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Goa

Football: Churchill Brothers are I-League champions

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Goa's Churchill Brothers and their fans celebrate after the team won the I-League Trophy  in Vasco on May 7, 2013.
Goa's Churchill Brothers and their fans celebrate after the team won the I-League Trophy in Vasco on May 7, 2013.

Goa's Churchill Brothers clinched their second I-League title after they managed a 1-1 draw against Mohun Bagan at the Tilak Maidan here today.

The draw took Churchill’s points tally to an insurmountable 52 points with a match in hand. 
 
Pune FC is the only team which can have the same number of points but Churchill enjoy a better head-to-head record against Pune FC which made them the champions.
 
C.S. Sabeeth had provided Mohun Bagan with a super lead inside 17 minutes but India Captain Sunil Chhetri scored the goal that mattered the most.
 
Churchill Brothers seemed extremely nervous at the start and could not enforce their free-flowing game. With the prospect of winning the title possibly weighing heavily on their minds, Churchill were hesitant to move forward.
 
Mohun Bagan, in sharp contrast, were relaxed and dominated the early parts of the match.
 
Bagan surged ahead in the 27th minute when Quinton Jacobs snatched the ball from Brazilian midfielder Roberto Mendes da Silva and sent a long ball which Sabeeth did well to control, then beat two markers and finish from an acute angle.
 
It was this goal that silenced the crowd but was in tune with the proceedings on the field. Bagan was the far superior side and it showed till the end of the first half as Churchill Brothers rarely troubled the rival defence.
 
In the second session, Bagan continued from where they had left. The visitors had a great chance to make it 2-0 and possibly kill Churchill’s resolve but Syed Rahim Nabi, shockingly, shot wide from very close range after Sandip Nandy had barely managed to parry the ball away.
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With time running out, Churchill’s Technical Director Subhash Bhowmick introduced Afghanistan striker for Brazilian midfielder Robert. Formations were changed and soon enough, Churchill found the spark they were looking for. Balal, along with Gabon striker Henri Arnaud, created ripples in the rival defence with their speed.
 
Bagan had survived some nervous moments when defender Celestin Echezona had effected a goalline save to keep out Bineesh Balan’s header. A few minutes later, Balan again went close, this time stopped in his tracks by goalkeeper Shilton Paul.
 
Bagan, however, could not hang on for long. In the 72nd minute, a cross from the right by Denzil Franco saw Chhetri rise high above the defence to head the goal that sent the crowd into a frenzy. It was a goal that Churchill needed and a goal that got them the point that they had been looking out for.
 
When the final whistle was blown, the crowd erupted in joy. The team celebrated a famous triumph.
 
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Goa Tourism to host Heritage Festival from April 18–21

The 125-year-old Mae De Deus Church at Saligao in Goa, the venue of the Heritage Festival organized by Goa Tourism from April 18-21.
The 125-year-old Mae De Deus Church at Saligao in Goa, the venue of the Heritage Festival organized by Goa Tourism from April 18-21.

The Department of Tourism, Government of Goa has organized a Goa Heritage Festival at Saligao from April 18-21 to showcase and promote the state's rich and unique heritage.

The festival, being held for the first time, will coincide with the World Heritage Day, which falls on April 18, a press release from the department said.
 
The release said the festival, which will be held near Mae de Deus Church at Saligao, a 125-year-old heritage structure, is being organized in collaboration with the Goa Tourism Development Corporation.
 
It will be inaugurated by Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
 
“Through this festival, domestic as well as international tourists will get an opportunity to witness our heritage and even interact with local artisans. We invite everyone to come and experience this authentic Goan festival,” Goa Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said.
 
During the festival, tourists will be able to witness artisans displaying their crafts with live demonstrations. There will also be stalls exhibiting Goan crafts like pottery, woodcraft, crochet, marco, handicrafts, and coconut craft. A Goan food court will offer visitors traditional cuisine along with Goan desserts.
 
A gallery will be set up to exhibit ancient Goan photographs titled ‘Great Goans in History’ that will showcase the traditional way of life for Goans. There will be a section for heritage items used by the Goans along with Konkani books. Visitors will also be able to participate in workshops for traditional Goan theatre, dances and other forms of art. Konkani films will also be screened during the festival.
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The entertainment programme will include performances of Goan dances like Dhalo, Mando, Fugdi, Ghode Modni, Goff, Divli dance, Kunbi dance, Kalshi dance, and fisherfolk dance along with a special exhibition on extinct Goan traditional items like Jagor, Morulo, Khel Tiatr, brass band, etc.
 
There will be a fashion show on traditional Goan wear by well-known Goan designer Verma D’Mello, Konkani songs by Sonia Shirsat, and classical performance by Praveen Gaonkar among others. 
 
Goa’s artistic history will be highlighted by Kanta Gawde & Troupe, Amelia Dias and Troupe, John Fernandes & Troupe, Ajit Kundaikar & Troupe, Pundalik Sawant & Troupe, Marianela Gina & Troupe, Mil Mel Nel, and others. Eminent personalities from Goa will be felicitated in appreciation of their contribution in various fields, the release added.
 
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36 killed, 18 injured as Goa-Mumbai bus veers off bridge in Maharashtra

At least 36 people were killed and another 18 injured when a private bus they were travelling in veered off a bridge over the Jagdbudi river near Khed in Ratnagari district of Maharashtra in the early hours of Tuesday.
 
Over 30 feared dead in bus accident in Ratnagiri

At least 36 people were killed and another 18 injured when a private bus they were travelling in veered off a bridge over the Jagdbudi river near Khed in Ratnagari district of Maharashtra in the early hours of today.

Five of those killed and one of the injured passengers were foreigners, police sources said.
 
Ratnagiri district collector Rajeev Jadhav told NetIndian over the telephone that the mishap occurred around 0315 hours today when the bus was on its way from Goa to Mumbai.
 
Mr Jadhav said rescue operations had been completed, and all the victims had been extricated from the wreckage of the bus. All the injured had been taken to the civil hospital at Khed, about 120 km from Ratnagiri district headquarters.
 
He said some of the injured were in a critical condition. According to him, the bus fell upside down, which led to the higher toll.
 
The police are investigating the cause of the accident. The bus driver was among those injured, sources added.
 
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5-day Goa Carnival to be held from February 8-12

Live performances by Anushka Manchanda, Parikrama, Remo and Indian Ocean, more than 70 stalls serving food, beverages and lifestyle products and a fashion show by ace designer Wendell Rodricks will be the highlights of this year's Goa Carnival that will be held from February 8-13.

Goa Minister for Tourism Dilip Parulekar told journalists that the the festival would be held this year on a much bigger scale and be a more colourful event.
 
“The Goa Carnaval is one of our biggest events of the year. I hope that this event becomes the second-most popular event of the world after the Brazilian Carnival. We have added more attractions this year including the food festival where we have involved 15 other states as well. We urge everyone to join us in the festivities," he said.
 
Mr Parulekar said the other highlights of the event would include a vintage car rally, Serenade parade, Harley Davidson Bike rally and King Momo’s lead float. The event will also see the participation of Bollywood personalities such as Neha Dhupia, Isha Koppikar and Tanushree Dutta.
 
Mr Nikhil Desai, MD of Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) and state Director of Tourism said, “We have taken measures to ensure 100 per cent safety for everyone and have increased the deployment of police force at tourist spots. We are also in the process of increasing room inventory for tourists.”
 
He said the tourism board was keen on promoting Goa not only as an important cultural destination but also for its festivals, heritage and adventure. 
 
The opening ceremony of the carnival will kick off at D.B. Marg, Panaji on February 9.
 
The festival, as usual, will feature float parades in four cities -- Panaji, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa. 
 
The carnival will also comprise live musical performances featuring local bands at Colva and Mapusa from February 9-12. 
 
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IFFI-2012: Spectacular role play on Dadasaheb Phalke moves audiences

Theatre personalities Lillette Dubey and Muzaffar Ali Baig along with thespian M.S. Sathyu at a press conference, during the 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2012), in Panaji, Goa on November 21, 2012.
Theatre personalities Lillette Dubey and Muzaffar Ali Baig along with thespian M.S. Sathyu at a press conference, during the 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2012), in Panaji, Goa on November 21, 2012.

A spectacular role play depicting a dialogue of Indian film industry pioneer Dadasaheb Phalke with his wife Saraswati unraveled the passion that pioneered silent cinema in India at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here yesterday.

The 20-minute production featured Phalke's 43-year journey with all its ups and downs. The initial dream, his struggles, failures, triumphs were beautifully brought out by Muzaffar Ali Baig, who played Phalke, and actress Lillete Dubey, who played the role of Phalke's second wife Saraswati.
 
The various incidents of his life, including pawning of his wife's jewellery to make Raja Harischandra, his first feature film, his qualities of perseverance and perfectionism were brought out in the enactment along with the fact that he died in penury in Nasik. 
 
The script of the play was written by Sharayu Phalke Sammanwar, the great grand niece of Phalke, and was designed by thespian M.S.Sathyu. 
 
The film maker Anurag Basu who was the chief guest at the function said, the Indian film industry has grown tremendously and stands tall and all should celebrate it in a befitting manner. 
 
Mr Uday Kumar Verma, Secretary, Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, said as a part of the Centenary Cinema, the Ministry has taken three initiatives - formation of a Film Promotion Board to give single-window clearances to filmmakers wanting to shoot in India, setting up of a museum of Indian cinema at Gulshan Mahal in Mumbai and formation of the Naftional Film Heritage Mission to safeguard the country's film treasure for posterity. He also called for analyzing to know how the film industry grew in the last 100 years in India. 
 
The theatre presentation was followed by the screening of Raja Harsihchandra and Uday Shankar’s film dance classic Kalapana. 
 
