15:07 Poll panel takes note of exit poll violation by ‘Dainik Jagran’: The Election Commission today took cognizance of reports on conduct of exit polls by an organisation and its publication by the Dainik Jagran, saying it is in violation of poll laws as assembly polls are still on.
A commission spokesperson said Resource Development International had carried out the exit poll and the publication of its results by a Hindi daily is in “clear violation of Section 126 A and B of the Representation of the People Act and wilful disobedience of lawful directions of the EC under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.”
He said a report has been sought from the chief electoral officer, Uttar Pradesh, on the issue.
Writing in thewire.in on the episode, M K Venu says: ‘One thing is very clear — the owners of Dainik Jagran have taken this risk fully cognisant of the legal consequences. They have possibly consulted the best lawyers and are probably waiting for the election commission to initiate action.’
He goes on to add: ‘What is also apparent is Dainik Jagran — known to be unabashedly pro-Modi — has greatly helped the BJP by publishing the exit poll for western UP illegally and prematurely, thus creating a positive ‘hawa‘ for Narendra Modi in the remaining phases of the election in central and eastern UP.
‘One must bear in mind that the newspaper has the largest readership — over 45 million — and much of it is concentrated in eastern and central UP. So Dainik Jagran in many ways is best placed to influence the remaining phases of polling in UP.
‘Also, the exit poll comes the wake of an emerging consensus that the BJP is fighting with its back to the wall in UP, with its traditional voters such as Jats and Banias deserting it to a significant extent.’
14:58 SC refuses to interfere with selection of AMU V-C: The Supreme Court today refused to interfere with the process of selection and appointment of Vice Chancellor for the Aligarh Muslim University and dismissed a plea in this regard.
The apex court also declined to de-tag another plea in which the appointment of the current VC has been challenged from the petition in which AMU’s status as a minority institution was held as unconstitutional by the Allahabad high court.
Before dismissing the plea challenging the ongoing process on appointment of the VC after the retirement of the incumbent, a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice N V Ramana took on record that the three shortlisted candidates fulfil the academic guidelines laid by UGC for the post.
Leading journalist Uma Sudhir to tweet: ‘After one week, #TN #CM #OPS goes to Secretariat; no cabinet to give instructions to; meets secys of depts; but what is #Stalin biz at Sect?’
14:33 Have seen 1000 such Panneerselvams: Sasikala’s latest attack on OPS:
Targeting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam General Secretary VK Sasikala said that the party has seen 1000 such Panneerselvams and she is not scared of anyone.
“We have seen 1000 such Panneerselvams before. For the past 33 years, we both have seen everything. So I am not scared,” Sasikala said in a press conference.
“People are trying to divide the organisation but I won’t let this happen,”she said.
She further said,” When Amma passed away, I came to know about conspiracy being hatched to divide the party.”
13:51 Hindu population is reducing, minorities are flourishing in India: Rijiju:
The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju has sparked a controversy by saying that the population of Hindus is decreasing in the country.
“Hindu population is reducing in India because Hindus never convert people. Minorities in India are flourishing unlike some countries around,” the minister said in a tweet.
Rijiju was responding to the allegations made by the Congress about Arunachal Pradesh being converted into Hindu state by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
He also asked the Congress to refrain from making such allegations.
“Congress should not make such provocative statements. India is a secular country. All religious groups enjoy freedom & living peacefully,” he said in another tweet.
13:12 Will the OPS faction ally with BJP at the Centre?: The BJP at the Centre may find it easier to deal with the belligerent Shiv Sena which is threatening to walk out of the alliance every other day. The BJP is now getting feelers from 11 MPs in the of O Pannerselvam camp of possible political negotiations. Once the matter of Sasikala’s disproportionate assets case is settled, the OPS camp may suggest two Union Ministers of State from his men during the next Union Cabinet expansion. Consequently, the Shiv Sena will be sidelined with the rise of the OPS camp within the 37-strong AIADMK group in the Lok Sabha.
Last month, the Shiv Sena called off the partys 20-year alliance with the BJP in the Mumbai civic polls and vowed to never forge an alliance in future.
With no solution in sight for government formation in Tamil Nadu, the ruling AIADMK has asserted that a majority of its MLAs are behind General Secretary V K Sasikala and claimed the chances of Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao “inviting” her today were “high.”
In growing support for Panneerselvam, six more AIADMK MPs had joined his camp yesterday, taking the number of Parliamentarians in his favour to 11. Sasikala had yesterday vowed to protect the party nurtured by her long-time friend, late Jayalalithaa, saying “I will give my life for this cause”.
