|N A T I O N|
|Kazak minister calls on PM
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 Kazakhstan has a "positive attitude" towards Indian participation in the Kazak oil sector. The visiting Kazak Foreign Minister, Mr Kassymzhomart K. Tokaev, who called on the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and had official level talks with the External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh.
Don't repeat Kargil, PM tells Pak
MUZAFFARNAGAR (UP), Aug 18 Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today warned Pakistan against recreating a Kargil-like situation and asserted that India wanted to settle the issue of reclaiming parts of Jammu and Kashmir held by Islamabad through dialogue.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee receiving Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Kassimkjomart K. Tokaev at his residence in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI
India rejects US
criticism on draft
Sonia prime suspect, says
Rajiv case witness seeks security
AIR, DD's unique salute to martyrs
Ticket to Tytler CWC
UP sadhus revolt against BJP
Parties briefed on security issue
126 file papers for 7 Delhi seats
DSGMCs gift to Army hospital
Ultras release 3 captives
New Punjab Wakf Board
Kazak minister calls on PM
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 Kazakhstan has a "positive attitude" towards Indian participation in the Kazak oil sector.
The visiting Kazak Foreign Minister, Mr Kassymzhomart K. Tokaev, who called on the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and had official level talks with the External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, conveyed his countrys response to New Delhis reiteration of interest in the Kazak oil sector.
The spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr R.S. Jassal, said Mr Tokaevs response was that Kazakhstan had a "positive attitude" towards Indias interest in the oil sector.
During the discussions between Mr Tokaev and Mr Vajpayee and between the visiting Foreign Minister and the External Affairs Minister, the recent developments in Afghanistan came under focus. The two sides particularly discussed the spill over effects of the Afghanistan situation in the region and its impact on the Central Asian countries.
The two delegations also discussed other bilateral issues, particularly intensification of trade and cooperation in other areas.
Don't repeat Kargil, PM tells Pak
MUZAFFARNAGAR (UP), Aug 18 (PTI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today warned Pakistan against recreating a Kargil-like situation and asserted that India wanted to settle the issue of reclaiming parts of Jammu and Kashmir held by Islamabad through dialogue.
"Nowadays, there are new threats (from Pakistan) that if we dont hold talks with them, more Kargils will be created. This is not indicative of any positive development," Mr Vajpayee told an election rally here.
He warned that if Pakistan "tries to do it, the misadventure will meet the same fate as in Kargil."
Stating that India would not attack but defend itself effectively in case of any aggression, the Prime Minister said "had we wanted, we would have crossed the Line of Control (LoC) during the Kargil conflict.
"We restrained from crossing the LoC not because of any weakness, but because we wanted to show the world that we do not attack even as we retrieve our land from the enemy."
The Prime Minister asserted that India had its "daawa" (claim) on one-third of Jammu and Kashmir held by Pakistan and said "we want to settle that issue. But we want to settle it through talks."
He said the parts of Jammu and Kashmir held by Pakistan were being deprived of all-round development and even the voting rights to the inhabitants.
Stating that the Kashmir issue could have been settled in 1971 when India had captured 90,000 Pakistani soldiers and a lot of that countrys land, he said "but nobody listened to us then."
Accusing Pakistan of "not respecting" the Simla Agreement, Mr Vajpayee asserted India, on the other hand, was keen to have friendship and peace with the neighbour.
"Pakistan had promised that it would make efforts to settle the Kashmir issue, but it has gone back on it".
Referring to his bus ride to Lahore in February this year, Mr Vajpayee said "I went to Lahore with a message of friendship and peace. There was no politics involved. I had been invited by Pakistan Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharif)."
Recalling that the talks had gone on well and the Pakistani leader had said that "Islamabad does not want war with India," the Prime Minister said "but before the ink on the paper could dry up, they sent intruders who mostly constituted their regular soldiers to Kargil."
He said that earlier Pakistan had denied that its regulars had intruded but lately they had acknowledged the fact. "A lot of Pakistani soldiers were killed during the Kargil conflict. We also captured their soldiers and are going to hand them over to Islamabad," he said.
