|N A T I O N|
PM: Cong lost '71
Sushma lambasts Congress
Temple very much on BJP agenda:
Samata, BJP seek probe
Former diplomat dead
Lessee liable to pay property tax
BJP wants poll countermanded
Replace Amethi EC observer: BJP
CMs resignation sought
Bhajan Lal Cong observer
Settlement of Kashmir issue
ANGUL (Orissa), Sept 18 (PTI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today lambasted the Congress for not capitalising on the opportunity to settle the Kashmir issue following Indias victory over Pakistan in the Bangladesh war in 1971 when the party was in power.
The then Congress government had a great opportunity to settle the Kashmir issue in 1971 when India had captured 90,000 Pakistani soldiers and captured large territories of the neighbouring country, he said.
"I told the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to take advantage of the situation and settle the Kashmir dispute," Mr Vajpayee said launching his partys campaign in Orissa here.
But unfortunately nothing happened as the Pakistani soldiers were released and India withdrew from the captured territory, he regretted.
He said the atmosphere of political uncertainty created by the Congress action in pulling down his government had emboldened Pakistan to push its infiltrators in the Kargil sector in Kashmir.
Mr Vajpayee accused the Congress of being a party "that specialises in breaking and not making" and said "the Congress plotted the fall of my government as it was alarmed at the series of steps taken by me to strengthen the country at a critical moment." He said it had also engineered the fall of the Deve Gowda and Gujral governments earlier.
"The Congress cannot fool anybody by fantastically linking the Kargil war with sugar imports from Pakistan," the Prime Minister said.
Reiterating his statements on sugar imports, he said the government agencies had not imported a single grain of sugar from Pakistan after February 25, 1999.
The then Congress government led by the P.V. Narasimha Rao had placed sugar in the open general license (OGL) allowing free import by private parties from any country at any price of their choice. "My government had no role to play in the imports by private parties under the OGL," he said.
Claiming that the BJP-BJD combine would make a clean sweep of all 21 Lok Sabha seats in Orissa, he criticised the Congress government in the state for its failure on maintaining law and order.
"The Giridhar Gamang regime in the state must show political will and administrative competence to immediately nab those involved in recent killings of some members of the minority community," he said.
Mr Vajpayee denied that the BJP had any link with the accused persons involved in the killings and said his party made no distinction on the basis of caste and religion. Security and welfare of each citizen was our concern and solemn commitment, he said.
The Prime Minister promised job opportunities for 1 crore persons every year and said his party did not believe in slogans but in getting things done.
He also denied that his party was promoting a personality cult. "There is no hero worship. We are working as a team and I am the captain," he said.
At his poll meeting at Angul, where rebel BJP candidate Rudra Narayan Pani contesting as an Independent posed a tough challenge to BJDs Tathagat Satpathy, Mr Vajpayee said the BJP would not tolerate indiscipline.
Mr Pani had been expelled from the party and there was no point in voting for an Independent candidate, he said.
On the Kargil conflict, Mr Vajpayee said India decided to give a fitting reply and cleared its territory of every single infiltrator, dead or alive.
Saluting the brave soldiers, he had a special word of appreciation for Manas Ranjan Sahu, a local youth who died while fighting in the Kargil sector.
The Prime Minister said Orissa was the only state where food production had declined though use of fertilisers was on the rise.
The centre had provided an assistance of Rs 2031 crore in the annual plan of 1999-2000 marking an increase of 26.5 per cent over the previous year, he said, adding that however, the states own resources had decreased by 19 per cent compared to last year.
Unless the state
government fulfilled its duty by resource mobilisation
and by utilising the combined resources in the state and
from the Centre efficiently, the people would remain
backward, he added.
CHENNAI, Sept 18 (UNI) The Cauvery water dispute, which was "resolved" by the chief ministers of four riparian states and Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee last year, has come to the fore again with Karnataka refusing to release water as per the agreement.
With the Cauvery delta region in Tamil Nadu facing water shortage that could result in withering of the standing kuruvai crops and the All-India Anna DMK (AIADMK) launching a blistering attack against Mr Vajpayee and Mr Karunanidhi for betraying the interests of farmers in Tamil Nadu, the issue has once again assumed political overtones.
Ms J. Jayalalitha, who questioned the very basics of the accord, demanded the revival of the 1997 draft scheme, which provided for the takeover by the Centre of the reservoirs across the river in case of failure by Karnataka to comply with the directives of the Cauvery River Water Authority.
After the accord was signed in August last year, there had been plenty of water in the Mettur dam, following a heavy rain in both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. However, it ran into rough weather this year, following monsoon shortfall.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the DMK in the state, should heave a sigh of relief as the "life problem" of the state did not crop up during the time of the elections.
While Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) president G. K. Moopanar, after talking to Mr Karunanidhi over telephone, expressed the hope that the state government would do the needful to alleviate the sufferings of the farmers, leaders of the Marumalarchi DMK, the Pattali Makkal Katchi and the Tamizhaga Rajiv Congress all the allies of the dmk are maintaining a stoic silence on the issue.
The shortfall in the realisation of water at the Mettur dam has been noticeable during the past one month, but the issue came to the fore only a few days ago after the farmers in the tail-end areas of the delta region in the state raised their voice.
The state government has already taken up the matter with the Cauvery monitoring cell (CMC) to prevail upon Karanataka to release water to save the standing kuruvai crop and enable the main samba cultivation in the delta districts of Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam.
As the Karnataka Government expressed its inability to release water, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today deputed two of his Cabinet colleagues Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S Arumugam and Public Works Minister Durai Murugan to take stock of the situation in the delta region and report to him.
Meanwhile, official sources here said Mr Vajpayee telephoned Mr Karunanidhi last evening and assured him that he would look into the states request for the release of the Cauvery water.
According to reports received here, farmers in the delta region, especially in the tail-end areas, who were desperately in need of water to save the standing kuruvai crops cultivated in several lakhs of acres, were agitated over the present situation.
Posters have come up in the delta region, asking the central and state governments to take immediate steps to get water from Karnataka.
Although it has been a normal practice to open the sluice gates of the Mettur reservoir on June 12 every year, water release this year commenced only on July 1, obviously owing to the shortfall of the monsoon and the depletion in water storage.
Even as the Centre was prevailing upon Karnataka to release water, the Tamil Nadu Government took strong exception to the statement, purported to have been made by the Centre in which the measurements of water flow at Billigundulu, had been mentioned in the context of the implementation of the interim orders of the tribunal.
India not to sign CTBT in present form
ALLAHABAD, Sept 18 (PTI) Human Resources Development (HRD) Minister Murli Manohar Joshi has said India will not sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as long as the basic structure of these two agreements are not changed to suit the national interest of nuclear and non-nuclear countries.
The CTBT and NPT continue to be discriminatory by their basic framework and India will not be part of these treaties as long as the anomalies are not worked out, Mr Joshi told PTI here yesterday.
Asserting that the Vajpayee government decided to make the draft nuclear doctrine to clarify Indias stand on the issue, he said the government would continue to press for Indias recognition as a nuclear weapon state.
Criticising the Congress for questioning the governments decision to publish the nuclear doctrine draft around the elections for the 13th Lok Sabha, Mr Joshi said the document was released for public debate and added only Parliament could take a final decision on the matter.
The HRD minister, who is seeking third term from the Allahabad Lok Sabha seat which went to polls today, lashed out at the Congress for its misrule and for debasing the political system by perpetrating a corruption raj over the decades.
He said it was BJPs opposition to the corruption deal during the Congress rule which catapulted the saffron party at the centrestage of the countrys politics.
Asserting that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is committed to weed out corruption from public life, Mr Joshi said Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee chose to sacrifice the BJP-led government when AIADMK chief J. Jayalalitha tried to blackmail it for scrapping corruption cases against her.
Instead of working as a constructive opposition, the Congress entered into an electoral pact with Ms Jayalalitha and RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav, he said, adding the electorate would, however, foil their designs.
Sushma lambasts Congress
NEW DELHI, Sept 18 (PTI) The BJP today said only a strong nationalist government at the Centre would be able to deal with the reported threat of "jehad" (Holy war) against India issued by Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden from his base in Afghanistan.
"Laden is an enemy of democracy and acting against the tenets of all religions. The manner in which he has sought help from Pakistan should make world powers see the true face of Pakistan," party spokesperson Sushma Swaraj said here.
She said it was the determination of the Vajpayee government and the security forces that efforts by the Islamic terrorist organisations to disrupt elections in Kashmir with the full backing of Pakistan had not succeeded.
She said there was a host of evidence to testify to the determination of Pakistan and Pakistan-sponsored Islamic terrorist organisations to disrupt the poll process and kill people in India.
"The country must awaken to the nature and enormity of this threat," she said adding that money was being raised for various terrorist groups in the name of Islam.
Attacking the Congress, Mrs Swaraj said it was the "short-sightedness and perverse strategies of the Congress over the past 15 years which have given strength to terrorist organisations right across the country and also emboldened terrorist organisations abroad."
Temple very much on BJP agenda: Singhal
GORAKHPUR, Sept 18 (UNI) VHP working President Ashok Singhal said here today that the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya at the disputed site was very much on the BJP agenda and it would be constructed at any cost in the near future.
