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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 17 (ANI): Thousands of Hindu devotees thronged the famous Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram city of India's southern Kerala and offered special prayers by lighting more than one hundred thousand earthen lamps also known as "lakshadeepam" to mark the festival of harvest. Lakshadeepam literally translates as one lakh lamps. On this day, the entire temple is lit with oil lamps and in its glittering background Lord Vishnu, Lord Narasimha and Lord Krishna are taken out on Garudavahana in a grand procession. Sree Padmanabha temple, located in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, is famous for the historic Murajapam festival observed once in 6 years. The last Lakshadeepam was celebrated in 2008. The ritual still continues as an immensely grand festival and visual magnitude attracting staggering numbers to the doors of this great Temple. This is a tradition that started in AD 1750. The 56- day- long Murajapam festival, that began on 19 November 2013 concluded on Makara Sankranthi day, according to the Malayalam calendar and included chanting of three vedas (Rigveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda).This is for the welfare of the people and land. Jan 17, 2014
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Bikaner, Jan 17 A(NI): Hip hopping displayed with amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the slightest direction of their drivers, and bumpy neck shaking rides lured travelers for setting up a date to visit the International Camel fair at Bikaner in India's desert state of Rajasthan. The two day festival has already garnered a lot of attention and saw the presence of dignitaries and politicians who were rooting for the entire concept. At the festival, the camels were decorated in traditional Rajasthani accessories and grabbed the spotlight with their dance moves.Western tourists as well as domestic ones were spellbound by the graceful performances of vibrantly dressed dancing camels. A variety of events including camel race, camel dance, camel decoration competitions and camel wrestling were held, which the tourists termed as exquisite.Camel trading and festivals related to camels are common in Rajasthan. One of the biggest camel festivals in Asia is the Pushkar camel fair that attracts tourists from India and overseas. Jan 17, 2014
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Kumar Vishwas on Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Jan 17 (ANI): A day after the Congress announced that party Vice President Rahul Gandhi is not their PM candidate for the upcoming general election; Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas on Friday claimed that according to his information, Amethi is not confirming Rahul Gandhi's MP ticket. He also said that now even the sympathizers of BSP and SP wants AAP to win from Amethi. Jan 17, 2014
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'Young India, Empowered India' should be Congress' slogan: P Chidambaram

New Delhi, Jan 17 (ANI): While addressing at AICC meet on Friday, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that the party's slogan should be 'Young India, Empowered India' and he urged for younger Congress leaders. Chidambaram while praising Congress said that every milestone and all great legislations in India's history took place when Congress was at guard. He also said that Congress is unlike other parties who fades away when not in power, and continues to work for the development of nation. Jan 17, 2014
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Rahul's role is final, Congress ready for battle: Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, Jan 17 (ANI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday at the All India Congress Committee meet said that the decision taken yesterday by the party that Vice President Rahul Gandhi will be the poll panel head is final, and that the Congress was ready for the battle. She added that Congress is ready for the battle. Jan 17, 2014
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Congress and corruption made for each other, will leave nation together: Naqvi

New Delhi, Jan 17 (ANI): BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday said that Congress and corruption are made for each other and that both will leave the nation together when India will desire so. After Rahul Gandhi was announced as Congress' poll campaign head and not the PM candidate, Naqvi said that it hardly affects the situation. Further, commenting on Sonia Gandhi's statement that party should work in unison, Naqvi said that Congress has unity only with corruption. Jan 17, 2014
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Sonia Gandhi accuses BJP of spreading communalism

New Delhi, Jan 17 (ANI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday at the All India Congress Committee meet assailed the BJP and said it is spreading communalism and using divisive policies in the country. She further said that secularism is of utter importance for the Congress party. Jan 17, 2014
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Rahul not PM candidate, Politicos says Congress scared

New Delhi, Jan 17 (ANI): After Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was announced as head of party's poll campaign, defeating speculations on him being the PM candidate, politicos said that Congress is scared. BJP Vice President Vinay Katiyar said that Congress and Gandhi is scared of Narendra Modi. Meanwhile, JD (U) leader Ali Anwar said that Gandhi has lost self-confidence and is scared of losing in the upcoming 2014 elections. Jan 17, 2014
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Bengali actress Suchitra Sen passes away

New Delhi, Jan 17 (ANI): Legendary Bengali actress of yesteryears Suchitra Sen died in a Kolkata hospital on Friday. The 83 year old Bengali beauty breathed her last at 8:25 am. The immediate reason of her death was cardiac arrest. Sen was admitted to Belle Vue Clinic on December 23 with severe lung infection. Sen had starred in memorable Hindi films like 'Devdas', and 'Aandhi' and 'Saat Paake Bandha', 'Agnipariksha' and 'Deep Jwele Jai' in Bengali. Meanwhile, dignitaries mourned at the loss. Jan 17, 2014
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UK to investigate on its involvement in 1984 Operation Bluestar

New Delhi/ Amritsar, Jan 17 (ANI): United Kingdom said that it would investigate into the declassified letters, which suggest that it colluded with India's former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, upon whose orders Indian security forces entered the Golden Temple in Amritsar 1984, to flush out militants. During his visit for a bilateral meet with MoS for Labour and Employment K Suresh, the United Kingdom's MoS for Skills and Enterprise Mathew Hancock emphasised on the strong bonds between the two nations. Britain's Labour party's minister says that he has seen documents which suggest then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's administration dispatched Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) officers to help Indira Gandhi in the storming of the Golden Temple. Jan 17, 2014
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Pakistan keen on strong bilateral ties and more trade via Wagah border

New Delhi, Jan 17 (ANI): In a bid to normalise bilateral trade ties, Pakistan Trade Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan visited India and in a meeting with the Confederation of Indian Industries in New Delhi, expressed his keenness to boost commerce between the two nations. Khan is in India to normalise bilateral trade ties on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation business leaders conclave. Khan, who is leading a delegation of 70 businessmen, said that efforts to enhance two-way trade through the northern 'Wagah' border between the two countries were underway. Jan 17, 2014
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India and Sri Lanka release detained fishermen

Chennai, Jan 17 (ANI): Addressing mediapersons in Chennai, Inspector General of the Indian Coast Guard SP Sharma said that jailed fishermen were exchanged with Sri Lanka. However, he said that one Indian fisherman was unwell to go on onboard and therefore a total of 51 Indian fishermen returned back. He stated this on the sidelines of three-day Coast Guard Sailing Cup 2014 that started on Wednesday. The Indian navy handed over 52 fishermen to Sri Lanka, while 51 Indians went the other way. One Indian remains in hospital in Sri Lanka and 236 others are still detained there. Some 152 Sri Lankan fishermen remain in India. Jan 17, 2014