Taking a dig on those asking how the intrusions occurred, Mr Vajpayee said "hum kehte hain chori chuppe aa gaya, raat ke andhere mein (we say they sneaked in, during the darkness of night).
"They came in
through those areas which were unmanned because of
severity of climatic conditions... There is generally an
understanding on how such areas should be manned and the
same existed in the Simla Agreement," he said and
charged Pakistan with violating the pact.
I am here to stay: Sonia
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 (PTI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi today asserted that she will remain in politics irrespective of the Lok Sabha election results and said both her children were "not interested to be in active in politics".
In her first full-length political interview, Mrs Gandhi dismissed opinion polls suggesting that her party was headed for a major defeat saying she was "absolutely" optimistic about her partys prospects.
During the interview to Vir Sanghvi for Star Talk programme, to be telecast on Star Plus channel on Friday, the Congress President answered a wide spectrum of questions covering the fall of the Vajpayee government, the Kargil conflict, the Bofors controversy, the assassinaton of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, her Italian origin and her future political plans.
Asked about reports that "she will go back to Torino or wherever she came from" and that she was not going to stay back in politics now that Congress looked like losing the elections, she said "Well I am in politics now and I shall remain in politics."
Question : This is for the long term now?
Answer : Surely.
Sonia Gandhi said she does not feel "one bit Italian" and does not resent people raising questions about her foreign origin.
"Not one bit. I feel completely Indian. I love India. I love the people here. India is in my heart," she said in the interview.
She was asked how she felt when her critics said an Indian would never be the Prime Minister of Italy and why she felt she had any place in Indian politics.
Mrs Gandhi said she found this question "a bit odd because it's difficult for people to understand, because many people dont know me. But I feel Indian. I dont feel one bit Italian".
When queried whether she was aware that people make fun of her Italian accent, she said "I am, I am".
Asked about constant speculation that her two children, Rahul and Priyanka, were going to join politics and about to stand for elections, Mrs Gandhi said: Both my children are extremely interested in politics.
"For instance when my son is not here he was working abroad and we would talk on phone, most of the conversation relates to what is happening in politics. Priyanka too is extremely interested in politics. But they are not interested to be active in politics," she said.
To a question whether she was worried about three opinion polls suggesting that Congress was heading for a major defeat, Mrs Gandhi said "not really, because there have been quite a number of polls before....... during other elections and they have been proved wrong. One of the examples I am going to give you..... has been a survey on Madhya Pradesh where they said MP (Congress) would do very badly, in fact they had a fantastic victory."
Question : So you are not dispirited...... still optimistic.
Answer : Not at all.
Question : You are still optimistic.
Answer : Absolutely.
When queried about the charge that she was a prisoner in the hands of a coterie of "has-been" politicians, Mrs Gandhi said "I disagree with this entirely. I don't believe in a caucus or having tight groups. I do consult people who are seniors in the party and who have been there for many years. But I consult others too. I like to consult as many as possible and then come to a decision for myself".
She rejected an impression that the Congress was not supportive of the government in the action taken in Kargil saying: "This is not the correct perspective. From the very beginning we have repeated and reiterated our support to the government in the action they took in Kargil."
Mrs Gandhi said the armed forces in a short span of time and under terrible circumstances took back from the infiltrators the land which had been taken away as "the government did not act in time because it was sleeping and was negligent".
She said they were told the infiltrators came in 1998 itself. "Now what was the government doing? We 've asked the PM when did he know the infiltrators had come".
Asked whether she felt betrayed that people considered close to Rajiv Gandhi Arun Nehru and Arun Singh had chosen to join BJP and the government, Mrs Gandhi said "No. I don't. .... Well. What can one say these are the tricks that life plays".
She said Arun Nehru was
never a "very close" friend. "Of course
Arun Singh was but never Arun Nehru. No he wasn't
definitely not. Arun Singh and Amitabh Bachchan were
close friends. I would say that Amitabh Bachchan first
and then Arun Singh".
India rejects US criticism on
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 India today dismissed the criticism of the yesterdays released draft of the nuclear doctrine, saying that it was meant for a national debate on the issue and should be seen as "an extraordinarily positive step".
Responding to the US criticism of the draft nuclear doctrine, a spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr R.S. Jassal, said that the release of the draft of the countrys proposed nuclear doctrine was meant for eliciting opinion and for promoting debate on the issue in the country.
