|N A T I O N|
Deshmukh sworn in
Krishna retains Finance, Energy
Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh being sworn in as Chief Minister of Maharashtra by the Governor, Mr P. C. Alexander, in Mumbai on Monday. PTI
Preparing ground for
Uma examining casino proposal
Blast-injured tusker dies
Truckers continue relay fast
Website to mark Popes visit
Deshmukh sworn in Maharashtra CM
MUMBAI, Oct 18 (UNI, PTI) Senior Congress leader Vilasrao Deshmukh was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra today and state Nationalist Congress Party President Chaggan Bhujbal his Deputy by Governor P.C. Alexander at Raj Bhavan here.
Mr Deshmukh, who becomes the 14th person to become the Chief Minister since the inception of the state in 1960, will head the Congress-NCP coalition government as the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance government that ruled the state for nearly four years and eight months bowed out of office.
The two leaders were administered the oath of office and secrecy at a simple but impressive function held at the lawns of Raj Bhavan in South Mumbai amid the presence of several dignitaries including former Chief Ministers. A host of leaders from various political parties and present and former MPs and MLAs were also present on the occasion. Both of them took the oath of office and secrecy in Marathi.
Mr Deshmukh, a veteran Congressman from the Marathwada region of the state who held various portfolios in several Congress ministries in the past, replaces senior Sena leader Narayan Rane. Mr Bhujbal, his deputy, a former Cabinet minister in the Sudhakarrao Naik and Sharad Pawar governments, replaces senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde.
The Governor has given the government 15 days to prove majority on the floor of the House. The state legislative Assembly is scheduled to commence on October 22.
Mr Deshmukh is expected
to announce his Council of Ministers tomorrow. It will
have representation from eight coalition partners
the Congress, the NCP, the SP, the JD(S), the CPM, the
RPI, the PWP and the Bahujan Mahasangh.
Krishna retains Finance, Energy
BANGALORE, Oct 18 (PTI) The Karnataka Chief Minister, Mr S.M. Krishna, has retained the important Finance and Energy portfolios and allotted home to Mr Mallikarjun Kharge, a senior Congress leader, who had aspired for the chief ministership.
The allocation of portfolios took place a day after a Congress ministry was sworn in yesterday.
Mr Krishna has made a former Minister, Mr R.V. Deshpande, who joined the Congress before the assembly poll, in charge of the major portfolio of Large and Medium-Scale Industries.
Mr Deshpande had held the same portfolio in the J.H. Patel ministry before resigning his post to join hands with the Lok Shakti headed by Mr Ramakrishna Hegde. He subsequently joined the Congress.
The Opposition leader in the Legislative council, Mr H.K. Patil has been given the Major and Medium Irrigation Department and former KPCC President Mr Dharam Singh, the public works department.
A former assembly speaker, Mr H.H. Ranganath, who was also PCC chief, has been allocated Forest, Ecology and Environment and another senior leader, Mr Kagodu Thimappa, the Social Welfare department.
Mr Roshan Baig, a minister of Cabinet Rank, and Mr Qamrul Islam, who switched loyalities to the Congress from the Janata Dal before the elections, have been given charge of the Tourism and Housing Departments respectively.
Mr M.Y. Ghorpade gets the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department, which he had earlier held in the Veerappa Moily ministry.
A former Assembly Speaker, Mr D.B. Chandregowda has been given law and Parliamentary Affairs and Mr H.C. Srikantaiah, a former MP, the Revenue Department.
Mr Sageer Ahmed, Mr Abdul Hamid Hindasgeri and Mr T.B. Jayachandra have been allocated Transport, Labour and Wakf, and Agriculture portfolios respectively.
Dr G. Parameswar has been given the Higher Education Department (independent charge), while actor-turned-politician Kumar Bangarappa, son of former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa, gets the minor Irrigation Department (independent charge).
Mr Krishna chose Prof B.K. Chandrashekar, the Congress spokesman, for the high-profile portfolio of information and publicity. Mr Chandrashekar joined the Congress from the Janata Dal.
13th Lok Sabha to meet from
NEW DELHI, Oct 18 The first session of the 13th Lok Sabha will commence here on October 20 and is scheduled to hold at least six sittings apart from a joint session of Parliament on October 25.
The first two days, October 20 and 21, will see the new members take oath or affirmation which will be administered by the Pro Tem Speaker.
As per convention the senior-most member of the House is sworn-in as the Pro Tem speaker by the President who in turn will call each member individually to take oath or affirmation in the House.
The President, Mr K.R. Narayanan, is scheduled to swear in veteran CPI leader, Mr Indrajit Gupta as the Pro Tem Speaker on Wednesday morning, to a Rashtrapati Bhavan official said today.
The election of the new Speaker will be held on October 22 and the President will address both Houses of Parliament in the Central Hall on Monday at 11 a.m.
Thereafter the Lok Sabha will commence transacting government business and the agenda, if any, would be drawn up after a meeting of the floor leaders on Friday.
The Lok Sabha would debate on the motion of thanks to the Presidents address, which is normally the outline of what the government proposes to do.
The Rajya Sabha is to hold its session from October 21.
