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Patnaik begins third term as Orissa CM
Naveen Patnaik takes oath as the Chief Minister of Orissa in Bhubaneshwar on Thursday.Bhubaneswar, May 21
The Biju Janata Dal today became the first regional party to come to power on its own in Orissa when a 21-member ministry headed by Naveen Patnaik was sworn in.


Naveen Patnaik takes oath as the Chief Minister of Orissa in Bhubaneshwar on Thursday. — PTI

News Analysis
Scripts political history
New Delhi, May 21
The third consecutive coronation of Naveen Patnaik as the Chief Minister of Orissa today marks the beginning of a new political chapter in the history of the coastal state.

Slap defamation case on Maya: Lawyer
Lucknow, May 21
A lawyer from Barabanki has filed an application in the CJM court in Barabanki seeking punishment for defamation against Chief Minister Mayawati for using “insulting words” against winning Congress candidate from Barabanki (reserved) PL Punia.



EARLIER STORIES

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi after paying tributes to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 18th death anniversary at Vir Bhumi in New Delhi on Thursday.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi after paying tributes to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 18th death anniversary at Vir Bhumi in New Delhi on Thursday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

Confusion prevails in BJP
New Delhi, May 21
Nearly a week after the BJP and its national alliance the NDA suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Congress-UPA combine in the General Election, confusion and acrimony prevail in the party. There is no clarity over how to face the current political situation.

Sikkim
14 SDF MLAs get govt posts
Gangtok, May 21
Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling has appointed 14 of the 31 Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) MLAs as chairpersons of various government undertakings and advisory boards.

NC keen on ministry, despite Farooq's remark
New Delhi, May 21
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah may have publicly downplayed his desire for a slot in the Manmohan Singh ministry, but the fact remains that his party has, from day one, wanted a cabinet berth in the government.

Tollywood actors and newly elected Trinamool Congress MPs Tapas Pal and Shatabdi Roy outside Parliament House in New Delhi on Thursday.
Tollywood actors and newly elected Trinamool Congress MPs Tapas Pal and Shatabdi Roy outside Parliament House in New Delhi on Thursday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

Tamils’ Issue
Rajapaksa assures of dialogue
New Delhi, May 21s
India today received a firm assurance from Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa of his commitment to begin a broader dialogue with all parties, including those of Tamils, for further enhancement of political arrangements to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation in the island nation.

Leftist WB govt must go: TMC
New Delhi, May 21
Fresh from its stunning victory in the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress today demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state and fresh elections be ordered.

Man held with foreign currency at Nirupam’s house
Mumbai, May 21
The police today said they have arrested one Abdul Sattar after he was caught with $5000 at the residence of the newly elected North Mumbai Member of Parliament, Sanjay Nirupam. Deputy Commissioner of Police Niket Kaushik told reporters that Sattar was arrested after Nirupam’s wife, Geeta, called for help after Sattar walked into their residence with the money.






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Patnaik begins third term as Orissa CM

Bhubaneswar, May 21
The Biju Janata Dal today became the first regional party to come to power on its own in Orissa when a 21-member ministry headed by Naveen Patnaik was sworn in.

Sixtytwo-year-old Patnaik, the first leader to become Chief Minister for the third consecutive term, and other ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor M C Bhandare at a glittering ceremony at the Raj Bhavan here.

Eleven of the ministers are of Cabinet rank, while nine are ministers of state. The Cabinet ministers are Prafulla Chandra Ghadei, Damodar Rout, Ananga Udaya Singh Deo, Surya Narayan Patra, Raghunath Mohanty, Prasanna Acharya, Pramila Mallick, Prafulla Samal, Bikram Keshari Arukh, Debi Prasad Mishra and Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha, a first-time minister.

Of the ministers of state, except Sanjib Sahu, the others -- Sarada Prasad Nayak, Pushpendra Singh Deo, Ramesh Majhi, Pratap Jena, Prabin Chandra Bhanja Deo, Atanu Sabyasachi, Badrinarayan Patra and Anjali Behera -- are first-time ministers. Bhanja Deo, a scion of the erstwhile Mayurbhanj royal family, has been elected to the Assembly from the newly created Morada constituency. The ministry has two women, Pramila Mallick, who has been retained as Cabinet minister, and Anjali Behera.

