|Friday, March 3, 2000,
invites Naveen to form govt
Sonia in Khajuraho, Laloo in Delhi
Jaswant: No US role in Kashmir
BJPs allies for rollback
Nothing significant for farm
Politicians out of
touch with people
4 held for using fake travel
CVC order to govt departments
Governor invites Naveen to form govt
BHUBANESWAR, March 2 (UNI) Governor M M Rajendran today invited Biju Janata Dal president and BJP-BJD alliance leader Naveen Patnaik to form the government in Orissa.
Mr Patnaik had called on the Governor this evening to stake claim to form the government.
Earlier in the day, BJD secretary-general Prasanna Acharya and BJP state unit president Man Mohan Samal met the Governor and handed over a letter from Mr Patnaik informing him about his unanimous election as the leader of the BJD-BJP alliance legislature party.
They also handed over a copy of the resolution passed in a joint meeting of the BJD and BJP Legislature Party, unanimously electing Mr Patnaik as leader of the alliance in the assembly.
Mr Patnaik told newsmen that the swearing-in ceremony would be held on the morning of March 5 to coincide with the 85th birth anniversary of his father late Biju Patnaik.
The BJD-BJP alliance together had won 106 seats in the 147-member assembly in the just concluded election. While the BJD captured 68 seats, the BJP secured 38. The ruling Congress, which had 81 members in the outgoing house, could manage only 26 seats.
Talks between leaders of both the BJD and BJP on ministry formation had already begun with the election of Mr Patnaik as the leader of the alliance.
Mr Patnaik has already
hinted that he has kept open the allocation of the posts
of Deputy Chief Minister, Speaker and Deputy Speaker. He,
however, had made it clear that the swearing-in ceremony
would be a simple one taking into account the largescale
devastation caused by the October 29 super cyclone, acute
poverty in the state and a serious financial crisis with
a huge debt burden of Rs 16,000 crore.
Sonia in Khajuraho, Laloo in
NEW DELHI, March 2 The Congress President and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha was off to Khajuraho to attend the millennium celebrations even as the Lok Sabha remained paralysed for the sixth consecutive day and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader, Laloo Prasad Yadav, arrived in New Delhi to find a way to stop the ruling NDA from forming a government in Bihar.
According to sources Mrs Sonia Gandhis trip had been planned days earlier. Apparently the Congress had not foreseen the possibility of it having to decide on the fate of the formation of a state government in the aftermath of the elections in four states. The Oppositions bid to lure the NDA partners into voting in the Lok Sabha on the RSS issue (which is holding up the proceedings day after day the government is prepared to discuss the matter under Rule 193, which needs no voting, but the Opposition is insisting on Rule 184 which entails a division of the House).
Mrs Sonia Gandhi left for Bhopal today to attend a series of functions, including the centenary of revolutionary Ashfaqullah Khan. She would proceed to Khajuraho thereafter, where her night halt is scheduled. She is expected back in the Capital at 11.30 a.m. on Friday.
According to available
indications, the Congress may relent on supporting the
RJD in Bihar after prolonged negotiations. However, the
unusual approach to politics of the Congress President
has left many senior leaders gasping. Even if the
negotiations are left to leaders like Mr Pranab
Mukherjee, Dr Manmohan Singh, Mrs Mohsina Kidwai and Mr
Madhavrao Scindia (who met Laloo Prasad in the Parliament
House soon after his arrival in Delhi), the presence of
the party leader in town always facilitates smooth
discussions, observers feel.
Jaswant: No US role in Kashmir
NEW DELHI, March 2 (PTI) India today firmly ruled out acceptance of any third-party mediation in the Kashmir issue and asserted that no outside party, including the USA, would be allowed to play the role of a "mediator or facilitator" in the matter.
Replying to questions in Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said any intervention, facilitation or mediation "is not acceptable now or in the future".
He hoped Washington would recognise the "new reality" of geo-strategic and political compulsions in South Asia.
He also made it clear that India would not be seeking cooperation of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or any other agency to combat Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism.
"Government is fully equipped to deal with cross-border terrorism being sponsored by Pakistan and do not need the cooperation of any agency to tackle it", he said.
However, he added that if the USA wanted to share any information or launch an attack on terrorism at an international level, India would cooperate.
The minister was replying to supplementaries during question hour on whether Kashmir would figure in talks between India and the USA during President Bill Clintons visit later this month.
Stating that internationally there was a "greater understanding" of Indias position that Pakistan was sponsoring terrorism, he said even the USA had stated that there were ties between Pakistani agencies and terrorists in Kashmir.
On Mr Clintons statement that there was yet no proof of Pakistans direct involvement in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane in December from Nepal, the minister said the USA had clarified that it had difficulties in making direct references until it went through its own legal processes.
