SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Mayawati not to contest
Lucknow, March 13
To completely focus on the election battle ahead and ensure a clear majority for her party BSP chief Mayawati will not enter the election fray. Calling herself the only star campaigner of her party, she said today that she had to do justice to all 403 constituencies and hence she decided not to contest elections at this juncture.
BSP supremo Mayawati releases the list of party candidates for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in Lucknow BSP supremo Mayawati releases the list of party candidates for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in Lucknow on Tuesday.
— PTI photo

LS altercation failure of UPA floor managers
New Delhi, March 13
The ugly altercation witnessed between members of the Left parties and the DMK in the Lok Sabha today was a clear pointer to the failure of the UPA’s floor managers and the growing communication gap between the Marxists and the government.



EARLIER STORIES


DMK, Left MPs clash over maritime varsity Bill
Marshals called in to protect Baalu
New Delhi, March 13
For the first time in the history of Indian Parliamentary, marshals were summoned in the Lok Sabha today to protect a union minister, that too from the government’s own allies.

MP Prabhunath in trouble
Patna, March 13
A division bench of the Patna High Court comprising Mr Justice Aftab Alam and Mr Justice Samarendra Pratap Singh observed today it had received conclusive evidence against supporters of JD(U) MP Prabhunath Singh of kidnapping Lalmani Devi.

Troop Reduction
No response from Centre: PDP
New Delhi, March 13
Asserting that it will take its demand for troop reduction in Jammu and Kashmir to a "logical end," the PDP today said it had not received a response so far from the Centre on the issue.

Complaint against Liz-Nayar wedding
Jodhpur, March 13
A lower court here today filed a complaint against Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar for allegedly making a mockery of Hindu rituals during their much-publicised Indian style wedding here on March 9.

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Mayawati not to contest
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, March 13
To completely focus on the election battle ahead and ensure a clear majority for her party BSP chief Mayawati will not enter the election fray.

Calling herself the only star campaigner of her party, she said today that she had to do justice to all 403 constituencies and hence she decided not to contest elections at this juncture.

The BSP chief made it clear that the BSP would not enter into an alliance with any “Manuwadi” party to form a government. Only if her party were in a position to form a government on its own would she contest for which any candidate would willing vacate their seat, Mayawati confidently informed the media at a press conference held to release the much-awaited official list of 403 candidates.

The caste formation of the list released today shows that Mayawati has now formally given shape to her slogan of reshaping the Bahujan Samaj party into a sarv samaj (all caste) party.

In the past few months, Mayawati had been repeatedly laying down the ground rules to decide the tickets. “Jiski jitni hissedari, utni uski sankhya bhari” (The number of seats would be in direct proportion to participation in party activities). Today she gave a massive 139 seats (34.49 per cent) to the upper castes, including 21.3 per cent to Brahmins alone. The Dalits, considered to be her core constituency, were given a marginally higher 23 per cent. Around 110 (27.29 per cent) seats have been allocated to the OBC and 61 (23 per cent) to Muslims.

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LS altercation failure of UPA floor managers
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 13
The ugly altercation witnessed between members of the Left parties and the DMK in the Lok Sabha today was a clear pointer to the failure of the UPA’s floor managers and the growing communication gap between the Marxists and the government.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Lok Sabha leader Pranab Mukherjee as well as parliamentary affairs minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi were caught unawares when the Marxist MPs rushed to attack shipping and transport minister T.R. Baalu when he got up to introduce the Indian Maritime University Bill establishing the university headquarters at Chennai. The Marxist MPs wanted the headquarters to be set up in Kolkata.

While Left MPs said they had given notices to the Lok Sabha secretariat this morning about their decision to oppose the introduction of this Bill, Chatterjee’s office feigned ignorance about it while an embarrassed Dasmunsi said that copies of these notices failed to reach him as a result of which he was unable to pre-empt the fracas.

“I was not informed that the Left MPs had given such a notice.... I was completely taken aback by their reaction in the House,” Dasmunsi later told presspersons. The minister said had he been aware of the Left’s strong views, he would have resolved this issue outside the House and not allowed matters to come to such a head.

