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Yatra for India, not for me or BJP or elections: Advani 

New Delhi: Before embarking on the second phase of his 38-day journey, BJP leader L K Advani on Thursday rejected criticism that through the yatra, he was seeking to repackage himself.

"Frankly, I do not quite understand why I would like to repackage myself. Also, I would wish to stress with all the emphasis at my command that this yatra has nothing to do with L.K. Advani. Nor even with the BJP or the next elections. It is concerned essentially with India," he said.

Writing in his latest blog, while on a two-day Diwali break from the "anti-corruption" yatra, he said his campaign was aimed at reinfusing among people the confidence they had lost in India's glory due to the "failings" of the UPA government. "My yatra is to reinfuse confidence in the people that the failings of the UPA should not be allowed to demoralise the country, and that we the people should concentrate on making the twenty-first century India’s century in spite of all the failures of the UPA," Advani said.

Blaming the Congress-led coalition for the recent scandals, he said that in the last couple of decades, India had earned a reputation as a remarkable democracy and a country on its way to becoming a major economic power in the 21st century.

Again hammering India's cause, which, he said, had been damaged due to UPA's corruption, he said, "The sense of confidence and self-esteem that had been building up in the people has been seriously undermined because of the happenings of this last year--numerous scams surfacing, several central ministers being removed and even jailed because of corruption, and the cash-for-votes scandal in which instead of the bribe-givers, it was the whistle-blowers, who had exposed the scandal, who have been put behind bars."




Crib death toll at hospital rises to 12 

Kolkata: One more baby died at West Bengal's largest referral hospital for children here on Thursday, taking the crib death toll to 12 as hospital authorities said the deaths were not "abnormal".

The B C Roy Children's Hospital was also in the news in June this year when 18 babies died at the facility. Stating that one more death took place, hospital superintendent Dilip Pal said, "On an average five infant deaths occur out of the 300 admissions daily.

"This is not abnormal as most of the referred cases are extremely critical and brought in a moribund state," Pal said.

He said babies were brought for admission at the very last stage. "This poses a serious problem for us to deal with." Maintaining that the best of care and medical attention was paid to the patients, he said the referral hospital, eastern region's largest paediatric one, was burdened with a high rate of admission mostly referred from district hospitals. Asked about the progress of the inquiry ordered by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee into the death of 18 infants in June, he said an inquiry committee had been formed and a report was being sent to the health department.





Hosting F1 race is a criminal waste: P T Usha 

New Delhi: In stark contrast to other sportspersons who have given a thumbs-up to the Formula One coming to India, former sprint queen P T Usha says hosting the Grand Prix is nothing but a "criminal waste" of money. "I feel very bad because such hi-fi business has nothing to do with 99 per cent of Indians. It is a criminal waste (of money). First, Twenty20 cricket spoiled the spirit of Indian sports, and now here comes another avatar which will mostly attract corporate money, who (corporates) rarely spend for sports promotion. Only God can save the Indian sports," Usha said.

The legendary athlete, who missed a 400m hurdles bronze medal by a whisker in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, does not even consider motor racing a sport. "Till this date I have never and I don't want to follow any motor business, which I do not want to call as sport," said Usha, who now runs an athletics academy in her home state of Kerala.

Meanwhile, top shooter Gagan Narang is happy with F1 coming to India, but said it will be disappointing if the event is restricted to only the rich and affluent.
"Let's face it that the sport is not for everyone. Only people with money will have the access. It has to be marketed well. I have heard from Indian friends abroad that turning up for Indian GP is more expensive than Singapore GP. That beats the purpose," Narang said.

"But this is the first season so let's see. I am certain the organisers will pull it off well," Narang added. Organisers Jaypee Sports International (JPSI) have spent about Rs 2000 crore to build the state-of-the-art Buddh International Circuit and to get the F1 licence to host the race.




Actor Ronit Roy arrested for rash driving, gets bail 

Mumbai: Film and television star Ronit Roy was on Thursday arrested on the charges of rash and negligent driving after his speeding vehicle hit a moving four-wheeler with four occupants of a family, injuring a woman seriously, in suburban Amboli, the police said.

Ronit was produced before the Bandra Metropolitan magistrate court and was granted bail on a surety of Rs 12,000.

The 42-year-old actor was behind the wheels of his Mercedes when he rammed into a WagonR with four occupants at around 6.45 am on Linking Road near Sab TV lane, H Vhatkar.

The occupants - identified as Deepak Darera (60), his wife Kaanta (56), and daughters Sneha (29) and Pooja (24) - who stay at suburban Andheri's Shashtri Nagar area, were on their way for a picnic to hill station Matheran, the police said.
Kaanta sustained severe injuries on her back, Pooja had stitches on her head whereas Deepak injured his hand. Sneha received negligible injuries. All the four were taken to Kokilaben hospital by the actor himself following which the injured were admitted, the police said.

The 'Udaan' star, who is a resident of upscale Yari Road area, was driving towards the home of his brother Rohit, also an actor, when the incident occurred. Both the vehicles were severely damaged, the police said, adding that subsequently Ronit was arrested.





After Ramdev, Anna, Ravishankar is Plan C of RSS-BJP: Digvijay 

New Delhi: Upping the ante, Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Thursday alleged that the anti-corruption stir by Anna Hazare and Ramdev were part of an over-all plan of RSS- BJP to divert attention from Sangh's "terror links" and warned spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar that he too could be used by them.

The AICC general secretary said that while Ramdev and Anna Hazare were plan A and B of the Sangh-BJP, Sri Sri Ravishankar is Plan C and asked the spiritual guru to be "wary" of the two organisations.

Singh remarked on the microblogging site Twitter "Plan A, B and C are of Sangh/ BJP to divert the minds of the people from their involvement in terror activities to corruption." Later talking to reporters, he said that Plan A of this over-all scheme has been Baba Ramdev, B is Anna and C is Sri Sri Ravishankar.

"I hold Sri Ravi Shankarji in high esteem and have done a course in the Art of Living as CM MP in 2001. He should be wary of Sangh/ BJP," Singh remarked in another post on twitter.

Reacting to it, Sri Sri said, "People write so many things. I do not react to every comment. Everybody is entitled to his views." Singh, however, told reporters that all this is a part of an over-all plan of RSS-BJP combine to "divert" the attention of the people of the country "to corruption from the issue of involvement of Sangh activists in terror activities" in Malegaon, Modasa, Hyderabad, Ajmersharif and Samjhouta Express." Claiming that the UPA government under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has taken "all posstible steps" including to bring Right to Information Act and making Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act stricter to check corruption, Singh charged that BJP's record on action over charges of corruption has been "pathetic".






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