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News Wrap: Pressure increases on Gadkari; US election starts

A crucial BJP core meet was underway at the time of recording this bulletin/publishing this News Wrap.

Do follow updates on our live blog for the latest.

- Ever since questions over Nitin Gadkari's Purti group surfaced in a number of media channels/publications, things have gone from bad to worse for the BJP president. Add to that his comments comparing the IQs of Swami Vivekananda and Dawood Ibrahim, and BJP MP Ram Jethmalani publicly stating that the top brass of the BJP want him out, and his days seem numbered.

In an explosive interview with the Times Now channel, Jethmalani said a number of BJP top leaders including Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Shatrughan Sinha agreed with him that Gadkari needed to be replaced for the good of the party.

The interview was followed by a flurry of meetings between various BJP leaders, and Gadkari also visited the homes of LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley in what was seen as an effort to shore up support amid a divid in the party.

Sushma Swaraj obliged, making her support for Gadkari clear. However Gadkari and Advani have been silent so far.

Ever since questions over Nitin Gadkari's Purti group surfaced in a number of media exposes, things have gone from bad to worse for the BJP president. PTI

- The first votes of the US election have been cast. President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney each won 5 votes in Dixville Notch, and in Hart's Location Obama won with 23 votes, Romney received 9.

The towns have enjoyed first-vote status since 1948.

Both the candidates were taking the fight till election day.

Obama spoke at rallies in Wisconsin, Ohio and finally Iowa. He has been urging voters to show up at the polls to ensure victory. In Iowa, he urged voters to help him finish what he started when he won the presidency four years before.

Meanwhile, Romney was making last-minute plans to visit two vital battlegrounds.

Remember, none of the two candidates have shown a clear lead in the polls. This one's going down to the wire and Firstpost will be covering the elections live. Please keep checking the website throghout the night and from early morning.

- After the deadly riot at its Manesar facility in July, Maruti had sacked over 500 permanent workers and about 2,000 contract workers and suffered itself after the facility remained under lockout for almost a month. Till date, full production has not returned to Manesar and Maruti’s diesel car orders have piled up beyond 1.25 lakh units.

To make things more complicated, sacked workers have regrouped to stage protests. The now defunct Maruti Suzuki Workers Union has transformed into a provisional committee, which is now leading protests. It begins with a 36 hour hunger strike tomorrow and will culminate with a peaceful dharna the day after.

It all started after a Special Investigative Team probing the riot said it in its report last month that the July incident was a planned conspiracy to kill management present inside the plant at that time.

Workers are now demanding an impartial CBI probe into the riot, the release of 149 jailed colleagues and reinstatement of the 546 permanent workers Maruti sacked in its aftermath.

- In sport, Sharmila Tagore, wife of late Indian captain MAK Pataudi has written a scathing email to the BCCI over a delay in making a decision over a Pataudi lecture and a Pataudi Trophy for the upcoming India-England series. Tagore also raised the fact that the BCCI never formalised the commissioning the Pataudi Trophy to be presented to the winning captain of future England-India series, despite this being commissioned by the Marylebone Cricket Club. The upcoming series is called the Airtel series. The BCCI have said the matter will be taken up during a working committee... the date of which is not yet decided.

- Microsoft have launched Halo 4— the latest in their blockbuster Halo series for Xbox 360. Halo 4 will be available at retail stores across India on Tuesday. The Standard Edition is for Rs 3,299 and Limited Edition for Rs 4,599.

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