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Murder, extortion charges no barrier in India's election

The list of charges against Indian politician Kameshwar Baitha is long and startling: 16 counts of murder, 25 of attempted murder, six of assault with a dangerous weapon, three of extortion... and so on. In many democratic countries, such severe criminal allegations would be catastrophic to a politician's chances of winning a seat in the nation's parliament.

India goes to polls to elect new parliament, gov't

India's parliamentary elections began Monday, mainly pitting the ruling Congress party against the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, a Hindu-nationalist party that has led in pre-election surveys. Spanning over a month, the massive-scale elections in the world's largest democracy will be conducted in nine phases, with Monday's voting taking place in five constituencies in the far northeastern state of Assam and one in neighboring Tripura.

India opposition could clinch election win: opinion polls

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's main opposition party of prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi and its allies are set to emerge as the biggest group in an election beginning on Monday, heralding the end of a 10-year reign of the ruling party, two opinion polls showed. In the last major poll, Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies are forecast to win 38 percent of votes, news channel CNN-IBN and Lokniti at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies said.

India's opposition holds strong lead in last big poll before election

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's opposition BJP party, headed by its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, is set to win 35 percent of votes in the general election starting Monday, a poll released late on Friday showed. The ruling Congress party is expected to get 25 percent of votes, according to the poll by CNN-IBN and Lokniti at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), the last major poll before the election.

India's top court blames state government for religious riots

India's top court slammed Wednesday the government of the country's most populous state for failing to protect Muslims during communal riots last year that killed some 50 people. The Supreme Court also criticised state and national intelligence agencies for failing to predict the violence that erupted in eastern Uttar Pradesh state in September that forced some 50,000 Muslims to flee their homes.

India's top court blames state government for religious riots

India's top court slammed Wednesday the government of the country's most populous state for failing to protect Muslims during communal riots last year that killed some 50 people. The Supreme Court also criticised state and national intelligence agencies for failing to predict the violence that erupted in eastern Uttar Pradesh state in September that forced some 50,000 Muslims to flee their homes.

India's BJP to welcome foreign defence investment, keep out big retailers

By Shyamantha Asokan and Rajesh Kumar Singh NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's main opposition party would welcome more foreign direct investment in defence, if elected, but would delay opening up the country's market of more than 1.2 billion people to international retail chains like Wal-Mart. The nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which surveys show is on course to win the most seats in an election starting on April 7, would also introduce a general sales tax and overhaul the financial sector, its manifesto will say.

India's BJP manifesto cautious on FDI, focus on jobs -sources

By Shyamantha Asokan and Rajesh Kumar Singh NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's main opposition party would welcome more foreign direct investment in defense, if elected, but would delay opening up big-box retail to global players now barred from the country's market of more than 1.2 billion people.

Navy officer dies in Indian ship accident

An Indian naval officer was killed and "some" dock workers were injured Friday in a gas leak aboard a yet-to-be commissioned naval ship, the defence ministry said. The accident was the 11th involving a naval vessel in the past 11 months, the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party said. "Commander Kuntal Wadhwa has died," Commander Rahul Sinha, chief defence ministry spokesman, told AFP. Indian media reports said that the officer died after inhaling large amounts of toxic gas.

Indian shares hit record highs on hopes of new government

India's shares hit fresh a lifetime peak Friday, boosted by easing strain on public finances and hopes a pro-business government would soon be elected to bring economic growth back on track. The Bombay Stock Exchange's benchmark index gained 2.08 percent from its previous close to reach a record of 21,960.89 points, while the National Stock Exchange index rose to 6,537.80 points, posting a 2.13 percent jump. At the end of the day, the BSE and NSE indices settled at 21,919.79 points and 6,526.65 points respectively.
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