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BJP declares 'new era' for India as Congress concedes defeat
Report dated 16/05/2014 @ 1:36 PM
The BJP declared "the start of a new era" in the world's biggest democracy on Friday as the ruling Congress conceded defeat in elections that exposed anger about sickly economic growth and rampant corruption.
Preliminary results and media projections at the climax of the marathon six-week election showed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its hardline leader Narendra Modi on track for the first parliamentary majority by a single party in 30 years.
Modi, the 63-year-old son of a low-caste tea seller tainted by anti-Muslim violence in his home state of Gujarat in 2002, wrote on Twitter that "India has won. Good days are coming."
The stunning results exceeded all forecasts. Firecrackers exploded at BJP offices around the country and sweets were handed out in celebrations that began only a few hours after the first figures filtered out.
"This is the beginning of change, a people's revolution and the start of a new era," senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar told AFP at party headquarters in New Delhi.
Media projections showed the BJP winning more than the 272 seats required for a majority on its own in the 543-seat parliament, with victories by its allies taking it easily in excess of 300.
The Congress party, the national secular force that has run India for all but 13 years since independence, was set to crash to its worst ever result after a decade in power.
"We accept defeat. We are ready to sit in the opposition," senior Congress leader and spokesman Rajeev Shukla told reporters at party headquarters in New Delhi as preliminary results showed it winning only 49 seats.
"Modi promised the moon and stars to the people. People bought that dream," he added.
Stock markets, which have risen 5.0% in the past week, surged again. The benchmark sensex index showed a gain of 4% on Friday at a record high.
Investors and the wider public have rediscovered heady many say unrealistic optimism about the world's second-most populous nation after years of frustration about low economic growth, rising food prices and corruption.
The disastrous showing for Congress is another blow to the scion of the Gandhi dynasty, 43-year-old Rahul, whose first performance as chief campaigner will likely lead to acrimonious fallout.
The country's most illustrious political family has provided three prime ministers but preliminary results showed Rahul with only a wafer-thin lead in his constituency of Amethi.
A group of Congress supporters shouted slogans in support of Rahul's more popular sister Priyanka outside party headquarters on Friday.
"The politics of inheritance, the politics of dynasty, the politics of entitlement is being punished," BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad told the CNN-IBN news channel.
Modi has reinvented himself from a controversial regional leader accused of turning a blind eye to religious riots in 2002 to an aspiring prime minister intent on helping India fulfil its potential.
After a presidential-style campaign built around him and his record during 13 years running Gujarat, expectations are sky-high of what Modi will deliver in a chaotic and still poor country that is home to a sixth of humanity.
Modi's promises to revive the flagging economy have won him corporate cheerleaders, while his rags-to-riches story and reputation as a clean and efficient administrator satisfy many Indians' desire for strong leadership.
He was always assured the votes of his core Hindu nationalist supporters, but his election pitch has drawn the urban middle classes as well as the poor, whose loyalty has traditionally been to Congress and its welfare schemes. The BJP's previous best showing was in elections in 1998 and 1999 when it won 182 seats and ran the country until a shock defeat to Congress in 2004.
While 81-year-old outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was hailed by US President Barack Obama as a "wise and decent man", Modi would be an awkward prospect for Washington and other Western powers.
Elected three times as chief minister in his home state, Narendra Modi was boycotted by the US and European powers for a decade over the 2002 riots in Gujarat that left around 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead. He denies that he turned a blind eye to the bloodshed and his focus on the campaign trail has been jobs.
But the BJP manifesto includes a pledge to build a temple to honour the Hindu god Ram at the site of a former mosque in northern India, a religious flashpoint that sparked deadly rioting in 1992.
"He has to succeed on the economy and that's the thing on which he will be judged," said Christophe Jaffrelot, an academic on India from Sciences Po university in Paris and King's College London.
HIV+ man kills cancer patient at Bombay Hospital
Report dated 15/05/2014 @ 3:10 PM
A 42-year-old HIV positive TB patient attacked and killed a 65-year-old cancer patient and injured two others for no apparent reason when he attacked them with a metal saline bottle stand.
The dead patient, Lilabihari Thakur, who was to be discharged in a few days, had his head smashed in and was pronounced dead in the hospital ICU. The other patients who were attacked, Praful Parmar, 70, and Janardhan Arte, 66, are in stable condition.
The attacker, an unnamed Agripada resident, was subdued by ward boys and relatives of other patients then handed over to the police.
The Dean said the man seemed to display symptoms of schizophrenia. He has been restrained and admitted to a ward in JJ hospital. He has been charged with murder but is yet to be arrested.
3 killed in Hyderabad communal clashes
Report dated 15/05/2014 @ 3:07 PM
Trouble broke out after members of a community in the Kishanbagh area of Hyderabad noticed that a religious flag was burned at a flag post in an open ground near a hillock. People assembled in large numbers and some youths of another community started attacking homes and vehicles and reports of arson were also made as police rushed to intervene and disperse the angry crowd.
The members of the communities that numbered in the hundreds, pelted one another with stones and in the police firing 3 persons were killed and 17 people including 10 police personnel were injured.
The City Police Commissioner reported that there was an incident of rioting between the two groups but they now have the situation under control and are ensuring that there is peace in the city, with patrolling vehicles on the move to maintain law and order.
Some of the trouble-makers were taken into custody, police pickets were set up, and some areas barricaded.
AAP questions clean chit given to Rahul Gandhi by EC
Report dated 12/05/2014 @ 12:46 PM
AAP leader Kumar Vishwas has stated that he will approach the law courts for action against Gandhi after the Election Commission gave him a clean chit on the allegation that he had violated the secrecy of voting by entering the enclosure of an electronic voting machine in a polling booth in Amethi.
Vishwas who is contesting the Lok Sbaha elections against Gandhi from the constituency said photographs published in newspapers and video clips clearly show that Gandhi was inspecting an EVM with a voter standing in front of him.
The EC however said that Gandhi went to see an EVM that was not functioning, which Vishwas said was untrue as evidence shows Gandhi inspected not one, but three EVMs.
India's YouTube users celebrate Mother's Day
Report dated 12/05/2014 @ 12:43 PM
Leading Indian YouTubers have been making unique Mothers Day videos to celebrate and love their moms and make them feel special. Some have not left out their mums-in law.
Videos from top Indian YouTube channels include clips made by Scherezade Shroff who gives her mother a make-over that shows the step by step method of the makeover for her subscribers benefit.
The play list titled #7Days for Mom has how-to videos on cooking, fashion, makeup and even funny takes on the special occasion.