May 14, 2011

Stork to visit Shilpa

Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty have something other than Rajasthan Royals' victories this IPL to cheer for.

The couple, who tied the knot after a two year long courtship on November 22, 2009, are ready to welcome a new member in their family.

While this is a first for Shilpa, Kundra already knows what it's like to be a parent. The entrepreneur, who was formerly married to Kavita, is father to daughter Deleena, born on September 9, 2006.

Reportedly, Shilpa has wanted to be a parent for a very long time. In a media report, in 2009, she said, "I'm desperate to start a family. I just love children, and we've a beautiful readymade nursery (in the new house). I want at least two children.

There is already a child's bedroom here because Raj has a nephew and I can certainly see my children running around this place.

And there is enough space for us to live at one end while Raj's parents live at the other." And this was even before she got married!

Well, it looks like her dreams are materialising as the actress has been spotted at several clinics around the city. Our source confirmed, "Shilpa is expecting and the couple are extremely happy.

Only the close family members and friends have been informed of the new arrival. They do not want to announce it publicly before the first trimester passes."

Shilpa, who shot to fame in the UK after she won the celebrity Big Brother, married Raj in November 2009.

The couple went on to buy a share in the Rajasthan Royals team of the IPL and have devoted their attention to the game ever since, until now that is.

Despite repeated text messages and calls, both Shilpa and Raj Kundra remained unavailable for comment.

Bipasha - Amar Singh Dirty talk Audio tapes leaked

Remember the whole Amar Singh/Bipasha Basu telephone recording CD that all but disappeared after its initial fallout? It's baaaaaaaack!

Amar Singh, one of the founding members of India's Samajwadi Party, served as the Samajwadi general secretary and a member of the Rajya Sabha. In 2010 he resigned from his posts and was ousted out of the Samajwadi party all together. Singh also boasts some big-time Bollywood BFF's like, Dev Anand, Amitabh, Jaya, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Jaya Prada, Sanjay Dutt, the Ambanis, and many more. It was widely rumored that whenever a Delhi politician needed a lil *attention* in the form of a beautiful Bollywood babe, Amar Singh was the go-to-liaison to arrange such *meetings* although no evidence was found (of course!) to prove the theory.

Recorded back in 2006, the CD between Amar Singh and Bipsha Basu could not be authenticated, and thus died off. Today however, several newspapers reported that the Indian Supreme court has lifted the gag order originally placed on the release and telecast of the audio conversation(s).

Here is a rough transcript of the pitiful hilarious conversation:

    Amar: Hello.

    Bipasha: : (Sings)...Haallloooo...

    Amar: : Hello...

    Bipasha: : (Sings) are you...?

    Amar: : (Happily) I am fine.

    Bipasha: : How've you been? We are talking after a long time right?

    Amar: : Yes...

    Bipasha: : You've been busy or something?

    Amar: : Kaun...bip..

    Bipasha: : Bipasha...Bipasha...ya...I saw you twice at that award function...ha ha ha

    Amar: : Really?

    Bipasha: : So tell me...when are you meeting me?

    Amar: : Where do you want to meet baby? I have been very busy.

    Bipasha: : You busy?

    Amar: : It is very tough.

    Bipasha: : It is very tough...ha ha ha...OK.

    Amar: : But I will make some time.

    Bipasha: : OK sweetie...

    Amar: : Very nice of you to have remembered me.

    Bipasha: : (Laughs) I toh always remember you.

    Amar: : An old man like me.

    Bipasha: : Sorry...?

    Amar: : An old fossil like me...

    Bipasha: : Old fossil like you...

    Amar: : ya ya...

    Bipasha: : I don't think age really matters... Does it?

    Amar: : It matters between the legs na?

    Bipasha: : (Bursts out laughing) Oh God...ha ha ha ha...all right try removing time now... it's been almost a month now I've not met...

    Amar: : Ya we will meet.

    Bipasha: : OK... Right, keep in touch. Bye...

No one would like to believe that the promiscuous hoarse voice at the other end of that convo was Bipasha, more than us, but we can't help but seriously doubt it. Doing a politician here and there may very well be capable by her, but the person in the audio tape sounds so desperate...! A Bollywood star calling upon Mr. Potato Head an old politician for a booty call? Isn't it usually the OTHER way around? Thank your lucky stars Johnny boy!

West Bengal election results: Mamata Banerjee set to become Chief Minister

New Delhi:  Many years ago, a young Congress party worker was spotted for her anti-Left zeal. Mamata Banerjee's raison d'ĂȘtre was to throw out the Left in her state. Today, as she brings "pariborton" or change to West Bengal, Mamata is living her dream. Her Trinamool Congress is headed for a landslide win and Kolkata is set to have a new Chief Minister in Didi.

In her first reaction, Mamata said "We are humbled. We are thankful. This verdict will bring joy to the people of Bengal. At this happy moment, we must remember the martyrs who have been part of this struggle for the last three decades."

Emerging from her home where she had been watching the election results with her mother and sister-in-law, a calm and collected, yet emotional Mamata said it was an unprecedented, historic win. A victory, she said, of "Ma, maati, manush (Mother, motherland, the people)." She dedicated her win to the "people of Tagore's Bengal" on the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore and to the nation. This was, she said, a new day, there was "joy for all, the oppressed, the downtrodden...After 35 years, people have got independence, freedom in Bengal." She ended her short statement to the crowd gathered with "Saare jahaan se achcha Hindustan hamara..."