12:51 Not scared of anyone, I will succeed, tweets Sasikala: Sasikala tweets: No one can create any hurdles. I am not scared of anyone. I will succeed. #Chinnamma4CM
Meanwhile, M Thambidurai’s continuation as Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha is doubtful with 10 MPs of the AIADMK joining the O Pannerselvam group. Thambidurai is close to VK Sasikala and has been spreading stories against the BJP and especially PM Narendra Modi, blaming the party for the split in the AIADMK.
O Panneerselvam is still short of the requisite number of MLAs he needs to cross the halfway mark, but every day, MPs have been making a
beeline to his house.
Incidentally, the 10 MPs in the OPS group have informally decided to approach the Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to serve a notice on Thambidurai about their lack of confidence in him. This will be a tool for the BJP to arm twist Thambidurai and may pave the way for yet more political differences between the BJP and Sasikala.
12:31 Let us only think of Amma, OPS urges AIADMK cadre: Another update on the battle for the Tamil Nadu throne.
O Panneerselvam is reporting to work today at the Chief Minister’s office after a week’s break since his meditation before Jayalalithaa’s memorial and the announcement thereafter. Panneerselvam, who took charge of the state after J Jayalalithaa died in December while she was Chief Minister, says he must remain the head of the government.
Today, he sent out an announcement on his Twitter handle — O. Paneerselvam
@CM_tamilnadu — exhorting Amma’s followers to stay the path.
This is a loose translation of the announcement:
“An announcement from Hon O Panneerselvam.
“A kind request to the party brethren who are carrying in their hearts remembrances about Hridayadevam (God of hearts) Puratchi Thalaivi Amma.
This is not the time to account for all this. Let’s forget everything, let’s only think only of Amma. Let’s prevent the destruction of the party that was nurtured by Hon. Amma. Let us work as one team to continue her golden rule. “
The Centre has meanwhile backed Governor Vidyasagar Rao saying there is no need for urgency.
Backing OPS are a small but influential group of leaders from the AIADMK. Sasikala has nearly 120 MLAs with her who still remain at a five-star resort to safeguard them from switching sides.
Panneerselvam is about to to leave for the Secretariat. V Ponraj, former scientific adviser to late President APJ Abdul Kalam, has joined the Panneerselvam camp. “We need to decide whether we need family politics or honest politics,” he says. “OPS was hand-picked by Amma,” he told the Hindu.
News agency ANI says DMK working president M.K. Stalin has reached the Secretariat.
Police said the injury mark around her neck suggested that she was strangled to death. The body has been sent for postmortem to ascertain the cause of death. The woman had alleged that the local MLA, who is also the SP’s Sultanpur candidate for the February 27 polls, and some others had gang-raped her in September 2013. At one stage, the woman had withdrawn her allegation and some local youths were charge sheeted in the police investigation. The trial in the case is still continuing. Police is probing the matter and going through call records of the woman.
11:40 Reports on Infosys’ governance issues ‘distracting’, says CEO Sikka: Infosys Ltd’s Chief Executive Vishal Sikka said talk in media on corporate governance issues at the software services firm was “distracting” and that he had good relations with the firm’s founders, including NR Narayana Murthy.
India’s second biggest IT services company, based in the tech hub of Bengaluru, has recently been in an escalating public spat with its founders and former executives, who have accused its board of lapses in corporate governance.
“All this drama that has been going on in the media, it’s very distracting – it takes away attention – but underneath that there is a very strong fabric that this company is based on and it is a real privilege for me to be its leader,” Sikka said in response to a question at the Kotak Institutional Equities conference in Mumbai on Monday. — Reuters.
11:28 Sasikala’s next move may be hunger strike : General secretary VK Sasikala’s next move may be a hunger strike. That will happen if Governor C Vidyasagar Rao does ask her to form the government, say reports.
Meanwhile, the AIADMK’s official Twitter handle has changed its profile picture to the one alongside pledging its support for her candidacy as CM.
Sasikala staked claim to form the government two days ago, but the governor will wait till the Supreme Court gives its verdict in the pending disproportionate assets case. Reports said that the Supreme Court is likely to hear the case sometime this week. Though Jayalalithaa, who died in December, and Sasikala, her closest confidante, were convicted by a lower court, the Karnataka High Court had acquitted them. The Karnataka government however had challenged the order.
Judge Karnan was expected to appear in court today to respond to a contempt notice issued to him for writing letters to various authorities, including the Prime Minister, accusing several judges of corruption.
11:05 Trump bashing continues as #SCROTUS takes Twitter by storm: President of the United States, Donald Trump, has always been a figure of controversies and in these divided times not everyone feels comfortable recognizing him at the POTUS.
