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EDITORIALS

Well done!
Sourav’s boys won hearts too

F
renzied celebrations over the victory in Lahore are in no way an over-reaction. The country has been waiting for far too long to post a series win against Pakistan and now that it has come, it is yet to sink in despite the emphatic triumph. 

AJT at last
Hawk will cut crashes, hopefully
A
fter an agonising wait of more than two decades, the Indian Air Force is finally set to get an advanced jet trainer following the signing of contracts for the Hawk AJTs.



EARLIER ARTICLES

Friend, not master
March 25
, 2004
Promises galore
March 24
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Enter Dynasty
March 23
, 2004
For favours received
March 22
, 2004
Sonia can nominate RS candidates:
Ambika Soni

March 21
, 2004
Arms for the General
March 20
, 2004
Maya’s game plan
March 19
, 2004
Shrinking sessions
March 18
, 2004
Divided they stand
March 17
, 2004
UP poll sweepstakes
March 16
, 2004
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Fault finding
Needed a holistic approach to terrorism
C
OULD the US have averted 9/11? A definite answer is almost impossible as the terrorists who hijacked the aircraft and rammed them into the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington were employing a strategy that was novel and yet simple. They merely exploited the loopholes in the security systems at the airports to frighten the US out of its wits.

ARTICLE

Pakistan a non-NATO ally
New problems come with new status
MB Naqvi writes from Karachi
U
S Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Islamabad visit must have pleased its ruling establishment. The Bush Administration proposes to build a long-term strategic relationship. Said he: “… we will also be making notification to our Congress that will designate Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally for purposes of our future military relations”. He was all praise for the role the Musharraf regime has played in the War on Terror.

MIDDLE

Tarkunde: Gentle giant
by Shastri Ramachandaran
V
ithal Mahadev Tarkunde, when he died recently at 94, had no reason to have any regrets. It was a full and rich life of extraordinary accomplishments in that greatest of causes - the cause of human freedoms. The grand old man of Indian humanism was a restless crusader, ever ready to jettison anything that came in the way of the ideals and values he dedicated himself to. I was witness to one such occasion in the early 1980s.

OPED

Dateline Washington
Major non-NATO ally status for Pakistan
Powell’s move revives India’s suspicion
by Ashish Kumar Sen
S
o much for the vaunted US-India bonhomie. When push came to shove, Colin Powell shoved New Delhi out of his circle of confidence and into a sulk. The US Secretary of State's decision to declare Pakistan a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) is cause for much grief to India. This is exacerbated by the fact that Mr Powell had met Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha prior to the announcement in Islamabad but did not inform him of the impending declaration.

Delhi Durbar
Of dynastic politics
H
owever much the BJP might criticise the Congress for pursuing dynastic aspirations, the saffron brigade follows suit, albeit guardedly. This despite assertions to the contrary from the very top like BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu. Just as there are any number of the kin of Congress leaders in the electoral fray, the BJP is also fielding the sons of Union Finance Minister Jaswant Singh and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

  • Anyone but Vajpayee

  • Rahul enters the fray
  • Beeline for choppers
 REFLECTIONS

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Well done!
Sourav’s boys won hearts too

Frenzied celebrations over the victory in Lahore are in no way an over-reaction. The country has been waiting for far too long to post a series win against Pakistan and now that it has come, it is yet to sink in despite the emphatic triumph. In the five previous series of the one-day version, they did everything right but come a cropper in the clincher. Just this once, they kept their nerves under control and look at the rich harvest! They have posted a triumph which can rival an Ashes win, at least in the eyes of an Indian. To defeat Pakistan is permanently on the wish list of every cricket fan here. Doing that right there on their own turf was the ultimate. The boys have entered their names in the hall of fame. And to think that this was not supposed to be the best team to have worn the Indian colours. Rather, the bowling attack was considered mild. And yet, how they transformed themselves! Modern-day cricket is a mind game which the Indians played better than the Pakistanis. They marshalled their limited resources much more efficiently and the strategy paid rich dividends.

Big guns Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguli did not live up to their potential but the young players like Yuvraj Singh, V.V.S. Laxman, Irfan Pathan, L. Balaji and Mohammad Kaif made ample amends when it mattered the most. What a sight it was to see newcomer Balaji walloping Pakistani bowlers, including Shoaib Akhtar, fearlessly. And Rahul Dravid raised his Wall status many a notch by his performance both in front and behind the wicket.