Flowers and friends fill the Trinamool Congress office. There is green gulal in the air. And indeed in people's hair and on their faces. The slogan, "Let's build a new Bengal" is the call of the moment.

o big is her win that the Trinamool and allies look in position to win well over 200 of the 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal. The huge victory is powered by the Trinamool's stupendous performance and partner Congress will have to factor this in the equation of the two parties even at the Centre.  

The Left is leading in a little over 65 seats - a sea change from five years ago when it had formed government with a big majority. This is a big moment for West Bengal. The Left has ruled continuously for the last 34 years and Mamata fought this election on the plank of "pariborton" and "Ma, maati, manush."

Mamata Banerjee has fought for over two decades to realize her dream of ousting the Left. For years, she battled without being able to do much. Then Singur happened and Mamata would not look back again. She has gone from strength to electoral strength winning local and national elections alike. This is the crowning glory for the woman who left the Congress and set out alone, 13 years ago, and formed the Trinamool Congress to battle the Left Front. 

Avantika not happy with Imran Khan

The busy actor has not had the time to take his wife Avantika for an exotic honeymoon, even months after their marriage.

It’s been more than three months that Imran Khangot married to Avantika Malik. However the actor has not been able to take his wife on an exotic honeymoon, especially like the ones that they show in movies.

Imran has been busy working on his two big projects – Yash Raj’s Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (with Katrina Kaif) and Karan Johar’s Short-Term Shaadi (with Kareena Kapoor), ever since his marriage. Incidentally, while both the films revolve around marriage, the actor has not been able to keep the commitment of taking his wife to a romantic getaway after marriage.

Moreover his impending honeymoon plans don’t seem to come across anytime soon. With his next filmDelhi Belly scheduled for release in July, mamu jaan Aamir Khan, who also produces the film, wants Imran to be around for promotions. So it seems like Avantika Malik will have to wait for some more time before she gets lucky. However with all the attention that her husband is getting, we don’t think she has any reason to complain.

Rajinikanth's Death rumors creates furore

 When you love some one more than a GOD, this is what may happen. While Election results of Tamil Nadu is the hottest subject in Chennai, all of the sudden hot news went on to reach all around India about the death of Super Star Rajinikanth. As we know that Super Star is hospitalized two times in last two weeks suffering with various health abnormalities. He is even planning to go USA for further treatment.

At this juncture, few crazy gossipmongers who are concerned with no release of latest developments about Rajini’s health have started to propagate the gossip of his death. Soon after the results of Tamil Nadu assembly elections came out, a worst ever rumour spread all over the state through SMS, emails and word of mouth on Rajini's health condition. Thousands of Rajini fans were stunned and speechless on hearing the rumour and rushed to Rajini's Poes Garden residence. Anxious fans made anxious calls to Super Star's house and a sense of shock prevailed in Tamilnadu.

Quickly Rajinikanth’s wife Latha spoke to media clearing all such unwarranted fake news. In a press release, Latha said, ' Rajnikanth is fit and fine. He is taking rest and his health is good'. In fact the star hero is busy analyzing the trends of Tamil Nadu election results at his residence in Poyes Gardens.

She further said all is well with Rajnikanth thanks to blessings and prayers of his fans and well-wishers.

Porn videos found in Abbottabad house

WASHINGTON: A stash of pornography was found in the hideout of Osama bin Laden by the US commandos who killed him, current and former US officials said.

The pornography recovered in bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad consists of modern, electronically recorded video and is fairly extensive, according to the officials.

The officials said they were not yet sure precisely where in the compound the pornography was discovered or who had been viewing it. Specifically, they did not know if bin Laden himself had acquired or viewed the materials.

Reports from Abbottabad have said that bin Laden's compound was cut off from the internet or other hardwired communications networks. It is unclear how compound residents would have acquired the pornography.

But a video released by the Obama administration confiscated from the compound showed bin Laden watching pictures of himself on a TV screen, indicating that the compound was equipped with video playback equipment.

US officials familiar with evidence gathered during investigations of other Islamic militants said the discovery of pornography is not uncommon .

2G scam: Court defers Kanimozhi's bail plea till May 20

NEW DELHI: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court here on Saturday deferred till May 20 the bail plea of DMK MP Kanimozhi in connection with the 2G spectrum scam.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini had on May 7 reserved his order on the bail applications of Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar, MD and CEO of Kalaignar TV after hearing extensive arguments advanced by noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani who, citing the chargesheet, blamed former telecom minister A Raja for the offence attributed to the daughter of DMK supremo M Karunanidhi.

The CBI has accused her of conspiring with Raja. She has also been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act for taking bribe through Kalaignar TV--a channel run by the ruling DMK -- in which the bribe of the 2G scam was routed.

Kanimozhi and Kumar hold 20 per cent stake each in the Kalaignar TV while Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal, who holds the remaining 60 percent share in the broadcasting channel, has been made a witness.

