|N A T I O N|
Bill on dual duel will negate
BJP, Cong lock horns
Union Defence Minister George Fernandes addressing a milan samaroh of the Janata Dal (United) at Bihar Sharif in Bihar on Monday. Party leaders Ram Bilas Paswan, Nitish Kumar and others are also seen. PTI photo
India complicating PoW
Fake currency racket unearthed
Major killed fighting militants in
Cong pact with 22 parties: BJP
Sikh, Muslim voters will
Bangladesh envoy summoned
Indo-Bangladesh meet to discuss
Assam unit of JD splits
Age must not be poll issue: Cong
Bill on dual duel will negate PM
NEW DELHI, Aug 24 If the announcement of intent made by the Bharatiya Janata Party leader, Mr Lal Krishna Advani, at Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Mrs Sushma Swarajs constituency, Bellary, yesterday, about a Bill being introduced in the 13th Lok Sabha seeking to bar candidates contesting elections from more than one constituency is taken to its logical conclusion, it will be a case of pot calling the kettle black the present Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the Home Minister, Mr Advani himself, themselves in the past having contested from more than one constituency in the same Lok Sabha election.
Recent examples apart, historically the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the political organisation stemming from the Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS) which was the precursor of the present day BJP, will be shown in poor light as in its initial years this party used to put up credible faces from more than one constituency in order to garner votes which would add up to help it attain the minimum nationwide percentage needed under the Election Commissions rules for recognition of a national party.
In 1957, the Jana Sangh candidate, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, was put up from three seats. He along with Mr Balraj Madhok (Mr Advani was nowhere in the national scene then) were the better known speakers of the Sangh. In addition to his oratorial duties, Mr Vajpayee had to also undertake the strenuous task of campaigning in three different seats in Uttar Pradesh from where he was fielded as a candidate.
Mr Vajpayee won the Balrampur Lok Sabha seat from Uttar Pradesh in a straight contest defeating Hyder Hussain of the Congress in a straight contest, polling 52.2 per cent votes.
At Lucknow, the seat he is contesting even in this election, in 1957 Mr Vajpayee finished a close second to the winning Congress candidate, Mr Pulin Banerji. (In fact, Mr Vajpayees electoral abilities were first tested at Lucknow by the Jana Sangh in a byelection in March, 1955. He had finished third behind the Congress winner and the Praja Socialist Party candidate, but polled 28 per cent of the vote. His performance made the Jana Sangh concentrate its electoral effort in UP thereafter.)
In the third seat, Mathura, Mr Vajpayee lost his deposit in 1957. The seat was won by an Independent, Mr Mahendra Singh.
In recent times too, Mr Vajpayee had contested both from Lucknow and Gandhinagar in 1996, winning both seats.
Mr L.K. Advani too won both from Gandhinagar and New Delhi, the two seats contested by him in 1991.
The other political stalwarts who contested from two seats simultaneously in a general election include Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao (Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh, and Behrampore, Orissa, in 1996); and Mr Kanshi Ram who contested from Hoshiarpur in Punjab and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh in 1996 he won from Punjab but lost in UP.
In the 1999 election, apart from Mrs Sonia Gandhi, who has already filed her candidature from Bellary in Karnataka and declared her intention to do so from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party chief, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, too has declared to contest from two seats in Uttar Pradesh, Sambhal, which is represented in the 12th Lok Sabha, and Kannauj.
The announcement at Bellary by Mr Advani has come as a surprise because the Prime Minister, while releasing the agenda of the National Democratic Alliance, had categorically stated that on issues like India signing the CTBT and on the stipulation for qualification on grounds of birth and origin for occupying high positions in India, a consensus among political parties was necessary. Mr Advanis suo moto statement that a Bill to bar dual duels is "already on the anvil", therefore, is jarring.
Reacting to Mr Advani, the Congress General Secretary, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, said in Bellary yesterday, "Nobody has talked to our party in this regard... let us see the general opinion, the opinion of political parties this is an issue which should be discussed threadbare, both inside and outside Parliament".
Today, the Congress spokesman, Mr Kapil Sibal, alleging that the BJP is "carrying on a personal agenda on Mrs Sonia Gandhi", reminded Mr Advani of his own past and said not only BJP leaders but even leaders of its allied parties like the Telugu Desam Party had contested from more than one constituency simultaneously. In this context, he pointed out that Mr N.T. Rama Rao had contested four Assembly seats Gudivada (coastal Andhra), Tekkali (Telangana), Hindupur (Rayalseema) and Kalvakurti (Telangana).
Pointing out that the
BJP had never objected to NTRs four contests, the
Congress spokesman said: "Now that Mrs Sonia Gandhi
is contesting from two constituencies, the BJP suddenly
finds it objectionable. Advani himself contested from
Gandhinagar and New Delhi simultaneously. To Advani goes
the award of the pettiest mind in the BJP".