Seven of the 12 BJD ministers, who were part of the previous BJD-BJP coalition government, have also been included. — PTI

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News Analysis
Scripts political history
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
The third consecutive coronation of Naveen Patnaik as the Chief Minister of Orissa today marks the beginning of a new political chapter in the history of the coastal state.

For the 12-year-old Biju Janata Dal (BJD), it is indeed a watershed -- one that few could have predicted until a month ago, given the party’s bitter parting with coalition partner, the BJP, and the latter’s vicious poll campaign that prided in accusing Patnaik of betrayals.

That the campaign boomeranged is history, with the BJP now reduced to near nothingness in a state where it enjoyed a considerable clout over 11 years of coalition rule with the BJD.

This time, however, the saffron outfit is crestfallen, with just six seats in the kitty out of the 147 it contested. This happens to be the BJP’s worst performance ever in Orissa.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that without Naveen Patnaik’s political support, the party is back to where it started from in 1985 when it fought 67 seats and won one. In 1990 state elections, the BJP repeated its poor performance winning just two seats of the 62 where it fielded its candidates.

It was only in 2000 when the party joined hands with Patnaik that the story of its redemption began. For the first time in its existence in the eastern state, the BJP bagged 38 of the 63 seats it contested; it came back with flying colours in the 2004 assembly polls by winning 32 of the 63 seats it fought.

Strangely, the only occasions where the party fared well in Orissa were the ones where they enjoyed Patnaik’s affections.

With the BJD support gone this time, the BJP is back to its old fledgling state, while the Congress has regained some seat and vote share in the state. And yet, the saffron grouping lost no time in forgetting old favours.

It arrogantly parted ways with Patnaik, following the collapse of seat sharing talks in March this year. Not stopping at that, the BJP also turned its campaign against the man whose image had yielded them electoral benefits in the past.

No wonder, the negativism came back to haunt the BJP, which was routed in general elections this time, not bagging a single seat in Orissa, whereas it had, in alliance with the BJD in 1998 and 1999, won seven and nine seats, respectively, out of the nine and 11 contested.

On the other hand, the BJD emerged stronger than ever. With Patnaik, sans the BJP, bagging 14 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats and 103 of the 147 assembly berths, it is clear that the only factor that worked in Orissa was Patnaik’s clean image and his courage to go it alone.

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Slap defamation case on Maya: Lawyer
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, May 21
A lawyer from Barabanki has filed an application in the CJM court in Barabanki seeking punishment for defamation against Chief Minister Mayawati for using “insulting words” against winning Congress candidate from Barabanki (reserved) PL Punia.

A two-page application accepted today in the court of CJM Jagdish Prasad Rajput seeks action against the CM under the IPC 500. Advocate Dr Shivkumar Shukla has pointed out that Mayawati using insulting words against Punia had hurt him immensely and he wanted a case of defamation filed in the matter. — TNS

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Confusion prevails in BJP
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
Nearly a week after the BJP and its national alliance the NDA suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Congress-UPA combine in the General Election, confusion and acrimony prevail in the party. There is no clarity over how to face the current political situation.

Even before the party could sit and deliberate on the reasons for its shock defeat, its prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani reversed his earlier, much-publicised decision to stay away from the post of Leader of Opposition and was back in the saddle with BJP chief Rajnath Singh completing the formality by announcing it to the media. That seems to have closed the entire chapter on the General Election.

Various leaders and camp followers are privately sniping at each other from behind the curtain. After the SMS from Murli Manohar Joshi camp objecting to appointing of Advani yet again as the LoP, there is this blog run by a clearly identified Vajpayee camp follower. The substance of his long-winding argument is that it is not the BJP which lost the elections. This was the defeat of “Advani for PM.” Remember Advani’s camapigners were sending SMSs, running blogs, printing car stickers and huge bill boards and hoardings with Advani’s mug and ‘Advani for PM’ written boldly below.