The festival has a centenary package of 14 films from the National Film Archive of India, Pune which includes Achyut Kanya, Sant Tukaram, Pather Panchali, Meghe Dhaka Tara, Pyaasa, Awaara and Pakeejah. 
 
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Colourful performances mark IFFI opening ceremony

Artistes performing at the inaugural ceremony of the 43rd International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2012.
Artistes performing at the inaugural ceremony of the 43rd International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2012.
Artistes performing at the inaugural ceremony of the 43rd International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2012.

43rd International Film Festival of India off to colourful start in Goa

Actor Akshay Kumar lighting the lamp to inaugurate the 43rd International Film Festival, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2012. Goa Governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari, are also seen.
Actor Akshay Kumar lighting the lamp to inaugurate the 43rd International Film Festival, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2012. Goa Governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari, are also seen.

The 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2012) got off to a colourful start here today amidst festivities, glitz and with a promise to make India an international destination of good cinema.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari assured the gathering that the Government, on its part, was taking a number of steps to nurture the Indian film industry and to promote India as a destination for film shooting. 
 
He said that Government was embarking on an ambitious National Film Heritage Mission during the 12th Five Year Plan to preserve India’s film heritage. Moreover, with a view towards encouraging co-production between India and other countries, India has entered into co-production agreements with various countries, he said.
 
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Union Information & Broadcasting Secretary Uday Kumar Varma were amongst the others present on the occasion.
 
Well-known actor Akshay Kumar, who was the chief guest, underlined the need for good and wholesome cinema and said he was proud the event was happening in the centenary year of Indian cinema.
 
Renowned Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi was conferred the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award on the occasion by Mr Tiwari.
 
Known for producing acclaimed films like Camouflage, Family life, and The Silent Touch, Zanussi said amidst a standing ovation that this was the most moving moment of his life and promised to make more films in future. He said the 21st century will be Asia’s century and it is his deep belief that it will be India’s century. 
 
Gautam Ghosh, Chairman of the International Jury and all the jury members were felicitated by IFFI on the occasion.
 
Singer Kailash Kher performing at the inaugural ceremony of the 43rd International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2012.
Singer Kailash Kher performing at the inaugural ceremony of the 43rd International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2012.
Hosted by Kabir Bedi and Perizaad Zorabian, the opening ceremony showcased the evolution of 100 years of Indian cinema through music, dance and videos conceived and directed by Jahnu Barua, Saroj Khan and Sajjad Ali. 
 
The nearly two-hour cultural extravaganza came to a close with the spell-binding renditions of singer Kailash Kher. 
 
Bollywood actors Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Om Puri, Jackie Shroff and Vinay Pathak were amongst those present on the occasion along with renowned film personalities from abroad such as Kim Ki-duk, Michael Winterbottom and Susanne Bier.
 
Academy Award winning director Ang Lee’s much acclaimed 3D film “Life of Pi” was screened later as the opening film of the 10-day festival. The cast and crew of the film including Irrfan Khan and Tabu are present on the occasion. 
 
Over a hundred movies will be screened during the festival as part of the Indian Cinema and World Cinema segments.
 
The Indian Section will bring to the audience movies from across the country in the Indian Panorama (Feature and Non-Feature Section) which is selected by a core jury headed by Buddhadeb Dasgupta for the Feature and M R Rajan for the Non-Feature section. 
 
The Indian Panorama will screen twenty feature films with ‘Baandhon’ directed by Jahnu Barua as the opening film, and nineteen films in the non-feature section with ‘Celluloid Man’ directed by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur as the opening film.
 
Movie lovers will also be treated to a varied line-up of world cinema which will be showcased in sections like ‘Cinema of the World’ which will have a showcase of fifty-one films from forty-two countries with Ang Lee’s 3D film ‘Life of Pi’ as its opening film and Mira Nair’s ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ as its closing film.
 
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43rd International Film Festival of India to begin in Goa on Tuesday

International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Director Shankar Mohan at a press conference in Goa on November 19, 2012.
International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Director Shankar Mohan at a press conference in Goa on November 19, 2012.

More than a hundred movies will be screened in the Indian and World Cinema segments of the 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) beginning in Goa tomorrow.

The opening ceremony will be a celebration of 100 years of India cinema, with actors such as Akshay Kumar, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Om Puri, Jackie Shroff and Vinay Pathak likely to be present.
 
While Akshay Kumar will be the chief guest at the opening ceremony, Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan, singer Kailash Kher and others will be the main attractions at the cultural celebratons.
 
International film personalities such as Plish director Krzysztof Zanussi, who will be conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award, Kim Ki-duk, Michael Winterbottom and Susanne Bier will also be amongst those present.
 
Briefing journalists about the festival here, IFFI director Shankar Mohan said the 10-day event would see the international premiere of Ang Lee’s much anticipated 3D Film ‘Life of Pi’, and also Kim Ki-duk’s‘Pieta’. 
 
Apart from showcasing cinema of varied cultures of the world, the festival will also bring together stalwarts like Nitin Desai, Resul Pookutty, Debabrata Pain, Shyam Benegal, Avy Kaufman, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and David Womark taking Master Classes which will provide the audience with an opportunity of interacting with the masters themselves.
 
As a first of its kind initiative, Canon will do a technical workshop to increase knowledge about the nuances of filmmaking. 
 
The Indian Section will bring to the audience movies from across the country in the Indian Panorama (Feature and Non-Feature Section) which is selected by a core jury headed by Buddhadeb Dasgupta for the Feature and M R Rajan for the Non-Feature section. 
 
The Indian Panorama will screen twenty feature films with ‘Baandhon’ directed by Jahnu Barua as the opening film, and nineteen films in the non-feature section with ‘Celluloid Man’ directed by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur as the opening film. 
 
Apart from the Indian Panorama, the Indian section will bring to the audience varied films in different sections like ‘100 Years of Indian Cinema-A Celebration (Feature & Non-Feature)’ showcasing a selection of movies, ‘FTII: Young at 50’ which will showcase films from Film and Television Institute of India’s fifty years, Retrospective of Soumitra Chatterjee, Special Tribute to Girish Kasaravalli and Muzaffar Ali, Vintage: A Tribute to Masters showcasing works of Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shyam Benegal, D Ramanaidu and K Balachander; Homages to Yash Chopra, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Navodaya Appachan, T Damodaran, Ashok Mehta, Rajen Kothari, A K Hangal, Dara Singh, Joy Mukherjee, Dinesh Thakur and Ravi Shankar Sharma; along with a showcase of Students’ Package and a package of movies celebrating Incredible India. 
 
Apart from the International Competition, the cine lovers at the 43rd IFFI will be treated to a varied line-up of world cinema which will be showcased in sections like ‘Cinema of the World’ which will have a showcase of fifty-one films from forty-two countries with Ang Lee’s 3D film ‘Life of Pi’ as its Opening Film and Mira Nair’s ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ as its Closing Film. 
 
Other sections in the International section include ‘A Cut Above’, ‘Masterstrokes’, ‘Festival Kaleidoscope’, ‘Turkish Currents’, ‘Sketches on Screen’, ‘Retrospective: Susanne Bier’, ‘Special Tribute: Ashok Amritraj’, ‘In Focus: Kim Ki-duk’, ‘Soul of Asia’, ‘Documentaries’ and ‘Homages’. 
 
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Naval helicopter crashes in Goa, three killed

Three Naval personnel, including two officers, were killed when their Chetak helicopter crashed while landing at the Naval Air Station in Goa this morning.

An official press release said the mishap occurred at about 1000 hours today. The helicopter, which was in transit from Mumbai to Bangaore, was to make a scheduled refuelling halt at INS Hansa in Goa.
 
"All three personnel onboard have died in the crash," the release said, adding that a Board of Inquiry to ascertain the cause had been ordered.
 
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Goa's annual plan for 2102-13 finalized at Rs 4700 crore

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia in New Delhi on July 11, 2012
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia in New Delhi on July 11, 2012

Goa's annual plan for 2012-13 was finalized at Rs 4,700 crore at a meeting between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and state Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar here today.

In his comments on the plan performance of the state, Mr Ahluwalia said Goa had been doing exceedingly well and its achievements in all sectors of the economy were satisfactory. He said Goa is an economically developed progressive state and has great local advantage.  He said the state needed to further encourage private participation in the development of both social and physical infrastructure.
 
Mr Ahluwalia said that the Commission was nearing completion of the 12th Plan (2012-17)document and would shortly place it for formal approvals. He said sectors like health and education will have renewed thrust in the plan. The states should engage themselves in continuous evaluation of the major social sector programmes so as to help the Commission in having a realistic assessment and opportunity for timely intervention wherever needed, he said.
 
The state was also appreciated for its achievement in the education sector. It was noticed that the literacy rate in the state has moved up from 82.01% in 2001 to 87.40% as per 2011 census. Male literacy increased from 88.4% in 2001 to 92.8% in 2011, while female literacy increased from 75.4% in 2001 to 81.8% in 2011.
 
It is pertinent to note that the increase in the rate of growth of female literacy as compared to the previous census is higher than their male counterparts, showing that females are fast catching up with their male counterparts in the field of literacy.
 
The gross state domestic product of Goa at constant prices has registered a compound annual growth rate of 10.65% during 2011-12, which is higher than the national growth rate of 6.88%. During the Eleventh Plan (2007-12) the average growth rate is 9.02%, which is marginally higher than the national average growth rate of 9% fixed by the Planning Commission for the Eleventh Five Year Plan period. However, the state could not achieve its target growth rate of 12.1% determined for the Eleventh Plan period.
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Mr. Parrikar said that the objective of the Twelfth Five Year Plan 2012-17 and Annual Plan 2012-13 is to achieve all round development of the state, which would mean not only physical development like infrastructure but also human resource development.
 