Besides such fireworks, the most abiding image of the series has been the genuine outpouring of love for each other. Indian and Pakistani fans exchanged hugs instead of glares this time. Who could have expected bursting of crackers in Lahore after the landmark victory on Wednesday? The Indian boys duly won the hearts along with the one-day series. Perhaps politicians can build on the great start fillip provided by the cricketers.
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AJT at last
Hawk will cut crashes, hopefully

After an agonising wait of more than two decades, the Indian Air Force is finally set to get an advanced jet trainer following the signing of contracts for the Hawk AJTs. All this while rookie pilots had been graduating from subsonic trainer aircraft like HPT-32 and Kiran straight to the supersonic MiG-21. The result was that more than 320 accidents took place since 1990-91 in which 150 pilots were killed. The need for having an AJT was underlined by everyone but the acquisition took its own time. The delay was compounded by the fact that the Tehelka expose made officials extremely cagey, particularly in a high-profile deal like the Hawk purchase. The delay not only claimed many precious lives but also affected the defence preparedness of the country. Even now it will be nearly three years before the first of the 24 Hawk-115Y AJTs arrives. The other 42 are to be manufactured in Bangalore by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under license from British Aerospace (BAe).

A positive sign is that the UK stands committed not to impose any restrictions or prohibitions during the operational life of the (AJTs) on the continued supply of aircraft, products, associated equipment, spares and service. That has been a gray area in the dealings with the west which tends to choke supply to armtwist its buyers into following policies which are beneficial to it. After all, it is a sellers’ market.

While Hawk is a reliable machine – and BAe is also to train 75 Indian pilots alongside its own pilots who fly Hawks —- it will be wrong to expect that the acquisition will put a full stop to accidents. Ultimately, the efficacy of a machine is the sum total of its quality, maintenance and handling. India will have to push up its standards on all these counts. One heartening feature of the Rs 85-crore aircraft is that it can also be used for combat operations.
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Fault finding
Needed a holistic approach to terrorism

COULD the US have averted 9/11? A definite answer is almost impossible as the terrorists who hijacked the aircraft and rammed them into the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington were employing a strategy that was novel and yet simple. They merely exploited the loopholes in the security systems at the airports to frighten the US out of its wits. Neither radars nor hidden cameras could have filmed the steely determination of Mohammed Atta and his team to strike at the heart of the US. Post-9/11 investigations have revealed that the trainee pilots had been deep inside the US for months plotting the attack. Officials of the Clinton and Bush administrations have in their testimonies before an independent commission investigating 9/11 have averred that intelligence on the plot was lacking.

But that has not prevented the commission from concluding that the Clinton and Bush regimes had not taken enough steps to hit back at Al-Qaeda and its mastermind, Osama bin Laden. This presupposes that elimination of bin Laden could have prevented 9/11, which is as fallacious as fallacy can be. The central question that emerged from the hearings on Capitol Hill was whether the context before 9/11 justified the lack of more forceful action against Al-Qaeda. The CIA’s counterterrorism cell had in 1998 hatched a plan to snatch bin Laden, who had by then declared war on the US. Several other plans were also drawn up but they could not be executed for fear that they might antagonise the Islamic world and kill innocents. An attack on the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan was simply out of the question for it would have been difficult to drum up international support for such an action.

Of particular interest was the revelation about Pakistani intelligence chief Hamid Gul forewarning bin Laden of the 1998 missile strike so that he could escape. Pakistan began cooperating with the US in its war on terrorism only after 9/11. In fact, it was the enormity of 9/11 that facilitated the US onslaught against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban that gave sanctuary to it. But did it prevent an Al-Qaeda cell from hitting at Spain early this month? If anything, this shows that finding a comprehensive approach to dealing with terrorism is paramount.
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Thought for the day

With confidence, you can reach truly amazing heights; without confidence, even the simplest accomplishments are beyond your grasp. — Jim Loehr
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Pakistan a non-NATO ally
New problems come with new status
MB Naqvi writes from Karachi

US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Islamabad visit must have pleased its ruling establishment. The Bush Administration proposes to build a long-term strategic relationship. Said he: “… we will also be making notification to our Congress that will designate Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally for purposes of our future military relations”. He was all praise for the role the Musharraf regime has played in the War on Terror.

