission on Sunday ruled out any attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her campaign in Nandigram Assembly constituency on Wednesday evening, saying it was an accident that resulted in her injuries, according to IANS. The poll panel said it could not find any significant pointers to suggest any pre-meditated or planned attack on Banerjee' convoy and contended that there was lack of coordination between security arrangements by the police headquarters and local Superintendent of Police due to frequent changes to the Chief Minister's programme.

Cong releases list of 86 candidates for Kerala polls

The Congress on Sunday released its first list of 86 candidates for the upcoming Kerala assembly elections, according to PTI. Former chief minister Oommen Chandy will contest from Puthuppally, while Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala has been fielded from Haripad Assembly constituency.

UK's Buckingham Palace to get law firm to conduct Meghan bullying probe: Report

UK's Buckingham Palace plans to hand over an investigation into allegations that Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, may have bullied staff during her time as a frontline royal with Prince Harry in Britain to external investigators, a UK media report said on Sunday, according to PTI. 

Antilia scare: Sachin Waze remanded to NIA custody till Mar 25

Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze, arrested in the probe into recovery of explosives from car near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence, was on Sunday remanded to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody till March 25, according to PTI. 

DMK MLA Saravanan joins BJP, second legislator to switch to Saffron camp

Weeks before assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, DMK legislator P Saravanan joined the BJP here on Sunday, protesting what he called the 'dominance' and 'silent torture' by the district-level officer-bearers of the Dravidian party, according to PTI. Saravanan, representing Tirupparankundram constituency in Madurai region, is the second DMK MLA after Ku Ka Selvam (Thousand Lights constituency here) to join the BJP ahead of the April 6 assembly polls.

CAA not election issue in Assam; people will vote logically, not emotionally: State BJP chief

Assam BJP chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass on Sunday claimed that the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act is not an issue in the upcoming assembly elections in the state as people will vote logically, not emotionally, according to PTI. In an interview, the senior ruling party leader said that people are convinced that not a single foreigner can illegally settle in Assam as long as the BJP is in power in the state.

Antilia security scare: NIA produces Waze before Mumbai court

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday presented police officer Sachin Waze before a court here in connection with a probe into the recovery of explosives from a car parked near industrialist Mukesh Ambanis house in Mumbai, according to PTI. Waze was brought to the court in south Mumbai after being taken to a local hospital for his medical examination, an official said.

BJP to contest 115 seats in Kerala

Sir Vivian Richards thanks PM Modi for India providing Covid-19 vaccines to Caribbean nations

West Indies cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards and former greats Richie Richardson and Jimmy Adams on Sunday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for providing coronavirus vaccines to the Caribbean region, according to PTI. In a video message, Richards described India's assistance as a kind gesture and said the region is looking forward to continued relationship with India.

Govt committed to protecting honour of Assam: Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday assured that the government was committed to protecting the honour of Assam and said that honouring Bhupen Hazarika with Bharat Ratna is a symbol of our respect and reverence for the state.

In some days, it'll be decided who will run Assam for the next 5 years: Amit Shah

Puducherry: Ruckus at Congress meeting after party leader raised DMK flag

Additional security forces were deployed outside the Congress office in Puducherry after ruckus took place during the Congress's Election Committee meeting on Sunday, according to ANI. The scuffle started after Congress leader MP Venkatesan waved a DMK flag in the meeting. Members entered into verbal arguments and started getting physical by pulling and pushing one another. Former chief minister V Narayanasamy was also present at the meeting.


EC concludes injuries sustained by Mamata Banerjee not result of attack: Report

The Election Commission has ruled out that there was any attack on West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee that led to her injuries, sources in the poll body said on Sunday, according to PTI. After reviewing the reports sent by its two special poll observers and the state government, the Commission concluded that Banerjee sustained injuries due to lapse on part of her security in charge.

DMK will continue to fight against CAA, says Stalin

DMK chief M K Stalin on Sunday said his party would continue to urge the union government to scrap the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and confer citizeship on Sri Lankan Tamils living in refugee camps in India, according to PTI. In an addendum to the party manifesto unveiled on Saturday, he said DMK had all along opposed the CAA and campaigned against it and he even ran a campaign in Tamil Nadu collecting one crore signatures pressing for scrapping the law.

