SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

Reinstate 2,000 cops, HC tells Maya
Lucknow, April 10
In a major embarrassment to the Mayawati government, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has directed the state government to immediately reinstate over 2,000 police personnel dismissed en masse by the BSP government soon after assuming office in 2007.

Punjab Congress wants Sonia, PM, Rahul as campaigners
New Delhi, April 10
The Punjab Congress has asked for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi along with Sonia Gandhi to campaign for them in the forthcoming polls.

Gujarat Shining
We are real driving force, claims Cong
Ahmedabad, April 10
Victory has many fathers while defeat is an orphan. The Narendra Modi-led state BJP’s election plank of rapid development in the state today had a new claimant - the Congress-led UPA.

BJP seeks referendum on Swiss accounts

Naxal threat looms large over polls
Assembly candidate killed in Orissa
Some time ago when the Naxals issued a poll boycott call in Orissa, the message did not get beyond their posters and threats.

Parties skip ‘red terror’
Surprisingly, in the state that Union Home Minister P Chidambaram recently referred to as ‘Ground Zero’ of Naxalite activities, the ‘red terror’ is not much of a poll issue for the two main parties in the fray.

Voting time cut in Bihar’s Naxal-hit areas
Such security pickets are quite common in this sleepy township. Dantewada turns into a fortress: Such security pickets are quite common in this sleepy township. It is Naxalite country and even the administration admits that the militants control almost half of Bastar. There is no let-up in violence either and in an encounter on Friday, nine CRPF personnel lost their lives. There is anxiety in the air as people apprehend an escalation in violence as polling day draws close. Photo: Vibha Sharma





A Christian devotee portraying Jesus Christ carries the crucifix on Good Friday in Mumbai on Friday.
A Christian devotee portraying Jesus Christ carries the crucifix on Good Friday in Mumbai on Friday. — AFP


EARLIER STORIES

Cases against Vaiko for pro-Tiger speech
Chennai, April 10
The Tamil Nadu police has filed cases against MDMK leader Vaiko for his speech warning the Centre that any harm to LTTE chief Prabhakaran will alienate the people of Tamil Nadu and endanger the nation's integrity.



MDMK general secretary Vaiko waves at supporters as he talks to the media at his residence in Chennai on Friday. — PTI
MDMK general secretary Vaiko waves at supporters as he talks to the media at his residence in Chennai on Friday.

TN people are slaves: Karuna
Chennai, April 10
On the same day when the Tamil Nadu police filed an FIR against MDMK leader Vaiko on charges of inciting hatred against the Indian government, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has said people living in the state were slaves, who could not do anything to save the Lankan Tamils.

Fire in Kalka Mail coach, rail traffic hit
Fatehpur (UP), April 10
A fire broke out in a bogey of the Kalka Mail here today, leading to minor injuries to some passengers and affecting railway traffic on the Delhi-Howrah route for a few hours.

Goa bars shut to protest EC directive
Panjim, April 10
Bars and liquor shops across Goa downed their shutter with effect from this morning to protest an order by the state Excise Department to submit their sales registers to the authorities at short notice.

Sanjay Dutt says he was beaten up in jail
Bareilly, April 10
Actor-turned-politician Sanjay Dutt has caused flutters in the political circles with his revelation that he was beaten up while he was in police custody under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA). “TADA is something which can be used to finish off anybody. They talk about confessions.

BJP to fulfil Gorkhaland demand
Kolkata, April 10
Addressing his first election meeting in Darjeeling today, BJP candidate Jaswant Singh said they had always favoured de-centralisation of power with the formation of small states.

Train attacked in Assam, 1 killed
Guwahati, April 10
One CRPF personnel was killed and 17 others injured, two of them seriously, when suspected Black Widow militants opened fire at a passenger train at North Cachar Hill district of Assam today, the police said.

Common symbol for unrecognised party
New Delhi, April 10
The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Election Commission to sympathetically consider the request of a newly floated party, Mahagujarat Janata Party, for allotment of a common symbol, 'nagara', to its candidates.