The White House spokesman has also said that Harkat-ul Ansar was involved in the hijacking, Mr Jaswant Singh said, adding the groups links with ISI were well established.
The External Affairs Minister said Pakistans military ruler Gen Parvez Musharraf was trying to make "jehad" the new form of their foreign policy and trying to unite various terrorist groups under a single "Kashmir liberation army".
He said various pro-Pakistan NGOs and the Hurriyat Conference were trying to set up a central coordinating body in London to lobby for Kashmirs "liberation".
However, he said there were some differences between the Hurriyat and ISI whether the coordinating body should be called "world Kashmir Assembly" or "Kashmir Mission".
On support to Indias position on Kashmir, he said Indias draft resolution at the UN Convention on terrorism had got the widest support and there was a greater recognition of Pakistans role than ever before.
He said the establishment of an Indo-US joint working group on terrorism and the US offer to work with India to apprehend hijackers of the IC-814 flight were clear indications that Washington appreciated Indias view on Pakistans role in Kashmir.
Mahanta offers to resign
GUWAHATI, March 2 (UNI) Assam Chief Minister Praful Kumar Mahanta today offered to step down if those demanding his resignation can guarantee within seven days that the militants would shun violence immediately after his resignation.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr Mahanta lambasted those demanding his resignation following the killing by ULFA of state PWD Minister Nagen Sharma.
Throwing the gauntlet at those calling for his head, the Chief Minister offered to step down if a counter guarantee could be procured from the militant organisation that they would shun violence immediately after his resignation.
"I throw an open
challenge to all those who are demanding my resignation
that they should come out with a public announcement
giving this guarantee to the people, in clear terms, that
the extremists organisation will immediately shun the
path of violence and return to normal life, the moment I
resign. Let them also obtain similar public announcements
from the extremists organisations giving guarantee to the
people to the said effect. Let them give this guarantee
with full responsibility. I am giving them seven
days time. If they can do it, I am prepared to
resign immediately, he said while addressing
a crowded press conference.
BJPs allies for rollback
NEW DELHI, March 2 (PTI) Pressure was mounted today on the Vajpayee government from its allies to roll back the budgetary proposals to hike prices of wheat and rice sold through ration shops and withdraw subsidies on urea with the JD (U) and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) attacking them as "anti-poor" and "anti-farmers."
JD(U) Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha Devendra Prasad Yadav told PTI here that the "unwarranted" hike in prices of wheat and rice would affect the poor and threatened to launch a movement to press for withdrawal of the proposal in the Union Budget for 2000-1.
INLD President and
Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala told reporters
in Kurukshetra soon after being sworn in that his party
strongly opposed the withdrawal of subsidies on urea
because this "will adversely affect the farmers,
especially in Haryana."
Nothing significant for farm
NEW DELHI, March 2 The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Lok Sabha member from Punjab, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today apprehended that the Union Budget 2000-01 will push farmers further into indebtedness and revive harrowing tales of "suicidal deaths" once again in the country.
"About 95 per cent of the farmers are in heavy debt and the increase in the prices of fertiliser and diesel will hit the farmers under the belt", Mr Mann told TNS here.
Coming down heavily on the BJP and its bias towards industrialists and traders, Mr Mann condemned the Government for doing little for the farm sector.
"The farmer is the backbone of the Indian economy and if his indebtedness increases, as is bound to happen under the circumstances, more suicidal deaths of the farmers cannot be ruled out", he said.
The Budget is packed with anti-farmers elements and it was bound to destroy the farming sector, he added. Mr Mann appealed to the non-BJP members of the NDA to prevail upon the Government to rollback the hike in fertiliser prices.
Mr Mann was also critical about the Governments decision to hike the Defence Budget by over Rs 13,000 crore. He said since the country had acquired a nuclear deterrent, the hike was unwarranted. He felt the increase in the Defence Budget would make the neighbouring countries wary of India and this would have an adverse affect on the countrys image of a peaceful country.
Warning against moving in sun
INDORE, March 2 (UNI) A strong eruption from the suns corona towards the earth over the next two days, releasing energy equivalent to millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs, all exploding at the same time, is likely to result in uncontrolled variations in the earths magnetic field, activation of many volcanoes and disruption of radio communication, among other things.
As a result of very strong coronal mass ejection from the sun directly towards the earth the next two days are going to be the real dangerous days for the earth, according to Dr Ram S. Shrivastava, a space physicist.
"Very strong beam of X-rays and ultraviolet radiation will be coming in the next two days over us," Dr Shrivastava said, adding that the time from 11 am to 1.30 pm today and tomorrow are specially dangerous.
