L A T E S T      N E W S

NCP-Cong standoff: Pawar unlikely to attend PM's dinner

NEW DELHI: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar is unlikely to attend the farewell dinner for outgoing President Pratibha Patil being hosted by the Prime Minister on Monday evening.

An NCP source said NCP "ministers would not be attending the dinner" at Hyderabad House.

Asked if Pawar would attend, a party insider said: "I don't think so."

It also appeared that Agatha Sangma, minister of state for rural development and daughter of opposition presidential candidate PA Sangma, had offered to quit.

Agatha Sangma had ignored the party directive and campaigned for her father, who lost to UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee.




Punish Afzal: Shiv Sena to Pranab

Mumbai: Less than 24 hours after Pranab Mukherjee was elected as the 13th President of India, parties that favoured him are already trying to extract their pound of flesh. Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, through party mouth piece 'Saamna', wants Pranab Mukherjee to begin his presidency by dealing with the long pending issue of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

The editorial says the new President should immediately reject Afzal Guru's mercy plea. The Shiv Sena had broken ranks with the NDA to back Pranab Mukjerjee in the Presidential poll.

Pranab Mukherjee was elected as the 13th President of India on Sunday. He won the Presidential election against PA Sangma by a huge margin, getting 69 per cent votes.

 Pranab Mukherjee should start his Presidency with rejecting Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru's clemency plea.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had on Sunday thanked the Shiv Sena for supporting Pranab Mukherjee. Chavan congratulated Pranab Mukherjee for becoming the 13th President of the country while expressing his gratitude for political parties, including the Shiv Sena, that stood by the Congress veteran.

"It is not only the victory of UPA or Congress, but also that of NDA constituent like Shiv Sena which voted for Mukherjee," he had said.





Pranab refuses comment on Afzal Guru's mercy plea

NEW DELHI: President-elect Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said he could not comment on the clemency plea of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru till he assumed office and studied the issue.

"I can't comment on Afzal Guru until I have assumed office and gone through the issue," Mukherjee told a news channel in an interview, a day after he was elected India's 13th President with an overwhelming majority of Parliament Members and legislators voting for him across the political spectrum.

It is one of the hottest issues awaiting his decision.

The comment came as the Shiv Sena, which supported his candidature, demanded that Mukherjee reject the mercy petition filed by Guru.

"We have many expectations from you. We urge you to reject Afzal Guru's mercy plea and hang him. Pranabda, you should do this on priority basis and should kick-start your career as president of India. It is an august conduct that we expect from you," Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray said in his latest edition of party mouthpiece Saamna.

The President-elect, who has held key ministerial portfolios of finance, defence and external affairs in an eventful four-decade political career, was backed not just by partners of the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) but also by the JD(U) and Shiv Sena, which broke ranks with the opposition alliance.

And this is what he said moved him.

"I'm particularly happy that those who committed, particularly those who don't belong to our party scrupulously adhered to their commitment and voted for me. That doesn't normally happen. I consider this a great reward to my long stay in public life."

Mukherjee, one of India's most experienced and canny politicians, also said animosity between political parties had left him disturbed.

"The hatred between political parties bothers me," he said.

Assuring that he would be a non-political President, Mukherjee said he would work for "everybody".

"It has been a long way from Mirati to Raisina. I was a very naughty child. I always got into trouble," he said.

Mukherjee will taken oath on Wednesday before assuming the office of President of India and moving into Rashtrapati Bhavan. IANS




Ragging horror: Andhra college girl loses voice

Hyderabad: In a shocking incident, a college girl student in Andhra Pradesh lost her voice after alleged ragging by her seniors.

The incident took place at the hostel of Gayatri Junior College at Gotlam in Vijayanagaram district on July 19 but came to light on Sunday when she was shifted to Visakhapatnam for treatment.

Shamili, a student of 11th standard who had taken admission last month, was allegedly ragged by some senior girl students when she was alone in her hostel room on the night of July 19.

In her written complaint to the police, the girl alleged that her roommates had gone for dinner and there was power shutdown in the hostel when some girls entered her room and attacked her in darkness. They tried to throttle her with a rope. The injury marks were clearly visible on her throat.

A shocked Shamili lost her voice and could not speak when her roommates returned. The girl was sent to a local hospital and later to district hospital in Vijayanagaram, about 700 km from Hyderabad. As the girl did not get back her voice, her family shifted her to Visakhapatnam.

Shamili's father, who broke down while talking to reporters, said they lodged a complaint with police, who are investigating the incident.




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 |