|N A T I O N|
|Advani against imposition of Vande
BHOPAL, Nov 21 Union Home Minister Lal Krishan Advani today said he was opposed to the "mandatory imposition of the singing of Vande Mataram.
Viewers' choice award for Rehman album
NEW DELHI, Nov 21 The much-touted 1998 Channel V music awards were tonight presented at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The Coca-Cola Viewers Choice award went to music director-cum-singer A.R. Rehman for his album "Vande Mataram".
|Sharma's foreign links: CBI to seek
NEW DELHI, Nov 21 The CBI-led Inter-Departmental Group probing cases against Dubai-based don Dawood Ibrahims suspected front man Romesh Sharma is seeking Interpol assistance to ascertain Sharmas alleged links abroad.
Merit-based promotion for
scientists to continue
|Govt assurance on hiking pension
NEW DELHI, Nov 21 The government has decided to increase pension by 50 per cent and family pension by 30 per cent if these fell short of the minimum of the revised pay, Minister of State for Personnel and Pensions K.M.R. Janarthanan said today.
Advani against imposition of Vande Mataram in UP schools
BHOPAL, Nov 21 (UNI, PTI) Union Home Minister Lal Krishan Advani today said he was opposed to the "mandatory imposition of the singing of Vande Mataram.
When asked to comment over the move of the Kalyan Singh-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttar Pradesh to make the singing of Vande Mataram compulsory in government-run schools, the Home Minister said he would ascertain the factual position as there were conflicting reports on it.
Mr Advani stated that it should not be imposed and people should be allowed to accept it on their own.
The UP governments reported decision to make the singing of Vande Mataram compulsory had attracted sharp criticism from none other than the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board(AIMPLB).
The board president, Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi, popularly known as Ali Mian, had asked Muslims to withdraw their children from the schools where rendering of Vande Mataram had been made compulsory as that song was not true to the spirit of Islam.
Mr Advani added though New Delhi had not won the proxy war waged by Pakistan against India, "the tables had been turned against Islamabad".
He said talks between the two countries had not succeeded till now and accused Pakistan of launching attacks on Siachen even as talks were on.
Addressing a press conference here Mr Advani said the Centre was of the view that the Kashmir issue could only be solved through negotiations.
Answering a question on Congress president Sonia Gandhi sharing a platform with Marxist leader Jyoti Basu, he said the two parties came together only to contain the BJP.
"Twenty-five years ago they came together to take on JP (Jaiprakash Narayan) and now they are doing it to contain the BJP", he said, adding it was surprising that CPM was prepared to support even the dynastic rule of the Congress to check the BJP.
Listing the major achievements of the eight-month-old Vajpayee government, he said the nuclear test in Pokhran was its biggest success.
He hoped the countrys economic situation would improve in the near future and blamed the previous government at the centre for the present economic problems. He was, however, confident that price rise would not affect his partys poll prospects.
Mr Advani told reporters here that though price rise had always been an important issue, it had never been so significant as to affect the outcome of a poll.
Claiming his partys victory in the election, he said, the recent price hike, was not going to affect it much as it was due to a number of factors including vagaries of weather and the people were aware of it.
Mr Advani also appealed to the voters to exercise great care in exercising their franchise saying, "if the Congress does well in the Assembly elections, the foreign powers upset with the BJP for the nuclear explosions at Pokhran will feel happy", he added.
He said the Vajpayee government had five major achievements to its credit the Pokhran nuclear explosions, resolving of the Cauvery waters dispute, Mr Yashwant Sinhas Budget for 1998-99 which gave an impetus to rural development, improving the internal security situation and steps for introducing information technology.
Sharma's foreign links: CBI to seek
NEW DELHI, Nov 21 (PTI) The CBI-led Inter-Departmental Group (IDG) probing cases against Dubai-based don Dawood Ibrahims suspected front man Romesh Sharma is seeking Interpol assistance to ascertain Sharmas alleged links abroad.
"Interpol help is being sought to investigate Sharmas alleged connections in various foreign countries, IDG sources said here today.
The investigation by the IDG headed by CBI Joint Director R.N. Kaul will focus on Sharmas alleged nexus with politicians, bureaucrats and underworld elements and his links in foreign countries.
The IDG has prepared up four broad lists politicians, bureaucrats, underworld and foreign links on the basis of which further probe will be conducted, the sources said.
The IDG which, besides the CBI, also includes Income Tax, Delhi Police and Enforcement Directorate personnel, has also received fresh complaints against Sharma which were being analysed for registration of cases, sources said.