WB polls: TMC workers raise slogans against Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram

Trinamool Congress (TMC) party workers on Sunday raised slogans and staged a protest against Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari near Shaheed Minar in Sonachura of Nandigram ahead of his visit, according to ANI. Adhikari is BJP's candidate from Nandigram for the upcoming Assembly elections in the state. He will face West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram.


No govt communication ever threatened social media platforms' staff of jail term: IT Ministry

The government has never threatened employees of any social media platform, such as Twitter, of jail term, the IT Ministry has said, according to PTI. Reacting to reports that alluded to Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter employees being threatened with jail term, the Ministry said social media platforms are "obliged to follow the laws of India and the Constitution of India, just like all other businesses in India have to."

Bihar: RLSP to merge with JDU

AAP will make Delhi world-class city if voted to power in next MCD polls: Pathak

The Aam Aadmi Party will focus on making Delhi clean and a world-class city if it comes to power in the municipal polls due next year, party leader Durgesh Pathak said. Having won the municipal corporation bypolls, the Arvind Kejriwal led party is now focusing on consolidating its position in the civic bodies. Pathak, who is the party's in-charge of municipal corporations, said there is a feeling on the ground that the Arvind Kejriwal government must be given an opportunity in municipal corporations. The municipal corporation polls of Delhi are due in 2022.

Quad leaders: Committed to free, open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region

The leaders of the four-nation Quad have reaffirmed that they are striving to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is accessible, dynamic and governed by international law and bedrock principles such as freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes, and free from coercion, sending a clear message to China which is flexing its muscles in the region and beyond. In an opinion piece in The Washington Post after holding the first Leaders' Summit of Quadrilateral alliance on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Australian PM Scott Morrison and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga asserted that all countries should be able to make their own political choices, free from coercion.

Probe into Ambani security scare: NIA seizes Innova car

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the recovery of a vehicle laden with explosives from outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence in Mumbai, on Sunday seized a white Innova car, a police official said. It is not clear if it was the same Innova that was following the explosives-laden Scorpio before the latter was parked near Ambani's residence in south Mumbai on February 25. According to the police official, the Innova, having Tardeo RTO's registration number 'MH 01 ZA 403' and 'Police' written on its rear windshield, was brought to the NIA's office on Pedder Road here with the help of towing van, hours after the arrest of Mumbai police offier Sachin Waze in connection with the case.

Puducherry: Ruckus ensued during Congress Election Committee

US Secretary of Defence to tour Asia, focus on strengthening ties with Indo-Pacific countries

Following the first-ever virtual summit of the top leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) on March 12, the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin informed that he has arrived at the US Indo-Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii on Sunday to begin his Asia tour from Monday. "Great to be back in Hawaii. Tomorrow, I kick off a week of meetings with my @INDOPACOM leadership, as well as my counterparts in Japan, the Republic of Korea, and India. We have many important issues to discuss to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region," tweeted Austin. He will be visiting three nations - India, Japan and South Korea in the Indo-Pacific region to discuss the strengthening of existing partnerships and alliances there, read the US Department of Defense release.

Preparation underway for Mamata's roadshow

Women take over farm protests

Biden, Japan PM Suga likely to meet in Washington on April 9: media

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is likely to meet U.S. President Joe Biden on April 9, the first foreign leader to meet the president in the White House, Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper reported on Sunday. The two are expected to agree to strengthen the bilateral alliance and their commitment to the freedom of passage in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the Yomiuri reported without citing sources. Calls to the prime minister’s office were not answered. Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said on Friday that Suga will make the visit in the first half of April.

DMK MLA Dr P Saravanan joins BJP

Mithali becomes first woman cricketer to complete 7,000 ODI runs

Veteran batter Mithali Raj on Sunday added another feather to her cap by becoming the first player to complete 7,000 runs in women's ODI cricket. The Indian skipper reached the 7,000-run milestone in her 213th match, which was the fourth ODI of the ongoing five-match series against South Africa here. "Magnificent Mithali! #TeamIndia ODI skipper becomes the first woman cricketer to score 7000 ODI runs. What a performer she has been!" the BCCI tweeted. The 38-year-old, who made her international debut in 1999, was also the first player to score 6,000 runs in women's ODIs. England's Charlotte Edwards, who retired from international cricket in 2016, is second the list of leading run scorers with 5,992.

