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N A T I O N

RSS hits out at BJP
New Delhi, June 20
Virtually daring the BJP to snap links with the RSS, former party ideologue KN Govindacharya has said the RSS can “walk straight without crutches of the BJP”.

CPM introspects on poll reverses
New Delhi, June 20
Deflecting attention from the key issue of electoral reverses it suffered in the recent general elections, the CPM’s central committee today restricted its official reaction to the Maoist siege of Lalgarh in West Bengal, blaming the Congress-TMC combine for “helping Maoists create a zone of terror against CPM supporters”.

Buddhadeb calls on PM, PC
New Delhi, June 20
West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. The Chief Minister of West Bengal Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said the Union Home Ministry has assured him of providing more paramilitary forces to tackle the Naxal violence in the state.
West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. A Tribune photograph



EARLIER STORIES

Swine Flu
Trader first confirmed case in Max City
Mumbai, June 20
A Mumbai-based businessman has been tested positive for swine flu, according to the Maharashtra Health Department.

Reopen vaccine units: Govt
New Delhi, June 20
Faced with an acute shortage of primary vaccines resulting in their overpricing by manufacturers, the government has decided to reopen all three state-owned vaccine manufacturing units at Kasauli, Coonoor and Chennai.

Harish Khare media adviser to PM
New Delhi, June 20
Senior journalist Harish Khare has been appointed the media adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Ragging helpline launched
New Delhi, June 20
The anti-ragging movement, inspired by the death of Tanda medical college student Aman Kachroo, hit its peak today, with the government launching 1800-180-5522 -- India’s first toll-free helpline to protect students in distress.

 





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RSS hits out at BJP

New Delhi, June 20
Virtually daring the BJP to snap links with the RSS, former party ideologue KN Govindacharya has said the RSS can “walk straight without crutches of the BJP”.

Govindacharya, who parted ways with the BJP sometime back, accused the party leaders, including its chief Rajnath Singh, of practising “pseudo-Hindutva”.

Besides, he dubbed Varun Gandhi’s election speeches as “pesudo-Hindutva of the reactionary, irresponsible kind” and “not Hindutva”.

In a hard-hitting interview to the weekly news magazine Tehelka, he said the
BJP did not cater to the ideal of Hindutva either as a party in power or as a party
in the opposition.

“It is not a national party in terms of ideology, policies and conviction,” he said about the BJP, adding that it was a party “full of opportunists and careerists”.

The BJP leaders were taking to politics “only as a career or a dhanda (business)”, he said alleging that their thought process revolves only around power.

The interview has come at a time when the BJP’s national executive is taking place here amid calls by some leaders for an open debate on the electoral debacle.

Asked how the RSS leadership is viewing the election results, Govindacharya said: “The RSS will have a straight talk with the BJP now and tell it to decide what kind of relationship it wants to have with the RSS.”

“We feel that we don’t need any appendage or any extra baggage. Nor any crutches. The RSS can walk straight without the crutches of the BJP. This is the message the Sangh leadership has given to the BJP,” he said.

Govindacharya was also harsh on the leadership of Advani, who was projected as the prime ministerial candidate, saying that the election campaign of the BJP, which proclaimed him as a strong leader, was “on a wrong footing”.

“As Home Minister, Advani’s comparison can only be made with Shivraj Patil. There was nothing much to choose from,” he said adding that the election was a competition between “a weak Manmohan Singh and a weak Advani ji”.

To a question, he said Advani had never said anywhere that he was going to quit as Leader of the Opposition in December. “This is rumour, conjecture,” he said.

Asked whether there was a feeling within the RSS that perhaps it was time for Advani to retire, he said the RSS unless asked to think and advise on these aspects would not apply its mind on such issues.

At the same time, he said Advani had definitely expressed the will for a retired life. Asked how he visualised the future of BJP, he said he would leave that to the wisdom of the leaders.

“If things go as they are, the party will be reduced in the arithmetic of elections and they will not even hold as many states in power as they do today,” he said. — PTI

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CPM introspects on poll reverses
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 20
Deflecting attention from the key issue of electoral reverses it suffered in the recent general elections, the CPM’s central committee today restricted its official reaction to the Maoist siege of Lalgarh in West Bengal, blaming the Congress-TMC combine for “helping Maoists create a zone of terror against CPM supporters”.

Lalgarh apart, the CPM is learnt to have seriously introspected on poll losses today, with party general secretary Prakash Karat reportedly admitting before the central committee that the Third Front idea was a non-starter.

The Sachar Committee report also helped the Congress gain Muslim votes, the CPM is learnt to have concluded.

More seriously, the party reportedly discussed the issue of lifestyle of certain leaders, implying that leaders needed to follow in the humble communist traditions to send the right signals to people.

Sources said Karat took note of this fact in his speech and said the lifestyle of some leaders had become a liability to the party and harmed its image.

The West Bengal and Kerala units were also under the heat, with the Politburo reportedly concluding that mishandling of Rizwanur murder in Bengal and party infighting in Kerala were causes behind CPM’s poll reverses in the respective states. The former alienated the Muslims in favour of the Congress and TMC, it felt.

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Buddhadeb calls on PM, PC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 20
The Chief Minister of West Bengal Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said the Union Home Ministry has assured him of providing more paramilitary forces to tackle the Naxal violence in the state.

Talking to reporters, after briefing Home Minister P Chidambaram of Lalgarh situation, the Bengal CM said his government is giving a serious thought to ban the CPI (Maoists) after the Centre’s suggestion in this regard following the Lalgarh violence.

“The Home Minister advised me to ban the CPI (Maoist). We have to give it a serious thought. We have started thinking what to do," he said. Chidambaram had said yesterday that the state government should ban the Maoists.

The CM said the operation to flush out the rebels in Lalgarh would continue for some more time and added that he is happy that the Central government had “acted quickly” to send forces to launch the offensive.

“At least 18 of the 241 blocks in the state are either fully or partly affected by this Maoist violence. They are killing innocent people. We are happy that the government has responded quickly. The Centre has already moved 23 companies of CRPF and six companies of BSF to the state,” he said, adding that the Centre had assured him of all support, including sending more forces.

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Swine Flu
Trader first confirmed case in Max City
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, June 20
A Mumbai-based businessman has been tested positive for swine flu, according to the Maharashtra Health Department.

The 36-year-old businessman, who is suspected to have contracted the disease, travelled across the US and Central America and had arrived in Mumbai from New Jersey on Thursday.

After he exhibited symptoms of swine flu on arrival, he got himself examined at a private hospital which referred him to the Kasturba Hospital.

Dr Pradeep Awate, who heads the special control room set up here, said tests conducted on the patient confirmed swine flu and he had been kept in the isolation ward. His condition is normal.

This is the first case of swine flu in Mumbai. Similar cases have been reported in other parts of the country.

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Reopen vaccine units: Govt
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 20
Faced with an acute shortage of primary vaccines resulting in their overpricing by manufacturers, the government has decided to reopen all three state-owned vaccine manufacturing units at Kasauli, Coonoor and Chennai.

Orders to this effect are said to have been issued in the Health Ministry yesterday. These come a few days after President Pratibha Patil assured Parliament on June 4 of the government’s commitment to revive public sector vaccine-producing units to support the immunisation programme.

“Vaccine-producing institutes in the public sector will be revived to support the immunisation programme,” she said in her address.

Vaccine production at the Central Research Institute (CRI), Kasauli, Pasteur Institute of India (PII), Coonoor, and BCG Vaccines Lab (BCGVL), Chennai, was suspended on January 15 last, citing their failure to comply with the WHO’s good manufacturing practices (GMP).

The halt on production hit India’s Universal Immunisation Programme hard, forcing a series of litigations against the orders of former health minister Anbumani Ramadoss, who directed the closure of these three PSUs. The units made vaccines against tetanus, tuberculosis, measles and other infections.

On February 20 this year, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre to take a fresh look at the issue; a parliamentary standing committee report also questioned the closure of the reputed units; the one at Kasauli is the oldest at over 100 years.

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Harish Khare media adviser to PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 20
Harish Khare Senior journalist Harish Khare has been appointed the media adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He replaces Deepak Sandhu, who took up the post last year after the then media adviser, Sanjaya Baru, left for Singapore to take up a teaching assignment. Sandhu has been shifted to the Central Information Commission as its member.

