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Power centers in the corridors of power, Extra Con
<!--QuoteBegin-Dipanker+May 22 2004, 09:30 PM-->QUOTE(Dipanker @ May 22 2004, 09:30 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Give it up guys, in 2001 Supreme Court of India already ruled Sonia to be a bonafide citizen of India.

Sonia is a citizen of India: SC
</b> <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
If the whole thing was setteled then the court would not admit the new PIL that they have done now. It was never settled that whether she could be PM.
My Webpage
Perhaps Sonia was wiser than we think

Let me begin by saying that never in the nearly 20 years of this column’s existence has it received more letters than I got in response to the piece I wrote last week. More than 600 at last count and, unusually, most of them were supportive of my views. Less than 5 per cent attacked me for objecting to India having an Italian prime minister, with the other 95 per cent acknowledging passionately that it would have been a matter of deep personal shame.

Speculation continues about why Sonia graciously declined, but there is no point now in going into her reasons, I would like to say only that she was wise to do what she did. With the clamour in her ears comparing her to Jesus and the Buddha and the pathetic paeans of her courtiers in the media, it would have been easy not to notice the groundswell of shock and shame.

It was subterranean and a bit like those chapatis that Indian freedom fighters used to conceal their revolutionary activities from the British. The modern equivalent was SMS and messages went like this. Ab to khush ho na Hindustani? Raj karegi imported rani/217 hijdon ne ek videshi ko di kamaan, ab kabhi na kehna mera Bharat Mahaan.

Whatever her reasons, I would like to believe that the real reason for Sonia’s ‘‘sacrifice’’ was that she could hear the rumble of the groundswell and read between the lines our liberal, leftie commentators wrote welcoming her. Speaking of which, two of the most outstandingly ill-informed articles I read came from Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy, who must stay away from political comment. Especially since they write such good fiction.

Rushdie got not just his analysis but his facts wrong. Without noticing that Delhi and Mumbai voted against the government he wrote that ‘‘the urban bourgeoisie voted for the government, while the impoverished Indian masses mostly voted against it’’. And, Arundhati experienced a ‘‘rare, ephemeral moment of celebration’’ because she saw the election result as a vote against ‘‘comunalism, and neo-liberalism’s economic reforms’’. She went on to attack the Vajpayee government’s record in Kashmir and its imposition of POTA without noticing that Kashmir was denied democracy for nearly 40 years under Congress and POTA was a mild version of TADA, the Congress law.

Vajpayee may not have been able to solve all the problems he inherited from 50 years of Congress rule but he was a good Prime Minister and brought more visible prosperity to rural Indians than they have ever known before. It was largely because of the spread of television, telephones and technology that the average Indian villager became aware that it was his right to demand water, electricity, roads, schools and hospitals.

Unfortunately, even a magician could not have provided them in five years because the delivery mechanism (set up mostly by Congress governments) has been in a state of decay for decades. You cannot deliver education and healthcare if the infrastructure to deliver them has totally collapsed and anyone who believes that the collapse happened in the past five years needs to spare us further political analysis.

This includes Sonia, who in her farewell speech last week talked of ‘‘undoing the damage done by the last government’’. What damage? Our new prime minister, in merciful contrast, said not one bad word against the last government and sounded so much like our last one that you could have been fooled into believing that nothing had changed.

Alas, in terms of India’s economic future and in terms of bettering the lives of the poorest of the poor, much is likely to change under the new government for the worse. This is largely due to the presence in it of the likes of Laloo Yadav and the Marxist parties. Laloo is famous for sneering at such necessary tools of development as computers and infrastructure.

As for our high-minded Marxists, could they explain why West Bengal has become so much poorer under their charge? Could they also tell us if they think China’s economy is still socialist and whether it is not true that the reforms we seek to carry out in our economy began in China as long ago as 1979?

With their passion for distributing poverty before creating wealth, the good Dr Manmohan Singh is going to find it hard to continue the process of reform he himself began. And with Andhra’s new Congress government promising free power to farmers and allies like Laloo clamouring for money for the secular socialist republic of Bihar, there is not going to be much left for progress. Perhaps, Sonia was wiser than we think
<b>Insider account on Sonia</b>

>Please read this, know the facts about Indian army and what Sonia is?

It is certainly not a matter of pride to have Sonia as the Prime Minister. You cannot be electing a person as Prime Minister and not feel proud of having elected her. When someone wants to lead this country, it must be a matter of pride for its people to have that person as their leader. Imagine the depths to which this issue has descended.

"What is wrong if she is the Prime Minister," is an argument that comes not from the ordinary people of India, but from the educated Indian. This comes from the Chidambaram’s and from the Rajdeeep Sardesai’s of this country. This comes from editorial writers sitting in cities. So let us analyze this issue with all its implications for a country like India, which has unbroken civilization continuity.

India is indeed a civilization behind the facade of a nation. It is now facing the might of the nation-state, which has evolved in the west. The nation-state mechanism in the west is basically aggressive, violent, conquering, invasive, dominating, imperialistic. It is a concept, which the Indian mind cannot internalize, understand or exhibit in its attitude. So, now we are conceding that foreigners can become prime ministers and presidents of India, provided they hold a citizenship certificate.

Odious comparisons are being made by a few who are bent on justifying
Sonia as the prime minister. Look at Sister Nivedita, they say. She rebelled against the British for India. And her name was Margaret. Swami Vivekananda called her Nivedita because she had surrendered herself to this country. Where then is the comparison?

Compare Nivedita with Sonia Maino. She came to India marrying a very good-looking man. When she came to India in 1968, she was wedded to an Indian who was the son of that country's Prime Minister. People say it is our tradition that when a woman enters her husband's home, she becomes part of that family, and so Sonia too is an Indian. It is a sentimental attitude. Look at her acts. Sonia did not apply for Indian citizenship in 1968 when she married Rajiv and came to India. It is what any good Indian wife would have done. She filled an application in 1968 for permission to stay as a foreigner in India for five years. She said, "I am married, I am married into the Indian Prime Minister but I would still like to remain a foreigner." So she was given a certificate in 1968 to reside in India as a foreigner for five years. In 1973, after the first five-year period expired, she again applied for the permit to stay on in India for another five years as a foreigner. And this is the person who is going to live and die for us. My friend Cho Ramaswamy told me not to believe what she says, There is not only a complete divorce between what she says and what she does; there is also a clue that she will do precisely the opposite of what she says. I will come to it later. There are multiple instances to support this accusation. So, she again applied for a foreigner's permit. You know why? Between 1968 and 1973, there were indications of war with Pakistan over East Pakistan. And sure enough there was the Bangladesh war. During that conflict, when all commercial pilots were asked to forego their leave and enter service, she asked Rajiv to go on long leave. He was given special permission and they left the country. Throughout the period of the war, they were in Rome. Why? Because the American Seventh Fleet was moving towards India, and Sonia Gandhi probably had serious doubts about India's survival! So she deserted the country with her husband. She returned only after peace was restored, and after India had won the war because of Indira Gandhi.

This is where the stark contrast between Sonia Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee is most glaring. Look at their conduct after the two wars. After the creation of Bangladesh in 1971, Vajpayee, who was the Leader of the Opposition, stood up in Parliament and congratulated Indira Gandhi for her courage and vision and praised her as Durga. He was a patriot. At that important moment, he never thought that acknowledging the achievement of his political adversary will cost him votes. Yes, he and his party lost votes in both Parliament and Assembly polls, but not because Vajpayee stood tall in his praise of Indira Gandi. After the Kargil war, Sonia Gandhi told the NDA Government, "Please do not ask for any credit." This is meanness, pettiness, smallness, and foreign mindedness.

Sonia Gandhi played politics even with the self-esteem of this country by choosing the wrong moment to demand an explanation from the government, to raise issues of corruption in defense deals. Her praise of our armed forces came after she realized that the people of this country were not taking her criticism very well. That she was a foreigner and had no business asking for explanations came across very clearly. Every intelligent Indian knew there were problems, including corruption associated with some sections of the army and that it was these problems that resulted in the Kargil invasion. Should it be used as an occasion to expose a small number of people and defame the entire army in the process? The army today represents the core of Indian nationalism. This was the occasion for the nation to rise above everything and pat the army for its heroism, courage and sacrifice. But only a nationalist will think like this. However, Sonia Gandhi, who
was after votes and political power, could not think like this. Now let us come to the period between 1973-1978. In 1977, when Indira Gandhi was defeated, Sonia sensed the mood of the nation, took refuge in the Italian Embassy and refused to come out of it. She said she was going back to Italy. Sanjay Gandhi had to go and plead with her to return.

Is this is the person who is going to live and die for India? To live in India is very different from living for India. And to live in India in such glory, with such protection and resources, is very different from dying for India. Nationalism will not come by merely wearing sarees. It is as much a fancy dress today as any other dress can be. But some Indians are very happy to see Sonia in a sari, and regard her stay in India as their good fortune. Why? I am going to say something, which many of you may not like.

Some of you may even say I am a racist. I was discussing this issue with Cho Ramaswamy. He told me something he may not write but I will share this with you. Cho said, and I quote, "If Sonia Gandhi had been black, had been a person of African origin, this problem would never have arisen."

Do you understand what this means, unpalatable though it may be to some of you? It is this fascination for the white skin and it is we, the English educated Indians, who are responsible for this. Tamil patriot and poet Bharathi said, " Ayiram undingu jathi, enil anniyar vanthu pugal enna neethi. " Yes, we may have hundreds of castes but that is no reason for an alien to fish in our troubled waters and play arbiter here. That is what Tilak mean by Swaraj first. We may fight among ourselves, we may even kill each other, but we don't want a foreign arbiter.

I know of several political leaders saying that the Indian English Press will stand against us. Only because the Indian English Press is bound to take a hostile attitude towards those who consider Sonia as a foreigner and a reluctant citizen, many political parties are unwilling to make this a national issue. This is the terrorizing influence that the English educated Indian intellectuals have on the political class. Another argument is that this is not an issue in the rural areas. If you do not make it an issue, how will it become an issue there?

The Emergency was imposed in India. The national TV, the Press, everything was controlled by the government. The cities revolted against the Emergency; in six months it spread and percolated, and then the villages revolted, too. Ideas always percolate, but if they are edited at the top, the nation remains confused. Never in the history of the world has a foreigner ruled another country except by invasion.
But what is abnormal here is that we are in danger of electing a foreigner to rule this country. Some Indians do not want to be seen as being narrow-minded or less liberal. What is this liberalism? One-sixth of humanity living together is in itself the greatest symbol of liberalism. We are one-sixth of humanity and we live together and live well together.

Let us now recap what Sonia did in 1978, after Indira Gandhi lost the elections in 1977. Sonia again applied to stay on in India as a foreigner. In 1968, 1973, 1978- for three five-year terms - Sonia applied for a resident's permit to stay in India. On April 30, 1983, her third five-year permit expired. By that time it was certain that Rajiv was to become the heir to Indira Gandhi.And so, even on April 27, three days before the permit expired, she had still not opted for Indian citizenship. She wanted to be a foreigner till the last day the permit allowed her to be so. And this is precisely what Sharad Pawar asked her in the Congress Working Committee (CWC), in May 1999 It all happened suddenly. Pawar described to me how it happened. On that day, the CWC was to discuss the Goa election and Pawar was supposed to present his analysis of the situation in Goa. The lady came with a prepared speech (please note, even in the 20-member working committee, she comes with a prepared speech). She began reading her speech. Everybody was surprised at what she had to say. She said that the Sangh Parivar, against which her mother- in-law carried on a campaign to finish communalism, against whom her husband did this and that, had now decided to destroy her.

