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Power centers in the corridors of power, Extra Con

gurr..... <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/angry.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':angry:' />

hire american president then <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':lol:' /> for a year...that will finish all jehadi problems...

:ind :ind :ind
[quote name='tovishal2003' date='Nov 5 2003, 03:04 PM'] hire american president then  <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':lol:' />  for a year...that will finish all jehadi problems...[/quote]

To be very honest, I would love to see some ex-president like Bill Clinton working for some Indian lobby or GOI, directly, as a political/strategical consultant.

Quote: I would love to see some ex-president like Bill Clinton working for some Indian lobby or GOI, directly, as a political/strategical consultant.

I think you are not watching billy and his moron speeches. He is for independent Kashmir. His advise to India is, India is already a big country, Independent Kashmir will bring peace in sub cont. etc... according to him, he understand that this may break India into more smaller pieces as other princely state may like to go their way. He is so called well read but not trust worthy. No ethics.
Mudy, An old Indian sayingcomes to mind, "Paisa pheko, tamasha dekho!."

I didn't knew with what you said, but IMHO he can be bought if the need be. The price just gotta be right! <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Smile' />

Remember his 98/99 trip to India. he stopped over TSP land for few hours just because some TSPian businessman donated $ 50K-100K to his election campaign!

The reason I was backing him is because, right or wrong, he's a sharp guy and knows how to get things done.

i remember Billy is the guy who at time of kargil suggested indian PM to donate some part of kashmir to pak and lets compromise and solve the issue.

these americans are "chor" from heart. not very different from british.


Besides Sonia, no one keen to host Iftaar

Sunday November 9 2003 00:00 IST

NEW DELHI: Even though it is a pre-poll time, the minorities do not

seem to be in great demand during the month of Ramzaan this year.

Except for Congress President Sonia Gandhi who is hosting an Iftaar

on November 15, neither Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee nor

President A P J Abdul Kalam are hosting Iftaars. Janata Dal (U)

leader Sharad Yadav is also not hosting the Iftaar party, lest he

may annoy his ally, the BJP.

The reason for the Prime Minister not holding Iftaar is that he will

be away on a three-nation tour to Syria, Russia and Tazakistan and

after coming back, he will be busy with campaigning for the Assembly

polls. Vajpayee did not host Iftaar even last year though he had

hosted it in 2001.

President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam has not held the Iftaar party so far,

ever since he assumed office. It is the second Ramzaan for the


Sources stated that President believes in spending the money in

charity by donating it to the orphanage houses. Last time, he had

donated money to three orphanages. This time, he will be giving the

money to other orphanages.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, however, will be hosting Iftaar in

a big-way by inviting leaders of the friendly parties, which include

BSP leader Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, NCP

leader Sharad Pawar, CPI leaders D Raja and A B Bardhan and CPM

leaders Somnath Chatterjee, Sitaram Yechuri besides others.

She would be using the Iftaar party, not only to woo the minorities

on the eve of the crucial Assembly elections to the five states but

also to win-over the leaders of the like-minded parties.

Last time, Mayawati was not in the guest-list but this time, she is

very much there. Though the move is likely to annoy Mulayam Singh

Yadav but for Sonia Gandhi, this is the right time to have a tacit

understanding with her in the states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan,

Chattisgarh and Delhi to defeat its main rival, the BJP.

Though Kerala Chief Minister A K Antony is accusing the Left parties

of trying to topple him in the state by reaching a secret

understanding with his rival K Karunakaran, the Congress President

is unperturbed by his accusations vis-a-vis her relations with the

Left are concerned. Almost all the senior leaders of the Left are in

the guest-list of Sonia Gandhi on the Iftaar day.

Besides Sonia Gandhi, Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan

will also be hosting an Iftaar party on November 20. Paswan has been

holding Iftaar party, every year.

For the BJP, holding Iftaar is tantamount to losing the majority

vote. Since, any way, the BJP is counting only on the Hindu vote, it

does not need to woo the minority vote.

The last time when BJP hosted the Iftaar party was during the tenure

of the then BJP President Bangaru Laxman. The Iftaar party was

hosted in the party headquarters, soon after Bangaru Laxman became

president in 2001. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Deputy

Prime Minister L K Advani had also attended the Iftaar party.

