|Monday, January 17, 2000,
CPM softens stand, warns rebels
Mamooty plays Ambedkar with aplomb
Rajasthan Govt invokes
ESMA to end strike
Panel for action on uniform ST
NEW DELHI, Jan 16 In a hard-hitting attack, the Congress today described the BJPs Chennai declaration as nothing but its usual "doublespeak, dilemma and a blatant effort to mislead the nation".
In a statement, Congress spokesman, Ajit Jogi said: "The desire to assert its separate identify and an equally pressing need to submerge it for the lust for power is obvious in the final version of the declaration adopted at the partys national council declaration on December 29 in Chennai."
On the one hand the BJP had "committed to the ideals and ideology that prompted it into existence as a political party, first as the Jansangh at 1951 and later as the BJP in 1980".
On the other hand, the declaration made a futile attempt to reconcile this with the other view in the declaration as the leader of the NDA when it stated "it is the paramount responsibility of the BJP to ensure that there is neither dilution nor any deviation from the common agenda. Every party worker must understand that our agenda for governance is the national agenda for the good governance".
The insistence that it was a BJP document by Mr Jana Krishna Murthy, Senior Vice-President of the party who released the document, as "if there was any doubt on that count" itself indicated and proved the predicament of the party and its effort to mislead not only the, NDA partners but people of the nation as well.
The fact that the party was forced to drop the following key sentence from the declaration "each and every activist of the party must fully understand that the BJP has no other agenda other than the common agenda of the NDA " further exposed the party in terms of its hidden agenda, the statement said.
CPM softens stand, warns rebels
CALCUTTA, Jan 16 (PTI, UNI) In a softening of stand, the CPM today indicated it would refrain from immediately taking disciplinary action against party leaders, including former MP Saifuddin Chowdhury and West Bengal Transport Minister Subhas Chakraborty, for demanding greater inner-party democracy.
Party General Secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet hinted to reporters here that these leaders would be given a chance "to rectify themselves" but warned that action would follow if they failed to do so.
Mr Surjeet, who was briefing the press after the three-day meeting of the Politburo which concluded here, said: "We want the party comrades to rectify themselves." He pointed out that Mr Chakraborty was one of the leaders who had built the party.
He, however, added that "if they (the leaders in question) fail to rectify themselves, the party has to take action" against them.
He said no other party had inner-party democracy like the CPM where all members were given the opportunity to express their views. "But once the party line was finalised either unanimously or by majority opinion, none could question it", he remarked.
"If some members think that their opinion was more important and express views on their own, that would not be tolerated", he said.
Stating that nobody was above the party, he said even he was not an exception to the rule. "If I commit mistakes, I am also liable for punishment", he said
Mr Surjeet said anybody can commit a mistake. "Even I do not claim that I have not committed any mistake, he said.
Asked what his advice was to Mr Chakraborty who met him, he said anyone can meet him as long as he was in the party.
The CPM leader said the Politburo meeting discussed the issue of updating party programmes keeping in view the changes that had taken place and unanimously adopted the draft of the revised programmes.
But the Politburo, he said, was not the final authority. Now it will go to the partys central committee which will meet on March 12. After the central committee passed the revised programmes, it would be circulated to all the units of the party.
The discussion on the subject would continue for two months. Later, the revised programmes would be adopted, Mr Surjeet said.
To another question regarding the possibility of the Election Commission (EC) derecognising the CPM as a national party, he said the party had not yet received any such notice from the commission. The party would decide its course of action only after getting the notice from the EC, he said.
The veteran leader, however, expressed surprise that such questions arose even after his party enjoyed the status as the third largest party in parliament and was running three state governments.
Replying to another question, Mr Surjeet accused the Vajpayee government of not assisting the Tripura Government in combating insurgency and supported the Left Front government which invoked the National Secutiry Act to deal with militants.
He said well-trained armed militants were crossing over to Tripura from Bangladesh and creating disturbance in the state.
The Tripura Government, he said, was trying to deal with the situation with whatever was available to it.
Mamooty plays Ambedkar with
NEW DELHI, Jan 16 To make a three hour long bio-film on a political leader and hold the audiences interest is no small feat. This is what Jabbar Patel does in his ambitious offering "Dr Balasaheb Ambedkar" screened today in the Indian Panorama section of the IFFI 2000. The film stand out as an epic reconstruction of the life and times of an extraordinary personality who brought to the centrestage the struggle against the caste system in India.
What holds the interest of the viewers is the multiple levels of tussle that a promising lad from a low-caste background has to wage to see through the truth of Indian reality where one-fifths of the population was denied the elementary right of human existence for reasons of birth. As young Bhimrao Ambedkar goes to the University of Columbia at New York to do his Ph.D, on a scholarship from the Maharaja of Baroda, the comparison of the plight of the untouchables with the blacks in the USA becomes an inevitable part of his learning. He becomes firm in his belief that untouchability was more barbaric than any other type of barbarism practiced anywhere in the world, past or present.
Ambedkars awareness of the perennial indignities was born of his personal experiences as a child and as a young man. On his return he launches agitations for the rights of the untouchable and faces violent opposition. At the personal level, he is burdened with demands of his wife and has to work to earn his living. This goes on with endless flow of bitter incidents from the past constantly haunting him.
But all this makes him a man of iron will. With single-minded drive he works ceaselessly for the cause of the depressed people. Education and knowledge for him did not mean to know the world but to change the world so that justice prevails.
The most gripping part of the film is the period when Ambedkar finds himself pitted against Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress. His contention is that the Mahatmas concept of the Swarajya could not be of any help to the low caste as they had no homeland. He argues repeatedly that it is ridiculous to ask the British to leave India when such a vast chunk of Indias population lives under the oppression of caste Hindus. Why doesnt the Mahatma first fight against these oppressors? Are the British worse than these native oppressors?
As against mindless reverence shown by the rest of the political leaders for Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar is brutally unenamoured by the saintliness of the former. "He is a shrewd politician" and "he is not a god" are some of the utterances that show the kind of stuff Ambedkar was made of. Gandhi, though unrelenting is his opposition to the Ambedkars demand for a separate electoral system that gives the untouchables political power distinct from the caste. Hindus, understands the reasons for the latters impatience and bitterness, saying, "I know he suffered so much.
The Mahatma eventually declares, quite obviously because of the thrust given to the issue by Ambedkar: "From now all my life will be spent on removing the evil of untouchability from the Hindu society." It is on the Mahatmas bidding that Jawaharlal Nehru makes Ambedkar the first Law Minister of independent India and became the chairman of the committee that drafted the Indian Consitution.
The films canvas
is formidably vast. Some of the sequences truly capture
the era of the twenties and the thirties with great
skill. Mamooty renowned South Indian actor, breathes life
into the role of Ambedkar with great aplomb. Mohan
Gokhale as Gandhi is equally impressive.
Rajasthan Govt invokes ESMA to end strike
JAIPUR, Jan 16 (UNI) The Rajasthan Government, in a bid to break the 33-day-old strike of the government employees, today invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and in a swift crackdown, the police arrested hundreds of agitating union leaders all over the state.
In the Capital alone, 123 government employees leaders were rounded up.
Rajasthan Home Minister Praduman Singh briefing newspersons apologised for the inconvenience caused to them as the employees leaders were taken into custody while they were addressing a press conference.
Mr Singh clarified that the government had information of the press meet and took this action as it could arrest in one go most of the important union leaders.
The Home Minister said the state government was forced to invoke ESMA banning government employees from going on strike, as they had declared to disrupt water supply and health services in the state from tomorrow.
The state government had made adequate arrangements to ensure that the essential services were not hindered, Mr Singh said, adding that the government had sought the assistance of paramilitary forces, the Territorial Army and the Railways in this regard.
Panel for action on uniform ST issue
NEW DELHI, Jan 16 (PTI) A subcommittee of the state finance ministers today decided to move the Centre to work out penal action against those states and union territories which were yet to implement the uniform floor sales tax rate.
"We have decided to take up the matter of penal action with Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha tomorrow," convener of the subcommittee and West Bengal Finance Minister Ashim Dasgupta told reporters here after a meeting of the panel.
A decision to introduce
uniform floor sales tax rates, which is a step towards
the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) regime by April
1, 2001, was taken at a meeting of the chief ministers
here in November, 1999.
3 drowned in
pan masala challenged
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