It was a right step which had "total transparency", the spokesman said adding that everybody could listen to the national debate on the countrys nuclear doctrine.
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 The Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Mr Ram Jethmalani, has written an open letter to the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, asking her whether she is "not deceiving the people of India by pretending ignorance about facts" related to the Bofors case.
Mr Jethmalani has questioned the "absurd statements" made by the Congress President at a press conference here last week. The Union Minister has minced no words to tell the Congress President that her "misleading and false statements need to be exposed and show her total ignorance of the investigation procedures laid down by the law of the country".
The Union Law Minister said that there was enough evidence to indict Sonia Gandhi in the Bofors case. The letter says: "You are the prime suspect in the Bofors case. You have a lot to answer. There are a host of inconvenient questions which should become the subject matter of custodial interrogation. If you do not stop lying in public, you will only get into trouble."
Mr Jethmalani has further said: "Even the government will not be able to help you once the CBI takes their duties more seriously, the letter says.
Reading out the letter, Mr Jethmalani said, "This is polite way of telling the CBI that they are not doing their duty as they should be.
Asked what was stopping the CBI from doing its duty, Mr Jethmalani said, "They are probably still waiting for the final bunch of documents to arrive. I dont know why they are wasting so much time. To my mind, everything can be proved by circumstantial evidence,"
Responding to her statement that if the CBI has any suspicion against Quattrocchi in the Bofors case , it should come out with the relevant documents, Mr Jethmalani has said, "Investigations are a secret process and only such disclosures are made from time to time which are absolutely necessary to obtain judicial orders without injury to public interest."
The Union Law Minister said: "I cannot understand such a statement coming from the President of a major political party who also aspires to be the Prime Minister. What does she mean by saying that the CBI should come out with relevant documents?
Mr Jethmalani has stated in the letter that it is equally absurd on the part of the Congress President to reiterate the demand for the release of Bofors papers and further proof to establish Quattrocchis alleged involvement in the case. The Union Law Minister has said that if Ms Sonia Gandhi says that her husband was crucified on the Bofors issue, she should take interest in the case. The letter says, "You should have at least taken the trouble of reading the judgement pronounced by the Delhi High Court on August 5, 1998."
The Union Law Minister wondered what evidence she needed from the CBI when the Special Judge who issued non-bailable warrant against Quattrocchi was convinced of evidence presented by the investigating agency.
The letter says that the
relevant documents are in the possession of the CBI and
have been disclosed on affidavit in open judicial
proceedings. Mr Jethmalani has asked Mrs Gandhi what
assistance she has provided to the CBI to get Quattrocchi
Rajiv case witness seeks security
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 (PTI) Mahant Sewa Dass Singh, one of the witnesses in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, today demanded that his security be beefed up in view of "renewed threats" to him.
"I have written to the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) to ensure adequate security to my life and those of my family members," Sewa Dass Singh, President of the Shaheed Pheru Man Akali Dal, told reporters here.
"I received a phone call yesterday threatening me with dire consequences if I dare depose before the MDMA," he said.
He claimed that the governments decision to provide him Z category security cover was yet to be implemented.
However, he said,
"Notwithstanding repeated threats directed towards
me and my family, I will cooperate with the government as
assassination of a former Prime Minister is a very
serious matter for the country".
AIR, DD's unique salute to martyrs
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 (UNI) In a unique venture, All India Radio and 43 television channels united the nation at 2000 hours on August 15 in a single thought: To pay a tribute to the martyrs who fought for the freedom for the country, and to those who laid down their lives protecting that freedom.
Simultaneously, 3,70,119 Indians across the globe logged on to a website www.deshkasalaam.com, which was created only for these 10 minutes.
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, has also congratulated G. Bharat and his wife Kanika, who envisioned and directed the programme produced by maestro A.R. Rehman, Bharat, who over the past two years has popularised 'Vande Mataram' as a modern Indian chant through his Bharatbala productions, said all the channels carried this programme in a national effort without any charge or sponsorship.