EC seeks comment on complaint against PC
Jaipur, April 10
The Election Commission has sought comments from Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on the BJP complaint against Home Minister P Chidambaram for reportedly offering poll sops during his visit to the state on March 24.





Top








 

Reinstate 2,000 cops, HC tells Maya
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, April 10
In a major embarrassment to the Mayawati government, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has directed the state government to immediately reinstate over 2,000 police personnel dismissed en masse by the BSP government soon after assuming office in 2007.

The police personnel had been appointed during the previous Mulayam Singh Yadav regime. Weeks after coming to power the Mayawati government had dismissed them on the orders of Director-General of Police following an enquiry into the alleged bungling and mass irregularities in their recruitment.

The order was passed in the court of Justice DP Singh while allowing a bunch of writ petitions filed by Suvesh Kumar and others covering over 2,000 police personnel. Justice Singh quashed the impugned order issued by the DGP directing all SSP and SPs to outrightly dismiss all employees recruited during 2005-06.

After going through the material on record and hearing the counsels from both sides the court concluded that the writ petitions deserved to be allowed. The writ petitions were not only allowed but also it ordered the petitioners to be reinstated forthwith, along with all benefits.

Even on April 8, the Allahabad High Court had issued a notice to the DGP on a contempt petition accusing the Mayawati government of failure to implement the division bench’s March 4 order reinstating over 23,000 sacked police personnel.

Justice SU Khan passed the order on the petition by the dismissed personnel whose services were terminated by the BSP government in 2007. The court has fixed May 8 as the next date of hearing.

Welcoming the court decision SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhury expressed surprise at the manner in which the Mayawati government is repeatedly overlooking court orders for the reinstatement of the police personnel.

Top

 

Punjab Congress wants Sonia, PM, Rahul as campaigners
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
The Punjab Congress has asked for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi along with Sonia Gandhi to campaign for them in the forthcoming polls.

Chief of the Punjab Campaign Committee Capt Amarinder Singh met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi yesterday and discussed the issues.

He was asked to submit a schedule for campaigning in the state that would be adjusted according to the needs of the party, sources said.

Four constituencies will go to polls on May 7, while the remaining nine will see polls on May 13. Punjab is crucial for the party as it hopes to improve substantially on its existing tally of two MPs from the state.

The Prime Minister, whose clean image in the country and the fact that he is the first Sikh Prime Minister will play a major role, the Congress believes. The Congress also believes that its “astute” handling of the post 26/11 situation needs to be told in Punjab. Any attack on Pakistan would have cost Punjab dearly. In this case, the role of the PM will come in very handy.

It was the PM who announced the Rs 70,000 crore farm-loan waiver and a huge increase in minimum support price in the food grain procurement. Yesterday’s decision of withdrawing party tickets from Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar is also being seen as a positive step for the party, as Manmohan has already expressed his regrets at the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The PM could be visiting the Majha area and also the Malwa area. The Majha area is crucial as two of BJP’s candidates, cricketer Navjot Sidhu and film star Vinod Khanna, are contesting. Only yesterday cine star Salman Khan campaigned for Khanna.

Among the youth, the state Congress believes that Rahul and his sister Priyanka could make a big dent. Rahul has handpicked three candidates, Ravneet Singh Bittu (Anandpuur sahib), Sukhwinder Singh Danny (Faridkot) and Vijayinder Singla (Sangrur). On Priyanka, the party think tank feels that she could be a big hit among educated young women in the state.

Luckily for the Punjab Congress, elections in Amethi and Rae Barelli will be over by the time the poll scene hots up in the state. Priyanka is managing the electioneering for her mother and brother in Amethi and Rae Barelli.

Meanwhile, Amrinder Singh, while talking to the Tribune late last night said the withdrawal of ticket of Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler would have salutory affect on the party’s polls prospects in Punjab.

Apart from Amarinder Singh the party’s state chief Mohinder Singh Kaypee had sent a detailed analysis of what would be the impact of Tytler and Sajjan Kumar being withdrawn from the poll fray.

Amarinder went on to praise Gandhi saying it was for the first time that a national party had actually taken a step to appease a minority (Sikhs). It has been a quarter of century since the riots and the people have been waiting for justice.