"They are branding me a foreigner. I will fight them to the last drop of my blood. But, I don't want this issue to drag on till the elections. I want it decided today because if it is decided now, we can fight it out at the time of the election, and it will be no issue at all. So, I want to know first whether any of you have any objection to my becoming the Prime Minister," she said.

All these fellows remained silent. And then Madhav Rao Scindia spoke, "Madam, you do not have to fight the Sangh Parivar propaganda, I will fight it. This is not your battle, this is my battle:' This set the tone for the rest of the discussion and soon most members began to ask, who are these RSS people to dub Sonia a foreigner?

Soon it was Sangma's turn to speak. Sangma said, "Madam, I have very different views on this issue. I don't know anything about you; There are people who are saying that for 17 years you lived as a foreigner in India. If the voters ask me, how will I explain? Please tell me why you did not opt for Indian citizenship in 1968? I cannot convince the people of my own State, my own constituency on this." And then it was Pawar's turn.

He told me he was sitting immediately to her right. He was the last to speak. He was the first one to organise a public meeting for her, a massive rally in Maharastra. He told Sonia, and I quote, "In that rally, you said I am an ordinary humble Congress worker. You said I don't want any position, I don't want power, and I am associated with the Congress family. You also said you don't even want to become a Congress member and you can't bear to see a party with which my mother-in-law, her father, her grandfather, and my husband were all associated, decaying like this. So, you said you want to strengthen this party. This is what you said on that day." Then Pawar told the rally, "If she is willing to do such a generous job for a nationalist party, there should be no objection. She does not want to be the president of the party, she does not want to be in any position and she doesn't want to be an MP."

Pawar told me that he had recounted the statements made at that rally to Bal Thackeray in defence of Sonia Gandhi. "But the day she ran to the President of India and told him that she had the support of 272 MPs to become the Prime Minister of India, which was a lie, all of us changed and I changed, too;" Pawar told me.

Sonia said she was not interested in politics, and that she would never enter politics. She said she would not become a Congress member but will only help the party as a person belonging to the Congress fami1y. She said and I quote, "I am just a four anna member, I will not occupy any position." But what happened thereafter? She physically threw out Sitaram Kesri from the office. The poor fellow was in the toilet. His chair was empty. And do you know what happened? The Congress goons bolted the toilet door from outside and made Sonia occupy' his chair, The elderly man wept. This is how she became the president of the Congress Party.

In the same way the western armies in the past invaded other civilisations and seized power, she seized power in a 'coup d'toilette'. This is the disconnect between her word and her action. Her conduct was the very reverse of her profession. She said she had no ambition to be the Prime Minister. But who ran from pillar to post to bring down the Vajpayee government?

Again, when the media probed her about the money paid by Bofors to her friend Quattrocchi, she said, "Yes, the CBI is saying he is a suspect, but they have not produced any papers; and unless you produce papers to prove that somebody is guilty, you cannot say he is guilty."

But what is the truth about Quattrocchi ? In the Bofors deal, the quality of the gun was not the issue. It was always rated as a good gun, but there was a better gun called Sofma. In 17 meetings, the negotiating committee kept the Sofma gun ahead of the Bofors gun from 1984 June to early February 1986. For two years, in 17 meetings, the army brass involved in the decision making had preferred Sofma to Bofors. But everything changed on February 17 that year. Please mark the dates. The competition among arms manufacturers to sell guns to India was on from 1980. On November 15, 1985, a company called AE Services entered into an agreement with Bofors. It said, "Gentlemen, I will get you the Government of India order for Bofors guns. And I will get this order by March 31, 1986. And if I get it by March 31, you will give me three per cent commission, which is $365 million or Rs 160 crore at the current rates of exchange. So, if I get you this order by March 31, you will give me this commission and if I don't get it you need not give me anything. You owe no obligation to me."

Who can enter into this kind of a contract except the person who can get it? Fina11y, the cat was out of the bag. The person who signed the contract filed an affidavit in the Swiss Court saying it was Quattrocchi who advised him to enter into this contract.

The sequence was as fo11ows: On February 17, 1986, the Bofors gun was nowhere in the picture. However, on March 15 and 16, Rajiv told the Swedish Government ( on a State visit to Sweden) that he will give Sweden the order for supply of Bofors guns. On March 17, the negotiating committee cleared the deal in 48 hours. Eleven officials and Rajiv Gandhi signed the deal and on March 21, 1986, 10 days ahead of the deadline to which Quattrocchi had committed himself, the contract was signed. The bribe agreement between this shady company AE Services, and Bofors said: "Bofors will pay AE Services proportionate to the amount the Government of India pays to Bofors." The Government of India paid 20 per cent of the money to Bofors and exactly three per cent of 20 per cent was released in September 1986 to AE Services.

Within 13 days, that money was transferred to an investment company and two years later, after The Hindu and The Indian Express came out with exposes on the deal, with documents as proof, it was transferred to another company and the Swiss Police unearthed the fact that the persons behind all the three companies into which these monies had gone was Quattrocchi and his wife. Only they had the authority to sign the secret accounts. When this was found out and the bank documents were being transmitted, Quattrocchi filed an appeal against the transmission of documents in the Swiss Court but the court said he was a dishonest man and overruled the objection saying Quattrocchi was involved in the deal. He has taken bribes and he is related to the Indian administration at the highest level, the Swiss Court said.

The Swiss Court order came in July 1993 when Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister and the Interpol told the Government of India that Quattrocchi's appeal in the Swiss Court had been dismissed, which meant "Arrest him." The powers-that-be gave Quattrocchi one week's time to escape. Just like Win Chadha has been allowed to escape an year earlier. And this man too flew out of India. When the CBI raided his home and found his diary notes. These revealed Quattrocchi had been having dinner meetings with Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi. They found photographs and letters that had been exchanged, and everything was seized. Thereafter, the Delhi High Court issued an arrest warrant against Quattrocchi. He appealed to the Interpol, which was dismissed.