Investigating agencies have so far, registered 16 cases in connection with violation of various laws including the Arms Act, the Wildlife Act, the Excise Act against Sharma, currently lodged in Tihar jail in judicial custody.
He has also been charged with forcibly acquiring various properties in the Capital besides a helicopter from Suresh Rao, owner of a Mumbai-based aviation company.
Viewers' choice award for Rehman album
NEW DELHI, Nov 21 (UNI)
After overcoming initial legal hiccups, the
much-touted 1998 Channel V music awards were
tonight presented to national and international pop stars
and singers at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium sans the usual
euphoria as the fan club turnout proved to be a damp
As the show progressed, a "free for all" scenario appeared with viewers jumping their stands and allotted seats to enter the VIP and VVIP enclosures without much resistance from the organisers and the security guards, who failed to keep a proper management of the affairs. Even mediapersons had to run here and there to get a copy of the nominations, which was not provided to them at the venue.
Only in the morning, the Delhi High Court had permitted Channel V to go ahead with the show only after taking certain undertakings from it. A public interest petition was filed seeking immediate stay on the holding of the music awards presentation night at the stadium.
International pop group "Aqua" (famous for the "Barbie Girl" number) and "Silk Route" (known for "Dooba dooba" number) led the list winning three awards each of the 22 which were on offer. They were followed by "Gabbar Mix" of Bali Brahmabhatt, "Chaiya Chaiya" of Sukhvinder Singh and Daler Mehndi with two honours each.
"911" pop group (All I want is you), Aslam and Shibani (Ho gayi hai mohabbat), Ricky Martin (EN dos tres), Junoon (Sayoo nee), Lata Mangeshkar, Janet Jackson and Asha Bhonsle received one awards each.
The Coca-Cola Viewers
Choice award went to music director-cum-singer A.R.
Rehman for his album "Vande Mataram", the life
time achievement award was presented to pop group
"Def Leppard" and international group
"Sting" was honoured for the outstanding
contribution to music.
Merit-based promotion for
NEW DELHI, Nov 21 (PTI) The government has rejected the Fifth Pay Commission recommendation for uniform application of the modified flexible complementing scheme (FCS) for all scientific departments and declared that the existing scheme of merit-based promotion, presently applicable in the Departments of Space, Atomic Energy and Defence, will continue.
In a gazette notification, the government also rejected another pay commission recommendation to exclude scientific administrators from the benefit of promotions under the FCS.
The government, however, said FCS should be made applicable only to scientists and technologists holding scientific posts in scientific and technological departments and who were engaged in scientific activities and services.
It has also been decided that promotions under FCS should be rigorous so that only scientists with demonstrable achievements are recommended for promotion.
The government has accepted the recommendation for the removal of existing disparities in the operation of the FCS and prescribed uniform pay and designations taking effect from November 9, 1998.
The government did not accept the Pay Commission recommendation for permanent disqualification of the candidates from FCS in case of three successive failures. The existing system of assessing the officer every year would continue.
To extend the benefit of promotions under the FCS to other scientific institutions, where the scheme is not in operation at present, the government has decided to set up a committee to examine the applications from the administrative ministry of such institutions.
These decisions were taken after the examination of the Pay Commission recommendations by the Ministry of Personnel in consultation with scientific secretaries.
Govt assurance on hiking pension
NEW DELHI, Nov 21 (PTI) The government has decided to increase pension by 50 per cent and family pension by 30 per cent if these fell short of the minimum of the revised pay, Minister of State for Personnel and Pensions K.M.R. Janarthanan said today.
The authorities concerned could straightaway sanction 30 per cent of the minimum of the revised pay scale to family pensioners in all cases pending detailed calculations to alleviate pensioners problems, the minister said in his address to the 15th meeting of the Standing Committee of Voluntary Associations for Pensioners (SCOVA).
He said the present pension rules were also being updated to accommodate the changes required after the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations.
Mr Janarthanan, whose speech was read out in absentia by Personnel Secretary Arvind Verma, called for regular holding of pension adalats and said he had written to various departments and ministries to monitor settlement of pension cases and expedite their finalisation.
Guide", which needed to be extensively revised, was
in the final stages of compilation, he said, adding that
his department would put relevant and important material
on Internet for the benefit of pensioners.
Sonias apology on riots a
NEW DELHI, Nov 21 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today termed the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhis apology over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as an election stunt.
The regret expressed by Mrs Sonia Gandhi is politically motivated and it has come too late, Mr Badal said.
Addressing a press conference in the Capital today, Mr Badal who has come to Delhi to campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party, for the forthcoming Assembly elections, said the votes of the Sikhs will never go to the Congress and the Sikhs cannot be fooled by such gimmicks.
Senior BJP leaders, including former Chief Ministers of Delhi, Mr Madan Lal Khurana and Mr Sahib Singh Verma, party General Secretary, Mr Venkaiah Naidu, BJPs chief ministerial candidate Mrs Sushma Swaraj and the Delhi unit President, Mr Mange Ram Garg were present on the occasion.
Mrs Sonia Gandhi has not apologised. If they had been sincere, they would have apologised when the massacre had taken place. Even the comparison of the 1984 carnage with the 1947 partition is wrong, Mr Badal said.
Mr Madan Lal Khurana pointed out that if Mrs Sonia Gandhi was sincere about her regret, she should apologise for Rajiv Gandhis statement that when a big tree falls, there are bound to be tremors. Coming 14 years after the riots which killed nearly 3000 Sikhs, her regret is not sincere and is aimed only at the elections, Mr Khurana said while questioning the motive behind apologising a few weeks before the elections.
Mr Khurana claimed that a hiked compensation of Rs 3.5 lakh to the riot victims was given only after the BJP Government came to power in the Capital.
It is not only a matter of our policy, we also have an intention to compensate the victims and punish the guilty, Mr Khurana said.
Mrs Sushma Swaraj said the BJP government had given compensation to all but 160 of 2733 claimants. There had been some problem with the remaining number of claimants but that problem will also be expeditiously sorted out, she assured.
When Mr Badal was asked whether the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) was fully satisfied with the steps taken by the BJP on the 1984 riots issue, Mr Badal said no government can eliminate all problems. But the BJP has taken all legal action to bring the guilty to book.
Mr Badal observed that Congress leaders who are allegedly involved in the 1984 riots like Mr H K L Bhagat and Mr Sajjan Kumar, are in the decision-making part of the Congress.
Asked whether his party had dropped its demand on Udham Singh Nagar, Mr Badal said the committee constituted by the Centre, headed by the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, would meet before a legislation is brought in Parliament.
On rise in prices of essential commodities, which has been made a major election plank by the Congress, Mr Badal said these are temporary problems. But prices should be checked.
About Delhi Assembly elections, Mr Badal claimed that his party had made a sacrifice by not nominating any candidate in the capital because we wanted to fully support and ensure the BJP victory at the hustings.
Mr Badal said the laying of the foundation stone for the Rs 16,000 crore refinery by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, reflected the interest being shown by the Centre in the region.
Besides that, the plan to have a rail link between Chandigarh and Ludhiana and the granting of Rs 180 crore for the international project shows the good intention of the BJP, Mr Badal said.
The Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj while thanking Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) for its unconditional and unambiguous support to the BJP, said that BJPs relation with the party was unique.
In most pre-poll political alliances, seat arrangements takes place but in the case of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) they decided to extend support to the BJP candidates in all the seats, Mrs Swaraj said.
Discounting reports that there may be division in Sikh votes, Mr Madan Lal Khurana said that 48 of the 51 Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee members in the Capital supported the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and so there is no question of division.
Mrs Swaraj pointed out
that the recent opinion poll, which projected a landslide
victory for the Congress, were conducted between November
1 and 10, but were published on November 20. We
will prove opinion polls wrong, she asserted.
Parties trade charges
BHOPAL, Nov 21 The absence of major issues and practically no wave, has made parties to rake up issues by trading charges against one another in the run-up to the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh.
For a State which is the last bastion of the Congress in North India and considered a stronghold of its main political rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the parties have fielded their star campaigners to add to the thrust given by the local leaders.
The Congress which has been in power here since 1993 is hoping to give a tough fight to the BJP which sensing power has unleashed all it has.
Barring the grant of Statehood to Chattisgarh, a region which has 90 Assembly seats, most of the other issues are those pertaining to local matters and it is largely the image of the candidates that parties would have to depend upon, political observers state.
The Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi has already toured twice in the State and is due to address few more rallies tomorrow before winding up the partys campaign.
The Congress attack on the policies of the eight-month old Vajpayee government at the Centre, the rising prices of essential commodities and burden on common people, drew sharp retort from the Prime Minister at his public rally in the Capital city yesterday.
Mr Vajpayee said even though elections were being held for State Assembly, comparison is being made with the performance of his coalition government in New Delhi instead of the five-year governance of the Digvijay Singh led Congress government.
The contest in MP is largely direct, between the ruling Congress party and its principal opposition party, the BJP.
