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VOL 2 ISSUE 04 JUNE, 2012

SHREE MAA PRAKASHAN PVT. LTD.

INSIDE

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BEWARE: CHILDREN ARE NOT TOYS OF LUST !

Group Editor M.K. Tiwari Editor Vinod Varshney Executive Editor Dr. Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratana Assistant Editor Anjalika Rajlakshmi Campus Editor Adithi Sonali Cine Editor Meera Singh Special Correspondent A.K. Chaturvedi Javed Usmani Regional Editor M.P. Aaditya Tewari Regional Editor C.G. Gopal Thawait

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Senior Graphic Designer Ashi Sinha Illustrator Vinay Vasu Regional Office Incharge Tamanna Faridi U.P.: B-121, 1st Floor, Prince Complex, Hazratganj, Lucknow-226001 Ph.: 0522-4003911 E-mail: lokayatlucknow@gmail.com

Society: Elders wish long and happy marriages

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Nation: Credibility of UPA-II at stake

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West Bengal: Investment for Bengal's future

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Haryana: Farmers oppose nuclear plant

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Maharashtra: Slugfest over drought

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Gujarat: Enemy at Modi’s gate

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Himachal Pradesh: Dissidence is the bane !

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Uttarakhand: MLA poaching

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Karnataka: Probe takes wind out of Yeddy's sail

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Tamilnadu: Water war–Dam of contention

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Kerala: Political murder most foul

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Campus: Nitish-Sibal stand-off continues

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Sport: Why kidnap Sachin Tendulkar!

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Nation: Axis of ambition

World: Socialists return after 17 years of 'Vanvaas'

Madhya Pradesh: Jai Vardhan in Raghogarh

REGULARS 05 WITH CANDOUR 06 PUB TALK 62 HEALTH IS WEALTH

63 COOKERY 68 HOLLYWOOD 70 BOLLYWOOD

75 BUSINESS & FINANCE 77 BOOK 78 EARTHY DREAMS

Published, printed, edited & owned by M.K. Tiwari Published from A-124, Pocket-B, Mayur Vihar Phase-II, Delhi-91 Printed at Vrindaban Graphic, E-34, Sector-7, Noida (U.P.)


LETTERS

WHAT YOGA CAN DO WHEN ANGER IS LEGITIMATE? I liked the article which spoke of anger as the biggest enemy of the heart. But it did not tell how anger can be controlled in such a situation when you cannot change the circumstances but they are totally unacceptable. In certain ugly situations the anger is the natural outcome. Anger against bad thing is a positive thing and creates resolve to change the situation. But people do not make a positive resolve rather they feel hopeless and start using filthy language, which is not the right solution. Positive resolve can calm you down. Yoga and Pranayam are secondary helps. There is one more aspect of anger. If I have some legitimate desires and they are not fulfilled inspite of my best honest efforts, then why I would not be angry? What can Yoga do in such matters? Surendra Garg, Lucknow

BILASPUR UNIVERSITY

A GOOD NEWS! Read the interview of the VC. We feel proud that such a renowned scientist is coming to Bilaspur. Many thanks to Dr Raman Singh for starting a new university! I hope Dr GD Sharma would be able to raise the standard of education in Chhattisgarh. But would he be able to tackle the dirty politics of Chhattisgarh. I was dismayed at so much ghapla in various universities like Guru Ghasidas University, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna University and Kushbhau Thakre University. Your magazine is really doing good service by exposing various wrong doings and wrong-doers. Authorities should take notice of them. But to my mind ghapla sanskriti can be altered only when the wrong-doers are given the same treatment which is given in China. They must be executed in public.

THANKS DRDO!

THIS IS SHOCKING!

Many many thanks to the scientists of DRDO who have done a great job to protect the honour of the country by developing a long range missile Agni-V. But the article says in your magazine that China is far ahead of India in missile technology, so I would request the defence minister AK Antony to give more facilities, resources and encouragement to scientists to do even better job. The best young talent of the country should be deployed in such projects. They should be drawn quite early during their educational career. DRDO should tie up with some top universities of the country for this.

The way parliamentarians are objecting to the caricatures and cartoons in the text books is shocking. It shows India's political class is becoming less tolerant. Why this degradation in Indian society? India is a progressive country. With democratic methods it is achieving the goal of poverty removal and also ensuring social justice to the masses who had been subjected to bad treatment for hundreds of years. People may not take Kapil Sibal seriously, but this is puzzling for me to see that even senior leaders like Pranab Mukherjee also concurs with the demand of removing cartoons from books.

Dr Rajat Sharma, Chandigarh

Er S M Malick, New Delhi

Bimal Sankhya, Raipur

ADDRESS CHANGE: Our head office has shifted to the following location: A-124, Pkt-B, Mayur Vihar Phase-II, Delhi-110091

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E-mail your letters at lokayat01@gmail.com vinodvarshney@hotmail.com


WITH CANDOUR

HOW MUCH BLACK MONEY IN INDIA? aba Ramdev and his ilk have made so much propaganda about the amount of black money stashed away in foreign countries that no matter how sincere an attempt the government may make to tell about it, it would only be mocked. So it was not surprising to see leaders from the opposition benches in the Parliament ridiculing Pranab Da's White Paper on Black Money. They said it was a white wash, not a white paper. In democracy opposition has unlimited rights to say what they find expedient to enhance their politics regardless of what the facts are. Incidently many of the claims about the amount of black money are based on the estimates of certain foreign NGOs. But who bothers if such an NGO does really exist or not? The government has now commissioned its own study to figure out the quantum of black money stashed in foreign tax havens. The study is being separately conducted by three government-run but reputed institutes, which is expected by September. Till then many would maintain their faith in the sensational figures like it being several times of India's GDP. There is no body to thank the government that it accepted the demand of the opposition to present a white paper. The paper has several positive aspects in as much as it deals at length how to disincentivise generation of black money. While Baba Ramdev and others take credit of raising cudgels against the money stashed in foreign banks, nobody seems to care about the black money that exists right here in the Indian territory. According to a World Bank study, in 2006-07 black money in India amounted to Rs 15 lakh crores, almost one-fourth of the country's GDP. The White Paper has identified real estate, finance, bullion and jewellery, equity trading and mining as sectors more prone to black money generation in the country. The realty sector, which constitutes 11 per cent of the GDP, is the commonest means of parking unaccounted money. There is the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988, but benami transactions are rising unabated, the latest instance being of Adarsh Society, Mumbai, where around 35 flats are reported to be owned benami. The white paper has suggested many ways to recover the black money. One suggestion, though it has remained highly controversial in the past, is a one-time tax amnesty to recover funds stashed abroad and a gold deposit scheme for locals. It also suggests that all individuals get tax department's go-ahead for all property deals. To curb black money in the real estate sector, the paper has given another good suggestion to create a nationwide data base of all properties, and deduct tax at source on sale of property. It recommends only electronic payment mechanism for all the property deals. The white paper has also highlighted how the complex corporate structures are misused to evade taxes and thereby generate black money. The Vodafone tax case has been illustrated to bring home the point. It has also underlined the need to expand the legal framework of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements and tax information treaties with the countries. Lastly, but not the least, the Paper has rightly suggested that tax rates be rationalised and tax administration is made strong.

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JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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PUB-TALK

Isko kahte hain BJP kee power politics! howing tantrums on the slightest hint of losing power is a new trait of BJP satraps. Why not, gone are the days when BJP had just graduated from Jan Sangh, and had some ideological underpinnings and was a hallowed opposition party! But now most of its leaders think it is a bonafide ruling party. And the patented rules of powergrabbing first be implemented within the party! For several months millions of BJP workers have been aghast when they found the former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa tormenting the BJP high command after losing satta-sukh. But he is not the only perverse traveller of BJP's power pagdandi. Look at former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje! Did she not make leaders in Delhi lose sleep with her threat of quitting the party? What was the problem? Her prospects of becoming the next chief minister of Rajasthan were being spoiled? Any hint of any rival being propped by the party for the gaddi disturbs her. Bechare Gadkari! He has to keep the party united, so he told Gulab Chand KatariaBhaiya don't go on your Lok Jagran Yatra. Only Raje has the right to do so as she perceives herself the queen and the next chief minister!! Why not? She could prove her right by collecting resignations of as many as 61 legislators and a couple of MPs. Gadkari who had given his nod to Kataria to go on yatra initially, declared within a few days of turmoil that Raje was the uncrowned queen of Rajasthan! Isko kahate hai BJP kee power politics!

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Publicity-crazy Press Council chief he Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju has once again decided that '90 per cent Indians are fools.' The former Supreme Court judge seems to be still living in the past and takes pleasure in pronouncing 'judgments' on all and sundry -- be they abstruse scientists, pressure-prone media, simple country folks or wily politicians. Agreed that Justice Katju is knowledgeable and has the right to freedom of speech like any others, but why flaunt them? One suspects he is simply headlines-crazy. That is okay, many are stricken with the disease. But why despise the media and rundown the people who run it? Justice Katju quotes vastly from Hindu scriptures to show his erudition. He accuses Indians of falling easy prey to casteism, communalism and superstitions. They vote on the basis of caste or community, and not on merits. He also ridicules simple folks who believe in astrology, which is 'pure humbug.' According to him, some Indian scientists too are superstitious and have pushed the country several decades back! Indian media, of course, are obsessed with cricket and Bollywood. He also chastises them for playing up Anna Hazare's fight against corruption. Perhaps Justice Katju forgets that others too have the right to freedom of expression and belief. It is perhaps time the Press Council chairman confines himself to issues before the Press Council. There are others to attend to other urgent businesses of the nation.

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PUB-TALK

Modi sets a hairy trend is always the icons on the silver screen who set the fashion trends. The youths lap them up eagerly. No doubt, everyone wants to look young, trim and fine. The makeover trend is invasive as well as pervasive. Flowing mane became a trend among film stars first. Then sportsmen adopted it. Sachin Tendulkar appeared on television recently flaunting a new hairstyle. Not to be left behind, politicians have jumped into the bandwagon. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was seen sporting a ponytail although it is a mystery why the veteran BJP leader (whom The Time magazine dubbed as a prime ministerial probable), did so. Was it a fashion statement, superstition or a sign of Hindutva identity? The bachelor chief minister had a hair transplant prior to the 2007 Assembly elections and he made a stunning appearance in the campaign trail. People who have regularly watched Modi at public meetings recall how he used to take out his shaving comb (for trimming his beard) and another comb to caress his hair on the head. Nothing wrong in being meticulous and looking presentable! Even Kalam and Lalu Yadav have changed with the times. Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati had also set a fashion trend with her trademark ladies handbag hanging from her shoulder. The numerous statues that came up in several parks in the state were modeled after this posture.

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Buy one rail ticket, get phenyl free! uy an upper-class rail ticket and get a phenyl pouch free to clean the toilet! It is the Indian Railways' solution to a problem they had not been able to solve for decades. If passengers have any grievances with the standard of hygiene while travelling by train, they can mix the phenyl with water and sprinkle it around the toilet. The exercise is said to be the brainchild of South Eastern Railway General Manager AK Verma. The experiment will start in the air-conditioned coaches on Duronto and other long-distance trains that take more than 30 hours to reach their destinations. If the experiment clicks, it will be introduced in more trains. Soon after the innovative idea was made public, the Railway Board has been flooded with suggestions to make the rakes more user-friendly, like spraying disinfectants to keep cockroaches, bugs and rats away. A passenger wanted brooms for cleansing compartments. Another sought 20 per cent discount on tickets for the passenger 'who does a clean job!! Yet another wanted a national 'pheno-menal' award given to the official who came up with the fabulous idea! But the cake for the most thoughtful suggestion should go to the one who urged a crash course on driving trains for commuters, to ensure safe travel and arrival on time in case of ‌‌necessity. Not a bad idea, Sirji!!

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JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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NATION

NOT JUST THE TENANCY OF BUT THE CREDIBILITY OF By Bhawani Shankar

Sonia Gandhi is an astute practitioner of the art of possible and has outwitted friends and foes alike in the past. She would let herself down if she fails to produce the same surprise effect this time also when she announces the UPA's presidential candidate.

Sonia Gandhi

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PHOTO: PTI

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n the presidential sweepstakes 2012, two rival candidates have emerged unofficially. Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee from the ruling UPA-2 and the former Lok Sabha speaker Purno Sangma from the nonCongress side. Both have got endorsements to brag about, but curiously, their parent parties have not declared them candidates. In Sangma's case his party the Nationalist Congress Party has made it clear that he is not their choice. This does reduce Sangma to the status of being less than a candidate. Indeed, he promises to do an Obama. That is like the famous American who became the first black president in that country whose politics has been dominated by WASPs (White Anglo Saxon Protestants), Sangma hopes to be the first adivasi president in India. He is also marketing his candidature as an antidote to the frustration that is dominant among the tribals and has fuelled left wing extremist violence. However, 2012 is significant year in the Indian political landscape. At stake is not just the presidential election, but the credibility of the UPA-2 for the rest of its two year tenure. It has completed eight years in office. Its leaders are a tired lot. 'They seem to have lost the zest and the motivation to fight their way out of the various crises that haunt this government. This is applicable to all issues-corruption, economy and governance related matters,' said a candid three-term Congress MP. As neither the UPA nor its rival

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NATION

RASHTRAPATI BHAWAN, UPA-II IS AT STAKE the NDA has the number to see its candidate through on the strength of their own formations, both the sides have been hesitating to openly back any candidate. They are fully aware that the chosen candidate should bring with him or her enough traction to muster the numbers required to get past the winning post. It is this context that Sangma hopes to play the tribal card. But political observers believe that unless all the non-Congress formations align with him, Sangma would not be able to make much of a dent. Congress has a head-start It is here that the Congress has a head start in the race. It has been able to woo two crucial players-the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party on its side. Quite clearly, the bitter campaign for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in which all the three protagonists-the Congress, the SP and the BSP traded some of the worst political and personal allegations is a thing of the past. Now the threesome have a common agendathey do not want that a non-secular (read BJP sponsored) candidate should become the president. It is this alignment that gives Congress spokespersons like Manish Tiwari to assert that 'all is well' in so far as the numbers game is concerned. But the Congress does not enjoy the same comfort in so far as Pranab Mukherjee's candidature is concerned. A veteran Congressman who has played a major role in selecting governors if not presidents in the past, Pranab Da has been unusually outspoken about his presidential ambitions. He should be aware that such open declarations of ambition are accompanied by obvious pitfalls. But

the fact that he is not deterred by this consideration has given rise to speculation about his motives. 'He is either sure of getting it or he is getting too desperate,' commented a senior Congress MP.

