|Tuesday, February 15, 2000,
Farooq toughens stand on autonomy
Repoll in 195 Bihar booths today
Army chief gets Sangtani award
HP ex-Governor Rachaiah dead
Basus nod to
Take NGOs into
Bird sanctuary at Mathura refinery
First wedding on Net
C wealth conference today
NEW DELHI, Feb 14 The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) had decided to suspend Pakistan from the association until democracy is restored in that country.
That is the reason why the CPA shifted its conference on Parliament and media to New Delhi, Lok Sabha Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi told mediapersons here today.
The four-day event, first of its kind, would be inaugurated by Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Krishan Kant here tomorrow. Fifty six delegates from 20 Commonwealth countries would participate in the conference being hosted by Parliament in joint auspices of the CPA, CPU, CJA and the Commonwealth Broadcasters Association (CBA), in conjunction with the World Bank and the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Mr Balayogi said the CPA had earlier fixed the same dates for the conference to be hosted by parliament of Pakistan. But recent political developments there led to the CPA secretariat changing the venue to New Delhi. Parliament agreed to host the conference here.
Explaining the aims and objectives of the meet, he said it would examine the most effective ways in which the medias democratic functions could be performed. The conference, among other things, would explore how the media and parliamentarians could advance democratic values in society and play the appropriate role in the political process and also explore effects of new communication technologies on the institution of Parliament and on political coverage.
The conference would have five plenary sessions on "Understanding each other: allies or adversaries," "Should the media be self-regulating?", "Cross-border information system: the regulatory problems dealing with electronic networking via satellites," "Making Parliament newsworthy" and "The ethics of the relationship".
There would be four workshops on matters related to freedom of information, legislation and human rights, subjectivity and objectivity in political reporting, Press freedom versus invasion of privacy and who should own the media?
On the concluding day, the conference would adopt recommendations for building an effective relationship between Parliament and media.
Mr Balayogi said as the conference was directly related to media, both print and electronic media will go a long way in understanding each other," he added.
The Indian delegation would be headed by Mr Jaipal Reddy and Mr Kuldip Nayyar. The other members of the delegation would be Mr Kesari Nath Tripathi, Speaker, Uttar Pradash Legislative Assembly, Ms Pratibha Bharati, Speaker, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, Mr Arun Gujarathi, Speaker, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. Prof B.K. Chandrasekhar, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Government of Karnataka, and Mr P. Dev Kumar of the UNI.
participating include Australia, Bangladesh, Canada,
Fiji, Jamaica, Malawi, Namibia, Scotland, St. Lucia,
Solomon Islands, Tonga, the United Kingdom, Zambia, Sri
Lanka, Brunei and Trinidad and Tobago.
No dispute in NDA over RSS issue
RAIPUR (MP), Feb 14 (PTI) Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi today stressed there is "no dispute or tension" among partners of the NDA at the Centre on the issue of government employees participating in RSS activities.
Mr Joshi, who arrived here en route to Orissa, told reporters it was up to the state governments to amend the rules on government employees participating in RSS activities.
He said there was no proposal before the Central Government to amend the law for allowing or forbidding civil service officers to participate in RSS drills or functions.
Mr Joshi alleged that the West Bengal Government had "politicised the entire government machinery" and allowed setting up of several associations at district and block levels affiliated to the Communist party.
"Though such members were part and parcel of West Bengal Government, nobody objected to it or raised the issue at the national level," Mr Joshi said adding "but in case of the RSS, it was made into an issue and some political parties indulged in false propaganda."
Referring to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singhs reported comment that he would "teach a lesson to the RSS", Mr Joshi said such an attitude is "not at all good".
"Even the British
could not teach a lesson to the RSS during their rule in
India," he remarked.
Farooq toughens stand on autonomy
DELHI, Feb 14 (PTI) The United Front government had threatened to sack the National Conference-Congress government in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989 if militants were not released in exchange for Rubiya Sayeed, daughter of the then Union Home Minister, Mr Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah claimed here today.
"A senior minister in Mr V.P. Singhs Cabinet specially flew into Srinagar with the threat... I did not deter from my stand and refused to release any militant," Mr Abdullah said here.
He said in the end Mr Sayeed, however, ensured that the militants were released which "hastened my resignation from the office of Chief Ministership."