In effect, it seeks to distance the BJP from Advani’s defeat. It points out how the BJP is still number two in Parliament which it was before these elections and apart from Advani it is Lalu Prasad, Ram Vilas Paswan and Left who have lost, argued this party activist from Bihar.

But there are others who think that the inability of the BJP/Advani to keep Varun Gandhi and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi under check resulted in election reverses for the BJP candidates in many places. BJP minority cell chairman and its Bhagalpur MP Syed Shahnawaz Husain has publicly objected to the Varun hate speech.

Still others in the party mention the defeat of their Bareily candidate Santosh Gangwar in this connection. “Gangwar is a very amiable low profile person. Notwithstanding the BJP, he is generally popular even among Muslims. But this time after Varun’s hate speech, Muslims got alarmed and rallied round to defeat the BJP. In a normal election, the party would have fared pretty well,” said this BJP leader.

Still others are questioning the wisdom of involving the RSS and identifying too closely with it. An OBC leader from UP earlier known for his hardline Hindutva line has privately questioned the BJP practice of giving away the most important party post after the president, that of organsing secretary, to a Pracharak from RSS. Currently, RSS man Ram Lal is holding the post. Yet others point out how in 2004 much was made of the RSS not working for BJP as the real cause of defeat. This time the Sangh was fully involved.

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Sikkim
14 SDF MLAs get govt posts

Gangtok, May 21
Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling has appointed 14 of the 31 Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) MLAs as chairpersons of various government undertakings and advisory boards.

SDF legislator Puran Kumar Gurung has been made the Chairman of the Denzong Agriculture Cooperative Societies Ltd, while Am Prasad Sharma, who defeated former Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari from Khamdong-Singtam assembly seat, has been appointed as the Chairman of Sikkim Distilleries Ltd, according to an official notification.

Another MLA Tshering Wangdi Lepcha has been made the Chairman of Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT), the notification said.

Prem Lall Subba has got the Chairmanship of Agriculture/Horticulture Board, while Madan Cintury has been made the Chairman of Sikkim Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Classes Development Corporation (SAABCO).

Another SDF MLA Tenzi Sherpa has been appointed as the Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Borad, while Bek Bahadur Rai has been given the Chairmanship of Sikkim Industrial Development and Investment Corporation.

Sonam Gyatso Bhutia has been made the Chairman of Land Use and Environmental Board, while the Sangha MLA Phetook Tshering Bhutia has been made the Scheduled Tribes Welfare Board and Dorjee Namgyal Bhutia the Chairmanship of Sikkim Consumer Cooperative Society, the notification issued by Chief Secretary ND Chingapa said.

The SDF MLA BS Panth has been appointed as the Chairman of the Power Advisory Board, while the four-term MLA PS Tamang, who was a suprise omission from Chamling’s council of ministers this time, has been made the Chairman of the Industries, Trade and Commerce Development Board. — PTI

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NC keen on ministry, despite Farooq's remark
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah may have publicly downplayed his desire for a slot in the Manmohan Singh ministry, but the fact remains that his party has, from day one, wanted a cabinet berth in the government.

With three Lok Sabha members in its kitty, it feels it has a better claim on a ministry than other potential Congress leaders from the valley like Rajya Sabha member Saifuddin Soz, who was the Water Resources Minister in the former cabinet. 

The only uncontested claim on a cabinet rank from J&K is of AICC senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is likely to get the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry, thanks to his floor management skills, along with one more important charge. Azad’s inclusion in the new cabinet being a foregone conclusion, the NC is reported to be bargaining hard for the other ministerial slot from the valley. 

Their argument is simple - the valley must be represented in the Manmohan Singh government just as Jammu will be. Azad is from Jammu, a fact that the Congress would like to balance by including a leader from the valley in the cabinet.

So far, there is no better candidate from the latter category than NC chief Farooq Abdullah, who is learnt to be interested in tourism, health or power.

Sources say the initial demand of the NC was power ministry - something the Congress would want to hand over to a technocrat like Jairam Ramesh, former Power Minister.The NC’s logic behind this demand is that it would help the cause of power-starved J&K.

On Farooq’s chances of being in the cabinet, political observers are positive, given the importance of J&K vis-à-vis India’s relations with Pakistan. The Congress would like to have a Muslim face from the valley in its government.

