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Ex-skipper Mohammad Azharuddin to contest on Congress ticket

COUNTERING AP ALLIANCE: With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in AP, Azhar’s entry will boost Cong’s confidence.

With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in AP, Azhar

Former cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin may contest the coming Lok Sabha polls on a Congress ticket. The Congress leadership has been in touch with him for the past few months.

With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in Andhra Pradesh, Azharuddin’s entry will boost the confidence of the Congress.

Azharuddin will be used by Congress to counter the powerful MIM influence on Muslim voters in Hyderabad.

The batsman might stand from his hometown Hyderabad. He has a huge fan-following there despite his premature exit from the world of cricket following allegations of match fixing in the late 90s.

Azhar has kept a low profile since his exit from the Indian cricket scene and runs a successful event management firm.

Speculation was rife in February last year that he may either join or campaign for the Telangana Rastra Samiti in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation polls. The talk was sparked by the hour-long luncheon meeting he had with TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao.

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January 20, 2009 Posted by | Cricket, Elections, General, India Related, Politics, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Millions to watch Obama become US’ first black President

WAITING FOR OBAMA: People with masks of Barack Obama wave during a ‘Bye Bye Bush’ demonstration in Spain.

People with masks of Barack Obama wave during a

Barack Obama will become the first black president of the United States of America on Tuesday.

He came, he campaigned and he conquered and now Obama’s swearing-in ceremony will watched across the world.

Inauguration Day in the US is steeped in tradition. The president-elect and family will start their day with the morning service at the St Johns Church.

Obama and vice-president elect Joe Biden and their families will then proceed to the White House, where they will be greeted by outgoing President George W Bush. The swearing-in ceremony will be held at the US Capital.

First Joe Biden will take the oath of office and then Barack Obama raising his right hand and putting his other hand on the Bible will be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts and attend inaugural parade.

On the eve of his inauguration, Obama paid tribute to the man who ushered in the social change which has helped US get its first black president – Martin Luther King

“Never forget that the true character of our nation is revealed not during times of comfort and ease but by the right we do when the moment is hard. I ask you to help reveal that character once more. And, together, we can carry forward as one nation and one people the legacy of our forefathers that we celebrate today,” said Obama.

Over 2 million people are expected to watch the swearing-in ceremony as well as Obama give his inaugural address.

At Penysalvania they are anticipating 3,00,000 people for viewing stands and many others will watch teh inaugural parade.

It is difficult to say what strikes the most about the next US president. Is it Barack Obama’s background, his education or is it his youth?

It is perhaps a combination of all of them, expressed in that one word – charisma.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Elections, General, Politics, USA, USA Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sanjay Dutt gets a Rs 3-crore bus for poll campaign

Sanjay Dutt’s luxury cruise caravan is being built on an original Volvo chassis.

Sanjay Dutt

Sanjay Dutt, a new entrant to the field politics, is kicking off his new career in style.

The Bollywood star is all set for smashing debut at the political box office in Lucknow and it’s time now for the Samajwadi party candidate to do a bit of travelling.

Dutt is getting a Rs 3-crore luxury Volvo caravan, equipped with a shower and a toilet for his campaign trails.

The luxury cruise caravan is being built on an original Volvo chassis complete with all the comforts of home.

“The forward section has an office lounge section. The central section has a bar and complete set-up which houses all the DVDs, the play station, the X-Box, computers,” says Dilip Chhabria of DC Design Pvt Ltd.

The designer says Sanjay designed it for his outdoor movie shoots. Sources close to the actor believe otherwise and say he would also be using it for his election campaigns in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of North India.

The luxury vehicle could even be a gift from the Samajwadi Party.

“Sanjay Dutt’s specification was very, very clear. He wanted a vehicle that could spell a wow,” says Chhabria.

The caravan has been nine months in the making and would be delivered to Sanjay Dutt soon.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Bollywood, Cinema, Elections, General, India Related, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Superstar Rajnikanth to join BJP?

Tamil Nadu superstar Rajnikanth

He is South India’s biggest super star and for almost two decades now his entry into politics has been speculated. And, with the general elections around the corner once again there is strong buzz of Rajnikanth taking the plunge.

BJP prime ministerial candidate LK Advani’s visit to Rajnikanth’s house in Chennai has sent tongues wagging. Sources said that Advani wants Rajni to hop onboard and campaign for the BJP in the upcoming elections.

However, when both were quizzed about the same, they were tight lipped. Advani said, ” I had an invitation from him to visit his house for a long time and I used the opportunity since I was here in Chennai.”

“Rajnikanth had been pressing me for a long time to visit his place. Today I accepted the invitation. We discussed many things, including his latest film. It was a happy meeting with him and his family,” the BJP leader said.

Advani said that it was long standing desire of Rajanikanth and himself for a meeting. “It was fulfilled today,” he said.