Toughening his stand on the issue of greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Abdullah said some "unfortunate noises" being made against the report of the state-appointed commission favouring this was uncalled for and would have an "adverse impact" on the people of the state.
"The poll-plank of my party was the grant of greater autonomy to the people of the state and if that was denied a "wrong" message will go to people as it will amount to breach of trust, he said.
"We have not asked for something that is going to alienate the state from India... we have only asked them to study the report within the Constitution confines," Mr Abdullah said and contested views that the regional autonomy report was only a refined form of separatists demand.
Regretting that some unfortunate noises were being made by some quarters at the Centre against the report, he said "after all the then Prime Minister, Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao, had stated in Parliament that as far as autonomy is considered, sky is the limit and subsequently the United Front government had reiterated the stand."
"My government has always maintained that it wants autonomy and separatists are for independence and now it is for the Centre to decide between the two," Mr Abdullah said, denying reports that one of his ministers had reportedly said that "India should leave Kashmir if autonomy was not granted".
He said the Indira-Sheikh accord in 1975 had provided for further dialogue on the issue. "This is just an extension of that accord."
Asked about the criticism of the report even from the former Chairman of the autonomy commission, Mr Balraj Puri, he said "after his (Mr Puris) nomination by my government, we realised our mistake and he was asked to leave."
Referring to detained separatist leaders, Mr Abdullah said he was willing for talks with them provided they were willing to shun the path of militancy.
"These talks should be under the purview of the Constitution and on an assurance from them that they will not support militancy," he said.
About the increasing
number of militant attacks in the state, he said "in
the post-Kargil era, it was evident that Pakistan would
try to heighten its activities after tasting defeat at
the hands of our Army."
Repoll in 195 Bihar booths today
PATNA, Feb 14 (UNI) The Election Commission has said repoll will be held in 195 booths covering 44 out of the 108 Assembly constituencies, which went to the polls during the first phase of election in Bihar on Saturday.
Official sources here today said that the repoll would be conducted tomorrow.
The largest number of repoll in 16 booths would be held under the Mokhdampur assembly constituency. Followed by 14 in Obra and 13 in the Gaya mofussil constituency, among other segments.
In Danapur, where RJD supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav was seeking election to the state Assembly, repoll would be held in three booths.
Sources stated that
adequate security measures had been taken to hold the
Army chief gets Sangtani award
PUNE, Feb 14 (UNI) It was an occasion for two victorious Generals to pat each others back for vanquishing the enemy 28 years across the line.
Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Maneckshaw, the hero of the 1971 Indo-Pak war, presented the Atur Sangtani Award for excellence to the Chief of the Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, the hero of the Kargil conflict of last summer, here last evening.
General Malik, however, was quick to point out that when a soldier went to perform his duty, he sublimated his individuality into that of his organisation. The decisive Kargil victory, therefore, was the collective achievement of the whole Army, the General pointed out and declined to lay claim on the Rs 1,00,000 prize money.
The entire amount, instead, would be credited to the Army Central Welfare Fund and would be utilised towards the welfare and rehabilitation projects for the bereaved families of martyrs and disabled soldiers, he said.
The General pointed out
that the collective excellence of the Army was the reason
why no uniformed personnel could aspire to figure in any
elite list of people who had made outstanding
contributions to nation-building although the defence
wings had contributed immensely towards ensuring a
climate of peace and security.
HP ex-Governor Rachaiah dead
BANGALORE, Feb 14 (PTI, UNI) Former Governor of Himachal Pradesh and Kerala and veteran Dalit leader B. Rachaiah died at a hospital here today after a brief illness. He was 78.
He is survived by wife, five daughters and two sons.
Mr Rachaiah, who had served as a member in the Nijalingappa, B.D. Jatti, Devaraj Urs, Ramakrishna Hegde and S.R. Bommais ministries in Karnataka, breathed his last in the early hours of today, his son-in-law and former minister B.B. Ningaiah said.
Mr Ningaiah said the cremation would take place at Alur, birthplace of Mr Rachaiah in Chamarajnagar district, tomorrow.
Mr Rachaiah, who was minister in the Charan Singh Cabinet, took over as Governor of Himachal Pradesh in February 1999. He was shifted to Kerala in December the same year. He relinquished office in November 1995.
Born into an agricultural family, Mr Rachaiah joined the freedom struggle when he was a student. A law graduate, he entered the Mysore Assembly in 1952 when he won from Yelandur as the Praja Socialist party nominee.