However, BJP's sole Muslim union minister, Shahnawaz Hussain did

host Iftaar party this time, where Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani

was also present.
<b>Sonia’s Mumbai visit and Cong gets a one crore deficit</b>
MUMBAI: Sonia Gandhi's mega rally at Shivaji Park on Saturday is expected to run up such a huge bill that creditors will soon line up outside Congress offices in Mumbai. An estimated Rs 1 crore has been spent on the rally.

As Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) head Gurudas Kamat told party workers to ``show their appreciation'' on their leader's visit, many borrowed funds to make the show a grand success.

Sources say the flower-bedecked stage alone has cost the party about Rs 6 lakh. Add to that the cost of carting party-workers across Maharashtra to the venue, and the bill will just keep mounting. Enthusiastic activists had also plastered the city with over 5 lakh banners and hoardings.

Faced with a cash crunch and with sympathisers shying away from donating to party coffers, the MRCC had no option but to encourage office-bearers to bring in the bucks for the rally.

Kamat has refused to say how much was spent on the rally. ``<b>It is difficult to quantify the cost since individual party workers are handling the expenses</b>. We have not counted the number of banners or hoardings, but ward presidents and other office-bearers are competing with each other to make this rally a thumping success. I had asked them to spare no effort or cost,'' he said.

But as Sonia boards her return flight to Delhi, creditors fear the Congress may just forget to pay up as it has done in the past. Bills for the Congress president's Nashik rally in May 1998 and at Beed in October this year are still pending, despite repeated reminders to party bosses.

<b>At the 1998 rally, Sonia was presented with silver gift items bought from a prominent jeweller in Nashik. While the bills for the items bought on May 6, 1998 amounted to Rs 50,299, the party has so far paid Rs 36,750 only.</b>

<b>On October 3, 1998, party leaders bought silver items worth Rs 9,290 from the same jeweller as gifts for late Madhavrao Scindia, who was the then AICC general secretary in charge of Maharashtra. The bills are still pending.

``The jeweller had written numerous letters to the then MPCC chief but the bill is still outstanding,'' said a source.</b>

The funds crunch and the party's efforts to raise finances had resulted in MPCC president Ranjeet Deshmukh issuing a diktat some months ago that <b>``action would be taken'' against ministers, elected representatives and office-bearers if they did not attract party donors as prescribed by the Manmohan Singh Committee Report</b>
<!--emo&:argue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/argue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='argue.gif' /><!--endemo--> <b>What a shame ? They can't find anyone else</b>
Sonia is our prime choice, says Cong <!--emo&:devil--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/devilsmiley.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='devilsmiley.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Pioneer News Service/ New Delhi

The Congress Party on Monday emphatically said there was no change in its position adopted at the Shimla conclave and party president Ms Sonia Gandhi would continue to be its candidate for the post of the Prime Minister. Responding to questions that arose after Ms Gandhi's Press conference in Mumbai on Sunday, the party's chief spokesperson S Jaipal Reddy said: "Ms Gandhi is the Congress candidate for the Prime Minister's post. As far as the leader of the alternative coalition after the election is concerned, it will be decided in consultation with other parties."

But in response to another question as to whether the Congress was ready to support a Third Front Government, Mr Reddy said: "The Congress will emerge as the single largest party and naturally its leader will lead the coalition. There is no question of supporting the Third Front."

Asked for his views on senior CPI-M leader Jyoti Basu's observations that there was not much scope for a Third Front, Mr Reddy said: "He is right. The political scenario in the country does not leave much space for the Third Front."

Other senior leaders, supposed to be part of the party's think tank, explain in off-the-record conversations that Ms Gandhi had only stated the obvious, that the Prime Minister will be decided by the people of the country, and that should not be construed as dilution of her claim to the top post. They say the Congress was not so foolish as to take this suicidal step of injecting any element of self-doubt into Ms Gandhi's capabilities when the election are so near.

Ms Gandhi, senior leaders say, could not have said, "I will be the leader of the coalition" at this juncture. They, to the contrary, claim that Ms Gandhi had asserted her leadership by publicly snubbing those who want the Congress to change its leader. "We don't want to create hurdles by arrogant rhetoric. But there is no substantive change and she will be projected as Prime Minister," a CWC member stressed.

Congress leaders argue that the selection of the Prime Minister was a matter of pure arithmetic after the election. They say if the Congress does not get a good number of seats, the question of her staking a claim does not arise, but nobody can stop her if the numbers add up in Congress support.

In fact, what the Congress leaders are not talking about is the slight change in atmospherics brought about by the poor performance at the recent Assembly polls. At the Shimla conclave, the Congress leaders hoped that a good show in the 'semi-final' will help the Congress assert over its prospective partners. They knew a drubbing will change the backdrop against which the General Election will be contested and in that case the leadership will have to show "strategic flexibility" in accommodating the allies. Even on the question of the leader of the coalition, the party agrees a good show in the Assembly election would have ensured a greater degree of finality about Ms Gandhi's acceptability.

This plan has certainly come cropper, making the Congress seek out for partners and appear less stubborn on the leadership question. But, at the same time, senior leaders point out that none of the potential allies had raised objections to Ms Gandhi's leadership and the NCP, which was formed on this very issue, had also agreed to set it aside until the elections.

"We can't force Mr Pawar to accept Ms Gandhi as Prime Minister but his willingness to fight the BJP in alliance with the Congress is a welcome development. He is right in saying that the leadership issue will be decided later," a party MP said. Mr Reddy also dismissed the statement of senior Karnataka leader Jaffer Shareif as a "personal opinion" not shared by the Congress. He had said on Sunday that Ms Gandhi should not be projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate.
<b>'Immorality' complaint against Rahul Gandhi, girlfriend </b>
Sanu George (IANS)
Thiruvananthapuram, December 31

A retired professor in Kerala has filed a complaint against Rahul Gandhi, the son of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and his Columbian girlfriend saying that they should be charged under the immoral trafficking law.

John M Itty, a retired college professor in Alapuzha district, has contended that action should be taken against Gandhi and his girlfriend Juvenitta - who spent three days in the backwaters of Kumarakom - under the law because they stayed together even though they were not married.

Itty had made his contention in a written complaint to the Kottayam Superintendent of Police S Gopinath.

Gopinath said his office received the complaint on Monday but no action was taken on it.

"I did not see Itty. All I received was a complaint that both Rahul Gandhi and his girlfriend should be charged under the law. Maybe he is trying to get some cheap publicity and that is why he resorted to raise such a complaint. I did not take any action because there was no offence," Gopinath told IANS.

The professor's son Shinoy John, a management student, said he knew his father had filed a complaint but did not know the details. "Right now my father is out of station," he said.

Gandhi and his girlfriend had spent three days at the Kumarakom Lake Resort with sister Priyanka, brother-in-law Robert Vadra and their children joining them. They left Kochi for Lakshadweep Islands Tuesday.
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Dec 31 2003, 11:16 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Dec 31 2003, 11:16 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> "I did not see Itty. All I received was a complaint that both Rahul Gandhi and his girlfriend should be charged under the law. Maybe he is trying to get some cheap publicity and that is why he resorted to raise such a complaint. I did not take any action because there was no offence," Gopinath told IANS <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Ofcourse there was no offense.

The Nehruvian family is the savior of our Nation. Our guardians. Above Law.

It is a great Shame that Rahul Gandhi who is pillar of virtue and descendent of Nehru should be charged like that. He is a citizen of the world first and has all rights to have girlfriends from anywhere. He can engage in whatever action he seems fit with his girlfriends anywhere.

The Professor is bringing disrepute to the future 'Bahu' of India.

Indeed this is a cheap publicity stunt. All Keralites must be ashamed of this ill treatment to Rahul Gandhi.

That Professor should be put behind Bars at once!!

/idiot psec congress mode off.
Sonia is a liar: Fernandes
Press Trust of India

Patna, January 12: Defence Minister and NDA convener George Fernandes on Monday alleged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had lied by saying that she secured a diploma in English from the Cambridge university.

“Cambridge does not have a diploma course in English. It is an altogether different matter that she had never once visited that university," Fernandes claimed while talking to reporters here at the airport.

Stating that it was not for the first time that Sonia had lied before the nation, Fernandes claimed that the Congress president had lied when she told the President of India after the defeat of the Atal Behari Vajpayee government by one vote that she had comfortable majority which she would prove on the floor of the house when the strength of the Congress and its supporting parties fell short by nearly 30 votes in 1999.

The NDA leader said that the issue of Sonia's foreign origin was nothing new and it would always crop up.
My two Bits :

1. Sonia Gandhi acquired Indian Citizenship in the Eighties without surrendering her Italian Passport and without forsaking her Italian Citizenship.

2. At the time she was initially issued an Indian Passport it was not possible for her to surrender / forsake her Italian Citizenship. Law of Italy at that point of time.

3. In the early Nineties I believe the Italian Parliament passed a Law whereby an Italian Citizen could surrender / forsake Italian Citizenship. It is often said that this law was passed so that Sonia Gandhi could become the Prime Minister of India.

4. As such Sonia Gandhi’s Indian Passport as well as her Indian Citizenship stands null and void.

5. She must therefore return her Indian Passport and apply for Indian Citizenship.

For India to have an Italian Born and long time Citizen of Italy – even though at the moment not legally a Citizen of India – is degrading for India to say the least. In comparison we have SONALI DASGUPTA who left her Husband and “took off” with an Italian Movie Director in the late Fifties or Early Sixties. She eventually married him and took up Italian Citizenship.

About an year or two ago Sonali applied to stand as a candidate for the local village council Elections in Italy. Her papers were rejected due to the fact she was FOREIGN BORN.

Can't say more.

<b>Congress blames Sonia's diploma gaffe on 'typo'</b>
Wednesday January 14 2004 00:00 IST

NEW DELHI: <b>The Congress on Tuesday admitted that the educational qualification of party president Sonia Gandhi in her bio-data given to parliament was wrong but blamed it on a "typographical mistake".</b> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

There was a typographical mistake in the bio-data given to the Lok Sabha with regard to the Italy-born Gandhi's educational qualifications, party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said in response to questions by reporters. <!--emo&:argue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/argue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='argue.gif' /><!--endemo-->

"When they came to know about it they immediately rectified it," he said and added Gandhi's aide Pulok Chatterjee had written to the Lok Sabha secretariat clarifying the matter.

However, the parliament website continues to show Gandhi's educational background as "Diploma in English Language Educated at Cambridge (UK)". <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Defence Minister George Fernandes, who is also the convenor of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), had Monday called Sonia a "liar", saying Cambridge University did not have a diploma course in English.

Singhvi accused Fernandes of using "cheap language" and charged that even Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was resorting to such language for electoral gains.

He also "strongly condemned" the government's reported move to bring in retired cabinet secretary T.R. Prasad, now a member of the Finance Commission, as the chief election commissioner and said it was improper to bring in an outsider for the post.

The present incumbent J.M. Lyngdoh retires from service in February <!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Jan 13 2004, 09:20 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Jan 13 2004, 09:20 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> The Congress on Tuesday admitted that the educational qualification of party president Sonia Gandhi in her bio-data given to parliament was wrong but blamed it on a "typographical mistake". <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
In real world people loose their job for such <i>"typographical mistakes"</i>. But then our <i>Bahu#</i> 1 can be a exception <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Now that they have admitted the <i>typographical</i> error, they must be on the road to admit the <i>topographical</i> error as well... <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Priyanka and Rahul can hold top posts: Rajnath
London, Jan. 26. (PTI): Claiming that Congress President Sonia Gandhi becoming Prime Minister of India was against "national pride" because of her foreign origin, senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh has said his party will have no objection to her children Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi joining politics and getting elected to top posts of the country.

"Sonia ji has given birth to Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi. We would not raise any finger on both of them, if they enter politics and even if they were to attain the top position of the country," Singh, also Union Agriculture Minister, said participating in BBC's 'Aapki Baat BBC Ke Saath' programme.

Asked why the BJP and the ruling alliance did not leave the question to be decided by the people of the country, Singh said "I do not agree with this. See this is a case of national pride. <b>If this was the scene, then why did we drive the British out of the country? </b>

<b>"The world may not like it, but it is a fact for us and the truth of the matter is that a person of foreign origin cannot be Prime Minister of our country. It is not that she has been in the country for generations. See India is not a country where anyone can come and then aspire to be the Prime Minister after 10-15 years. </b>
<b>Flight purser sacked for taking snaps of Priyanka, Rahul </b> <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Press Trust of India
Kochi, February 10

A cabin crew member of Indian Airlines, who allegedly took a photograph of Priyanka Vadra and Rahul Gandhi inside a Dornier aircraft when they were on their way to Lakshadweep on December 30, has been sacked.

Flight purser Mohammad Basheer was a contract employee attached to the IA here.

IA sources said Basheer was sacked last week, after an internal inquiry proved that he was responsible for taking the photograph of the Gandhi family inside the flight using his mobile phone camera. According to civil aviation rules, photography on flights is not allowed.

Basheer has admitted taking the photograph, sources added.

The photograph had appeared in a Malayalam newspaper here and in some other papers outside the state.

Congress president and Opposition leader, Sonia Gandhi, had complained to the Civil Aviation Minister regarding the photograph, following which the inquiry was ordered.
<b>12 questions for Sonia</b>
February 10, 2004
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->How do you know when elections are nigh? When politicians shed their
aloofness and try to mix with the very people they have shunned all

If there is a better explanation for Congress president Sonia
Gandhi's sudden change of heart and invite into her 10, Janpath home
the journalists who had pounded the pavements outside so long, one
would love to hear it. But one suspects there is no other impelling
reason for the Leader of the Opposition to mingle with the media
than one, the election around the corner, and two, her brains
trust's (an oxymoron to beat all) conviction that she needs to get
across to the media and through them to the people.

One suspects this won't be the last of her 'mass contact' programme;
having tested the ground, and having seen her ability to handle the
verbal volleys with greater panache than the Indian team did with
the leather ones in Sydney the next day, she is certain to move
beyond the safe confines of her home. Good luck to her endeavour.

The nation may or may not be ready for a foreign-born prime
minister, we will know that in a few months, but it certainly can
never be ready for a Garbo-esque chief executive. Elections are not
fought from boardrooms, you need to get down into the sandpit and
wrestle. And there's no avoiding the mud that sticks. To twist a
quote around, if you can't get yourself dirty, get out of the mud

Gandhi's public exposition, at least somewhat had to with the
court's exoneration of her late husband, former prime minister Rajiv
Gandhi, in the Bofors case. It was propitious for her and the
Congress party that this came about on the eve of the election. Just
look at the irony here: one of the men itching to play Syndicate to
the new Goongi Gudiya is a certain politician who led the highly
shrill campaign against Rajiv Gandhi; another who has agreed to hold
Sonia Gandhi's hand is a gentleman whose party had dubious links
with the Tamil Tigers, suspected of engineering Rajiv Gandhi's
assassination in May 1991. Faced with this, Kalyan Singh's return to
the Bharatiya Janata Party, or Jayalalithaa's own tieup with the
latter seem perfectly natural.

Digression aside, one cannot help feeling envious of the New Delhi
breed of journalists who not only were allowed into the hallowed
portals of 10, Janpath but also got to ask the inscrutable Madame G
freewheeling questions. One cannot but wish one were a participant.

For there are questions I would love to hear Sonia Gandhi answer.
There are many things to be commended in the American election
system; there are also things that are so hot. Among the former I
would rate the televised presidential debates, where the entire
nation gets to rate their chief executive in waiting. Since we in
India don't get anywhere close to it, here are a set of my own
questions for Sonia Gandhi:

1.    What is your vision for India? How is it different from Prime
Minister A B Vajpayee's vision? What are the areas your government --
if you were to form one -- will be different from the present
administration? And how? I think the people of India, who you expect
to vote you in office, deserve to know your worldview. Loudly, and

2.    What will be your government's stand on economic
liberalization? Will you continue with the current pace of reforms,
slow down, or accelerate? What are the areas of difference your
government will bring in vis a vis the economy? You have said the
India Shining campaign is false, and that there are parts of India
that don't shine. How will you rectify that? What will be your
strategy to create a resurgent India?

3.   Do you have a solution in mind for the Ayodhya dispute, in
creation of which your late husband's government had a hand? What
solution would your government push for? Will you rebuild the Babri
Masjid? Or will you allow the Ram temple to come up, through
negotiations? If you take the negotiations route, who will you
negotiate with?

4.   What is your take on the peace moves with Pakistan? Will you
continue the path covered so far between the two governments? Or
will you pull back, and seek ironclad, verifiable guarantees from
the Musharraf government about stopping infiltration etc before
proceeding further? What kind of relationship will your government
have with Pakistan?

5.    On Kashmir, what will be your government's take? Will you
withdraw the army from the state? Will your government continue the
talks initiated with the Hurriyat Conference? Is your government for
increased autonomy to the state? What is your view on converting the
Line of Control in Kashmir to the International Boundary Line? Do
you have a lasting peace formula for the state?

6.     How will your government's approach to the United States be
different from Vajpayee's? Will the current pace of cooperation
between the two governments in various spheres be continued? Or will
you scale back?

7.   Will your government continue the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas,
initiated to recognize the Diaspora's contribution to India? Or do
you think this, and initiatives like Dual Citizenship, are a waste
of time?

8.   What will be your government's approach to the Indian Institute
of Managements, the Indian Institutes of Technology etc? The present
government has tried to muscle in on their powers, will you restore
them to their earlier position? What about the syllabus row, over
its apparent Hinduization? Will you continue this measure?

9.   There has been a controversy generated over foreign-borns
occupying political office in this country. The Constitution does
not explicitly bar them from seeking even the highest office -- what
is your party's stand on this? Can a foreign-born in your own
country of birth become prime minister? Why do you think it should
be any different in India?

10. Your '272 MPs' who let you down in 1999, after the 13-month-old
Vajpayee government was defeated in the Lok Sabha by just one vote.
What were your feelings then?

11.  You have absolutely no political experience. Governing India at
the best of times is a challenge. If voted to power, obviously you
will be heading a coalition government, to keep together which calls
for a special set of skills. What gives you the confidence that you
are up to the job?

12.  Finally, your Hindi. While you have made commendable effort to
speak it like a native, your accent is a giveaway. Can you imagine
yourself addressing the nation in that clipped accent on August 15
from the Red Fort? Are you comfortable with the thought?

There's hardly any chance of Mme Gandhi reading this, leave alone
replying to my questions. However, if she feels up to it, she can
always write to me at this address: sai@rediff.co.in
Open Letter to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, President of the Indian National Congress

Subject: Request your immediate intervention to undo the "denial of religious freedom" --
violation of Constitution and Nehruvian ideals of secularism by Karnataka Government

Dear Mrs. Gandhi,

We are happy to note that in keeping with the great secular tradition of the Nehru family, you have been stressing secularism in your public discourses. On the other hand, it is sad that the seemingly ill advised, Chief Minister Mr. S.M. Krishna in the Karnataka state, violates this basic precept of secularism by discriminatory government control of Hindu places of worship and reportedly taxing them and diverting their revenues to madrasas and churches. Unless the temples are handed back to the community, the common man, not seeing any rationale, would question the commitment to secularism by the entire Congress Party !

There are alarming reports on this issue in media and on the Internet that have caused a great concern and anguish amongst Hindus worldwide (attachments A and B) on diversion of funds from temples to madrasas and churches. In the absence of official response to our inquiry from the Chief Minister and due to non transparent temple management we assume these reports to be true, but we will stand corrected if facts are proven to be otherwise.

In any case, our basic contention against government control of temples in a secular state remains valid. The contention also encompasses the legal and philosophical commitment of the secular Indian state - that the governance of the religious institutions, their estates and places of worship must reside in the representative bodies of the believers which in this case means - the Hindu Boards, just like for other religions.

In gross violation of the very basic concept of secularism that call for separation of state and religion, Hindu temples and endowments were nationalized amidst a political euphoria, with the promise and premise of running them under an efficient and corruption free management. But sadly, after decades of government control the temple-management is anything but efficient, corruption free or transparent.

In Karnataka, the Govt. has set new standards of lawlessness by taxing the temples and without any justifiable legal authority simply diverting their funds to enhance the Muslim run madrasas and Christian run churches - both being the adversarial religions against Hinduism. The facts contained in these reports reveal that Karnataka has enacted a humiliating law that requires privately owned as well as the trusteeship managed temples in the state to pay taxes on an annual basis (attachment B).

In brazen disregard of the norms of trusteeship, in year 2002, out of a revenue of Rs. 72 crores, Rs. 50 crores were given to Madrasas, 10 crores to Churches and a miniscule Rs. 10 crores to over 250,000 temples. This works out to an average of Rs. 400 per year, or a little over a rupee per temple per day ! In previous years 1997 - 2001 also, most of the temple revenue was diverted to madrasas and churches (see attachment B). Such financial strangulation chokes the temples of their sustenance leading to their eventual closure - actions least expected from a party and government professing secularism and freedom of religion

It is shocking that on the one hand the Indian Govt. subsidizes the "Haj" pilgrimage of the Muslims to the tune of Rs. 150 crores annually and on the other the Karnataka authorities are crusading to destroy the self- supporting foundations and structure of the Hindu temples. To the believers across the globe this represents an unprovoked virtual attack on Hinduism itself, leading to potential indignation against minority institutions, just like the Babri Masjid, due to medieval Jazzia like imposition for their support.

Democratic and secular governments do not penalize or patronize religions. Such extra legal actions constitute a reverse discrimination against India's majority community. Acts that result in destroying the religious fabric of the majority community for howsoever noble cause particularly, in a democratic, secular and freedom loving society is beyond the frame of reference for the government. Only autocratic and totalitarian regimes engage in such acts of cultural destruction of people, not constitutional democracies.

Furthermore, the Parliament through an Act in 1991 legislated - "status of religious places, as on August 15, 1947 shall be retained". This law is yet to be enforced for temples in Karnataka.

Here are some basic questions: What authority, background and training have the govt. for controlling every aspect of the cultural centers? Why not allow an autonomous Hindu board to govern temples under the guidance of religious leaders, just as for other religions? Why should a progressive, democratic and secular government be discriminatory and meddle only in the affairs of Hindu places of worship ?

This issue has made the billion strong worldwide Hindu community very restive and indignant due to misuse of its religious funds, neglect of its cultural assets, effective denial of its cultural and spiritual pursuits as well as of its community service projects, while diverting funds to the adversarial creeds, whose very "raison d'etre seems to be expansion by the eradication of Hindu dharma and culture".

Madam Gandhi, as President of the Indian National Congress, you have the authority and responsibility for enforcing the party policies. May we request you on behalf of millions of indignant Hindus, to require that the Congress government in Karnataka, take the following corrective steps :

1) the endowments department should be made transparent and open to public scrutiny: a) institute an independent public audit of temple finances, B) issue periodic financial statements, and c) publish a white paper on the state of temples and endowment properties, starting from the time of takeover;

2) please direct: a) cancellation of the recent proposal to take over all private and trust managed temples (see attachment A); B) a freeze on all actions on temples and endowments, particularly for any sale of land and property, except for routine maintenance, pujaris' salaries and temple rituals, etc. till the temples are handed back to the community; c) to stop diversion of temple revenues, as expected of temple trustees; d) to undertake actions for repairs and renovations of the neglected temples ;

3) please call for implementation of a time bound plan for denationalization of Temples and for handing them over to an autonomous Hindu board - that can readily be appointed for Karnataka by the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha - an apex body of top Hindu religious leaders, who are the appropriate institution to serve and protect the rights of the Hindu places of worship;

Denationalization will uphold Nehruvian ideals and the fundamental precepts of separation of state and religion, and end a discriminatory and regressive practice of government control, that violates basic precepts of secularism as practiced in all modern democratic societies.

Mrs. Gandhi, May we request you to kindly exercise your leadership and guide the government of Karnataka on this important issue.

With best wishes, and hoping for a response,

Dr. Jagan Kaul
Krishan Bhatnagar
Hindu Jagran Forum (Maryland, USA)
e-mail: krishan.kb@verizon.net
February 17, 2004
Attachment A
Karnataka State Temple Plan Protested

India today Dec 15, 2003
The Trust in Temples

BANGALORE The S.M. Krishna Government has stirred up another temple controversy. Its proposal to take over management of all private and trust-managed temples have raised hackles. Says Sri Vishveshwara Theertha of Udupi Pejawar math: "This would only give scope for corruption." Others are equally upset. Hindu Dharmika Samsthe Hitharakshna Samiti spokesman G.R. Suresh accuses the Government of diverting Rs 69 crore collected from nearly two lakh temples: only Rs 13.75 crore were given for temple maintenance as against the madarsa-Haj subsidy of Rs 35 crore.

Another critic of the proposal is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living. "The Government, which failed to manage the PSUs, is now eyeing the temples. This dual stand is unacceptable," he says. The Udupi seer draws a different parallel. "When mosques and churches are enjoying total freedom, why does the Government need to interfere in the administration of temples?" he asks. If necessary, it can float an autonomous body to monitor temples, the Swami suggests.


A note on attachment B: We sent an inquiry via electronic mail on October 9, 2003 and again on February 8, 2004 to Chief Minister Shri S.M. Krishna requesting him to comment and verify the following report; but to this day our inquiry remains unanswered. Further, in view of the above report in "India Today" and govt. non transparency on matters of public financial matters when revenues worth hundreds of crores of rupees and temple property worth thousands of crores are involved, it is unconscionable for govt. not to respond and make financial statements available to public.
Some concerned person put out this report, but it seems that due to fear of persecution he decided to keep it anonymous. Satyendra Dubey in Bihar, who wrote against corruption, but who got killed after his name was given out, supports the concern. We are confident about this report. Anyone wishing further information may contact the Chief Minister at e-mail : smkrishna@bangaloreit.com - ( Krishan Bhatnagar, Hindu Jagran Forum).

Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2003 8:16 PM
Subject: Revenues From Temples Diverted For Haj Subsidy And Madarassas In Karnataka

Author: Annonymous

The Congress Government of Karnataka has made another breakthrough in appeasing the minority communities in Karnataka. The Government passed a bill in the assembly that all the private owned temples and the temple comprising of trustees in Karnataka must pay minimum tax to the Government every year. Failing to which the authorised people of the temple would be liable and or would be prosecuted. This law is being passed in order to generate income for the development of madarasas and provide subsidies to Haj Pilgrims in Karnataka.

Earlier to this the Government was collecting the entire income from all the Government Controlled temples in the state. We have received few data from the Revenue section of Tourism and Temples Government of Karnataka. I am enclosing the data of revenue status of last six years for your references.

Revenue: The Government Received Rs 52.35 Crs of Revenue from 2,64,000 temples in Karnataka
Expenses: Rs 17.33 Crs were given back to 2,64,000 temples for maintenance
Rs 9.25 Crs were given for Madarasas development all over the state Rs 3.00 Crs were given for Church development purpose.

Total: Rs 29.58 Crs was spent and the balance amount of 22.77 was diverted towards Rural and Women Development.

Revenue: The Government received Rs 58.35 Crs of Revenue from 2,67,073 temples in Karnataka
Expenses: Rs 16.50 Crs were given back to 2,67,073 temples for maintenance
Rs 14.25 Crs were given for Madarasas development all over the State
Rs 5.00 Crs were given for Church development purpose.

Total: Rs 35.75 Crs was spent and the balance amount of 22.60 was diverted towards Medical and Health Facilities in Villages and Rural areas.

Revenue: The Government received 65.35 Crs of Revenue from 2,67,000 temples in Karnataka
Expenses: Rs 15.00 Crs were given back to 2,67,000 temples for maintenance
Rs 27.00 Crs were given for Madarasas development and towards Haj subsidy all over the State
Rs 8.00 Crs were given for Church development purpose.

Total: Rs 48.00 Crs was spent and the balance amount of 17.35 (Details N / A).

Revenue: The Government received Rs 69.96 Crs of Revenue from 2,62,038 temples in Karnataka
Expenses: Rs 13.75 Crs were given back to 2,62,038 temples for maintenance
Rs 35.00 Crs were given for development of Madarasas and Haj Subsidy all over the State
Rs 8.00 Crs were given for Church development purpose.

Total: Rs 56.75 Crs was spent and the balance amount of Rs 13.21 crs reserved towards compensation of Haj Victims.

Revenue: The Government received Rs 71.6 Crs of Revenue from 2,54,038 temples in Karnataka
Expenses: Rs 11.50 Crs were given back to 2,54,038 temples for maintenance
Rs 45.00 Crs were given for Madarasas development all over the State
Rs 10.00 Crs were given for Church development purpose.

Total: Rs 66.50 Crs was spent and the balance amount of Rs 5.1 Crs (N/A)

Revenue: The Government received Rs 72.00 Crs of Revenue from 2,51,012 temples in Karnataka
Expenses: Rs 10.00 Crs were given back to 2,51,012 temples for maintenance
Rs 50.00 Crs were given for Madarasas development all over the State
Rs 10.00 Crs were given for Church development purpose.

Total: Rs 70.00 Crs was spent and the balance amount of 2 Crs (N/A)

.... If the Government continues its neglect towards the maintenance and development of these temples for other few years, we will not be surprised to see that over 50,000 Temples will be forced to closed town in next five years. .. . We felt very sad seeing the pathetic conditions of the poorly maintained temples by the Government. ... . They say that they are not receiving any financial aid for day to day maintenance of the temple. .... Some priests told us that they have not received salaries for over 6 months period and they are surviving (on offerings) donated by the devotees in the Aarti plate.
<b>Maneka, Varun joining BJP was painful: Sonia</b> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Press Trust of India
New Delhi, February 28

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said Varun and Maneka Gandhi joining BJP was "painful" as the Nehru-Gandhi family had always fought against communalism.

"In some ways certainly it is painful. Freedom movement strategy was planned in this house (Anand Bhavan in Allahabad). The persons born in this house were stalwarts of the freedom movement....Fight against communal forces was very much part (of their struggle)", she said in an interview on the Walk the talk programme of NDTV.

She declined to comment when asked whether the action of Varun and Maneka was betrayal of the legacy of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Asked whether she would not have felt less hurt if they had joined any party other than the BJP, she said "well obviously..... I don't want to go beyond that".

On Varun entering politics, she said "he is a young man who has embarked on a new political career and I wish him well."

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