Although Dasmunsi denied that there was any communication gap between the Left and the government, it was no coincidence that CPM leaders did not turn up for this morning’s meeting convened by the minister for floor coordination. Relations between the Congress and the CPM have come under a strain after the latter vetoed its move to impose President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh.

Stating that the government was well aware of its views on this Bill, Left leaders said they had handed over a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on March 1 to protest the setting up of the university at Chennai instead of Kolkata. Despite an assurance from the Prime Minister their objections were overlooked, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury told presspersons.

After the situation took an ugly turn today, the two sides went into damage-control mode with Pranab Mukherjee calling a meeting of DMK and Left MPs. It was decided to refer the Bill to the standing committee on shipping and transport, which coincidentally is headed by CPM leader Sitaram Yechury.

It is learnt the government indicated that the demands of Left parties and the DMK would be accommodated by setting up two universities at Chennai and Kolkata.

However, this meeting was preceded by angry scenes in Somnath Chatterjee’s room when the House was adjourned. CPM member Mohammad Salim, it is learnt, accused the government of pandering to the DMK, stating that this was not the fist instance where Tamil Nadu had been favoured at the cost of West Bengal. “How longer can we tolerate this,” he stated.

While the Speaker ticked off the Left members for their ugly behaviour in the House, a repetition of a similar scene was staved off with the arrival of Sitaram Yechury, who apologised on behalf of his colleagues.

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DMK, Left MPs clash over maritime varsity Bill
Marshals called in to protect Baalu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 13
For the first time in the history of Indian Parliamentary, marshals were summoned in the Lok Sabha today to protect a union minister, that too from the government’s own allies.

Unprecedented, ugly scenes erupted in Lok Sabha during Zero Hour as members of the DMK and Left parties, both allies of the ruling UPA coalition, scuffled in the well of the House.

The triggering point was the Indian Maritime University Bill, 2007, which Shipping Minister T.R. Baalu got up to introduce. Left parties members were livid about the Bill as it said the government intended to set up a maritime university in Tamil Nadu. A maritime college has been functioning in Kolkata for a hundred years.

Members of the Left parties sprinted to the well of the House to physically prevent the minister from introducing the Bill. Members from the DMK as well as other Tamil Nadu parties, led by minister of state for finance S S Palainanickam, were alert and formed a human chain to protect the targeted minister.

Baalu himself was on his guard to prevent papers being snatched away from his hands.

Marshals were summoned to protect the minister under siege. The House had to be adjourned five times before several rounds of negotiations in the chambers of speaker Somnath Chatterjee and leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee finally brought about a compromise.

The give and take was that the Left parties allow the minister to pilot the Bill after which the Bill would be referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament.

Order was finally restored after the fifth adjournment and when the House met in the afternoon, Basudev Acharya (CPM) and Pranab Mukherjee apologised for letting the ugly situation come about in the first place.

It was L. K. Advani who made the most of the UPA government’s embarrassment. Advani was at his sarcastic best when he said it was the first time when such an ugly situation had arisen because of scuffles between allies of the government.

He said the “coalition dharma” had been violated by the UPA in an ugly manner and described today’s incident as “failure of management by the government” as the Bill must have had come before the Cabinet.

“Never before marshals have come to the well of the House, only to protect a minister,” Advani said. He said something more was needed than mere expression of regrets.

As soon as Advani uttered this sentence and sat down, the House was again thrown into turmoil as irate members from the treasury benches got up.

At this stage, the Speaker took command and delivered a brief but passionate speech. He urged members from all parties to maintain decorum in Parliament.

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MP Prabhunath in trouble
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, March 13
A division bench of the Patna High Court comprising Mr Justice Aftab Alam and Mr Justice Samarendra Pratap Singh observed today it had received conclusive evidence against supporters of JD(U) MP Prabhunath Singh of kidnapping Lalmani Devi.

