Live: Congress is a sinking ship, says Jaitley

Last Updated: Mon, Mar 17, 2014 10:37 hrs

3.40 pm:

Congress is a sinking ship, says Jaitley

Terming Congress a "sinking ship", senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Monday said even its senior leaders have decided to desert the party while some are refusing to contest the Lok Sabha elections.

"Faced with odds, even senior leaders have decided to desert the sinking ship. Some are refusing to contest. Others are feigning ill health for not contesting," the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha wrote on his website.

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3.02 pm:

Three injured during armed clash in Malda, West Bengal

Three persons received bullet injuries during an armed clash between Congress and Trinamool Congress supporters on Monday in Malda district in West Bengal.

The clash with guns and bombs took place at Kaliachowk's Babla area when rival supporters were painting graffiti on the walls for the ensuing Lok Sabha poll, Malda Superintendent of Police Rajesh Yadav said.

Three bystanders were injured in the clash, he said.

2.30 pm:

CISF firing leaves one dead in Cuddalore lignite plant

One person has died after CISF opened fire following a clash of workers with the CISF at the Neyveli Lignite Corporation plant in Cuddalore said TV reports on Monday.

2.05 pm:

Leaders plunge into campaign in Kerala

With the voting for Lok Sabha just three weeks away, leaders of ruling Congress-led UDF and opposition LDF have plunged into campaign in Kerala, which gives 20 members to the lower house of Parliament.

Though not a major force in the state's bipolar polity, the BJP has also geared up for a high-voltage electioneering mainly focusing on its icon Narendra Modi.

The fledgling Aam Admi Party (AAP) has also entered the fray fielding candidates in some of the seats, expressing the hope that the voters disenchanted with 'traditional politics' would support it.

1.28 pm:

DMDK candidate pulls out on health grounds

One of the five candidates unilaterally announced by DMDK, an ally of BJP, for Lok Sabha polls on Monday pulled out of the contest citing ill-health, hours before his party chief Vijaykanth is set to campaign in the constituency.

N Maheswaran, chosen for the Namakkal seat in western Tamil Nadu, quit the fray citing ill-health and has been admitted to a private hospital in Coimbatore, party sources said.

He has conveyed his decision to the party high command, they said.

12.35 pm:

No Holi celebration for Nitish Kumar

Millions in Bihar celebrated Holi on Monday with traditional fervour. But Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was not one of them, and it was a low key Holi for RJD leader Lalu Prasad.

Nitish Kumar did not mark Holi to express grief over the death of 23 children who died after consuming mid-day meal in a rural school in Saran district in July last year.

Nitish Kumar is known to play Holi with friends and colleagues.

On the other hand, Lalu Prasad also did not play his trademark 'kapda phaar' (cloth tearing) Holi, his aides said, saying he was tired following hectic campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls.

11.55 am:

Effigy of Rajnath Singh burnt in Muzaffarnagar

Scores of BJP workers and supporters of riot-accused MLA Sangit Som burnt effigy of party president Rajnath Singh in Muzaffarnagar protesting the denial of a Lok Sabha ticket to the legislator.

The protesters, mostly belonging to the Rajput dominated villages of Dahod, Fahimpur, Pamnawli, Mujahidpurgathered at Madkarimpur village to mark the protest, sources said.

They also said that BJP workers supporting Sanjiv Baliyan, who has been given BJP ticket from Muzaffarnagar constituency, will not be allowed to enter into villages for campaigning.

11.20 am:

No 9/11 style attack on India: Khurshid

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said that Indian had no information that the missing Malaysian plane was set for a 9/11 attack on the country. "I don't think we have gone so far. Security agencies would look at all possibilities," Khurshid told CNN-IBN.

However, he said India will probe all angles to the incident. "We will give them the essential just give them the back up that they need in terms of man power, vessels, equipment. India did provide the largest number of ships and other vessels," he said.

10.45 am:

Lebanon car bombing kills four

At least four people were killed and seven wounded when a suicide bomber exploded his car Sunday night at Nabi Othman town in eastern Lebanon, the media reported Monday.

The car exploded near a gas station on a main road, Xinhua reported citing the National News Agency.

Initial investigation showed that the explosives used in the suicide attack weighed around 20 kg.

10.10 am:

Four firemen injured in Kolkata

Four firemen were on Monday injured when they were engaged in dousing the flames after a fire broke out in a house stacked with crackers at Belghoria in North 24 Pargana district, fire brigade sources said.

Three fire tenders were pressed into service to extinguish the fire that broke out in the house at Prafulla Nagar area at 4.50 AM, the sources said.

While two firemen were discharged after first aid at R G Kar Medical College and Hospital, the condition of the two others were stated to be serious at M R Bangur Hospital, the sources said.

The fire was brought under control.

9.30 am:

Serbian president pledges faster EU integration

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said that the new government will try to solve the Kosovo issue, establish "firmer cooperation with its traditional allies, Russia and China" and further advance towards EU.

"We will form a government that will continue the EU path with more stability and much faster," he said after casting his vote in the parliamentary elections in New Belgrade with his wife Dragica, Xinhua reported.

Nikolic said he believes that the new government will be formed shortly after the elections so that it could dedicate to achieving better life for Serbian people.

"Those that have the majority of votes will have to take the responsibility for those that voted against them," he said.

8.48 am:

Crimea votes 'yes' to reunite with Russia

Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to reunify with Russia, according to preliminary results from the controversial referendum held on Sunday in the Crimean Peninsula, which has been part of Ukraine since Russia turned it over to that then-Soviet republic in 1954.

Although definitive results will not be released until Monday, on Lenin Square in Simferopol, the capital of this largely Russian-speaking autonomous Ukrainian region, several thousand people of all ages celebrated the vote to rejoin Russia by waving Russian and Crimean regional flags.

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8.00 am:

Magnitude-6.7 quake hits Chile's northern coast

A strong 6.7-magnitude earthquake shook Chile's northern Pacific shore Sunday, and authorities said more than 100,000 people briefly evacuated some coastal areas as a precaution. Only minor damage was reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey originally reported the quake at a 7.0 magnitude but later revised the reading down. The tremor struck offshore about 6:16 p.m. at a depth of 20 kilometers (12 1/2 miles). Its epicenter was 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Iquique, Chile.

A series of strong shocks followed in the ensuring hours, registering between 4.9 and 5.2 magnitude, the USGS said.

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7.30 am:

The referendum in Crimea is "illegal and illegitimate" and its outcome "will not be recognised ", a joint statement by the European Council and the European Commission said Sunday.

The EU ministers of foreign affairs will evaluate the situation on Monday in Brussels and decide on "additional measures" in line with the declaration of the Heads of State and Government of the European Union of March 6.

A referendum was being held in Crimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine, on the region's future status Sunday.

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