Pakistan had been caught proliferating nuclear knowledge and technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea through an improvised international black market. Islamabad is vigorously playing its anti terrorism card, winning US admiration. More support is promised. Mindful of Pakistan’s cooperation in the capture or killing of Al-Qaida and Taliban leaders, the US decided to still its doubts and suspicions. Remember US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz: he had said Pakistan was cooperative in capturing Al-Qaida men but was less helpful with regard to Taliban fugitives, according to Far Eastern Economic Review. Somehow both Wolfowitz and the Review strangely retracted this statement before Powell’s discussions in Islamabad. The US accepted at face value Pakistan’s view on proliferation and security of its nukes.

The US subordinated its proliferation concerns because both India and Pakistan had positively responded to its facilitation to reduce subcontinental tensions and restarted their long-stalled dialogue. Pakistan had also delivered on the Indo-US demand about stopping the help to the insurgency in the Indian-controlled Kashmir. The successful Indo-Pakistan summit on June 6 greatly encouraged the Americans. It won’t do to be too inquisitive and stern about Pakistan’s proliferatory activities. Powell adjudged the time to be one of coaxing and cajoling Pakistan rather than to threaten or punish it.

There seems to be a perplexed reaction in India, however. Most want to wait and see, of course. Some think that in a zero sum game, Pakistan has again stolen a march over India. The status assigned to India by Powell a few days earlier - of a regional influential - suddenly seemed to pale in retrospect, for Pakistan will have easier access to American military hardware as an ally.

Pakistanis, for their part, are not jumping with joy. The military establishment and the ruling party are an exception to the general run of people who are saying déjŕ vu. Pak-American relations have gone through many highs and lows since the early 1950s. At one time, Pakistan was nicknamed “most allied ally” of US and World Bank had called it a “model developing country” in the 1960s. It was a member of SEATO and CENTO and had one bilateral security treaty and another quasi-legal addition in 1959 under that treaty which said “in case of aggression against Pakistan, the Government of the United States ... will take such action, including the use of armed forces, as may be mutually agreed upon”. Was this treaty in play in 1965 and 1971 wars?

Pakistan politics is topsy-turvy because of four open military coups and dictatorships; armed forces have become the locus of ultimate power. Even when nominally civilian governments rule, foreign visitors do not fail to discuss matters with the Army Chief of the day. Some Pakistani commentators used to say in Benazir and Nawaz Sharif days that Islamabad’s nominal government is supervised by a permanent Regency Council comprising the Viceroy - US Ambassador -, Army Chief and the President of World Bank.

Americans remain the most unpopular foreigners. Since Pakistanis did not realise how objective-oriented major powers’ foreign policies are and how their objectives change, they deeply felt the “betrayal” by the US in 1965 and 1971 - that included many in the government and opposition parties. The reason: hard-headed and logical analysis could never displace simplistic and sentimental notions. Americans still don’t understand why they encounter so much disbelief in their words and intentions.

This time round, the Americans have offered cash on the barrel. They and their friends have given grants or near-grants of anywhere between $ 1.8 billion and $ 2.5 billion since 9/11; have taken care of $ 1.5 billion worth of debt servicing by Pakistan; have instituted a $ 600 million a year military and economic aid programme for five years. Other western powers and international financial institutions are also acting generous to Pakistan. The US is giving what Pak military most wants: with the new status, Pakistan shall have access to a whole range of military hardware and training. Where is the hitch, the Americans ask?

But few Pakistanis are really impressed. They have seen it before. While being the “most allied ally”, Pakistan is also the most sanctioned nation. The US cut off ongoing aid programme in 1964, barely resumed it on a smaller scale in 1967-68 when it was again cut off to a shilling in 1971. Aid was soon resumed but was cut off in 1976 and nuclear-related sanctions were again imposed in 1979, only to be lifted in 1982 for enabling Pakistan to help organise Islamic Jihad in Afghanistan against the Commies. But full range of sanctions were re-imposed in 1990. A few were lifted during 1990s. But competitive nuclear tests by both India and Pakistan forced the US to impose nuclear-related sanctions on both. Only gradually has the US relaxed these sanctions but after 9/11 Pakistan was forgiven all.