Purno Sangma

Pranab Da

Two opinions on Pranab Da Either way, senior Congressmen attach a lot of weight to Pranab's candidature. They see him as an acceptable candidate who may even cause a breach in the BJP's vote bank. His long parliamentary career and the fact that he has always been a consensus builder is expected to stand him in good stead. It is also being rationalised that the Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Bannerjee may not have approved of his candidature, but if he finally enters

the race then both the Leftists and the TMC who draw the bulk of their support from West Bengal would find it difficult to oppose the candidature of the first Bengali president. Regional sentiment is always known to make a difference to the voting choices of the party. Even in 2007, the Shiv Sena supported Pratibha Patil because she was from Maharashtra. She did go to Balasaheb Thackeray, even though her sponsoring party would have preferred her to ignore this support. But then this is an election, and every candidate welcomes all the support that comes his or her way. Within the Congress, there are two schools of thought about Pranab. One feels that he is indispensable for the running of the government, and the other argues that the proven utility of a person should not be used as a ground to deny him a higher post. 'This way there shall be no reward for someone who does a job well. He would have to be content with the same job all his life,' said a party general secretary while pointing out that Mukherjee had become a cabinet minister almost 30 years ago. However, this flurry of arguments and counter-arguments do not drown the possibility of the Congress president Sonia Gandhi springing a surprise. This is her big political moment. As an astute practitioner of the art of the possible, she has outwitted friends and foes alike in the past. She would be letting herself down, if she failed to produce the same surprise effect this time. Well, the suspense would not last long. She would have to make up her mind, once the process begins with the notification sometime in the middle of June.

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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COVER STORY

STRONG LAW PASSED TO WHO TREAT CHILDREN AS

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COVER STORY

PUNISH THOSE TOYS OF LUST By Anjalika Rajlakshmi

orld Day against Child Labour on June 12 this year once again will put spotlight on the plight of millions of children across the world exposed to hazardous works, most heinous among them being their sexual exploitation. The emerging figures are upsetting and horrifying, suggesting that one in every five children may be involved in sex trade if rigorous steps are not taken to stop this cultural and civilisational shame. The trend is equally alarming in India where

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thousands of minor girls are forced into the flesh trade. The offences against children have many dimensions and India's determination to put an end to this shameful situation in the country is reflected in the very strong Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Bill passed by the Lok Sabha on 22 May this year. The Rajya Sabha has already passed it. After the President's nod when the Act becomes enforceable the government would be able to start special courts solely for dealing with offences against children. Until now there has been no difference between the sexual offences against children and

Sexual abuse of children is rampant at many levels. The most heinous of all types is forcing them into prostitution. Five lakh children in the country every year are trapped into the sex trade. The irony is that this trafficking in children is on the rise even as government efforts are stepped up against the menace. Success eludes in containing it because it is a well-organised crime; and it has global dimension. Children belonging to poor families are lured by promise of employment and easy life far from their homes. Many are kidnapped and sold. For mafias this is a lucrative business just like arms and drug smuggling. A massive effort in implementation of the laws and proactive monitoring is needed to break the vicious network of traffickers. To give sharper teeth to the laws, the Lok Sabha passed on May 22 'The Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Bill'. The performance of this new law will be watched closely in the coming years. While the Women and Child Development minister Krishna Tirath explained salient features of the Bill while piloting it in the Lok Sabha, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav expressed the fear that the new measure could be misused and many people might be harassed through false complaints.

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COVER STORY

Congress MP from Jodhpur Mrs Chandresh Kumari Katoch says some five lakh children are forced into prostitution every year

Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath declares the Child Offence Bill is harsh and child friendly.

Children are trafficked for begging also large number of children are used not only for sex 'trade' but also for nonsexual purposes like domestic, industrial and agricultural labour, begging, organ trade, fake marriage, as jockeys for camel races in gulf countries, for pornography and so on. The National Crime Research Bureau reported a few years ago that trafficking in children was on the rise. An NHRC report on Trafficking in Women and Children in India estimated that the number of women and children involved in sex work in India ran into one million and of these 15 percent began sex work when they were below 15. An NGO called End Children's Prostitution in Asian Tourism reckons that there are around two million prostitutes in India and 20 percent of them are minors.

A Samajwadi supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav fears many people may be harassed by false complaint under the Act.

adults. The harshness of the Bill can be understood from the provision that the burden of proof will be on the accused and not on the victim, which is the bane of most laws in India. To make it more child-friendly, children would not be required to go anywhere for seeking justice: hearing would take place where parents want and the entire proceedings would be video-taped. While piloting the Bill Mrs Krishna Tirath, minister of state for Women and Child Development, said that her ministry had got a mega study conducted in 13 states of the country, in which 53 percent children admitted to having been victims of abuse. Under the Bill not only the person who sexually abuses a child would be punishable but those involved in the

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US Army-men preferred young girls! merica, the most powerful country of the world, is known for its strict laws and regulations. But the irony is that it is also a country which holds high records for crimes of all hues. Human trafficking is no exception. According to the estimates of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, about one lakh children of around 11 years of age, are kidnapped every year. Children from affluent families too are becoming victims of human trafficking for sex purposes. The American army, deployed in several parts of the world, has earned notoriety for causing great havoc when it comes to sexual abuse. During the Vietnam War, American army used Vietnamese 'comfort' girls to ease their mental and physical tension. The sexual demands of American army-men was so great that minor girls from poor countries like Myanmar and Cambodia were freely procured with the active connivance of the State Department. They repeated the practice wherever they went. In Myanmar the Junta, (Myanmar army) is notorious for the sexual exploitation their own girls. Facing acute economic hardships, girls of 13 and 14 are known to offer their bodies to military dictators for no more than a few pennies. During World War II, Japanese army had also indulged in similar orgies. They had brought into flesh trade almost three lakh minor girls from neighbouring countries. Nearer home, during the Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) war Pakistani army-men ravished the local girls in no less cruel manner.

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COVER STORY

Ten lakh children smuggled across borders every year lobally speaking, 40 percent of the total children involved in flesh trade are under 12 years of age. A study conducted in 2011, found that on an average 10 lakh children were smuggled across continents every year. In the USA alone, one lakh children are involved in sex trade. In 2000, the human trafficking market rose by 32 billion dollar. In the last 12 years, this market has grown to 100 billion dollars. And the black market in sex trade is worth 187 billion dollars.

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process in any way also would face charges. Similarly use of children for pornography has been included in the list of seven kinds of abuses. Punishment will be deterrent -nothing less than 7 years' imprisonment. For sexual exploitation the minimum is 10 years, which can go up to life-term if the court thinks necessary. The Bill is gender-neutral. It was pointed out by Members of Parliament that in a study conducted by WHO on sexual abuse of children in

India and Vietnam the number of boyvictims was larger than girls. The National Crime Records Bureau reported in 2010 that around only 5,400 children were victims of sexual abuse, but the reality, as described by Mrs Chandresh Kumari Katoch, Congress member of LS from Jodhpur, is starker. She said that nearly 5 lakh children were sexually abused in the country every year. Some two million who are in the sex trade today are between 5 and 15 years. Fears were expressed that the Act

Religion as cover for prostitution is even more shocking to see that religion is being used in certain parts of India for prostitution. Acts have been made to check the devadasi system through which even pre-pubertal girls from poor, low caste homes are subjected to the initiation rites at the local temple during full moon and dedicated to the deity. The temple priest then employs them. Sometimes before menarche they are auctioned for their virginity-- they become the privilege of the highest bidders. The market value of a girl falls when she attains puberty after which she has no recourse other than prostitution. The religious prostitution is known by different names at different places such as Venkatasani, Jogini, Nailis, Muralis, Theradiyan etc. Dr Ishwar Prasad Gilada, honorary secretary of Indian Health Association, Mumbai in one of his papers reported that the percentage of devadasis amongst Bombay prostitutes is 15-20 percent; in Nagpur, Delhi and Hyderabad 10 percent; in Pune 50 percent and in urban centres bordering Belgaum District (Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Miraj etc.) it is up to 80 percent. According to this report about five percent of children join prostitution after a rape incident.

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was more likely to be misused to settle personal scores; SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said people could be harassed by lodging false complaints. Even if a person walks behind a teenage girl, he could be accused of the offence and punished. Minister Krishna Tirath said there was a provision in the Bill for awarding six months' jail for those who made false complaints. However, nobody can deny that child trafficking for sex is a problem of monstrous magnitude, getting uglier with each passing day. Worldwide,

Girls sell sex to pursue education ducation played an important role in eradication of child labour in western countries. But, education has become so costly that many a time girls offer themselves to earn enough to meet the educational cost. Several such cases have come to light in recent times even in developed nations like the USA and Britain. When girls from well-to-do families are forced to do this, the compulsions of those coming from deprived and unprivileged sections of society can be imagined.

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COVER STORY

Indian laws permit prostitutes to practice their trade privately but they cannot solicit or seduce customers in public. Activities like running brothels, pimping, soliciting sex etc. are punishable offenses. This is why the legal status of prostitution in the country is said to be ambiguous. Similar legal provisions, open to diverse interpretations concerning this 100-billion dollar global business exist in most countries. nearly 20 percent of all victims of trafficking are children. In some parts of Africa and the Mekong region of Asia, the figure goes up to 100 percent. In America almost one lakh children are involved in the sex trade. In some parts of the world, trafficking for sexual purposes is accepted as normal! The menace can be gauged from the fact that it is the third most profitable business on earth!! In 2000, the human trafficking at international level was a business worth 32 billion dollars, which rose to 100 billion in 2011-12. The figures put up by the Women and Child Development Ministry in India are alarming. According to them, out of 30 lakh regular prostitutes, 40 percent are adolescents and two lakh are children. Analysis of data of people dying of HIV shows that majority are minor girls.

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It is estimated that there are more than 10 million prostitutes in India, and Mumbai alone has more than 100,000, making it probably Asia's sex workers' capital. And minor girls constitute a good percentage of this number. One guestimate is that 20,000 or 20 percent of women engaged in prostitution in Mumbai are under 18. Being a highly profitable business with connections to politicians and drug peddlers, mafia groups are very active in the trade. According to a recent study, the red light district in Mumbai generates revenue estimated at Rs 2,000 crore a year. The Falkland Road Kamatipura area is not just the largest red light district in India, but perhaps in the world. And the demand for minor girls there is said to be huge. No wonder there is a flourishing trade promoting child traffic.

Why girls become victims? Several social, economic and cultural compulsions contribute to the increase in child trafficking for sexual purposes. The trend suggests that girls from poor families across the country are induced and brought to big cities promising job and good life but they end up as prostitutes. For example, small towns like Belgaum, Bijapur and Kolhapur have in recent times become centres from where girls migrate to cities like Mumbai and Ahmedabad either through organized vice networks or individual 'agents'. A study suggests that most frequenters to brothels seek minor girls, which accounts for their (girls') congregation in places known for prostitution. There are also reports of young girls being abducted and forced


COVER STORY

Girls from USSR are hot cakes modern era, the erstwhile USSR was the first country to declare itself free from prostitution after the last surviving prostitute died in 1980. But once the USSR fragmented into several smaller nations, skyrocketing inflation forced people to purchase even bread at 200 rubles apiece. Young girls from Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan plunged into prostitution to cope with the rising prices. According to 'Employed Child World', an NGO, Russia is on top when it comes to indulging in pornography. The country accounts for 75 percent of total pornography materials trade across the world. And hordes of girls from former USSR countries are available in rich countries, especially in the Arab world and New Zealand to satisfy the needs of rich customers. In Asia alone, about 30 lakhs girl children are involved in the flesh trade. In Belgium, the number of prostitutes is 28,000 of which half are from other countries. Even in Mexico, considered to be a comparatively rich Latin American country, the number of children involved in the trade is 5,000.

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into prostitution by organised gangs. It takes up to 15 years for girls engaged in prostitution through debt-bondage to purchase their freedom. It seldom happens. Of about 1,000 red light districts across the country, cage prostitutes are mostly minors, and many of them have come from Nepal and Bangladesh. Children born of prostitutes also enter the profession - they can rarely escape it-and they often become part of it much earlier than usual. In Mumbai alone, 95 percent of children of prostitutes follow their mothers into the

'business'. It is true that the devadasi tradition also is a route to prostitution. It is still prevalent in many parts of India, especially in South except Kerala, and continues to legitimise child prostitution. Devadasi is a woman 'married' to a god-symbol who ultimately ends up as a mistress of the powerful in the local community. Many a time forced and unsuccessful marriages lead young women to go astray, finally falling into the hands of pimps. Lure of money sometimes forces husbands and even parents to introduce women to this profession. In many instances it is abject poverty which makes parents sell their small daughters to prostitution rackets. Inability to provide for dowry when they grow up is another major reason for the fateful step. There are many small-scale brothels, along the highways across the country, which provide 'comfort' girls and women to tourists, truck drivers, motorists and goonda elements. A survey suggests that apart from unemployment and poverty there are several other reasons for women, especially girls to enter the oldest profession. They are: lack of awareness and education, social stigma from various causes, insatiable desire for higher lifestyle, craving for easy money, insufferable family atmosphere, peer pressure, simple resignation and so on. Often the nexus between the police, politicians and mafia causes, protects and promotes child trafficking everywhere. In Mumbai politicians and police are in league with the mafia in controlling the industry. Teenage girls are rarely found in brothels because pimps and owners receive tip off from

the police about impending raids. On the other hand the police receive weekly remuneration (hafta) from brothel owners. This protection money apart the cops often take away the girls' pocket money-or their share of the business-- and seek free 'services' on demand. Girls caught in this vicious cycle often suffer from hazardous health problems. Few get proper medical attention at all. As much as 60 percent of prostitutes in Mumbai's red-light districts are said to be carriers of STDs and HIV/AIDS. Many foreign tourists frequent India because of its ambiguous and weak laws and weaker compliance, abundance of child prostitutes and the false notion that there is less incidence of HIV/AIDS in the country, making it one of the favoured destinations of pedophile tourists from Europe and the United States. Tour operators, hotels and travel agencies some way or the other become veritable accomplices in this nefarious enterprise.

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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SPECIAL STORY

Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan:

What's the hurry to break marriages?