Prabhunath is the leader of the JD(U) parliamentary party wing.

The case dates back to the 1995 assembly poll in Bihar, when Rajendra Rai, son of Lalmani, was alleged to have been killed by Prabhunath and his supporters.

Subsequently, Prabhunath was charged with kidnapping Lalmani to hush up the evidence against him as she was the only witness.

On the lines of his promise that the law was equal for all, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had shifted the case against his party MP from Jharkhand to a fast-track court in Bhagalpur last year.

The court observation today landing Prabhunath in trouble was in the wake of a directive by another division bench of the Patna High Court in December last to ADG (police modernisation) D.N. Gautam to supervise and control the investigation in the case relating to the alleged kidnapping of Lalmani by supporters of the JD(U) MP from Maharajganj.

Based on the report submitted by Gautam, the court today asked the government to shift the case against Prabhunath from the fast-track court to the Patna High Court.

Besides, the court ordered the government to hold an impartial inquiry into the case.

The court also indicted DIG Saran range, Rampravesh Singh, for his negligence in probing the murder case in the right spirit.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had taken a tough stance against politicians with criminal background while dismissing a petition by Prabhunath, seeking a stay on arrest warrants against him in the murder case, and directed him to surrender before the trial court in Bhagalpur.

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Troop Reduction
No response from Centre: PDP
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 13
Asserting that it will take its demand for troop reduction in Jammu and Kashmir to a "logical end," the PDP today said it had not received a response so far from the Centre on the issue.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti told The Tribune today over telephone that her party's demands were "reasonable" and the process of meeting them was started when her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was the Chief Minister of the coalition government in the state.

The PDP's demands, which include troop reduction, withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and vacation of agricultural land held by security forces, have caused friction in the coalition government with the state Congress not keen to take up the issues as part of official agenda.

The PDP chief, who had raised her party's demands with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee during her recent visit to the national capital, said her party would decide its course of action after getting a response from the Centre.

A high-level meeting of the Congress was held on Saturday evening in the capital where the party leadership decided to convey the government's stand on the PDP demands. The Prime Minister is expected to convey the government's views to the PDP leadership.

Giving indications that the PDP may continue to abstain from the state Cabinet meetings till the party's demands

were addressed, Mehbooba Mufti wondered why the issue of troop reduction was not being discussed by the state government. "When the issue can be raised by the Congress leaders in public meetings, why it can't be discussed in the Cabinet," she said.

The PDP chief said situation had considerably improved in the state and ground reality demands reduction of troops. "It is a people's issue. We have to show some positive result."

On the apprehensions in the Congress about troop reduction being exploited by the BJP-led opposition, Ms Mehbooba said there was no need to be defensive.

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Complaint against Liz-Nayar wedding

Jodhpur, March 13
A lower court here today filed a complaint against Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar for allegedly making a mockery of Hindu rituals during their much-publicised Indian style wedding here on March 9.

Demanding stringent action against the celebrity couple, the complainant Vishnu Khandelwal said the wedding ceremony flouted Hindu rituals and traditions and has also been responsible for luring Hindus towards Christianity.

While admitting the complaint, Jodhpur's judicial magistrate (No.3) Hari Ballabh Khatri fixed the next date of hearing as March 21. The complaint has been filed under Section 295 A and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code.

Petitioner's counsel Hastimal Saraswat told the court there are many religions in the world and each has its own set of rituals and traditions.

He said Hindus too have a unique culture and religion. A person belonging to another religion cannot tamper with the faith of another religion and make a mockery of such an auspicious event.

Saraswat said British actor and model Liz is not Hindu by religion. Neither is she a converted Hindu. The couple married in a church in Sudeley castle on March 3, which means Indian-born Arun Nayar must have embraced Christianity.

He said they have consummated the marriage and have even attended a number of events planned for the newly-weds.

They re-married at Umaid Bhavan here on March 9 according to Hindu rituals. Alleging mockery of Hindu rituals, he said the much hyped event has hurt the sentiments of Hindus. — UNI

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