He said the major thrust areas will be development of agriculture and allied sectors, along with  increased emphasis on the development of infrastructure. He said the government would take new initiatives aimed at making the state the most investor-friendly destination in the country.
 
Upliftment of the financially weaker sections would be on the priority list. It would also take necessary policy initiatives to ensure realization of full potential from the tourism industry. Focus would be on shifting from low-end tourism to high-end tourism during the 12th plan and for this purpose a new tourism policy is in the anvil, he said.
 
Mr Parrikar said the state government had approved an amount of Rs 26296.28 crore as projected outlay for the Twelfth Five Year Plan (at 2011-12 prices) which is 209.91% higher than the projected outlay of Rs. 8585 crore (at 2006-07 price) for the Eleventh Five Year Plan. The 15 per cent growth target set for the plan would be the highest attempted by any state, he added.
 
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Alva shifted as Rajasthan Governor; Narasimhan, Sankaranarayanan get fresh terms in AP, Maharashtra

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Uttarakhand Governor Margaret Alva was today transferred and appointed as the Governor of Rajasthan for the remainder of her term.

Dr Aziz Qureshi will succeed her as Governor of Uttarakhand, a statement from Rashtrapati Bhavan said. Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil had been holding additional charge of the Rajasthan Governor after the death of Ms Prabha Rau on April 26, 2010.
 
The President also appointed Mr E.S.L. Narasimhan, as Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Mr K. Sankaranarayanan, as Governor of Maharashtra for fresh terms.
 
Mr B V Wanchoo, former head of the Special Protection Group (SPG), which protects the Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and members of their families, has been appointed as the Governor of Goa, the statement added.
 
Dr Qureshi, 72, is a former member of the Lok Sabha from Satna in Madhya Pradesh and a former state minister.
 
He has also practised as a lawyer and been an academician. He has had a long association with the Congress party. 
 
Mr Wanchoo is a retired officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS),1976 batch, from the West Bengal cadre. He was a joint director in the Intelligence Bureau when he was picked up to head the SPG in 2004. He served in that position for more than seven years before retiring in October last year.
 
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Bye-elections to Kerala, Goa assemblies to be held on June 2

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The Election Commission today said bye-elections would be held on June 2 to fill one casual vacancy each in the Kerala and the Goa legislative assemblies.

The seats which are vacant are Neyyattinkara in Kerala and Cortalim in Goa.
 
An official press release said the notification for the bye-elections would be issued on May 9 and the last date for making nominations would be May 16. 
 
Counting of votes in both constituencies will be taken up on June 15, the release added.
 
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Goa Tourism Minister Matanhy Saldanha dies after cardiac arrest

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Matanhy Saldanha
Matanhy Saldanha
Goa Tourism Minister Matanhy Saldanha, who also held the portfolios of Science and Environment, died at a private hospital in Panaji in the early hours of today after suffering a massive cardiac arrest, official sources said.
 
The sources said Saldanha, 63, was rushed to the hospital around 1.30 am where doctors tried hard to revive him but did not succeed.
 
Sources at the Goa Medical College and Hospital said the body had been shifted to the mortuary there while the funeral arrangements were being finalised.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was amongst those who rushed to the hospital on hearing about the news.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator was elected from the Cortalim constituency in the March 3 elections to the Goa Legislative Assembly and had been sworn in as a Minister on March 9 after his party was voted to power.
 
Saldanha had switched to the BJP just before the elections and was among the five Catholic candidates who were given tickets by the party. He had been earlier elected to the Assembly as a candidate of the United Goans Democratic Party (UGDP) and had been a member of the Parrikar government then, too.
 
Saldanha was a leader of the National Fishworkers' Forum, which fights for the rights of traditional fishermen.
 
Born on October 24, 1948 at Carmona in Goa, Saldanha did his B.Sc. and B.Ed. before taking an M.A. in Political Science. He had also done courses in public administration and journalism.
 
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Elections 2012: Sonia accepts verdict, says Manmohan Singh will stay as PM

Congress President Sonia Gandhi said on Wednesday her party accepted the people's verdict in the assembly elections in five states with humility but asserted that Manmohan Singh would stay as Prime Minister and declined to comment on who its Prime Ministerial candidate would be in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
File photo of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
File photo of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said her party accepted the people's verdict in the assembly elections in five states with humility but asserted that Manmohan Singh would stay as Prime Minister and declined to comment on who its Prime Ministerial candidate would be in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Talking to mediapersons after a meeting of senior leaders of the party, which reviewed the results of the elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, Gandhi said the results were "less than what we had expected".
 
"We humbly accept the people's verdict," she said, adding that the party would conduct a detailed analysis of its performance in each of the five states and take corrective action, wherever necessary.
 
"Every election is a lesson for us, whether we win or lose," she said, adding that the party leadership would sit with their colleagues from the states to work out a plan to take corrective action where it was necessary.
 
Asked if there was a possibility that the party would consider replacing Singh as Prime Minister, Gandhi said, "The question simply does not arise".
 
But asked who the party's Prime Ministerial candidate would be in the 2014 elections, she quipped, "We are in 2012 now, right? There is still time."
 
She also asserted that the results of the elections in five states would have no impact on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre.
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The remarks came a day after the Samajwadi Party swept to power in Uttar Pradesh, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine retained power in Punjab and the BJP wrested power from the Congress in Goa. The Congress was voted to power for a third consecutive term in Manipur while there was a split verdict in Uttarakhand, where the Congress got 32 seats and the BJP 31 in the 70-member house, which left the others, including the BSP and independents, with a crucial role in government-formation.
 
Elections to the five states were held between January 28 and March 3 and counting of votes was taken up yesterday.
 
Gandhi said her party's performance may have been affected in some cases by wrong selection of candidates. About its poor show in the Gandhi family bastion of Amethi, Rai Bareli and Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, she said it was not the first time that the Congress had lost there. She said the sitting MLAs had lost, which could mean the people were unhappy with them, while the new candidates had won.
 
Pointing out that Congress General Secretary and her son Rahul Gandhi had already spoken about the party's performance in UP and taken responsibility for its defeat, she said the organization was weak in the state. "Also, people of UP were angry with the BSP, and saw the SP as the alternative," she said.
 
She said the party leaders in charge of various states had worked hard for the elections. She said the wrong choice of candidates had led to rebel candidates being set up in some places.
 
"We did have better hopes in Punjab," she said, adding that the PPP, set up by former SAD leader Manpreet Singh Badal, had damaged the Congress more than the SAD in about 23 seats.
 
About the Goa results, she said, "Many voters were obviously unhappy with us and voted against us."
 
Asked if the party would stake claim to forming a government in Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi said, "The numbers are with us...and in a democracy, numbers are important, aren't they?"
 
Asked if the party had fared badly in the elections because of a lack of leadership at the state level, Gandhi quipped, "Rather than a lack of leaders, I think there are too many leaders and, perhaps, that is our problem". She acknowledged that issues like inflation could have been a factor.
 
Gandhi said the party needed to pull up its socks and prepare for the next round of elections in states such as Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka.
 
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SP to decide on UP CM on Wednesday, BJP to stake claim in Goa, close call in Uttarakhand

The Samajwadi Party has ended up with 224 seats in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly as counting of votes in elections in five states, including Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, came to a close late Tuesday night and attention turned to the task of government-formation.
File photo of Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav, who led the party to a spectacular win in the UP Assembly Elections, the results of which were announced on March 6, 2012.
File photo of Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav, who led the party to a spectacular win in the UP Assembly Elections, the results of which were announced on March 6, 2012.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) led by former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has ended up with 224 seats in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly as counting of votes in elections in five states, including Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, came to a close late last night and attention turned to the task of government-formation.
 
The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) came in a distant second in Uttar Pradesh with 80 seats, far below the 206 seats it had won on its way to power in the 2007 elections.
 
The BJP bagged 47 seats and the Congress ended up in fourth position with 28 seats, with only a marginal improvement over the 22 seats it had won in the 2007 elections. Congress ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), headed by Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, won 9 seats and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 1, while others accounted for 14 seats.
 
In Uttarakhand, the ruling BJP and the Congress ended up in a photo-finish. The Congress had a slight edge, having won 32 seats while the BJP bagged 31 in the 70-member house. Much will depend now on which way the others, including three BSP winners, decide to go. The Uttarkhand Kranti Dal (P) got one seat and others three. The BJP suffered a major setback when Chief Minister B C Khanduri lost from his own constituency in Uttarakhand.
 
In Punjab, where the SAD and the Congress have been alternately voted to power for the last 45 years, the SAD-BJP combine returned to power for the second straight term, bucking that trend.
Of the 117 seats in the Punjab assembly, the SAD won 56, its ally BJP got 12 and the Congress had to rest content with 46. Three seats went to others.
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In Goa, the opposition BJP regained power, winning 21 of the 40 seats in the House. The ruling Congress ended up with 9 seats, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) 3 and others won 7 seats.
 
In Manipur, the Congress won a decisive victory for a third consecutive term in office. It won 42 seats in the 60-member assembly. The Trinamool Congress won seven seats, the Naga People's front 4, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Lok Jan Shakti Party 1 each. Others won five seats.
 
With the process of counting of votes over, the focus has now turned to the formation of new governments in the five states.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party parliamentary board is expected to meet today to formally choose its nominee for the Chief Minister's post, after which the party will meet the Governor to formally stake its claim to form the next government. Outgoing Chief Minister Mayawati of the BSP will submit her resignation to the Governor earlier during the day.
 
State Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has already said that the entire party wanted to see party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, his father, as the next Chief Minister. If the senior Yadav, a former Union Defence Minister, takes up the job, it will be his fourth innings as Chief Minister of India's most populous state. There also some in the party who think that the job should go to Akhilesh, who led the party's campaign in the elections.
 