Rebellion and infighting among workers are factors that are common both to the Congress and the BJP. While the former is unable to come up with any strategy to counter it barring expelling members from the party, the BJP has failed to show its strategy.
Unlike the Congress, the BJP sent senior leader Mr Narindra Modi as the in charge of MP, who is not considered to be aligned with any faction in the party.
The BJP also had a headstart in campaign to its rival the Congress. The party began mobilising workers at block level nearly two months ago when the Congress was getting its act together.
That there are number of leaders in the Congress is well-known and this factor alone has been a cause for concern to the partys central leadership. Despite several appeals from the high command to fight the poll unitedly, there is little to suggest that the advice is being heeded to.
Party workers pointed out that at a recent meeting, Mrs Gandhi desired that her first rally be attended by all state leaders and to achieve this objective, state leadership had to put in considerable work in midst of campaigning.
The BJP is targeting the five-years of misrule of the Congress government with its candidates drumming the corruption issue. In fact several ministers in the Digvijay Cabinet were shown the door after being indicted by the Lok Ayukta after charges of corruption against them were upheld.
The Congress on the other hand continues to raise issues like unprecedented price rise in the country and other failures of the BJP-led coalition at the Centre.
Simultaneously it has launched a campaign in the media highlighting the governments effort to promote literacy in rural areas and empowerment of people through Panchayati Raj institutions.
The main battle for
supremacy will be the regions of Chattisgarh, a
traditional Congress belt and Madhya Bharat which is more
with the BJP. The region has over 200 Assembly
constituencies and any tilt is likely to affect the
Congress, BJP raise gender-specific
NEW DELHI, Nov 21 Under the leadership of a woman the people of Delhi would enter the next millennium, setting a healthy trend.
On November 25, the voters would decide who should occupy the chair of the Delhi Chief Minister. The two major political parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, have projected Ms Sushma Swaraj and Ms Sheila Dikshit, respectively as the contenders for the post.
Though both parties have not given 33 per cent reservation to women as intended in the reservation Bill yet to be passed by Parliament, the BJP and the Congress have fielded more number of women candidates this time than in the 1993 Assembly polls.
The Congress, which has put up women in 10 of the 70 assembly constituencies of Delhi, has done better than the BJP, which has fielded only five candidates. It is a marginal improvement from the 1993 Assembly polls, when the Congress had fielded eight and the BJP four women nominees.
Apart from fielding more number of candidates, the two main political parties have also promised to address gender-specific issues.
The Congress manifesto promises that women will get due protection, opportunities and facilities for work; equal wages for equal work, and will be provided sufficient accommodation and congenial working conditions.
The manifesto also promises to set up special women police force. The urgent need for this is to look after security of women and to tackle crimes against women, will be stressed and taken up with the Central government, the manifesto stated.
On the other hand, the BJP manifesto promises to expand the jurisdiction of the Delhi Mahila Commission and also plans to provide capital punishment for rapists.
Among other promises the BJP has made to the women voters include providing job opportunities to women and establishment of the Delhi State Mahila Finance Corporation for giving assistance to the women entrepreneurs for establishing enterprises.
Extension of hostel facilities for working women, separate Sulabh Shauchalayas and bath-rooms for women in the jhuggi-jhompri areas, resettlement of slum colonies and the rural areas, the BJP manifesto said, adding that the present laws would be made more stringent for curbing atrocities against women and 33 per cent reservation for women in all elected bodies.
Both Chief Ministerial contenders expressed views in favour of granting 33 per cent seats for women candidates. They said while selecting the candidates ability to win winnability and not just the gender was taken into consideration.
Women candidates did not fare well in the last Assembly polls, in which only three of the 56 women contestants two from the Congress and one from the BJP were returned to the Assembly.
All three women MLAs Ms Purnima Sethi of the BJP and Ms Tajdar Babbar and Ms Krishna Tirath of the Congress are in the fray again this time from their respective constituencies Kalkaji, Minto Road and Baljeet Nagar.
There are more than 30 other women contesting as Independents or as nominees of other parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Left Front.
Other female candidates of the two major parties are Ms Shashi Prabha Arya (Rajouri Garden), Ms Jyotsana Aggarwal (Shahdara) and Ms Sarvesh Sharma (Ghonda) of the BJP and Ms Sarla Kaushik (Shalimar Bagh), Ms Susheela Devi (Paharganj), Ms Darshna Ram Kumar (Ram Nagar), Ms Kiran Walia (Hauz Khas), Ms Meera Bharadwaj (Mandawali), Ms Anjati Rai (Paharganj) and Ms Kiran Choudhury (Delhi Cantonment) of the Congress.