The Delhi High Court also dismissed it saying his presence was needed and he had to be arrested. These are all judicial orders printed, published, and available in the public domain. Thereafter the matter went to the Supreme Court. Quattrocchi told the Supreme Court through his advocates that he would come and present himself, and that he should not be arrested. The Supreme Court said, since the man says he will come and present himself and be available for interrogation, why should he be arrested?

However, Quattrocchi defied the orders of the Supreme Court and did not turn up. He filed an affidavit in the Swiss Court saying that India was a brute nation and he cannot get justice in the judicial system of India. And Sonia Gandhi is defending this fellow Italian. It is, therefore, a blatant lie to say there are no documents to prove Quattrocchi's guilt.

It is also a lie that Sonia did not know his plans to abscond from the country. It is impossible that somebody who resided in Delhi for 20 years, who shared weekly evenings with Rajiv and Sonia, would have suddenly left Delhi, without even telephoning to her. She must have been privy to all these things and she has the audacity to ask where is the proof?

So, truth has nothing to do with Sonia Gandhi. There is an absolute disconnect between her words and deeds. Now the issue is whether Sonia in politics is a national shame. Whether it is a national shame or not, it is certainly a danger to national security. Why do we have rules in the army which prohibit a foreigner, a foreign born person, even though he is a citizen, from occupying certain high-ranking offices in the army? Why do we say that our IPS officers should not be of foreign origin? Why do we say that our IPS officers cannot marry foreigners? Now, herein comes the idea of the modern nation-state.

A modern nation-state has a built-in insecurity and that is the reason why it has to secure itself. But can the Prime Minister have a foreign wife? Can the Prime Minister's son have a foreign wife? Sitting in the Prime Minister's Office, in the Prime Minister's home, a foreign wife for 15 years; who ran away with her husband when the nation was at war, breaching the discipline of commercial pilots is now a well, established fact. In India, the MLAs, MPs, and ministers are not subject to any rule or discipline. Even today whether an MLA or MP is a public servant is a matter that is being debated in courts.

So, can an MP have a foreign wife? Can a minister have a foreign wife? This distortion has crept into the system. And what are the consequences of foreigners penetrating our polity? When George Fernandes spoke on this issue on the national television, it was chilling. He spoke of a particular file which contained all the secrets of the government. Where are the nuclear weapons, where are the missiles, who can press the button, which missile points in which direction, who are our spy links in different countries? This single file contains all this information.

That file is not handled by anybody other than the Prime Minister of India. If Vajpayee ceases to be the Prime Minister and Sonia becomes the Prime Minister, he will have to hand over this file to her. It will have every nationa1 security secret. If it falls into wrong hands, it will strip India naked before inimical forces.

Can we afford to hand over these secrets to her? Fernandes said even the Defence Minister cannot do anything; he cannot look at that file. Even the services chiefs know only their part of the secret. The combined, collective national secret is in the hands of one man that will be handed over to this foreigner, should she achieve her political ambition.

Whether somebody can speak tolerable Hindi or not is not the issue; it is far more serious. It goes to the root of the existence of the nation, its security and its survival. Sonia's loyalty to India will always be in doubt. If there is even a millionth of a chance that her loyalty to, this country is in question, it should be enough to disqualify her from prime ministership. The issue is not whether Sonia will succeed in becoming the Prime Minister, but the very idea that somebody like her can nurse such an ambition.

If the intellectuals of India, whose duty it is to preserve the mind of India have failed, I am certain that at least the ordinary people of India will succeed in protecting national interest as they did in 1977.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Main Sonia banna chahti hoon


NEW DELHI: Look around you. Notice the women. Chances are that most of the ladies will be dressed in a crisp white cotton sari with a thick, bright border. Their hair will be neatly pulled back into a ponytail, and when open will be pinned on both sides. Great pains will be taken to achieve the no make-up look. Mininal or no jewellery is the order of the day. And they will probably be walking with their backs straight, feet firmly slipped into almost flat sandals.

Move aside Madhuri Dixit, the mantra of the moment is Main Sonia Gandhi Banna Chahti Hoon . Kyunki the Gandhi bahu has the right mood and perfect attitude. Plus, with her sacrifice, she's become every bhartiya nari's ideal woman. It isn't surprising, then, that where ever you look, mini-Sonias seem to be popping out of the woodwork.

Confirms Bharti Taneja, MD, Alps Cosmetic Clinic, "The Sonia Gandhi look is gaining popularity by the day. It all began two weeks back when a trickle of customers began asking for simple Sonia hairstyles and wanted make up that gave the bare look. Keeping with the weather, the hassle-free look is the best one to have."

So what look do you ask for the next time you visit your hairstylist? "I'd describe Sonia's hairstyle as a longer blunt with a wave in the hair to make it look heavy. The balanced length makes it easy to tie and comfortable if left loose," says hairstylist Jawed Habib. "An increasing number of housewives have been asking for this particular cut lately. This has made me believe that Sonia has become a role model among women.”

Think Sonia Gandhi, think strong woman. "The power-woman look is definitely in. This includes subtle mouth colour, some make-up to highlight the eyes and nothing else," says make-up artist and hairstylist Jojo. Adds image consultant and stylist Yatan Ahluwalia, "Sonia-style dressing is the most preferred look this summer. We're talking well-pleated, pinned and tucked crisp cotton saris with bright borders or small fine prints teamed with simple stark blouses in contrast colours.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

oh boy..
<!--QuoteBegin-rajesh_g+May 26 2004, 06:25 AM-->QUOTE(rajesh_g @ May 26 2004, 06:25 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/artic...698345.cms
LOL.. reads like an inserted ad.. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

I am happy with my George Fernandes "b@lls & Spine" look.
TOI aka Times of Sonia Gadhi at its best. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Court to decide on suit charging Sonia with smuggling </b>

New Delhi, May 26

The Delhi High Court said Wednesday it would conduct a hearing before ruling on a public suit charging Congress president Sonia Gandhi with smuggling ancient Indian artefacts to Italy.