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In Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, 84, is expected to return as Chief Minister for the fifth time, though there are some in the state who would like to see the mantle pass on to his son Sukhbir, 49, who led the party's campaign on the twin planks of development and governance.
 
The BJP-MGP combine is expected to meet the Governor K Sankaranarayanan in Panaji today to stake claim to form the next government in Goa. Before that, the newly-elected legislators of the BJP are slated to hold a meeting in the presence of central observers M Venkaiah Naidu and Ravi Shankar Prasad and choose the leader of the group, widely expected to be former chief minister Manohar Parrikar. The combine is expected to claim the support of two independents whom it had backed during the elections.
 
The situation in Uttarakhand is still fluid, though the Congress would appear to have a slight edge. Three of the independents are Congress rebels, whom the party can be expected to woo. The Congress legislature party is slated to meet this evening to take stock of the situation. If the Congress is able to form the next government in the hill state, Union Minister Harish Rawat and state Congress chief Yashpal Arya would be the front-runners for the job.
 
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SP sweeps to power in UP, SAD-BJP combine retains Punjab, BJP regains Goa

The Samajwadi Party swept to a spectacular and decisive win in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine won a second straight term in office in Punjab as counting of votes progressed in elections to legislative assemblies in five states today.
File photo of Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav, who led the party to a spectacular win in the UP Assembly Elections, the results of which were announced on March 6, 2012.
File photo of Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav, who led the party to a spectacular win in the UP Assembly Elections, the results of which were announced on March 6, 2012.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) of Mulayam Singh Yadav swept to a spectacular and decisive win in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine won a second straight term in office in Punjab as counting of votes progressed in elections to legislative assemblies in five states today.

In Uttarakhand, the ruling BJP and the Congress were locked in a close contest. The Congress had a slight edge, having won 32 seats while the BJP bagged 31 in the 70-member house. Much will depend now on which way the others, including three BSP winners, decide to go. 
 
Overall, the results did not bring very good news for the Congress and the BJP, the two prominent national parties in the fray. The Congress won a third consecutive term in office in Manipur and the BJP wrested power back from the Congress in Goa, but the big prize - UP - eluded both of them.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, with results for all but one of the 403 seats out, the Samajwadi Party had won 224 seats and was leading in one, making for a possible final tally of 225 against the 202 required for a simple majority. The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was a distant second with 79 seats, far below the 206 seats it had won on its way to power in the 2007 elections.
 
The BJP bagged 47 seats and the Congress ended up in fourth position with 28 seats, with only a marginal improvement over the 22 seats it had won in the 2007 elections. Congress ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), headed by Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, won 9 seats while others accounted for 14 seats.
 
In Punjab, where the SAD and the Congress have been alternately voted to power for the last 45 years, the SAD-BJP combine returned to power for the second straight term, bucking that trend.
 
Of the 117 seats in the Punjab assembly, the SAD won 56, its ally BJP got 12 and the Congress had to rest content with 46. Three seats went to others.
 
In Uttarakhand, the ruling BJP and the Congress were engaged in a very closely fought contest. The Congress ended up with 32 and the BJP with 31. The BSP won three seats, the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P) one and others three. 
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The BJP suffered a major setback when Chief Minister B C Khanduri lost from his own constituency in Uttarakhand.
 
In Goa, the opposition BJP regained power, winning 21 of the 40 seats in the House. The ruling Congress ended up with 9 seats, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party 3 and others won 7 seats.
 
In Manipur, the Congress won a decisive victory for a third consecutive term in office. It won 42 seats in the 60-member assembly. The Trinamool Congress won seven seats, the Naga People's front 4, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Lok Jan Shakti Party 1 each. Others won five seats.
 
The results came as a major disappointment for the Congress, which heads the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre, especially because the elections were held roughly half-way through its second term in Delhi and the results are likely to be seen as an indication of the public mood.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, particularly, the party had put up a spirited campaign led by its General Secretary and heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi, who addressed more than 200 election meetings across the state in a valiant effort to revive its fortunes in India's most important state in political terms.
 
The party's performance will, in the circumstances, be seen as a major setback to it, reminding many of its poor show in the last Bihar assembly elections. To add salt to its wounds, the Samajwadi Party does not need its support to form the next government in UP. The results in Punjab and Uttarakhand have also suprised the Congress, given that it was hoping to achieve clear victories in the two states.
 
Much will be made in the coming days of Gandhi's failure to convert the huge numbers at his election rallies into votes and there are bound to be questions asked about his vote-catching abilities.
 
Gandhi appeared before journalists to accept responsibility for the party's poor showing and said that he would continue to work to revive the Congress in UP so that it could win elections in the state.
 
While the SP celebrated in Lucknow and elsewhere in UP, things were absolutely quiet at the BSP office, which was, in fact, closed. State SP president Akhilesh Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, said his party would implement all the promises made in its election manifesto. He also made it clear that the entire party wanted Mulayam Singh Yadav to take up the Chief Minister's job.
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For the BJP, the results can hardly be described as good news, though it has won in Goa and is on the winning side in Punjab. But its number has fallen from 19 in 2007 to 12 this time. Similarly, it has not been able to improve on its performance in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and is nowhere in the picture in Manipur.
 
Prominent winners in Uttar Pradesh today included BJP leaders Uma Bharti and Kalraj Mishra, state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi and RLD leader Ajit Singh's son Jayant Chaudhary.
 
In Punjab, the winners included chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal of the SAD, former chief minister Amarinder Singh of the Congress, and Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma. BJP MP Navjyot Singh Sidhu's wife Navjyot Kaur and former Indian hockey captain Pargat Singh (SAD) were also among the winners.
 
Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, state Congress chief Gaikhangam were among the prominent winners in Manipur.
 
In Uttarakhand, former chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and Congress leader Harak Singh Rawat were among the prominent winners.
 
In Goa, chief minister Digambar Kamat, BJP's Manohar Parrikar, who is likely to succeed him and Speaker Pratapsingh Rane were among the winners.
 
Counting of votes in the five states began at 0800 hours this morning. Polling was held in a single phase on Janaury 28 in Manipur, on January 30 in Uttarakhand and Punjab and on March 3 in Goa, while it was conducted in seven phases between February 8 and March 3 in Uttar Pradesh.
 
The Congress had won just 22 seats in the 2007 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh but was encouraged by the 22 Lok Sabha seats it managed in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The BSP had won 206 seats in the last assembly elections for a majority on its own, while the SP had got 97, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 50 and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh, which was then an ally of the BJP, 10. Independents and others accounted for 17 seats. RLD is an ally of the Congress in these elections.
 
In the last elections, the SAD had won 50 seats, the Congress 42, the BJP 19 and independents 6 in Punjab.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP had won 36 of the 70 seats to gain a wafer-thin majority in the last elections. The party has not been on a srong wicket for some time in the state and had to, in fact, replace its Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal before the polls with B C Khanduri.
 
In Manipur, the Congress managed a simple majority in the last elections by winning 31 of the 60 seats. The Manipur People's Party won five, NCP and CPI four each, the National People's Party and RJD three each, while as many as 10 seats had gone to independents. The Congress' hopes of another term in office is based, in part, on the absence of a unified opposition.
 
In Goa, the Congress had won 16 seats in the 40-member house in the last elections, the BJP 14 and the NCP 3, while the MGP, SGF, UGDP and independents got two seats each.
 
The elections in the five states covered 122 districts and a total electorate of 15.42 crore, about 20 per cent of the total electorate in the country.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful, with no untoward incidents reported from anywhere except for one incident in Manipur.
 
The elections also witnessed the highest voter turnouts ever in UP (60%), Uttarakhand (67.22%), Goa (81%) and Punjab (78.57%). In Manipur (79.35%), the percentage of voting was higher than the figures for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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SP cruises to spectacular win in UP, SAD-BJP retains Punjab, BJP regains Goa

The Samajwadi Party cruised to a spectacular and decisive win in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal -Bharatiya Janata Party combine won a second straight term in office in Punjab as counting of votes progressed in elections to legislative assemblies in five states on Tuesday.
File photo of Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav, who led the party to a spectacular win in the UP Assembly Elections, the results of which were announced on March 6, 2012.
File photo of Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav, who led the party to a spectacular win in the UP Assembly Elections, the results of which were announced on March 6, 2012.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) of Mulayam Singh Yadav cruised to a spectacular and decisive win in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine won a second straight term in office in Punjab as counting of votes progressed in elections to legislative assemblies in five states today.
 
In Uttarakhand, the ruling BJP and the Congress were locked in a close contest. The Congress had a slight edge, having won or established leads in 32 seats, while the BJP had won or was ahead in 31.
 
Overall, the results did not bring very good news for the Congress and the BJP, the two prominent national parties in the fray. The Congress won a third consecutive term in office in Manipur and the BJP wrested power back from the Congress in Goa, but the big prize - UP - eluded both of them.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, the SP won 217 seats and was leading in seven other constituencies, making for a possible final tally of 224 against the 202 required for a simple majority in the 403-member House.
 
The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was a distant second, having won 74 seats and leading in 6 more, far below the 206 seats it had won in the 2007 elections.
 
The BJP won 44 seats and was leading in 3 more. The Congress won 26 seats and was leading in 2 more, which means its final tally was going to be only a slight improvement over the 22 seats it had won in the 2007 elections.
 
Congress ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), headed by Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, won 9 seats. Others accounted for 14 seats.
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In Punjab, where the SAD and the Congress have been alternately voted to power for the last 45 years, the SAD-BJP combine returned to power for the second straight term, bucking that trend.
 
Of the 117 seats in the Punjab assembly, the SAD won 56, its ally BJP got 12 and the Congress had to rest content with 46. Three seats went to others.
 