Few Pakistanis fail to note that this non-NATO ally status is rather a thin gruel. An ally is an ally when both sides undertake roughly equal liabilities toward each other and have roughly similar, if not equal, benefits. In this case, what will be the US obligation toward Pakistan’s security while the latter undertakes to fight terror wherever it is required by the US? Liabilities are on one side and gains on the other, not counting the cash paid to Islamabad.

There is also a note of envy in some Indian reactions. They need some patience. This status was also offered to Delhi along with Islamabad. The idea arose from the US decision to extend the area of NATO’s operations to take in parts of Africa, Afghanistan and South Asia. NATO could not be expanded; the Europeans are much less concerned about Asia and Africa and want the NATO to remain geared to their defence, if it must go on existing. America’s clout has forced them to undertake police duties in Afghanistan and notionally in ME and Meghreb. Local friends will have some sort of associate status - against American cash or other favours. Elections have prevented a decision in New Delhi. The papers would be on the table for the next government, whichever it is.

Pakistanis are in a ferment reviewing of what have they made of Pakistan. Americans have to answer the queries and complaints of the blue blooded conservatives, in and out of uniform; the mainstream parties, PPP and Nawaz Sharif’s PML, are still pathetically pro-American that hope to win office through American good offices: forcing the military to allow “democratic” governments under its aegis. Old leftists and some liberals, not so small a minority, laugh at the unrealistic expectations from the US. Uncle Sam has always connived and underwritten dictators who are so easy to manipulate; they ask for so little and perform big.

The military and the Americans are allies again - no, please don’t look the gift horse in the mouth. They plan to sort out the mullahs who have always supported American crusade against communism. Now that Islamic fanaticism is America’s enemy, and not an ally, Pakistan’s Islamicists face their moment of truth.

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Tarkunde: Gentle giant
by Shastri Ramachandaran

Vithal Mahadev Tarkunde, when he died recently at 94, had no reason to have any regrets. It was a full and rich life of extraordinary accomplishments in that greatest of causes - the cause of human freedoms. The grand old man of Indian humanism was a restless crusader, ever ready to jettison anything that came in the way of the ideals and values he dedicated himself to. I was witness to one such occasion in the early 1980s.

I then learnt that this came naturally to him. Tarkunde was a close associate of M N Roy from 1936. But the promising barrister left law in 1942 to work for Roy's Radical Humanist Party. He was the RHP General Secretary from 1944 to 1948, when he dissolved the party because of his conviction that party politics was not organised to enable stabilisation and functioning of genuine democracy -- this remains true even today. He quit the Bombay High Court bench in 1969 and returned to law, motivated by the urge to defend victims of preventive detention. Most of his cases pertained to corruption in public life and violation of democratic rights. This led him to joining hands with Jayaprakash Narayan for setting up Citizens for Democracy and later the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

As a PUCL functionary I was required to work closely with him as President. In 1982, he had gone to Madurai for a PUCL convention where the police rained lathi blows on the activists during a demonstration. Tarkunde too was hit on the head. There was shock and outrage that the AIADMK government of MGR, already under fire for turning Tamil Nadu into a police state, did not spare even the 73-year old jurist. The Supreme Court judges too deplored the incident and conveyed their concern.

The next day, Tarkunde returned to Madras where I had put him up with a friend, M. S. Appa Rao, who was accused and arrested in the Baroda dynamite case. Tarkunde declined to issue any statement saying he did not want to make much of a small bruise and such police actions were routine in "our democracy". It was left to Arun Shourie, then a PUCL General Secretary, and Executive Editor of Indian Express to draft a statement that he asked me to release to the Press in Madras.

When Tarkunde was talking to the local journalists, the state Home Secretary arrived and went into a huddle with Tarkunde after revealing that he had come to express regret for the incident, on behalf of MGR. "Don't let that divert us from the issue", Tarkunde said later. "I am counsel for MGR's government before the Commission inquiring into the spirit scandal. They want to be sure that the blows on my head have not injured my feelings (enough) to make me give up the brief. This kind of regret has no meaning." In private, Tarkunde confided that he had offered to surrender the brief if the Tamil Nadu government was embarrassed over the incident.