More bad news in store for Kanimozhi

 NEW DELHI: For DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi, the bitter setback suffered on Friday by her party in Tamil Nadu may not be the worst news of this weekend.

The special CBI court hearing the 2G scam case is set to deliver its judgment on Kanimozhi's bail plea on Saturday, and could well send her to judicial custody in Tihar jail. Her imprisonment appears a strong possibility, given that judge O P Saini has sent her co-accused to judicial custody.

Sources in CBI, which has strongly argued for rejection of Kanimozhi's bail plea, feel that judge Saini may conform to the pattern.

The hearing on Saturday will take place amid indications of a new recognition in Congress about the spectrum scam's political fallout. Appearing on a TV channel, home minister P Chidambaram admitted that the 2G scam had hurt Congress. "We need to put it behind us," the home minister said.

He also indicated that some strong measures could be on the cards. "There are some thoughts on the matter," the minister said while stressing that he could not disclose them.

The recognition appears to have been promoted by Congress's decimation in Tamil Nadu where the party could manage a meagre five seats. The paltry tally showed that party's attempt to distance itself from the scam by pointing to the arrest of sacked telecom minister A Raja had not been a success. Hence the realization, as articulated by Chidambaram, of the need to do more.

The party's shock loss in the adjoining UT Puducherry and, of course, to a lesser degree, the poor performance in Kerala also suggests that the political damage from the scam may not remain limited to TN alone. With crucial elections -- Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab -- scheduled next year and with the issue of corruption still on the national frontburner, party leadership may be considering sterner measures. This should eliminate any hope in the DMK camp of Centre trying to guide investigations away from Karunanidhi's doorstep.

Kanimozhi was named an accused in the supplementary chargesheet filed by CBI on April 25. The agency

had also named Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Karim Morani of Cineyug Films and Rajiv Agarwal and Asif Balwa of DB Group. The agency said DB Group, which owns Swan Telecom that benefitted from the 2G spectrum scam, had given Rs 200 crore to DMK controlled Kalaignar TV, in which Kanimozhi holds 20%, as kickback.

The CBI judge summoned Kanimozhi and others named in the supplementary chargesheet on May 6. Ram Jethmalani put up a spirited defence of Kanimozhi, distancing herself from the entire 2G conspiracy. The lawyer had contended that Kanimozhi was a mere minority owner of Kalaignar TV, and had no role in its business activities.

CBI vigorously opposed her bail plea saying she was very much part of the 2G conspiracy and was the brain behind Kalaignar TV, in which Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal has 60% stake. The investigation agency said Kanimozhi was "very close" to former telecom minister A Raja and that she had actively lobbied for Raja's appointment as telecom minister in UPA-2 in 2009. The CBI has charged her under various sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Most of the other accused in the 2G scam — Raja, former telecom secretary Siddarth Behura, Raja's former personal secretary R K Chandolia, DB Group partners Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech managing director Sanjay Chandra, three Reliance group executives Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, DB Group's Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal -- are all in judicial custody

Raja keeps abreast of TN results

NEW DELHI: Even in jail, former telecom minister A Raja kept himself abreast of the Tamil Nadu poll results. Or so it seems. Raja, who was brought from Tihar Jail to appear before the court of special CBI judge O P Saini in connection with the scrutiny of documents relating to the day-to-day proceedings in the 2G spectrum allocation case, looked visibly distraught by the poll results in his home state.

Though he had no access to TV on Friday as he came to the court at 9.30 am, he still had an idea about DMK's defeat. When asked if he knew about the poll results, Raja told reporters that he was informed by "somebody" about AIADMK's victory. "I did not see the results. Somebody informed me so I got to know," he said.

Raja, who otherwise keeps chatting with his co-accused in the court, chose to remain quiet. When asked whether he was expecting a clean sweep for the AIADMK, he said, "They have already got it."

On persistent queries by reporters for his reaction, Raja said, "I am in judicial custody so I cannot answer questions. How can you question me?"

While Raja tried evading questions from the reporters, Swan Telecom promoter and co-accused Shahid Balwa came to his rescue. He asked the media not to put questions to the DMK leader. "You are not allowed to question the accused under the law," Balwa remarked.

Jagan, mother drub Cong in AP bypoll

 KADAPA: The Congress got a drubbing in the marquee Lok Sabha byelection in Kadapa on Friday where Jaganmohan Reddy trounced his Congress and TDP opponents by record margins.

Riding a wave of ill-treatment of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's family by the party high command, his widow Vijayamma, too, crushed the Congress in Pulivendula assembly byelection.

"Kadapa's gouravam (pride) has smashed Delhi's ahankaram (ego)," said a political analyst, referring to the platform on which Jagan campaigned and won by a majority of 5,45,571 votes. His rivals, Andhra Pradesh health minister D L Ravindra Reddy and Rajya Sabha member M V Mysoora Reddy (TDP), lost their deposits.

Vijayamma defeated her brother-in-law Y S Vivekananda Reddy by 85,191 votes. In the process, she, too, improved on YSR's assembly poll record. Viveka lost his deposit making it the Congress's first defeat in this seat.

Jagan surpassed his late father's victory, which was by a margin of 4.22 lakh votes in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections. "This shows a wave of change in the district where the YSR family ruled for nearly four decades. The thrashing ought to serve as an eye-opener for the Congress," said a political analyst, R Chakrapani.