BJP MP Dr Najma Heptullah:

Indian ethos is based on family building, not family breaking

Telugu Desam MP Gundu Sudharani:

BJP MP Maya Singh:

Bill should be linked to social security

Judicial system should not interfered

DIVORCE BILL DEFERRED ELDERS WISH LONG AND HAPPY MARRIAGES! By Deepak Razdan

ivorces will continue to be a difficult affair, at least for some more time. The Government's attempt to make it easier through the Marriage Laws Amendment Bill, 2010 in the last session of Parliament, failed because MPs pressed panic button. "What's the hurry to break marriages," was the common refrain. Law Minister Salman Khurshid who piloted the Bill in the Rajya Sabha conceded that there were conflicting views on the issue, and it would be better if he did not press for the Bill's immediate passage. The Bill was accordingly deferred indefinitely. The Bill sought to introduce a new ground for divorce-irretrievable breakdown of marriage. In plain language, its aim was to make divorce

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proceedings easier and shorter, as the earlier provision of divorce by mutual consent had failed to hasten the process of divorces. The Government's justification for the new measure was that couples were now locked long in unhappy marriages; it was necessary that they should get early relief. While appreciating the point the MPs did not hide their fear that it could hurt the very institution of marriage. While a few educated women could fight for their rights and sustain separated life for themselves and the children, if any, the large majority of illiterate and poor women suffered badly. Mrs Jaya Bachchan, who is back in the Upper House for another term, questioned the intention behind such legislation. Reminding the Law Minister what marriage meant to a Hindu or any family for that matter, she

said "no marriage break-up is easy." Women not only suffered in such circumstances but they were even blamed for the divorce. "Women are blamed in our society (for all such things)," she said. Mrs Najma Heptulla (BJP) tried to explain what irretrievable marriage could also mean by mentioning a Mumbai report which said that a man sought a divorce because his wife cooked meat in a cooker, and not on slow-fire, like his mother. "Not cooking good food should not be a ground for irretrievable breakdown of marriage." The Indian ethos was on family building, not family breaking, she said. That is why the thought of divorce was unthinkable in Indian society. We cannot make laws in India according to the standards of western society where the social set up is different. Mrs Gundu Sudharani of Telugu


SPECIAL STORY

WOMEN ALSO WANT DIVORCE Rajya Sabha members castigated the government saying–through the Marriage Laws Amendment Bill government was trying to destroy the institution of marriage in the country. If the Bill is passed divorces would multiply. We should not make laws in India according to the standards of the western society. Desam Party cautioned that certainly most women would suffer if the Bill in its present shape was approved. Mrs Maya Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party had a word of advice: the Government should find out domestic, social and financial reasons behind the plea for divorce and try to eliminate them, rather than making the process of divorce easier. Her plea was that society should take responsibility for issues

clarity on the custody of children. There was no institutional mechanism to ensure that maintenance money was correctly and promptly delivered. Mr Shantaram Naik (Congress), who has just taken over as the new Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, felt the Bill was not against women; it was actually designed to avoid long litigations, character assassination and

they received adequate amounts. Mr M. P. Achuthan (CPI) opposed the Bill saying it would only encourage divorces and go against women. How will one divide the property; the law must specify it. His suggestion was that 50 per cent of the property must go to the wife. He said the proposal to do away with the cooling off period of six months was ill-advised. There were many cases of couples patching up during this period. A legal luminary, M. Rama Jois (BJP) said the Bill would be injurious to children and family. If divorce takes place, what would happen to the children, he asked. Who would bring them up? Mr Ram Kirpal Yadav (RJD) said no one liked divorce now, but if the Bill was passed, divorces would multiply. Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz (Congress) said there was

DMK MP Kanimozhi:

Congress MP Shantaram Naik:

BJP MP Rama Jois:

BSP MP Brajesh Pathak:

No clarity on custody of children

Issues must be settled by courts

The Bill is injurious to children and family

It will increase insecurity of women.

which were social. Marriage and divorce were social issues, and the judicial system should not interfere with them. Ms Kanimozhi (DMK) welcomed the Bill saying that not only men, but even women wanted divorce. So far women in Indian society did not have the right to end her trauma. However she opposed the Bill on the ground that it was silent on a few things. There was no

destruction of family life. Mr Brajesh Pathak (BSP) said the Bill would encourage western culture in the country. It would only increase the insecurity of women. The amendment would go against the "Indian family system." Mr Tapan Kumar Sen (CPIM)) said the laws relating to maintenance for women and children should be strengthened to ensure that

overwhelming consensus in the House that divorce was detestable. After hearing the elders, the Law Minister took leave of the House to reply later. He hinted that he would take another look at some of the provisions of the Bill-like the women's share in the matrimonial property, and the provision of the cooling off period in divorce by mutual consent.

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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NATION

MAMATA & JAYA–AXIS OF An axis of ambitious state leaders is shaping up determined to oppose every move that the centre may put forth to solve various problems the country faces. There have been seven occasions when the axis thwarted the moves of the centre. Is this in national interest?

By VSP Kurup

utline of an axis of ambitious state powers is slowly shaping up on the eastern horizon. Jayalalithaa of Tamilnadu and Mamata Bannerjee of West Bengal seem to have laid the keel. There are some opportunists who are eager to join the fray while others

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watch the developing situation from sidelines. If the move results in a third front as is probably planned, many more would jump on the band wagon. Has the countdown started? Was it the first whistle that was heard from Kolkata? Only time will tell. Already red alert is sounded in New Delhi. For, the promoters of the axis indicate their intentions loud and clear. Even when their pan-Indian ambition is held high, their vision is confined to their respective state; they seldom see India as a whole. Even when she was the Railway Minister, Mamata behaved as if she was a minister of West Bengal. With such small people with restricted vision building "narrow domestic walls" and pursuing their strictly private agenda,

where will India be tomorrow? Mamata started playing her dirty game the moment she sat on the chair in the Writers' Building in Kolkata. One after another she took out her trumps to put the central government on the mat. Apart from asking for the fattest goose in the pen (railway ministry) for her chosen man she began directing him how to turn his head or hold his pen. Not content with that, she even began dictating dos and don'ts for other central ministers. No prime minister so far had put up with such tantrums of a chief minister just because she controlled some parliamentary seats without which UPA-II would fall. Every time the PM took a hesitating step she would issue a warning.


NATION

AMBITIOUS POWERS? Victory Marches NCTC debate was the latest occasion when Jaya and Mamata joined forces against the Centre. There have been at least seven other clashes when they along with other states effectively stopped the Union Government in its track.

Recent trends in Indian polity show that what was once called 'coalition dharma' is fading out. Partners in coalitions across the country are seen exercising their political independence of thought and action even while maintaining a tenuous relationship with the larger group. Even within individual parties a loosening of authority is visible. Are we moving towards the American system where cross-voting is not uncommon? Is it a sign of political maturity or a dangerous slide towards disruption and disintegration?

Lokpal Bill: Both Jaya and Mamata had serious reservations about certain provisions of the bill; chiefly it pertained to inclusion of Lokayukta within the purview of Lokpal because Lokayukta came under the states' domain. The government may reconsider its stand before the bill is re-introduced in the Rajya Sabha. FDI in multi-brand retail: The opposition to FDI in multi-brand retail was fundamental, and many chief ministers opposed it in principle. It was argued that once the big foreign chain stores entered this sphere small traders would be wiped out. Besides most Indian agricultural produce and manufactured goods would be pushed out of the market. Food Security Bill: It faced heavy weather and was rejected by a large majority of states because it was 'ill-conceived and was difficult to implement'. The bill sought to give legal entitlement to subsidised grains to 75 % and 50% of rural and urban population respectively. But Mamata did not want any limit put by the centre; rather she wanted greater role for the states in selecting beneficiaries-both the priority and general categories. Mamata was supported by Nitish Kumar, Janata Dal (U) and Jayalalithaa among others. MCI Bill: Mamata refused to be a party to passing the bill giving one-year extension to the Medical Council of India. She said she would rather have the Council reconstituted with new members. Refusal to go with the PM: Both Mamata and Jaya did not think much of embarrassing prime minister Manmohan Singh in the eye of foreign governments in two separate episodes. While Jaya refused to be a part of the 15-member all-party parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka led by Sushma Swaraj to see for itself the pitiable condition of Tamils there (she withdrew at the last minute saying it was merely a tourist visit), Mamata declined to join the PM on a visit to Bangladesh to sign a treaty sharing Teesta waters. She not only scuttled the proposed treaty, but also soured relations with a friendly neighbor and strategic partner.

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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NATION

CST Compensation: The two chief ministers attacked the centre for its arbitrary action in reducing Central Sales Tax compensation to states by linking it with VAT rate revision. The union government had agreed to compensate the states for the revenue loss for 2011-12, but the eligible compensation was arbitrarily restricted by deducting additional revenue realised through revision of VAT rate from 4% to 5%. There was actually no link between CST rate reduction and VAT rate enhancement. It was never a part of the guidelines of CST compensation, they protested in separate communication. Consensus-building on president: Nomination of the next president is yet another instance of Jaya and Mamata playing cheap politics and keeping the government on tenterhooks. Despite the government wanting to evolve consensus these two are not co-operating. While it is known that Jaya wants to support BJP's choice, whoever it is, Mamata cannot afford to miss the chance to elect a Bengali president, if the Congress proposes Pranab Mukherjee's name. Still they are refusing to make any open commitment.

Birds of the same feather amata and Jaya have much in common: both are extremely shrewd and ruthless political animals and have no scruples in the pursuit of their goals. Record shows they are unpredictable and undependable allies. What is more, both are terribly ambitious. However, while one is cool and calculating, the other is mercurial and explosive. It is these propensities that give sleepless nights to their friends and foes alike. Both Mamata and Jaya acquired their current unassailable power and position after bitter struggles against equally powerful adversaries-one against entrenched communists after 34 years of rule, and the other against her arch enemy and self-confessed champion of Dravidian culture. Incidently both are loners lacking finer feelings. Not surprisingly they seldom laugh. Both are dictatorial bosses of their parties. There is one great difference between the two, though. While one is an experienced administrator, the other's abilities are restricted to street-fighting and rabble-rousing. Considering the similarity of attitudes and identity of political philosophy, no wonder these two peculiar stars are moving towards a conjunction. But no astrologer can foretell whether it will lead to greater calamity for the country, or it will usher in better days.

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Jayalalithaa has been only a step behind Mamata in needling the Prime Minister. Together these two have been successful in preventing the union government from introducing several progressive measures. But for their showing the red flag frequently, the country would have shown far better results in economic recovery and reforms. For sometime, probably on account

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of preoccupation with domestic problems, the two chief ministers travelled in different orbits and watched each other from a distance. It was after some calculation of pros and cons that they decided to join hands. But concerted actions with converging interests started only when the central government tried to introduce measures like Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and National Counter-

Terrorism Centre (NCTC). The strident opposition by the duo to the two pivotal moves and the support they received from some non-Congress chief ministers forced the union government to beat a hasty retreat. They tasted blood, now it would be difficult to hold them back. The assault on NCTC which Mamata and Jaya led from the front was, however, a classic instance of irrational stand by the states on a grave issue of national security. On the one hand they wanted to end the menace of growing terrorism. On the other the states prevent steps to counter terrorism on virtually flimsy excuses. The prime minister's impassioned plea to leave petty differences behind and join the union government on vital matters, or the brilliant eloquence of home minister Chidambaram allay fears that the centre was trying to encroach on states' powers did not cut much ice. Encouraged by the two termagants non-Congress chief ministers were unanimous in their demand to rollback the proposal. Chidambaram refused to give up; he said the issue was too serious to give casual treatment. He concluded on a conciliatory note by saying that he would study the objections and suggestions and see what he could do about them. Observers of the two scheming chief ministers think that they have some hidden agenda in opposing virtually all progressive measures and keeping up the pressure on the central government. It is suspected that Jaya wants the centre to go easy on her in the disproportionate asset case, now being heard in the Bangalore court, while Mamata wants moratorium on interest payment on the state's huge debt. She also wants substantial assistance for West Bengal's development. Particularly, she is keen about an IT hub, leather and textile clusters, petroleum and petro-chemical complexes. Her urgency may stem from the fact that after the July election of the President, the union government would not have much use of her and she would not be able to exert much pressure on it.


WORLD

SOCIALISTS RETURN AFTER 17 YEARS OF ‘VANVAAS’ Nicholas Sarkozy was shown the door by the people of France for his failure to deliver what he had promised five years ago.

Torn election posters of Nicolas Sarkozy

Socialist Party's Francois Hollande has been making roseate promises and won the elections. He got only 28.1 percent votes in the first round, but in the second round he was supported by other left parties and got 52 percent votes.

By Vinod Varshney

rancois Hollande has been elected France's first Socialist president in nearly two decades. This moderate socialist, however, could defeat the pro-American conservative incumbent Nicholas Sarkozy by a narrow margin. Why voters showed him the door at a time when he was more needed to bail the country out from the economic morass? They seemingly punished him for not delivering what he had promised five years ago. But to be fair to him,

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The former President's authoritarian and ritzy style made him an unpopular leader even as the economic recession caught him on the wrong foot while Socialists and other Leftists made it to their advantage. Sarkozy had to face more challenging times than he could have anticipated when he made tall promises. One year after he assumed power, global economic recession came like a bolt from the blue. No wonder Sarkozy not only failed badly to generate jobs, but took unpopular decisions to reduce existing benefits of government and public sector

employees. He increased the working years to earn eligibility for pension. Many believe he could have still convinced the public on the need to make sacrifices, but his authoritarian and ritzy style made him unpopular. Socialists and other leftists took full advantage of this.

Sarkozy took steps timidly When Sarkozy was elected five years ago he had generated roseate hopes of giving new competitiveness to France. But he could not take necessary harsh measures due to political expediency, and whatever measures he took, they deeply shocked the working class. He increased the age of retirement from 60 to 62 to become eligible for the partial pension and from 65 to 67 for the full pension. This led to strikes and agitations. This was truly a bad time for any leader as due to recession the rate of unemployment reached 9.3 percent. Hollande has also made equally roseate election promises this time-he would increase the growth rate and generate jobs rather than compel people to sacrifice in the name of austerity. And he won the vote with about 52 percent in the second round. In the first round on April 22 he had got 28.6 percent votes to Sarkozy's 27.2 percent. Though the margin is thin, Sarkozy has become the firstever incumbent to lose in the first round.

He is Mr Normal Hollande is popular with French common people, he is

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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WORLD being described as a president who would lead a normal life-he used to go to work by scooter. People call him as Mr Normal who understands the cultural sensibilities of French society whereas Sarkozy continued to live a lavish life in spite of people's suffering amidst economic recession. Hollande has also promised to cut presidential and ministerial salaries by 30 percent as his first act. His other election promises include creating 150,000 new jobs, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan by the year-end and reduce the share of nuclear power by 50 percent by 2025. It may be noted, France depends heavily on nuclear power, to the extent of 78 percent. The economic meaning of retracing from nuclear power is to find $444 billion to install that much generation capacity. Not an easy task for France. Many wonder how Hollande would spur growth and increase welfare expenditure! His remedy is to tax the rich even more! He has declared to increase the marginal rate of income tax to 75 percent from the current 41 percent. Anybody having income more than a million euro would be taxed at this rate. Leftists wanted even higher tax rate, perhaps 90 percent if not hundred percent!

France lost its AAA rating France economically is in bad shape like many other European countries. It has lost its AAA rating and may find it difficult to get the necessary loan to keep its economy running if Hollande implements his poll promises. Fiscal deficit is already 5.2 percent and public debt is 90 percent of the GDP. France is already paying out around 2.5 per cent of GDP in interest payments, even though the interest rates are at record low level currently. Hollande has articulated that measures to spur growth can be more fruitful for the sagging French economy than pursuing austerity. It may be recalled that in 2002 France had dropped its currency Frank in favour of Euro. Since then the monetary policies for France are decided by the European Central Bank. That was the reason the Sarkozy govern-

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Liberalism on the decline in the liberal France hough voters of France have given their mandate in favour of socialists after keeping them out of power for 17 years, the worrying trend in France is that voters have also extended support to the ultra-right political parThe ultra-right leader ty of Le Pen. Not only the poor, uneducated and unemployed Le Pen has emerged as third most powerful people rallied round this fire spewing ultra-right telegenic political force in lady, but large number of the educated middle class, owners France. Her National Front got 18.76 perof small business and even employees of large corporations cent votes in the first have also approved her anti-immigrant and anti-EU approach. round. She got no Irony is that the ultra-rightists have masqueraded their antichance to seek votes in the second round Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-Euro Zone stance under the as only top two vote slogans of human rights, secularism and gender equality. Le catchers are allowed to participate in the Pen calls herself a 'feminist' and has the highest following in second round. the age group of 18-24. The rise of ultra-right sentiments has undoubtedly been facilitated by the severe economic crisis, which invited harsh austerity measures and created skyrocketing unemployment.