Advani was in Chennai yesteday in connection with the release of the Tamil version of his autobiography.

Advani welcomed Rajnikant’s statement that he would come to politics if god asked him to do so.
“I had appreciated his decision that he will come to politics when god wills,” Advani said.

Following the meet, Rajnikanth also kept mum and said, “It was just a casual visit.”

And, with superstar Chiranjeevi having launched a political party recently, several Rajni fans want to see their favourite star do the same. The meeting assumes significance in the wake of the demand by Rajnikant’s fans asking him to enter politics.

However, he had been resisting such demands but recently announced that he would undertake a tour of the state to meet his fans. He had also promised that he would be frequently meeting them.

Rajnikanth is not averse to the idea expect he says that he’s wating for a sign from the Gods to make the plunge. He had said, “No one can compel me. What has to happen will surely happen. God’s sign has to come. If God’s sign comes, I can even start a party tomorrow.”

During the run up to the 2004 elections Rajnikanth had declared that he will vote for the BJP, but stopped short of asking his fans also to support the party. The saffron party is hoping that this time too Rajni will indicate his support, even if he does not make a political plunge.

November 13, 2008 Posted by | Elections, General, India Related, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bush congratulates Obama on awesome night

US President George W Bush telephoned his apparent successor, Democrat Barack Obama, to congratulate him on his “awesome night,” according to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

“Mr President-elect, congratulations to you. What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters. Laura and I called to congratulate you and your good bride,” she quoted Bush as telling Obama.

“I promise to make this a smooth transition. You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations and go enjoy yourself,” Bush told Obama late on Tuesday night, she said.

The President also invited Obama and his family “to visit the White House soon, at their convenience,” Perino said.

Bush was also to reach out to Obama’s defeated rival, Republican John McCain, who conceded the fight shortly after 11:00 pm (0930 IST).

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Elections, General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

America’s vote out: goodbye President Bush

Bush at a graduation ceremony for FBI Agents in Quantico, Va.

TERM OVER: Bush at a graduation ceremony for FBI Agents in Quantico, Va.

Even before one vote was counted, this result was clear: The US presidential race was a verdict on George W Bush.

Both Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain positioned themselves as agents of change—that is, change from Bush.

The US President’s approval ratings have hovered near historically low levels—it was just 26 percent in an AP-GfK poll conducted a couple of weeks before Election Day—and he was a factor in voters’ decision-making no matter how much he tried to keep out of the race.

Obama seized on Bush’s standing to make him a political liability for McCain, who in turn separated himself aggressively from the face of his own party as the campaign closed.

The President’s face has been such a fixture in anti-McCain ads that it was up to Laura Bush to add a touch of lightness to her husband’s woes.

“I’m really looking forward to Election Day,” she said at a Republican campaign event in Kentucky on Monday, “partly because it seems like George has been on the ticket this entire year.”

The quietest place in Washington on Tuesday may have been the White House itself.

The President voted absentee several days ago, so there was no video of him at his precinct, no statements to reporters, no public appearance whatsoever.

Bush planned to spend his evening in the White House residence, watching TV coverage of election results and hosting a small dinner with his wife, Laura.

There was sure to be at least some celebrating—Tuesday is the first lady’s birthday. Otherwise, it was a day when the White House purposely went dark.

“He realises this election is not about him,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said heading into voting day.

Tuesday marked the first time in 14 years—a period when Bush twice won the Texas governorship and the presidency—that he was not on the ballot.

Many pundits had no doubt about Tuesday’s outcome. Among them: Karl Rove, once of Bush’s closest aides and the architect of his two successful presidential runs. On election eve, Rove distributed his last analysis of the electoral map. It predicted Obama winning easily, with 338 electoral votes. It takes 270 to win.

The title of Rove’s e-mail: “The End.” He was referring to the election, but there was also a feeling of finality at the White House.

Outside, the post-Bush transition was starting. Construction workers churned away on Inauguration Day grandstands along Pennsylvania Avenue.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Elections, General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

OBAMA ELECTED US PRESIDENT

Democrat Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States.

HISTORY MADE: Democrat Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States.

Democrat Barack Obama wrote his name indelibly into the pages of American history on Wednesday, engineering a social and political upheaval to become the country’s first black president-elect in a runaway victory over Republican John McCain.

The 72-year-old Arizona senator quickly called his opponent to concede defeat and congratulate his rival in the longest and most costly presidential campaign in American history.

The 47-year-old Illinois senator, son of a white mother from Kansas and an African father from Kenya, mined a deep vein of national discontent, promising Americans hope and change throughout a nearly flawless 21-month campaign for the White House.

Obama stepped through a door opened 145 years ago when Abraham Lincoln, a fellow Illinois politician, issued the Emancipation Proclamation that freed African-Americans from enslavement in the rebellious South in the midst of a wrenching civil war.