While the TDP, which traditionally has a 30% vote share in Kadapa, was humiliated, the Congress with a votebank of 50-55% has ceded ground to YSR Congress which bagged 69% In Pulivendula, it polled 74% votes.

"The shift in the vote percentage is significant as both TDP and Congress voter base has eroded massively," said an analyst, Telkapalli Ravi.

"The verdict is a slap on the face of Congress which totally ignored people's issues and problems," said Jagan, adding, "This result sounds the bugle for the downfall of the Congress government in Andhra." He added, "Everybody is taking about the downfall of this inept Congress government as people are fed up with it."

Mamata Banerjee: Hysterics to history

   KOLKATA: From a street fighter to a change agent. And now an icon. Mamata Banerjee's single-handed demolition of the Left Front in Bengal is the stuff legends are made of.

Over the years, the Trinamool Congress supremo has transformed herself from the mercurial, impulsive boss of a regional party to the responsible leader of a state. The metamorphosis has come through times that have been rough, tough and testing. Under her, the Trinamool can now boast of stronger national ambition. All because a hurt, humiliated woman refused to be cowed down.

The impulsive Mamata, who went into isolation after she quit the NDA ministry in early 2001, held her nerve after the Jnaneswari Express disaster in 2006. She carved out a tangible development model for West Bengal using the railway ministry, which helped her earn the confidence of the industry without comprising on her achievements in Singur and Nandigram.

This was not the case in 2001. At the end of polling in the 2001 assembly polls, Mamata flashed the 'V' sign, only to shut herself in her modest home at 30B Harish Chatterjee Street, a nondescript locality in south Kolkata, after the crushing defeat. Those were the days when the only 'mantra' of Mamata's politics was blind opposition to CPM, when she would switch alliance without much thought so long as she was facing away from the Left. This was a time when Mamata liked to hog the limelight in her own party meetings by denying others present an opportunity to speak.
Not any more. "I am not going to resign. Even if there are accidents, I will not quit," she had said after the Jnaneswari Express disaster. For, she had realized that the railway ministry was important for her to do something positive for Bengal before the all-important assembly elections in 2011.

Despite a now-bitter-now-bland relation with Congress and the breakdown in seat sharing arrangement in the municipal elections in 2010, she did not leave the UPA, nor did she throw tantrums, correctly assessing that the relationship with Congress would be necessary to prevent a split in Opposition votes. It would also help immensely if she was on the right side of the Centre in the run-up to the elections. She rejected all overtures by BJP, realizing the importance of retaining Muslim support.

Embracing Rizwanur Rahman's family after the tragic death of the computer graphics engineer could have been part of a shrewd political strategy but the way she did it — with a humane touch — is remarkable and could be a lesson for leaders who would rather maintain a stiff upper lip.

Less obvious, but no less important, is the gradual shaping up of her political ideology. Those who admired Mamata for her raw courage against the CPM — that no other person in the Opposition could even remotely match — could find in her a mature politician who talked about "badal" (change), and not "badla" (revenge against CPM). "I am against CPM, but I am not against communists. There are good people among Left sympathizers, but they should leave the company of CPM which has lost its moorings and deviated from the path of socialism," she keeps repeating in public meetings.

Sensing the depth of the sentiment against forcible land acquisition, she took up in Delhi the question of amending the Land Acquisition Act 1894, a relic of the British era.

Her detractors are often sarcastic about the lack of sophistication in her speeches in public meetings, but this possibly builds a bridge with the poor and the uneducated who still comprise the multitude in Bengal. Her slogan — Ma Mati Manush — could touch hearts more than the Left jargons could.

There have been occasions when her supporters, some from Left background, would sing songs of the IPTA or lyrics from Salil Chowdhury during the anti-land acquisition stir. Mamata would sit in the audience and encourage speakers and singers to harp on the Left cause that the CPM party managers have unlearnt.

In an effort to build mass contact, she would walk tirelessly for miles on 'padyatras', something rarely done these days by politicians used to air-conditioned SUVs or bulletproof Ambassador cars. Mamata took meticulous care to prepare herself for these hardships — insiders say it would not have been possible without regular physical exercise. What is remarkable is her disregard for danger, as she does undergo considerable personal risk in such mass contact programmes.

The change has not come suddenly. The successive reverses in 2001 and 2006 assembly elections and 2004 Lok Sabha election gave Mamata time to reflect. "I would sit alone in Parliament and think," she had said on one occasion. She must have understood that with her brand of impulsive politics it would not be possible to achieve her goal of unseating the Left Front government. Then came Singur and Nandigram and she grabbed the opportunity with both hands. The maltreatment she had received when being brought from Singur to Kolkata in a police vehicle — which she recounted on occasions — must have steeled her resolve to fight till the last. It would have brought back memories of the brutal beating at Hazra crossing.

Gone were the histrionics — past acts like wrapping a shawl round her neck and threatening to hang herself in public or squatting in front of the chief minister's chamber at Writers' Buildings and being thrown out.
Instead, she stunned the government by the way she organized a 'dharna' outside the Nano factory gates at Singur and forced Tata Motors to withdraw, and at the same time garnered support of powerful people for her cause. Instead of trying to hang herself, she went on a life-threatening 26-day fast, knowing that in the land of Mahatma Gandhi fasting is more powerful a weapon than violence.