In Uttarakhand, the ruling BJP and the Congress were engaged in a very closely fought contest. The Congress had won 28 seats and was ahead in four, while the BJP was breathing down its neck, having won 29 seats and leading in two others. The BSP won three seats, the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P) one and others three.
 
The BJP suffered a major setback when Chief Minister B C Khanduri lost from his own constituency in Uttarakhand.
 
In Goa, the opposition BJP regained power, winning 21 of the 40 seats in the House. The ruling Congress ended up with 9 seats, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party 3 and others won 7 seats.
 
In Manipur, the Congress won a decisive victory for a third consecutive term in office. It won 42 seats in the 60-member assembly. The Trinamool Congress won seven seats, the Naga People's front 4, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Lok Jan Shakti Party 1 each. Others won five seats.
 
The results came as a major disappointment for the Congress, which heads the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre, especially because the elections were held roughly half-way through its second term in Delhi and the results are likely to be seen as an indication of the public mood.
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In Uttar Pradesh, particularly, the party had put up a spirited campaign led by its General Secretary and heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi, who addressed more than 200 election meetings across the state in a valiant effort to revive its fortunes in India's most important state in political terms.
 
The party's performance will, in the circumstances, be seen as a major setback to it, reminding many of its poor show in the last Bihar assembly elections. To add salt to its wounds, the Samajwadi Party does not need its support to form the next government in UP. The results in Punjab and Uttarakhand have also surprised the Congress, given that it was hoping to achieve clear victories in the two states.
 
Much will be made in the coming days of Gandhi's failure to convert the huge numbers at his election rallies into votes and there are bound to be questions asked about his vote-catching abilities.
 
Gandhi appeared before journalists to accept responsibility for the party's poor showing and said that he would continue to work to revive the Congress in UP so that it could win elections in the state.
 
While the SP celebrated in Lucknow and elsewhere in UP, things were absolutely quiet at the BSP office, which was, in fact, closed. State SP president Akhilesh Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, said his party would implement all the promises made in its election manifesto. He also made it clear that the entire party wanted Mulayam Singh Yadav to take up the Chief Minister's job.
 
For the BJP, the results can hardly be described as good news, though it has won in Goa and is on the winning side in Punjab. But its number has fallen from 19 in 2007 to 12 this time. Similarly, it has not been able to improve on its performance in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and is nowhere in the picture in Manipur.
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Counting of votes in the five states began at 0800 hours this morning and most of the results, which are expected to impact national politics in a major way, are likely to be announced by tonight.
 
Polling was held in a single phase on January 28 in Manipur, on January 30 in Uttarakhand and Punjab and on March 3 in Goa, while it was conducted in seven phases between February 8 and March 3 in Uttar Pradesh.
 
The results will decide the electoral fortunes of candidates for 690 assembly seats - 403 in UP, 117 in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand, 60 in Manipur and 40 in Goa.
 
The Congress had won just 22 seats in the 2007 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh but was encouraged by the 22 Lok Sabha seats it managed in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The BSP had won 206 seats in the last assembly elections for a majority on its own, while the SP had got 97, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 50 and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh, which was then an ally of the BJP, 10. Independents and others accounted for 17 seats. RLD is an ally of the Congress in these elections.
 
In the last elections, the SAD had won 50 seats, the Congress 42, the BJP 19 and independents 6 in Punjab.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP had won 36 of the 70 seats to gain a wafer-thin majority in the last elections. The party has not been on a strong wicket for some time in the state and had to, in fact, replace its Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal before the polls with B C Khanduri.
 
In Manipur, the Congress managed a simple majority in the last elections by winning 31 of the 60 seats. The Manipur People's Party won five, NCP and CPI four each, the National People's Party and RJD three each, while as many as 10 seats had gone to independents. The Congress' hopes of another term in office is based, in part, on the absence of a unified opposition.
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In Goa, the Congress had won 16 seats in the 40-member house in the last elections, the BJP 14 and the NCP 3, while the MGP, SGF, UGDP and independents got two seats each.
 
The elections in the five states covered 122 districts and a total electorate of 15.42 crore, about 20 per cent of the total electorate in the country.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful, with no untoward incidents reported from anywhere except for one incident in Manipur.
 
The elections also witnessed the highest voter turnouts ever in UP (60%), Uttarakhand (67.22%), Goa (81%) and Punjab (78.57%). In Manipur (79.35%), the percentage of voting was higher than the figures for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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PM congratulates Badal, Parrikar and Yadavs on election victories

 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called up Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Goa BJP leader Manohar Parrikar and Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav and congratulated them on the victories in the legislative assembly elections in their states.
 
An official press release from the Prime Minister's Office said Singh congratulated the leaders after the results of the Assembly elections were announced.
 
While Badal led the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine to a second consecutive term in office in Punjab, Parrikar led his party to an emphatic win in Goa. The Yadavs scored a spectacular victory as the Samajwadi Party regained power in Lucknow.
 
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SP set to form govt.on its own in UP, SAD-BJP retains power in Punjab, BJP regains Goa

The Samajwadi Party headed for a spectacular and decisive victory in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine won a second straight term in office in Punjab as counting of votes progressed in elections to legislative assemblies in five states on Tuesday.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) of Mulayam Singh Yadav headed a spectacular and decisive victory in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine won a second straight term in office in Punjab as counting of votes progressed in elections to legislative assemblies in five states today.
 
In Uttarakhand, the ruling BJP and the Congress were locked in a close contest. The Congress had a slight edge, having won or established leads in 32 seats, while the BJP had won or was ahead in 31.
 
Overall, the results did not bring very good news for the Congress and the BJP, the two prominent national parties in the fray. The Congress won a third consecutive term in office in Manipur and the BJP wrested power back from the Congress in Goa, but the big prize - UP - eluded both of them.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, the SP had won 184 seats and was leading in 39 other constituencies as results and counting trends were available for 402 of the 403 seats in the assembly, making for a possible final tally of 223 against the 202 required for a simple majority.
 
The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was a distant second, having won 61 seats and leading in 17 more, far below the 206 seats it had won in the 2007 elections.
 
The BJP had won 39 seats and was leading in nine more. The Congress had won 20 seats and was leading in eight more, which means its final tally was going to be only a slight improvement over the 22 seats it had won in the 2007 elections.
 
Congress ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), headed by Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, had won five seat and was leading in four others. Others had won nine seats and were leading in six more.
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In Punjab, where the SAD and the Congress have been alternately voted to power for the last 45 years, the SAD-BJP combine returned to power for the second straight term, bucking that trend.
 
Of the 117 seats in the Punjab assembly, the SAD won 56, its ally BJP got 12 and the Congress had to rest content with 46. Three seats went to others.
 
In Uttarakhand, the ruling BJP and the Congress were engaged in a very closely fought contest. The Congress had won 25 seats and was ahead in seven, while the BJP was breathing down its neck, having won 28 seats and leading in three others. The BSP won three seats, the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P) one and others three.
 
The BJP suffered a major setback when Chief Minister B C Khanduri lost from his own constituency in Uttarakhand.
 
In Goa, the BJP was all set to regain power, having won 19 seats and leading in two others. The Congress ended up with 9 seats, the Maharashtra Gomantak Party got 3 and others got seven seats in the 40-member house.
 
In Manipur, the Congress won a decisive victory for a third consecutive term in office. It won 41 seats in the 60-member assembly and was leading in one more. The Trinamool Congress won seven seats, the Naga People's front 4, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Lok Jan Shakti Party 1 each. Others won four seats and were leading in one.
 
The results came as a major disappointment for the Congress, which heads the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre, especially because the elections were held roughly half-way through its second term in Delhi and the results are likely to be seen as an indication of the public mood.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, particularly, the party had put up a spirited campaign led by its General Secretary and heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi, who addressed more than 200 election meetings across the state in a valiant effort to revive its fortunes in India's most important state in political terms.
 
The party's performance will, in the circumstances, be seen as a major setback to it, reminding many of its poor show in the last Bihar assembly elections. To add salt to its wounds, the Samajwadi Party does not need its support to form the next government in UP. The results in Punjab and Uttarakhand have also surprised the Congress, given that it was hoping to achieve clear victories in the two states.
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Much will be made in the coming days of Gandhi's failure to convert the huge numbers at his election rallies into votes and there are bound to be questions asked about his vote-catching abilities.
 
Gandhi appeared before journalists to accept responsibility for the party's poor showing and said that he would continue to work to revive the Congress in UP so that it could win elections in the state.
 
While the SP celebrated in Lucknow and elsewhere in UP, things were absolutely quiet at the BSP office, which was, in fact, closed. State SP president Akhilesh Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, said his party would implement all the promises made in its election manifesto. He also made it clear that the entire party wanted Mulayam Singh Yadav to take up the Chief Minister's job.
 
For the BJP, the results can hardly be described as good news, though it has won in Goa and is on the winning side in Punjab. But its number has fallen from 19 in 2007 to 12 this time. Similarly, it has not been able to improve on its performance in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and is nowhere in the picture in Manipur.
 
Counting of votes in the five states began at 0800 hours this morning and most of the results, which are expected to impact national politics in a major way, are likely to be announced by tonight.
 
Polling was held in a single phase on Janaury 28 in Manipur, on January 30 in Uttarakhand and Punjab and on March 3 in Goa, while it was conducted in seven phases between February 8 and March 3 in Uttar Pradesh.
 
The results will decide the electoral fortunes of candidates for 690 assembly seats - 403 in UP, 117 in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand, 60 in Manipur and 40 in Goa.
 