Judges B.C. Patel and B.D. Ahmed said they would hear the Indian government and the Central Bureau of Investigation, as also former minister Subramaniam Swamy who has filed the suit, before deciding the issue on merits.

The case will be heard September 8.

Swamy submitted Wednesday that the CBI had not complied with the court's earlier direction to submit Interpol reports on an antique shop in Italy that was allegedly owned by Gandhi's sister Antinio Maino.

The court observed it would take appropriate action if it found that the order had not been complied with.

Counsel for the CBI said Swamy's suit should be dismissed as it was not a public interest litigation but a private interest litigation.

Here comes another Gandhi Tehri's no to Sonia Vihar plant, for now

The Delhi Jal Board is banking on the commissioning of the <b>Sonia Vihar Water Treatment </b>plant for solving the water crisis. However, this does not seem to be forthcoming with the Tehri Dam management remaining adamant on its stand to not supply raw water for the plant. Delhi Jal Board (DJB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) P K Tripathi is likely to go to Uttranchal to negotiate with the Tehri Dam management.
Fans to build temple for Sonia

Thursday, 27 May , 2004, 15:36

Eulogies no longer suffice for Sonia Gandhi, who captured the nation's
imagination by refusing to become Prime Minister. Admirers are now planning
to put on her on a pedestal. Literally.
The Sonia Gandhi Vichar Prasar Kendra will build a temple dedicated to the
Congress president at Ramtek near Nagpur. And although 'Sonia Mandir' is to
be a monument to her school of thought, it won't stop short of deifying her.

Discuss: Sonia's swept Vajpayee under the carpet

While Sonia's sculpture will adorn the Stupa-like central hall called the
'Ekatmata Smarak', prayer halls for different religions will drive home her
message of secularity.

The Gandhi 'bahu'-turned-reluctant politician should be in good company -
busts of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Mahatma
Gandhi will also be on display. Plaques recounting Sonia Gandhi's speeches,
her pictures and achievements along with carvings are expected to adorn the

'Sonia Mandir' is the brainchild of Sandip Agrawal, convenor of the newly
formed Kendra. Agrawal, who also happens to be the vice president of
Maharashtra Congress Farmers and Farm Labour cell, admits he has for a long
time now nurtured the idea of paying homage to the thoughts and principles
of the Congress party.

"However, Soniaji's unprecedented act of sacrifice recently, prompted me to
convert the monument into a Sonia temple," he says.

According to Agrawal, the Congress leader's decision to turn down the top
job in the country is without parallel in a day and age when politicians are
willing to do anything for the smallest benefit.

8.50 acres of land has already been identified for the proposed shrine. The
site, insists Agrawal, is significant despite its rural backdrop.

Ramtek is looked upon as a place of cultural confluence with a Ram temple,
Kalidas Smarak, Buddhist excavations and a Sanskrit university all in the
near vicinity.

V N Khare, architect for the ambitious project, says he has understood
Agrawal's concept and will ensure that his design is in harmony with its

The architecture will convey the philosophy of the Congress party, its
accessibility and affinity to the downtrodden, he adds.

'Sonia Mandir' is not going to be an exercise in sycophancy, Agrawal
promises. A library with literature on the Congress, training centre for
Congress camps, playground, rest house, old age home, a school and
dispensary are planned around the stupa-like structure to make it socially

However all this won't come cheap. Rs 10 crore is likely to be spent on the
project. Agrawal, who has come out with brochures explaining the concept, is
confident that people from all over the country will contribute handsomely
to help him realise his dream. He himself intends to share a part of the

While Sonia is not yet aware of Agrawal's plans, he says he will be in Delhi
next week to seek her permission. Then, probably reminded of her penchant
for denial, which incidentally became the inspiration for the project, he
adds, "Does it matter? After all, it's a matter of faith!"
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Sonia may visit Pak: Natwar Singh<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

What i find particularly obnoxious about this piece of news, is that i do not know who she is representing. She has no locus standi in the government. She is simply a MP in the Lok Sabha. I hope she does not spend taxpayer money going to that wretched country. And when she goes, what is she going to discuss. She has no mandate from the Indian people or authorization to sign any treaty on behalf of the Indian Republic. Wily old Mush must be slapping his thighs saying to himself 'yeh gori gungi ko ullu ka pattha bana doonga' ....
<b>Extra-Constitutional Power Sonia acting as parallel power centre: Fernandes</b>
Sunday May 30 2004 17:50 IST

NEW DELHI: Janata Dal-United (JD-U) president George Fernandes on Sunday accused Congress president Sonia Gandhi of acting as a parallel power centre to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

<b>Fernandes, the former defence minister, told reporters here that ministers and bureaucrats were calling on Sonia and briefing her about ministerial and official matters, many of which were of a confidential nature</b>.

This was happening even though Sonia was under no obligation not to reveal such information to others, he claimed.

<b>Quoting from a report in a national daily, Fernandes said: "Career-minded officers are queuing outside the residence of Gandhi, who is only an MP and the chief of the Congress party.”

"This (trend) gives rise to many legal and security questions," he said, noting that after taking oath as a minister, no individual is allowed to communicate or reveal confidential matters to anyone except during the discharge of official duties.

Criticising the newspaper report for suggesting that Sonia should be provided an institutionalised voice to avoid criticism for acting as an extra-constitutional power, he wondered what the paper meant by "institutionalisation".</b>

<b>"She is only an MP and chief of the Congress party,"</b> he said, while accusing Gandhi of belittling the office of the prime minister.

The main Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, an ally of the JD-U, has levelled similar allegations against Gandhi, which have been refuted by Congress leaders.

Manmohan Singh assumed the high office May 22 after Sonia, the more powerful party president, stepped aside.
<b>Take action against those leaking official secrets: George </b>
Pioneer News Service/ New Delhi

The NDA may be developing cracks, but its convenor George Fernandes remains as combative as ever. The former Defence Minister chose a quiet Sunday to break his silence on veiled threats coming from various quarters in the government that defence purchases during his tenure may be re-examined.

Putting the ball in the government court, Mr Fernandes asked Prime Minsiter Manmohan Singh to order a time-bound probe into the purchase of casket during the Kargil War, and then went on to question <b>Congress president Sonia Gandhi's meeting with top army officials</b>.

Referring to reports that senior government and <b>army officials were meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi and advising her on matters of national security "to get promotions and plum posts", Mr Fernandes said the new government should take immediate action against such officers</b>, who were allegedly leaking official secrets to the MP (Sonia Gandhi).

<b>"If officers are doing that, they are committing breach of official secrets act,'' </b>he said, adding. "Matters of national secrets should not be made into playthings like this.''

Mr Fernandes quoted a recent editorial in an English daily which said: ''If the Congress president is going to be a source of strength to the new Prime Minister, then it is necessary to provide her an institutionalised voice rather than leave her to be seen as playing an extra-constitutional role.

Already,<b> there is a sense of disquiet that career-minded officers and agency chiefs are calling on her and briefing her on matters of national security.'' </b>

Me Fernandes said he has asked the prime minister to order immediate and speedy enquiry into the 'specific' matter of the purchase of reuseable caskets by the army headquarters.

"The enquiry should not take too much time, say two weeks, since the material is easily available with the army headquarters and it will not be a cumbersome task to establish whether I or anyone else has made illegal money out of this stalled procurement," Mr Fernandes wrote in a May 26 letter to the Prime Minister. Copies of the letter were circulated to mediapersons at a Press conference here.

The former defence minister said he has been subjected to attacks for the past two years by members of the Congress, the Left parties and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) within and outside parliament on the matter of purchase of coffins.

"This vituperative campaign was a regular feature in their election speeches at all levels, particularly in areas adjoining our borders where there is a large population of ex-servicemen and troops are stationed in large numbers,'' Mr Fernandes said in the letter.

He sought to play down the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) which had expressed dissatisfaction about the procedures and payments. " This sort of query is routine in every department at the Centre or states as is well known to anyone who has been in the government and to the public who cares to read such reports from time to time in the press," he said.

Mr Fernandes had recently pleaded to the Election Commission to restrain Ms Sonia Gandhi from raising the coffin scam during her recent election campaign.

<b>The former defence minister also criticised a leading English daily which he said twisted the CAG's report into a scam before it reached the president</b>.

Asked about his alleged involvement in the <b>Tehelka episode, the former defence minister said there is no substance in the allegations. ''It is all in the air, not on the ground. Even the Phukan Commission which is probing the scam has not summoned him or sent any notice so far, he said</b>
<b>Sonia: Canards and conundrums</b>
Sandhya Jain

Indians who believe White is right may be shocked to learn that as the June 17 deadline for finalising the European Union constitution approaches, the continent stands ruptured over God. Europe is deeply divided over whether its constitution should include a reference to its Christian heritage, a major impact on its history and culture. Secular France has refused to admit religion into the draft, but seven member-countries (Italy, Portugal, Poland, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) are demanding a reference to the Christian roots of Europe.

They call it a priority issue for their respective Governments and millions of European citizens. Though these nations say they only seek recognition of a historical truth and mean no disrespect to the secular nature of European institutions or other religions and philosophical systems, it is no secret they are backed by Pope John Paul II.

Were Ms Sonia Gandhi to take up cudgels on behalf of secularism in her native land, she would be hounded out of the public square. It is only in India that she has the luxury of defending the nation's secular foundations, whatever that means. For in the view of ordinary Indian citizens, India is a living civilisation with a spiritual foundation based on dharma (way of life, righteousness). This spiritual ethos embraces all without distinction; secularism is its natural by-product, not foundation.

Given such fundamental flaws in her understanding of the Indian tradition, it is just as well that Ms Gandhi's prime ministerial ambitions were checkmated by powerful, though as of yet, incompletely known forces. Not withstanding the fawning media adulation, it is clear that something tripped her transit to 7 Race Course Road.

In fairness to Ms Gandhi, it may be said that she has only continued the Nehruvian tradition of pitting secularism against India's civilisational ethos, thereby denying the latter legitimacy and space in its own homeland. Like others in her marital family, she has sought political advantage from communal faultlines. She has evaded the issue of foreign-funded evangelisation and the cultural genocide it involves. She has been close to orthodox Islamic groups such as Deoband, and was, soon after the Godhra carnage, invited to speak at the Bin Laden family funded Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies. Here she famously lambasted the Hindu community, but failed to utter a single word on Islamic fundamentalism.

Ms Gandhi has, quite legitimately, sought to benefit from the non-nationalism of the intellectual-media circuit and the pusillanimity of the erstwhile ruling coalition. It is scandalous that the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, funded by the public exchequer for two long years, failed to furnish a single worthy recommendation, and that the NDA Government allowed Mr PA Sangma to resign rather than let the Commission consider barring foreign-born naturalised citizens from constitutional posts. It would be worthwhile to emphasise that the law does not specifically permit a naturalised citizen to aspire for constitutional office; this lacuna is being misused to claim that Ms Gandhi is legally entitled to such posts.

That Ms Gandhi intended to be Prime Minister is evident from the way she garnered support for herself from Congress and the alliance partners from May 13 till her abrupt withdrawal on May 18. Interestingly, the Airports Authority of India had instructions to clear an early morning flight to Sriperumbudur on May 19, the day of her purported coronation, which was cancelled after some allegedly uncomfortable noises emanated from Rashtrapati Bhavan. According to the Marathi daily, Tarun Bharat, a Presidential missive through a special envoy brought about Ms Gandhi's volte face-cum-grand renunciation act.

Competitive sycophancy of the media notwithstanding, it is foolish to blame Ms Sushma Swaraj, Ms Uma Bharati or the RSS for this development. The two ladies had merely launched some verbal salvoes; the BJP is still in post-election stupor. The RSS does not act precipitately. Surprisingly, among non-political public figures, it was the guru of the swish set, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who asked friends to draft a statement opposing a person of foreign origin as Prime Minister. He later developed cold feet and refused to sign the statement, though many of us were misled to believe that he had.

I believe Ms Gandhi's elevation as Prime Minister would have tarnished our ancient civilisation. Her Indian nationality is of very recent vintage, and is conditional and subject to revocation. Senior journalist A Surya Prakash has established that Ms Sonia Gandhi was still an Italian citizen when she broke India's electoral laws, entering the voters list years in advance of her application for citizenship (very much like the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, for whom her party has so much sympathy). I have been given to understand by friends studying the issue that the reciprocity clause in citizenship applies to holding representative office, such as being an MP or cabinet minister. A naturalised Italian of Indian-origin is not eligible for even the municipal office in Italy. Hence, it is likely that Ms Gandhi is not entitled to be even an MP in India.

Yet, the possibility of her becoming Prime Minister cast an immediate shadow over law-enforcing agencies. The friendly media has glossed over the fact that a CBI team on a four-nation tour in connection with the Bofors payoff scandal, returned without completing its job in the wake of the defeat of the NDA Government. It is well-known that investigations have proved that Bofors made payments to Mr and Ms Ottavio Quattrochi, close friends of Ms Sonia Gandhi. I understand that despite public denials, the defence establishment has serious reservations about the lady. Former Defence Minister George Fernandes probably articulated this fear when he spoke of a sensitive file and the nuclear button. Certainly it is no secret that the armed forces were upset with Ms Gandhi's conduct during the Kargil War, and her graceless opposition to Pokhran II.

In conclusion, all reservations about Ms Gandhi's eligibility remain live concerns in the minds of nationalist citizens, as she has not permanently renounced her ambition to the office of Prime Minister. Many view her present withdrawal as a tactical retreat since the Congress lacked the numbers to force the issue. That she intends to be a locus of political power can be seen from the amendments made to the Congress constitution immediately after she withdrew from the prime ministerial stakes. To begin with, she became the all-powerful chairperson of the Parliamentary Party (elected by Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha), with the power to nominate the leader for each House, besides the deputy leaders and whips.

It was under these new provisions that Dr Manmohan Singh was nominated Prime Minister. This development, which former Speaker PA Sangma felt was not in good taste, has put a question mark over constitutional government in India. Little wonder that the new regime had already lost much of its sheen by the time Dr Singh was finally sworn-in on May 22. The induction of defeated candidates and unsavoury personalities in the Cabinet, tantrums over portfolio distribution, maltreatment of the Samajwadi Party, and backseat driving by Left parties, have taken the gloss off the new administration. While the BJP/NDA will no doubt grant Dr Singh the promised honeymoon period, it remains to be seen if the Governments allies will give it the same consideration.
Musharaaf calls his lover for help


When in need, Pervez calls Atal
May 31: At the first hint of heat in exchange of rhetoric, the President of Pakistan tonight called not the current but the former Prime Minister of India.

Pervez Musharraf spoke to A.B. Vajpayee to seek his help in furthering the peace process, a few hours after the new Indian government issued its first statement critical of Pakistan.

Musharraf took time off to call Vajpayee, the architect of the Srinagar peace process that led to a breakthrough in India-Pakistan relations, despite being caught up in a bombing crisis in Karachi. ( )

The President, who shared a good rapport with the former Prime Minister even at the height of tensions between the two countries, said Vajpayee should use his experience for the good of the people in India as well as to improve bilateral ties.

During the 15-minute conversation, both Musharraf and Vajpayee stressed that unnecessary statements should be avoided to preserve the peace process.

The reference to unnecessary statements came against the backdrop of India and Pakistan taking potshots at each other.

Delhi this evening admonished Islamabad for “deliberately” ignoring the intent of foreign minister Natwar Singh’s remarks on bilateral ties and trying to create a controversy. But it was quick to add that India remained committed to friendship and cooperation with Pakistan.

Since assuming office, Singh has been saying the 1972 Simla Agreement should be the bedrock for bilateral relations. He also suggested the two sides follow the Chinese model and keep the most contentious issue of Kashmir on the backburner till progress is made on trade and economic cooperation.

Islamabad has over the last few days iterated its well-known position that ties cannot be improved unless the Kashmir problem is resolved. Pakistani foreign minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri today urged Singh to avoid rhetoric on Kashmir and use statesmanship. “We should observe (a) rhetoric restraint regime to avoid misunderstanding…,” Kasuri said in a statement issued in Islamabad.

Indian foreign secretary Shashank clarified that the mention of the Simla pact did not mean subsequent agreements, especially the Lahore Declaration of February 1999 and the joint statement between Vajpayee and Musharraf earlier this year in Islamabad, will be ignored.
<b>When Vajpayee's advice did the trick</b>
Only the naïve or the sycophantic will believe that Sonia Gandhi declined the prime minister's post voluntarily.

She did not.

After mulling over the pros and cons for five long days, the Italy-born president of the Indian National Congress painfully concluded that not all Indians may be ready to accept her as prime minister.

Quite aside from the plethora of evidence that exists to buttress the claim that she was a reluctant quitter, there is a clincher that establishes that her 'inner voice' was a mask to hide her compulsions in declining the highest executive office in the land.

Two days before she actually announced her decision to opt out amidst mass breast-beating by her partymen, Sonia Gandhi had telephoned caretaker prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

She asked Vajpayee whether she should become the prime minister. Vajpayee said no.

Not prepared for a negative reply, Gandhi protested. Vajpayee countered that since she had sought his advice he was only telling her what he believed was in her own and the country's interest.

Sonia Gandhi retorted that 'you people had opposed Motilal Nehru (sic) and Indira Gandhi. You did not want any of them to become prime minister'

Vajpayee was blunt: 'You asked for my advice. It is my view that the country is sharply divided over a foreign-born becoming prime minister. It is a sentimental issue impinging on Indians' sense of national honour and pride. In your own interest and the country's, you should not become PM.'

Gandhi abruptly ended the conversation.

She was probably expecting Vajpayee to be at least non-committal so that she could realise her ambition. But the BJP leader minced no words in expressing his view.

Of course, those most relieved by her decision not to become prime minister were senior Congressmen who feared a strong backlash had she given into the temptation
Italy seeks to beef up trade with India

KOLKATA: Italian companies are looking at spreading their wings in India. They are scouting for joint ventures and direct investment in areas of their interest. For this, the Italian government is in talks with the Centre to create an institutional framework that will facilitate business and trade between the two countries.

“Companies, especially in the Lombardy region, have used the model of the institutional framework between various countries in Latin America and other Asian regions to set up their presence. They are comfortable working in this manner, which makes it easy for Italian companies to cope with the various legal and other formalities,” said Giammaria Bordoni, deputy regional minister of Lombardy.

Mr Bordoni was speaking at an interactive session organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the city.

Promos, Milan’s leading chamber of commerce, scheduled a visit for a business delegation this year from Portugal and Spain to Kolkata. “The visit would be to scout for opportunities for joint ventures and strengthen business between these countries and India. Companies in sectors such as health care, food and packaging, leather, building materials, ceramics, recreational and tourism will be included in the delegation,” said Raffaello Benetti, director, Promos.

Italy’s goodwill with West Bengal dates back to the visit of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya to Italy in June ‘02. Mr Bhattacharya had then signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for business tie-ups in sectors such as social work, tourism, health care, water sources and public utility services.

As part of the MoU, a Rs 125-crore waste management and drinking water supply project in 14 towns of West Bengal has been formalised under the European Commission’s ‘Asia URBS’ programme. Moreover, Lombardy has prepared three technical reports on waste-water sanitation and drinking water in four corporations of West Bengal — Howrah, Asansol, Durgapur and Siliguri.

“Around 40% of the companies in Lombardy and Milan are related to the environmental sector. The companies can work with Indian counterparts, corporations and administration authorities to offer the best technology and convenient solutions,” Bordoni said.

Agostino Pinna, the Italian consulate general said that projects in the infrastructure and agro-business sector between India and Italy, were currently in the conceptualisation stage.
<b>Sonia chief of National Advisory Council</b>
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 4
Congress President Sonia Gandhi was today named Chairperson of the National Advisory Council to monitor the implementation of the UPA government's common minimum programme (CMP). She will be given the rank and status of a Cabinet minister.

In addition, a separate office will be set up for the Congress leader. <b>In view of Ms Gandhi's security cover the Centre is planning to locate the office in the Vigyan Bhavan annexe, it is learnt</b>. <!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo-->

A notification to this effect was issued by the Cabinet secretariat today, it was officially stated.

The decision to set up the council was taken at the UPA government's first Cabinet meeting. The council would include representatives of the alliance partners.

It is not clear how this proposed council will function and, more importantly, how it will interface with the government. <b>It will, nevertheless, attract the charge from the Opposition that Ms Gandhi is emerging as an extra-constitutional authority in the new government.</b>
Can't believed it TOI is saying this Ram! Ram! Ram!

<b>Sonia's Status</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Will it, in other words, be the functional equivalent, by another name, of the existing ministry for programme implementation? And if so, will it be answerable to the prime minister and the cabinet in the same way? Or will it work as an independent, larger-than-life entity — a sort of super PMO? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The question is whether this role is consistent with the smooth and orderly functioning of the Westminster model, where the prime minister, as the head of the government, occupies the highest political office. As it stands, Sonia's proposed role is a kind of half-way house<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> She is from Italy, country of Benito Mussolini. Don't expect much from her.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The new proposal will lend credence to that charge. One can only hope that Sonia will recognise the absurdity of the situation and opt out of any overarching official position<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Its called manufacturing consent for elevating madame to PM kursi. <!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Dec 30 2003, 04:41 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Dec 30 2003, 04:41 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--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. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Well if NDA can choose Vajpayee who has difficulty explaining what he was really up to during Quit India movement and who as Morarjee's External Affairs Minster was the only one of the Cabinet along with the PM ji to vote to de-nuclearize India, shouldn't we be checking and debating the past records of our leaders US style before we fall in love with the images that their PRs create or be eternally mesmerized by their gabbing around. Would any one in US give the nuclear trigger in the hand of person with such a record, except may be the Greens?

Isn't it a matter of much needed national debate to dicuss their practised past records and the motives, as compared to eulogizing people on professed ideology, non issues and for doing the daily routine. In the process knowingly adding more sycophantic praise to their tons of self praise, bloating their already huge self image even further .

After all there are 1 billion honest , patriotic Indians to choose from who may even give this country the much needed good governance. Why do we need to rely of shifty geriatric professional politicians who mostly win elections by the help of criminal elements ?

<i><b>Or are we just brain dead servile pawns, in this power game, for one or the other, fall into the trap they lay for us and think we are in some great heaven too ? Seems our pols have done a good job on most us ? </b></i>

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