Broadcast from 2000
hours to 2010 hours by AIR and Doordarshan and downlinked
by cable and satellite TV networks, it consisted of two
different renditions of the national anthem 'Jana Gana
Mana' involving about 50 renowned musicians and artistes.
Ticket to Tytler CWC
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 Congress Working Committee member and candidate for the New Delhi Parliamentary constituency, R.K. Dhawan today defended the partys stand of giving ticket to Mr Jagdish Tytler to contest Lok Sabha polls from Delhi Sadar seat.
This is a collective decision of the CWC. I do not want to comment upon the decision taken by the high command, Mr Dhawan stated when asked why the party had given ticket to Mr Jagdish Tytler and denied it to Mr Sajjan Kumar, when both of them had been tried by the court for involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The large mandate won by the Congress in the November Assembly polls in Delhi showed that the party had been able to live down the stigma of the riots, Mr Dhawan said while addressing a press conference here today.
The Congress yesterday denied ticket to Mr Sajjan Kumar, an accused in the 1984 riots, from Outer Delhi constituency while fielding Mr Jagdish Tytler, who was given a clean chit in one of the cases recently, from Delhi Sadar seat.
Delhi should have full-fledged statehood to achieve desired development of the state. The state government should have law and order (Delhi Police) and land (Delhi Development Authority) under its control to overcome the problems faced by the people, Mr Dhawan said.
Stating that several measures were being taken to improve the water and power situation in the Capital, Mr Dhawan stated that the BJP should be blamed for the state of affairs. When they left office, water and power situation were in a dismal state.
Emphasising the commitment of the Congress to 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, Mr Dhawan said, This will be first Bill to be introduced in Parliament by a Congress government.
On his priorities for the New Delhi constituency, Mr Dhawan said addressing the civic issues would be his first priority. There is a misconception that the constituency has only posh colonies. Living conditions in slums and jhuggi jhompri clusters is pitiable. My first priority will be to provide civic amenities to them, he said.
He said the Union Urban Development Minister, Mr Jagmohan, should have quit the government if he felt strongly against the new telecom policy offered by the government to bail out private operators.
Mr Jagmohan, the sitting MP from the New Delhi Parliamentary constituency, is locked in a contest here with Mr Dhawan whom he had defeated in the last Lok Sabha polls.
To spread the message of telecom controversy in the constituency, the Congress has put up an inflated cellphone type balloon over a vehicle which is doing the rounds of the Constituency. The party had adopted similiar strategy of inflated onion hot air balloon to exploit sentiments of the people during the polls.
If Mr Jagmohan had
taken a principled stand against the new telecom package,
he should have quit the government instead of continuing
in a set-up which has been accused of a multi-crore
scam Mr Dhawan said.
UP sadhus revolt against
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 In a setback for the Bharatiya Janata Party, religious leader and member of the dissolved Lok Sabha from Farrukhabad, Swami Sacchinandhari Sakshi, quit the party and vowed to work for the defeat of the BJP.
Swami Sakshi, a close confidant of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Kalyan Singh and belonging to the OBC, said the BJP had done grave injustice by denying him the Farrukhabad ticket and vowed they would have to pay a heavy price for it.
Describing the party as one dominated by upper caste politicians, Swami Sakshi said he would ensure that the BJPs seat tally in the state is halved from the nearly 60 seats it won in the last general elections.
He said the Akhara Parishad of Sadhus and Sanyasis at a meeting in Hardwar recently had decided to boycott the BJP and support candidates from other political parties.
Swami Sakshi was charged with complicity in the murder of a minister in the Kalyan Singh Cabinet and the party had fielded a Rajya Sabha member, Mr Ram Baksh Verma, to contest from Farrukhabad.
Swami Sakshi said he would not contest as an Independent either in the present elections and he would concentrate on defeating the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. He said his slogan bas Bhajpa ko chod do, phir kisi ko bhi vote do (vote for anybody except BJP).
Parties briefed on security
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 Considering the threat of ISI-sponsored subversive activities in the country, ahead of the elections, the Union Home Secretary, Mr Kamal Pande, briefed representatives of political parties on security scenario in the country.
The meeting was called by the Home Ministry with the specific objective of informing the political parties through their representatives on the overall security scenario prevailing in the country and its impact on the security of highly-threatened leaders of various political parties.
The meeting by the Union Home Secretary came close on the heels of a letter written by him to all the Chief Secretaries conveying to them the overall assessment and threat perception in the country.
While the Home Ministry has been having a series of meetings in recent weeks to position the arrangements required to ensure free and fair elections, the current meeting was significant in the wake of the series of militant attacks specially in the North-East.
According to a Home Ministry spokesman, representatives of political parties who were briefed were unanimous in their appreciation of the efforts being made by the government and offered their cooperation in ensuring success of the arrangements being made for the security of their leaders.
While appreciating the
need for ensuring physical safety and security of leaders
of political parties, representatives of several
political parties also expressed concern for the security
of common citizens.
126 file papers for 7 Delhi
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 A total of 78 candidates, including the Congress candidate Mr Jagdish Tytler, who had been recently given clean chit in a 1984 anti-Sikh riot case, filed their nominations on the last day of filing of nominations for the seven parliamentary seats in Delhi.
With the filing of nominations coming to an end, a total of 126 candidates have filed candidature for the September 5 Lok Sabha polls.
The East Delhi parliamentary constituency has the maximum number, 25 candidates filing their papers and only 13 candidates have filed their papers for the South Delhi seat, where the former Union Finance Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, is contesting the Lok Sabha polls for the first time.
Among those who filed their nominations include the former Lt Governor of Delhi and Congress candidate for East Delhi, Mr H.K.L. Kapoor, Mr Deep Chand Sharma of the Congress for Outer Delhi and Mr J.P. Aggarwal for the Chandni Chowk constituency.
The other three Congress
candidates, Mr R.K. Dhawan from New Delhi, Ms Meira Kumar
from Karol Bagh and Dr Manmohan Singh had earlier filed
their nominations. The BJP candidates Dr Vijay Kumar
Malhotra from South Delhi, Mr Lal Bihari Tiwari from East
Delhi, Mr Sahib Singh Verma from Outer Delhi, Mr Madan
Lal Khurana from Sadar, Mr Vijay Goel from Chandni Chowk,
Ms Anita Arya from Karol Bagh and Mr Jagmohan from New
Delhi parliamentary constituency had filed their papers
much before the last date.
DSGMCs gift to Army hospital
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee today presented a Maruti ambulance van, an X-ray machine and other items to Base Hospital. Delhi Cantonment, in the presence of GoC, Delhi Area, Maj-Gen S.K. Awasthi.
DSGMC President, Paramjit Singh Sarna said that Rs 31,000 will be given to family members of the soldiers who attained martyrdom in the Kargil conflict from Delhi and Rs 21,000 will be given to disabled soldiers hailing from the Capital.
The DSGMC also presented two patient trolleys, two stretchers and 25 mattresses and pillows.
Mr Jaswant Singh Sethi,
Chairman of the DSGMCs Kargil Relief Fund
Committee, Mr Nirwair Singh, Senior vice-president, Prof
Harmohinder Singh, executive member and Prof Joginder
Singh, member DSGMC were present on the occasion.
Ultras release 3 captives
AGARTALA, Aug 18 (UNI) Outlawed tribal guerrillas released three captives, including a government engineer, on Tuesday, while the ultras kept four RSS leaders and the father of a former minister in their captivity.
Police sources said here
on Wednesday that the militants set free Mr Gurupada
Guchait, who along with two other engineers, was
kidnapped on November 27, from the site of the Dumboor
hyder power project in South Tripura.
New Punjab Wakf Board
NEW DELHI, Aug 18 Dr Faheem Usman Siddiqui has been appointed by the Centre as the new Administrator of the Punjab Wakf Board, an official release said today.
|Suspected militant held
HYDERABAD: A suspected militant of the Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit operating in Jammu and Kashmir has been arrested by a special task force of the city police at Golconda Fort here, the police said on Wednesday. Acting on the information provided by the Jammu and Kashmir Police, a trap was laid on Tuesday, leading to the arrest of Hafeez Quariwali Mohammed Zahed (36), hailing from Tiruwada village of Haryana and serving as an imam at a mosque. PTI
President to open
MLA bribery case
Seven of family
4 miscreants rob
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