When I moved to Hyderabad in 1984, in the eventful days after NTR was toppled by Indira Gandhi, Tarkunde too was prominent on the protest scene. He was surprised when I wanted to interview him for Newstime and Eenadu. "Then let us talk about Operation Bluestar and the Indian government's inhuman barbarities against the people of Punjab", he said as we settled down. I came to know how grateful Punjab was even before arriving in Chandigarh - when Sikh cabbies I hired for going to Tarkunde's house in Delhi, in 1984 and 1985, invariably refused to take the fare on seeing the address where I alighted.
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OPED

Dateline Washington
Major non-NATO ally status for Pakistan
Powell’s move revives India’s suspicion
by Ashish Kumar Sen


U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf.

So much for the vaunted US-India bonhomie. When push came to shove, Colin Powell shoved New Delhi out of his circle of confidence and into a sulk. The US Secretary of State's decision to declare Pakistan a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) is cause for much grief to India. This is exacerbated by the fact that Mr Powell had met Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha prior to the announcement in Islamabad but did not inform him of the impending declaration.

This diplomatic faux pas could not have come at a time for the Bharatiya Janata Party whose “India Shining” campaign has been provided much lustre by claims of improved US-India relations under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s watch. As an MNNA, Pakistan has formally become part of an exclusive club of countries that includes Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Egypt and Argentina.

State Department officials explain the US intention to pursue MNNA status for Pakistan underscored the importance of Islamabad’s role in the war against international terrorism, particularly in the continuing fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The designation comes on the heels of a pledge by the Bush administration to work with US Congress on a $3 billion multi-year assistance package for Pakistan. It is not so much the designation, but the manner in which it was executed that has left a bitter aftertaste in New Delhi.

“The fact that Secretary Powell did not inform the Indian government of this impending notification regarding Pakistan has certainly revived India’s suspicions that the US is not a reliable partner,” says Anupam Srivastava, Executive Director of the India Initiative at the University of Georgia. While it will not alter the parameters of the ongoing US-India strategic engagement, Dr Srivastava says its “residual bitterness” is likely to make New Delhi more cautious in proceeding with its end of obligations within the next steps in strategic partnership that the two sides announced in January. In Washington, the incident has provided a realisation that in spite of the oft-repeated calls by New Delhi for a US-India relationship exclusive of Pakistan, this is easier said than done. The MNNA status is a particular aspect of “our relationship” with Pakistan, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher insisted.

Another State Department spokesman, Adam Ereli, echoed Mr. Boucher's views. “We have a good and close relationship with India, independent of the relationship with Pakistan. And we don't see our relationship with India or Pakistan as a zero sum game.”

Ambassador Teresita C. Schaffer, Director of the South Asia programme at the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, doesn't believe Pakistan's designation as a MNNA will adversely affect US-India relations. “This should not affect US-India relations, at least as far as the US is concerned,” she says. As a MNNA, Pakistan will be eligible to receive priority clearance and faster disbursal within the US system to its request for defence equipment; it will become eligible for joint R&D with the US; and it would be able to stockpile military hardware within its territory for future joint operations with the US.

“This development is likely to be construed in Pakistan as a tangible US commitment to remain engaged even after the successful prosecution of the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, unlike the last round of such cooperation to oust the Soviet occupation during the decade of the 1980s,” Dr Srivastava says. Such an interpretation "should alleviate the concerns of those within the Pakistani military and foreign policy establishment who are suspicious of the US, and in turn would provide greater strategic space to General Musharraf to operate within Pakistan”, he says.

Stephen Philip Cohen, a senior fellow in the foreign policy studies programme at the Brookings Institution in Washington, does not believe the MNNA designation accounts for a lot. He says it will “not (affect US-India relations) very much.” “There are several explanations why India was not notified, I don’t know which one is real,” Dr Cohen says.

State Department officials insist the relationship with India is based on a number of factors: economic, strategic, cooperation in a whole variety of areas. Besides a belated offering of MNNA status to New Delhi, Washington has expressed a desire for India to participate in the Proliferation Security Initiative and has initiated discussions on how the Indian Navy and the Air Force can contribute to the US-led non-proliferation coalition.