Minister says Afghan forces can hold their own

Afghanistan's interior minister said Saturday that Afghan security forces can hold their ground even if US troops withdraw, challenging a warning from the United States predicting a withdrawal would yield quick territorial gains to the Taliban. Masoud Andarabi's comments in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press were the first government reaction to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's warning issued in a sharply worded letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last weekend. In the letter pressing Ghani to step up efforts to make peace with the Taliban, Blinken said, I am concerned the security situation will worsen and that the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains after the American military withdraws. Andarabi said Afghanistan's National Security Forces could hold territory, but would likely endure heavy losses trying to hold remote checkpoints without US air support.


Farmers construct brick houses at Tikri Border

6 farm workers killed, 8 hurt in AP hit-and-run accident

Six farm workers were killed and eight others injured in a hit-and-run accident near Nuzividu in Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh early Sunday. The victims belonged to Lion Tanda, a tribal hamlet near Nuzividu, about 55 kms from Vijayawada, and were on their way to a nearby village in an autorickshaw when an unidentified vehicle rammed into it, police said. While six workers died on the spot, eight were injured. The injured were rushed to hospitals in Nuzividu and Vijayawada.

Rahul Gandhi attacks PM over fuel, LPG price hike

Tamil Nadu Assembly polls: Rift in Congress over seat allocation

Days ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, a rift seems to have emerged inside Congress over seat allocation to candidates for the assembly polls.  protest over the allocation of tickets for the polls, led by the Congress Lok Sabha MP Vishnu Prasad, was called off after an assurance by the party's state chief KS Alagiri on the issue. Tamil Nadu Congress president Alagiri stated: "We are discussing with all the cadres and their views are being taken. We will inform the party's high command in Delhi about the developments. The final decision on the issue will be taken by them. It's our responsibility to take all our party members' views and inform the high command." On March 7, Congress and DMK signed a pact wherein Congress decided for contesting 25 constituencies for the upcoming Assembly polls in the state. DMK will contest for 173 seats.

Govt to sell remaining stake in Delhi, Mumbai, B'lore, Hyderabad airports

The government plans to sell its residual stake in already privatised Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports as part of the ambitious Rs 2.5 lakh crore asset monetisation pipeline identified to raise additional resources, sources said. Sale of Airport Authority of India's (AAI) remaining stake in the four airports as also 13 more airports have been identified for privatisation in 2021-22 fiscal, two people aware of deliberations at Empowered Committee of Secretaries last month said. The Ministry of Civil Aviation will obtain requisite approvals for divestment of equity stake of AAI in the respective joint ventures running Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports, they said adding the issue is likely to go to the Cabinet for approval in the next few days. For the 13 AAI airports identified for privatisation, the possibility of clubbing of profitable and non-profitable airports will be explored to make more attractive packages, sources said.

Mamata calls Nandigram historic, speaks on fighting from constituency

North Korea giving no response to US outreach attempts: Report

Washington's Policy review on North Korea remains stalled, as no response was received from Pyongyang, since a year of the denuclearization talks with the US government. North Korea remains unresponsive even after trying several threads to communicate, cited a senior US administration official to CNN. The official also added, "To reduce the risks of escalation, we reached out to the North Korean government through several channels starting in mid-February, including in New York, we have not received any response from Pyongyang, despite multiple attempts by the US to engage." The US senior did not provide further details of what the outreach entailed but noted the administration has been conducting its interagency review of the United States' policy towards North Korea, "including evaluation of all available options to address the increasing threat posed by North Korea to its neighbours and the broader international community," the CNN said.

Egypt announces new archaeological discovery

Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities Ministry has announced the discovery of a number of ancient churches and rooms in the Bahariya Oasis, southwest of Cairo. In a statement, the Ministry said on Saturday that a Norwegian-French archaeological mission working at the Tal site in the Bahariya Oasis discovered a number of buildings constructed of basalt stone and carved into the rocks, as well as other buildings constructed of mud bricks, reports Xinhua news agency. The buildings made of mud bricks date back from the 4th to the 7th century AD, the statement said, adding that the remains are parts of three churches and rooms for monks.

Google to face lawsuit over tracking users in 'Incognito' mode

In a significant ruling, a judge in the US has directed Google to face a class-action lawsuit seeking $5 billion, that claimed the tech giant is tracking and collecting data even when people use the private 'Incognito' mode on its Chrome browser.

District Judge Lucy Koh in the state of California ruled that Google "did not notify users that Google engages in the alleged data collection while the user is in private browsing mode", reports Bloomberg.