But there are sections in the Congress that feel the party has done enough for the NC by allowing it a free run on political power in the state.

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Tamils’ Issue
Rajapaksa assures of dialogue
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21s
India today received a firm assurance from Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa of his commitment to begin a broader dialogue with all parties, including those of Tamils, for further enhancement of political arrangements to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation in the island nation.

National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon who visited Colombo as the Prime Minister’s special envoys were also informed that it was Colombo’s intention to dismantle the relief camps at the earliest as part of a 180-day plan outlined to resettle the bulk of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their original places of habitation.

Apart from Rajapaksa, the top Indian officials met his brother and close confidant Basil Rajapaksa, Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President, and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. They also interacted with a number of political parties, including those representing the Tamils.

A statement issued here said both India and Sri Lanka agreed that with the end of military operations in the island country, the time was opportune to focus attention on issues of relief, rehabilitation, resettlement and reconciliation, including a permanent solution.

The two countries have been cooperating in providing humanitarian relief and assistance to IDPs in Sri Lanka under an agreement of October 26, 2008. This includes medical assistance in the form of a field hospital, urgently needed medicines, etc.

They emphasised the urgent need to resettle the IDPs in their villages and towns of habitation and to provide to them necessary basic and civic infrastructure as well as means of livelihood to resume their normal lives at the earliest.

Meanwhile, SL High Commissioner to India CR Jayasinghe, talking to The Tribune, ruled out the possibility of the LTTE raising its head again in his country.

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Leftist WB govt must go: TMC

New Delhi, May 21
Fresh from its stunning victory in the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress today demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state and fresh elections be ordered.

TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi, whose party won 19 of the 42 seats in the state, said the Left parties had lost the confidence of the people.

“In a democracy, ultimately, it is the verdict of the people and the people of West Bengal have spoken very loud and very clearly. This is a no-confidence motion against the CPM government led by Buddhadev Bhattacharjee,” Trivedi told NDTV. — PTI 

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Man held with foreign currency at Nirupam’s house
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 21
The police today said they have arrested one Abdul Sattar after he was caught with $5000 at the residence of the newly elected North Mumbai Member of Parliament, Sanjay Nirupam.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Niket Kaushik told reporters that Sattar was arrested after Nirupam’s wife, Geeta, called for help after Sattar walked into their residence with the money. The police official said investigators were trying to determine the identity of the person who asked Sattar to deliver the money.

Geeta later told reporters that the newly-elected MP had no underhand dealings with anyone who would deliver foreign currency illegally via a courier. During the election campaign, supporters of BJP candidate Ram Naik who was defeated by Nirupam, complained that the Congress leader was distributing money to voters.

The BJP supporters got into a scuffle with Nirupam. But the police who was on the spot could not recover any money from Nirupam’s vehicle.

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BRIEFLY

Houses set afire
Guwahati:
Over 32 houses were burnt down by unidentified militants in the strife-torn North Cachar Hill district of Assam here on Thursday. Police sources said 24 houses of the Zeme Naga tribe members were destroyed in Nriambungalow village, while eight houses belonging to Dimasa tribe were razed to ground at Dibaola village. — TNS

Shibu Soren’s son passes away
BOKARO (JHARKHAND):
Durga Soren, the eldest son of JMM chief Shibu Soren, died here on Wednesday due to suspected kidney failure. Durga, a former JMM MLA, was 39. He is survived by his wife and three daughters, family sources said. Durga was taken to the Bokara General Hospital after he complained of uneasiness. Doctors at the hospital declared him brought dead, Hospital director AK Singh said. Durga, who contested and lost the Godda Lok Sabha seat, was the party’s general secretary. — PTI

3 hurt in attack by pro-LTTE activists
MADURAI:
As many as three persons were injured when suspected pro-LTTE activists hurled a petrol bomb on a government bus in Thirupuvanam in Sivganga District, 30 km from here on Wednesday, protesting V Prabhakaran’s killing. The miscreants fled the scene after the attack, the police said. The injured had been admitted to Government Rajaji Hospital here. — PTI

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