Mr Rachaiah, who had been elected to the state assembly for five terms, won from Chamarajanagara (SC) in 1957 and from Santhemarahalli (SC) in 1962, 1967 and 1983.
A veteran leader, Mr Rachaiah was a minister in the Nijalingappa and Veerendra Patil governments and subsequently in the Janata Dal ministry.
He had represented the state in the Rajya Sabha between 1974 and 1977.
Family sources said the body was being shifted to Alur for the last rites.
Meanwhile, President K.R. Narayanan condoled the death of Mr Rachaiah.
"I am deeply
grieved to learn of the passing away of Mr Rachaiah who
was an eminent parliamentarian and a popular Governor.
His services for the uplift of the downtrodden will
always be remembered", the President said in his
condolence message to the bereaved family members.
Basus nod to Water shooting
CALCUTTA, Feb 14 (PTI) Actress Shabana Azmi, one of the lead artistes of Deepa Mehtas controversial "Water", has requested the West Bengal Government for permission to shoot the film in the state, CPM mouthpiece "Ganashakti" reported today.
Chief Minister Jyoti Basu welcomed the proposal and said his government was ready to give the permission and would make necessary arrangements for the purpose, the daily said.
Azmi, a Rajya Sabha MP, rang him up and requested him to give the permission and also talked to CPM general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet, it quoted Mr Basu as having said.
Mr Basu said Azmis representative would come to the city to seek necessary permission from Deputy Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya.
"I have also spoken to Mr Bhattacharya (on the issue), who is out of the city, over telephone," he said.
Mehta was forced to leave Varanasi, where the films story is based, following a ban by the Uttar Pradesh Government and violent protests against it in the holy city.
The Governments of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar had also made offers to Mehta to shoot the film in their states.
NAGPUR: Noted film and theatre personality Amol Palekar has questioned "the extra-constitutional authority of censorship" by a section of society which opposed the shooting of Deepa Mehtas controversial film Water.
Defending Mehtas right to shoot the film, which had generated a controversy, Palekar told an audience of film buffs here on Sunday that she had gone through the required procedure for obtaining permission for shooting the film like all foreign film-makers.
On violent protests
against the shooting of the film, Palekar said: "It
was nothing but an act of hooliganism".
Take NGOs into confidence
NEW DELHI, Feb 14 Over 20 women organisations which deliberated on the governments implementation report on the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) have suggested that they be taken into confidence by the government.
After going through the report presented by the government delegation during the recently concluded session of CEDAW in New York, the groups suggested that the governments replies to the 76 questions posed by the UN committee were vague and incomplete.
The three-member delegation which attended the week-long session in January comprised the Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development, (DWCD) Mrs Kiran Aggarwal, the Joint Secretary in the NCW, Mrs Leena Mehendale and the Deputy Secretary in the department, Ms Rashmi Chaudhary.
The questions raised by the 23-member UN Committee on CEDAW pertained to the representation of women in the Supreme Court of India, the role of the NCW, dowry cases, property rights of women, gender sensitivasation of police officers and civil servants and the status of CEDAW in the Indian legal system.
The committee also raised questions on women policy makers in mass media, representation of women in Parliament, the fate of the Constitutional Amendment Bill for reservation for women, views of educated women on caste, bonded labour, gender bias in family planning programmes and polygamy.
Apart from this, 11 NGOs invited to the session also submitted a report.
Invited to the discussion by the NCW, participants felt that their views were not reflected in the governments replies.
The women organisations have urged the NCW to forward a report on Mondays deliberations to the government through the DWCD. They have said that the government should hold discussions with the NCW and the NGOs before the session on the status of women scheduled in March and another preparatory meeting in May on the Beijing Platform for Action.
organisations represented at the meeting were the
National Alliance of Women Organisations, the Joint
Womens Programme and the Guild of Service.
Bird sanctuary at Mathura refinery
MATHURA, Feb 14 (UNI) A Supreme Court order to protect the Taj Mahal has proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Mathura Oil Refinery.
The refinery has not only cleaned up its act but also has a "successful" ecological park (mini bird sanctuary), the first of its kind in any Indian refinery.
The park probably will not have been in its present shape, had there been no hue and cry to save the Taj from pollution. Aspersions caste on the refinery that it was polluting the environment, made plant officials resolute in making efforts, which paved the way for establishment of an eco-friendly environment and the ecological park and its successes.