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ment had to resort to austerity measures and budget-cuts in welfare schemes.

Election-promises may be shelved

New President Francois Hollande may be compelled to leave out many of his election promises at a time when the country is through a tough period and he understands the cultural sensibilities of the society better.

Whatever his commitment, the new president will have to play a cautious game while pursuing his agenda of growth. The pitfall in his plans is that he has made an optimistic projection of 1.7 per cent growth next year, and 2.5 per cent after 2013. Seeing the growth rate of the last 20 years which is just 1.6 percent, Hollande's assumption seems too optimistic. Most economists believe France will grow by only 0.9 percent. Hollande is a novice, never had any post in the government, but observers hope he would show maturity and may shelve a few of his election-promises for the better times, but then there is immense pressure on him from the other two leftist parties which supported him in the second round to make his win possible. Since he needs majority in the National Assembly also, the elections for which would be held in June, he would not change any of his rhetoric just now. But he may proceed cautiously once he reaches the bridge to cross the sea of challenges ahead.


DELHI

AFTER MCD DEFEAT SHEILA LOSES CLOUT If recent developments are any indication, Sheila Dixit, the powerful 3-time chief minister of Delhi appears to have lost her clout. The poor show of the Congress in the recent local body elections under her leadership has in reality left her helpless.

The three Mayors–Savita Gupta Meera Aggarwal and Annapurna Mishra–elected to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi meeting CM Sheila Dikshit in New Delhi. PHOTO: PTI

By Vinod Harsh

heila Dixit is now a hapless chief minister of Delhi. It became clear to all when the home ministry under P Chidambaram, much to her annoyance, transferred some of her key bureaucrats including those 26 officers who had just been promoted to the rank of IAS. These are the officers who were once instrumental in realising her dream projects which arguably brought splendour to the city. These officers were also

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instrumental in executing majority of the infrastructural projects related to Commonwealth Games, BRT corridors, the big fleet of low floor buses etc, which in true sense transformed the shape of the city. Her powerlessness can be gauged from the fact that after strenuous persuasion, she could not stop even the transfer of her own secretary. Her anguish and frustration over the development is understandable, but she is not articulating it. Dixit who is completing her third term as the chief minister of this city state, had planned and is

executing new projects in the wake of the impending assembly elections which are just one and half years away. But her several departments, like home and energy, don't have a secretary. Secretaries of several other departments are either going to retire or have already been transferred. More officers may be transferred in the days to come. But the home minister pays scant attention to her entreaty. This is a new experience for her. In the past too there had been occasions when she faced hostility of the union home ministry, but on most occasions she prevailed upon them and got her say accepted. For example, when the home ministry had a few months ago tried to transfer her officers, they chose not to go and remained on leave till such time, she got the orders reversed. But this time round, the home ministry issued show cause notices to such officers who were transferred to Goa, Daman and other centre-ruled places but did not join. Sheila has gulped humiliation but is keeping mum, perhaps realising that she has lost her clout. Had there been an opposition government in Delhi, it would have cried hoarse over the highhandedness of the centre. If she takes such a stand, it would be deemed as a move personally against Chidambaram, which Dixit can ill-afford. Without a posse of competent officers, how would she be able to carry out her projects necessary to fulfil the promises she made three years ago to win the elections? Her supporters say if Dixit is marginalised like this, it would only boost the prospects of the BJP under its chief Vijendra Gupta, who is in high spirits after delivering victory in the three MCD elections.

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WEST BENGAL By Bodhi Shri

n a departure from what Bengal chief ministers have said about America and its 'imperialist agenda' for the past 34 years, Mamata Banerjee appeared to take pride in Hillary Clinton's visit to Kolkata in the first week of May. "It's a matter of pride that a US secretary of state has come and talked to us here for the first time after Independence," the Bengal chief minister said. The assertion reflects one profound change in Bengal, for few politicians would earlier have described a visit by an American leader as a matter of pride. In the past, visits by US dignitaries used to trigger political protests with black flags and "go back" slogans outside the American Centre in Chowringhee. The significance of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's meeting West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Writers' Buildings cannot be overstated. While it is being viewed as a sign of recognition by the U.S. government of the growing importance of regional players like Ms. Banerjee in the national political scenario, the West Bengal government is working towards seizing this opportunity to showcase the state as an attractive destination for U.S. entrepreneurs keen to invest in the region. It was a rare honour where the US secretary of state visited a chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who in the past few months has turned out to be a key person to get decisions of the UPA-II changed. The historic nature of a maiden visit by a US secretary of state to Kolkata and the long-term impact that it will inevitably have on America's engagement of India's eastern region and beyond can not be undermined either. Hillary Clinton had last visited the city in September 1997, to attend the funeral of Mother Teresa and she landed on the city after several years with a lot of plans in mind. Ever since she assumed charge as West Bengal's chief minister, Ms Banerjee had been seeking additional central aid for the state's developmental

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'INVESTMENT' FOR

The historic nature of a maiden visit by a US Secretary of State to Kolkata and the impact that it will have on America's engagement of India's eastern region cannot be undermined. schemes. If PM Manmohan Singh and FM Pranab Mukherjee were unwilling to accede to Ms Banerjee's demands, the latter found in the United States' secretary of state someone who was willing to help the state tide over its financial crisis.

Nothing can be a better gift than the investment In what can be described as the best possible gift to chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her year-old government, the USA declared West Bengal as a "partner state for investment" signalling the entry of US investment in the state

after 34 long years of Communist rule. Though Buddhadeb Bhattacharya had also tried to invite US investment, but the ideological distrust of the CPM always deterred the potential investment. Now following Hillary's visit a few states of the US may directly partner with West Bengal for "economic and business development. Some of the areas identified by Miss Banerjee for investment included tourism, IT and software sector, manufacturing sector, education, healthcare and deep sea port at Sunderbans. This declaration from the visiting secretary of state has come as a big boost


WEST BENGAL

BENGAL'S FUTURE Hollywood and Tollywood tressing on the development of the entertainment industry, Miss Mamata Banerjee sought help from the USA to create a synergy between Bollywood, Hollywood and Tollywood. When Miss Banerjee told Mrs Hillary Clinton that Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was the brand ambassador of the state, the latter said that the actor has a fan club in America. However, Hillary needed to be reminded that this super star of India has been harassed more than once at American airports. In order to build up a stronger emotional link with the US she has sought US assistance to organise a World Youth Festival to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Mrs Clinton has assured her to take up the issue with the Mayor of Chicago.

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Hillary Clinton in Kolkata: a rare honour for West Bengal

for the state chief minister's dreams of industrialisation and investment flow to the state. A year after change the investment scenario had looked bleak given problems of land and the new government's refusal to give SEZ status to IT industries. Mamata Banerjee had recently stalled several central government policy initiatives, including plans to allow 51 percent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail. That proposal was shelved, largely owing to opposition by Ms. Banerjee, who said the move would harm small businesses. It is only obvious that the U.S. administration is closely watching the developments in West Bengal that barely a year ago witnessed a major political transformation with Ms. Banerjee

PHOTO: PTI

assuming power after 34 years of Left Front rule. The Time magazine nominating her in its 2012 list of the 100 most influential people in the world could just be an indication of heightening American interest in Ms. Banerjee. Ms. Banerjee tried her best to remove prospective investors' misgivings about her government's land policy of not

The USA has selected West Bengal as a partner state for investment, signalling the entry of US investment in the state after 34 years of Communist rule.

acquiring plots for industry. High up on Hillary Clinton's Kolkata agenda was to push her government's argument in favour of retail reform, which would allow U.S. supermarkets like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to enter India. One swallow does not make a summer. But any sign of change, howsoever feeble it may be, is a straw Bengal can lunge to clutch. The Mamata Banerjee government will surely use Hillary Clinton's visit to try and attract investment. The state government has to build on this advantage and try to promote industrial investment, which will result in job creation. If one or two big-ticket investments come to Bengal after this, it will set the ball rolling.

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HARYANA

HARYANA FARMERS OPPOSE PROPOSED NUCLEAR PLANT Gone are the days when Haryana pressed for a nuclear power plant. Now when it is sanctioned and the process of land acquisition started, political parties are opposing it tooth and nail raising fears of Fukushima-type disaster, but the real politics is about 1500 acres of land which farmers claim gives them three crops a year. Though the government move has been challenged in the court and notices have been issued to concerned parties, the agitation goes on unabated reminding one of Kudankulam stir in Tamilnadu…

By Lokayat Correspondent

ith the main opposition party, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) yet again warning against the proposed nuclear power plant (NPP) in Haryana, the project is in trouble even before the government acquires land for it at the Gorakhpur area of Fatehabad district. The INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala has announced that his party would not allow the NPP to come up at Gorakhpur and urged farmers to thwart any move to build it. "If the government went ahead with its plan, it would have to be over the dead bodies of INLD workers," Chautala said recently while addressing a rally at Fatehabad. The INLD leaders have been issuing such warnings often in the past, but in the aftermath of the Fukushima melt-down in Japan they have stepped up their campaign. The Haryana Janhit Congress led by Kuldeep Bishnoi is also opposing the plant. However their grouse is about the land acquisition. They suggest that the 2,800-MW plant be located elsewhere on barren land. The plant was approved by the Centre

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in October 2009. It is to be constructed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited at a cost of Rs 13,000 crore. The state government had issued a notice in 2010 under the Land Acquisition Act for acquiring 1313 acres of land in Gorakhpur village but farmers under the banner of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and Parmanu Urja Virodhi Morcha had been opposing the acquisition process. In January this year, local farmers filed a public interest litigation in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which promptly issued notices to the Department of Atomic Energy, the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the NPCIL. With political parties backing them, the farmers held some engineers of a private company under ‘custody’ for five hours in February this year and released them only after they were given assurance that no survey of their land would be conducted. The Haryana government is acquiring land by citing the emergency clause of the Act. But the farmers claim that according to law irrigated and multi-crop land can be requisitioned only to the extent of 5 percent of the total land acquired and this condition does not fulfil here.

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PUNJAB

AMARINDER GETS ANOTHER CHANCE TO PROVE HIS METTLE

Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has announced a special package for the improvement of civic amenities in the cities and towns of Punjab. It will be of interest to watch who gets the benefit in electoral terms from this central largesse–the Congress or SAD-BJP.

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PUNJAB

The high command did not get rattled by the complaints made to it about the elitist attitude of Amarinder Singh. He has been allowed to continue as the Punjab Congress chief in spite of his resignation. It is felt that a new hand may not be able to gear up the party, the forthcoming local body elections being so near. It is to be seen if Amarinder can show some good result after the shocking defeat of the party in the assembly elections.

By M R Dua

fter winning a second five-year term in the recent Punjab assembly elections, the Bhartiya Janata Party-Shiromani Akali Dal (BJP-SAD) combine is in high spirits to face the forthcoming elections to the four important municipal corporationsAmritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala. These elections are scheduled to be held in two phases-on June 7 and 10. These apart, voters would also elect three municipal committees and 29 notified area committees. As the stake-holders gird up their loins to give a tough fight to the ruling combine, Congress leader Amarinder Singh has expressed apprehension that the government may resort to widespread malpractices for winning the people's mandate once again. It may be recalled that Amarinder had submitted his resignation to the party high command as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief after the shocking assembly poll debacle, but he was asked to continue. One reason was the impending civic bodies' poll and then the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Therefore, it is yet another opportunity for Amrinder to prove his mettle in the June local bodies' elections.

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On the other hand, SAD-BJP combine has started its campaign in full blast, appointing senior Akali and BJP leaders as observers for tightening the loose ends. Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh has taken over as the chief observer, and to oversee all arrangements. Meanwhile, union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh's two-day visit to Punjab in late May has boosted the morale of the Punjab government. For, Ramesh supported the state's plea for help to furbish the infrastructure, particularly roads, in the five border districts of Punjab-- Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Pathankot, and Ferozepur. He also promised Rs 800-crore special support to the state's 12, 500 panchayats. The state has already set apart about Rs 8,800 crore for the overall development of small towns and villages where civic amenities, like drinking water supply, sewerage and roads repair, ponds de-silting, houses of economically weaker sections and disposal of filth in rural areas etc. have been dysfunctional or in disarray. Rural voters, especially farmers, are in a jubilant mood as wheat production and procurement in the state this year has broken all records. Farmers never had it so good in recent memory: they have got Rs 15,000 crore more in their hands this season. In fact, safe storage of their harvest is the main problem facing them.

Congress legislators meeting secretly with SAD leaders ongress in Punjab is yet to recover from an unexpected defeat in the recent Assembly elections. The chief minister Prakash Singh Badal's camp appears to have done further damage by creating a divide among the Congress legislators by managing their 'cooperation' in securing central funds and promising development in their constituencies in return. In their eagerness to ensure development of their constituencies, at least half-a-dozen young Congress legislators approached the deputy CM and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal recently. A few met with the CM in his office while a few others visited the deputy CM at his residence for lunch or dinner. The Congress chief in Punjab Capt Amarinder Singh is unhappy over this unwanted 'collusion' between Congress leaders and Akalis in the name of development needs of their constituencies. He, fearing the diabolic poaching efforts, issued an advisory for party MLAs against designs of the ruling SAD. He directed party legislators against meeting the Badals. 'Ideally you should avoid meeting the CM and deputy CM in a manner that can be projected in a way that you are more friendly with them (Badals) than party workers because of whom you are MLAs today," the advisory said. The Punjab Congress is also unhappy over Manmohan Singh government's co-operation with the state government. In recent past, Punjab government had succeeded in getting favorable response from the centre to its demands. To Badal government's satisfaction, state' annual plan allocation was hiked by a whopping 22 per cent, from previous year' plan of Rs 11,520 crore to Rs 14,000 crore for this fiscal. Capt Singh had even cautioned the centre against bailing out bankrupt Badal government without a guarantee that the government will not squander away the money on meeting the poll promises. Congress leaders have been criticised by the SAD and the Badal government for such statements which amounts to working 'against the interests of Punjab'.

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JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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MAHARASHTRA

CONGRESS-NCP IN FRESH SLUGFEST OVER DROUGHT Drought in western Maharashtra made NCP boss Sharad Pawar lose his cool when the soft spoken governor turned down his request to help him out for the sake of drought-stricken people. This quickly led to open slanging match between the two coalition partners in the state, each telling the other how the money had been misused in the name of development.