Mr Singhal, who was speaking on the occasion of the Rashtriya Raksha jana jagaran abhiyan yatra, said that just as the date of the Babri masjid demolition was not fixed but it was demolished, likewise the temple construction would also start any time.
The temple issue, he said, was not associated with any political party.The BJP only supported the issue raised by the VHP, he said, adding that the VHP had decided to support the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.
Praising the Vajpayee Government for its handling of the Kargil conflict, Mr Singhal said the country achieved international support because of right decisions taken by the Prime Minister. While the entire nation was behind him during the conflict, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav were busy politicising the issue.
Mr Singhal said the governments which opposed the construction of Ram temple had been thrown out of power while the BJP owed its success to its support for the issue.
Earlier, addressing the sants and the yatra participants, Mr Singhal said this yatra had been taken out in memory of the dedicated soldiers who had sacrificed their lives for the motherland. The sants would also highlight the role of the BJP government and seek votes in its favour.
Thakre predicts easy win for NDA
BHOPAL Sept 18 (UNI) BJP President Kushabhau Thakre today said he did not favour any ban on opinion or exit polls.
There is no need for a ban or any debate on this issue as the Supreme Court has already given its decision on the matter, he said here.
Asked whether he agreed that such opinion and exit polls would influence the voting pattern in the constituencies yet to go to the polls, Mr Thakre evaded a direct reply saying that he was not an expert on such matters.
Replying to a question regarding his assessment about his partys prospects, the BJP President said the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would win hands down.
When pointed out that the exit polls were indicating about Congress improving its position, Mr Thakre quipped I don't think so. The issue before the people was as to who should become the Prime Minister, he said adding that this had reduced the communal, casteist and other such influences.
On the Karnataka Janata Dal (United) leaders claim for Chief Ministership in the event of the alliance coming to power in that state, Mr Thakre posed a counter question what is the hurry? let the results come out.
Asked whether the Chief Ministership should go to the alliance partner, which secured the highest number of seats, he said it would be premature to say anything about it at this stage.
He said there were some initial problems as it was very late by the time the Lok Shakti and the Janata Dal merged. However, both the BJP and the Janata Dal (U) worked for each others candidates in the elections, he added.
Mr Thakre, who was here
to cast his vote in the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency
from where Union Minister of State for Sports and Youth
Welfare Uma Bharati is seeking election, said his
partys prospects in Madhya Pradesh were very
Fake ballot papers
NEW DELHI, Sept 18 (PTI) The BJP and its ally Samata Party today charged the Bihar Government with getting a large number of fake ballot papers printed in connivance with the Left Front government in west Bengal to rig the poll and demanded a high-level inquiry by the Election Commission.
We have disturbing information about printing of excess ballot papers for Bihar in West Bengal government-run Saraswati press in Calcutta, BJP spokesman M. Venkaiah Naidu told a joint press conference with Samata Party General Secretary Jaya Jaitly here.
The EC should take serious note of this information and order a high-level inquiry into it, Mr Naidu and Ms Jaitly said, adding that the commission must take corrective steps and depute senior officials to Bihar to supervise distribution of ballot papers.
Both the RJD and the CPM are poll allies in Bihar and therefore such reports only raise serious doubts about their joint conspiracy for rigging the poll, Mr Naidu said .Samata President George Fernandes had already lodged a complaint with the commission, Ms Jaitly said and claimed that at least 65,000 additional ballot papers were reportedly printed and earmarked for dispatch to Nalanda and Barh, the constituencies of Mr Fernandes and former minister Nitish Kumar.
Reports also suggested that similar fake ballot papers were being printed for at least 40 seats in Bihar, she said.
However, she admitted that the party had no concrete evidence as there is no way to have such proofs.
The BJP also sought repolling in over 100 booths in several Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar, 10 booths in Mathura constituency in Uttar Pradesh and one in Hanamkonda in Andhra Pradesh.
In a complaint to the commission, party spokesperson Sushma Swaraj said precautionary steps should be taken in the next round of polling in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh keeping in mind todays violence.
A report from Lucknow said the Samajwadi Party had alleged large-scale booth capturing in six of the 30 Lok Sabha seats that went to the polls in Uttar Pradesh today and demanded repolling in these areas.
In a fax message to the
Chief Election Commissioner, the partys UP unit
President Ram Saran Das alleged that reports of
booth-capturing on the directives of some state ministers
had been received from Allahabad, Banda, Fatehpur,
Etawah, Jaleswar and Mainpuri constituencies.
Dalit woman paraded naked
HYDERABAD, Sept 18 (UNI) A Dalit woman was paraded naked by persons belonging to the upper caste following a petty dispute over using water from a borewell at Malasamudram village in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh last evening.
As many as 13 persons have been arrested in this connection, district Deputy Inspector-General Tejdeep said.