She also realized it would not be possible to fight this battle on her own along with the band of leaders who had left Congress to join Trinamool, particularly in a state where the Left ideology is deep-rooted.
She needed people who knew the agrarian scene, who could take on CPM on its own turf. Which made her turn to parties like SUCI, to former CPM leaders as well as Naxalites. Some of them played an important role in shaping Mamata's political strategy, helped her in winning the support of farmers in rural Bengal. She became the messiah of all victims of forcible land acquisition in the state and the rallying point of the multitude of poor people who felt left out as they were not with the ruling CPM.

This has admittedly made Trinamool a broad spectrum political party, with people from different walks of life drawn to it. Critics may call it a hotchpotch set-up, but Mamata has made it clear she wants to take everyone along in the road to prosperity for Bengal.

Today, Mamata, too, harps on the need for industrialization. But, she wants to take the public sector route. With the railway ministry under her control, she wants to make railway projects the fulcrum of industry in Bengal. Where private industries are concerned, she wants them to buy land on their own, allowing the market mechanism to operate down the chain. The Left Front's has been a mixture of laissez-faire and state intervention, allowing the private sector to do unfettered business, but the state acquiring land for them. It has paid the price for the confusion too.

Her plain saree, her hawai chappal, her 'jhola bag', her preference to travel in a non-air-conditioned small car, all these make Mamata a picture of plain living. Though her entire life revolves around politics, she is still an intensely private person, who likes to paint, write poems, take care of her mother, get up late but work till late in the night and eat 'muri' and 'telebhaja' over 'adda'. Even during the height of poll campaigning, when Mamata was travelling the length and the breadth of the state, she took time off to return to her Kalighat home on 'Nababarsha', the Bengali New Year's Day, to pay respects to her mother.

Administrative stints are not new to her, she has been railway minister and held other portfolios in the Union cabinet. Now one has to watch how she reconciles her personal life with her new and more demanding role as the chief minister of West Bengal.


AIADMK+ allies
Assam (126)
Kerala (140)
AIADMK+ allies

Puducherry: Cong shocked by splinter group

PUDUCHERRY: In a major turnaround, All India NR Congress alliance got a clear majority in 2011 assembly elections, winning 20 of the total 30 assembly seats in the Union territory of Puducherry. The Congress splinter group and its allies ended 12 years of Congress rule in Puducherry.

All India NR Congress floated by former chief minister N Rangasamy after quitting the Congress ahead of the 2011 polls emerged as the single largest party by winning 15 of the 17 seats it contested. Its ally AIADMK bagged five of the 10 it contested.

However, its other allies, DMDK and CPI, that contested one seat each drew a blank. A jubilant Rangasamy while speaking to reporters said he expected his alliance to win the polls and added that the victory was the wish of the Puducherry people.

The Congress alliance managed to secure just nine seats. Congress won just seven of the 17 seats it contested. The DMK fared poorly, winning two of the 10 seats it contested. PMK drew a blank losing both the seats it contested. Another ally, VCK, whose candidate was technically declared as an independent, also lost the polls.

Rangasamy, who contested from two assembly segments, emerged victorious with thumping margins. He polled 16,323 votes from Kadirkamam as against 6,566 votes polled by the next candidate V Pethaperumal of the Congress. He polled 20,685 votes in Indira Nagar as against 4,008 votes polled by his only rival candidate V Aroumougam of Congress.

Other prominent winners include chief minister V Vaithilingam, home minister E Valsaraj, revenue minister Malladi Krishna Rao and public health minister A Namassivayam.

PWD minister MOHF Shahjahan, welfare minister M Kandasamy, speaker of legislative assembly R Radhakrishnan and former chief minister and DMK convener RV Janakiraman lost the electoral battle.

Shahjahan lost the polls to PML Kalyanasundaram of NR Congress by 6,366 votes and Kandasamy to his arch-rival and former minister P Rajavelu of NR Congress by a slender margin of 1,468 votes.

Radhakrishnan lost the polls to T Thiagarajan by 2,055 votes. Five-time MLA Janakiraman lost to AIADMK candidate Om Sakthi Sekar by a margin of 4,518 votes.

Malladi Krishna Rao (Yanam) recorded the highest margin of victory in this election with 19,118 votes followed by Rangasamy (Indira Nagar) with 16,677 votes while an independent candidate, VMC Sivakumar, managed to win with a slender margin of 358 votes.