By Lokayat Correspondent

severe drought has gripped the agrarian hinterlands of Maharashtra threatening the livelihood of millions of rural families. However, the ruling coalition partners-Congress and NCP-are at each other's throat instead of putting their heads together to tide over the crisis. The situation has been made worse with the mild-mannered and soft-spoken state governor K. Sankarnarayan getting caught in this crossfire. It all began when the governor refused to accede to the NCP chief and union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar's demand for diverting an additional part of the development funds

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under his (governor's) authority as the head of the statutory development board to some of the drought affected areas in western Maharashtra, which is NCP's electoral stronghold. The governor said that if he acted on that demand he would be transgressing his own statutory powers which he couldn't do. Upset, Pawar accused the governor of being obstinate and insensitive to the drought crisis. Pawar also said the governor should have toured the state to understand the seriousness of the situation. Pawar's diatribe met with protests, not just from the Congressmen, but also from the opposition members who said that the Maratha strongman had not only violated the etiquette by criticising the governor but had also dis-

played narrow political concern for just one part of Maharashtra despite the fact that drought had hit almost all the regions of the state. "Utterances of this kind coming from a senior leader of the state who has been the chief minister are highly regrettable," said one of them.


MAHARASHTRA

A whopping Rs. 70,000 crore has been spent in Maharashtra on augmenting the irrigation network since 2001, yet there was less than one per cent growth in the land brought under irrigation by the end of 2010. Why is it so?

Showing contempt for this criticism, Pawar went ahead to charge that the state government (read chief minister Prithviraj Chavan who belongs to Congress) did not do serious follow up after requesting the centre for a special grant for the state to fight the drought. The CM soon got the opportunity to strike back. While the state Assembly was discussing the drought crisis, senior opposition member Ganpatrao Deshmukh dropped a bombshell by saying that despite the state government sinking a whopping Rs. 70,000 crore on augmenting the irrigation network since 2001, there was less than one per cent growth in the land brought under irrigation by the end of 2010. He squarely blamed the mismanagement of the state irrigation department which has been under the charge of the NCP for the past 12 years. CM Chavan promptly admitted this statistics to be a fact, and said that there was need for a white paper on the irrigation works in the state. This was an oblique reference to humongous

corruption and mismanagement in the state irrigation department currently held by Ajit Pawar, deputy CM and nephew of the senior Pawar. The NCP chief then accused the CM of not having done enough to augment Mumbai's infrastructure despite the urban development department being under the charge of the Congress for the past 12 years. This was intended to put the focus back on Adarsh and numerous other land scams that have surfaced over the past decade. As the clamor for urgent measures grew from different quarters, the CM led a state delegation to Delhi and met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ask for the grant. The PM however politely turned down the request and, instead, reiterated the CM's idea of the state government coming out with a white paper on the current status of Maharashtra's irrigation facilities. Predictably, this prompted the NCP leaders to charge that the CM had failed to get the drought relief grant because he

carried no weight with his own party's PM and the high command. Sharad Pawar meanwhile got a central panel set up with himself, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia as the members to study the drought situation. The UPA government later released a special grant of Rs. 700 crore for which there was tussle between the Congress and the NCP to get the credit for this "achievement". Now, the latest release of drought relief fund by the center has led to the Congress-NCP fight over sharing the spoils. Going by the sordid history of drought management in the state, aam janata does not expect these funds to really go into fighting the drought. "The central drought relief fund is nothing but manna from the heaven for ministers and the contractors supported by them. No one will bother to check where this money is gone once the monsoon hits us the next month," said a NGO activist.

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

31


GUJARAT

By Pramod Pagedar

ujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi presents a paradox of sorts. He remains an unrivalled leader with a firm grip on power in the state. But he is also the

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over Modi's head as the question whether he will be implicated personally in the Gulbarga massacre case in which a local Muslim leader and Congress MP was burned alive during the carnage still to be settled by courts; a group of certain serving police officers and some retired bureaucrats is snapping at his heels; Congress has revved up its attacks against him on a daily basis; the state government employees are out to arm-twist the state government in the election year to extract better pay package through the threat of strike and agitations; and the

tect of BJP's wresting control of the state from Congress in mid 1990s, was unceremoniously ousted and replaced with Modi in 2001 by the party high command at the instance of the RSS headquarters in Nagpur. After lying low for nearly five years, Keshubhai, 84, has since early April allowed himself to be the rallying point for the Modi detractors within the party and those who were forced out of the party by the chief minister's ramrod rule. He has adopted a copycat strategy to counter Modi's current caste and community specific approach to woo

ENEMY AT MODI'S GATE

Indomitable chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi

country's most besieged politician. As Gujarat is slowly moving towards the state assembly polls scheduled late December this year, Modi increasingly finds himself fending off attacks coming from all directions. Take a look at the 360 degree battle Modi is currently fighting with his enemies. His government is mired in too many court battles being waged by human right activists in the wake of 2002 riots; a Damocles sword hangs

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media is enjoying the TRP/circulation boost all this drama provides them with. However, the most debilitating offensive against Modi has come from within his own party. Keshubhai Patel, former chief minister and leader of the state BJP old guard, has suddenly come alive like an abruptly woken up volcano, spitting fire and brimstone against his bĂŞte noire Modi. The hostility between the two goes back to the time when Keshubhai, regarded as the archi-

While there is a talk of Modi emerging as a potential prime ministerial candidate of the BJP, intense activity is going on within certain quarters of the BJP to see that he is humbled in the forthcoming state elections. Surprisingly, even those who shoulder responsibility to maintain unity in the party are involved in fueling dissent against him. Congress must be happy at the emerging situation, but it is yet to formulate a proper strategy to take advantage of the bitter factional feud in the BJP.

the electorate. While Modi was busy wooing Brahmins, scheduled castes and even migrant settlers from Bihar, UP, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, Keshubhai fired his first salvo from a gathering of his own powerful Levua Patel community in Saurashtra, where he came down heavily on Modi without naming him and asked the community's young turks to fight the latter's dictatorial rule. But it was Keshubhai's no-holdsbarred attack on Modi at a Rohit com-


GUJARAT munity gathering in Ahmedabad on May 13 that sounded like a clarion call for all the Modi-opponents owing their allegiance to the Hindutva ideology to gather under his leadership to fight the man they all love to hate. He dubbed Modi (without naming him) and his henchmen as the marauders under whose rule people were living under the pall of fear, the rebel leader charged. Upping the ante further, Keshubhai openly hobnobbed with Gordhan Zadaphia, a former minister in the Modi cabinet turned rebel who has formed his own rival outfit called Maha-Gujarat

Nalin Bhatt a former BJP leader criticised Modi finding time to visit China but not visiting Godhra at the tenth anniversary of the train burning incident in which many Hindu pilgrims lost their lives

Janata Party (MJP) Buoyed by the support from the leader of Keshubhai's stature, Zadaphia is now trying to gather under the MJP banner all the BJP stalwarts whom Modi has sidelined over the past decade. Notable among them are Kashiram Rana, Suresh Mehta and Nalin Bhatt. Keshubhai's open belligerence against Modi has sparked off speculations in Gujarat political circles that he has tacit support from the RSS top brass who are keen to cut Modi down to size. BJP president and Modi's potential rival

for the prime ministerial candidature, Nitin Gadkari too is said to be behind this anti-Modi campaign which is proving to be a greater headache for the besieged Modi than the Congressmen's sound and fury that carries little resonance with the masses. However, all the key Modi-baiters in the BJP, including Keshubhai himself, have a tendency to develop cold feet after the first burst of fury against Modi. Ironically, it is the Congress which stands to lose if the BJP rebels chicken out of their anti-Modi crusade once election campaign hits high octane.

Former BJP chief minister Keshubhai Patel who has no problem in maintaining political contacts with Gordhan Zadaphia who left BJP and formed another party.

Former union cabinet minister Kashiram Rana is waiting in the wings to take on chief minister Modi.

Modi relents, attends BJP national executive arendra Modi finally went and attended the BJP national executive meeting in Mumbai. Peeved at the attitude of party president Nitin Gadkari, the indomitable Chief Minister of Gujarat had kept the leadership on tenterhooks till the last moment, but he did not relent before he got what he wanted. Without him the party's deliberations on crucial issues, including amendment of party constitution to allow Gadkari a second term as party chief, would have remained less credible. Modi's main grouse was the presence of Sanjay Joshi, darling of the RSS, at the meeting. Joshi had

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earlier lost his post of general secretary after a video clip showed him with a woman allegedly in a compromising position. He had later been re-inducted by Gadkari at the instance of RSS diktat. Modi did not approve of Joshi's return. Faced with Modi's opposition and continued boycott of the party's top powwow Gadkari eased Joshi out, though it was made out that Joshi himself resigned in the party's interest. Modi had not attended the previous national executive meeting in Delhi and also had not gone to UP for election campaign. It is the fourth time Gadkari had to reverse his decision under pressure -whether it is taking BSP minister Babu

Singh Kushwaha in the party, giving RS ticket to the NRI tycoon Anshuman Mishra in Jharkhand or supporting Gulab Singh Kataria against Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan. However, it goes to the credit of Gadkari that he did not hesitate to correct himself when things became clear that he was in the wrong. Truly a democratic temperament! At a time when Modi is being seen as prime ministerial material his absence would have sent a wrong signal to party workers, especially when the party is facing crucial elections this year in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka and Rajasthan next year and the mahasangram in 2014.

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

33


HIMACHAL

DISSIDENCE IS THE BANE OF

BJP president Nitin Gadkari is facing a tough challenge to keep the party united in Himachal Pradesh. While he has lauded Dhumal's efforts in making Himachal a model state with 51 awards to its credit in its 48-month rule, he has blessed former chief minister Shanta Kumar too. Nobody knows what may be the fall-out of this strategy‌. By Jyoti Thakur

llegations and counter allegations usually fly fast and thick in the run up to any election. But most of the time these are made by rival political parties against each other. Put it to massive divide in the ruling BJP as well as the opposition Congress, leaders in both the parties attack their own colleagues more stridently than those belonging to the rival party ahead of the assembly elections for 68 seats by the end of this year. Be it the BJP or the Congress, the page one news in the local media is often on infighting and allegations made by leaders of the same party

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Five-time chief minister of Himachal Pradesh Virbhadra Singh not willing to give space to new and upcoming leaders

Voters of Himachal Pradesh have changed the government at each election since 1990. If this trend continues, the BJP is going to lose the elections to be held by the end of this year. Luckily for the Congress, the infighting in the BJP has worsened lately. Corruption charges are being levelled by disgruntled party-men in shriller tone than the opposition Congress. However, in the Congress too the situation is not much different. There is already a tussle for the top job. Union minister Virbhadra Singh wants to return to Himachal, so also Anand Sharma. At the directive of Sonia Gandhi the infighting has diminished to some extent, but a secret tug of war goes on between the rival camps. With things like this, would the party be able to defeat the BJP, which has shown good development record?


HIMACHAL

BOTH CLAIMANTS TO POWER

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has done excellent development work in Himachal Pradesh, but now his own partymen are levelling corruption charges against him.

against each other, indicating that internal power struggles in the two national parties are intense. While the Congress camp has witnessed war of words between the faction led by Virbhadra Singh, 78, and his detractors in the party including the state unit chief Kaul Singh Thakur, the BJP has been caught in an embarrassing situation following levelling of corruption charges by a section of disgruntled BJP leaders, mostly belonging to the anti-Prem Kumar Dhumal camp led by party vice-president and former union minister Shanta Kumar. To the BJP's despair, Chief Minister Dhumal and his son, MP and president of Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Anurag Thakur, are at the centre of the corruption

charges pertaining to real estate deals and 'sale' of Himachal resources in the last five years. These allegations have been orchestrated by none other than BJP insiders including sitting (suspended) Lok Sabha MP from Kangra Rajan Sushant, a former MP Maheshwar Singh and a section of senior leaders who are apparently unhappy for being sidelined by the Dhumal camp. The attempts by the central leadership to quell infighting have not shown much result as dissidents are sticking to their guns, justifying their stand and demands. Shanta Kumar is miffed at Dhumal for not taking note of the issues raised by him. He is also sore at sidelining his two loyalist ministers and three legislators. So he has been relentlessly target-

Prem Kumar Dhumal is sanguine that people of Himachal Pradesh would vote BJP back to power as he has done a lot of good work for them. Under his leadership the state was spending 18 per cent of its budget on education while the Union Government was barely spending 4.8 per cent on it. The state has a high teacher- student ratio of 18:1 as against the national average of 40:1. ing Dhumal and his son Anurag. In a desperate bid to placate Shanta Kumar ahead of the elections, Dhumal even went to his house at Palampur and tried to sort out the differences in order to secure his support for himself as head of the next BJP government. But Shanta Kumar refused to budge, saying he would not involve himself in the party's affairs till the issues he had raised were addressed.

Illegal power station of JP group unleashed new barrage of charges Maitaining headache for the BJP leadership, several disgruntled BJP members have formed Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) under former MP

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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HIMACHAL

Move to split Kangra district imachal chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is busy crafting strategies to see that the BJP wins and retains power in the forthcoming elections. To this end, among several other schemes, he intends to divide the biggest and politically significant district of Kangra which sends 16 members to the state assembly-maximum from any district to the 68-member legislature. The move would kill two birds with one stone as it will not only help in reducing the political influence of his Former chief minister Shanta Kumar is bete noir, Shanta Kumar, who belongs to very sore at Prof Dhumal for cornering most of the power for his group. Kangra but also help make electoral Shanta Kumar has, however, the support gains for the BJP inasmuch as people of party president Nitin Gadkari would be happy to get facilities nearer their homes. There will be less need to travel long distances for various purposes. Kangra with eight sub-divisions and an area of 5,739 sq km and population of over 15 lakh is planned to be split into four districts-the smallest one retaining the name Kangra. The other three will be named Palampur, Dehra and Nurpur. Not surprisingly, the proposal is being opposed by Shanta Kumar as well as the Congress, but the demand among the people for new districts is gaining ground. Several second rung BJP leaders from Kangra claim that consensus was emerging in favour of the split since it will improve effective governance. Two ministers Ravinder Ravi and Ramesh Dhawala, both from Kangra have extended their unflinching support to the move. The BJP national general secretary J P Nadda claims that it will help the party in the coming polls. Shanta Kumar opposes the move on the specious ground that he has not been consulted in the matter even though the issue concerned his home district. Shantaloyalist Krishan Kapoor has even threatened to launch a movement against the proposal. Former Congress chief minister and Union Cabinet Minister Virbhadra Singh is also against division of the historic Kangra district. He says that Dhumal wants to split it because he is jealous of Kangra -it has 16 assembly seats, compared to his own Hamirpur which has only five!