A Google spokesperson told The Verge on Saturday that the company disputes the lawsuit's claims.

"We will defend ourselves vigorously against them," the spokesperson was quoted as saying in the report.

PM Modi asks suggestions for Mann Ki Baat

Afghanistan finding ways to formulate plan for Turkey meet

The Afghanistan government has started finding ways and means to chalk out a comprehensive and inclusive plan to attend a UN-led peace conference scheduled to take place in Turkey within weeks. Aimed at discussing and adopting a unified approach towards Afghanistan's lingering crisis and finding amicable solution to ensure lasting peace in the war-torn country, the proposed conference will be held in Istanbul next month with the participation of the Kabul government, the Taliban, and representatives from the US, Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran and India, reports Xinhua news agency. The conference, which is taking place in the wake of a letter from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, sent to Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, would encourage Afghan warring sides to give up violence.


Myanmar civilian leader vows 'revolution' against junta

The civilian leader of Myanmar's government in hiding vowed to continue supporting a revolution to oust the military that seized power in last month's coup, as security forces again met protesters with lethal forces, killing at least seven. Mahn Win Khaing Than, who was named the acting vice president by Myanmar's ousted lawmakers and is a member of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party, addressed the public on Saturday for the first time since the February 1 military takeover. This is the darkest moment of the nation and the moment that the dawn is close, he said in a video posted on the shadow government's website and social media.


29.81 km a day: National Highways clocked record construction speed in 2020-21

With an average speed of 29.81 km per day, the construction of national highways during 2020-2021 has been the highest ever in the last five years despite the Covid-19 crisis and months of lockdown. The total length of National Highway construction up to February 5, 2021 is 9,242 km. The daily average length of the National Highways constructed during 2020-21 is to the tune of 29.81 km per day, indicates road construction per day data shared by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Accessed by IANS, the data mentions that the last highest per day speed was registered in 2018-19. During the year, there was a speed of 29.74 km a day, and a total of 10,855 km roads were constructed.

Japan to cull 77,000 chickens over new bird flu outbreak in Tochigi

Some 77,000 chickens will be culled in the Japanese prefecture of Tochigi due to a new outbreak of highly pathogenic bird flu, Japanese media reported on Saturday. According to the news, a quarantine zone was established within a 3-kilometre (1.9 miles) radius from the affected farm and a ban on the export of eggs and poultry products was introduced within a 10-kilometre range. In January, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said that the new outbreak of avian influenza, which started in November, has broken all records in terms of the number of chickens culled in one season. Seventeen out of Japan's 47 prefectures were affected by the outbreak.


FEMA to Assist US Homeland Security Department in Caring for Unaccompanied Migrant Kids

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support government efforts to care for unaccompanied minors arriving at the southwestern border, Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has announced. "As I have said many times, a Border Patrol facility is no place for a child. We are working in partnership with HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] to address the needs of unaccompanied children, which is made only more difficult given the protocols and restrictions required to protect the public health and the health of the children themselves. Our goal is to ensure that unaccompanied children are transferred to HHS as quickly as possible, consistent with legal requirements and in the best interest of the children," Mayorkas said in a Saturday statement. According to the release, the DHS has directed FEMA to help care for unaccompanied children arriving at the US-Mexico border over the next 90 days.

Malpractice in selection procedures at a Services Selection Centre

TMC cancels release of its election manifesto

Mamata Banerjee will conduct a roadshow on a wheelchair

Terrorist killed in encounter in J-K's Shopian, operation underway

A terrorist was eliminated in an encounter with security forces in Sophian's Rawalpora area on Sunday, police said. "#ShopianEncounterUpdate: 01 unidentified #terrorist killed. #Operation going on. Further details shall follow," Kashmir Zone Police tweeted. The encounter broke out between security forces and terrorists in Rawalpora area on Saturday. Earlier on March 11, two Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag district.

Japan lambasts Beijing over electoral changes in Hong Kong

Japan has said that it "cannot overlook" the resolution passed by China's National People's Congress on Thursday to change the electoral system in Hong Kong, with Tokyo calling the new laws requiring all political candidates to be "patriots" of Beijing as a major setback to the city's autonomy. "The decision this time will further undermine the confidence in the 'one country, two systems' framework, as provided for in the Hong Kong Basic Law and the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration," Japan's foreign ministry said in a Friday statement as quoted by South China Morning Post. The ministry said that Japan's concerns were growing due to the recent arrest and prosecution of a number of opposition politicians and activists. It also called on Beijing to hold elections in Hong Kong that were open to candidates "representing a variety of political opinions".