Legendary actor George Takei, who has been criticizing President Trump over some of his policies, tweeted about the name given to the President on Twitter.
The ‘Star Trek’ star took to twitter and tweeted, “Overheard this new title for Trump: SCROTUS. The So-Called Ruler of the United States.
“It is said that it was comedian and writer Elayne Boosler who coined the term SCROTUS originally.
The word has been trending since then and has got many people tweeting about it. POTUS which stands for President of the United States, is a useful shorthand used by journalists to secret service to identify the President.
10:55 Winning BAFTA is ‘out of body experience’: Dev Patel: Dev Patel, who bagged the trophy for ‘best supporting actor’ for ‘Lion’ at the 2017 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, on Sunday, termed the experience to be an ‘out of body’ one.
According to a report in the Daily Star, while opening up after the win, Patel said, “This is an out of body experience. I hadn’t even planned a speech. This film has a really big heart and I can see the power of word of mouth – I’m still overcome.
“Some time before making his way onto the BAFTA stage, the ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ star said that he already felt like a winner because “I’ve got my whole family with me and I’m wearing a tuxedo.”
Patel, who is shooting for his upcoming film ‘Hotel Mumbai’ in India, also expressed his happiness over returning back to London, “It’s great to be back in London on home turf.
“Directed by Australian director Anthony Maras, ‘Hotel Mumbai’ is based on the 2009 documentary Surviving Mumbai about the Mumbai attacks in 2008 at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
The film also stars Anupam Kher, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Jason Isaacs, Suhail Nayyar and Natasha Liu Bordizzo.
10:48 Stephen Fry takes dig at Donald Trump during Bafta awards: Comedian-actor Stephen Fry kicked the 2017 BAFTAs off by taking aim at US president Donald Trump as he hosted the 70th edition of the film awards.
As seems to be customary at big awards ceremonies these days, the BAFTA host didn’t waste any time and opened this year’s ceremony by referencing Streep’s public spat with President Trump after her passionate speech at the Golden Globes, where she criticised Trump for mocking a disabled reporter.
Fry entered the stage saying, “I look down on row after row of the most overrated people on the planet in their beautiful borrowed evening wear”, while Streep was seen laughing at the gag.
The 59-year-old presenter praised Streep, who Trump recently branded “overrated”, when he quipped that only a “blithering idiot” would think she wasn’t one of the greatest actresses all time. “She’s one of the greatest actresses of all time – only a blithering idiot would think otherwise,” Fry said in his opener.
He then walked down the steps towards the nominees and the audience that had packed into London’s Royal Albert Hall, where he said, “Ms Streep, it’s tradition here for me to garner a kiss from one of the nominees every year.” Streep happily placed a kiss on Fry, telling him she was “so thrilled”, before he made his way back onstage.
10:44 Adele’s ’25’ wins Grammy for Album of the Year, sweeps awards: ’25’ by Adele wins Grammy award for album of the year.
The British singer swept the 2017 Grammy awards on Sunday, winning the following awards: Album of the Year for 25, her single Hello won for Best Pop Solo Performance, and was also declared Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
Beyonc, who had the highest number of nominations at nine, won Best Music Video for Formation. The 59th edition of popular music awards was hosted by The Late Late Show’s James Corden at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles.
Just ahead of the win, for the second year in a row, Adele sang a tribute to George Michael, which went awry, prompting her to swear and ask for a restart while on stage, reports CNN.
She was just moments into her slowed down take of “Fastlove” when she paused.
“I know it’s live TV, I’m sorry,” she said, before she was briefly cut-off by a censor. “I can’t do it again like last year. I’m sorry for swearing and I’m sorry for starting again. Can we please start it again?”
The tribute was Adele’s second performance of the night. The singer kicked off Sunday’s show with a pitch-perfect rendition of her hit “Hello.”
“I can’t mess this up for him,” she said, as the crowd cheered.
Before attempting the song again, she also apologized to Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich.
Last year, Adele’s performance of “All I Ask” was plagued by sound problems after piano mics fell onto the instrument’s strings, causing a distracting, tinny sound throughout.
After finishing “Fastlove,” fellow artists showed their support for Adele in the audience with a standing ovation — and on Twitter.
10:28 Meanwhile, in Tamil Nadu: Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam to go to the secretariat at noon.
Meanwhile, Sasikala has already assumed the functions of a chief minister. Here she is addressing the issues faced by ‘star’ speakers of the party. The picture was tweeted by the AIADMK.
Residents below the tallest dam in the United States near Oroville in Northern California, were urgently ordered to evacuate on Sunday as a spillway appeared in danger of imminent collapse.