H Himachal Congress President Kaul Singh Thakur

Maheshwar Singh's leadership and have been levelling corruption charges against the government. Suspended Lok Sabha MP Sushant has been demanding a CBI inquiry into alleged irregularities committed by Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) in building a thermal power plant. JAL has been fined Rs 100 crore by the Himachal High Court. The court has also castigated government officials, and constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to enquire into their complicity in allowing the irregularities and illegalities facilitating establishment of the company's cement plant in H.P. Congress President Sonia Gandhi has, to some extent, succeeded in damage-control and made party leaders call a truce at least till the elections. She was forced to summon senior leaders from the state for some plain speaking. The message seems to have gone home: the warring leaders now present a united face, at least to the public. But it seems an uneasy truce. Virbhadra Singh known as Raja Sa'ab, wants the party to fight elections with him as the chief ministerial candidate but his detractors are not in favour of giving the veteran leader another chance in the state mainly because the party faced a humiliating defeat in the 2007 assembly elections when he was the CM. Despite being a union cabinet minister, Singh has made his intentions clear by being overly active -- by holding a series of rallies, and activating his supporters for the big battle ahead. Seen as the face of the party in the state for

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Five-time chief minister and currently a Union Minister, Virbhadra Singh who enjoys the confidence and support of a majority of Congress MLAs, is secretly being challenged by his (union cabinet) colleague Anand Sharma.

some decades now, not surprisingly, he is getting good response across the State which has the history of changing the government every five years. As the rival group is criticising him for his over- eagerness to project himself as the only chief ministerial candidate in the party, Raja Sa'ab too has not been holding fire and publicly blasting the attitude of party leaders. He went to the extent of accusing that they were playing a 'friendly match' with the BJP.


JHARKHAND

AHLUWALIA'S DEFEAT IS THE LOSS OF FACE FOR BJP

BJP candidate SS Ahluwalia lost the election to Rajya Sabha.

By Lokayat Correspondent

ardar Bhagao, Sarkar Bachao--was the open refrain one could hear so often during the recent Rajya Sabha election within the ruling dispensation in Jharkhand, which shows clearly how much efforts the ruling BJP, especially Chief minister Arjun Munda and some senior central leaders of the party made to galvanise support in favour of SS Ahluwalia. He lost badly. He could not get vote from any of the independents who were ready to vote for Anshuman Mishra, the earlier choice of BJP. Adding insult to the injury, even the two independent MLAs supporting the government sided with the Congress candidate, helping it to have 25 votes, the highest in this election.

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Truly, it was a big loss of face to the BJP. It should have jolted the central party as Ahluwalia was the deputy leader and a prominent face of the party in the Rajya Sabha. Many say his fault was he was close to Sushma Swaraj, the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha. So many senior leaders including the national party president Nitin Gadkari did not throw his weight behind him. But for the sake of party's strength, the defeat should now lead to introspection as to how senior leaders should respond to such issues. Initially, the BJP had decided not to contest the election as it didn't have required number and instead decided to support an independent candidate, an NRI businessman Anshuman Mishra, which created uproar within the party, forcing it to distance itself from Mishra.

BJP stalwart Yashwant Sinha had objected to his nomination, accusing the central leadership of selling the ticket for money. There were evidences for the money play and the Election Commission cancelled the election mid way. This came as a respite for the BJP, giving it an opportunity to reverse its questionable stand and field Ahluwalia. But this led to huge objection from the coalition partner JMM (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha). The BJP government virtually started tottering. The dilemma was-whether to protect the government or see Ahluwalia elected. The street sense of the party in Jharkhand prevailed: Sardar Bhagao, Sarkar Bachao. It comes to the fore now that senior leaders were divided on the candidature of Ahluwalia and didn't do their parts to ensure his victory. Even the two independent legislators, Chamra Linda and Bidesh Singh, who support the BJPJMM coalition government, couldn't be persuaded. The result was obvious: Pradip Kumar Balmuchu, the candidate of Congress, which has just 13 members, won handsomely. Whereas, the total strength of the JMM-BJP alliance is 45 in the 81-member House, and it just needed one vote from outside to ensure two seats, including that of Ahluwalia. While the saffron brigade failed to garner even that, the Congress managed to gather 12 votes from outside. In the assembly of 81 members, the BJP and the JMM, each has 18 MLAs, and with the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha of the former chief minister Babulal Marandi staying away from the poll, each candidate needed just 23 votes to reach the Rajya Sabha. The JMM got its candidate, winning the required number of votes, leaving the fate of the BJP candidate in the lurch.

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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MADHYA PRADESH

AS HIS SON HITS THE ROAD IN RAGHOGARH, DIGGIRAJA EYES A LOK SABHA SEAT

Jaivardhan Singh before launching his Raghogarh-yatra

By Lokayat Correspondent

ver since, he announced his decision to stay away from electoral politics for ten years in 2003, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh has been the subject of intense speculation. Politicians and pundits alike have spent a lot of time analysing his post-2013 options. Though he has been engaged in the organisational affairs of the party since then, as one of its most prominent general secretaries in Delhi, with the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections due in November 2013, many have speculated that he would return to state politics. However, Digvijay Singh spelt

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out his future in no uncertain terms. Not just that he chose the stage and the timing as well with adequate measures of symbolism. His son Jaivardhan Singh currently pursuing his MBA degree in Columbia University, USA took time off to take out a padyatra in the family's pocket borough-the Raghogarh assembly constituency. This was "JV's" second padyatra; the earlier one took place in December last year. Without naming his successor in the Raghogarh assembly constituency, Digvijay Singh announced that the time had come for people of 'certain age' to retire from politics. In the same breath, he announced that he would not be contesting the 2013 assembly elections, but added that should the party field him,

he would be willing to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. After these twin announcements, it does not require much political wisdom to come to the conclusion that Jaivardhan Singh is on the right royal path to reclaim the family legacy of the Raghogarh in the Madhya Pradesh assembly. As for his more illustrious father, he shall continue to torment his opponents in the national politics. In so far as retirement is concerned, Digvijay Singh has turned 65, and this is not the first time that he has spoken in this vein. He had also made similar observations at the Burari AICC session, where his remarks were seen in the context of a more active role in the parent organisation for Rahul Gandhi, the Congress general secretary. Even now, speculation is rife that notwithstanding the poor show in the Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections, the young Gandhi is all set for a major and influential role in the party affairs at the national level, whenever the Congress president Sonia Gandhi decides to make the organisational changes. In the context of Madhya Pradesh, Digvijay Singh's categorical assertion that he would not be contesting the 2013 state elections should come as a relief not just to the BJP but also to the long list of chief ministerial aspirants in the Congress, who always reckon that a former chief minister in a state is a natural candidate when the time comes and is always a potential threat to their ambitions.

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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MADHYA PRADESH

BLOOD AND INTRIGUE MAR The wheat procurment data of Madhya Pradesh are highly suspect–farmers are said to have produced 37 percent more grains than estimated, which is implausible. It is likely that because of the high procurement price here UP farmers may have unloaded all their poor quality wheat in MP. The much eulogised eprocurement system could not check this malpractice. Rather than a matter of triumph, the entire procurement episode is embroiled in controversies and agitations that claimed the life of a farmer activist. 40

Farmers agitating against the government's policy. The agitation was led by Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, an affiliate of RSS.

| LOKAYAT JUNE, 2012

agitation that brought the government to its knees. Police firing on the agitators caused the death of former village council president Hari Singh Prajapati at Bareli in Raisen district, about 95 km from Bhopal. Tempers ran high throughout the collection season and the government has not wriggled out of the mess yet. It was not just the death of the farmer that By Chandrakant Naidu forced the government to go on the backfoot but subdued celebration marked the fact that a BJP organisation had outdid the Madhya Pradesh's major triumph opposition in targeting it. The Kisan Sangh on the agricultural front. The which had suspended the agitation after the firstate claims to have caught up ing incident on May 8 revived it on May 21. As with Haryana for the second spot if to follow a written script the new phase of agibehind Punjab among the country's top wheat tation ended in less than 24 hours with the govprocuring states. Productivity-wise untill now ernment announcing the withdrawal of cases the state was far behind the top two, but this against farmers. While Chief Minister Shivraj year's high procurement has surprised many. Singh Chouhan claimed that the Congress was The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is, howinstigating the farmers, the Kisan Sangh disever, aware that the State's path to glory is owned its president Shivkumar Sharma soaked in the blood of its own supporters. "Kakkaji", and some other office-bearers shortProcurement-related ly after their arrest. wrangles like scarcity Sharma was of gunnybags, proceaccused of having arbidural delays at collectrarily distorted the tion centres and shady constitution of Kisan deals between middleSangh and compromismen and marketing ing farmers' interests. officials forced the Interestingly the Kisan Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, MP claims to have reached the level of Punjab and Sangh is now demandan affiliate of the RSS, Haryana, but the fact remains the productivity of ing the release of to launch a three-week the farmers in this state is still much lower. Kakkaji.

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MADHYA PRADESH

FARM GAINS IN MP

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan claims to have done a gallant job of procuring record wheat this year yet he has to come before public with folded hands as the farmers agitation has spoiled his claims.

The BKS had led several agitations against the ruling BJP government's alleged anti-farmer policies, most notably in December 2010 when thousands of farmers across the state camped in Bhopal laying "siege to the CM's residence" and holding the state capital to ransom for two days.

Congress demands Chouhan's resignation The Congress and the BJP have continued their oneupmanship game to the amusement of the farmers. The state government is blaming the centre for not making available enough gunnybags and the Congress party is losing no opportunity in seeking the resignation of the government for spilling farmers' blood and for allowing currupt practices in procurement. The state government claims to have procured 60 lakh metric tonnes of wheat till May 18. It has now extended the procurement deadline from May 20 to 31. It also claims to have extended the benefit of higher procurement price to 7 lakh farmers by crediting Rs 8,000 crore directly into their accounts and by transporting and storing 90 per cent of the procured wheat. A state-sponsored advertisement claims that while the procure-

The arrival of wheat far surpassed the estimates and there was acute shortage of gunny bags and godowns

E-procurement can't check malpractices adhya Pradesh relies on completely computerised "e-procurement" system-from registration of farmers to depositing payments in their bank accounts. However, the system cannot prevent foul play if some farmers inflate the output. That is where doubts persist about produce from other states finding its way into the MP market. Another problem relating to the crisis of plenty is shortage of godowns, which compelled the government to keep a part of the procured foodgrain in the open, and letting it rot in the unseasonal rains that lashed several districts of the state in mid-May. And the irony is that amidst the plenty, around 60 percent of children and a good number of pregnant women are malnourished in the state.

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ment bonus during 1993-2003 Congress rule was Rs 21 crore, it has risen to Rs 1,820 crore-- more than 86 times during the eight-year BJP rule. It claims to have procured over 70 lakh metric tonnes of wheat during the current rabi season-twice that of last year-- which makes the experts skeptical. The problem is that while the government agencies had expected the yield to be 18 quintals per acre, the procurement data would show that they have hit the 26 quintals mark-a 37 per cent rise in yield which is unbelievable. Those in the know say that the excess supply is accounted for by the substandard wheat making its way from Uttar Pradesh, given the lure of higher procurement prices here. Madhya Pradesh is offering Rs 100 per quintal bonus over and above the minimum support price of Rs 1,285. The unexpected huge arrivals in the market led to acute scarcity of gunny bags and other problems. "We have received only 1,73,336 bales so far; we need 95,664 bales more. We have requested permission for procurement of high density polyethylene bags but it is in the hands of the Union textile ministry, we are helpless," the Chief Minister had said midway through the collection season.

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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UTTARAKHAND

MLA-POACHING IN UTTARAKHAND

Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Vijay Bahuguna has to find a BJP legislator who could resign in his favour.

By Kailash Chandra Papnai

he ruling Congress in Uttarakhand has created a political storm by attempting to poach on the BJP camp. Its purpose is to get an MLA vacate his or her seat from where Vijay Bahuguna can contest and win it to be able to continue as Chief Minister. The seat cannot be from his own (Congress) party because he has only a razor-thin majority of one in the Assembly--he cannot afford to lose that. So he needs a seat from the opposite side and it has to be a safe one. What is more, he has to win the seat before the mandated six

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months. Hence, the hurried attempt to lure a BJP MLA. It is the same political chicanery BJP chief minister Major Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri had played five years ago. Most observers believe that the BJP MLA from Sitarganj Kiran Mandal may fall for the Congress lure and vacate his seat in favour of Mr Bahuguna. Apart from Mandal, three more BJP MLAs are said to be in touch with Congress leaders. This has created tremors of anxiety not only in the BJP camp but also in the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) Panwar fractionboth are Congress government's allies.

Mandal is evading BJP leaders and sitting incommunicado in some safe haven provided by Congress men. The BSP and UKD leaders feel that once the Congress is able to muster support from a few BJP MLAs, their own clout will reduce to insignificance. Reacting to the developing situation, the BSP leader and cabinet minister Surendra Rakesh rubbished the rumours of dalbadal of this scale. On the other hand the UKD chief Trivendra Pawar has slammed the Congress' poaching attempt as undemocratic and bad precedent. The BJP MLA and former minister Mrs Vijay Barthwal strongly refuted the rumour that she would join the Congress. Third time winner from Yamakeshwar seat Barthwal said she should not be considered a soft target just because she had recently become a widow. Citing her long association with the party, she said she had once been the deputy speaker of the assembly, apart from being a minister in the erstwhile BJP government. To counter the Congress strategy effectively, the BJP is trying to rope in Narayan Pal, a BSP strongman from Sitarganj constituency. Their calculation is: if Bahuguna contests from Sitarganj, then Narayan Pal is befitting candidate to take on Bahuguna at the hustings. A counter card that Mandal and Congress strategists seem to play is showing empathy to the Bengali refugee population in Sitarganj, eyeing their votes. Mandal is pressuring the state government to allot land to them. Bahuguna is expected to announce which seat he would contest after June 8, when the Vidhan Sabha session ends. He would also seek the green signal from the high command for the seat he selects. Unsure of its ability to keep the flock together, the BJP is trying to win over independents, BSP MLAs and even some disgruntled Congress legislators. Sources say the saffron party is trying to rope in those sulking MLAs whose claims to plums of office have been disregarded. There are a few Congress MLAs who had earlier been with the BJP.


CHHATTISGARH

'TICKETS ONLY TO THOSE WHO WORK AT GRASSROOTS LEVEL'

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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CHHATTISGARH

RAHUL SLAMS FACTIONALISM AND INDISCIPLINE

Congress General Secretary BK Hariprasad

By Adithi Sonali Tiwari

ahul Gandhi's utterances during his visit to Chhattisgarh made it amply clear that the Congress in this state about 18 months before the next elections is in absolute disarray-- with factionalism and indiscipline. He did not mince words while telling state leaders that the party had lost last elections not because of lack of enthusiasm of workers but because of internal bickering. He warned partymen that if they did not end feuds now, there was no chance of regaining power

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Nominated MP Ingrid McLeod from Anglo-Indian community

any time in the near future. Party sources say the message has gone down well. Lokayat had reported last month about some clever attempts to run a parallel Congress in Chhattisgarh. Because of this tendency the rank and file of the party got badly divided, restricting allegiance to their respective factions only. Rahul Gandhi tried to drive home the point that they had to work united and at grassroots level. They should go to villages and tell people what all things the UPA had done for them which many of them did not know.