The Congress had won just 22 seats in the 2007 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh but was encouraged by the 22 Lok Sabha seats it managed in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The BSP had won 206 seats in the last assembly elections for a majority on its own, while the SP had got 97, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 50 and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh, which was then an ally of the BJP, 10. Independents and others accounted for 17 seats. RLD is an ally of the Congress in these elections.
 
In the last elections, the SAD had won 50 seats, the Congress 42, the BJP 19 and independents 6 in Punjab.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP had won 36 of the 70 seats to gain a wafer-thin majority in the last elections. The party has not been on a srong wicket for some time in the state and had to, in fact, replace its Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal before the polls with B C Khanduri.
 
In Manipur, the Congress managed a simple majority in the last elections by winning 31 of the 60 seats. The Manipur People's Party won five, NCP and CPI four each, the National People's Party and RJD three each, while as many as 10 seats had gone to independents. The Congress' hopes of another term in office is based, in part, on the absence of a unified opposition.
 
In Goa, the Congress had won 16 seats in the 40-member house in the last elections, the BJP 14 and the NCP 3, while the MGP, SGF, UGDP and independents got two seats each.
 
The elections in the five states covered 122 districts and a total electorate of 15.42 crore, about 20 per cent of the total electorate in the country.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful, with no untoward incidents reported from anywhere except for one incident in Manipur.
 
The elections also witnessed the highest voter turnouts ever in UP (60%), Uttarakhand (67.22%), Goa (81%) and Punjab (78.57%). In Manipur (79.35%), the percentage of voting was higher than the figures for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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SP heading towards simple majority in UP, SAD-BJP ahead in Punjab

The Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav headed towards a simple majority in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal -Bharatiya Janata Party combine was poised for a second straight term in office in Punjab as counting of votes progressed in the elections to legislative assemblies in five states today.

 
The Samajwadi Party (SP) of Mulayam Singh Yadav headed towards a simple majority in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine was poised for a second straight term in office in Punjab as counting of votes progressed in the elections to legislative assemblies in five states today.
 
In Uttarakhand, the Congress had a slight edge over the BJP in the race to emerge as the single largest party while it was set to get a third consecutive term in office in Manipur. But in Goa, the party lagged behind the BJP and seemed unlikely to retain power there.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, the SP had won seven seats and was leading in 202 others as counting trends were available for 402 of the 403 seats in the assembly.
 
The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was a distant second with leads in 89 constituencies, far below the 206 seats in had won in the 2007 elections. The BJP was ahead in 47 seats and the Congress in just 28, only a slight improvement over the 22 seats it had won in the 2007 elections.
 
Congress ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), headed by Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, was leading in 13 seats, while others were leading in 15.
 
In Punjab, where the SAD and the Congress have been alternately voted to power for the last few deades, the SAD-BJP combine seemed set to return to power for the second straigt term, bucking that trend.
 
With counting trends available for all 117 constituencies, the SAD had won 33 seats and was leading in 20 others, while its ally had won 11 and was leading in one more.
 
The Congress, which had hoped to wrest back power from the SAD-BJP alliance, had won 33 and was leading in 16 more. Others were leading in three constituencies.
 
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In Uttarakhand, where counting trends were available for all 70 constituencies, the ruling BJP and the Congress were engaged in a neck and neck race. The Congress had a slight edge as it had won one seat and was leading in 32 others. The BJP captured four seats and was ahead in 26 more. The BSP had won one seat and was leading in two more and the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal was leading in one.
 
In Goa, the opposition BJP had won 10 seats and was leading in seven more while the Congress was behind, having won five and established leads in three others. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party had won seat and was leading in two others. Others had got five seats and were leading in two more.
 
In Manipur, the Congress was heading for a third straight term in office as it won 18 seats and was ahead in five more as counting trends became available for 36 of the 60 seats in the assembly. The Trinamool Congress had won four seats, while the Lok Jan Shakti Party had won seat. The Naga People's Front had won two seats and was ahead in two others. The National People's Party was leading in one seat and others had won three seats.
 
The trends came as a major disappointment for the Congress, which heads the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre, especially because the elections were held roughly half-way through its second term in Delhi and the results are likely to be seen as an indication of the public mood.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, particularly, the party had put up a spirited campaign led by its General Secretary and heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi, who addressed more than 200 election meetings across the state in a valiant effort to revive its fortunes in India's most important state in political terms.
 
The party's performance will, in the circumstances, be seen as a major setback to it, reminding many of its in the last Bihar assembly elections. To add salt to its wounds, it now looks like the Samajwadi Party might be able to form the government in the state, without seeking help from the Congress. Some of the independents and others  might pitch in to bolster the SP's numbers. Much will also be made of Gandhi's failure to translate the numbers at his election rallies into votes.
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While the SP had begun celebrating, things were absolutely quiet at the BSP office, which was closed. 
 
Counting of votes in the five states began at 0800 hours this morning and most of the results, which are expected to impact national politics in a major way, are likely to be announced by this evening.
 
Polling was held in a single phase on Janaury 28 in Manipur, on January 30 in Uttarakhand and Punjab and on March 3 in Goa, while it was conducted in seven phases between February 8 and March 3 in Uttar Pradesh.
 
The results will decide the electoral fortunes of candidates for 690 assembly seats - 403 in UP, 117 in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand, 60 in Manipur and 40 in Goa.
 
The Congress had won just 22 seats in the 2007 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh but was encouraged by the 22 Lok Sabha seats it managed in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The BSP had won 206 seats in the last assembly elections for a majority on its own, while the SP had got 97, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 50 and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh, which was then an ally of the BJP, 10. Independents and others accounted for 17 seats. RLD is an ally of the Congress in these elections.
 
In the last elections, the SAD had won 50 seats, the Congress 42, the BJP 19 and independents 6 in Punjab.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP had won 36 of the 70 seats to gain a wafer-thin majority in the last elections. The party has not been on a srong wicket for some time in the state and had to, in fact, replace its Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal before the polls with B C Khanduri.
 
In Manipur, the Congress managed a simple majority in the last elections by winning 31 of the 60 seats. The Manipur People's Party won five, NCP and CPI four each, the National People's Party and RJD three each, while as many as 10 seats had gone to independents. The Congress' hopes of another term in office is based, in part, on the absence of a unified opposition.
 
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In Goa, the Congress had won 16 seats in the 40-member house in the last elections, the BJP 14 and the NCP 3, while the MGP, SGF, UGDP and independents got two seats each.
 
The elections in the five states covered 122 districts and a total electorate of 15.42 crore, about 20 per cent of the total electorate in the country.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful, with no untoward incidents reported from anywhere except for one incident in Manipur.
 
The elections also witnessed the highest voter turnouts ever in UP (60%), Uttarakhand (67.22%), Goa (81%) and Punjab (78.57%). In Manipur (79.35%), the percentage of voting was higher than the figures for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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SP ahead in UP, SAD in Punjab, close race between BJP and Congress in Uttarakhand

The Samajwadi Party was set to emerge as the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine was poised for a second straight term in office in Punjab as counting of votes progressed in elections to legislative assemblies in five states on Tuesday.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) of Mulayam Singh Yadav was set to emerge as the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine was poised for a second straight term in office in Punjab as counting of votes progressed in elections to legislative assemblies in five states today.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, the SP was leading in 193 seats as counting trends became available for 395 out of the 403 seats in the assembly.
 
The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was a distant second with leads in 90 constituencies, far below the 206 seats in had won in the 2007 elections. The BJP was ahead in 47 seats and the Congress in 40. Congress ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), headed by Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, was leading in 8 seats, while others were leading in 16 seats.
 
In Punjab, where the SAD and the Congress have been alternately voted to power for the last many years, the SAD-BJP combine is set to return to power for the second straight term, bucking that trend.
 
With counting trends available for all 117 constituencies, the SAD had won four seats and was ahead in 50 others, while its ally BJP had won one seat and was leading in 11.
 
The Congress, which was hoping to wrest power back from the SAD-BJP alliance, had won five seats and was ahead in 43 others. Others were ahead in three seats.
 
In Uttarakhand, where counting trends were available for all 70 constituencies, the ruling BJP and the Congress were engaged in a neck and neck race, with both leading in 31 seats each. the BSP was ahead in two, the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P) in one and others in five.
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In Goa, the opposition BJP had won eight seats and was ahead in three as counting trends became available for 20 out of the 40 constituencies. The ruling Congress had won two seats and was leading in another two. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party was leading in one seat, while others had won three seats and were leading in one.
 
In Manipur, the Congress was heading for a third straight term in office, as it won eight and was ahead in five of the 23 constituencies, out of a total of 60, for which trends were available. The Trinamool Congress had won one seat was leading in another and the Naga People's Front, too, had won one seat and was ahead in another. The Manipur People's Party and the National People's Party were leading in one seat each, while others picked up one seat and were ahead in three.
 
The trends came as a major disappointment for the Congress, which heads the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre, especially because the elections were held roughly half-way through its second term in Delhi and the results are likely to be seen as an indication of the public mood against it.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, particularly, the party had put up a spirited campaign led by its General Secretary and heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi, who addressed more than 200 election meetings across the state in a valiant effort to revive its fortunes in India's most important state in political terms.
 
While the party can draw some consolation from the fact that it might end up more than doubling the 22 seats it had won in 2007, the numbers are a far cry from what it had hoped.
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As it turns out, the Samajwadi Party might fall short of a majority and it might end up turning towards the Congress for support to form the next government in the state, though both parties had ruled out such a possibility during the election campaign.
 
Similarly, its hopes about forming the next government in Punjab also appear to have been dashed. In Uttarakhand, it was involved in a neck and neck race with the ruling BJP and in Goa, too, the party did not appear to be doing well. The fact that it was heading for a third straight term in office in Manipur will come as small consolation in the circumstances.
 
Counting of votes in the five states began at 0800 hours this morning and most of the results, which are expected to impact national politics in a major way, are likely to be announced by this evening.
 