Ambani security scare: NIA arrests police officer Waze after 12-hour quizzing

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing the last month's recovery of an explosives- laden vehicle from outside the south Mumbai home of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, arrested Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze after quizzing him for over 12 hours on Saturday night, a spokesperson said. Waze reached the agency's office at Cumballa Hill in south Mumbai around 11.30 am to record his statement. "Sachin Waze arrested at 2350 hrs in NIA Case RC/1/2021/NIA/MUM," the NIA spokesperson said. The Scorpio found parked near Ambani's house on Carmichael Road on February 25 contained some gelatin sticks and a threat letter. Waze, an "encounter specialist", has also been facing heat in the murder case of Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran who was in possession of this Scorpio. Hiran was found dead in a creek in Thane district on March 5.

BJP finalises candidates for 3rd and 4th phase of polling in Bengal

The BJP's Central Election Committee (CEC) on Friday finalised the names of party candidates for the 75 Assembly seats in West Bengal that will go to the polls in the third and fourth phases on April 6 and April 10, respectively. After the CEC meeting held at the party headquarters here, BJP General Secretary and West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya said that the names of the candidates have been finalised for third and fourth phases. "The names will be announced soon," he said. BJP national Vice President and senior leader from the state, Mukul Roy, said that the name of actor Mithun Chakraborty was not discussed in the meeting.


US calls on Russia to end persecution of independent voices amid mass arrests in Moscow

The United States has called on Russia to release about 200 opposition activists who were detained in Moscow on Saturday. About 200 opposition activists were detained in Moscow on Saturday, according to a statement from Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs. The detentions are the latest in a series of crackdowns sustained by members of the opposition following Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny's arrest and imprisonment. Taking to Twitter, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken call for an end to the "persecution of independent voices."


4 killed as Myanmar forces continue crackdown on protesters

Security forces in Myanmar on Saturday again met protests against last month's military takeover with lethal force, killing at least four people by shooting live ammunition at demonstrators. Three deaths were reported in Mandalay, the country's second-biggest city, and one in Pyay, a town in south-central Myanmar. There were multiple reports on social media of the deaths, along with photos of dead and wounded people in both locations. The independent UN human rights expert for Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said Thursday that credible reports indicated security forces in the Southeast Asian nation had so far killed at least 70 people, and cited growing evidence of crimes against humanity since the military ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.


Vajpayee, PM Modi have both worked for eastern India, says Dharmendra Pradhan

We expect good verdict, is Stalin an astrologer to say DMK will win 200 seats: TN CM

Will win assembly elections with sweeping majority, says Tamil Nadu CM

Question is whether it was engineered: Shekhawat over 'attack' on Mamata

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Saturday expressed doubt over the incident in which West Bengal Chief Minister was injured during her poll campaign, and sought to know whether it was engineered. Banerjee fell down and sustained injuries on her left leg and waist after she was allegedly pushed by unidentified people while she was campaigning in Nandigram assembly segment on Wednesday evening after filing her nomination from the constituency, according to PTI.

However, a report by the West Bengal Government to the Election Commission about the incident had no mention of Banerjee's allegation that four to five people had attacked her. Interacting with reporters on Saturday, Shekhawat exuded confidence that there will be a "BJP tsunami" in the West Bengal Assembly election. The BJP has witnessed an exponential growth in the state, he claimed, as per PTI.

BJP MP Locket Chatterjee calls on Trinamool veteran Sisir Adhikari

BJP Lok Sabha member Locket Chatterjee on Saturday met veteran Trinamool Congress MP Sisir Adhikari, the father of newly-inducted BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, at his residence in Contai in East Midnapore. Sources in the BJP said that Saturday's meeting was just a courtesy call by the saffron MP before the scheduled visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Contai on March 20. Read more

Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to hit campaign trail on wheelchair from Monday

As promised by her for the hospital bed, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will kick-start her poll campaign on a wheelchair from Monday. The Trinamool Congress supremo had returned home from the state-run SSKM Hospital on Friday evening, after receiving treatment for the injuries she sustained while campaigning in her constituency in Nandigram in East Midnapore earlier this week.

She will first visit the Purulia district where the Trinamool chief is scheduled to address two public meetings - one at Baghmundi's Jhalda area and another at the Balarampur Rathtala ground. Read more

Election LIVE: BJP's Central Election Committee meeting starts

PM, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, BJP chief arrive at headquarters for CEC meeting

Rakesh Tikait to go to Nandigram, appeal people to not vote for BJP

Yashwant Sinha recalls Mamata courage during Kandahar plane hijacking case

Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha who joined TMC on Saturday narrated how West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had offered to go as a hostage in exchange for passengers of Air India's IC 814 that was hijacked by the militants over two decades ago, PTI reported.

Sinha said this while recalling the Kandahar hijacking of Air India plane on December 24, 1999. "Id like to tell all of you that when Indian Airlines flight was hijacked and taken by the hijackers to Kandahar in Afghanistan, we were having a cabinet meeting during which Mamata ji proposed that she would go as a hostage but the condition would be that the terrorists should let other passengers go," Sinha said, according to PTI. "She has been a fighter from the start. She is not afraid of her life," Sinha said praising the feisty Bengal leader.

Media speculation mounts as BJP, Cong yet to announce names for Kerala polls

As the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are yet to announce their candidate lists for the upcoming Kerala Assembly polls, the media is raking up many names, according to IANS. One name which the media has raised in each and every state election is that of superstar Mammootty and this time, too, it is no different. This speculation had a shelf life till the Communist Party of India (Marxist) released its candidate list. Asked about his political leanings, Mammootty said he clearly has a political leaning but till now he has not been asked to contest the upcoming Assembly elections, IANS reported.

"There is lot of freedom for the media reporters when it comes to naming probable candidates of political parties and the ground rule is nothing but to run his/her imagination wild and come out with names which create a buzz. The moment one TV channel comes out, the others are also not far behind and finally when it comes to the actual candidate list, a huge majority of the hyped names that were doled out fail to figure. But then no one remembers what was said as all start to go after the actual electoral list. This is what happens all the time and this time also it's been the same," said a media critic who requested anonymity as per IANS.

BJP has to win Bengal to expand ideological footprint, secure eastern borders: Dilip Ghosh

West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh on Saturday said that the party has to fulfil its long- cherished mission of winning the state not only to expand its ideological footprint but also to secure India's eastern borders, which have turned into a "transit point for terror elements" trying to create unrest in the country, according to PTI. Amid an exodus of TMC members to the BJP ahead of the assembly elections, Ghosh conceded that the saffron party needs people from other political outfits to come to power in the state, after which it will put an end to the practice.

In an interview with PTI, Ghosh said the BJP's ideology, its expanding organisational strength, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity are its strengths, while the lack of popular faces in the party at various levels in the state is one of the drawbacks for the saffron camp in the elections. Allaying apprehensions of party old-timers that turncoats are becoming more important than them, he said that switching political allegiance doesn't always guarantee leadership positions and party tickets.

DMK manifesto hollow, full of false promises: TN administration minister

Tamil Nadu Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani on Saturday described the DMK manifesto as hollow and full of false promises, according to PTI. Talking to reporters at the AIADMK main office here, he said Chief Minister K Palaniswami has already given a hint about the AIADMK's manifesto, which would be the real 'hero' in the polls.

The DMK manifesto has full of false promises and totally hollow, he said. Claiming that a 'Palaniswami wave' is sweeping across Tamil Nadu, Velumani said the AIADMK is sure to return to power with Palaniswami becoming the Chief Minister again, PTI reported.

Amit Shah on two-day campaign in poll-bound Assam, West Bengal from March 14

Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be on a two-day visit to poll-bound Assam and West Bengal from Sunday during which he will address public meetings and attend other political programmes, according to PTI. The BJP said Shah will address two public meetings at Margarita and Nazira in Assam on Sunday. He will then leave for Bengal where he will hold a road show in Kharagpur in the evening, reported PTI. On Monday, Shah will address public meetings at Jhargram and Ranibandha in West Bengal before flying to Guwahati where he will address a Town Hall programme, the BJP said.

Congress MP, others protest against party's candidate selection in Tamil Nadu polls

DMK announces 12 out of 13 candidates for Puducherry Assembly elections

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Saturday announced candidates for 12 out of the 13 seats the party will be contesting in the upcoming Puducherry Assembly elections. The candidate for the Bagur constituency will be announced later, according to ANI. S Gopal will be contesting from Uruliyanpet, V Anipal Kennedy from Uppalam, Sun Kumaravel from Mangalam, L Sampath from Mudaliyarpet, R Siva from Villiyanur and V Karthikeyan from Nellithoopu constituency.

SP Sivakumar will contest from Raj Bhavan constituency, A K Kumar from Mannadipattu, S Muthuvel from Kallapattu, A Mugilan from Thirupuvanai, AMH Nazeem from Karaikal south and M Nagathyagarajan from Niravi Thirupattinam. Polling for 30 assembly seats in Puducherry will be held on April 6. As many as 10,02,589 electors will choose the candidates for the 15th legislative Assembly of Puducherry, ANI reported.

Centre, BJP concerned about Bengal violence, not talking about Marathi people under attack: Raut

Rajnath Singh to begin poll campaign in Assam from Sunday

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will start campaigning for the BJP in poll-bound Assam from Sunday when he will address four rallies in Biswanath and Golaghat districts, sources said to PTI. Singh's two of these rallies will be in tea gardens and one in Gohpur, a historical place connected with the Quit India movement.

The defence minister will address a rally at Sadharu tea estate and another at Dafflaghur tea estate under the Biswanath constituency from where BJP candidate Pramod Borthakur is seeking re-election, the sources said, according to PTI. His third rally will be in Gohpur for BJP candidate Utpal Bora, who is contesting against Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president and Rajya Sabha MP Ripun Bora. As per PTI, Tthe defence minister will address a rally at Dergaon in Golaghat district where he will campaign for the BJP's Assam ally AGP candidate Bhabendra Nath Bharali.

Tamil Nadu polls: DMK gives tickets to 49 new faces, 74 sitting MLAs

As many as 49 new faces will contest the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly polls on the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) ticket as the party released its list of 173 candidates on Friday, according to ANI. The DMK, which is out of power since 2011 in the state, is in a head-to-head battle with ruling party AIADMK in nearly 130 constituencies. MK Stalin-led party has given the ticket to 74 sitting MLAs out of 80 elected in 2016.

DMK president M K Stalin will seek a third term from Kolathur constituency while his son Udhayanidhi Stalin is set to make his electoral debut from Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni seat. A Vetri Azhagan, grandson of the party's late general secretary K Anbazhagan has been fielded in Villivakkam constituency in the capital city. DMK General secretary Durai Murugan will contest for the tenth consecutive time from Katpadi, ANI reported.

Among first-timers include J Karunanidhi and Dr Ezhilan - contesting from T Nagar and Thousand lights constituencies respectively. The party fielded T Sampath Kumar to take on Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in Edappadi constituency in Salem district and gave the ticket to Thanga Tamilselvan in Bodinayakkanur from where Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam is seeking another term. The DMK will contest 173 seats out of the total 234, while 187 will contest under the DMK symbol, as per ANI report.

Tipping point to join TMC was attack on Mamata in Nandigram, says Yashwant Sinha

Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha who joined Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Saturday said his tipping point to join the party was when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee got attacked in Nandigram. "The tipping point was the attack on Mamata ji in Nandigram. It was the moment of decision to join TMC and support Mamata ji," said Sinha, according to ANI

On March 12, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was admitted to SSKM Hospital in Kolkata after suffering injuries in Nandigram, was discharged. "Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has responded well to the treatment. The six-member board has re-examined her health condition. We have opened the plaster cast. Fresh plaster has been applied. She has been discharged with appropriate instructions, after her repeated requests. She has been advised to revisit after seven days," the medical board of the SSKM Hospital in Kolkata told reporters, as per ANI.

DMK releases poll manifesto, promises 75% jobs for locals in TN

The opposition DMK in Tamil Nadu on Saturday released its party's manifesto for the April 6 Assembly elections in the state, making a slew of promises including free computer tablets with data card for students and a law to provide 75 percent of jobs in the state to locals, according to PTI. Financial assistance of Rs 25,000 to one lakh persons going on pilgrimage to major Hindu temples, increase in maternity leave period and assistance, cut in fuel prices and steps to ban NEET were the various promises made by the Dravidian party, PTI reported.

Releasing the manifesto, Stalin said if his party was voted to power, first generation graduates will be given preference in government jobs, reservation in private sector will also be insisted and promised subsidies for small farmers. "Tablets with free data will be provided to government school and college students," Stalin told a press conference at party headquarters Anna Arivalayam.