Rahul told them that more money was being given to Chhattisgarh by the Centre now compared to what was allocated to it by the NDA rule, but its benefits did not trickle down to people because of corruption. Dr Raman Singh later referred sarcastically to this assertion of sending more money from the Centre and said whatever was given to Chhattisgarh was not UPA's money; it was people's money and it was being used for their development. Rahul addressed a convention of the National Students Union of India and the Youth Congress during his oneday stay. He also addressed the elected representatives of panchayati raj institutions and held discussions with senior leaders of the party, including MPs, MLAs and PCC office-bearers. He stressed that there should be coordination among the PCC, NSUI and the Youth Congress to make the party's functioning more effective. Media was barred from these meetings but sources claimed that Rahul Gandhi was successful in enthusing the youth. He made it clear that tickets would be given only to those who worked at the grassroots level. The state party chief Nand Kumar Patel told Lokayat that Rahul's visit had helped in revitalising the Congress and described the training camp at Rajkumar College, Raipur, as a grand success. The party general secretary and incharge of Chhattisgarh B. K. Hariprasad, MP, former union ministers Bhakta Charan Das and Mani Shankar Aiyar by their impressive knowledge and oration made the training programme highly useful. Former union minister of the Indira Gandhi era V. C. Shukla, former union minister and national treasurer Motilal Vora, current union minister of state for Agriculture and Food Processing Dr Charan Das Mahant, former chief minister of Chhattisgarh Ajit Jogi, state party president Nand Kumar Patel, leader of the Opposition Ravindra Choubey--all participated in the training programme.


CHHATTISGARH Many wondered why Amit Jogi kept away. During Rahul's visit, a sign of thaw was visible among the Youth Congress, the National Students Union and the Congress veterans. But how long the ego clashes would remain suspended is not clear. The intense practitioner of factionalism, Ajit Jogi was in a silent mode throughout. But the naked show of high indiscipline by the nominated MP Ingrid McLeod spoiled the visit. She went up and dragged a chair to sit with Rahul Gandhi on the dais while senior leaders like Jogi and Motilal Vora were sitting among the audience. She was told by Hariprasad not to do so. She later created a ruckus and resigned from various party positions. Hariprasad told Lokayat that her resignation was accepted. McLeod's outpourings hogged the headlines in the local media while Rahul Gandhi got relegated to the third place. Party workers severely criticised the attitude of McLeod. They were so carried away by the pep talk of Rahul Gandhi that a few of them even slammed the leader of Opposition Ravindra Choubey in Rahul's presence. Nand Kumar Patel now carries the onerous responsibility of keeping the Congress united before the 2013 elections. The way party cadres of district and block levels turned up during Rahul's visit indicates that the feuds and factionalism can be kept in check. Congress insiders tell that VC Shukla had been a victim of conspiracy in 2003 when he was sidelined. Political analysts believe it was one of the major causes of party's debacle at the hustings. The power-drunk Ajit Jogi went up sky- high and lost sight of the ground realities. Consequently there was complete chaos during ticket distribution in 2008. His Machiavellian schemes have reached 10, Janpath via 24, Akbar road. But even now Jogi's supporters surround Patel to corner maximum tickets for them. Incidently, Jogi's stocks have gone up recently in

the wake of PA Sangma's demand that a tribal be nominated to the presidency.

Indiscipline would not be tolerated any more

During Rahul's visit, a sign of thaw was visible among the Youth Congress, the National Students Union and the Congress veterans. But how long the ego clashes would remain suspended is not clear. The intense practitioner of factionalism, Ajit Jogi was in a silent mode throughout.

Hitherto Jogi camp had dominated the youth Congress and the National Student Union, but office bearers of these organisations including the Youth Congress state president Uttam Vasudev have now been told to act in the interest of the party, instead of an individual or a group. If sources are to be believed, a complaint was made to Rahul Gandhi against Amit Jogi. He was informed how under the guise of agitations, Amit had been acting against established Congress leaders. According to reliable sources the Jogi camp is targetting anyone who can emerge as a potential rival in the 2013 elections. Leaders of the Youth Congress and National Students Union were encouraged by his camp to take on anybody who was opposed to the interests of Jogi. Chhattisgarh party chief Nand Kumar Patel told Lokayat that Rahul Gandhi discussed party issues not just with senior leaders and office bearers of the Congress but also interacted with local level leaders directly and got some feedback. Talking about the next move of the party in the state, Patel said, 'we intend to strengthen the party at booth level at least in those 50-60 constituencies where we do not have our MLAs.' Rahul's strategy in tackling the internal feuds is to energise party workers who would keep factionalism in check. But it seems that in order to make the party machinery well-oiled Rahul Gandhi may be required to visit Chhattisgarh often. The party may organise his next programme in Janjgir and Bastar, where according to Patel, the tribals even today worship Indira Gandhi. But by increasing reservation for tribals, Dr Raman Singh government has tried to strengthen the BJP's base among them, so it is felt that Rahul should visit the tribal belt also.

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

45


KARNATAKA

PROBE TAKES WIND OUT OF YEDDY'S SAILS Ananth Kumar has been accused as one BJP leader in Karnataka who, according to Yeddyurappa loyalists, had manoeuvred Delhi BJP leaders' opinion against the embattled former chief minister, facing numerous inquiries in several scams. The other day when Yeddy had praised Sonia Gandhi and had almost decided to walk out of the BJP fold, the smart and glib Arun Jaitley pursuing the responsibility to mollify him, was reportedly told point blank how Delhi leaders had given more weightage to Ananth Kumar rather than the person who first time brought the BJP to power in any southern state....

By S Santhanam

S Yeddyurappa, the battle-scarred Lingayat leader is not willing to give up easily, whatever the odds that are set against him. Having put the Bharatiya Janata Party on the saddle in the state for the first time, Yeddyurappa is waging a grim battle against his own party bosses and state party colleagues to make his presence felt once again. However, the recent CBI raids on the houses of the former chief minister in connection with cases relating to the mining scam, following the central probe agency's FIR naming Yeddyurappa, his 2 sons and 2 others in a mining case on the Supreme Court's order, have surely taken the wind out of Yeddyurappa's sails. His threat of weaning away from the BJP and forming his own party in the state has been stalled of now. After aggressive postures that pushed the BJP's first-ever government in the

south to the brink, Yeddyurappa said he had decided to quit the party but was putting it off heeding the advice of party senior leader Arun Jaitley and others. However, even his loyalists in the party in particular and the Lingayat community in general have started seeing the real picture. They now realise that Yeddyurappa is no longer

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Karnataka BJP leader Ananth Kumar

SHADOW-BOXING he political shadow-boxing between chief minister DV Sadanand Gowda and his predecessor BS Yeddyurappa was visibly evident at the Basava awards function held recently, leaving the audience amused and the awardees awkward. Despite sharing the dais at Ravindra Kalakshetra for about 40 minutes, the two leaders neither looked at each other nor exchanged a word. Yeddyurappa, who arrived a few minutes earlier, left the venue soon after he delivered his speech. He did not wait for Gowda to deliver his address. Gowda has been pressing the party's national leaders to allow him to fill the vacancies as he has to handle around 20 departments. There is, however, no indication from the BJP national leaders on whether they will give the nod soon. Even as the news of cabinet expansion is doing rounds, Yeddyurappa and his followers are busy evolving strategies to ensure that their camp gets the maximum share in the expansion. Yeddyurappa and his followers are now focusing on getting

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KARNATAKA

Former Chief Minister of Karnataka B S Yeddyurappa addressing media along with his supporters at his residence in Bengaluru Photo PTI

the maximum of the 11 cabinet berths that are to be filled. They also want to ensure that none of the ministers from their camp is dropped or removed from current portfolios. It is reliably learnt that Gowda may drop a few ministers, including some from the Yeddyurappa camp. The CM may also reshuffle a few portfolios. Reports doing the rounds indicate that the party and RSS are supporting Gowda in this regard. Even if the cabinet is expanded in the near future, the new ministers will have less than a year in office as assembly elections are due in AprilMay 2013. Karnataka can have a 34member council of ministers including the chief minister as the assembly strength is 225, including one nominated member. The law stipulates that the number of ministers should not exceed 15 percent of the assembly strength. Full cabinet formation has not been possible for the BJP as the state unit is faction-ridden, mainly into pro and anti-Yeddyurappa groups. There is also friction between newcomers and old-timers.

fighting for any real cause or on any principle in which the common man is involved. People have started seeing through his game. His 'crying wolf' tactics have back-fired on him, at least for the moment. People have realised that his main fight is against some of the party bosses, including Ananth Kumar and the present chief minister Sadananda Gowda. While Ananth Kumar has no 'following' among the cadres or the people in the state, his influence with the party high command at the centre has often angered the former chief minister. Ironically, it was at the behest of Yeddyurappa that the BJP high command agreed to make Sadananda Gowda the chief minister when Yeddyurappa was forced to quit a year ago. Yeddyurappa is now making it hell for Gowda to survive. Finding himself detached from the party at the moment, Yeddyurappa is planning to move into a new party office, as a fore-runner to launching his own party in the near future. The former chief minister's recent comments, praising UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi caused a flutter among politicians and political observers in the Indian capital. However, nothing much happened after that, although it

Arun Jaitley: His advice prevailed

was felt that Yeddyurappa might seek the help of the Congress in the state to topple the BJP government. There is never a dull moment in Karnataka politics as long as leaders like Yeddyurappa are there, taking the common man, who repose faith in them and elect them, for a virtual 'ride.'

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

47


ANDHRA PRADESH

Jagan Mohan Reddy hell-bent to teach Congress a lesson was way ahead of it so far as the campaigning for the June by-polls is concerned but now he has been arrested in connection with disproportionate assets case. He will be released only a day before the poll PHOTO: PTI

JAGAN'S ARREST COULD SPELL DOOM FOR CONGRESS IN BY-POLLS By Lokayat Correspondent

The YSR leader's arrest has set the stage for sympathy for him and his party in the forthcoming byelections to 18 assembly and one Lok Sabha seats.

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he arrest of leader Jagan Mohan Reddy after the CBI had grilled him for three consecutive days has set the stage for a groundswell of sympathy for the YSR Congress leader. His arrest and the announcement that his mother Vijayamma-widow of Chief Minister Y.S. Rajashekhar Reddy, who died in a helicopter crash in 2009 - will take charge of the campaign for the coming by-elections to one Lok Sabha (Nellore) seat and 18 Assembly constituencies can only add to the highly surcharged atmosphere in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The YSR Congress leader will be under

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judicial custody till June 11, a day before the by-polls are scheduled to be held. It is to be seen how the party will campaign in the absence of its star campaigner. The political scene in Andhra Pradesh is going through a major change, thanks to Jagan Mohan Reddy's arrest. Political analysts say that with the arrest of Jagan, the YSR Congress will definitely sweep the June 12 by-polls and it could lead to an exodus from the Congress to it, as Congressmen position themselves for 2014 by switching to the winning side. However, the ruling Congress feels that the arrest of the 39-year-old Kadappa MP will deter those Congress MLAs and Ministers sympathetic to his cause from following him out of the party. The


ANDHRA PRADESH

JAGAN'S CONTROVERSIAL TIRUMALA VISIT SR Congress president Jagan Mohan Reddy has once again got embroiled in a religious controversy when he entered the famous Hindu temple of Lord Venkateshwara in Tirumala without signing the mandatory declaration about his faith in the deity. Jagan, a born Catholic Christian, along with his 60 followers, including former Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) trust board chairman Bhumana Karunakara Reddy, entered the temple through the Vaikuntham queue complex to have a VIP darshan of Lord Venkateshwara. Though the TTD authorities tried to approach him with the declaration form, which he was supposed to sign

stating that he has faith in the temple deity, Jagan spurned them and barged into the temple to have the darshan. More shocking to the devotees was raising slogans of "Jai Jagan" by his followers as they entered into the main temple complex. The other devotees protested as Jagan passed by, but he ignored them too. Several non-Hindu VIPs who visited the Tirumala temple in the past had signed the declaration form. Even Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who visited Tirumala temple on November 25, 2006, had signed it. Similarly, former union ministers Sikander Bakht and Jaffer Shariff also signed the declarations before having the darshan of the Lord.

defraud the government. The probe agency has said that Mr Jagan influenced his father Rajashekhar Reddy in doling out certain favours to various investors.

much late because of dissidence in the party. For the June by-elections, Congress has put up former union minister T Subbirami Reddy for the Nellore Parliamentary seat. Reddy is a sitting member of the Rajya Sabha. M Venkataramana will be the Congress candidate for Tirupati. The seat was vacated by actor-turnedpolitician Chiranjeevi after he was elected to the Rajya Sabha recently. Meanwhile, Telugu Desam Party is also worried of the Jagan impact. It issued a stern warning to its legislatures and MPs that the party will not compromise on discipline, especially if the individual is seen hobnobbing with rival YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy. To show that it was serious on the matter, TDP suspended its politburo member and former MP MV Mysoora Reddy from the party soon after the latter met YSR Congress Party leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.

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Chiranjeevi star attraction for the by-polls is yet to get Congress nod to go for campaigning

Congress doesn't want the collapse of the Kiran Reddy government at this stage. Meanwhile Jagan has started getting support from some Congress MLAs. A Nani and another Congress leader Ranga Rao from Bobili constituency announced their decision to quit the party and join Jagan. As many as 11 MLAs -- 9 from the Congress and two from the TDP -- are waiting to cross over, but in a phased manner. Congress' political opponents are pointing out that if Mr. Reddy had misused his position when his father was Chief Minister to amass wealth disproportionate to his means, so had many other YSR loyalists, now in the Congress, with some in the present State government. The CBI, in its charge-sheet filed against Mr Jagan and 12 others on March 31 had accused Mr Jagan and his father of hatching a conspiracy to

The feud between Jagan Mohan and the Congress is likely to become more aggressive with the impending by-elections However, the YSR Congress is the clear favourite to win the elections, more so after Jagan's arrest that could spell doom for the Congress government. Even otherwise Jagan's party had started canvassing for the votes much earlier. It announced candidates for all seats well in advance. The Congress could name its candidates

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

49


TAMILNADU

WATER WAR BETWEEN KERALA AND TAMILNADU

DAM OF CONTENTION

By Lokayat Correspondent

t last the long-awaited report of the Supreme Court-appointed Empowered Committee on Mullaperiyar Dam is out. Kerala had high hopes on the report and expected it to support its demand for a new dam that would adequately take care of the people's angst about a possible dam failure. But on a first reading of the report it felt let down while Tamilnadu distributed sweets in celebration. More than denial of its plea, the report administered a blow to its huge ego. The state-wide agitation by all parties for several months with fanfare and fasts had raised expectations sky-high; naturally there was disappointment and anger leading to charges of bungling and sell-out by the state government. The committee does indeed allow the state to build a new dam but with a caveat. The panel has no doubt the dam is strong enough for at least another 100 years, and with some repair and strengthening its water level could be raised to 142 feet (from the present 136 feet) as demanded by Tamilnadu. As a concession to Keralites who lose their sleep about the safety of the dam, the

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Finally the Empowered Committee appointed by the Supreme Court has allayed fears about the safety of the Mullaperiyar Dam which had created a panicky situation in several parts of Kerala. The report of the committee is prima facie sound and rebuts the claims of Kerala, but because huge ruckus was created by political parties in Kerala for almost a year, now people feel let down. However, there are several points favouring Kerala including not allowing the water level to be raised beyond 136 feet, dismissing the demand of Jayalalithaa government. But it seems insufficient to console them.