Implementation of a good environment management system resulted in creation of environs that allure many birds, including migratory species coming from far-off cold countries. The number of avian species sighted at the park have been increasing over time and at present more than 96 different types of birds are found at the water body.
Among the birds found here are coot of China, bareheaded goose, tufted duck, white-eyed pochard, chiff chaff, white wagtail, pintail, gadwal and shoveller.
Honorary secretary of Bombay Natural History Society J.C. Denial, who visited the park, was of the opinion that there was no air pollution in and near the refinery as the pollution level was regularly monitored and kept under strict control.
The tough stand of the
apex court not only helped the plants eco-friendly
image but also gave impetus to efforts to improve quality
and increase production.
First wedding on Net
NEW DELHI, Feb 14 (UNI) The Indian marriage went on line today. To mark St Valentines Day today, the wedding of Delhi-based Tarun Sachdeva and Sangeeta went on the Internet at the site http/www/indiashoppe.net at 12 noon.
Net surfers can watch various wedding ceremonies and also log on their congratulatory messages at the site, the Rajasthan Information Centre, organisers of the "first Indian Internet wedding" said.
Tarun, an entrepreneur,
wanted to use the latest technological marvel to
highlight the rich Indian culture displayed in a typical
wedding. He, however, regretted that Internet weddings
were not recognised by law yet.
A shift in Orissa poll
BHUBANESWAR, Feb 14 The continuing legacy of poverty, unemployment, corruption and natural calamities, has not deterred political parties in Orissa from coining new promises.
Slogans like "garibi hatao" have become passe and political parties are talking about computerisation of administration, introduction of computers in every school, administrative reforms, power reforms, making Orissa a fully developed state, boost to research and development, and fiscal prudence.
Ever since the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Chandrababu Naidu, played a heroic role in coming to the rescue of Orissa after a supercyclone hit the coastal belt last year, he had become a role model for politicians here.
That was the reason that both Congress and the BJD-BJP combine had given prominence to computerisation and other reform measures, he added.
The other reason for the changed perception was that several second generation politicians like Mr Navin Patnaik were in the electoral fray and they with their wide exposure to quality education and international community were infusing new ideas.
For instance the common minimum programme of the BJD-BJP combine talks about computerisation in administration.
The setting up of a software industrial city, an advanced Indian Institute of Technology and a host of reform measures also form part of the poll promises.
The Congress too has not lagged behind, and it too talks about computerisation of administration, establishment of two port-based steel plants, five major alumna and aluminium plants, two oil refineries, two industrial parks, establishment of a large number of agro parks, and corrective measures for strengthening the economy.
To quote the Congress state unit president, Mr J.B.Patnaik "by 2010 we want Orissa to be free from unemployment as well as poverty and by 2020 a fully developed state among the leading states in India".
Corruption is another issue that has become unacceptable in the present elections and exploiting this to the hilt has been the BJP-BJD combine.
The states financial health has also come to the limelight and the political parties have promised to follow a path of fiscal prudence.
The BJP-BJD combine has promised to take steps to save the state from bankruptcy. These include reduction of unnecessary expenditures and simplification of sales tax and entry tax rules. It has said it will also take steps to reduce the budgetary deficit through the mobilisation of resources.
The Congress on its part has talked about establishing an administrative reforms commission for making the administrative machinery more effective, efficient and people oriented.
The BJD-BJP combine feels unemployment can be removed through self-employment programmes, revival of sick industrial units and promotion of village and cottage industries.
The Congress has promised to implement a massive self-employment programme and vigorous implementation of all prevailing schemes for the welfare of women, farmers, workers, students, youths, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, minorities and backward classes as well as various anti-poverty schemes.
Another less known
party, the CPM which has entered into an electoral
understanding with the CPI, Janata Dal (S), Forward
Block, Gana Abhiyan and the Samajwadi Party, has promised
to create 25 lakh jobs if voted to power.
Vikas poll plank in Bihar
PATNA, Feb 14 "Vikas vs vinash" and "jungle raaj vs jallad raaj" has become the central theme of campaign by major political parties in the ongoing Bihar Assembly elections.
Rallied against the ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) are the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) constituents and the Congress with the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Nationalist Congress Party, the CPM, CPI-ML, Shiv Sena and the Jharkhand parties.
