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Power centers in the corridors of power - 2
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Swayamsevaks involved in Jaipur emergency relief, removed during Sonia's visit</b>

Jaipur:RSS swayamsevaks who manned the SMS ( Sawai Madho Singh ) hospital in  Jaipur was removed by the cops before the scheduled visit of SoniaGnadhi to visit the injured.

The irony was that our de facto PM wanted them removed even when major newspapers and television in India has acknowledged the services of the RSS volunteers that swung into action immediately after the blast.

She probably saw the effect it would have all over the country when the photos and live TV coverage would be telecast with her visiting the hospitals with the place swarming with RSS cadre around the patients.

The SMS hospital saw over 200 cadre of the RSS do 8 hour round the clock shifts in military precision taking care of the injured and their families. They virtually took over from the hospitals

Most political outfits in the state have been caught by surprise at the speed of implementing the emergency action plan of the RSS.

The Sangh has been active in the front of fighting terrorism for a long time. The Mumbai blasts saw the sangh later taking up seminars and study classes to study the effects of terrorism on the public and training of the cadre on how to face emergency situations like this in the future.


Another stage appearance by Antonia, after everyone else has done all the unpleasant work. By the way, where's the dull-witted sprog, Rahul? Or did his mummy forget to drop chocolate mints along the way, so he can find his way to the place?
Gurgaon techie held for posting derogatory messages against Sonia Gandhi on Orkut

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<!--QuoteBegin-k.ram+May 19 2008, 04:01 PM-->QUOTE(k.ram @ May 19 2008, 04:01 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Gurgaon techie held for posting derogatory messages against Sonia Gandhi on Orkut

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I suppose this means that, from now on, one must never refer to Sonia Gandhi as 'Antonia !' <!--emo&:whistle--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/whistle.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='whistle.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>New Jersey court dismisses Sonia Defamation Suit</b>
India Abroad, Aug 29, 2008
A New Jersey court last week tossed out one of the two defamation lawsuits filed by the Indian National Overseas Congress (INOC) seeking $100 million in damages from individuals and non-profits for allegedly defaming Congress party president Sonia Gandhi. The court said the INOC does not have the right to seek damages. A decision on the other identical lawsuit filed by the INOC – but in a New York court and against different individuals – is pending.

Narain Kataria, president of the Indian Intellectuals Forum and one of the defendants in the case filed in New York, told India Abroad that oral arguments on the case were slated for October 2 in the state Supreme Court of New York.

The defendants hailed Judge Patricia DelBueno Cleary of New Jersey's Monmouth County Superior Court's dismissal of the much-publicized lawsuit as a measure of the fairness of the American judicial system. Satyanarayana Dosapati, a defendant along with Naresh Sharma, Sunanda Thali, the Mahatma Gandhi Center and Hindu Temple and others, told India Abroad that he believed the ruling by the New Jersey court would positively impact the case in New York, because the charges are similar.

"We are very happy that justice is done. It has been trying at times, but we had complete faith in the American judicial system. We hope that this will encourage all Indians across the world to come out openly and speak the truth," Dosapati said.

Marc Haefner, attorney for the defendants, told India Abroad that he hoped "the New Jersey's court's decision to protect individuals who with to exercise their rights to free speech without being harassed by foreign political parties will serve as an example to the New York court when it takes this issue up at the beginning of October." He said no appeal had been filed yet, but the INOC has the right to file an appeal with the New Jersey Appellate Division up to 45 days after the decision.

"The New Jersey court took little time in throwing the case out given its frivolousness nature and we hope that the New York court will recognize that and follow suit," Haefner said.

The INOC demanded a judgment against the defendants and an award of 'actual, compensatory, special and punitive damages in the amount of $100 million' in addition to costs and disbursements, legal fees and whatever other relief 'that the court deems fit, just and proper' for defaming Sonia Gandhi.

The issue stemmed from an advertisement published by the Forum for Saving Gandhi's Heritage – comprising several members or former members of the Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party – in The New York Times just ahead of Sonia Gandhi's visit to New York in 2007.

The Congress party president was in New York to attend an informal plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly that had declared October 2 – Mahatma Gandhi's birthday – as the International Day of Non-Violence, and also to deliver the inaugural lecture at the event. Coinciding with her visit, the little-known Forum accused her in the full-page advertisement of violating multiple Indian laws. It also organized a noisy protest outside the UN headquarters when Sonia Gandhi was inside to address the plenary session.