But with these carrots come the not-so-subtle stick of demands that India open up its markets and outsource some of its services to the US if it wants to continue to benefit from the outsourcing of US jobs to India. India’s hopes that the next steps in strategic partnership would lead to easier access to US high technology have been dashed by remarks from a senior State Department official that India would not receive substantial technology unless Washington was satisfied that New Delhi had tightened export controls.

Meanwhile, the MNNA status for Pakistan is being viewed by political analysts as a reward for Islamabad’s assistance in the war on terror.

From the start, says Dr Srivastava, “Pakistan has carefully calibrated its counter-terrorism assistance to the US to maximise its leverage with the latter in seeking greater financial, technical and military support. And so far, its strategy seems to have worked well.”

Pakistan’s cooperation in anti-terrorist operations has been “absolutely essential,” agrees Ms. Schaffer. “The current military operations in Waziristan are a case in point.” The big question is whether Pakistan has decided to put the militant organisations that commit violence in Pakistan and elsewhere out of business. “I hope that it has; so, obviously, does the US government,” says Ms Schaffer. “I think we will not know the real answer to this question for some further months.”

Dr Srivastava adds: “It’s too premature to predict the end game and the victor, but for now, despite Pakistani tactical brilliance, the US is not faring poorly in this mutual leveraging exercise.”
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Delhi Durbar
Of dynastic politics

However much the BJP might criticise the Congress for pursuing dynastic aspirations, the saffron brigade follows suit, albeit guardedly. This despite assertions to the contrary from the very top like BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu. Just as there are any number of the kin of Congress leaders in the electoral fray, the BJP is also fielding the sons of Union Finance Minister Jaswant Singh and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

This time, however, BJP strategists are claiming that Manvendra Singh (Barmer) and Dushyant Singh (Jhalawar) have not just parachuted to the big league in the saffron brigade but worked their way up. Not to be left behind, the BJP’s central election committee has also given a ticket to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece Karuna Shukla from Chhattisgarh.

Anyone but Vajpayee

Apparently, Congress stalwart Kamal Nath has reservations about contesting from Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh especially after his party’s defeat in the Assembly elections. Congressmen are feeling perturbed by the BJP-led NDA’s “India Shining” campaign. Kamal Nath insists it is easy to shine on what he describes as “someone else’s money.”

He insists that the fight is between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and note “the people of this country” and not his party chief Sonia Gandhi. Interestingly, he says that the Congress motto is also ABV: “Anyone but Vajpayee.”

Rahul enters the fray

The announcement of Rahul Gandhi entering the electoral fray by his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi has been subdued among the Congress rank and file. Rahul’s sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra might still be persuaded to contest which has been stoutly denied by the family. Though the people believe that Priyanka might be a bigger pull among the masses, the younger sister insists that Rahul is smarter and better equipped than her in every sense of the word to enter the hurly burly world of politics.

Clearly, the assessment has been made after the brother and sister made a recce of Amethi, the seat held in the dissolved 13th Lok Sabha by Sonia Gandhi. That has compelled Sonia to move to Rai Bareli.

Beeline for choppers

Just about everyone in the political firmament is flying high and barely viable companies with limited helicopters and small fixed wing aircraft are making hay while the sun is shining. A case is point is that of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu as well as the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrshekhara Rao using private aircraft for campaigning.

As caretaker CM, Chandrababu Naidu cannot use the government aircraft, he has booked a seven-seater private helicopter. Chandrashekhar Rao has hired a nine-seater helicopter from another company for a whopping Rs 75 lakh for two months.

Not to be caught high and dry, APCC leaders Y.S. Rajesekhar Reddy and D. Srinivas have got a chopper for Rs 65,000 an hour. Certain observers are wondering where is the BJP in this blitzkrieg at least in Andhra Pradesh?

Contributed by S. Satyanarayanan, R. Suryamurthy, Tripti Nath and Prashant Sood
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In order to know God’s height, one must be as high as He is.

— Guru Nanak

The word of God will stand a thousand readings; and he who has gone over it most frequently is the surest of finding new wonders there.

— J. Hamilton

Freedom from desire, freedom from hatred and freedom from illusion are all roots of good.

— The Buddha

The right way of being an ascetic is to go through the course of asceticism.

— Swami Dayanand Saraswati

When the principle of Supermind will emerge, all the principles of which are existent today, such as matter, life, mind and soul, will undergo a radical change.

— Sri Aurobindo
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