The NDA constituents, the BJP, the Samata Party and the Janata Dal (United), are harping on the "lack of development" during the past 10 years when the RJD and its earlier avtaar the Janata Dal had been in power.
The JD(U) and the Samata, who were one time associates of the RJD, are now highlighting the plight of the people of Bihar, promising to take the state on the path of development.
The NDA has been saying that only its government can take Bihar towards "vikas" and cautioning that electing the RJD for the third time would be a certain move towards "vinash (destruction)" of Bihar.
The frequent attacks and caste-wars which have been witnessed in the state are being used by the NDA and the Congress to dub the RJD tenure as "jungle raaj", underlining the impunity with which extremists have taken the law into their hands.
However, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, who still speaks the language that the masses understand has been hammering only one point in defence. He charges the BJP as a party that has been promoting "jalled raaj", alleging that the party has been abetting attacks against minorities in the country.
"Yes, we need development but that is an ongoing process. Today the real threat comes from the capitalists and forward castes. These forces are united against those who are in for social justice" the RJD chief has been reiterating.
Attempting to strike an emotional chord among the polarised electorate, Mr Yadav does not miss an opportunity to remind that other parties have joined together to checkmate the growth of a "garib ka beta".
Barring the Jharkhand-Vananchal areas in South Bihar, the campaigning is being done on these lines. In South Bihar, the emotive issue of a separate state has been forwarded by the NDA and the Congress. Mr Yadavs RJD is opposed to such a move claiming that it is aimed to divide the state. The apparent threat of losing the mineral-rich areas which brings in a major portion of revenue to Bihar forms the backdrop along with the fact that the RJD has least presence in these areas.
If the CPM is trudging
along with the RJD, the CPI is charting its own course
while the BSP is attempting to carve a space for itself
among the substantial "Bahujan" electorate. The
NCP, armed with its new found national status, has
managed to rope in rebels in an effort to make its
presence felt in Bihar while the Shiv Sena, an ally of
the BJP, have fielded candidates in several
Moopanar comes to Jayas aid
CHENNAI, Feb 14 Parliamentary or Assembly by elections do not normally excite the interest of the electorate. Instead, they are often greeted with a big yawn because the voters as well as the contestants know that the outcome does not in any way disturb or dislodge the government in power.
But the byelections to the three Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu due to be held on February 17 have provoked a battle between the DMK led by Chief Minister Karunanidhi and the AIADMK led by Ms Jayalalitha. The contests have become especially interesting with the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC), Mr G.K. Moopanar, siding with Ms Jayalalitha to the chagrin of Mr Karunanidhi.
A more important reason why the byelections have assumed unusual significance is that they are taking place in the backdrop of the Dharmapuri tragedy on February 3 in which three college girls travelling in a bus were charred to death in the violence that followed the conviction of Ms Jayalalitha in the Kodaikanal Pleasant Stay Hotel case. Ever since Mr Karunanidhi and Ms Jayalalitha have been exchanging allegations and blaming each others party workers for the violence. The DMK is hoping that the adverse verdict against Ms Jayalalitha and the general perception that AIADMK activists were responsible for the Dharmapuri incident would turn voters in its favour.
Ms Jayalalitha who has obtained a stay order from the Madras High Court against her conviction, is concentrating in the campaign on the acts of commission and omission of the DMK government. She has also not spared Mr Karunanidhi on the issue of corruption, suggesting that the pot should not call the kettle black. In her view, if any one were to be punished for corruption, Mr Karunanidhi would be the first one to be punished since he was indicted by the Sarkaria Commission.
Mr Moopanar, who not long ago had sworn against communalism and corruption, has now come to the rescue of Ms Jayalalitha on the corruption issue by saying that the AIADMK leader had already been punished by the people in the 1996 elections for the "mistakes" she was said to have committed. A person cannot be punished twice for the same mistake, he argues, and sees the byelections as a "notice and forewarning" to the DMK government which he is confident, will be thrown out in the Assembly elections due early next year. State BJP general secretary L. Ganesan agrees with him that the elections are a "rehearsal" for the general elections.
Mr Karunanidhi has accepted the gauntlet thrown by opposition leaders that the elections would be an acid test of the performance of his government. The Chief Minister, who has been engaged in hectic electioneering during the past week, has appealed to voters to endorse the DMKs "good governance" in the past four years. DMKs NDA supporters are making a dig at Mr Moopanar for supporting Ms Jayalalitha. PMK founder Ramadass told an election meeting that Mr Moopanars bicycle was "punctured" and he had taken it to the Poes Garden (residence of Ms Jayalalitha).