Judge Cleary held that the INOC does not have the locus standi  to claim damages. The judge noted that Sonia Gandhi is the chairwoman of the Indian National Congress Party, a political party in India, a 'separate and distinct entity, different than the plaintiff.' She noted that the INOC is not mentioned in the advertisement in question.

Citing rules that she said require that every action instituted in New Jersey be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest, the judge said that examination of the alleged libelous statement fails to disclose any reference to the plaintiff.

'The advertisement attacks Ms. Gandhi personally. There were references to her political party but that political party is not the plaintiff,' the judge said.

The arguments by the INOC's attorney Andrew Miller that the advertisement was not to attack any entity in India but to attack specifically the INOC and because of which the INOC lost $200,000 in donations and support to the party did not cut ice with the judge.

'It is clear to the court that the plaintiff has no real interest in the outcome of the case since it is not the one who is being libeled. It is impossible for the court to determine how references to Ms. Gandhi relate to the plaintiff,' the judge said.

The judge dismissed the case with the observation that since the court has determined that the plaintiff is not the real party in interest, no further analysis is necessary.

The Forum for Gandhi Heritage expressed gratitude for what it called the fairness of the American judicial system. 'It is our dream that one day in India, people will be able to speak openly and be able to bring to justice corrupt politicians without having to worry about reprisals and repercussion,' it said in a statement.

Haefner said the fundamental problem with the INOC's case was its failure to recognize that under the law of New Jersey a plaintiff cannot sue for defamation to punish the defendants for something they said about a third party.

The INOC said it would appeal the decision. "What the judge said was that the INOC does not have the right to sue the defendants. That is all. The judge did not go into the merits or the merits of the case,' said Dr. Marlhotra, INOC president, who initiated the lawsuits. He claimed the case had not been dismissed.

The New York  Times, which drew flak from INOC supporters for publishing the advertisement, in a letter to Sheldon Karasik, the INOC's attorney in the New York case, tendered its apologies for a factual error it said it spotted in the ad, about the Ram Sethu being blown up.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> Visit not to impact politics, says Sukhbir
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 21
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal has claimed that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Punjab will not impact political scene and that he is coming as a tourist and the state welcomes all tourists.

He said the Congress leadership of Punjab had been left with no issue, hence, they were trying to make issues out of non-issues. SAD rallies had become a major worry for Congress leaders, he claimed.

<b>Rahul Gandhi, Miliband to visit Amethi</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Congress General Secretary and MP Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, will visit his Parliamentary constituency Amethi on a two-day trip beginning on Wednesday.

Congress sources said Miliband had expressed his desire to see the rural developmental activities in India during a meeting with Gandhi some time ago in the United Kingdom.
Amethi is under Gandhi family for so-long , it should be over developed by now. Am I missing something?
money enables politicians and businesspersons to carry cash around the world for pleasure, and sometimes caught with it. For example, <b>on September 27, 2001, Rahul Gandhi and his girlfriend were arrested by the FBI at Boston’s Logan Airport with $ 1,60,000 in cash, without declaring it to the US Customs. US law requires cash at hand of more than $10,000 to be declared.</b>
<!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> Now it's official that MMS has been byepassed.
Not once but multiple time. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Only a Gandhi can be king</b>
Swapan Dasgupta
Last week, a tabloid newspaper whose political leanings are best described as anti-BJP and pro-sensational, lampooned the saffron party for being complete losers in the so-called youth race. It arbitrarily selected some BJP members of the Rajya Sabha, most in their late-50s, and contrasted their non-youthfulness with Congress celebrities in their 30s, all elected members of the Lok Sabha. The implication was clear: The BJP is a party of fuddy-duddies and only the Congress offers hope to the New India that loves going partying in pubs, networking on Facebook and livening up the social life of Lutyens’ Delhi.

<b>I have no complaints about editors rooting for the Congress’ victory in the general election and doing the groundwork for the fourth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to become Prime Minister. </b>The right to genuflect at the altar of any god or false prophet is constitutionally-guaranteed and, hopefully, will always remain so. What is interesting though are those (apart from Rahul Gandhi) that have been projected as representatives of the Congress’ Gen-Next: Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Jitin Prasada and Milind Deora. Apart from age, a felicity with the English language and People-Like-Us clubability, what binds these youth icons?

The answer is inheritance. <b>Every single one of these personable Page Three figures has been catapulted to the centrestage of politics on the strength of an accident of birth</b>. True, this is not a disqualification. Nor should it be said that in time to come many of these individuals will not distinguish themselves for reasons of ability, rather than pedigree. For the moment, however, they enjoy a head-start because of privilege — a principle that flouts every norm of modernity.

The new mansabdari system that has become the basis for the Congress is what distinguishes it from the other national party. Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Narendra Modi and Shivraj Singh Chouhan may be faulted for being born when they were. Tragically, selecting the year of birth is something that an individual has very little control over. Yet, what distinguishes each of them from the Congress’ youth pantheon is that they were not to the manor born. They have got to where they have on the strength of their abilities. They have not inherited political seats and they are not blessed by entitlement.

<b>Incidentally, the BJP too has its share of bright young Lok Sabha MPs. There are people such as Dharmendra Pradhan from Orissa, Ashok Argal a fourth term MP, Shahnawaz Hussain from Bihar and Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal Pradesh. Each of them has climbed the political ladder the hard way. But why are they not held up by the socialite media as the young face of the BJP? Is it because they don’t attend the right parties and don’t flaunt their mobile phones?</b> If so, there is something seriously perverted about the yardstick with which the media assesses the political worth of individuals.

Of course, the BJP system is by no means perfect. There have been absolute dullards, people whose achievements have invariably exceeded their performance, who have got importance because they attended RSS shakhas in their youth. They have benefitted from being a member of a fraternity, much as some people have taken political advantage from being identified with a particular caste or religion. But this seems a minor aberration compared to the Congress way of life.

<b>The Congress’ claim to be a party of modernity is built on spurious foundations. There is a superficial dimension to being contemporary — that which corresponds to the term ‘hip’. This involves following trends in fashion, emulating facets of American culture, being at ease in the beautiful world of cosmopolitan India and becoming gizmo-obsessed. </b>In the past, individuals were measured by a blend of professional abilities, sense of values, civility and cultural demeanour. Today, the media has imposed a new hierarchy based on consumption patterns which gives a natural advantage to privilege and ostentatiousness. Quite unthinkingly, the Congress and its cheerleaders are attempting to make vacuousness the hallmark of Modern India.

What makes this drift to mindlessness doubly galling is that it is prefaced by the astonishing arrogance of birth. The Gandhis may be India’s most formidable pre-sold brand but it does not accord to the family the divine right to treat India and its institutions as a private estate.

<b>The unfortunate Pranab Mukherjee is a case in point. Here is a veteran Congressman of sobriety and worth who sits on every ministerial committee on every conceivable subject, a man who is acknowledged to be capable of handling diverse responsibilities, including finance and external affairs, and a man who has a deep sense of his party’s historical roots. With Manmohan Singh temporarily out of action, it was natural that such a man should have been officiating as Prime Minister. Instead, every ingenuous trick has been played to undermine his importance, to show that he is not a first among equals and that he doesn’t enjoy the full trust of the owners of the Congress. After PV Narasimha Rao, one of India’s great Prime Ministers, the owners have decided that competence always comes second to loyalty and subservience. </b>The Congress youth are relevant because their fathers served the owners loyally and because it is hoped that the same loyalty has become a family trait.

The Congress model of modernity is akin to the Chinese Communist Party’s prescription for its youth. Young China can enrich itself, have a ball in the pubs and discos, even get on Facebook, but it is forbidden from thinking for itself. To this the Congress has added its proscription — don’t have ideas above your station.

The hierarchy of dynastic India is defined and unshakable. The slumdog can be a millionaire but only a Gandhi is King. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Priyanka's father-in-law hanged himself: Police sources</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->NEW DELHI: Rajendra Vadra, father of Robert Vadra, <b>Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's husband, was found dead at a guest house in Yusuf Sarai area on Friday. A source requesting anonymity claimed that it was suspected to be a case of suicide as Vadra was found with an ironing chord around his neck. Police officials, off the record, initially said the death was caused by a heart attack, but later clammed up. No official statement was forthcoming from either the family or the police.

Vadra's body was found by a room attendant at around 9.30 am in City Inn, where he had been staying for the last fortnight. His body was taken to Safdarjung Hospital and a post mortem conducted. Sources within the hospital claimed that there were injury marks around the neck, but declined to be quoted. Neither the police, nor hospital authorities divulged any details about the cause of death.</b>

Vadra, who was in his 60s, was reportedly alone at the time of his death. His body was cremated at the Lodhi Road Crematorium on Friday afternoon in the presence of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka and his son Robert, along with other family and friends. Rahul left early for campaigning in Bihar while the others stayed on with the family. <b>The family of the deceased refused to speak to the media about the incident. The police declined to comment on whether an inquest would be conducted into the allegations of suicide</b>.

Vadra was reportedly undergoing treatment for cirrhosis of the liver and severe diabetes at Max Hospital. <b>He was staying at the guest house even though he owned a house in New Friend's Colony</b>.

About eight years ago, Robert Vadra had issued a public notice stating that his father, Rajender, and brother, Richard, were "duping" people by promising jobs at the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee and other favours. Rajendra later threatened to file a defamation suit against his son. In an interview, he had also expressed displeasure at Robert's marriage with Priyanka.

Rajendra was a resident of Civil Lines area of Moradabad and ran a brass and wood handicrafts business. <b>Robert's brother, Richard Vadra was also found dead in mysterious circumstances in September 2003 at his Vasant Vihar residence, and his sister Michelle died in a car accident in 2001.</b>

While the Vadra family claimed to be a supporter of the Congress Party, <b>Rajendra's older brother Om Prakash had donated his property to a trust in Moradabad, some members of which are affiliated with RSS. A school still stands on that land</b>. The family is originally from Sialkot, Pakistan, and Rajendra's father moved to India at the time of partition<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
When these people can't take care of their own, how anyone can trust these morons.
<b>Vadra’s father found dead in Delhi hotel</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Robert Vadra’s estranged father Rajendra Vadra was found dead in a guesthouse in Yusuf Sarai Friday morning. <b>Police said Vadra was found hanging from the ceiling fan</b>. He was taken to a hospital which declared him dead on arrival.

Vadra had been staying at the guesthouse, Citi Inn, for the past two years. A room attendant found him hanging from the fan at around 11 am. The body was handed over to the family after the mandatory postmortem.

This is the third tragedy in Robert Vadra’s family. His sister Michelle Vadra died in a car crash in April 2001. <b>Younger brother Richard Vadra killed himself two years later in 2003.</b> And now father Rajendra Vadra.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
^ Bump
<!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo--> When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has accorded the “guardian angel” status to Sonia Gandhi, can his Cabinet colleagues be far behind in their ‘devotion’ to the Congress president?

Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj on Saturday proclaimed himself to be a Sonia “devotee”. “I have been a devotee of the Gandhi family… Today I am a devotee of Sonia Gandhi, who is the head of the family now,” Bhardwaj said while interacting with reporters on the sidelines of a function in the capital.

<b>Happy birthday, Rahul</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Congress scion Rahul Gandhi is all set to celebrate his 39th birthday today in London, quietly and with close friends. Party sources confirmed yesterday that Rahul had already left for London.<b> The celebration will be a private dinner, most likely with friends from his Cambridge days and some old family friends. </b>

<b>Rahul is not known for celebrating his birthdays in India. Also, London seems to be his favourite holiday destination — it was reported that last year, too, he had a private birthday party there</b>.

According to the sources, Sonia Gandhi is expected to be with Rahul today. There was no confirmation on whether sister Priyanka and brother-in-law Robert Vadra would join them or not
Yes, those rowdy parties. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Mayawati decides to settle scores on Rahul’s birthday

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Friday mobilised workers of her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to stage demonstrations in each of the state's 70 districts as the Congress workers began statewide celebrations to mark the 39th birthday of their general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

Even as the demonstrations, also to be held at all state capitals across the country, were ostensibly termed a part of the BSP's protests against the "anti-people's policies" of the central government, Mayawati is understood to have clearly briefed party leaders down the line to raise slogans of "sharm karo (feel ashamed)".

http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.as...umentid=3049537 <!--emo&:blink:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blink.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Oh, to be poor</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Third, the rich living simply may be one way of showing sympathy for the  poor. But I doubt if it makes the latter feel better. For instance, will farmers in distress have been comforted by the fact Sonia Gandhi now flies economy and  not business class and Rahul travels by train?

Fourth, if you want to set an example it must be a meaningful one. <b>If  television channels are correct in claiming that five rows of seats were reserved  to enable Sonia Gandhi to travel economy and the only saving when her son went  by train was Rs 445, then their efforts are more akin to vaudeville farce than effective cost-cutting.

Fifth, if politicians have a duty to be austere, as Rahul Gandhi has said (Chennai, September  10), then why is he, a bachelor, living in 12 Tughlaq Lane, one of  the largest government-owned bungalows in Delhi? I’m told houses of that size are reserved for cabinet ministers. In that case, he’s not even entitled to  it.</b> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Sixth, if they are serious about austerity and not simply deluding us, why do ministers need parquet floors, Italian marble tiles and silk carpets when they refurnish their offices? Or does austerity not apply to what others can’t  see?

<b>Seventh, does it make sense to require our foreign minister to fly halfway around Europe to reach Minsk thus ensuring he’s pooped on arrival and unable  to get down to immediate work? He is, after all, 78 and age does take its  toll.</b>

Eighth, if austerity is the order of the day why should the prime minister be excluded from its enforcement? After all, Tony Blair and Gordon  Brown have often flown across the Atlantic on commercial airlines. And they did  so without boasting of their austerity.<b> So will Manmohan Singh travel on a  scheduled flight when he departs for Pittsburgh later this month?</b>

Ninth, if Sarojini Naidu could jest that it cost the nation a fortune to  keep the Mahatma in poverty, why can’t Shashi Tharoor make jokes about travelling cattle class? <b>Either the Congress Party has lost its sense of humour or its Miss Primms don’t realise that is how economy class is referred to jocularly the  world over?</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Why India is not a great nation</b>

2009-10-13 12:43:25
Last Updated: 2009-10-13 13:18:17
Major General Mrinal Suman, AVSM, VSM, PhD, commanded an Engineer Regiment on the Siachen Glacier, the most hostile battlefield in the world. A highly qualified officer (B Tech, MA (Public Administration), MSc (Defence Studies) and a Doctorate in Public Administration) he was also the Task Force Commander at Pokhran and was responsible for designing and sinking shafts for the nuclear tests of May 1998.

As India celebrates 62 years of Independence, one tends to wonder: what makes nations great? Why is the US an undisputed world power? Why has Britain remained undefeated for centuries? Why has India succumbed to foreign rule so often? Why is India still struggling with internal dissensions and fissiparous forces? What does India lack?

A chance meeting with a British army veteran in a train from Edinburgh to London proved highly revealing. According to him, the secret of British success lies in the public support and respect extended to the soldiers.

`Soldiers` loyalty to the nation and readiness for the supreme sacrifice are driven less by material considerations and more by an overwhelming urge to earn love and respect of their countrymen. A grateful nation`s recognition of their contribution to national security acts as the strongest motivator,` he declared.

`Britain never forgets its war heroes. Every major landmark in London is named after distinguished soldiers and not politicians,` he pointed out proudly. To prove his point further, he recalled, `Before World War II, it was not uncommon to see placards hanging outside some restaurants in Paris which read `Dogs, lackeys and soldiers not allowed`. On the other hand, even pregnant women used to get up and offer seats to soldiers in London buses. When the war broke out, France capitulated in no time while Britain remained undefeated.`

In an article written two days before the swearing-in of US President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle devoted 515 out of 863 words to the soldiers and their families. `So as I watch Barack take that oath, I`ll be thinking especially about those members of our American family who stand guard across the world and the loved ones who await their safe return... My husband and I are deeply grateful for the sacrifices that these families make to protect all American families. And we join them -- today and every day -- in praying for their loved ones and their safety. They don`t ask a lot in return, just a Washington that understands the challenges they face as part of their extraordinary commitment to our country... My husband understands that commitment, and he will ensure America lives up to its end,` she wrote.

`On Tuesday night, my husband and I will tuck in our daughters like we always do. Their bedrooms will be different, their home unfamiliar. But they will drift off to sleep protected by that same sacrifice that has kept all of our families safe and safeguarded our freedom for generations -- the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform and their families...For that, we could not be more grateful -- or more proud,` she added.

Now let us compare the above with the state of affairs in India. Can anyone recall a similar expression of sentiments by a national figure? Except for perfunctory platitudes on Independence Day, the Government has singularly failed to show compassion for the soldiers or tried to redress their genuine grievances. Apathetic political leadership and bureaucracy have made no attempt to understand the intensity of sense of hurt of the soldiers at their continued neglect and deliberate degradation.

Despite repeated representations, India still does not have a war memorial in the capital to honour independent India`s martyrs. India wants to ape the West in all sundry aspects, but not in matters that affect the well-being and morale of the armed forces. The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington in Washington, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the Cenotaph in London are admired by all Indian visitors. Yet the absence of a suitable war memorial in New Delhi does not appear odd to them. Surprisingly, it does not even hurt the conscience of the nation. There is no other country that can be so apathetic to the memory of thousands of soldiers who have laid down their lives for its security.

Our Urban Development Ministry is more concerned with the vestiges of the British rule, and opposes a war memorial near India Gate in the name of preserving heritage. India Gate was built in the memory of soldiers who died in World War I during the British rule. India has fought five wars since Independence and over 40,000 soldiers have made the supreme sacrifice. Opposition to a war memorial on frivolous grounds is an affront to the memory of martyrs and displays shameless insensitivity to the feelings of those who have lost their family members. But then, no political leader or bureaucrat can be faulted for their inability to appreciate these issues as they never send their progeny to the military.

Look at the treatment meted out to India`s tallest military leader, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, the architect of India`s greatest victory ever. It took the Government decades to determine and release his dues. India has not found him worthy of its highest national honour, the `Bharat Ratna`. No political leader thought it necessary to attend his funeral.

In Britain and the US, heads of the State with full national leadership would have made it a point to be present to pay a nation`s grateful respects.

Nelson`s Column at Trafalgar Square occupies the pride of place in London. London boasts of numerous statues of military heroes. No statues of political leaders are seen in the developed countries. India, on the contrary, has not found it necessary to honour Field Marshal Manekshaw`s memory whereas statues of political leaders (many with dubious credentials) dot New Delhi.

It will not be out of place here to recall the speech of President Obama at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention at the Phoenix Convention Center on 17 August 2009. He said, `You have fulfilled your responsibilities. And now a grateful nation must fulfill ours. Whether you've left the service in 2009 or 1949, we will fulfill our responsibility to deliver the benefits and care that you earned.` He described America`s commitment to its veterans as sacred bonds and a sacred trust Americans are honour bound to uphold.

`You have done your duty - to your fallen comrades, to your communities, to your country. You have always fulfilled your responsibilities to America. And so long as I am President of the United States, America will always fulfill its responsibilities to you`, he declared.

Contrast the above pledge and assurance with the apathetic treatment meted out to the ex-servicemen in India. In the recent past, India was witness to the most unfortunate sight of numerous military veterans returning their medals to the President to register their protest against the Government`s indifference to their pleas. Medals earned during active service are the proudest possession of soldiers, and their being driven to surrender them should have made the Government sit up and take note.

But true to its wont, it remained totally unconcerned and unmoved. Not a single Government leader or official has considered it necessary to talk to the protesting veterans to resolve the issues. This episode will certainly go down as a dark chapter in the history of Independent India.

India won the Kargil War of 1999 at a huge cost -- 527 officers and soldiers sacrificed their lives while over a 1,000 sustained battle injuries, many maimed forever. Yet, a senior Congress leader, Mr Rashid Alvi, had the impudence to state that commemoration was not warranted as the war took place due to an intelligence failure of the BJP Government. Every Indian soldier, both serving and retired, was aghast at the brazenness of the logic.

A notion has been deliberately perpetuated that the military must be kept under control through the bureaucracy lest it acquires political ambitions. Examples of Pakistan and Bangladesh are quoted to implant the fear of a military takeover in the minds of gullible and ignorant political leadership. A systematic and well planned strategy has been orchestrated to downgrade the military`s standing. The Sixth Central Pay Commission was the latest master stroke.

Although the public at large still holds the military in high esteem, a deliberate media campaign is being orchestrated by some elements with vested interests to show the military in a poor light. Instead of appreciating the military for initiating prompt disciplinary action against defaulters -- handful acts of misdemeanor and indiscretion in a 1.3 million strong organisation -- such cases are sensationalised to paint a negative picture of the services.

Historically, India does not have a culture of valuing its military. That is the reason that every invader succeeded in defeating and enslaving the sub-continent. If India survives today despite inept political leadership and the self-serving bureaucracy, it is only due to the unquestioned loyalty of the military and enormous sacrifices made by the soldiers.

Denigration of the military always proves fatal in the long run. Any country that discredits the status of its soldiers loses the moral right to expect them to die for its security. Great nations are distinguished by the esteem in which they hold their military.

No nation that stubbornly declines to honour the martyrs, respect the soldiers and care for the veterans can ever aspire to be counted amongst the great nations, slogans like `Mera Bharat Mahan` not withstanding.

[url="http://www.dailypioneer.com/221316/I-did-not-force-pilot-to-land-in-zero-visibility-Rahul.html"]I did not force pilot to land in zero visibility: Rahul[/url]


Quote:Contradicting Uttar Pradesh Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi, party general secretary and MP Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he did not force his helicopter pilot to land in zero visibility in Sitapur district.

The controversy started after Joshi told reporters in Sitapur that Gandhi had forced the pilot to land in "zero visibility" Monday night.

"The pilot was just not ready to land the helicopter, but Rahulji forced him to do so and the chopper landed in zero visibility," Joshi told reporters Monday night.

"It displays Rahulji's commitment...Actually he had promised to meet backward class people in Sitapur. So, even after the delay, while he was going to Hardoi, he insisted that the pilot land the chopper at night in Sitapur," said Joshi.

But Gandhi, who is on a two-day trip to the state, denied that he had ever done so.

"I did not force my pilot to land in poor visibility. I am a pilot myself and I know the rules. Our UP president is not a pilot neither is she a weather expert to talk about this," he said at a press conference.

He said the media was creating a story out of nothing and destroying the pilot's career.

"The pilot took me aside and told me that my career is over as the media has reported this. He personally told me that he was the last person to land in zero visibility. This is not fair to him. There was plenty of visibility and the report about zero visibility was completely wrong," he said.

The MP from Amethi also refuted reports of him breaking security cover to meet people during his visits.

"Ask the Special Protection Group (SPG) and they will tell you that not once have I broken any security cover," Gandhi said.
Sitapur DM says Gandhi's chopper landed in poor visibility

Quote:PTI | Sitapur (UP): The district administration on Tuesday said that the helicopter carrying Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had landed here on Monday evening after sunset and at that time the visibility was "poor".

Sitapur District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar, who has submitted a report to the State Home Department, on Tuesday said, "It is on the record that the Congress leader landed after sunset. While sunset was at 5.13 pm he landed here around 5.30 pm yesterday."

Observing that the administration could have not stopped Gandhi from landing as several aspects were involved, he told PTI, "If a chopper is air borne, there is no way of stopping it from landing. Besides, there are several other aspects as well."

"But it is sure that by that time visibility was poor," he said, maintaining that the SPG personnel repeatedly told him that the Congress leader was about to reach.

Kumar said 39-year-old Gandhi also did not avail the bullet-proof vehicle assigned for him in his convoy.

"Instead of travelling in his bulletproof vehicle, he took another vehicle," the DM said.

Kumar also said that a joint report of the DM and the Superintendent of Police here has been sent to the Home Department in Lucknow giving details about the developments.
The split in the Congress on Maoists was wide open as both Houses of Parliament discussed the Dantewada incident on Thursday and majority of the party MPs differed with Home Minister P Chidambaram’s policy of treating the menace purely as a law and order issue.

Though the Congress has been maintaining that there are no real differences within the party over the Govern-ment’s policy on Naxalism, the party’s MPs in both the Houses emphasised that it was mainly a socio-economic problem. Andhra Pradesh MP K Keshava Rao even quoted general secretary Rahul Gandhi to make the point that the Government should first initiate development schemes and then start dialogue process with the Maoists. http://www.dailypioneer.com/249535/Cong-...-open.html

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