Polling was held in a single phase on Janaury 28 in Manipur, on January 30 in Uttarakhand and Punjab and on March 3 in Goa, while it was conducted in seven phases between February 8 and March 3 in Uttar Pradesh.
 
The results will decide the electoral fortunes of candidates for 690 assembly seats - 403 in UP, 117 in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand, 60 in Manipur and 40 in Goa.
 
The Congress had won just 22 seats in the 2007 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh but was encouraged by the 22 Lok Sabha seats it managed in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The BSP had won 206 seats in the last assembly elections for a majority on its own, while the SP had got 97, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 50 and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh, which was then an ally of the BJP, 10. Independents and others accounted for 17 seats. RLD is an ally of the Congress in these elections.
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In the last elections, the SAD had won 50 seats, the Congress 42, the BJP 19 and independents 6 in Punjab.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP had won 36 of the 70 seats to gain a wafer-thin majority in the last elections. The party has not been on a strong wicket for some time in the state and had to, in fact, replace its Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal before the polls with B C Khanduri.
 
In Manipur, the Congress managed a simple majority in the last elections by winning 31 of the 60 seats. The Manipur People's Party won five, NCP and CPI four each, the National People's Party and RJD three each, while as many as 10 seats had gone to independents. The Congress' hopes of another term in office is based, in part, on the absence of a unified opposition.
 
In Goa, the Congress had won 16 seats in the 40-member house in the last elections, the BJP 14 and the NCP 3, while the MGP, SGF, UGDP and independents got two seats each.
 
The elections in the five states covered 122 districts and a total electorate of 15.42 crore, about 20 per cent of the total electorate in the country.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful, with no untoward incidents reported from anywhere except for one incident in Manipur.
 
The elections also witnessed the highest voter turnouts ever in UP (60%), Uttarakhand (67.22%), Goa (81%) and Punjab (78.57%). In Manipur (79.35%), the percentage of voting was higher than the figures for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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SP surges ahead in UP, SAD in Punjab, Congress in Manipur, BJP in Goa

Counting trends in crucial elections to legislative assemblies in five states on Tuesday showed that the Samajwadi Party was set to emerge as the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh, though short of a majority, while the SAD-BJP combine was poised for a second straight term in office in Punjab.
Counting trends in crucial elections to state legislative assemblies in five states today showed that the Samajwadi Party (SP) of Mulayam Singh Yadav was set to emerge as the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh, though short of a majority, while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine was poised for a second straight term in office in Punjab.
 
The SP was leading in 169 seats as counting trends became available for 366 out of the 403 seats in the assembly in Uttar Pradesh.
 
The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was placed in second spot with leads in 91 constituencies, followed by the BJP in 43 and the Congress in 38. The Congress ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), headed by Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, was ahead in 6 seats, while others were leading in 18 seats.
 
In Punjab, where the SAD and the Congress have been alternately voted to power for the last many decades, the SAD-BJP combine is set to return to power for the second straight term.
 
With counting trends available for all 117 constituencies, the SAD had won one seat and was leading in 54 while its ally BJP was ahead in 11. The Congress, which was hoping to wrest power back from the SAD-BJP alliance, had won two seats and was ahead in 45 others. Others were ahead in four seats.
 
In Uttarakhand, counting trends were available for 65 of the 70 constituencies and the ruling BJP was leading in 28, while the Congress was close behind with leads in 26. The BSP was leading in 5 eats and the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P) in 1. Others were leading in five seats.
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In Goa, the opposition BJP had won one seat and was ahead in 8 others as counting trends became available for 17 out of the 40 constituencies.
 
The ruling Cngress had won one seat and was ahead in another, while its ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was leading in one. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party was leading in one seat and others in four.
 
In Manipur, the Congress was heading for a third straight term in office, as it won three and was ahead in 9 of the 17 constituencies, out of a total of 60, for which trends were available. The Trinamool Congress was leading in 1, the Naga People's Front in 2, the Manipur People's Party in 1 and National People's Party in 1.
 
The trends came as a major disappointment for the Congress, which heads the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre, especially because the elections were held roughly half-way through its second term in Delhi and the results are likely to be seen as an indication of the public mood against it.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, particularly, the party had put up a spirited campaign led by its General Secretary and heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi, who addressed more than 200 election meetings across the state in a valiant effort to revive its fortunes in India's most important state in political terms.
 
While the party can draw some consolation from the fact that it might end up more than doubling the 22 seats it had won in 2007, the numbers are a far cry from what it had hoped.
 
As it turns out, the Samajwadi Party might fall short of a majority and it might end up turning towards the Congress for support to form the next government in the state, though both parties had ruled out such a possibility during the election campaign.
 
Similarly, its hopes about forming the next government in Punjab also appear to have been dashed. In Uttarakhand, it was involved in a neck and neck race with the ruling BJP and in Goa, too, the party did not appear to be doing well. The fact that it was heading for a third straight term in office in Manipur will come as small consolation in the circumstances.
 
Counting of votes in the five states began at 0800 hours this morning and most of the results, which are expected to impact national politics in a major way, are likely to be announced by this evening.
 
Polling was held in a single phase on Janaury 28 in Manipur, on January 30 in Uttarakhand and Punjab and on March 3 in Goa, while it was conducted in seven phases between February 8 and March 3 in Uttar Pradesh.
 
The results will decide the electoral fortunes of candidates for 690 assembly seats - 403 in UP, 117 in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand, 60 in Manipur and 40 in Goa.
 
The elections have been held roughly midway through the second five-year tenure of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre and political pundits are, to that extent, attaching a lot of importance to the results.
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The Congress, in particular, has tried hard to revive its fortunes in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, and, if exit polls are any indication, the party may have to wait for another five years before it can take another shot at it.
 
The Congress had won just 22 seats in the 2007 assembly elections in the state but was encouraged by the 22 Lok Sabha seats it managed in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The party as well as the Opposition will be waiting to see what impact the spirited campaign by its General Secretary and heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi had on the voters in the state.
 
The Mulayam Singh-led Samajwadi Party (SP) is hoping to make a comeback in UP this time by defeating the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Chief Minister Mayawati, whose government's image has taken a major beating because of corruption scandals.
 
The BSP had won 206 seats in the last assembly elections for a majority on its own, while the SP had got 97, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 50 and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh, which was then an ally of the BJP, 10. Independents and others accounted for 17 seats. RLD is an ally of the Congress in these elections.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP is trying to retain power in the face of corruption scams while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine in Punjab is making an effort to stay in power in Punjab in the face of a strong bid to regain power by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of the Congress.
 
In the last elections, the SAD had won 50 seats, the Congress 42, the BJP 19 and independents 6 in Punjab.
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In Uttarakhand, the BJP had won 36 of the 70 seats to gain a wafer-thin majority in the last elections. The party has not been on a srong wicket for some time in the state and had to, in fact, replace its Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal before the polls with B C Khanduri.
 
In Manipur, the Congress managed a simple majority in the last elections by winning 31 of the 60 seats. The Manipur People's Party won five, NCP and CPI four each, the National People's Party and RJD three each, while as many as 10 seats had gone to independents. The Congress' hopes of another term in office is based, in part, on the absence of a unified opposition.
 
In Goa, the Congress government headed by Digamber Kamat had to fight a strong battle against the BJP. In the last elections, the Congress had won 16 seats in the 40-member house,the BJP 14 and the NCP 3, while the MGP, SGF, UGDP and independents got two seats each.
 
The elections in the five states covered 122 districts and a total electorate of 15.42 crore, about 20 per cent of the total electorate in the country.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful, with no untoward incidents reported from anywhere except for one incident in Manipur.
 
The elections also witnessed the highest voter turnouts ever in UP (60%), Uttarakhand (67.22%), Goa (81%) and Punjab (78.57%). In Manipur (79.35%), the percentage of voting was higher than the figures for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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Assembly elections 2012: Counting trends show SP ahead in UP, SAD in Punjab

Early counting trends in crucial elections to the state legislative assemblies in five states on Tuesday showed that the Samajwadi Party was heading towards becoming the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine appeared set for a second straight term in office in Punjab.
Early counting trends in crucial elections to the state legislative assemblies in five states today showed that the Samajwadi Party (SP) of Mulayam Singh Yadav was heading towards becoming the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine appeared set for a second straight term in office.
 
The SP was leading in 121 seats as counting trends became available for 261 out of the 403 seats in the assembly. The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was placed in second spot with leads in 69 constituencies, followed by the Congress in 28 and the BJP in 26. The Congress ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), headed by Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, was ahead in seven seats. Others were leading in 10 seats.
 
In Punjab, where the SAD and the Congress have been alternately voted to power for the last many decades, the SAD-BJP combine is set to return to power for the second straight term.
 
With counting trends available for 110 of the 117 constituencies, the SAD was leading in 55 and the BJP in 12. The Congress, which was hoping to wrest power back, was ahead in 40 seats while others were leading in three.
 
In Uttarakhand, counting trends were available for 47 of the 70 constituencies and the Congress was leading in 21 and the BJP in 18. The BSP was ahead in 4 and others in 4.
 
In Goa, the opposition BJP was leading in 6 seats as counting trends for 12 out of the 40 constituencies became available. The ruling Congress was ahead in 3, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party in 1 and others in 3.
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In Manipur, the Congress was heading for a third straight term in office, as it won one and was ahead in 7 of the 11 constituencies, out of a total of 60, for which trends were available. The Trinamool Congress was leading in 1 and the Naga People's Front in 2.
 
Counting of votes in the five states began at 0800 hours this morning and most of the results, which are expected to impact national politics in a major way, are likely to be announced by this evening.
 