While the BJP has not renominated the losing women candidates of last Assembly polls, the Congress has given yet another chance to Ms Kiran Choudhury, who lost in Delhi Cantonment, and Ms Anjali Rai who was defeated in Moti Nagar.
Ms Sheila Dikshit is pitted against BJPs sitting MLA Mr Kirti Azad in the Gole Market Assembly segment, while Ms Sushma Swaraj is being challenged by Congress nominee Ms Kiran Walia, a university lecturer, in Hauz Khas.
Apart from Hauz Khas, in
no other constituency are women candidates of the BJP and
the Congress pitted against one another. Among the other
key contests would be those in Rajouri Garden, where
sitting Congress MLA, Mr Ajay Makan is being challenged
by the BJPs Ms Shashi Prabha Arya and Kalkaji,
where Delhi Civil Supplies Minister, Ms Purnima Sethi is
pitted against Mr Subhash Chopra of the Congress.
Defeat BJP, say citizens bodies
NEW DELHI, Nov 21 (PTI) Four citizens organisations today appealed to the electorate to defeat the BJP in the coming Assembly poll alleging that "the party will destroy democracy by creating a fascist state".
Pointing out that the outcome of the November 25 poll will have an impact on the next general elections, the organisations in a joint statement said, "a government in which the BJP has an absolute majority will develop in short time into a fascist state characterised by militant communalism".
The signatories to the statement include V.M. Tarkunde (Radical Humanist Association), Prof Dilip Swami (Citizens for Democracy), Abdul Qayum (Forum for Democracy and Communal Amity) and N.D. Pancholi (the Amiya and B.G. Rao Foundation).
Citing instances like the Babri Masjid demolition, attacks on Christians in some states, attempts made to expatriate Bangladeshis and nuclear tests, they said the BJP has increased its strength in the Lok Sabha by playing the communal card.
It also cautioned that if it gets an absolute majority in Parliament, it will implement its main agenda, including construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, abolition of Article 370 providing for special status to Jammu and Kashmir and uniform civil code.
"There is no
political party which is not involved in the dirty game
of power politics, however, the BJP is far more dangerous
than any of its rivals. Let the electorate vote to defeat
the emergence of fascist dictatorship", it said.
Silent voter perturbs BJP,
JAIPUR, Nov 21 The main contenders for power in Rajasthan the BJP and the Congress appear perturbed as the voter is silent and the visits of the national leaders of the two parties have so far failed to enthuse him.
The electioneering is still low key, though only five days are left for the poll. The candidates are busy in door-to-door campaigning.
The flags of various political parties in the fray, that had been adorning rooftops in rural and urban areas, in the past are missing this time. So are the banners and cut-outs of leaders and the candidates. It appears the fear of the Election Commission haunts the candidates who are keen to keep the election expenses within the permissible limit.
The elections to the three Assembly segments have been countermanded due to the death of candidates of the BJP and BSP. These constituencies are Mundwa (Nagaur), Bhim (Rajsamand)and Kumbhalgarh (Udaipur). The condition of BSP candidate for Rajsamand, who was injured in the road accident yesterday near Ajmer, is stated to be serious.
The rise in prices of essential commodities has become the major poll plank in these elections which are of vital importance to the ruling BJP. While the BJP is seeking votes on its performance during the eight years of its rule, the Congress is mainly banking on the anti-establishment vote.
Both the BJP and the Congress are suffering from internal strife. The presence of rebel candidates in the fray has made the going tough for the two parties. These rebel candidates are exploiting local issues which are likely to influence the outcome of the poll.
During the 1993 Assembly elections, the BJP had won in 95 segments and had polled 38.60 per cent votes, the highest ever polled by it.
Although the Congress had won in 76 segments in 1993, its poll percentage at 38.27 was not far behind the ruling party.
In the last Lok Sabha election, the Congress had polled 44.45 per cent votes as against 41.55 per cent by its arch rival, the BJP. During the 1996 parliamentary elections, the BJP and the Congress had 12 MPs each.
|Modern tide gauge station
MACHILIPATNAM: A modern tide gauge station will be set up at the Giripuram coast near here under the sea level monitoring project for assessment of variations in the sea level due to climatic and other factors and their impact on the coastal areas of the country. An official spokesman of the Department of Ocean Development (DOD), who visited the area on Friday, said seven such stations had already been set up under the project at Mumbai, Porbandar, Goa, Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kavaratti. The data collected from the stations would be analysed at the National Tide Data Centre in Dehra Dun, regularly. UNI
Shakeel gang member killed
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