"One should not
move in the open sun otherwise he will be absorbing more
X-rays and ultraviolet radiation which may result into
skin cancer. Electricity generating units must declare
red alert in these two days . ISRO must take all safety
measures to protect our satellites. Disaster management
units may also be alerted to face any event," he
Politicians out of touch
BHOPAL, March 2 Congress President Sonia Gandhi today lashed out at those leaders who are cut off from the people and remain in politics mostly through newspapers. They did not want to stay among the people and did not want to work. At least this was not the tradition of the Congress, she said.
Ms Gandhi was addressing a one-day conference of the newly-elected Congress representatives of panchayats and municipalities at a function at the Chief Ministers residence.
She said, "Our predecessors went to the people when the Congress was formed so that the people could be involved in the freedom struggle, the biggest in the world history. The panchayati raj presented the real picture of our democracy".
Ms Gandhi said politics today had developed many defects, one of which was that the politicians had lost touch with the people. "Thats why we do not have the peoples goodwill in the same measure as earlier. The distance between the people and us has grown and the Congress has become weak. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had never lost touch with the people and the poor considered them as their sympathisers".
The Congress President recalled Gandhijis concern for the last man and exhorted her partymen to "give importance to the peoples service". She said she had to say the same thing to the party MLAs, ministers and MPs also. She asked them to keep in mind that the peoples service was important, not the post that they were holding.
Ms Gandhi said: "You should not forget the promises you made to the people. The oath (you have taken) is not a mere medley of words. It is a challenge. Education and providing drinking water should be on your priority list. Then there are other tasks to be completed, like vaccination, houses to the homeless and upliftment of those living below the poverty line.
4 held for using fake
NEW DELHI, March 2 The Malta boat tragedy seems to have been forgotten by the youths of Punjab and the travel agents continue to operate freely, if the arrest of four persons from the state trying to travel on fake travel documents are any indication.
Immigration authorities arrested four persons, who were trying to go to European countries on fake documents.
Kashmir Singh and Dalawar Lidda used passports of different persons and Sucha Singh had passport of Gurmej Singh who was already in Paris.
The fourth person,
Jagdeep Singh of Ropar district procured a passport from
Delhi with the help of an agent after paying him Rs 1
lakh. The address on his passport was given of South
Extension, New Delhi though he was not familiar with the
area. When the immigration officials asked him what he
did there, he replied that he did farming at South
CVC order to govt departments
NEW DELHI, March 2 (UNI) In yet another measure to enforce transparency in government functioning, Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) N. Vittal has told all government departments to put on public display decisions taken every month through the discretionary powers by their officers.
Mr Vittal said here
today that he had also told all Central vigilance
officers in government departments and public-sector
undertakings to keep track of such decisions to ensure
fairness and accountability.
Venkatachaliah has no objection to panel members
NEW DELHI, March 2 (PTI) The government today said that Chairman of the Constitution Review Commission Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah had no objection to persons linked to politics being made member of the panel.
Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani informed the Rajya Sabha that no communication had been received from Justice Venkatachaliah "objecting to the making of such persons as members of the commission who are linked to politics."
He said: "In fact,
the members of the commission have been selected with the
knowledge and concurrence of the Chairman." The
Congress had expressed its serious reservations against
the inclusion of Mr P.A. Sangma in the review commission.
NEW DELHI, March 2 (PTI) The Bar Council of India (BCI), the regulatory body for lawyers, today requested Home Minister L.K. Advani to "suspend" police officers allegedly responsible for "assaulting" advocates during a procession here last week.
JAIPUR, March 2 (PTI) Jai Singh Neeraj, a renowned Hindi litterateur, poet and art critic, died here today after a protracted illness, family sources said.
He was 72 and is survived by wife and two daughters.
Neeraj has authored at least 15 books, including five on anthology, criticism, ancient and modern art.
He was a recipient of
K.K. Birla Foundations Bihar Award in Poetry
(1991), Soviet Land Nehru Award (1986), Vidhyavachaspati
Award (1996), and Rajasthan Sahitya Academys
highest literary "Meera Award" in recent years
for his original contribution to literature.
Lata gets award
KOLHAPUR, March 2 (PTI) Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar, noted singer Suresh Wadekar and renowned scientist Vasant Govarikar were among the 25 luminaries who received the Kolhapur Bhushan Awards today for stellar contribution in their respective fields.
New Media bags 3 more FM
NEW DELHI, March 2 After successfully bidding for the FM channels in Srinagar and Vizag, the New Media Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Zee TV network, has control of the FM channels in Agra, Allahabad and Aurangabad.
At the auction for the
four FM radio stations which was held by the Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting at the Shastri Bhavan
yesterday. New Media Broadcastings bids for the
stations were accepted. The auction for the FM station
was held after a thorough scrutiny of applications
earlier by the ministry.
to pay compensation
Three get death
PDS for all in WB
4 judges take
on Darjeeling toy train
Two postal men
sentenced to RI
Civil Judge dead
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