L A T E S T      N E W S

Bansal attacks Oppn, says Lokpal Bill will
be brought in Budget session

NEW DELHI: Attacking the Opposition for Rajya Sabha's failure to pass the Lokpal Bill, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal today said the Bill would be taken up for consideration in the Bedget session of Parliament.

"The conduct of the Opposition, particularly the BJP in the Raya Sabha, only showed that they were only interested in not passing the Bill," he told a press conference the night after the House was adjourned sine die abruptly without passing the Bill.

Bansal said the Opposition and a party, apparently referring to ally Trinamool Congress, were not willing to play ball. They were not willing to cooperate. "They would rather see the nation fail than the government succeed." Denying the charge of the government having choreographed last night's events in the Rajya Sabha, he said.

"They (Opposition) are guilty of stalling the proceedings for the simple reason that they did not want the Bill to be passed." The minister said the effect of the enormous number of amendments (187 in number) was "confusing" and it was difficult for a government to accept them and to get the Bill passed because it would lead to legal problems.

"It is not that the Bill is dead. The amendments will be taken up in the Budget session for consideration," Bansal said. — PTI



Govt has no moral right to continue: BJP

NEW DELHI: Vowing to "expose" the government on the Lokpal Bill issue, the BJP today demanded that it should quit and hold fresh elections as it had "lost" majority in both Houses of Parliament.

"The government has lost a majority in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.... This government should quit and hold fresh elections," BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said, a day after the Rajya Sabha failed to pass the Lokpal Bill.

BJP leader Arun Jaitley said, "The BJP core group will be meeting later today to decide what it will do on the road (on the Lokpal issue). We will expose the government on the road and make the public aware in the wake of yesterday's developments. We will take up this Bill in the next session and expose the government there also."

"The government has lost its political equilibrium. The balance of this government has also been disturbed," he said. Terming yesterday's events as unfortunate, Jaitley said, "This was an act of political suicide with respect to the government's own credibility.

"A government which runs away from voting, has no political or moral right to stay in power."

Swaraj, on the other hand, said, "It is a defeat of an arrogant government.... It should do some introspection....The government wants to dump the Bill."

Charging the government with "orchestrating" the events yesterday to avoid voting on the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said, "The government created disturbance with the help of a friendly party to run away from vote...If government shies away from voting on amendments it does not want, it is a sad day for Parliamentary democracy." Jaitley said there were only three major amendments sought by the BJP and the session could have been extended to allow voting on the Bill.

He also cast aspersions on the competency of Parliamentary Affairs department and found the statement of Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal "curious" that it needed time to work on the 187-odd amendments sought in the Bill.

He said the three basic amendments could have been brought in "if we had a more competent Parliamentary Affairs department". — PTIBack



Cyclone ‘Thane’ leaves six dead in TN, Puducherry

CHENNAI: The very severe cyclonic storm, 'Thane', today crossed the Tamil Nadu coast, leaving six persons dead and causing extensive damage to Cuddalore and the neighbouring Union Territory of Puduchery which remained cut-off from the nearby districts of the state.

Five persons died in Cuddalore in incidents of wall collapse and electrocution, officials said. A 45-year-old man of Vanarampet village in Puducherry died in a house collapse.

Train services from southern Tamil Nadu were hit as many of them ran late or were stopped in the nearby station, while flights to international destinations by private carriers, including to Kuwait and Malaysia from Chennai, were cancelled.

Puduchery District Collector S. B. Deepak Kumar told PTI that rescue operations were in full swing in the union territory. Uprooted trees were being removed from the roads.

The regional weather office here said, "The very severe cyclonic storm 'Thane' over southwest Bay of Bengal moved further westward and crossed the north Tamil Nadu coast between Cuddalore and Puducherry between 6.30 and 7.30 am today." It had now weakened into a severe cyclonic storm and lay about 30 km west of Cuddalore and 35 km southwest of Puduchery, it said, adding wind speeds of up to 140 kph was recorded during this period.

"Under the influence of this system, rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places would occur over north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during the next 12 hours and over north interior Tamil Nadu during next 24 hours," a weather bulletin said.

Further, isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over south coastal Andhra Pradesh during next 12 hours and over Rayalseema, north Kerala and south Karnataka during the next 24 hours.

Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu was the most affected, with damaged roads rendering it difficult for rescue teams, including those from National Disaster Response Force and Fire and Rescue Services, to reach the cyclone-hit fishing hamlets.

District Collector Amuthavalli said even as communication lines remained affected, over 5,000 houses of fishermen had been damaged. — PTI



Fog hits flights at IGI airport

New Delhi: Flight operations came to a standstill at the IGI Airport here this morning after dense fog enveloped the area. More than 40 domestic and international flights have been delayed, while nine arriving and departing flights were cancelled. The visibility at the runway dropped to 50 m as a result no flights could take off since 6 am.





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