Congress, TDP overdid vilification of Jagan, YSR

TIRUPATI: “What has gone wrong and where?” leaders of the ruling party and the main opposition party seem to be asking themselves while licking the wounds of the crushing defeat inflicted on them by Jagan's YSR Congress party in the Kadapa and Pulivendula by-elections.
Both Congress and TDP had trained their big guns on the young Jagan, launched a broadside and used every means to project him as a ‘corrupt person'. All that backfired on them.Was it due to the overzealous and slanderous campaign against Jagan and YS Rajasekhara Reddy? It seems so, if the street talk is anything to go by. Speaking ill of YSR on his home turf by the leaders of both parties, one directly and the other subtly, proved costly for the party stalwarts who suffered a ‘humiliating' defeat at the hands of a person who is hardly two years old in politics.When this correspondent visited the Pulivendula and Mydukur Assembly segments on the eve of the polling day and on the polling day, the people seemed decisive.In some villages they were out and out for Jagan and the results show their determination.In some villages, people were annoyed by the treatment meted out to Jagan by the Congress and in some others people wondered why the Congress and the TDP leaders brought in so many leaders to sling mud on Jagan and YSR. “They had never bothered to show up in Kadapa before. Why now? Why isolate and har a s s a f a t h e r l e s s child?”asked an elderly voter in Vempalle who could not suppress his anger.Congress leaders painted Jagan as power-hungry and, at the same time, tried to claim the legacy of YSR.Though TDP candidate MV Mysoora Reddy kept a low profile, it did not help him as his party leaders spent all their energies on tarnishing YSR's image rather than on promoting their own candidate.Neither the twirling of mustache nor slapping of the thigh in Pulivendula worked for the TDP. On the other hand, they lost more than 60 percent of their traditional vote-bank.

BS Yeddyurappa is set for another battle for survival

Chief minister BS Yeddyurappa’s joy over the BJP making a clean sweep in the by-elections from the three assembly constituencies did not even last for a few hours. The Supreme Court judgment quashing the disqualification of 11 BJP and five independent MLAs has again pushed his government to the brink.
The verdict is a big blow to the chief minister, who had refused to kowtow to the directives of party high command to step down at the height of the corruption storm against him. But as someone who has shown unprecedented skill in the art of survival, Yeddyurappa is not ready to throw in the towel.
However, Yeddyurappa’s survival is now subject to the future course of action of the 16 MLAs who have regained their legislative status. While the five independents are free to go their way, the 11 BJP MLAs are not as free. The 11 MLAs will now have to return to the party fold.
The 16 MLAs met later in the evening in the national capital to discuss their future course of action. Understandably, they have preferred to keep their cards close to their chest.
Shedding their earlier belligerence, rebel leader Balachandra Jharkiholi just said, “We were never against BJP. We are still proud to be in the BJP. Our fight was only against an individual and not the party. We will decide our future course of action in a day or two.”
Yeddyurappa too has reason to see hope as much water has flowed down the Cauvery since the 11 party MLAs raised a banner of revolt in October 2010. An emergency strategy meeting held late on Friday night at the chief minister’s residence was attended by ministers Janardhana Reddy, Sriramulu and Jagadish Shettar besides others. The meeting discussed at length the ways and means to win over the rebels. According to sources close to the chief minister, talks have been initiated already with five rebel BJP MLAs.
Another Operation Lotus looms large over Karnataka as Yeddyurappa is gearing up to further consolidate his hold on the government and the party after the resounding victory in the by-polls. With Reddy brothers fighting for survival under the judicial onslaught on illegal mining in the state, Yeddyurappa sees no real strong enemies who could pose any threat in the near future.
Eight months in the wildness have taught a few lessons to the 16 rebel MLAs. Some of them have run out of steam. Yeddyurappa could see a window of opportunity here as he is yet to fill six vacant slots in his ministry. He needs the support of just three more members to touch the magic figure of 113 in the 224-member state assembly. His backroom boys are confident of having the last laugh this time too.
For any more defiance on part of the rebels will only lead to collapse of the government, at the worst. Not all of them are resourceful enough to fight an election now and definitely not all of them are confident of getting elected again. So the state is all set to witness yet another round of political high drama as Yeddyurappa gears up to unleash one more operation for his survival. The results of the by-elections too have come in handy for the chief minister in this battle of nerves.

Was graft a major issue in TN polls?

NEW DELHI: For cynics who scoffed at the crowds gathered to support the anti-corruption call given by Anna Hazare a few weeks back, the assembly election verdict in Tamil Nadu could be an answer that will make them sit up and take notice. While historically corruption has never been an issue that has evoked anger against the political institution in the Indian voter, this could change. Social scientists and political watchers believe that corruption may have a marginal impact in the present election but it is an influence that will continue to grow in the political debate.

Social commentators are divided in their assessment of the impact of corruption in this election. While there are some who feel that the 2G scam may have been instrumental in felling the ruling DMK, there are others who say that the pragmatic Indian voter has accepted corruption as part of the polity.

Commenting on the issue, Prof Sudha Pai, professor at JNU's Centre for Political Studies, says, "I think the Raja factor has come home to roost. DMK has had a bad time and this time the allegations are within the family. There is no doubt about the fact that the 2G scam has had an impact in Tamil Nadu. It is not an issue so much in Kerala or West Bengal, but in Tamil Nadu AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa has been taking it up and so have the smaller local parties."

Social commentator Santosh Desai says that it is difficult to rule out corruption as a variable in an election. "I think the unseemly family squabble and the perception that the family was running the state like a fiefdom may have contributed to the defeat. The anger or disappointment against DMK is more personal rather than an institutional anger against corruption because Jayalalithaa's credentials are not great either. But the memory of her scandals seems to have faded in comparison to the form and scale of the recent scams. The 2G spectrum scandal shows that everyone in the family is involved and seems to rub people's nose in it," Desai says.