Top

 

Gujarat Shining
We are real driving force, claims Cong
Dinesh Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ahmedabad, April 10
Victory has many fathers while defeat is an orphan. The Narendra Modi-led state BJP’s election plank of rapid development in the state today had a new claimant - the Congress-led UPA. It asserted that the UPA had indeed facilitated the progress in Gujarat by more than doubling the Centre’s allocations to Rs 60,000 crore compared to Rs 26,000 crore allocated by the BJP-led NDA during the latter’s six-year rule.

To support its claims, the Congress released a detailed 120-page compilation of comparative figures on the Centre’s budgetary allocations to Gujarat based on data collected from both Union and the state governments.

While releasing its compilation titled ‘The voice of truth: The hand of Congress in growth of Gujarat’, the Congress targeted BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani, who is contesting from neighbouring Gandhinagar, saying against an allocation of Rs 14,000 crore was made when the latter was in office while the UPA allocated Rs 35,000 crore on the national highway and civil aviation among other sectors. Then again, against just Rs 5 crore allotted for border and coastal security by Advani, the UPA allotted Rs 286 crore.

The Congress also claimed that “not a single development project had been sanctioned by Advani during his six-year period in power”.

Those who were present at the news conference here included AICC general secretary RK Hari Prasad, party’s Gujarat observer Prabhat Thakur, Union Minister for Textiles Shankarsinh Vaghela in addition to party’s state president Siddharthbhai Patel and chief spokesperson Arjunbhai Modhwadia.

Some of the key allocations listed in the detailed document include Rs 1,248 crore by the UPA compared to Rs 395 crore by the NDA; Rs 1,384 crore in comparison to Rs 518 crore for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rs 2,004 crore compared to Rs 160 crore for water resources; Rs 131 crore compared to Rs 3 crore for e-governance and Rs 640 crore against Rs 281 crore for women and child welfare to name a few.

The Congress also sought to display its “progressive” credentials stating that the UPA had gifted Gandhinagar two world class educational institutes like an IIT and a National Institute of Design.

BJP seeks referendum on Swiss accounts

Ahmedabad: Bharatiya Janata Party is all set to launch a two-day referendum on whether or not the country should bring back “lakhs of crores” of black money stashed away in secret Swiss accounts.

People are being asked to ‘vote’ and answer in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to four questions. Ballot papers will be counted in all the 26 district headquarters on April 14.

However, it is difficult to foresee anybody replying in the negative. The questions being asked by the BJP are as follows : a) Do you agree that ‘lakhs of crores’ are stashed in Swiss banks ? ( b) Should this money be brought back ? c) Do you agree that if this money is brought back, it would be beneficial to the poor, to the farmers…? And, finally, d) Should there be a Parliament Act to bring back this money ?

BJP claims to have printed 25 lakh ballot papers. Besides 2,000 polling booths, the party is seeking public response on the Internet, by SMS and by post. Critics, however, describe the exercise as a gimmick to divert attention of the people from BJP candidates, three of whom are said to have been involved in major scams related to cooperative banks.

Top

 

Naxal threat looms large over polls
Assembly candidate killed in Orissa
Aditi Tandon writes from Malkangiri

Some time ago when the Naxals issued a poll boycott call in Orissa, the message did not get beyond their posters and threats.

But on Thursday, it hit the public psyche firm and hard, as Left-wing extremists struck without provocation, killing a candidate from the hypersensitive Malkangiri assembly segment in the heart of Nawarangpur Lok Sabha constituency that goes to polls on April 16.

Little did Somnath Madkami, a Samruddha Odisha candidate, know that he was heading for a death trap when he accepted the invitation of unknown visitors to meet Naxals. Accompanied by wife Parvati, Somnath reached the meeting spot and ended up being axed to death within minutes of his departure from home.

Somnath became the first ‘political casualty’ of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in Orissa, but the second-election related casualty in the state. Ironically, he had, only last month, lost his cousin Nand Kartami, a BJP activist, in a similarly planned ambush.