Khare (62), presently the senior associate editor of The Hindu, is expected to join the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) next week.

He has also worked as the resident editor of The Times of India, Ahmedabad, and the Hindustan Times in the past.

A veteran political commentator, Khare, is said to be choice of both Manmohan Singh and the Congress party for the post of media adviser, who is traditionally considered as an interface between the government and the media.

He has been close to the Congress leadership for several years. His association with the Congress grew further when Sitaram Kesri became the party president in 1996.

Congress stalwarts like Ahmed Patel and Jairam Ramesh are said to be among Khare’s close friends.

Khare, whose name for the post had been doing rounds last year also after Baru left for Singapore, will hold the rank of a secretary to the Government of India.

He has a PhD in political science from Yale University and has had an illustrious career in journalism for over 35 years.

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Ragging helpline launched
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 20
The anti-ragging movement, inspired by the death of Tanda medical college student Aman Kachroo, hit its peak today, with the government launching 1800-180-5522 -- India’s first toll-free helpline to protect students in distress.

Aman’s father Raj Kachroo whose idea it was to have such a helpline, was missing at the launch ceremony. When contacted, he said he had not been invited.

He also warned the government of the limitations of its anti-ragging plan, welcoming the launch as a “positive first step which needs a lot of dedication”.

As for students, they can alternatively e-mail-helpline@antiragging.net or call 155222 (still under implementation) for help.

The toll-free helpline would be operated by Education Consultants (EdCIL) and BSNL on the behalf of UGC, which has engaged a local call centre to respond to calls in English, Hindi and selected regional languages.

Each complaint would be assigned a unique reference number to allow future tracking. Also, the information on each complaint would be relayed to the officers concerned for action within 15 minutes of receipt.

Also in place is an anti-ragging web portal where colleges must register themselves, submit database of students, who, along with parents, would now be required to fill (at the time of admission) a notarised affidavit, saying they would not indulge in ragging. These would be uploaded, enabling the creation of the first student database in India.

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BRIEFLY

Intruder aircraft cleared
Mumbai:
The AN-124 cargo aircraft, forced to land at Mumbai airport last night, has been given a clean chit by Indian officials. The aircraft hired by the US military is likely to take off late tonight or early tomorrow, according to DGCA officials here. After undergoing a long interrogation session for most of the night, the crew of the aircraft was moved to a hotel. Officials from the DGCA and Central intelligence agencies questioned the crew. The US government is said to have confirmed that the aircraft was flying between its base in Diego Garcia and Afghanistan. — TNS

Patil in judicial custody till July 4
Mumbai:
Suspended NCP leader Padamsinh Patil, held on charges of the murder of Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar, has been remanded in judicial custody till July 4. — PTI

4 ultras gunned down
Guwahati:
The Army gunned down four militants belonging to the proscribed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in two separate ‘encounters’ in the state on Saturday. An Army spokesman said three NDFB cadres were gunned down in an encounter at Kachugaon, 20 km from Gossaingaon town in Assam’s Kokrajhar district while the fourth one was killed at Hatigate in Sonitpur district. — TNS

Modi rejects amendments
New Delhi:
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday rejected the amendments suggested by the Centre to the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Act (GUJCOC), saying it would amount to taking away the “teeth and nails” of the legislation. “The amendments suggested by the Centre amount to taking away the teeth and nails of the GUJCOC,” he said. — PTI

Vijayashanthi quits TRS
Hyderabad:
A day after the resignation of party president K. Chandrasekhar Rao, crisis in Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) deepened further with actress-turned- politician and MP Vijayashanthi quitting her party positions to express solidarity with the party chief. The spate of resignations came against the backdrop of growing revolt over the party leadership following the drubbing in recent elections. — TNS

Goonda Act against kid
Lucknow:
Jagannath, a resident of Baghauli village in Hardoi district, about 110 km from here, was booked under the law about four months ago after his family was involved in a row with a neighbour. The Goonda Act provides for preventive detention up to three months and imposes stringent conditions for bail. — IANS

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