NGO Janagraaha co-founder Ramesh Ramanathan says that while state level issues are gaining importance, there are still certain things like corruption that affect people across the board. He says, "The issue has an impact and politicians should be sensitive to the fact that it will increasingly be a distinguishing feature. While the pragmatic Indian voter accepts that there is no point in pretending that politicians are not corrupt, increasingly politicians will have to prove that they are cleaner than others. Just as development and governance had become issues for elections, corruption will also become one."

However, social scientist Shiv Vishvanathan attributes DMK's loss in Tamil Nadu to people's fatigue with Karunanidhi rather than corruption charges. He says that corruption is an issue for non-party politics. "While there has been a spate of scandals corruption is not a major issue. Especially in a place like Tamil Nadu we can see competitive politics with one party is trying to outdo each other. A lot of people are concerned about corruption, it is an issue for non-party politics for gurus like Anna Hazare, Swami Agnivesh but I don't see it translating to votes. It is a pity but the truth. The DMK's loss is more to do with tiredness with the family."

2G case: Court defers order on Kanimozhi’s bail plea to May 20

A CBI special court reserved for May 20 the order on bail moved by the 2G spectrum scam accused - DMK MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar
In a sort of anti-climax, a special court today prolonged the suspense on the bail application of DMK MP Kanimozhi in the 2G spectrum case by deferring the pronouncement of its order till May 20.
“The order is deferred to May 20,” Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini said after marking the presence of all the accused including 43-year-old Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK chief M. Karunanidhi.
Seeing a huge presence of journalists, Justice Saini questioned as to why there were so many journalists and then simply passed the order.
CBI lawyer A.K. Singh told reporters outside the court that the only reason which the judge gave for not pronouncing the order was that it was not ready.
The court also adjourned its pronouncement of order till May 20 on the bail plea of Sharad Kumar, MD and CEO of Kalaignar TV.
Ms. Kanimozhi was accompanied by her husband G. Aravindan and DMK parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu.
Earlier, the court had on May 7 reserved its order on the bail pleas of Ms. Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar after hearing extensive arguments advanced by criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani who, citing the charge sheet, blamed former Telecom Minister A. Raja for the offence attributed to Ms. Kanimozhi.
The special court, designated by the Supreme Court to deal exclusively with the 2G case, has to decide the fate of Ms. Kanimozhi who has been accused of taking Rs. 200 crore bribe for Kalaignar TV from Shahid Usman Balwa’s firm DB Realty.
The CBI has accused her of conspiring with Raja. She has also been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act for taking bribe through Kalaignar TV - a channel run by the DMK - in which the bribe of the 2G scam was rooted.
Speaking to reporters after the court deferred its order on bail pleas of Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said Kanimozhi is not going to escape from CBI’s clutches as more evidence against her is going to come up.
“I do not think she (Ms. Kanimozhi) is going to escape as more evidence is going to come. I do not think this matter is in any way showing that she is going to be let off or that the CBI is going easy on her,” Mr. Swamy said.
Ms. Kanimozhi and Mr. Kumar hold 20 per cent stake each in Kalaignar TV while Mr. Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, who holds the remaining 60 per cent share in the broadcasting channel, has been made a witness.
Kanimozhi appeared before the court on May 6 in compliance with the summons issued after she was named in the second chargesheet.
Pressing for Ms. Kanimozhi’s bail, Mr. Jethmalani had sought to blame Raja and Mr. Sharad Kumar for the alleged offence saying she neither signed any documents nor handled affairs of the company.
“My misfortune is that I am Karunanidhi’s daughter and an MP. I have 20 per cent shares in Kalaignar TV. Show me one overt act of mine which relates to the offence,” he had said.
He had contended that apart from having 20 per cent shares in Kalaignar TV, she does not have any role in running its day-to-day affairs.
CBI opposed her bail plea saying her “complicity” in the alleged bribe given to Kalaignar TV in the 2G scam was clear.
“The transactions (of Rs. 200 crore) are nothing but the transfer of bribe money to Kalaignar TV. Kumar alone cannot be held responsible when a family is having the controlling shares,” special public prosecutor U.U. Lalit had argued.

Assembly polls: Kerala results show religious polarization

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The remarkable rally staged by the Left in Kerala which brought it to the brink of an unexpected victory appears to have been facilitated by a Hindu consolidation behind outgoing chief minister V S Achuthanandan.

The voting pattern displayed a communal polarization across the state, with Christians and Muslims consolidating behind Congress-led UDF, and the Hindu areas going with the CPM-led LDF in almost a repeat of the 1987 state polls.

The Congress and allies won maximum seats in Muslim-dominated Mallapuram and Christian belts Ernakulam and Kottayam. The CPM and allies won in Kannur, Kozhikode, Kollam, Palakkad, Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram, which all have significant Hindu concentration. Ezhavas, the community to which Achuthanandan belongs, were at the vanguard of Hindu consolidation for their man. Their pro-Achuthanandan fervour was evident in the Left's strong showing in Alappuzha where Congress had hoped to do well.