The killings have obviously scarred the soul of voters, who now feel that the Naxal threat is more real than they had anticipated. “It not as though we can walk out of our houses on April 16, cast our vote, come back and sleep; it is dangerous and lethally so,” says Susil Naik, a local, who has seen the Naxal influence build through years in this region.

But this election, he says, is different than all previous ones. Never had Malkangiri heard of cold-blooded killings of political activists, let alone election candidates. “We want to vote but are unsure of safety,” says Kunti, afraid of Naxal backlash. The fear runs through the Malkangiri-Raygarha belt (in the vulnerable Nawbarangpur-Koraput LS segments). It is so real, even the top police official of the state admits that Naxal threat this time is ‘more real and graver than in the past’.

“The Naxal threat, this time, is very high, especially in Nawarangpur and Koraput. Kandhamal is a new area for Naxal operation while Malkangiri is the worst affected as it borders the Naxal belts of Chhattisgarh and Khammam in Andhra Pradesh. These are contiguous belts but we are trying our best to clear them for elections,” M.M Praharaj, DGP, Orissa, today told The Tribune.

He has directed all DSPs to review the scenario afresh and strengthen the security in their areas, especially the eight most Naxal-hit districts, including Mayurbhanj and Sundergarh in the north. Five additional companies of central paramilitary forces were inducted into Malkangiri today, taking the total to 13.

That alone does not, however, ward off the challenge. “In terms of threat, we are looking at some 1500 heavily-armed Naxal cadres, backed with modern communication technologies. We are still lightly armed,” said Praharaj, adding that jungle warfare requires sophisticated weaponry for combat. In the absence of that, Orissa lost 80 trained policemen last year.

If that was less, politicsation of the problem with the BJP claiming that Naxalites are after them (both political activists killed this time had worked with the BJP) coupled with bureaucratic approach makes the task for security more difficult.

The Tribune has learnt that 20 authorities in the state government yesterday separately asked the police for return letters on the Malkangiri killing at a time when combat operations were still being planned. The action was triggered by the fact that CM Naveen Patnaik campaigned in the area yesterday. But it hardly helped the cause.

No wonder skeptics say the Naxals would have no problems achieving their target of infesting 25 districts in Orissa. A recent study titled ‘Unique Forests’ indicates how after the formation of CPI (Maoists), the Naxalites spread their activities at the rate of two districts a week. They started in 2003 with 55 districts in nine states and had crossed 155 districts in 15 states by 2005.

Top

 

Parties skip ‘red terror’
Vibha Sharma writes from Raipur

Surprisingly, in the state that Union Home Minister P Chidambaram recently referred to as ‘Ground Zero’ of Naxalite activities, the ‘red terror’ is not much of a poll issue for the two main parties in the fray.

While the Congress is alleging that the BJP government in the state is either misusing or diverting Center’s funds, the BJP leadership is concentrating on the overall terrorism situation in the country. The remaining time is being spend by the BJP leaders, both state and national level, in showcasing the good governance and development activities carried out in the state by CM Raman Singh.

However, incidents during the past few days suggest that Naxal violence has increased in the state and intelligence sources fear that the worst is yet to come. Senior police officers even feel that before the poll day “some major incident” may occur. Their hunch is based on the past experience when Naxalites managed to create a sizeable impact during the 2008 Assembly elections. At that time, they had even targeted an Indian Air Force helicopter in the Bastar region.

This time also, they have been stepping up their activities ever since elections were announced. On April 7, the convoy of the Bijapur SP was targeted. While the police officer escaped unhurt, his security personnel were not so lucky. The police say the landmine had been placed so skillfully, almost 20 feet under the ground, that it could not be detected by road openers that proceeds such conveys.

Two days before the Bijapur incident, senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma’s nephew Chhannu Lal Karma, who was also the sarpanch was Faraspal in Dantewada district, was shot dead by Naxalites. Of 11 constituencies in Chhatisgarh, three — Bastar, Kanker in south and Sarguja in north — are the worst affected. From Bastar, three-time MP Baliram Kashyap is pitted against Congress’ Shankar Sodi. In Kanker two-time MP Sohan Potai of the BJP is fighting against Phulodevi Netam of the Congress and Manish Kunjam of the CPI. In Sarguja, the contest is triangular with Murali Lal Singh of the BJP, Bhanupratap Singh of the Congress and Dhanusingh Dhurv of the BSP in the fray.