The woman, Gangaratnamma, had argued with an upper caste woman about her right to use the borewell. This led to a clash between the two castes and the Dalits were told that they would no longer be allowed to draw water from the borewell.
Later, the upper caste people went on the rampage, damaging the houses of the Dalits and beating up the womenfolk.
They dragged Gangaratnamma out of her house and disrobed her. Two other Dalit women were also injured in the incident.
The police has recommended to the District Collector to provide compensation to the three women.
Meanwhile, The Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes Welfare Association has condemned the incident and said it proved that the upper castes were bent on suppressing the Dalits and denying them even their fundamental civil rights.
Former diplomat dead
NEW DELHI, Sept 18 (PTI) Former diplomat and one of the founding fathers of the Indian Foreign Service Rajeshwar Dayal passed away here yesterday after a brief illness, family sources said.
Dayal (90) who is survived by his wife, had been in hospital after suffering from a stroke, the sources said.
Lessee liable to pay property tax
NEW DELHI, Sept 18 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has ruled that a person holding rights in a property on lease is liable to pay tax on the leasehold in the capital area as per the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act.
A Division Bench comprising, Mr Justice Usha Mehra and Mr Justice Madan B. Lokur in a recent judgement on a petition by the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) said Section 120(1)(C) of the Act had clear provision in this regard.
Letting or sub-leasing the properties will not absolve a person from the liability to pay property tax. Section 120(1) (C) of the Act provides that the tax is to be realised from the person who has the right to let it out, the court observed.
It further clarified that the tax could be realised from the person occupying the premises who might or might not be the owner of the land or building.
HUDCO had challenged levying of property tax on it for a 17.6 acres of land leased by the government in November 1990 at Pinjrapole near Andrews Ganj in South Delhi. However, a perpetual lease deed was executed between HUDCO and the Union Government on July 4, 1997.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had issued notice to HUDCO intimating a proposal to amend its assessment of the property tax on the said land for three years from 1988 to 1991.
The MCD in March 1994 had fixed the rateable value of the property to levy the property tax on HUDCO.
BJP wants poll countermanded
ITANAGAR, Sept 18 (PTI) The BJPs state unit today demanded countermanding of the assembly polls in the Khonsa (East) constituency of Arunachal Pradesh for the alleged kidnapping of its candidate while she was on her way to file nomination papers on September 13.
In a letter to Governor Arvind Dave, BJP state unit general secretary Vishal P. Nabam sought his intervention and demanded that the candidate, Mr Lomren Mophuk, be given another date for filing nominations.
Mr Mophuk, the party
candidate for the Khonsa (East) seat, was allegedly
kidnapped while she was going to file her nomination
papers to the returning officer. She was released the
next day after the expiry of the time for filing
Replace Amethi EC observer: BJP
NEW DELHI, Sept 18 (PTI) The BJP today accused the Election Commissions observer for the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, Mr D.K. Rao, of violating the election code of conduct by calling on Mrs Priyanka Vadra and demanded his immediate replacement.
Party candidate Sanjay Singh, who represented Amethi in the dissolved Lok Sabha, has complained to the EC about Mr Rao meeting Priyanka and reportedly apprising her about security arrangements. This is highly objectionable and improper, BJP spokesman M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here.
Stating that Mr Rao had
no business to meet her while on official duty as a poll
observer, he said Sanjay Singh has also complained to the
party that Mr Rao was not only
explicitly biased and sympathetic
towards the Congress but also ignoring violation of the
code of conduct by the Congress.
CMs resignation sought
NEW DELHI, Sept 18 (UNI) Leader of the opposition in the Delhi Assembly Jagdish Mukhi today demanded resignations of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Social Welfare Minister Krishna Tirath for failing to protect the rights of women.
Addressing reporters here, Mr Mukhi alleged that a senior Superintendent Narain Singh of CDPO was involved in a Rs 1.75 crore purchase scandal and sexual of anganwari workers.
The official was found
guilty in a report submitted by the Secretary of the
Social Welfare Department and suspended on February 9.
But no suspension order was served to him and he resumed
duty six days later, Mr Mukhi charged.
Bhajan Lal Cong observer
NEW DELHI, Sept 18 (UNI) Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal has been appointed Congress observer for eastern Uttar Pradesh.
|Chhota Rajan aide killed
THANE: An alleged member of the Chhota Rajan gang was killed in an encounter with the police here on Friday night, the police said on Saturday. The incident occurred when Bacchav, alias Sharif Mukhtiyar Khan (25) and three of his accomplices were intercepted for planing a robbery in a private company. One of the accomplices fired at the police and in the retaliatory fire Bacchav was killed. PTI
3 NLFT men arrested
stamp design contest
fest from Sept 28
4 killed in
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