Meanwhile, the new Lok Sabha will have one former Prime Minister and 16 former Chief Ministers and two former Speakers among its members.
Unlike the 12th Lok Sabha, which had three former Prime Ministers as its members, the current House will have only Mr Chandra Shekhar.
Among the category of former Chief Ministers are Mr N. Janardhan Reddy (Andhra Pradesh), Mr Shankar Sinh Vaghela (Gujarat), Mr Shanta Kumar (Himachal Pradesh), Mr S. Bangarappa (Karnataka), Mr K. Karunakaran (Kerala), Mr Shyan Charan Shukla and Mr Sunder Lal Patwa (both Madhya Pradesh), Mr Manohar Joshi and Mr Sharad Pawar (both Maharashtra), Mr P.A. Sangma (Meghalaya and also former Speaker), Mr Narain Dutt Tiwari, Ms Mayawati and Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav (all Uttar Pradesh), Mr Madan Lal Khurana and Mr Sahib Singh Verma (both Delhi) and Mr M.O.H. Farook (Pondicherry).
Apart from Mr Sangma the
former category member includes Mr Shivraj Patil. The
Deputy Speaker of the previous House, Mr P.M. Sayeed, is
also a member of the 13th House. He is also one of the
Blast-injured tusker dies
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Oct 18 (PTI) Mans cruelty to animals once again cost a wild elephant its life after a weeklong battle for survival at the Theviyarkunnu forests under the Paruthipally forest division, 30 km from here yesterday.
The eight-year-old wild female elephant was seriously wounded after she chewed a masked-country-made bomb which exploded inside its mouth. The explosion damaged the pachyderms upper palate and the right cheek was blown away. The right side of the lower bone seemed to have suffered shrapnel injuries.
The bomb covered with salt or jaggery for killing animals was planted by the illicit hooch brewing mafia in the deep forest area of Agasthyavanam Biological Park to discourage jumbos and other wild animals from digging up the wash kept hidden for producing illicit liquor, according to forest officials.
Writhing in pain, the
wounded pachyderm entered the Theviyarkunnu forest and
damaged property on October 8. The local people informed
the forest authorities who came with veterinary doctors
and battled hard to save its life.
Preparing ground for Clinton visit
NEW DELHI. Oct 18 In a move to prepare for the proposed visit of US President Bill Clinton to New Delhi, India and the U.S.A. today reiterated the need to revive the bilateral dialogue and to build a basis for forward looking relationship.
Responding to questions on the visit of the two US officials, a spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs said here that the two sides reiterated the need to revive the dialogue between the External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, and the Deputy Secretary of State, Mr Strobe Talbott and build a basis for forward looking relationship.
A Senior Director for Near East and South Asia in the National Security Council, Mr Bruce Riedel and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the US Department of State, Mr Mathew Daeley, today held talks with the Joint Secretary (America) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr Alok Prasad. Mr Riedel also held discussions with the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister and the National Security Adviser, Mr Brajesh Mishra.
The spokesman, briefing newspersons about the discussions between Mr Riedel and Mr Mishra, said the talks covered bilateral, international and regional issues in the light of recent developments in Pakistan. The two sides agreed to remain in touch on this subject, the spokesman stressed.
Mr Riedel along with Mr Daeley also paid a courtesy call on Mr Jaswant Singh and met the Foreign Secretary, Mr K. Raghunath.
consultations between the two US officials and the
Ministry of External Affairs officials were in the
context of the proposed visit of the US President, Mr
Bill Clinton, to India and other aspects of the bilateral
relationship, the spokesman said adding that the two
sides also exchanged views on international issues and
recent developments in the region. The issue of
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) also figured in the
talks. Washington has already articulated its position on
developments in Pakistan and so has India, the spokesman
said adding that the visit of the two US officials
provided an opportunity for exchanging their respective
perception on the issue.
Uma examining casino
BHOPAL, Oct 18 Firebrand BJP leader Uma Bharati seems to have mellowed down a bit after becoming Union Minister of State for Tourism. In any case, she did not show the earlier vehemence in opposing Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh's proposal for opening casinos in the state. All that she said was that her department was examining the matter.
Ms Uma Bharati was addressing her first press conference on Saturday after winning from Bhopal and having been put in charge of the tourism portfolio. She said the cultural background of European countries could absorb the effect of the casinos but the developing Asian countries could not as she had seen in Bangkok and at other places. It was her feeling that the casinos did not suit the Indian ethos.
Mr Digvijay Singh's plea was, according to her, that foreign tourists did not stay long at any place and the casinos would be able to hold them longer at tourist places like Khajuraho. She said she had asked her department to think of alternatives to hold the tourists and the whole matter was being examined.
Asked about her earlier vehement opposition to the proposal, she said: "Then I was a mere MP from Khajuraho (where the first casino of Madhya Pradesh was proposed to be set up) and now I am Minister for Tourism. So whatever I say now will be heard across the country".
Asked if the sale and service of liquor would be prohibited in the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) hotels, the sanyasin-turned-politician said: "Please give me a week to reply to this question".