NEW DELHI, Aug 24 BJP general secretary K.N. Govindacharya, today said the media had given a wrong impression about his statement concerning the construction of the Ram Temple, enactment of the common civil code and abrogation of Article 370.
He stated this in a signed statement issued here.
The Congress, on its part, made a belated attack on the BJP on this count 48 hours after the controversy broke out.
Mr Govindacharys clarification notwithstanding, the Congress went to allege that the theme of the temple, the common civil code and Article 370 had, in fact, been enunciated by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, himself.
The Congress relied on a clip of a Zee News bulletin of Mr Vajpayees Thiruvananthapuram rally on August 21.
The party said Mr Govindacharya had picked up the Prime Ministers theme and reiterated what Mr Vajpayee had said on all three counts.
"It is therefore, completely ridiculous for the Prime Minister to express surprise over Mr Govindacharyas considered statement while overlooking the consonance of his own views on the subject stated just two days ago, the Congress said.
However, Mr Govindacharya, in his statement, said what he meant was that the BJP had left these contentious issues of of the National Agenda of Governance in 1998 itself. Similarly, other constituents of the BJP-led ruling coalition had also left out some of their distinctive issues from the agenda.
"I had clearly stated that the BJP, which is a leading constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), is bound by the common manifesto of the NDA. This manifesto clearly commits all parties in the NDA to put a moratorium on contentious issues". The BJP would not swerve from this commitment. The reports failed to highlight this categorical affirmation made by me, the BJP general secretary said.
The Congress, however, said the Prime Ministers statement was "another shining example of Mr Vajpayees leadership qualities, and not the first one either. It cited the instance of Defence Minister George Fernandes talking about giving safe passage to intruders in Kargil which was echoed the next day and later denied by the government spokesman.
The party also said that while Mr Vajpayee was making light of Govindacharyas assertion, Uttar Pradesh BJP leader Kalraj Mishra maintained that the temple was very much on the BJPs agenda.
Sushma exudes confidence
BELLARY, Aug 24 (PTI) "Thirteen is my luckiest number," says BJP high profile leader Sushma Swaraj, hoping lady luck will smile on her to defeat Congress President Sonia Gandhi to make it to the 13th Lok Sabha in the mighty battle from this constituency in Karnataka.
"Its the luckiest number for me. I got married on July 13," she told PTI in an interview, as she travelled for campaign in the dusty rural pockets of the Siraguppa Assembly constituency.
Mrs Swarajs comments came when it was pointed out to her that in all 12 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress had not lost even once.
"Bellary for the 13th time will not be the same for the Congress as it had been for 12 times," she said.
Asked why the BJP fielded her against Sonia, Mrs Swaraj said "the leaders must have thought that I will be able to put up the greatest and most serious challenge to Sonia Gandhi".
Mrs Swarajs husband, Swaraj Kaushal, who accompanied her during the campaigning for two days, has since returned to Delhi, she said, adding she was going to miss her daughter, who was studying in Delhi.
To a query, whether her daughter was interested in politics, Mrs Swaraj said "no. She is interested in performing arts".
One of the talking points in Bellary has been the way Mrs Swaraj picked up the local language Kannada in such a short span of time. She even delivered part of her speech at a joint election meeting on August 22 in Kannada that evoked repeated cheers from the crowd.
"Having come here to represent the people of this constituency, my first and foremost duty is to converse in their language. I must start learning and I have started that", she said with a smile.
"Some people have a flair for the language and I am such a person", she added.
Mrs Swaraj said the response to her candidature had been beyond her expectations.
"As I was told the response to the BJP is urban-based, today I started the campaign in the rural areas. Roadside receptions were overwhelming" she said.
"I am very much at
home in Bellary right from day one. Its
because I am familiar with Karnataka. In the past three
elections, I have campaigned in Karnataka right
from Bidar-Gulbarga to Mangalore," the former Union
Information and Broadcasting Minister said.
India complicating PoW issue:
NEW DELHI, Aug 24 Pakistan today accused India of complicating the PoW issue by attaching additional and unwarranted conditions for the release of eight soldiers taken prisoner during the recent Kargil conflict.
A Pakistani High Commission statement asked India not to procrastinate any further and release the PoWs immediately.
The statement further said Islamabad was not required to fulfil any conditions to seek their release.
"The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) has not even been informed what extra conditions are required to be fulfilled by the Pakistani authorities for this purpose", the statement pointed out, adding that Islamabad had not attached any conditions for handing over Flt Lt Nachiketa to the ICRC for repatriation to India.