Of the three Assembly
seats, the DMK is contesting two and MGR. ADMK one. The
AIADMK has fielded candidates for all three
constituencies Arantangi, Nellikuppam and
Sonia flays RJDs misrule
HAJIPUR (Bihar), Feb 14 (UNI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi today called for dislodging the ineffective RJD government in Bihar Addressing a gathering here, Ms Gandhi called upon the people to use their conscience in exercising their franchise as the fate of the state would depend on their verdict and exhorted them to take the right decision.
Coming down heavily on the ruling RJD government for bluffing the people, she said the law and order situation in Bihar was in the doldrums and developmental work had come to a standstill.
Accusing the Laloo-Rabri regime of playing with popular interests, she averred that the state government had miserably failed to lessen the sufferings of the people.
She said though the aim of politics was to mitigate peoples plight, in Bihar the ruling partys "misrule" was exacerbating problems, be it unemployment or lack of development.
Castigating the RJD
government, she stated that atrocities on Backward
Classes and women were on the rise and said in the name
of social justice, the ruling party had exploited the
Benefits reserved for
RAGHOPUR, Feb 14 Barely two days after the first phase of polling there is a semblance of activity on a narrow stretch of concrete path, as it winds its way through the green fields on either side of this constituency in Bihar.
After all it is the constituency of former Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav. Having represented this constituency, which falls to the north of Patna, for two successive terms since 1990, Mr Yadav hopes to score a hat-trick.
Normally one expects to see a Chief Ministers constituency as a pampered one but the only evidence of development is in the form of a Pontoon bridge, which connects Raghopur and 16 panchayats across river Ganga to Patna city.
"Lalooji he nay too yeh pipalpul banvaya hai" says Bramhodeo Das, a resident of Rampur village. Apart from giving credit to Mr Yadav for the construction of bridge, the residents count the 30-km long concrete road from Bankaghat, the entry point, pucca houses, schools and of course electricity, as gifts from him.
Some of the school buildings are in a dilapidated condition, while others are new. Villagers say that the "teachers seldom come".
Of course there is no complaint on water as most villages are in catchment areas. "You dig 10 feet and water springs out and the government gives Rs 500 each for buying material to install a handpump" says farm owner Harinder Kumar.
Just when one forms an opinion of some development work having been done, comes another village, where people complain of how everything is reserved for supporters of the RJD.
Mr Kanhaiah Prasad, an activist of Janata Dal (United) candidate, Mr Vishnu Dev Rai, alleged that the RJD had cheated the people of Raghopur.
"Yes we have concrete road up to Rustampur but it was built at four times the cost and one-fourth of material. The Pipalpul (pontoon) cost seven times more, while people of Raghopur are forced to buy kerosene at Rs 20 a litre", Mr Prasad charged.
"In the name of development, money for building pucca houses under the Indira Awas Yojna is given only if one is willing to grease the palms. The money meant for providing nutritious food for pregnant women, never reaches those who require it" said another resident.
There is a lot of movement of workers of various parties, specially the RJD. A Cabinet minister in Rabri Devi government, Mr Ramai Ram, was recently touring the constituency of his chief, who is scheduled to address a rally here on Monday.
"Development is an ongoing process, now is the time for all of you to rally around Lalooji, a son of a poor man, who is under attack from the rich and upper castes" Mr Ram Parrots as he wound his way in a Sumo amid cacophony that goes in the name of campaign.
"There is no problem for Lalooji. He will win hands down," Mr Ram told The Tribune at one of the village stops.
The Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party too have put up their candidates. "We will slice away Mr Laloo Yadavs votes and if the administration is strict then we can do wonders" claimed a Congress campaigner, Mr Ram Naresh.
In fact, both Congress and RJD supporters fear violence, especially in some pockets like Fatehabad and Raghopur, as well as booth capturing.
As for this constituency
of over 1.90 lakh voters a majority are Yadavs, while the
rest comprise Rajput, scheduled castes and minorities.
needles removed from infants intestine
Woman, 2 kids
burnt to death
Bus set on fire
by irate mob
panchayat samiti poll
Bandh hits life
in Assam district
2 ULFA ultras
Best film award
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