April - May 2005
News & Views
Jharkhand – The
Ides of March and the new Cabinet
After the resignation of Shibu Soren, the governor, Mr. Syed Sibte
Razi asked Mr. Arjun Munda, the leader of the National Democratic Alliance
to take the reins of government in Jharkhand and prove his majority
by 21 March. Mr. Arjun Munda had decided to take the confidence vote
on March 14. The new Speaker would be elected on March 15. Extension
of a day became necessary because of the delay in sending details of
the scheduled business in the Assembly to Raj Bhawan.
Rule for Bihar –
President’s Rule was imposed on Bihar after the approval by the
Central Cabinet and the President. However, the new assembly has not
been dissolved. It has been kept in
‘animated suspension’ for six months. The Bihar assembly
has 243 legislators. No party or coalition has come up with the support
of minimum 122 legislators required to form a government. Ram Vilas Paswan,
whose Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has won 29 seats, repeatedly asserted
that he would neither support the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) nor the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He was once a member of the NDA, which
he left and now despises it, because according to him, it is a communal
party. His party derives support from dalits and Muslims. Paswan proposed
that if the NDA accepts a Muslim as the chief minister, he would support
it. What sort of communalism is Paswan encouraging? A chief minister
should be the leader of a majority party. To choose a chief minister
merely because of his religion or caste should be anathema to any right-thinking
politician. However, Ram Vilas Paswan is a leader who, by his own admission,
is answerable to no one. What sort of leaders Indian democracy has brought
up? How can dalits improve their lot which such a leader at the helm
of their affairs? Let there be re-election under President’s rule.
That is the only way to flush out the small political groups.
Lalu Prasad Yadav is of course livid with this decision of the governor.
He expected that as a faithful ally of the UPA government at the Centre,
the governor would not go against his wishes. He hoped that Mrs. Sonia
Gandhi, the Congress Chief, would support him. He should have known that
it is she who is using him as her pawn at the Centre and not the other
way round. At the first opportunity, he would be discarded and thrown
in the bin of history. Her decisions of not having any alliance with
his party before elections in Bihar and Jharkhand should have awakened
him to the truth that he needs Congress party support for his political
on ‘Implications of Dual Nationality’
organised by I.F.B.M.
An enlightening seminar on the ‘implications of Dual Nationality’ was
organised by the Indian Forum on British Media in Harrow, Middlesex.
The purpose was to find out whether the governmen of India was
serious enough to expedite the procedure for granting the much-hyped
dual citizenship to the Non-resident Indians.
panel of speakers consisted of Mr. KS Bhardwaj and Mr. S. Kumar of
the Indian High Commission, Mr. Kailash Badhwar, a renowned journalist
and Mr. Vijay Goel of Singhania and Co.
Mr. Chandru Malkani, the PRO of the IFBM introduced the subject. Mrs.
Pushpa Bhargava introduced the panel to the prticipants. Mr. Krishan
Ralleigh, President of the IFBM, gave the background
of the continuous struggle by the NRIs for a dual nationality. He pointed
out that Indian government persists in ignoring the potential benefis
this sole action could bring to the country. Dual Citizenship confirms
one’s right by birth and keeps one’s status clear for the
future. It is a complex world we are living in and a right not clearly
specified may prove to be no right in reality. There was interesting
Q&A at the end of the discussion. The members of the seminar conveyed
their concern, through the high officials of the Indian High Commission
about the delay in laying out the proper procedures and informing the
NRIs, the true nature of granting dual nationality.
Up and fires water gun.
Mr. L.K. Advani, the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, is at
last awakening to his responsibilities after a long sleep. His party
reduced its majority in Jharkhand and did not do as well as it should
have done in Bihar. He is a gentleman who likes to behave as a gentleman
even in the Lok Sabha.
In Bihar, the NDA, a BJP-JDU combine has the largest number of legislators.
However, the governors ignored them as if they did not exist. The President’s
rule was imposed and he did not raise a word against it in the Lok Sabha.
He now wants the Prime Minister to send good officials to Bihar. He wants
that Manmohan Singh, a gentleman to the core, should take personal interest
in the matter and send such officials to the state who can fight corruption
and criminalisation in the state. Come, come Mr. Advani. You have still
not read the writing on the wall. The political leaders who encourage
corruption and criminalisation are the allies of the United Progressive
Alliance of which Mr. Manmohan Singh is the leader. He cannot cut his
own throat to please your whims. Moreover, what is your record in reducing
the number of corrupt officials and criminal politicians when you were
in power? The less said the better.
Now you are complaining that Manmohan Singh seems to be invisible. It
was a good shot; and would have been effective, if you had a bullet in
your pistol. Instead, you tried to threaten him with a water pistol.
Mr. Manmohan Singh is too clever to be beaten by such sheepish attack.
You failed to provide any instances of his living in the shadow of the
Congress President. There have been many occasions when Mr. Natwar Singh,
the external affairs minister, has ignored the Prime Minister and gone
straight to the Congress President. Mr. Arjan Singh, the Human Resources
Minister, has been known to ignore the Prime Minister in various decisions
taken by him. You have failed to mention even once various extra-constitutional
activities of the Congress President in the Lok Sabha. A timid leader
of the Opposition has himself to blame if his party suffers in elections.
But elections, in your estimate, are a long way to go. Moreover, you
may not be there to lead the BJP to the next election. Isn’t it
the time to hand over the baton to a younger and more dynamic leader?
At least, he or she will not use water pistols in the Lok Sabha.
or a Den for porno films
A honeymoon couple staying at Hotel Park Plaza in Ludhiana, found
to his horror, that two unidentified persons were videographing him
with his wife in their room around 3am.
Mr. Harpreet Singh and his wife had checked in the day earlier. He
told the police that he saw two persons dressed as waiters standing
behind the room’s window with a camera. He broke the glass
pane with his fist in order to catch them but they escaped after
hitting him on the head and the arms.
Hotel Park Plaza is the only five-star hotel in Ludhiana and is a
part of the 25-hotel Sarovar Park Plaza and Restaurants chain. It
has been alleged that the room in question was deliberately let to
couples on honeymoon. The police have taken possession of hotel records
to verify the allegation. The Managing Director of the hotel Mr.
Jessy Khangura admitted the incident was a major embarrassment for
Competing with Thames
The Delhi Tourist Board is planning the attraction of Yamuna
river in a big way. The Delhi government has finalised architectural
designs for the first cable-stayed bridge in Wazirabad on the
river Yamuna. Delhi tourism minister Arvinder Singh Lovely described
it as the landmark structure, which would showcase Delhi’s
beauty and be an architectural masterpiece. It would turn Delhi
as a world class city.
It is hope that the project would take 30 months to complete.
The design shows that the bridge will be 550 m long and 40 m
wide. It will have eight lanes, two cycle tracks and footpaths
on both sides. The 150 m high twin
–towers will have bubble lifts looking into the river.
The cables, attached to the two towers, will be in the centre
of the roadway, thereby giving commuters an unobstructed view
of the river.
Delhi Tourism is planning to have water sports facilities, an
amphitheatre at the shore, food courts on the tower tops, theme
parks, aquatic activities and night illumination.
of M25 around Delhi
The Supreme Court of India has finally cleared the construction
of an expressway around the Capital of India, describing the
Rs. 3,657 crore project as one of “national interest”.
There was a continuous fight between Haryana, Delhi and UP
about the Expressway, which would pass through these states.
The Expressway would enable heavy vehicles out of the city.
It is expected to complete within six years.
Militants shot down in the Capital
One of the longest encounter between Delhi police and the
Islamic militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba took place in the outskirts
of Delhi. It all started with the arrest of three militants
who met at Makarba Chowk in Samaypur Badli. A handbag containing
10.5 kg RDX was seized from them. On questioning, they disclosed
that three heavily armed militants were hiding in a house
near Kakrola Modh in Uttam Nagar. A team of 20 policemen
led by ACP Rajbir Singh rushed to the spot and surrounded
the house, located in an unauthorised colony. A barrage of
shots from within the house started the long encounter that
killed the three militants. Two of them were Pakistani nationals.
The Delhi police also arrested two associates of the slain
militants and interrogation has revealed that they were planning
to attack the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, one of the
most prestigious training institutes for the Indian armed
forces. The security at the Indian Military Academy has been
Munda wins in Jharkhand
The Ides of March was lucky for Arjun Munda. He won the
vote of confidence in Jharkhand assembly by 40-37. Earlier,
Mr. Inder Singh Namdhari JD(U) was elected Speaker of the
Assembly. This may not be the end of problems for Arjun
Munda, the new Chief Minister. With such a slender majority,
there is bound to be tussle in coming months for ministerial
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