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RLD chief Ajit Singh gets Civil Aviation Ministry

New Delhi: Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh who was inducted into the Union Cabinet today has been allocated the Civil Aviation Ministry.

On the advise of the Prime Minister, President Pratibha Patil allocated Civil Aviation Ministry to Singh, Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a statement.

Earlier, the President administered the oath of office and secrecy to Singh at a ceremony here.

The swearing-in of the 72-year-old Jat leader from western Uttar Pradesh took place a week after his party formally joined the UPA, the first political outfit to do so since the alliance came to power for the second time in May 2009.

The expansion of the Council of Ministers by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is the third such exercise since the UPA-II came to power.

With RLD joining the ruling coalition, UPA's strength in the Lok Sabha has gone up from 272 to 277.

This is the fourth time Ajit Singh has become a Union Minister. Singh was a member of the P. V. Narasimha Rao-led Congress government. He held the Food portfolio then. — PTIBack


Agni-V shows India's intention to become major power: report

BEIJING: As India gears up to test its 5,000-km range Agni-V missile in February next year, Chinese official media here said that the "killer" missile with potential to reach several cities in China showed New Delhi's intention to become major power in the region.

"Indian officials and scientists claimed that their Agni-V missile is the 'killer' for a certain country, which obviously shows the intention of seeking regional balance of power", an article in the state-run People Daily titled “Risks behind India's military build-up” said today.

It added that India has strategic ambitions and hopes to play an important role in world affairs, "so it cannot tolerate these internal and external security environment constraints".

"It is the Indian goal to continue to strengthen the military and possess a military clout that matches its status as a major power", the write-up in the daily, which is the official organ of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), said.

"However, how many missiles is enough is a question for all governments in the missile era", it said.

Chinese media reported the last month's successful test flight of the 3,000-km range Agni-IV missile.

DRDO Director-General V. K. Saraswat had announced that Agni-V will be test-fired in February.

Defence analysts say the two together has the potential to reach several top Chinese cities, though far-off regions could still be out of range for Indian missiles.

Analysts say while short-range missile Agni-I and II are regarded as Pakistan-specific, Agni-III, IV and V are perceived to be China-specific. — PTIBack



Saina Nehwal loses in final

NEW DELHI: Indian badminton star Saina Nehwal on Sunday went down fighting to World No.1 Yihan Wang of China 21-18, 13-21, 13-21 in the BWF World Super Series final at Liuzhou, China.

Saina had created history Saturday by becoming first Indian singles player to reach the final of the premier event, defeating Denmark's Tine Baun in the last four. — IANSBack



Mayawati favours reservation for Muslims

LUCKNOW: Favouring reservation for Muslims, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today said 27 per cent OBC quota should be increased by making constitutional amendment to include backward Muslims in it.

"BSP government favours quota for Muslims. The Centre should amend the Constitution and increase 27 per cent quota of OBCs to include Muslims in it. Our party will support it," Mayawati said addressing a rally here.

Mayawati said for providing a reservation, a national policy should formulated so that same system should be in place in the entire country. Alleging that Congress always betrayed Muslims, she said it used Muslims as mere vote banks and did nothing for their welfare.

"In the Congress regime, the country witnessed maximum riots which had a deep impact in the minds of Muslims. The community had to live in fear for 40 years in Congress rule in the state," the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said.

Claiming that due to the soft stance of the Congress towards the BJP, its associate organisations like RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal got strengthened, Mayawati said it resulted in the Ayodhya incident of December 6, 1992 (Babri mosque demolition) due to which the community started feeling insecure.

"The BSP has given maximum number of tickets to Muslims in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls," she claimed adding that other parties deliberately ignored the community.

Stating that SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav's statement during Ayodhya incident created tension and riots, Mayawati said in her government law and order was utmost priority and no incident was reported post-Ayodhya title dispute decision.

Condemning association of Muslim community with terrorists, Mayawati said terrorists did not have any caste and associating them with a particular community was wrong.

Emphasising the need for finding the root cause of rising terrorism, Mayawati asked the Centre to step up intelligence and timely share information with states to thwart terrorist activities. — PTIBack



Mullaperiyar dam issue: Chidambaram withdraws remarks

 NEW DELHI: Home Minister P Chidambaram today withdrew his remarks referring to by-elections in the context of the Mullaperiyar dam issue which has created a furore in Kerala.

"Like some other speakers, I also made a passing reference to the forthcoming by-election. I take back that remark," he said in a statement here.

He went on to add, "that reference was not necessary and it was not my intention to hurt the feelings of anyone.

"I continue to believe that the issue must be resolved in a spirit of cooperation and brotherhood between the people of the two states".

The Home Minister appealed to the people of Kerala and Tamil Nadu to read the whole of his speech delivered at a Congress Party meeting in Chennai yesterday.

"I appeal to everyone that we must act with dignity, restraint and patience. I said fears over the safety of the dam were not justified but it was our duty to allay the apprehensions on the safety of the dam," the statement said.

Chidambaram said, "I said that the safety of the dam was the concern of not only Kerala but also Tamil Nadu, because Tamil Nadu was dependent on the water from the dam. I also appealed to everyone to await the report of the three-judge panel and the decision of the Supreme Court".

In his speech yesterday, the Home Minister had termed the Kerala government's apprehension over safety of the Mullaperiyar dam as "unnecessary" and claimed it was borne out of "bypoll fear". — PTI





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