There were a few exceptions, but broadly, the Hindus gravitated towards the Left in reaction to the UDF's aggressive wooing of Christians and Muslims. In fact, Congress had sniffed the risk and decided to field state party chief Ramesh Chennithala to blunt the reaction among Hindus to the projection of Oomen Chandy as UDF's chief ministerial choice.

Unreleased bin Laden audio message called 'puzzling'

Washington (CNN) -- An unreleased audio message from Osama bin Laden, produced in late April, days before his death, in which he talks in support of the so-called "Arab Spring," was seized at the compound during the U.S. raid, according to a U.S. official.
The message refers to the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia but doesn't mention the uprisings in Libya, Yemen, Syria or elsewhere.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the classified nature of the information.
The official said it is "puzzling" that bin Laden would "suddenly join the bandwagon on the uprisings," months after they started and not mention all of the Arab nations in turmoil. For instance, the official said it was a "head scratcher" why bin Laden would not indicate his support for the uprising against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, a man bin Laden detested.
"Why not try to inspire AQIM," said the official, referring to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a regional affiliate.
Since protests began across the Middle East, U.S. officials have said the movement undermined al Qaeda and offered an alternative to dissatisfied youth.
"The revolutions in Tunisia and in Egypt and the protests elsewhere that are leading to reforms in a number of governments I think are an extraordinary setback for al Qaeda," Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said on March 1. "It basically gives the lie to al Qaeda's claim that the only way to get rid of authoritarian governments is through extremist violence."
The U.S. official also said that among the seized materials were written communications from bin Laden expressing his desire to see U.S. President Barack Obama assassinated.
The United States expects to have further interrogations of the three wives of bin Laden who were taken into custody by Pakistani authorities after the U.S. raid on the compound. The U.S. official concurred with a description of the meeting on Friday with all three wives as hostile.

Pakistan's parliament condemns U.S. raid, threatens sanctions

(CNN) -- Pakistan's parliament threatened Saturday to cut off access to a facility used by NATO forces to ferry troops into Afghanistan, signaling a growing rift that began when U.S. commandos killed Osama bin Laden during a raid on a Pakistani compound.
A resolution adopted during a joint session of parliament condemned the U.S. action. It also called for a review of its working agreement with the U.S., demanded an independent investigation and ordered the immediate end of drone attacks along its border region.
Failure to end unilateral U.S. raids and drone attacks will force Pakistan to "to consider taking necessary steps, including withdrawal of (the) transit facility" used by the NATO's International Security Assistance Force, according to the resolution.
U.S. lawmakers have questioned how the world's most wanted terrorist managed to live in plain sight for years in Pakistan -- near the country's elite military academy -- without being detected.
Pakistani and U.S. intelligence officials have said there is no evidence that any active members of Pakistan's military or intelligence establishment knew about or actively protected the al Qaeda leader.
Publicly, leaders in both countries have downplayed a rift.
But the unanimous resolution made clear there was a growing dissatisfaction among Pakistani lawmakers.
The resolution also ordered a review of its counter-terrorism cooperation agreement with the United States.
The government is deeply "distress(ed) on the campaign to malign Pakistan, launched by certain quarters in other countries without appreciating Pakistan's determined efforts and immense sacrifices in combating terror," the resolution said.
It also said more than 30,000 Pakistani civilians and more than 5,000 military personnel had been killed in its fight against terror "and the blowback emanating from actions of the NATO/ISAF forces in Afghanistan."
Anger over U.S. drone strikes has mounted during the past year after it stepped up efforts along the Pakistani-Afghan border.
On Friday, a suspected U.S. drone strike killed four suspected Islamic militants in the Datta Khel region of North Waziristan, according to two Pakistani intelligence officials. They said an unmanned aircraft fired four missiles at a militant's vehicle on the border area.
The demands by the Pakistani civilian government come as new details emerge about the raid on bin Laden's Abbottabad compound.
Members of the U.S. Navy SEAL team that attacked the compound were wearing helmet-mounted digital cameras that recorded the mission, a U.S. military official told CNN on Friday.
The official described the digital recording as hazy, fast-moving and subject to poor lighting in the rooms. The source also said it is hard to get clear images from the footage.
"This is not movie-quality stuff," the official said.
An official familiar with the material seized from the compound said Friday that Navy SEALs recovered a stash of pornography. The official would not discuss exactly where it was found, what it was or whether it is believed to belong to the al Qaeda leader or to someone else living at the site, such as bin Laden's couriers or his son.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
Bin Laden's compound is also undergoing intense analysis, and U.S. officials say he apparently enjoyed a support network in Pakistan that allowed him to stay in one location for the past several years. He had no escape plan or means to destroy his reams and gigabytes of documents in the event of an enemy assault, according to the U.S. sources.
Two U.S. lawmakers joined a public chorus for the release of photos of bin Laden's body after seeing the images themselves.
"These are very graphic, gruesome pictures," said Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado. But seeing them "gave me a sense of finality and closure."
A conservative legal watchdog group has filed the first lawsuit seeking the public release of the video and photographs of the raid and its aftermath.
Judicial Watch is asking the Department of Defense to comply with a Freedom of Information request for the material, especially photos of bin Laden's body. The legal complaint to force compliance was made in federal court in Washington on Friday.