If voted, the party will reduce the rates of petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and Rs 4 per litre, he said in an apparent reference to tax cuts. Also, a subsidy of Rs 100 towards LPG cylinder will be provided, PTI report said.

ECI finds Bengal govt report on Mamata 'attack' sketchy, asks chief secy to elaborate

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has found the report submitted by the West Bengal government on the alleged attack on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram on March 10 as "sketchy" and asked Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay to elaborate it, a poll official said on Saturday, according to PTI. The chief secretary has been asked to furnish details like how the incident took place and who could be behind it by Saturday, he said, PTI said.

"The report submitted by the West Bengal government appeared to be quite sketchy and without any details of the incident like how it happened or who could be behind it. We have asked the state administration to furnish more details," the official told PTI. The state government's report submitted to the ECI on Friday evening referred to the presence of a huge crowd at the spot but has no mention of the "4-5 people", who Banerjee alleged had attacked her, he said.

Ahead of CEC, Bengal BJP core committee meet at Nadda's house

A meeting of West Bengal BJP core committee is underway on Saturday at the party's national president J.P. Nadda's residence to shortlist candidates for the remaining seats for the upcoming Assembly polls, according to IANS. The BJP has already announced candidates for first two phases of polls in West Bengal that will vote in eight-phases.

IANS reports that Union Home Minister Amit Shah is also present in the meeting. Core committee members of West Bengal BJP, including state unit chief Dilip Ghosh, state in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya, senior leaders Suvendu Adhikari and Rajib Banerjee are all at the meeting. A party leader said that the West Bengal BJP has shortlisted the names of probable candidates recommend by the district units.

"In the core committee meeting going at Naddaji's residence, list of probable names will be futhered streamlined ahead of being placed before the Central Election Committee that will select party candidates from remaining assembly seats of West Bengal," he said, as per IANS.

Surge in fuel prices big burden on people, will reduce cost if voted to power: DMK

The tipping point was the attack on Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram, says Yashwant Sinha

The tipping point was the attack on Mamata Ji in Nandigram. It was the moment of decision to join TMC and support Mamata Ji: Yashwant Sinha

The country is facing an unprecedented situation today under Modi govt, says Yashwant Sinha

The country is facing an unprecedented situation today. The strength of democracy lies in the strength of the institutions of democracy. All these institutions including the judiciary have become weak now: Yashwant Sinha, TMC, in Kolkata

BJP, during Atal Behari's time, believed in consensus but this govt believes in crushing & conquering: Sinha

BJP during Atal Ji's time believed in consensus but today's government believes in crushing & conquering. Akalis, BJD have left the BJP. Today, who is standing with BJP?: Yashwant Sinha, TMC, in Kolkata

Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha joins Trinamool Congress in Kolkata

Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha joins Trinamool Congress in Kolkata

West Bengal election 2021: Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha arrives at TMC Bhawan

Tamil Nadu election: Minister DC Srinivasan files nomination from Dindigul seat

Ahead of Assembly elections, Tamil Nadu Minister Dindigul C Srinivasan on Friday filed his nomination as the AIADMK candidate from the Dindigul constituency.
He is currently the Forest Minister in the Tamil Nadu government. The DMK has allotted the Dindigul Assembly seat to its ally CPI (M).
Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will take place on May 2. The term of the fifteenth legislative assembly in Tamil Nadu is ending on May 2, 2021. Read on...

DMK releases a list of 13 candidates for the Puducherry assembly elections

Kerala election 2021: Atmosphere conducive for UDF to achieve resounding victory, says Cong MLA PT Thomas

I've started campaigning as UDF candidate in Thrikkakara constituency. Political atmosphere conducive for UDF to achieve resounding victory. Hope it'll be beneficial. AICC & KPCC instructed all incumbent MLAs to start poll campaign, a week ago: PT Thomas, Congress MLA

BJP meets to finalise candidates for polls in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry

A meeting was held at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief JP Nadda's residence in New Delhi on Friday to discuss the strategy and finalise candidates for the upcoming assembly election for two states--Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and Union Territory Puducherry.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah was also present at the meeting which continued till late 1:00 am on Saturday. Read on...

CAA shouldn't be implemented not just in Assam but anywhere in India as it is unconstitutional: AIUDF chief

CAA shouldn't be implemented not just in Assam but anywhere in India as it is unconstitutional. We'll continue fighting till we end it. When we come to power, we'll prioritise issues of CAA, NRC and 'D-voter': AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal

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