SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Dinsha no match for Modi
Maninagar, December 5
Narendra Modi won’t be campaigning in his constituency any time soon as the Maninagar assembly voters are all set to return him as their choice yet again. The Congress has fielded union minister of state for petroleum Dinsha Patel against Modi in a bid to harvest the 95,000 Patel votes in Maninagar.

Modi: Cong defaming Hindus
Mumbai, December 5
A day after his controversial speech justifying the encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today accused the Congress of defaming Hindus by calling them terrorists.

NDA final results declared
New Delhi, December 5
A total of 299 candidates have been selected for admission to the Army, Navy and Air Force wings of National Defence Academy for the 119th course and Naval Academy for the 39th course commencing from January next year.



EARLIER STORIES




Pass a law harsher than POTA, says BJP
New Delhi, December 5
The UPA government is going to hold a Chief Ministers’ conference here later this month to discuss ways to beef up the country’s internal security machinery in the wake of a spate of bomb attacks across the country in recent months.

Babri Mosque Demolition Case
First witness examined
Lucknow, December 5
With the Special Judicial Magistrate in Rae Bareli today examining the first witness the trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case officially commenced today, which happens to be the eve of the 15 anniversary of the incident.

5 half-burnt bodies found near Nandigram
Kolkata, December 5
Five mutilated and half-burnt bodies were found today buried in a trench in fields at Bidyapith village in the CPM stronghold of Khejuri, adjacent to Nandigram in West Bengal.

Ganga Action Plan
SC lambasts 5 states
New Delhi, December 5
The Supreme Court, monitoring the progress of the Ganga Action Plan, today took serious view of the five basin states not submitting their reports on the utilisation of Central funds. It directed that henceforth the Planning Commission member attached to water resources would monitor the use of government funds.

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Dinsha no match for Modi
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Maninagar, December 5
Narendra Modi won’t be campaigning in his constituency any time soon as the Maninagar assembly voters are all set to return him as their choice yet again.

The Congress has fielded union minister of state for petroleum Dinsha Patel against Modi in a bid to harvest the 95,000 Patel votes in Maninagar. The Congress is also banking on the support of 12,000 Muslim votes in addition to an equivalent number of Dalits and about 16,000 Marathi-speaking people here.

However, it will be an uphill task despite the image of Patel as a Gandhian and a clean politician. The 71-year-old soft-spoken politician is no match for Modi and it clearly shows in his campaign style as well.

Patel and his band of core supporters are on a padyatra throughout Maninagar and often pause to have a word with voters. Though a stranger to this constituency, Patel along with a band of three councillors from the Congress are putting out a brave front to take on Modi.

“Dinshabhai may or may not win against Modi, but he has struck a chord among the voters here who are thronging to shake hands and speak to him,” says Ashish Amin, vice-president of the Gujarat Prades Congress Committee. Indeed a visit to where Patel is campaigning indicates that he has a lot of good will among the voters of Maninagar.

“We respect him for building the memorial for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Karamsadh (where India’s first home minister was born),” says Darshan Patel who runs a small shop in Maninagar. “He has a reputation for being a Gandhian and a clean politician,” adds his neighbour Neeraj Gadvi. But both are not sure whether they will vote for Dinsha Patel.

“Narendra Modi is very strong here,” both add.

The Congress feels that Patel is in the middle of a David versus Goliath battle with little hope of vanquishing the self-styled great hope of Gujarat. “We are portraying this fight in Maninagar as fight between Gandhian values and those like Adolf Hitler,” says Arvind Sinh Chauhan, another councillor from Maninagar. “If Dinsha Patel manages to defeat someone like Modi, then he deserves to be the Chief Minister of Gujarat,” adds Chauhan confirming that Patel is the Congress candidate for the top job.

But Modi supporters are behind their leader and have full confidence that he will be the clear winner . “Modiji came here to inaugurate the election offices here and file his nomination papers from Maninagar,” says Kamlesh Patel who is in charge of Modi’s election campaign. Other BJP workers insist that Modi is a regular to the constituency visiting four to five times every year to meet with voters.

Maninagar is a BJP bastion having been a stronghold of the part since 1990. Modi, however, is a relative newcomer as well contesting from here only in the 2002 elections. Kamlesh Patel held this seat before conceding it to Modi.

But the BJP is still worried that Dinsha Patel may cut into Modi’s margins. The party has roped in 150 workers in each of the five wards here to carry out a door-to-door campaign. “We are covering each of the 90,000 odd houses here in a systematic manner,” says Kamlesh Patel.

Dinsha Patel is, however, keeping a low-key image. “My name was suggested by the party and my supporters. I was told that I was the best hope to counter Modi and improve the image of Gujarat,” says Patel.

“It’s a dharmayuddh and the toughest battle of my life,” adds Patel. He has no illusions of a walkover. “This is not going to be an easy contest, but we are giving our best,” says Patel.

Till his loss in Nadiad in 2002 during the Narendra Modi wave, Patel had never lost an election in his four-decade long career. And the Congress is hoping that Patel discovers his old magic and brings about a classic victory in this battle.

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Modi: Cong defaming Hindus
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 5
A day after his controversial speech justifying the encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today accused the Congress of defaming Hindus by calling them terrorists.

“The Congress was defaming Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel by calling Hindus of Gujarat as terrorists (antakwadis),” Modi said while addressing a rally in Godhra, the sensitive town where the attack on Sabarmati Express in 2002 led to the worst-ever communal riots in the history of the state.

Modi was referring to a statement made by Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh during the release of the party’s manifesto which called for a crackdown on Muslim terrorism as much as Hindu terrorism.