Polling was held in a single phase on Janaury 28 in Manipur, on January 30 in Uttarakhand and Punjab and on March 3 in Goa, while it was conducted in seven phases between February 8 and March 3 in Uttar Pradesh.
 
The results will decide the electoral fortunes of candidates for 690 assembly seats - 403 in UP, 117 in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand, 60 in Manipur and 40 in Goa.
 
The elections have been held roughly midway through the second five-year tenure of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre and political pundits are, to that extent, attaching a lot of importance to the results.
 
The Congress, in particular, has tried hard to revive its fortunes in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, and, if exit polls are any indication, the party may have to wait for another five years before it can take another shot at it.
 
The Congress had won just 22 seats in the 2007 assembly elections in the state but was encouraged by the 22 Lok Sabha seats it managed in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The party as well as the Opposition will be waiting to see what impact the spirited campaign by its General Secretary and heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi had on the voters in the state.
ADVERTISEMENT
 
The Mulayam Singh-led Samajwadi Party (SP) is hoping to make a comeback in UP this time by defeating the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Chief Minister Mayawati, whose government's image has taken a major beating because of corruption scandals.
 
The BSP had won 206 seats in the last assembly elections for a majority on its own, while the SP had got 97, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 50 and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh, which was then an ally of the BJP, 10. Independents and others accounted for 17 seats. RLD is an ally of the Congress in these elections.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP is trying to retain power in the face of corruption scams while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine in Punjab is making an effort to stay in power in Punjab in the face of a strong bid to regain power by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of the Congress.
 
In the last elections, the SAD had won 50 seats, the Congress 42, the BJP 19 and independents 6 in Punjab.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP had won 36 of the 70 seats to gain a wafer-thin majority in the last elections. The party has not been on a strong wicket for some time in the state and had to, in fact, replace its Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal before the polls with B C Khanduri.
 
In Manipur, the Congress managed a simple majority in the last elections by winning 31 of the 60 seats. The Manipur People's Party won five, NCP and CPI four each, the National People's Party and RJD three each, while as many as 10 seats had gone to independents. The Congress' hopes of another term in office is based, in part, on the absence of a unified opposition.
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In Goa, the Congress government headed by Digamber Kamat had to fight a strong battle against the BJP. In the last elections, the Congress had won 16 seats in the 40-member house,the BJP 14 and the NCP 3, while the MGP, SGF, UGDP and independents got two seats each.
 
The elections in the five states covered 122 districts and a total electorate of 15.42 crore, about 20 per cent of the total electorate in the country.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful, with no untoward incidents reported from anywhere except for one incident in Manipur.
 
The elections also witnessed the highest voter turnouts ever in UP (60%), Uttarakhand (67.22%), Goa (81%) and Punjab (78.57%). In Manipur (79.35%), the percentage of voting was higher than the figures for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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Assembly elections 2012: Early trends show SP ahead in UP, SAD in Punjab

Early counting trends in crucial elections to the state legislatives in five states on Tuesday showed that the Samajwadi Party was heading towards becoming the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh, leading in 74 constituencies as figures from 179 of the 403 seats became available.
Early counting trends in crucial elections to the state legislative assemblies in five states today showed that the Samajwadi Party was heading towards becoming the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh, leading in 74 constituencies as figures from 179 of the 403 seats became available.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was ahead in 47, the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), facing a rout in the elections, leading in 27 and the Congress in 22.
 
In Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine was ahead in 35 seats as counting trends were available from 65 out of the 117 seats in the assembly. The Congress was leading in 25 and the PPP in 1.
 
In Uttarakhand, counting trends available in 39 out of the 70 constituencies showed that the Congress was ahead in 21, the ruling BJP in 13 and the BSP in 3.
 
In Manipur, with counting trends available for 15 of the 60 seats, the Congress was ahead in 11 and the PDF In 1.
 
In Goa, early trends available for 5 of the 40 seats showed the Congress and the BJP were leading in two constituencies each.
 
Counting of votes in the five states began at 0800 hours this morning and most of the results, which are expected to impact national politics in a major way, are likely to be announced by this evening.
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Polling was held in a single phase on Janaury 28 in Manipur, on January 30 in Uttarakhand and Punjab and on March 3 in Goa, while it was conducted in seven phases between February 8 and March 3 in Uttar Pradesh.
 
The results will decide the electoral fortunes of candidates for 690 assembly seats - 403 in UP, 117 in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand, 60 in Manipur and 40 in Goa.
 
The elections have been held roughly midway through the second five-year tenure of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre and political pundits are, to that extent, attaching a lot of importance to the results. 
 
The Congress, in particular, has tried hard to revive its fortunes in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, and, if exit polls are any indication, the party may have to wait for another five years before it can take another shot at it.
 
The Congress had won just 22 seats in the 2007 assembly elections in the state but was encouraged by the 22 Lok Sabha seats it managed in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The party as well as the Opposition will be waiting to see what impact the spirited campaign by its General Secretary and heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi had on the voters in the state.
ADVERTISEMENT
The Mulayam Singh-led Samajwadi Party (SP) is hoping to make a comeback in UP this time by defeating the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Chief Minister Mayawati, whose government's image has taken a major beating because of corruption scandals.
 
The BSP had won 206 seats in the last assembly elections for a majority on its own, while the SP had got 97, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 50 and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh, which was then an ally of the BJP, 10. Independents and others accounted for 17 seats. RLD is an ally of the Congress in these elections.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP is trying to retain power in the face of corruption scams while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine in Punjab is making an effort to stay in power in Punjab in the face of a strong bid to regain power by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of the Congress.
 
In the last elections, the SAD had won 50 seats, the Congress 42, the BJP 19 and independents 6 in Punjab.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP had won 36 of the 70 seats to gain a wafer-thin majority in the last elections. The party has not been on a srong wicket for some time in the state and had to, in fact, replace its Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal before the polls with B C Khanduri.
 
In Manipur, the Congress managed a simple majority in the last elections by winning 31 of the 60 seats. The Manipur People's Party won five, NCP and CPI four each, the National People's Party and RJD three each, while as many as 10 seats had gone to independents. The Congress' hopes of another term in office is based, in part, on the absence of a unified opposition.
 
In Goa, the Congress government headed by Digamber Kamat had to fight a strong battle against the BJP. In the last elections, the Congress had won 16 seats in the 40-member house,the BJP 14 and the NCP 3, while the MGP, SGF, UGDP and independents got two seats each.
 
The elections in the five states covered 122 districts and a total electorate of 15.42 crore, about 20 per cent of the total electorate in the country.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful, with no untoward incidents reported from anywhere except for one incident in Manipur.
 
The elections also witnessed the highest voter turnouts ever in UP (60%), Uttarakhand (67.22%), Goa (81%) and Punjab (78.57%). In Manipur (79.35%), the percentage of voting was higher than the figures for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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Counting of votes in elections to five state assemblies on Tuesday

 

Counting of votes in crucial elections to the state legislative assemblies in five States - Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa - will begin tomorrow morning and most results are expected by evening.

Polling was held in a single phase on Janaury 28 in Manipur, on January 30 in Uttarakhand and Punjab and on March 3 in Goa, while it was conducted in seven phases between February 8 and March 3 in Uttar Pradesh.
 
The results will decide the electoral fortunes of candidates for 690 assembly seats - 403 in UP, 117 in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand, 60 in Manipur and 40 in Goa.
 
The elections have been held roughly midway through the second five-year tenure of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre and political pundits are, to that extent, attaching a lot of importance to the results. 
 
The Congress, in particular, has tried hard to revive its fortunes in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, and, if exit polls are any indication, the party may have to wait for another five years before it can take another shot at it.
ADVERTISEMENT
The Congress had won just 22 seats in the 2007 assembly elections in the state but was encouraged by the 22 Lok Sabha seats it managed in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The party as well as the Opposition will be waiting to see what impact the spirited campaign by its General Secretary and heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi had on the voters in the state.
 
The Mulayam Singh-led Samajwadi Party (SP) is hoping to make comeback in UP this time by defeating the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Chief Minister Mayawati, whose government's image has taken a major beating because of corruption scandals.
 
The BSP had won 206 seats in the last assembly elections for a majority on its own, while the SP had got 97, the BJP 50 and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh, which was then an ally of the BJP, 10. Independents and others accounted for 17 seats. RLD is an ally of the Congress in these elections.
 
In Uttarakhand, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to retain power in the face of corruption scams while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine in Punjab is making an effort to stay in power in Punjab in the face of a strong bid to regain power by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of the Congress.
 
In the last elections, the SAD had won 50 seats, the Congress 42, the BJP 19 and independents 6 in Punjab.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP had won 36 of the 70 seats to gain a wafer-thin majority in the last elections. The party has not been on a srong wicket for some time in the state and had to, in fact, replace its Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal before the polls with B C Khanduri.
 
In Manipur, the Congress managed a simple majority in the last elections by winning 31 of the 60 seats. The Manipur People's Party won five, NCP and CPI four each, the National People's Party and RJD three each, while as many as 10 seats had gone to independents. The Congress' hopes of another term in office is based, in part, on the absence of a unified opposition.
 
In Goa, the Congress government headed by Digamber Kamat had to fight a strong battle against the BJP. In the last elections, the Congress had won 16 seats in the 40-member house,the BJP 14 and the NCP 3, while the MGP, SGF, UGDP and independents got two seats each.
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The elections in the five states covered 122 districts and a total electorate of 15.42 crore, about 20 per cent of the total electorate in the country.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful, with no untoward incidents reported from anywhere except for one incident in Manipur.
 
The elections also witnessed the highest voter turnouts ever in UP (60%), Uttarakhand (67.22%), Goa (81%) and Punjab (78.57%). In Manipur (79.35%), the percentage of voting was higher than the figures for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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