Keeping in mind the security concerns, local administration claims that the state government had asked for more security forces from the Election commission than it was sanctioned.

Though no one is giving exact figures, they say that at present majority of security personnel are deployed in the Bastar divison, including Jagdalpur, Kanker Dantewada and Bijapur. The other constituency they are closely watching is Sarguja, another Naxal- affected area adjoining Jharkhand in north Chhatisgarh. But the worries remain, especially after the success of the rally called by naxalites in the forests, 80 km ahead of Dantewada district headquaters.

In the Assembly elections, the Naxaliltes had given a clear warning that people should refrain from casting votes. A similar diktat was issued by area commander Ganesh Ueky a couple of days back at a rally of 8,000 to 10,000 people inside the forests of the Dantewada district. Another reason that tribals may prefer to refrain from casting their votes is the controversial Salwa Judum. Officially the state sponsored “people’s movement” against Naxalites is on but the reality on ground zero is different.

Majority of the 29 Salwa Judum camps are running empty and most of the 50,000 to 60,000 triabal living there have migrated back to their villages. Another issue that is raising considerable dissent among people in the Jagdalpur and Dantewada areas is the allotment of land for industrial projects.

Voting time cut in Bihar’s Naxal-hit areas

Patna: In view of the threat posed by Naxalites, the EC has decided to reduce the voting time in nine assembly segments spread over four parliamentary constituencies in Bihar which will go to the polls on April 16. "Voting in these assembly segments will start at 7am as is the case in other segments but it will conclude at 3 pm, two hours prior to the scheduled time", sources said. The assembly segments are Chainpur and Chenari in Sasaram, Kutumba, Rafiganj and Imamganj segments in Gaya and Sikandra, Jhajha and Chakai in the Jamui LS constituency. — PTI

Top

 

Cases against Vaiko for pro-Tiger speech
Tribune News Service

Chennai, April 10
The Tamil Nadu police has filed cases against MDMK leader Vaiko for his speech warning the Centre that any harm to LTTE chief Prabhakaran will alienate the people of Tamil Nadu and endanger the nation's integrity.

Cases were registered against Vaiko under IPC 505(1B) and 13(1B) of the Prevention of Terrorist Activities 2004 (which had been amended), for openly expressing support to the banned LTTE, asking the people to support the organisation and inciting hatred against the Union Government, the police said last night.

Vaiko, who addressed a protest demonstration on April 8, organised by the Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement, said the people of Tamil Nadu had forgotten Sriperumbudur (where former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated). "Now Prabhakaran lives of hearts of Tamils. If any harm was done to him, youths in the state would protest, resulting in bloodshed, he had said.

Amid reports that the MDMK leader will be arrested anytime, the party announced his candidature from Virudhunagar constituency, where he is expected to have a smooth sail due to his pro-Tiger credentials.

Top

 

TN people are slaves: Karuna
Tribune News Service

Chennai, April 10
On the same day when the Tamil Nadu police filed an FIR against MDMK leader Vaiko on charges of inciting hatred against the Indian government, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has said people living in the state were slaves, who could not do anything to save the Lankan Tamils.

Quoting Dravidian movement’s founder Periyar, who held the opinion that people of Tamil Nadu were slaves under the Indian Constitution, the Chief Minister said Tamil people in Tamil Nadu as well as Sri Lanka were slaves and a slave could not help another one. “What Periyar said holds true till this day”, he asserted, addressing a massive “Tamils rally” demanding immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka last night.

Making it clear that Karunanidhi saw the losses suffered by the LTTE as a defeat of Tamils, the DMK leader said “if we lost the war, if Tamils lost the war, if the LTTE lost the war”, Tigers chief Prabhakaran should be brought to India.

Equating Prabhakaran with King Porus (Purushothaman), who refused to accept foreigner’s rule and fought against Alexander, the Chief Minister said Sri Lankan president Rajapakse should treat Prabhakaran as an equal and provide equal rights to Tamils.

He appealed to Sonia Gandhi to follow the model of her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi (who provided training and weapons to the LTTE) and act firmly to save the Tamils.

Top

 

Fire in Kalka Mail coach, rail traffic hit

Fatehpur (UP), April 10
A fire broke out in a bogey of the Kalka Mail here today, leading to minor injuries to some passengers and affecting railway traffic on the Delhi-Howrah route for a few hours.

As soon as the train, on its way to Howrah from Kalka, stopped at the Fatehpur railway station, smoke was seen emanating from the bogey next to the engine. The bogey was detached from the train to control the flames. Some passengers jumped out of the train in panic, resulting in minor injuries. The flames were brought under control in about three hours. Assistant Station Master Rajiv Lochan said the cause of the fire would be known only after an inquiry. Railway traffic was restored later in the day and the Kalka Mail also left for its onward journey. — PTI

Top

 

Goa bars shut to protest EC directive
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Panjim, April 10
Bars and liquor shops across Goa downed their shutter with effect from this morning to protest an order by the state Excise Department to submit their sales registers to the authorities at short notice.

The decision to shut down liquor outlets was taken after officials from the Election Commission and the state Excise Department conducted surprise checks on a few liquor outlets yesterday. After the shopkeepers were unable to show up-to-date records of sales, notices were issued to them.

“This is nothing but harassment because no shopkeeper can show record of sales in the past hour,” said Barnabe D’Souza, who heads the All-Goa Liquor Merchants’ Association. The dealers said they would be able to compute liquor sales only at the end of day after close of business.

At a stormy meeting organised in Panjim this morning vendors said tourists come in groups and pick several bottles of liquor in one go.

“It would not be possible to prepare registers when there are customers buying at our shops,” D’Souza said.

Top

 

Sanjay Dutt says he was beaten up in jail

Bareilly, April 10
Actor-turned-politician Sanjay Dutt has caused flutters in the political circles with his revelation that he was beaten up while he was in police custody under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA). “TADA is something which can be used to finish off anybody. They talk about confessions. They will beat a confession out of you. They will ask whether your mother is a Muslim and beat for that. Then they will ask if your father is a Hindu and then again beat you and on top of that you will have to give everything in writing and sign it. This is the meaning of TADA and POTA,” Dutt said.

The Supreme Court has rejected a plea by Dutt, convicted in connection with the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, to allow him to contest the general elections. The court had said Dutt had been convicted for a “serious offence” related to a terror attack on Mumbai and, therefore, his conviction could not be stayed.

Dutt was convicted in 2007 for taking an AK-56 rifle and a pistol from gangsters linked to the 1993 bombings in Mumbai in which 257 people were killed. Dutt, sentenced to six years in prison, has appealed against the conviction in the SC and is currently out on bail. — ANI

Top

 

BJP to fulfil Gorkhaland demand
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, April 10
Addressing his first election meeting in Darjeeling today, BJP candidate Jaswant Singh said they had always favoured de-centralisation of power with the formation of small states.

Hence, there was no reason why the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s (GJM) demand for a separate Gorkhaland could not be fulfilled, he added. Singh later held a press conference.

The former External and Foreign Minister in the Vajpayee government filed his nomination for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat yesterday in the presence of GJM president Bimal Gurung and other hill leaders at the Darjeeling DM’s office.

Earlier, at a meeting, the leaders of political parties in the hills, including the CPM, unanimously decided to support Singh. The CPM in the plains at Siliguri, however, opposed Singh’s candidature. The party officially fielded CPM district committee secretary Jibesh Sarkar as their candidate.

Jaswant Singh expressed confidence that after the elections, the BJP would come out as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha and they would once again form the government, if necessary with some other like-minded parties.

He said the so-called Third Front idea was a hoax and was confident that after the polls, all Third Front partners would either join the BJP or the Congress.

Criticising Manmohan Singh government’s performances, Singh alleged the UPA had nothing new in its agenda for the country’s welfare. He accused the UPA leadership of surrendering themselves to the CPM and other Left parties.

Top

 

Train attacked in Assam, 1 killed
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, April 10
One CRPF personnel was killed and 17 others injured, two of them seriously, when suspected Black Widow militants opened fire at a passenger train at North Cachar Hill district of Assam today, the police said.

Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) spokesman S Hajong said the Badarpur-Lumding Up Barak Valley Express came under heavy firing by militants at Wagrendisa just before it reached Maibong.

The official informed that the engine and four coaches were targeted by the militants, who were armed with automatic weapons. The water tank above the engine was pierced by bullets leading to slowing down of the train. None of the railway staff was injured.

One of the passengers, CRPF man AK Tewari, was killed in the attack while 17 others, including a woman and a child were injured. Two critically injured persons were identified as Lalthan Langthasa and Dharmeswar Borgohain. They have been admitted to Haflong Civil Hospital. The rest of the injured were admitted to Maibong hospital.

The NFR had earlier stopped running all night train services along the Lumding-Badarpur route due to heavy presence of insurgents. It was the only passenger train service that was being on that route.

The incident occurred a day after Assam DGP GM Srivastava had reviewed law and order situation in the insurgency-affected hill district where a convoy of central poll observer Arun Chandra Singh was attacked by militants on Wednesday.

North Cachar Hills is under autonomous parliamentary constituency where election is being held on April 16.

Top

 

Common symbol for unrecognised party
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, April 10
The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Election Commission to sympathetically consider the request of a newly floated party, Mahagujarat Janata Party, for allotment of a common symbol, 'nagara', to its candidates. A Bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and P Sathasivam has thus virtually granted the status of a recognised party, which alone is entitled to a common symbol, to a political outfit, registered with the EC only on March 19.

MJP counsel Sanjoy Ghose cited the recent SC order, granting allotment of common symbols to three southern parties, including those of film stars Vijay Kant (DMDK in Tamil Nadu) and Chiranjeevi (Praja Desam in Andhra Pradesh).

Top

 

EC seeks comment on complaint against PC
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, April 10
The Election Commission has sought comments from Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on the BJP complaint against Home Minister P Chidambaram for reportedly offering poll sops during his visit to the state on March 24.

The EC had on April 5 issued a notice to Chidambaram following the BJP's complaint that he had taken up electoral issues during his visit to the state for reviewing security scenario ahead of Lok Sabha polls. The Home Minister was asked to file his reply to the notice by April 6. The BJP had alleged that the Home Minister talked about granting citizenship to displaced Hindus from Pakistan and additional facilities for passengers travelling by the Thar Express.

Top

 
BRIEFLY

FIR against Sushma, Munda
JAMSHEDPUR:
An FIR has been lodged against BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arjun Munda and Ramtahal Choudhury for allegedly using a modified vehicle in the shape of a ‘rath’ without prior official permission. Block Agriculture Officer of Chandil lodged the FIR at Chandil police station in Saraikela-Kharswan district on Thursday, Deputy Commissioner Rajesh Kumar Sharma said on Friday. Swaraj had addressed a public meeting in Chandil under Ranchi parliamentary constituency in support of party candidates on Wednesday last. — PTI

51 chillies in 2 min!
JORHAT (ASSAM):
A demure 26-year-old mother of one in Assam is all set to have her name entered in record books after having munched 51 of the world’s hottest chillies in two minutes in front of celebrity British chef Gordon Ramsay. Anandita Dutta Tamuly performed the bizarre feat on Thursday night before hundreds of people at the tea-growing town of Jorhat for a Channel Four Television show on global food being anchored by Ramsay. Bhut Jolokia, a chilli native to Assam, is ‘hottest chilli pepper. — IANS

MP to have state song
BHOPAL:
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is working on a state song, on the lines of the national anthem, describing the natural resources and specialities found in MP. Sources said he was working on getting such a song prepared as soon as possible. The song, for which a theme has already been thought out, will aim at emotional integration of the people of the state. — PTI

Top

 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |