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State News And Discussion - II
NCP 'to withdraw support' in Goa -HT
This man parikkar is something. .

Isko koi dilli main le jao.. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
And oh... NCP is holding it's 6th birthday bash............ in Surat <!--emo&Rolleyes--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rolleyes.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rolleyes.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Bhajan likely Chhatisgarh governor

14 June 2005: Bhajan Lal is among three Congress politicians shortlisted to become the next Chhatisgarh governor, succeeding Lieutenant General (retired) K.M.Seth, and while Bal Kavi Bairagi is putting pressure for his own candidature, the Union labour minister, Sis Ram Ola, is resisting the same offer.

The former Chhatisgarh chief minister, <b>Ajit Jogi, is keenest on Bhajan Lal, an ace in engineering defections, because Jogi wants to break away dissatisfied BJP tribal MPs into a new party, a task not upto either Bal Kavi or Ola to plan or approve</b> <!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Five TRS ministers resign</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Five Telengana Rashhtra Samiti ministers on Monday pulled out of the Congress-led coalition government in Andhra Pradesh climaxing serious differences between the two parties on handling Naxalite problem and the separate statehood demand but one party minister refused to quit.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Chandrasekhara Rao, Labour Minister at the Centre, has been feeling uneasy of late that he has been not been able to deliver on the separate Telenga promise. Recently, he had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to get a committee of the UPA activated on the separate statehood issue.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Cho Ramaswamy, political analyst and editor of the Tamil magazine Thuglak, was said to be the only man in Tamil Nadu who spoke openly and courageously against the Emergency. In this interview with Shobha Warrier, he recalls those dark days, most of the time satirically. It is always a pleasure talking to him and listening to him airing contrarian views.

How did you take the news of the declaration of the Emergency? Did you have a feeling that it was coming?

Mine was the only journal in the country that wrote that there could be an Emergency regime. We even published a mock cartoon, which showed JP, Kripalani, Morarji and many others in jail. In this imaginary piece, we said that all fundamental rights had been taken away. Of course, we exaggerated the prevailing situation before the Emergency.

What gave you the idea that the Emergency would be declared? We never had anything like that in India till then?

I had been interacting with many people like Chandrasekhar. The way things were going, I thought Mrs. (Indira) Gandhi might feel she was fighting a losing game mainly because of what was happening due to the JP movement. Of course, for her, the last straw was the Allahabad high court judgment.

Once the Emergency was declared, did you feel vindicated?

It's not a question of vindication. When VP Singh became the prime minister, I said the very same Devi Lal who propped him up could dump him and back Chandrasekhar quite soon. It happened.

Was it premonition?

It was not premonition. I can give you a list of things, which we had predicted. I asked Mrs. Gandhi in an interview, 'How long do you think Bangladesh will remain friendly?' I said it's going to be a problem for her. She asked, 'Why do you say so?' I said that was how I felt. She didn't agree. She said it was exaggerated.

When the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam set foot in India, I wrote it was going to be a menace as far as Tamil Nadu was concerned, and that we must sit up and take notice. I started campaigning against it. Everybody thought I was exaggerating a non-existent threat. Everybody thought I was anti-Tamil but ultimately it proved to be true.

When the Janata government came to power, I said Charan Singh was going to be a threat. When Sanjiva Reddy was elected President, I said he would be a problem to the government.

When the Emergency was declared, you were the editor of Thuglak. What were the problems you faced?

I was agitated initially and stopped the publication of Thuglak for two issues. Later, when I restarted, I published a black wrapper. In fact, two issues of Thuglak had black wrappers; one was during the Emergency and the other after Babri Masjid was pulled down.

Why did you restart after two issues?

I wanted some time to think and see how I could tackle it. I was busy writing for underground magazines, and also addressing meetings. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh mostly did these underground magazines. That is how I came into contact with them. They were very dedicated people publishing magazines against all odds.

Then, I started interacting with Ramnath Goenka. I had nothing to lose at that time but not Goenka. I used to say, I don't even have hair on my head to lose!! Goenka had an empire at stake. So also Irani. In spite of it, they spoke against the Emergency. Their courage is much greater than mine because I was a man with nothing to lose.

At any point of time, were you scared?

Somehow, my safety didn't bother me much. I am a fatalist. I strongly believe that when my time comes, nobody could do anything to make me live longer. Otherwise, even if you want to kill me, you will not be able to do so (laughs).

I restarted the magazine when I felt I could convey some messages to the people. There was an old Tamil movie called Sarvadhikari (Dictator) made in the fifties. I reviewed the movie during the Emergency. Luckily, it was showing in a theatre at the time. In the review, I condemned the dictatorship. A woman was behind it too! There were so many indirect ways to criticise the Emergency.

Didn't you have any problems with the censors?

I had problems. When I did these things, they started censoring even the advertisements. In the name of advertisement, I was sending messages. Ours was the only journal in the whole country for which even censorship of advertisement was clamped.

I was a regular visitor, with my magazine, to Sastri Bhavan, where the censors sat. I even took my salary to him telling, "This belongs to you. You are the editor!"

Were they amused?

They were embarrassed all the time. They were helpless. The governor's advisors warned me. I said I was not bothered.

Every issue was a problem. But I addressed meetings though meetings were banned. The Congress (O) was sponsoring meetings.

Please don't forget that I was not the only one who fought; there were many others. Rajmohan Gandhi fought it through Himmat. Goenka fought it. Irani did.

But all the time I knew the Emergency would be lifted sooner than later. I was saying that in all the meetings as it was becoming difficult to manage.

How was the general atmosphere in Tamil Nadu? Were there any excesses?

Karunanidhi was undecided. He went on praising Mrs. Gandhi now and then. Before he was dismissed, he supported the 20-point program, he supported Sanjay Gandhi's 5-point program. He thought he could escape by supporting her. He went to the extent of saying I am not your enemy. In fact, I am prepared to identify and give you information about people who are against you.

MGR also supported Mrs. Gandhi…

Yes, and Mrs. Gandhi preferred him to Karunanidhi. So, Karunanidhi had to be in the opposite camp. He became a reluctant opponent of the Emergency. Later on, he put on the mantle of a great fighter against the Emergency. But he was never happy with the Janata grouping because they were not prepared to withdraw the Sarakaria commission report and all that.

MGR kept warning me in his speeches that I would be arrested any time. But I was not arrested.

Why do you think they spared you even after your attacking (though indirectly) through the Thuglak?

It could have been my proximity to Kamaraj. The second reason could be that my father was a respected Congressman. Third, perhaps they thought "He is after all a satirist, let him say whatever he wants in an indirect fashion!"

Rajmohan (Gandhi) was not arrested. Goenka was not arrested. Irani was not arrested. All of them were working against the Emergency.

Were you at the receiving end of any direct or indirect threats?

Yes. People who were close to Sanjay Gandhi were asking him to do something about me. Certain industrialist friends of mine used to warn me. But nothing happened. I cannot say I went through hell and all that.

Were you getting a kind of pleasure by attacking the Emergency? A sense of adventure?

I think it must have been some kind of a thrill because I was only a five-year-old journalist then. My journal was launched in 1970. In hindsight, I feel I must have been thrilled fighting a mighty power. It could be that.

You said when the Emergency was lifted you were expecting it. Did you feel relieved when it was finally lifted?

It was no great relief or pain or anything. I took it in my stride, that's all. But I campaigned for the Janata all over India, attending meetings wherever Tamils lived.

What was the mood of the general public when the Emergency was lifted?

In Tamil Nadu, the Emergency was not unpopular. People actually welcomed it. There was no great abuse of power here. Maybe, because MGR did not oppose it. I have a feeling that the middle class throughout the country welcomed it.

To be honest with you, I attended a BJP meeting a few days ago. I said, the Emergency was then brought about by a wrong person for wrong reason at a wrong time and administered wrongly. There was no threat of war, no internal disturbance. All that happened was that there was JP's movement against corruption and the Allahabad high court unseated Mrs. Gandhi.

Now, you take the condition of the country. Naxalite groups are operating in several parts, and they are growing. The LTTE has not stopped its anti-India machinations. Khalistan movement has not been stopped totally. Infiltration of Bangladeshi refugees is going to be a big problem for the country. Look at the condition in the North-East and Kashmir.

And, workers go on strike for anything. During the Emergency, nobody even spoke of a strike. Every reform is being blocked now. So, this is the right time for an Emergency.

You are joking…

No, I am not. Today, nobody is aware of his duties in this country. Laws are there to be broken. Rules are there to be violated. Regulations are there to be ignored. That's the present mood of the country.

Why is China advancing at a more rapid rate than us? It is the discipline, which is helping them. We are the most indisciplined of all democracies in the world.

Those who were part of JP's movement against corruption are symbols of corruption now, like Laloo Prasad Yadav.

So, the time is right but the person over there is wrong again. By wrong person, I mean Sonia Gandhi, who is the real authority, the real power. So, there is a wrong person there. One can rest assured that it will be wrongly administrated. I will not welcome an Emergency if this government imposes it. But if a person like Vajpayee or Advani, real nationalists- not necessarily them but someone like them- does it at some point of time, I will welcome it. That's my present mood. I want to be honest when I give my opinion.
``Parties need to ensure stability''

Staff Reporter

"Corruption remains a chronic problem, communalism another threat"

CHENNAI: With coalition governments set to become a permanent feature, especially at the Centre, the most important challenge before the country is to ensure socio-political stability, according to N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu.

Delivering the first Henning Holck-Larsen memorial lecture, organised here on Monday by Larsen and Toubro Limited to mark the 98th birth anniversary of one of its founders, he said that stability was essential as the governments had a huge role to play in shaping policy.

Under such circumstances, political parties would be required to show capability of assuring "a viable degree of stability," he said, adding that the Common Minimum Programme, chalked out by the ruling coalition partners, acted as binding glue. "Anything common goes to the heart of stability."

Listing corruption as another challenge, he said it "remains a chronic problem for India" and poses a major threat to political health and stability of the country. He called for measures to attack this problem, particularly by laying emphasis on good practices.

Communalism was another threat to the country's stability. Despite having a secular Constitution, the country faced communal conflicts, which should not be allowed. Similarly, stability was also under pressure due to separatist movements. Noting that the other challenges facing the country included measures to ensure social justice, gender equality and popularising education in rural areas, he said a reality check had been necessitated.

Such a reality check was necessary as there was a need to establish vital linkages bridging the divide between those dependent on the predominant agrarian economy and those in the upcoming services sector. The emphasis should be on manufacturing and job creation. "Let us not make a fetish of the new economy," he said, pointing out that the country could not catch up with other nations without taking measures for broadbased growth.

The late Henning Holck-Larsen, who co-founded L and T, contributed to modernisation and development of India and was a professional of integrity and meticulousness, he said.

K.V. Rangaswami, Member of the board and Senior Vice-President (Operations), L and T, said the launch of the lecture series was a befitting tribute to the late Larsen and comes in the centenary year of the other founder, late S.K. Toubro.
Kerala: 9 Congress MLAs quit, join Karunakaran National Congress (Indira)
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`Counter unfair reports in western media'

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: India has been taking an unfair beating from irresponsible and stereotypical reporting and it is time Indian journalists did something about it, columnist S. Gurumurthy told students at Sri Sri Centre for Media Studies here on Sunday.

"Popularity comes without invitation, and leaves without a farewell," Mr. Gurumurthy said. He was delivering the keynote address at the fourth annual convocation of the institute.

Sixteen students received postgraduate diplomas in print, broadcast, and new media journalism this year.

Swami Pragyapada, a senior Art of Living teacher, presided over the convocation.

Mr. Gurumurthy said he would not brand journalists as anti-Indian. Some of his western friends truly believe that India is a land of "bride-baking". He said several other countries, including the U.S., Japan, and Sweden, have had their share of social problems but the media in those countries never focuses on those problems.

Swami Pragyapada, in his presidential address, asked the students not to lose sight of their long-term goal and not be swayed by any momentary setbacks.

Radhakrishnan, Executive Director of the institute, spoke.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>MK summoned to appear in court</b>
Chennai, July 6:
A court here today issued summons to former Chief Minister and DMK president M Karunanidhi to appear before it on 25 July in connection with an article written by him in the party organ Murasoli apparently hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindus.

The summons was issued by XVII Metropolitan Magistrate Balraj. <b>A few months ago, Karunanidhi had written an article about Hindus and their holy scripture the Bhagwad Gita</b>.

A resident of Mambalam Gowthaman filed a complaint with the <b>police seeking action against Karunanidhi for hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindus following which Mambalam police filed a case and began enquiries</b>.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Quit now or face bullets </b>
Kalyani Shankar
Will a separate Telangana state become a reality for the people of the region? This is the million dollar question - although the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) hopes to achieve its objective.

It is more than a year since the TRS became a partner of the Congress in Andhra Pradesh as well as the Centre. But there is still no sign of a separate Telangana state despite fact that the issue was included in the common minimum programme of the UPA Government. When a solution to the Telangana issue seemed to be nowhere in sight the TRS lost its patience and to keep up the pressure, the party pulled out its ministers in Hyderabad early this week.

Was it just a storm in a teacup or was it more than that? TRS chief Chandrasekhara Rao makes it clear that it is the State leadership in Hyderabad that he is against, and not the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The TRS has taken the matter to Ms Gandhi's court and is hopeful that something will emerge soon, which will assuage the feelings of the people of the region.

The Telangana movement has its own background and is a long pending demand of the backward region of Andhra Pradesh. In the '70s, Chenna Reddy led the movement for separate Telangana state; however, it died down soon afterwards when Chenna Reddy joined the Congress and became Chief Minister. The dormant feelings of the people of the region were rekindled once again by Mr Chandrasekhara Rao when he resigned from the Telugu Desam Party and launched an agitation for a separate Telangana state.

The Congress tied up with the TRS and fought the 2004 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. The TRS emerged as winner in both the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls and won 24 and five seats respectively. The Congress won two-thirds majority in the State Assembly. Ms Gandhi then invited the TRS to join both the State Cabinet and the UPA Government, which the party did.

However, everything did not end happily as the TRS is under great pressure from the Naxalites with whose help the party won the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. While Chief Minister Reddy invited the Naxalites for talks, nothing came of it and the Left-wing radicals only strengthened their base during the negotiations with more arms and resources. Now the Naxals are calling the shots and the TRS has nowhere to turn.

<b>More than a year has passed since and now it is payback time for the TRS. The Naxalites are pointing the gun to their heads and are demanding results</b>. The people of the Telangana region are also getting restive that there is no forward movement towards forming a separate state. And the TRS cannot keep the people happy by making mere promises.

The group of ministers (GoM) headed by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee has met only once to discuss the issue. And a second meeting has been called this week. Mr Mukherjee has written to various political parties for their views. While some like the TDP have not replied, the BJP is also non-committal so far. TRS leaders claim the support of 26 parties while even the Congress disputes this claim. Mr Chandrasekhara Rao holds Mr YS Rajasekhara Reddy equally responsible for the current state of affairs.

First, it must be said that Mr Reddy is totally against the idea of a separate Telangana state - he had made his position clear even before the elections. He hails from Rayalaseema region and fears that there may soon be a demand for a separate Rayalaseema state as well. That is why Ms Gandhi kept Mr Reddy and the then Congress general secretary in charge of Andhra Pradesh, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, out and entrusted the task of sealing the alliance with the TRS to the suave Defence Minister before the elections.

Mr Rao and Mr Mukherjee hit it off and now the former is pleased that it is Mr Mukherjee who is heading the GoM to look into the demand for a separate Telangana state. Mr Mukherjee has already written to all the parties and is almost ready with the report. Mr Reddy and most other Andhra Congress leaders have convinced Mr Digvijay Singh, Congress general secretary in charge of Andhra Pradesh, that Mr Rao is veering from the pre-election agreement for a second State Reorganisation Commission and is asking why is he not honouring this agreement signed by him before the polls. The TRS is adamant that a separate Telangana state must be formed or else it will pull out of the Centre as well.

<b>The Congress, being a national party, must think big and is worried that there may be similar demands for Vidarbha, Saurashtra, Harit Pradesh, Bundelkhandh and Kutch.</b> Its leaders do not want to open a Pandora's box by delivering a separate Telangana state in a hurry.

Mr Reddy also knows that this is mere pressure tactics, as the withdrawal of the TRS's support will not endanger his Government. For the record, Mr Chandrasekhara Rao has advanced two arguments in favour of a TRS pull out: First, the slow progress of the Telangana issue, and second, the mishandling of the talks with the Naxalites by the State Government.

<b>Interestingly, the TRS ministers who were elected with the tacit support of the Naxalites are now left with no other option but resign as the deadline given by the Maoists was coming to an end. The Maoists are now saying, "Quit now or face bullets." </b>The problem is that both the Congress and the TRS are facing the wrath of the Naxalites who had been running a parallel administration in the region for the last many years now. Every Chief Minister has attempted and failed to tackle their menace. During elections, it is the writ of the Naxalites which runs in the villages.

Mr Chandrasekhara Rao also cites other issues like the delaying of the Pulichintla project site, irrigation programmes and other development works in the region for the TRS grouch. The party is also unhappy because Mr Reddy is mooting the idea of a greater Hyderabad, which in effect would kill the plan to make Hyderabad the capital of Telangana if and when a separate state is formed.

The Congress, obviously, feels there is no hurry while the TRS faces pressure. Telangana is not the priority for the UPA allies either. That is why the Congress is simply going through the motions with the intent of buying time. <b>The TRS has to go along with the Congress if it wants to remain in power</b>. Mr Chandrasekhara Rao was blunt when he explained that the TRS had to remain in the UPA because it is one of the 24 partners, while in the State it is the only partner. "We want both their feet inside rather than outside," is what Mr Digvijay Singh had to say.

Mr Chandrasekhara Rao argues that consensus does not mean all parties should agree and if a majority are in agreement, then a separate Telangana state would be possible. The Congress is not only vacillating on the Telangana issue but also the handling of the Naxalites. Unless the Government has a proper strategy to tackle the Left-wing radicals, the problem will persist.

The resignation of TRS ministers is a clear indication of what what lies in store. Mr Chandrasekhara Rao knows that if he is unable to deliver, he, too, will eventually have to resign. That is his desperation. Ms Gandhi wants her UPA partners intact and, hence, her soft approach towards the TRS. <b>Sooner or later some action will have to be taken or else the bubble will burst. The TRS has much at stake - if it does not deliver, its very existence could come into peril.</b> <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Rocket launcher found in ex-MLA house</b>
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | July 21, 2005 14:54 IST
Bihar police on Thursday recovered a rocket launcher from the house of a former independent legislator <b>Surendra Sharma, a criminal-turned-politician </b>in <b>Saran district.</b>

Shocked by the recovery of a rocket launcher from Sharma house, Governor Buta Singh ordered Director General of Police Ashish Ranjan Sinha to investigate <b>how Sharma came to possess the sophisticated combat weapon, used by the Indian Army.</b>

Sharma is currently lodged in Chapra jail in connection with criminal cases.

A joint team of Special Task Force along with district police raided Sharma's house on Tuesday following <b>a tip off that four abducted persons were kept at his house and recovered a rocket launcher, an AK 47 and huge arms and ammunition.</b>

Sinha said that Sharma would be taken into police remand in a day or two for interrogation.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Why he need rocket launcher? How they managed to steal IA weapons?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Rane to formally join Congress on July 28 </b>
Agencies/ Mumbai
Expelled Shiv Sena leader Narayan Rane on Monday said he would formally join the Congress on July 28. This was announced by Rane at a press conference.

Rane had earlier met Congress President Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on July 22 and indicated that he will join her party.

Rane said thousands of his supporters would join Congress along with him on July 28.

The former Chief Minister said he would work in Congress with the same dedication he did in Shiv Sena.

"I decided to join Congress keeping in mind the interest of the state and Konkan region," Rane said, adding, senior people in Congress party would cooperate with him.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Now congress is slowly becoming Shiv Sena. How this will work?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Modi expands ministry </b>
PTI/ Gandhinagar
Differences in the Gujarat BJP came to the fore during the first cabinet expansion of the Narendra Modi Government, when his known baiter, Goardha Zadafiya refused to take oath even as 11 others were sworn in as Ministers of State.

Drama unfolded at the makeshift venue of the swearing-in ceremony when Zadafiya, known to be close to Modi's bete-noire and predecessor Keshubhai Patel, refused to take oath telling reporters that he was not keen to get into the cabinet. "I feel that my workers cannot get justice in the present conditions (in Gujarat), I am not keen to be part of the Cabinet. I am and will remain a soldier of BJP and will work for the party," he said denying that he was rebelling against the Chief Minister openly.

Zadafiya said he had "considered this decision all night and had made up his mind, without anyone's influence".

Those who were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Naval Kishore Sharma at Raj Bhavan include <b>Bharat Barot, Jasu Korat, Ratibhai Sureja, Mulubhai Bera, Purshottam Solanki, Jaswantsinh Bhabhor, Bhupendrasinh Lakhawala, Sundersinh Chauhan, Chatarsinh Mori, C D Patel and Harjivan Patel.</b>

Solanki, a powerful leader of the Koli community, who called Modi a "Hitler", at a function in May last year but later apologised, was among those inducted into the Cabinet. The expansion, the first since Modi assumed office in December 2002, was held at a time when Keshubhai Patel is in United States on a personal visit. 
Finally, he had decided to expand ministry under pressure.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>For investors, Gujarat is most favoured state  </b>
Pioneer News Service/ New Delhi
<b>In a befitting reply to the critics of Gujarat, the details provided by the UPA Government in Parliament bolster the pro-industrial image of the state. Going by the figures presented by the Centre, Gujarat tops the states in attracting maximum industrial investment.</b>  

The figures placed by Union Minister of State for Industry and Commerce Kamal Nath in Lok Sabha on Tuesday in a reply to a question have proved that with a whopping investment of Rs 94,357 crore, Gujarat has emergednumero uno with Andhra Pradesh at second place with investments totalling Rs 91,027 crore, followed by Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

A day after the Government acknowledged Gujarat's achievement, the state cabinet met under the chairmanship of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and credited him for bringing laurels to the state.

Briefing the media later, the spokesperson of the State Government, Urban Development Minister IK Jadeja and Minister of State for Planning Saurabhbhai Dalal, said "The statewise comparative details presented by Government of India in Lok Sabha are a clear cut reply to the critics of Gujarat."

The two spokespersons further noted that the details provided by the Union Government in Lok Sabha were only for the period up to March 31, 2005. However, during the current year from January till May this year, Gujarat had attracted investments of Rs 43,000 crore which was again highest with a share of 31.17% in the country, they said.

Describing it is as a <b>"historical achievement for Gujarat," the two added that this was the result of qualitative changes brought about under the leadership of the Gujarat Chief Minister in administrative efficiency, transparency and simplification of policies and procedures. "Gujarat has attracted the maximum investments of Rs 94,357 crore and thus Gujarat becomes number one in the country," </b>they said.   <!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Raigunj rape-murder triggers frenzy; 1 dead, 37 injured

A North Dinajpur bandh has been called by the BJP and the SUCI over the police firing. The CM, who expressed concern over the incident, said he has asked the IG (north Bengal) to take necessary steps. Meanwhile, four men have been held for the rape and murder of the girl

Express News Service

Kolkata, August 4: The rape and murder of a 15-year-old Hindu girl by four men belonging to a minority community at Raigunj in North Dinajpur district triggered a VHP-RSS road blockade and considerable communal tension today.

The subsequent police firing and the scuffle killed an agitator and injured around 30 others. Seven policemen were also wounded.

Unconfirmed reports, however, put the death toll at two.

A district-wide bandh has been called by the BJP over the firing. The SUCI, interestingly, has also pitched in with the bandh call.

The Congress will join the strike and as a result, North Dinajpur, in all likelihood, is going to face a total bandh tomorrow.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who expressed grave concern over the incident, said he has asked the IG north Bengal to rush to the area and take necessary steps.

On Tuesday, Pratima Das, a student of class IX of a school in Hetamabad village under Raigunj police station, went to tend goats in the village meadows.

Pratima, however, did not come back home till even late on that day.

Yesterday night, her body was found in the meadows with convincing evidence of rape and subsequent strangulation, something which the police later confirmed.

They also arrested four men, all belonging to the minority community who, according to the police, immediately confessed to their crime.

Today, as the police went to the village to collect the girl’s body in order to send it for post-mortem examinations, a mob comprising mainly members of the VHP and the RSS resisted them.

The mob later blocked off the all-important Raigunj road.

Predictably, a scuffle ensued and the police, who reportedly first resorted to a lathicharge, later started firing on the mob.

‘‘One person has died and seven police personnel, including senior police officers, have been injured,’’ Raj Kanojia, IG, law and order, said here.

Apart from the guilty quartet, the police have arrested another seven people in connection with today’s violence.

Thackeray criticises Jaya Bachchan over demand for separate Mumbai

August 05, 2005 15:35 IST

Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on Friday criticised actress and Samajwadi Party's Rajya Sabha member Jaya Bachchan for 'supporting' the demand for independent status for Mumbai.

"You have been living in Maharashtra for several years and now you are saying this. We will not tolerate anyone speaking of separating Mumbai from Maharashtra," Thackeray, editor of the Sena mouthpiece Saamna, said in an editorial.

"Even Jaya's husband Amitabh Bachchan would have banged his head after hearing what she said in Parliament," Thackeray said.

"The recent developments make one wonder if there is a consipiracy to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra," the editorial said.

"Union Finance Minsiter P Chidambaram had also put forward a similar view three months ago and was given a befitting reply by Sena leader Raj Thackeray, who challenged Chidambaram to first separate Chennai from Tamil Nadu," it said.

Thackeray also criticised legal luminary and Rajya Sabha member Fali Nariman, who raised the issue of separate status for Mumbai in the Upper House recently. "Had the Shiv Sena members been present in Parliament that day, they would have given a befitting reply to Nariman," the editorial said.

There were 105 people who had dedicated their lives in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement to ensure that Mumbai remained a part of Maharashtra, it added.

Jaya seeks more seats for TN Haj pilgrims

Chennai, Aug 4: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today sought the intervention of External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh to arrange release of additional seats for Haj pilgrims from the state.

In a letter to Natwar Singh yesterday, she said the Haj Committee of India (HCI) has been accommodating and confirming all applications for Haj from pilgrims of the state for the last eight years and "there was no need for conducting quarrah (drawal of lots) for selection of pilgrims".

However, for Haj 2006, the Tamil Nadu State Haj Committee had received 3,927 (plus 12 infants) applications, against the quota of 2,009 fixed for the state. It was reported that the HCI has subsequently increased and fixed the quota of Tamil Nadu as 3,004, and has asked the state Haj committee to conduct quarrah for selection of pilgrims, she said.

"In this regard, I would like to point out that due to provision of better services during Haj 2005, the response from the intending Haj pilgrims from our state for Haj 2006, through the HCI is overwhelming, and restricting the quota to 3,004 for our state and conducting quarrah thereon will lead to disappointment and discontent amongst many of the intending pilgrims", she said.

Jayalalithaa said the state Haj committee had faced a similar situation in 2000, during which against a quota of 1,890 applications fixed for the state, the HCI cleared all the 3,858 and 11 infants applications received, thereby avoiding quarrah. "

Further, I understand that the Saudi government had increased the quota of Indian pilgrims for Haj 2006.

"May I, therefore, request you to intervene in the matter and arrange to release additional seats over and above the quota fixed for our state, so that all the applications received by Tamil Nadu State Haj Committee are confirmed for performing Haj 2006", she said. (Our Correspondent)

TN Haj rush to be sorted out: PM

New Delhi, Aug. 5: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday assured a high-level delegation led by Union shipping minister T.R. Baalu that he would have the problem examined and help clear the big rush of Haj pilgrims from Tamil Nadu.

The DMK delegation was in pursuance of the letter written by party president M. Karunanidhi to Dr Singh, seeking his intervention to clear the big rush of Haj pilgrims in Tamil Nadu.

The DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance delegation comprised of Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan, Union minister of state for law A. Venkatapathy, DMK chief whip A. Krishnaswamy and Bhavani (DMK), Khader Moiuddin (IUML), P. Mohan (CPM), Appadurai (CPI), Ravichandran (MDMK) and A.K. Moorthy (PMK).

The Tamil Nadu State Haj Committee takes care of the welfare of Haj pilgrims and makes necessary arrangements for providing assistance like transit accommodation to outstation pilgrims at Chennai, transport facilities from the transit point to the airport and supporting arrangements for operation of flights from Chennai to Jeddah.

Prakash appointed K'taka Dy CM

August 06, 2005 19:41 IST

Revenue Minister M P Prakash was appointed Karnataka deputy chief minister in place of Janata Dal (Secular) rebel Siddaramaiah on Saturday.

Siddaramaiah was sacked on Friday as an upshot of his soured relations with party supremo H D Deve Gowda. Prakash continues to hold charge of revenue and 'muzrai' departments, a notification, issued after Governor T N Chaturvedi accepted the chief minister's recommendation, said.

Chief Minister N Dharam Singh, on whose recommendation Prakash was appointed as his deputy, has not been allocated the finance and excise portfolios held by Siddaramaiah.

Similarly, rural development and panchayat raj and textiles portfolios, held by H C Mahadevappa and Satish Jarkhiholi, who were dismissed along with Siddaramaiah, also remain unallocated.


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