The powerful orator lays claim to the White House on Jan. 20, only 43 years after the country enacted a law that banned the disenfranchisement of blacks in many Southern states where poll taxes and literacy tests were common at the time.

With victories in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and other battleground states, Obama built a commanding lead over McCain after surging in the polls in the midst of a national financial crisis. He and his fellow Democrats sought to link McCain to the unpopular George W. Bush.

Obama soared into the national spotlight with his electrifying speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when he was making his first run for the Senate and polishing his message of unity in a country that was mired in partisan anger.

Democrats also were expanding their majorities in both chambers of Congress.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Elections, General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama establishes double digit lead over McCain

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle embrace during a rally in Miami. (AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle embrace during a rally in Miami. (AP)

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has established a double digit lead over his Republican rival John McCain just two weeks ahead of crucial elections, a just released poll says.
The ‘Wall Street Journal-NBC News’ poll found that 52 per cent voters favour Obama against 42 per cent who support McCain, showing a four per cent increase since the poll two weeks ago. The poll has a margin of error plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

The poll says that a growing number of voters said that they were comfortable with the Democrat’s values, background and ability to serve as commander-in-chief.

It’s the largest lead in the Journal/NBC poll so far, and represents a steady climb for Senator Obama since early September, when the political conventions concluded with the candidates in a statistical tie.

“Voters have reached a comfort level with Barack Obama,” said Peter D Hart, a Democratic pollster who conducts the poll with Republican Neil Newhouse.Though most voters polled said that McCain is better prepared for the White House than the first-term Obama, there are increasing concerns about the readiness of McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the poll showed.

The race, the Journal said, has rested largely on the question of whether voters could get comfortable with Obama, the first African-American to run on a major party ticket, and one who has been on the national political scene for just a few years.

McCain has worked to stoke concerns about Obama’s past and his qualifications, raising questions about his rival’s character and his association with 1960s-era radical William Ayers. The new poll suggests that these attacks haven’t worked. The poll found that Obama now holds a 12-percentage-point advantage with independents, a group both sides have fiercely sought. Two weeks ago, Obama led this group by just four percentage points. In mid-September, independents favoured McCain by 13 points.

Obama leads suburban voters by 12 percentage points, up from two points two weeks ago. He leads among older voters, those over 65-years-old, by nine points, erasing a one-point McCain advantage from the last poll. And in the Midwest, home

to a swath of battleground states, he is now favoured by 25 points, up from a one-point advantage.

Some daily tracking polls, the journal said, have found a tighter race between McCain and Obama in recent days.

Real Clear Politics, a Web site that averages major polls, shows Obama up by 7.2 percentage points.

Others have found a larger spread, such as one released Tuesday by the Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press, a nonpartisan research group. That poll found a 14-point advantage for Obama among registered voters.

Many polls also show McCain lagging in key battleground states, which hold the electoral votes that could decide the race.

Obama, the paper said, has also eaten into traditional Republican advantages, notably on taxes, despite McCain’s attempts to make the issue a central economic theme of the campaign’s closing days.

In the mid-September Journal poll, McCain was favoured 41 per cent to 37 per cent when voters were asked which candidate would be “better on taxes.” This week’s poll found Obama leading on the issue by 48 per cent to 34 per cent.

That, the Journal says, may be partly due to Obama’s argument that McCain would raise taxes on health-insurance benefits. While McCain’s health plan does raise some taxes, the plan overall represents a net tax cut, the paper said, citing independent estimates.

October 22, 2008 Posted by | Elections, General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Americans don’t want another debate between Obama, McCain:Poll

With 67 per cent Americans not wishing to see another debate between Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain, both the White House hopefuls have hit the stretch in the battleground and critical states hoping to put behind “Joe The Plumber” and “Joe The Six Pack”.

The polls of the last few days may have shown Senator Obama in the lead of at least eight points; but the latest CNN Gallup showed the race was really tightening and even close to about a two-point spread between the candidates in favour of the Illinois Democrat.

At the heart of the candidates’ struggle is the political mid-west like Ohio and Pennsylvania that the candidates have started hitting very intently; but some of the focus is also on states like New Hampshire that Senator Obama slipped in the primaries to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Three debates, and over 20 months, John McCain still has not explained a single thing he would do differently from George W Bush when it comes to the most important economic issues we face today. Not one. Here’s the truth, New Hampshire, John McCain voted with George Bush 90 per cent of the time. That has not change. It is more of the same,” Obama said in New Hampshire.

“He wants to keep giving tax cuts to corporations that ship our jobs overseas. I want to give tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the US. He wants to give more tax cuts to Fortune 500 CEOs. I want to give 95 per cent of working families the tax relief that they deserve. He wants to double down on health care policies that will only work for the healthy and the wealthy. I want to cut costs and expand coverage for all Americans,” Obama said in a rhetoric that is all too well known on the political trail.

October 18, 2008 Posted by | Elections, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment