SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

Cong president has a dig at prime ministerial aspirants
Sonia, Mamata share dais after 8 yrs

Kolkata, April 27
Sharing a common dais with Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee for the first time in eight years, AICC chief Sonia Gandhi today took a dig at the hordes of prime ministerial aspirants, obviously hinting at Deve Gowda, Mayawati, Sharad Pawar and others.
LONG TIME! AICC president Sonia Gandhi and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee at a rally in Lalgola, West Bengal long time! AICC president Sonia Gandhi and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee at a rally in Lalgola, West Bengal.
— PTI

SC order casts shadow over Gujarat poll
Reaction mixed on its impact on poll fortunes
As news broke here on Monday afternoon about the Supreme Court ordering a probe into Narendra Modi’s role in Gujarat riots, first reactions were mixed about the impact it might have on the election. Polling in the state is due on Thursday and campaigning officially ends at 5 pm on Tuesday.



EARLIER STORIES



Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot sips tea from a saucer after a press conference in Bikaner
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot sips tea from a saucer after a press conference in Bikaner.
— PTI

Vindication of our stand: Teesta
Mumbai, April 27
Secretary of the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), Teesta Setalvad, calls the apex court decision on Gujarat riots as a victory. “We are vindicated that the Supreme Court has accepted our stand,” Setalvad said.

BJP rejects demand for Modi’s resignation
New Delhi, April 27
The BJP today rejected demand for the resignation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi claiming that the Supreme Court's directions to SIT to probe certain allegations was not an indictment of the party leader.

SC dismisses plea to quash Sidhu’s election
New Delhi, April 27
The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition that sought quashing of Navjot Singh Sidhu’s election from Amritsar in a by-election in 2007 on the ground that his conviction and three-year sentence had only been stayed, not set aside.

Jethmalani, Raj wrangle over Afzal Guru
Mumbai, April 27

Eminent jurist and former law minister Ram Jethmalani has issued a legal notice to MNS chief Raj Thackeray seeking an apology from him for calling him the lawyer of Afzal Guru who was found guilty in the 2001 parliament attack case.

Indian efforts made the difference: Cong
New Delhi, April 27
The Congress today chose to give the credit of Sri Lanka calling off “combat operations” against the LTTE to the “collective world opinion” in which India had played a prominent role.

Swine Flu
Airports, ports under surveillance
New Delhi, April 27
India today began preparations to combat swine flu with the Health Ministry gearing for intense surveillance of people arriving from infected countries to ports and international airports here.

Actor Feroz Khan dead
Bangalore, April 27
Bollywood actor Feroz Khan, who made a place in the hearts of film lovers with his romantic portrayals died today after battling cancer for a year. The 69-year-old actor-filmmaker died at 1:30 am at his farmhouse here.





Top








 

Cong president has a dig at prime ministerial aspirants
Sonia, Mamata share dais after 8 yrs
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, April 27
Sharing a common dais with Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee for the first time in eight years, AICC chief Sonia Gandhi today took a dig at the hordes of prime ministerial aspirants, obviously hinting at Deve Gowda, Mayawati, Sharad Pawar and others.

Addressing an election rally at Lalgola in Murshidabad district, 200 kms from here, Sonia alleged that it seemed these leaders were not at all bothered about the country’s welfare as they were always clamouring for the prime ministership. She said, “It has now become a fashion that so many leaders are publicly claiming themselves as prime ministerial candidate.”

But she made it clear that neither she nor Manmohan Singh were in this race. She said the aim of the Congress was to develop the nation and improve the livelihood of its poor people.

Critising the performances of the State government, Sonia alleged that despite the larger assistance and adequate flow of funds from the Centre, the Left Front government had achieved nothing tangible. “They have only misued the funds and official machineries for the interests of the party,” Sonia accused.

She said she was glad that she could now share the same dais with Mamata and they were determined to fight jointly against the CPM and oust them from power in Bengal. She reiterated that after the elections the UPA would once again be in power since people want peace and progress which only the UPA could ensure.

Mamata in her brief address, called upon all the Congress and TMC workers and their supporters to strengthen themselves and fight against the CPM to mark an end of the Marxist rule in the state. She said, “Defeating the CPM in the Lok Sabha polls will be our first step towards the ending of the CPM’s misrule in the state, which will ultimately be achieved in the Assembly elections.”

Pranab Mukherjee, MP’s candidate at Jangipur and Adhir Chowdhury, contesting from Behrampore seat, were among others also addressed the meetings.

Mukherjee expressed confidence about the large-scale defeat of the CPM candidates since this time there would be no division in the opposition votes.

Ignoring the hot and humid summer, a large of number of Congress and Trinamool workers and their supporters attended Sonia’s meetings at Lalgola, Samsher and the adjoining Raiganj town . Sonia, Mamata Banerjee and Pranab Mukherjee jointly campaigned under the seat-sharing formula agreement to take on CPM at the hustings.

Top

 

SC order casts shadow over Gujarat poll
Reaction mixed on its impact on poll fortunes

Dinesh Kumar writes from Ahmedabad

As news broke here on Monday afternoon about the Supreme Court ordering a probe into Narendra Modi’s role in Gujarat riots, first reactions were mixed about the impact it might have on the election. Polling in the state is due on Thursday and campaigning officially ends at 5 pm on Tuesday.

Official spokesmen of the BJP as well as the Congress chose not to comment on the development ‘on record’. “The matter is sub judice and we do not wish to say anything,” said Shaktisinh Gohil of the Congress. Senior BJP leader and former Union Finance and External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha too declined to comment, pleading ignorance about the order even as he sat in a room with a TV tuned into a news channel.

However, while addressing a news conference he joined the ranks of other senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Arun Shourie in saying “he (Modi) has all the qualities that a Prime Minister needs to have.” “Modi is a good administrator and he knows how to run a state and a government”, he later said while speaking to The Tribune.

Speaking to The Tribune, a senior state BJP leader explained how he expected the Supreme Court’s order to work to the party’s advantage. “Gujarat is a communally polarised state and we feel that this will work to our advantage in a couple of constituencies where our victory prospects are fifty-fifty ”, he said. He went on to explain how they had exploited a fatwa against BJP issued by some Muslim organisations in the 2002 assembly elections. During the 2007 assembly elections, he said, the state BJP had exploited Sonia Gandhi’s “maut ka saudagar” (merchant of death) remark against Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

“Gujarat has otherwise forgotten Godhra but others are not letting Gujaratis forget it”, said the BJP leader.

Congress leaders view things differently. “Modi may try to exploit the Supreme Court order but it will not work this time. He cannot keep milking the Hindu sentiment. The mood has changed,” felt a senior Congress leader pointing to how there was no support for Maya Kodnani, the state Health Minister, who has been arrested for her role in the post-Godhra riots of 2002. “On second thoughts, he may not even try to exploit it. The order has come from the Supreme Court and is based on investigations by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that Modi himself had asked to be set up, ” he added.

Some academics and social activists hope it is too late for the BJP to exploit it. “Within the state the educated middle class will question the motive and timing of such an order days before polling. But a lot depends on the Congress which has not been able to utilise such opportunities in the past. But in the end I feel that time is too short for the BJP to translate it into votes,”said Gaurang Jani, a sociology professor at Gujarat University.

But Martin Macwan, an activist working on caste issues, feels that the BJP will be able to translate the Supreme Court order into votes precisely because of the limited time between now and polling day. “Emotions can be surcharged and sustained for the next 72 hours. Thought and rationality sets in later, by which time it will be too late,” he explained.

Top

 

Vindication of our stand: Teesta
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 27
Secretary of the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), Teesta Setalvad, calls the apex court decision on Gujarat riots as a victory. “We are vindicated that the Supreme Court has accepted our stand,” Setalvad said. The CJP had moved the Supreme Court for an investigation into the possible role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the post-Godhra riots of 2002.

“We have been saying from the beginning that the role of senior politicians, including the Chief Minister and others in the 2002 riots must be investigated. The probe in the riots has been haphazard because of political interference. So the Supreme Court order helps restore faith in the judicial process,” Setalvad said.

The CJP along with Zakia Jafri, widow of the slain former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, had moved the Supreme Court seeking investigation into the role of senior Gujarat BJP politicians in the brutal murder of Jafri. Armed mobs pulled out Jafri from the compound of Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad and hacked him to death after his desperate calls to summon police were ignored. “We have been fighting for justice since 2002,” Setalvad said.

Regarding allegations by the BJP that she was being motivated by political interests, Setalvad said: “We have no political motivations...we are here to ensure justice.

Top

 

BJP rejects demand for Modi’s resignation

New Delhi, April 27
The BJP today rejected demand for the resignation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi claiming that the Supreme Court's directions to SIT to probe certain allegations was not an indictment of the party leader.

BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley told reporters here that the SIT has only been asked to probe the Gulbarg Society case again.

“There is nothing against Modi. No enquiry has named Modi,” he said. According to him, there was a report against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, hence the two cases (against Tytler and Modi) could not be compared.

He was asked whether Modi would resign after the SC directions.

Jaitley said since the matter was pending before the SC, “the party would not like to say anything more” on the issue.

He also attacked rival parties for raking up the Gujarat riot issue ahead of elections.

“There had been a convention to raise the Gujarat issue ahead of elections. Just before the Bihar elections, Lalu Prasad released the Banerjee committee report,” he added.

The Supreme Court today asked the SIT to look into the allegation that the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat was not allowing FIR to be registered into the killing of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. — PTI

Top

 

SC dismisses plea to quash Sidhu’s election
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, April 27
The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition that sought quashing of Navjot Singh Sidhu’s election from Amritsar in a by-election in 2007 on the ground that his conviction and three-year sentence had only been stayed, not set aside.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan threw out the petition by one Hanuman Tripathi, a lawyer from Lucknow, after threatening his counsel Ashok Pandey that cost would be imposed for filing the frivolous plea.

According to the petition, rendering the conviction and sentence inoperative through a stay did not remove the disqualification provision under which those sentenced to two years or more in a criminal case could not contest elections. Such convicts could contest the poll only if the sentence was set aside, Pandey contended.

Rejecting the contention, the Bench, which also included Justice P Sathasivam, dismissed the petition and when the counsel still persisted with his arguments imposed a cost of Rs 10,000. The Bench, however, removed the penalty upon the counsel’s plea. The court said such issues could be raised only through an election petition in the High Court concerned.

Top

 

Jethmalani, Raj wrangle over Afzal Guru
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 27
Eminent jurist and former law minister Ram Jethmalani has issued a legal notice to MNS chief Raj Thackeray seeking an apology from him for calling him the lawyer of Afzal Guru who was found guilty in the 2001 parliament attack case.

“Your latest lie is a public statement that I was a lawyer for Afzal Guru... If you had some sense of responsibility, you could have found out, without the slightest difficulty, who was Afzal’s lawyer....You should also be informed that Afzal Guru’s mercy petition pending before the president is based on the plea that he was not represented by a lawyer in any of the courts,” the notice sent to Thackeray said.

Seeking an apology from Raj Thackeray within 48 hours, Ram Jethmalani said he was keen on prosecuting the MNS leader.

However, the MNS chief hit back at the senior Jethmalani at a public meeting on Sunday evening. “I am not in the habit of issuing statements without proof,” Thackeray said. He added that Jethmalani had represented Afzal Guru, Shaukhat Guru and Syed Gilani who were all accused in the parliament attack case. Jethmalani was the defending lawyer in the case where all three were clubbed together as the accused, Thackeray said.

Top

 

Indian efforts made the difference: Cong
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 27
The Congress today chose to give the credit of Sri Lanka calling off “combat operations” against the LTTE to the “collective world opinion” in which India had played a prominent role.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the Sri Lanka’s decision followed collective world opinion in which India’s point of view was vanguard. He also credited the Congress-led UPA for doing everything within its constitutional power to ensure that appropriate steps were taken to resolve the plight of innocent non-combative civilians in the island country.

“I will give credit to the Sri Lankan government for being sensitive to react positively to collective world opinion in which India’s role was vanguard and the Congress-led UPA government of which the DMK is an integral part for doing everything in its constitutional power. It is an important first step to address concerns for safety and rehabilitation of Tamil civilians and internally displaced persons trapped in the conflict zone,” he added

Already an emotional issue in Tamil Nadu, the matter gained further political prominence after AIADMK supremo Jayalalitha said the establishment of a separate ‘Eelam’ was the only solution for the Tamil minority in the island. With the political situation for the Congress-DMK combine getting jittery by the day, today’s observation of fast by DMK chief M Karunanidhi is also being seen by many as “stage-managed” to sway the situation in favour of the ruling alliance in the state.

However, Singhvi disagreed with the impression that the Indian government exerted any pressure on Sri Lanka in order to save the situation for the Congress-DMK alliance. “If someone were to give a similar advice to India how would India react? Sri Lanka is a sovereign country. Developments in Sri Lanka are happening there.... in a sovereign nation. There is no way one sovereign country can give a directive to another sovereign country. Sri Lanka is not some subordinate mohalla or district within India’s jurisdiction,” he asserted.

Reacting to Jayalaithaa’s demand for a separate “Eelam’, the Congress spokesman said the AIADMK chief’s statement proved that she was not aware of international relations and laws. “There is no way a sovereign nation can tell another sovereign nation to create one more sovereign country within itself. What if someone gave a similar advice to India. The advice given by Jayalalitha for creating a separte Eelam only reflects her complete ignorance of international relations and laws,” he added.

Top

 

Swine Flu
Airports, ports under surveillance
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

DEADLY VIRUS?

Initially only transmitted from pigs to humans, swine flu is now travelling through human-to-human contact and is one of the most deadly of flu viruses. The condition is difficult to distinguish from other flu types and needs diagnosis.

Symptoms: Runny nose, muscle aches, lethargy, lack of appetite, fevers over 101 and sudden onset.

What to do?

  • If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home; see a doctor.
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Touch facilities at public toilets possible as little as possible
  • Do not eat or drink after others without complete sanitisation of utensils.
  • Seek medical advice if you develop high fever and body aches.

New Delhi, April 27
India today began preparations to combat swine flu with the Health Ministry gearing for intense surveillance of people arriving from infected countries to ports and international airports here.

The flu outbreak, first reported in Mexico, has spread to the US and Canada with suspected cases surfacing in New Zealand, Spain, France and the UK. So far, there have been 1,200 suspected cases with 86 deaths reported of the new H1N1 viral strain. Ruling out fears of infection in Indian pig farms, the health authorities today said there was no reason to believe that pigs here were carrying the infection. Health experts are right now concentrating only on suspected human cases, asking people to report influenza-like symptoms.

The government, meanwhile, asked travellers to affected countries to defer non-essential tours and directed states to review their preparedness to investigate and contain suspected clusters of influenza-like illness. To rule out suspicion, every passenger who entered India over the past 10 days from Mexico, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, France and the UK would be examined for symptoms of swine influenza. The government has asked airlines, airport/port authorities to furnish a list of such people.

Similar examination processes would have to be applied to passengers currently entering India from affected countries. Health secretary VM Katoch today said those detected with symptoms would be isolated and put on treatment. Surveillance would be undertaken at nine airports and ports, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Cochin, Jaipur and Goa.

The government, meanwhile, ruled out alarm on pig front saying there was no fear of the spread of swine flu from exposure to pigs or consumption of pork products in India.

The WHO has declared the flu a “public health emergency of international concern” that could become a pandemic.