The High Commission said that the ICRC had provided photographs and other particulars of the detainees to it for verification.
"In a written note to the ICRC, the High Commission has confirmed the particulars to be of Pakistani soldiers. This information was transmitted by the ICRC to the Indian authorities", the statement stressed.
Gangs operational in UP, Haryana
HARDWAR, Aug 24 Important cities of western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have become big trading centres of fake currency. Instances of fake currency being traded in Delhi, Taraori (Karnal), Sonepat, Jind, Meerut and this city have come to light.
According to official sources, fake currency notes of Rs 500 denomination are being frequently traded in the city. Recently two cases had been registered after a major recovery. The police seized a coloured photostat machine which was being used by the fake currency mafia to prepare notes of Rs 500 denomination, the sources said.
The first case had been registered on the direction of the State Bank of India (Kanpur branch) at Roorkee in Kotwali police station. The bank had found fake currency notes of Rs 100 denomination in a cash bag which was sent to the bank from Roorkee. Although, the case was registered a long time back but the UP police could not solve the mystery.
The fake currency mafia seemed to have chosen the city for its operation as lakhs of pilgrims, including tourists, visited the city daily. Furthermore, big fairs were held here frequently. In such a situation, the inter-state gangs were out to make a quick buck. Recently the king pin of a gang Bhupinder Singh, alias Goga, was arrested, who was a resident of Panipat.
Two members of the Goga gang, Ravinder Kumar and Inder Mohan, were arrested, who had come here to selling fake currency notes. They were arrested on information provided by a hotelier, who got suspicious of their dealings. The local police, on information, raided some hide-outs of the gang in Panipat and seized fake currency notes worth lakhs of rupees in currency notes Rs 500 and Rs 100 denominations. The police also seized a coloured photostat machine.
On interrogation, the gang members revealed that they were even manufacturing a coin of Rs 5 denomination by a metallurgical process.
The fake currency racket was unearthed in Mumbai and Delhi, also. Recently, a person, arrested in this connection, died in police custody in Delhi during interrogation. He belonged to a village in Sonepat. Five police officials, who allegedly tortured him to death, had been arrested by the Delhi Police.
Similarly, in Taraori
town of Karnal, a racket of fake currency notes was
unearthed about two months back with the arrest of some
gangsters from Delhi, Panipat and Sonepat. Similarly, the
Jind police also apprehended, some members of the fake
Major killed fighting
militants in J&K
NEW DELHI, Aug 24 Major Ranbir Katoch of 7 Rashtriya Rifles, affiliated to the Punjab Regiment, was killed while trying to save his men during a counter insurgency operations at Sungan village in Anantnag district of South Kashmir on Saturday.
Two hardcore Pakistani militants identified as Yasin and Omar Sharief (code name), who were coordinating the IED explosions in South Kashmir, were also killed and a large quantity of weapons and ammunitions recovered.
On August 21, after getting specific information about the presence of militants in the area the unit launched an operation to nab them. A search party led by Major Katoch reached the location after a seven hour march over mountains in pitch darkness to maintain surprise.
In the morning, while searching the area his company column came under heavy automatic fire from universal machine gun (UMG) and AK-56 rifles.
Realising the danger to his men he along with his party rushed to cut off and pin down the militants. During the encounter the gallant officer unmindful of his personal safety engaged the militants with heavy fire. During the gun battle he got seriously injured but in a daring act of bravery he charged the militants and killed them. The whole encounter lasted for more than three hours.
Major Ranbir Katoch born on June 26, 1970, did his schooling at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Delhi Cantonment. He graduated from Ramjas College, Delhi University and joined the Indian Military Academy where he was commissioned on December 11, 1993 in the Air Defence Regiment. He was on deputation to 7 Rashtriya Rifles (Punjab) since December 1998.
He was promoted to the rank of Acting Major only 12 days before he made the supreme sacrifice. He married Deepa on December 1, 1998.
Major Katoch belonged to
a family associated with the Army. His father late Major
PC Katoch was a Rajputana Rifles Officer. Originally the
family belongs to Bhullana village in Palampur, Himachal
Pradesh. The family resides in Hari Nagar. His
father-in-law Col B S Pathania is a retired EME officer
and mother-in-law Col (Mrs) Pathania retired from the
Army Medical Corps. They reside at NOIDA.
Cong pact with 22 parties:
NEW DELHI, Aug 24 The BJP today accused the Congress of forging a secret alliance with 22 parties, while defending its 24-party National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
With 22 allies, the Congress can hardly claim that it is contesting these elections on its own. The Congress can hardly point a finger at the NDA, the party spokesperson, Mr Narendra Modi, told newspersons here.
Mr Modi listed out the 22 parties who were the allies of the Congress as the CPM, CPI, AIADMK, Indian National League, RJD, MCC, Indian Union Muslim League, Kerala Congress (M), Kerala Congress (J), Communist Marxist Party, Janadhipta Samraksha Samiti, Republican Party of India (Ambedkar), United Minorities Front (Osmani), Meghalaya United Democratic Party, Tripura Upajati Juba Samiti, Muslim League, Manipur Peoples Party and five other Manipur parties.
The BJP also questioned the stability plank of the Congress by stating that the Congress had a dubious record of misusing Article 356 to dismiss the state government as many as 95 times in the past and had pulled down three governments at the Centre in as many years.
Mr Modi claimed that
unlike the Congress, the BJP had openly declared its
alliance with the parties that constituted the NDA, It
had come out with a common manifesto and would form the
government with all alliance partners even if the BJP got
a majority on its own.
Sikh, Muslim voters will
NEW DELHI, Aug 24 The Delhi unit of the BJP today claimed that Delhis Sikh and Muslim voters had made up their mind to reject the Congress in the Lok Sabha poll.
The convenor of the Delhi Pradesh BJP election Campaign Committee, Mr Nand Kishore Garg, told newspersons that the Congress is resorting to all kinds of tactics for alluring the Sikh electorate.
He said that no communal riot had taken place during the five-year rule of the BJP in Delhi and 13-month rule at the Centre.
In fact during the period, a new era of cordial relationship had started and the Akali-BJP alliance in Punjab has given a new dimension to Hindu-Sikh unity, Mr Garg said.
spokesperson, Mr Mewa Ram Arya, said in the South Delhi
parliamentary constituency, a large number of prominent
leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal were engaged in
campaigning, particularly in the Sikh-dominated areas.
Bangladesh envoy summoned
NEW DELHI, Aug 24 India today summoned the acting High Commissioner of Bangladesh to convey to his Government the need for an early end to the firing at the Tripura border and a flag meeting there.
In response to a question, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said firing had stopped at 3.30 p.m. today and a flag meeting between the local committees of the Border Security Force and Bangladesh Rifles was scheduled to take place tomorrow at 9.30 a.m.
The government had been
monitoring the situation closely at the South Tripura
border, the spokesperson said, adding that the firing had
stopped yesterday at 4.30 p.m. but it resumed today
morning when a BSF representative proceeding to seek a
flag meeting was fired upon by the Bangladesh side.
Indo-Bangladesh meet to
discuss transit issue
NEW DELHI, Aug 24 A group of experts from India and Bangladesh are scheduled to meet on August 27-28 to discuss the transit routes through Bangladesh and from Bangladesh to Nepal through India.
On June 20, at the time of receiving a Calcutta-Dhaka bus, the Prime Minister,Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had said that India had accepted in principle the request for duty-free access on a non-reciprocal basis to selected items of export interest to Bangladesh.
Mr Vajpayee had also said the issue would be examined by a technical expert group which would meet in the near future.
Bangladesh and Nepal had been asking for transit facilities for some time now. Both Bangladesh and Nepal have showed preference for Raxaul- Katihar-Singhbad and Rohanpur in Bangladesh but India had conveyed that this route had problems owing to heavy traffic operating on this route.
Assam unit of JD splits
GUWAHATI, Aug 24 (UNI) The Assam unit of the Janata Dal (JD), formally split following the formation of an ad hoc state committee of the Janata Dal (United) with some office-bearers of the undivided dal.
Newly formed committee General Secretary Ajay Dutta told today that the state committee was constituted with former MLA Debananda Bora as President by the Central leadership yesterday.
The JD (Socialist),
headed by undivided Dal President Ramani Barman, had
already announced the names of candidates for three Lok
Sabha seats in the state. They would contest three seats
only in the state.
Age must not be poll issue:
NEW DELHI, Aug 24 Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president, Subhash Chopra, today said that the age of a candidate should not be made an election issue.
Referring to the BJP candidate from Outer Delhi parliamentary constituency, Mr Sahib Singh Vermas comment on the Congress candidate for the seat, Mr Deep Chand Sharma being aged, Mr Chopra told newspersons that in a democracy everyone had the right to contest elections.
|11th, 12th century
DHARWAD: Three inscriptions in new Kannada, dating back to the 11th and 12th century and belonging to the Rashtrakoota dynasty, were found at Mulgund village, 60 km from here, in Gadag district of Karnataka. Nagaraj H. Terdal, a research student in Karnataka University, in a press note said the first inscription, with 50 lines, was dated September 1, 1019 BC. The second inscription, found on a pillar of the Annadaneshwara temple, was dated December 16,1224 BC. The third, found inside a basadi, said the idol of Parshwanata had been consecrated for the second time. UNI
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