The abrupt evacuation orders came as authorities determined that the auxiliary spillway on the Lake Oroville Dam could give way at any time, unleashing floodwaters onto rural communities along the Feather River. “Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered,” the Butte County sheriff said in a statement posted on social media. “This is NOT A Drill.”
The Oroville dam is nearly full after weeks of heavy rains and snow brought relief to the state after some four years of devastating drought.
Reportedly, large population residing in areas being evacuated is that of Indian origin Americans.
09:12 SC may hear fresh PIL against Sasikala’s swearing-in: Amid the escalating political tension in Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court is likely to hear today a plea seeking a stay on the swearing-in ceremony of AIADMK general secretary Sasikala Natarajan.
This comes after the top court last week refused to grant an urgent hearing on a PIL that sought to put on hold Sasikala’s swearing-in as Tamil Nadu chief minister till it passed judgment in the disproportionate assets case against her.
A bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice NV Ramana and Justice DY Chandrachud had said “sorry, declined” as the petitioner urged the bench to hear the plea.
The PIL was filed by Chennai resident Senthil Kumar, general secretary of the NGO, Satta Panchayat Iyakkam. Kumar has contended that if Sasikala is convicted and forced to resign, there is a possibility of riots erupting all over Tamil Nadu.
He said law and order may worsen in such an eventuality as the state was already facing a “desperate situation” due to cyclone, demonetisation and the death of former chief minister Jayalalithaa.
The petitioner claimed that in case the appeal against her acquittal results in a conviction, the AIADMK workers may once again protest and disturb the normal life of Tamil Nadu, adding that he filed the plea in the interest of people of Tamil Nadu and to maintain the peace in the state.
08:59 ‘La La Land’ dominates Baftas, Dev Patel wins for ‘Lion’:
Director Damien Chazelle’s musical La La Land continued its award dominance by taking five trophies, including the best film and best actress for Emma Stone, at the 70th British Academy Film Awards, which also
recognised British-Indian star Dev Patel in the best supporting actor category for Lion.
La La Land, which also won Chazelle a best director Bafta, is expected to sustain its momentum at the Oscars on February 26 where it has scored a record 14 nominations.
Veteran director Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake was named outstanding British film at the ceremony on Sunday night.
Casey Affleck was named best actor for Manchester by the Sea while its director Kenneth Lonergan won the award for best original screenplay.
Viola Davis won the best supporting actress prize for Fences. Having won the other major awards this season as well, Davis is a strong contender at the Oscars too.
While the Golden Globes were dominated by Meryl Streep’s moving speech criticising US President Donald Trump, he was not mentioned that much at the Baftas though Stone referred to him indirectly while accepting her best actress trophy.
“This country — and the US, and the world — seems to be going through a bit of a time, just a bit.
“In a time that’s so divisive, I think it’s so special we were able to come together tonight thanks to Bafta, to celebrate the positive gift of creativity and how it can transcend borders and how it can help people to feel a little
less alone,” Stone said.
Patel, 26, was greeted with a round of applause as he accepted the prize for best supporting actor for Lion, about a man who was adopted as a child and is trying to find his family in India through the help of Google maps.
The actor seemed stunned, saying, “Wow, that just happened.”
Patel said the film is about a love that “transcends borders, race, colour, anything”.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made the comment to reporters after talks with Saudi King Salman, Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“One of the things that fuel terrorism is the expression in some parts of the world of Islamophobic feelings and Islamophobic policies and Islamophobic hate speeches,” Guterres said at a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
“This is sometimes the best support that Daesh can have to make its own propaganda,” Guterres said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group of Sunni extremists in Syria and Iraq.
The jihadist group has also claimed deadly attacks in Saudi Arabia and in Europe.
Anti-immigration politicians including France’s Marine Le Pen have seen their popularity rise after an influx to Europe of migrants, many of them Muslims fleeing wars in Syria and elsewhere.
08:27 Another BJP worker hacked to death in Kerala:
A Bharatiya Janata Party worker was allegedly hacked to death in Keralas Thrissur district late on Sunday.
The deceased has been identified as 20-year-old Nirmal of Nettissery. Another person, Thomas, 29, who is critically injured in the attack, has been hospitalised.
The BJP state unit has alleged that the ruling CPM was behind the act and has called for a strike in Thrissur district.
Thrissur is a politically sensitive region with a history of red-saffron violence.
Earlier on January 18, a BJP activist Ezhuthon Santhosh was allegedly murdered by some CPM workers from Dharmadom. Police on January 20, had taken five CPM workers into custody.