In his interactive method of delivering speeches, Modi asked the crowd if they were Hindus. The crowd responded by saying ‘Yes’. “Are you terrorists as the Congress says,” Modi asked them. “No” came the response.

Modi then told the audience that the Congress had filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court saying that there was no convincing proof of Lord Ram’s existence. He asked the crowd if they were proud to be Hindus. “Yes” came the response.

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NDA final results declared

New Delhi, December 5
A total of 299 candidates have been selected for admission to the Army, Navy and Air Force wings of National Defence Academy for the 119th course and Naval Academy for the 39th course commencing from January next year.

The results for the NDA and the Naval Academy were announced today by the UPSC on the basis of written examination held in April this year and the interviews conducted by the Services Selection Board of the Defence Ministry.

The results will also be available on the UPSC website -http://www.upsc.gov.in. However, marks of the candidates will be available on the website after 30 days from the date of declaration of final results. — UNI

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Pass a law harsher than POTA, says BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 5
The UPA government is going to hold a Chief Ministers’ conference here later this month to discuss ways to beef up the country’s internal security machinery in the wake of a spate of bomb attacks across the country in recent months.

The serial bomb blasts in three UP cities - Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad - last week was the sixth major terror attack this year. In the past two years, at least 434 people died in terror bombings.

Meanwhile, a short-duration discussion was held in the Lok Sabha today on the country’s internal security situation. Vijay Kumar Malhotra (BJP), initiating the discussion, criticised the government for abolishing the POTA and demanded enactment of a new law stricter than it.

“The UPA government does not have the will to deal effectively with terrorism,” he charged.

Malhotra expressed concern on the sprouting of madarsas in the border areas which are using funds from non-banking sources.

He called for steps to monitor the activities of madarsas. 

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Babri Mosque Demolition Case
First witness examined
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, December 5
With the Special Judicial Magistrate in Rae Bareli today examining the first witness the trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case officially commenced today, which happens to be the eve of the 15 anniversary of the incident.

The examination of Hanuman Prasad, the head muharrir who wrote the FIR on the fateful day at the Ayodhya police station in Faizabad district in the Rae Bareli court, today turned it into a historic event.

This is crime number 198 in which eight accused are being prosecuted for offences committed by them on December 6, 1992. Besides former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, former union ministers M.M. Joshi and Uma Bharti, BJP general secretary Vinay Katiyar, VHP leaders Acharya Giriraj Kishore, Ashok Singhal, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Sadhvi Ritambhara are other accused in the case.

According to advocate Zafaryab Jilani, in August 2005 the magistrate at the Rae Bareli court had directed all the accused to appear before it. “Two years have gone by but they have been seeking adjournment of the case under one ground or the other”.

It was on Jilani’s criminal revision petition that the case was once again allowed against L.K. Advani in July 2005 after he had once been exonerated in the case in September 2003.

On November 26 the court had directed the CBI to produce the witnesses on the next date, that is December 5, on all account, as the case would not be further adjourned on any ground whatsoever.

Accordingly, today when the application for adjournment was moved on behalf of the accused the court summarily rejected it directing the first witness to be examined.

Calling it a “welcome step”, Jilani said he hoped that the trial would now progress smoothly and the guilty be brought to book. The court has fixed December 13 as the next date for examining the second witness. 

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5 half-burnt bodies found near Nandigram

Kolkata, December 5
Five mutilated and half-burnt bodies were found today buried in a trench in fields at Bidyapith village in the CPM stronghold of Khejuri, adjacent to Nandigram in West Bengal.

“We had a tip off that five bodies were buried at the spot. We along with a team of the CRPF and the CBI went there and found the bodies, but cannot dig them out without a magistrate’s order,” Midnapore (East) SP S.S. Panda said.

He said the bodies found in the trench covered with bushes were half-burnt and mutilated.

“We are waiting for the magistrate’s order and once it comes we will exhume the bodies and send them for post mortem,” Panda said.

The SP was not sure about the identity of the bodies.

“Five persons died while making bombs on October 28. These might be the bodies of them or it might be the bodies of those persons killed in disturbances on November 6,” Panda said. — PTI

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Ganga Action Plan
SC lambasts 5 states
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, December 5
The Supreme Court, monitoring the progress of the Ganga Action Plan, today took serious view of the five basin states not submitting their reports on the utilisation of Central funds. It directed that henceforth the Planning Commission member attached to water resources would monitor the use of government funds.

The court in February had directed the five states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal to submit a complete data on the use of hundreds of crores of Central funds released to them since the Ganga Action Plan was launched during the Rajiv Gandhi’s regime for cleansing the river.

A Bench of Chef Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V. Raveendran came down heavily on these states for failing to submit the fund utilisation certificates after allegations of widespread corruption and the quality of water of the river deteriorating further.

Advocate Krishan Mahajan, appointed by the court to assist it in the adjudication of a PIL by noted environmentalist lawyer M.C. Mehta on the issue, alleged that the states though were regularly receiving the funds but had failed to set up sewage treatment plants (STPs) on drains culminating into the Ganga and industrial waste continuing to flow into it.

There was a total misuse of Central funds, which were virtually going down the drain, Mahajan said seeking strict action against the states. The court also directed the Centre to submit its report as what action it had taken to monitor the proper utilisation of the money.

Besides, the states were asked to submit data on the STPs constructed by them and action taken against the polluting industries not following the environment pollution control norms laid down by the Central Pollution Control Board.

The Rajiv Gandhi government had launched the Ganga Action Plan in 1995 with much fanfare to clean the river and till now hundreds of crores of rupees had been released by the Centre as special allocation to the five states. 

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