Top

 

Actor Feroz Khan dead

Feroz KhanBangalore, April 27
Bollywood actor Feroz Khan, who made a place in the hearts of film lovers with his romantic portrayals died today after battling cancer for a year. The 69-year-old actor-filmmaker died at 1:30 am at his farmhouse here.

He was diagnosed with cancer a year ago and was being treated at a Mumbai hospital. His son and actor Fardeen Khan besides some other family members were at his bedside when the end came. The actor’s mortal remains would be buried at his farm house later in the day as per his last wishes.

Right from his childhood he knew he wanted to become a movie star like his matinee idols Douglas Fairbanks, Tony Curtis and Clark Gable. Even at the age of 13, he would dress up like his cowboy heroes in leather boots, Stentsons, riding bareback on horses.

Born on September 25, 1939 to an Afghan father and an Iranian mother, the actor made his debut in 1960 with ‘Didi’. The brother of Sanjay Khan, Sameer Khan and Akbar Khan, Feroz struggled for five years playing second lead in most movies before he was noticed in ‘Oonche Log’, his first major hit. — PTI

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Jaya PradaJaya under EC lens
Lucknow:
SP nominee from Rampur Jaya Prada, who was facing resistance from her own partymen, has landed in fresh trouble with the Rampur district administration slapping a notice on the actress for alleged violation of the model code of conduct. “A notice was issued to SP nominee Jaya Prada Nahata for allegedly distributing bindis during an election meeting in Rampur yesterday. She has been asked to submit her reply by tomorrow,” Chief Electoral Officer Anuj Kumar Bishnoi told said here today. The notice was issued by the assistant returning officer of the district, he said. “Influencing electorate amounts to violation of the model code of conduct,” the election department officials said. — PTI

‘Erring’ homeguard booked
RAE BARELI:
The police here has booked the homeguard, who allegedly tried to move towards Priyanka Gandhi at an election meeting, on charges of interference in official duty and misbehaving with a policeman. Homeguard Jawan Jitender Kumar was overpowered by Congress workers and SPG personnel at Gandhi’s election meeting in Harchandpur village on Sunday when he tried to come closer towards the dais where she was seated. Kumar fought with a police constable when the latter tried to stop him. — PTI

RS members sworn in
New Delhi:
Congress leaders Vayalar Ravi and N. Janardhana Reddy, CPI (M)’s P. Rajeeve and CPI’s MP Achuthan took oath as Rajya Sabha Members before chairman of the Upper House Hamid Ansari on Monday. While Reddy was elected from Andhra Pradesh in a bye-election, Ravi was re-elected to the Upper House from Kerala. Achuthan and Rajeeve were elected from Kerala in the biennial elections held recently. — TNS

UK vessels’ goodwill visit
KOCHI:
Two British Naval ships - HMS Ocean and HMS Somerset, have arrived here on a four-day goodwill visit. The vessels that arrived on Sunday, were currently on Taurus 09, which is a deployment of the Royal Navy Amphibious Task Group in the Mediterranean, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Far East. On Tuesday, the crew of the two vessels will be visiting naval establishments here and also a friendly football match has also been arranged with the Indian naval personnel. The ships would leave for Singapore and Malaysia from here, the sources said. — PTI

Notice issued to SC
NEW DELHI:
The CIC has issued a show cause notice to Supreme Court officials for not providing information to an RTI applicant in a timely manner. “Central Public Information Officer Supreme Court of India is further directed to show cause as to why a penalty of Rs 250 per day from the date when the information fell due - 20-05-2007 - to the date when the information is actually supplied should not be imposed on him,” Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said. The case relates to the RTI application filed by one Trilokchand Gajanan Verma of Aurangabad who wanted to know the status of the “special leave petition” filed by him in the apex court. His application, which was filed on February 20, 2007, was not responded to by the officials. Directing the officials to respond to Verma’s application on or before May 10, the CIC issued the notice. — 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 |