She said she had some bright ideas about the millennium tourism but she wanted those ideas to be examined by her department before sharing them with the Press. While she would like to develop all-round tourism in the country, her emphasis would be on development of places connected with religions into centres of religious and cultural tourism.
For this, she proposed
to set up a tourism development fund and enlist the help
of industrialists within the country and outside. It was
her feeling, she said, that many NRIs would be willing to
render assistance in development of "religious and
cultural tourism centres" of their choice.
Women mis(using) laws to get even?
NEW DELHI, Oct 18 (PTI) Laws against violence at home may or may not have come to the rescue of battered women, but some of them have been accused of abusing them to get an easy divorce or settle other little domestic disputes.
"As the laws are tilted in the womens favour, it has led to a lot of abuse by certain sections," says Ms Madhu Kishwar, Editor of a womens magazine, "Manushi".
In a country where a woman is burnt every two hours, it is more of a question of underuse of the law, but the fact cant be denied that certain provisions of the law are being abused to settle personal scores, counter a few other women activists.
Laws against domestic violence like Section 304B (pertaining to dowry death), Section 498A (wilful, mental and physical cruelty) and Section 460 (criminal breach of trust) have created quite a few controversies since their inception.
"Although quite a number of women still dont have access to the law, incidents of abuse of the aforesaid laws are no longer an exception. Under pressure from lawyers, police and parents, many women are using these laws to settle civil problems like maladjustment, divorce which inturn intimidates the man," she says.
"Some elements have emerged within the system which are misusing the law," says Ms Sudha Tiwari of Shakti Shalini, an NGO which deals with dowry cases.
Thus while 80 per cent of women are benefiting from the provisions, another 20 per cent are abusing them for personal gains.
"The laws are yet to be applied in a country like India. But in metros, it is true that the police receives both cases of abuse and misuse, says Mr Amod Kanth, Joint Commissioner of Police, Southern Range, Delhi.
But does misuse entail that the laws safeguarding the interest of the women be done away with.
Women activists say that the law cannot be removed, it only needs to be strengthened.
"Sitting in a metropolis like Delhi, its easy to pass a judgement that laws are being misused. But we should look at the larger reality where the laws are yet to reach the minimum standards of use," says lawyer Flavia Agnes.
Illiteracy among women is still rampant so where is the question of misuse. We have to see the larger national perspective, she says.
Agrees Additional Sessions Judge Mamata Sehgal saying, "We dont need to change such important laws in a country where women are still to get an equal standing. Dowry was and still continues to be a social malice.
The answer to this problem can be arrived at by changing the narrow psyche of the people. Instead of spending a fortune on the pomp and ritual of the wedding ceremony of a daughter, if parents educate their children on socially relevant values, such cases will gradually cease to exist, says Ms Sehgal, who is also the in charge of the Delhi Legal Aid Service Authority.
But for now activists say that counselling services both within the police station and by NGOs should be strengthened so that victims understand the course to be taken.
The law should be properly applied to a case and not twisted to achieve a speedier action, say activists.
"Most women are not even open to the idea of registering a case. And even when they do go to the police station, they are encouraged to file a dowry case even if the matter does not pertain to it. Thus instead of receiving the proper counselling, they are pushed in a different direction, says Ms Tiwari.
Lawyers and the police concede that they need to make adjustments within their system so that the needy get the benefits of the law.
"Civil cases take a
long time to decide thus if a woman wants a quick
settlement, she will fall back on some convenient law.
But the problem lies within the courts - if the courts
quickly decide the case, there would be no reasons to
cite wrong reasons," says Ms Geeta Luthra, a lawyer.
Truckers continue relay fast
NEW DELHI, Oct 18 The relay fast being undertaken by the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) continued for the second day today.
The transporters began the relay fast in the Capital yesterday to press for their demand of rolling back of the diesel price. The transport operators have threatened an indefinite strike from October 21 if the price of diesel is not rolled back by the Government.
"Incidentally, chambers like the FICCI and the CII have welcomed the government decision on diesel price hike. The AIMTC has asked these chambers to raise freight rate of transporters. They have not replied to it. The operating cost is not matching with the freight they are getting and the transporters are at loss to run their vehicles," a press note released by the AIMTC said.
Website to mark Popes
NEW DELHI, Oct 18 Archbishop of Delhi Alan de Lastic today launched a website www.jesus2000india.org to mark the visit of Pope John Paul II to India next month.
Launching the site
designed by Investment Research and Information Services
Limited (IRIS), the Archbishop said "the site would
spread the message of triumph of good over evil and the
occasion coincides with the Hindu festival of Dusehra,
which also spreads the same message.
|Film producer, director
AURANGABAD: Film producer Ramesh Krishnamurti and director Douchan Gersi were arrested on Sunday for allegedly hurting the fellings of a particular community while shooting the film, "The Return of the Thief of Baghdad", here. According to the police, some pages of the Koran were torn and dipped in tea to get an antique-look for a scene of the film which required some thousand-year-old books, including those in Arabic and Urdu. UNI
High court for Mizoram
Rare dead whale
2 women arrested
smash Durga idols
4 killed in
Delhiites burn 3,000 effigies
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