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TAMILNADU committee considered the case for a new dam, but at the state's cost. Besides, the ownership and maintenance of the new dam if and when constructed will vest with Tamilnadu as before. In other words, Kerala may build its dream dam with its money (estimated

cost: Rs 1,000 crore) and handover the same to Tamilnadu for safe custody! After the initial shock and despair, the Kerala Government recovered and started discovering silver lining in the report. It was happy that its stance for a new dam had been vindicated. It ignored the cost and post-construction management aspects. That would have made it look ridiculous in the eyes of the people in the context of all the ruckus raised by political parties for over a year. Many people, including a state minister and the CPI (M) vented their disappointment and anger on Justice K T Thomas, a retired Supreme Court judge from Kerala, who was on the Empowered Committee. They accused him of not protecting the state's interests, but he stoutly denied the charge. He said he was not on the panel representing Kerala; for that there were advocates appointed by the state. He was there because the Court had nominated him. Besides, as a former SC judge he could not have been partisan. He had to be impartial and

ensure that no injustice was done to either party. Justice Thomas claimed that the concession in the report permitting Kerala to build a new

The empowered committee has conceded Kerala's demand to make a new dam in place of 'dangerous' Mullaperiyar with the condition that the entire money would be spent by Kerala, and on completion would keep it under the custody of Tamilnadu government. dam had been made at his instance. He had argued to respect the sentiments of Keralites who were worried about the dam's safety. He had also pointed out to other panel members the state assembly resolution that under no circumstance the water level in the dam should be raised above the current level. Justice Thomas added, however, that he was reasonably satisfied that the dam was safe for now. But the water level should not be raised above 136 feet for two

reasons: one, there could be some unforeseen causes like

unprecedented rainfall, unusual earthquake etc. reducing the life-span and strength of the dam; so any additional strain is best avoided. Two, it is prudent not to aggravate the fearpsychosis by raising the dam level. Alternatively, the same objective of ensuring more water to Tamilnadu could be achieved by pursuing the suggestion of constructing a new tunnel at 50 feet (the current tunnel is at 106 feet). The proposal has the additional advantage of possible lowering of water level in the dam from 136 feet, thereby reducing the danger perception substantially. About future steps open to Kerala, Justice Thomas made some important points. Water from Mullaperiyar dam was provided as per the 1886 and 1970 agreements for irrigation of crops in the southern districts of Tamilnadu. But it has been utilising the water for generation of electricity as well and earning huge income. Kerala is legitimately entitled to half of the electricity generated, or proportionate revenue from it. It is high time Kerala made efforts in this direction. Apart from a new dam the state may also try for a fresh agreement with Tamilnadu in the light of current realities. According to reports the state government is seized of the matter in right earnest.

JUNE, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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KERALA

Settlement of political scores through murder is common in Kerala, especially in Kozhikode district, where RSS, Indian Union of Muslim League, CPI(M) and the Congress clash frequently often resulting in fatal injuries. But TP's murder stands on a different plane.

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By Lokayat Correspondent

erala is on the boil again on account of another gruesome political murder. The victim was TP Chandrasekharan, a live-wire CPI (M) worker who had been expelled from the party in 2009 for alleged antiparty activities. Not one to take the unjust punishment lying down, Chandrasekharan (TP to his comrades) along with his friends formed a rebel faction called Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) of which he became the secretary. That by itself would not have invited the retribution; what might have precipitated it,

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ironically, was his exceptional organising ability. Within a short time TP built up his party to such level that it became a menace to CPI (M) in Onchiyam and surrounding areas in Kozhikode district where it held total sway until then. In the recent local body elections when RMP trounced the CPI (M), its discomfiture was complete. They never allowed an enemy to grow on its own turf. This and the fact that there had been three attempts on his life by CPI(M) cadres earlier pointed the needle of suspicion in that direction. Settlement of political scores through murder is common in Kerala, especially in Kozhikode district, where

RSS, Indian Union of Muslim League, CPI(M) and the Congress clash frequently often resulting in fatal injuries. But T.P.'s murder stands on a different plane. His charisma and youthfulness had made him so popular even among the ruling Congress that they called a state-wide hartal to protest his assassination. In the CPI (M) camp, too, there were no dearth of friends and admirers: V.S. Achuthanandan, Opposition leader, travelled to Onchiyam to visit TP's family and join the huge funeral rally. Pinarayi Vijayan, however, had no kind words to say about his former colleague. To him, TP was a traitor and he said so. Pinarayi's remark invited instant retort from a CPI leader


KERALA who said, if all those who left the CPI (M) were traitors, the entire CPI (M) followers would be in that 'honourable' list. He was referring to the 1964 historic split when a group including P Sundarayya had walked out of the CPI led by S.A. Dange and formed the CPI (M). Achuthanandan also castigated Pinarayi for his 'traitor' remark about a former colleague. The row between Pinarayi and VS, never pleasant, is now heading for a major showdown. What struck the conscience of many people across the political spectrum was that young TP was cut down on the road by a group of goons armed to the teeth while he was returning home on his two-wheeler late at night. They used bombs to trip him and then closed in with swords, knives, daggers and bricks. By the time they finished-he died on the spot-he was unrecognisable. The police had to search for his identity card to make sure. There were witnesses to the noisy episode, but no one would own having seen it for fear of reprisals.

star life, and parole or bail on request. Recently, the daughter of a jailbird was married off at a fabulous wedding in Kasargode attended by top party functionaries. The father of the girl on a week's bail attended the function. According to a source, the CPI (M)

While TP was returning home on his two-wheeler late at night by a group of goons armed to the teeth. They used bombs to trip him and then closed in with swords, knives, daggers and bricks. By the time they finished–he died on the spot-he was unrecognisable.

instruments like murders, expulsion and demotions to silence to fix dissidents. Such tyrannical methods have forced many a stalwart who have spent years tending the party to leave it disenchanted and in disgust, but recently the exodus has assumed torrential proportions. The Polit Bureau members are aware of the worrying situation in many districts in the state and yet they have not intervened effectively to stop it. To some extent, the CPI has been the gainer. A notable case of recent exodus that has caused the CPI (M) much embarrassment is that of R Selvaraj, an MLA from Neyyattinkara, who not only resigned from the assembly and the party but joined the Congress, alleging threat to him and his family. His crime? A vague charge of anti-party activities. To make matters even more mortifying, the Congress promptly put up the new convert Selvaraj as the party candidate in the by-election caused by his resignation, due on June 2. The CPI (M) has chosen F. Lawrence , another

Usually the CPI (M) carries out the elimination round as a house job through its own hatchet-men. They need simply issue the orders. But it is risky if the plan misfires. So now they out-source the work-- to professionals known as quotation gangs. According to the police, these hired killers receive regular pay with "insurance " of protection if caught. In case of incarceration, they are guaranteed five-

collected a substantial amount through usual channels to make the wedding a grand affair and also to send out the message that the party takes good care of its 'employees'. It is suspected that TP's murder was executed by a quotation gang. Some goons connected with the operation have been arrested and the police are confident of unraveling the conspiracy soon. The CPI (M) always used

Christian Nadar to contest against Selvaraj but the dice seem to be loaded against the party. In fact, TP's murder could not have come at a worse period. Coming soon after the by-election (at Piravom) which it lost, the party cannot afford to lose this one too. Simultaneously, the party has to try and extricate its name from the likely murder charge. It is certainly an unenviable situation.

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CENTRAL UNIVERSITY IN BIHAR

NITISH-SIBAL STANDOFF CONTINUES Kapil Sibal has been advised to be more accommodative in the wake of the presidential elections so that the requisite support can be mobilised for the candidate of the UPA. But his new avatar could not sort out fully the problem of where the Bihar's central university be located–in Gaya or Motihari. However, there are enough indications that some solution would be found soon…

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By Dr Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratana

he standoff between Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Central HRD minister Kapil Sibal over the site of the Central University proposed to be set up in the state, doesn't seem to be dying down easily. Political egos, commitments and

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rights of the centre versus state would not allow it to happen so easily. However, the need to dispel the notion that the centre is bent upon crushing the rights of the states whether the issue is NCTC or starting a new central university has brought about a much needed change in the attitude of the HRD minister Sibal in the wake of trying to forge a consensus on the presidential candidate of the UPA. So, Kapil suggested that there can be two campuses-Gaya and Motihari, which Nitish Kumar accepted, but they continue to disagree on where to locate the main campus, with Kumar insisting on Motihari and Sibal on Gaya.

GAYA

Nonetheless, the recent meeting succeeded in breaking the ice, as both high profile political stalwarts agreed to meet again, giving enough indications that both are inching towards a solution. This development has also reassured the people of the state that the much sought after opportunity is not far away from them. They had lately started seeing the face-off as a looming threat to the grant of central university to Bihar. According to sources the Bihar chief minister initially offered a practical solution that two central universities rather than one be set upone in Gaya and another in Motihari, which was turned down by the HRD minister. Instead, Sibal mooted the idea of twin campuses-the main campus in Gaya and another in Motihari in the meeting, which the Bihar CM has rejected with the backing of the state assembly and majority of the MPs from the state. There is no denying that the tug of war is more of a political nature, as both want to take full credit for establishing the central university. One thing is clear that the Bihar CM is in no mood to back down as he has made a commitment to the people of the state in this regard. Kumar has already made arrangements to acquire enough land in Motihari for the purpose. On the other hand, the HRD ministry cites its experiences in Tamil Nadu and Odisha while pushing for Gaya, saying the purpose of establishing an institution of this stature in far-fetched areas where infrastructural facilities are not satisfactory, gets defeated as it hardly attracts faculty and students. But the fact remains that even IITs and IIMs which are located in big cities don't have the sanctioned strength of faculty members. The popular chief minister succeeded in projecting that the centre was denying the state its rightful say and share, which was not the case with other states when it came to choosing the site for the same.

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REGULAR COURSES IGNOU; STUDENTS By Umanath

here is depressing news for thousands of students across the country, especially for those who can't afford to go to elite private and government institutions for various reasons but wish to pursue regular PG course in wonderful subjects like painting, theatre, corporate governance, environmental economics, actuarial science, gender and development, labour and development, mass communication and UG course in sign language, which are alien to most of the universities in India. The controversial decision also hangs in balance the fate of hundreds of students who have either completed such courses or are just a few steps away from getting their degrees, as they now may have to be satisfied with a degree given to lakhs of students doing correspondence courses, instead of a regular one. In an allegedly arbitrary decision, Prof M Aslam, acting VC of the largest open university of the world, which caters to the educational needs of over 30 lakh students annually in India and 36 other countries, restricted the concerned departments from issuing fresh notifications for any regular courses this year, ignoring the advice of the Academic Council--an esteemed advisory body of the university--giving enough indications that on-campus courses in these unique and creative fields would now be a thing of the past. It is an irony that these very highly lauded courses had been introduced with much fanfare only three years ago by the previous regime, which Aslam termed as a mistake. Some courses like mass communication have UNESCO, as their nodal agency and students were

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Top space scientist and MP K Kasturirangan who headed the search committee for the new Vice Chancellor of IGNOU.

assured of getting certificates from the UN body, but now they are reduced to utter despair. Presently, 700 students are pursuing on-campus courses from IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University). Out of 21 schools in IGNOU, only 11 conduct regular courses. The acting VC during discussion with a group of students including Nitin Choudhary, Amit, Abhishek and Parijat

(who had approached the Lokayat with a complaint), claimed that the university did not have the constitutional mandate to run any of those regular courses. Hence, IGNOU could not continue with them in the present circumstances unless some amendments were made to the statute. Nobody including the HRD Minister Kapil Sibal could give any assurance to the affected students. According to the students, when it


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STOPPED IN FEEL CHEATED Sibal rejected the recommendation of Kasturirangan committee he Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is facing yet another controversy. The bone of contention is appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor. HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has rejected all three candidates recommended by the search-cum-selection committee headed by a top space scientist K Kasturirangan, former chief of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). The issue flared up further when in his characteristic brusque style Sibal termed the candidates as not suited for the post, putting a question mark on the intellect and integrity of the selection committee which also had the UPSC chairman as its member. The murmur that some highly worthy candidates were deliberately overlooked by the committee made the episode loathsome. Acting swiftly over the recommendations, Sibal went on to approach President Pratibha Patil, who is also the Visitor to all central universities, and sought suggestions on the next course of action. The HRD Ministry also wanted to know from the President whether the same committee should suggest a fresh set of candidates or a new selection panel should be constituted for the purpose. Those shortlisted by the Kasturirangan committee were Prof D P Singh, former VC of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Prof KK Agarwal, former VC of Indraprastha University, Delhi and Prof Manoj Mishra, VC of Lucknow University. According to sources, on the one hand the eminent members of the panel felt embarrassed as their recommendations were thrown in the dustbin, on the other it was made out that some renowned directors and VCs of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) were overlooked by the panel.

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comes to funding any cultural programmes, Prof. Aslam would say that as an acting VC, he is not authorised to fund any events, but in taking such a vital policy decision as closing down courses which would ruin the life of thousands of students, he hardly hesitates. He can ignore the advice of even the Academic Council, a body of top brains. The agitating students say the acting VC does not

have power to defy the decision of statutory bodies like the Academic Council and the board of management. This stance of the students is supported by P R Ramanujam, faculty, distance education. Ramanujam claimed that the students were agitating for a valid cause, which several faculties also conceded, but they did not want to come on record. Questions are also being raised on

Acting Vice Chancellor of IGNOU Prof M Aslam

Some face to face programmes also closed down wenty-six face-to-face programmes have also been closed down by IGNOU, depriving admission to around 10,000 B Ed aspirants and other students. Raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha, Tariq Anwar of the NCP sought the intervention of the HRD Minister in this regard. Due to closure of 26 face-to-face programmes and 129 institutions under IGNOU's convergence scheme, thousands of students have been left in the lurch.

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the discretion of the so-called high profile HRD Minister Sibal who never misses an opportunity to project himself as a pillar of UPA administration. Pressing their demands, students went on a hunger strike on April 25. Two students even tried to observe fast unto death, but to no avail. Till date no solution has emerged, but students still hope that good sense will prevail on IGNOU acting VC.

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ATTEMPT TO BLOCK GAURI DUTT SHARMA By Lokayat Correspondent

week before Prof GD Sharma takes charge of the Bilaspur University as its first Vice Chancellor, attempts were made by some people to stall his joining the post by raking up some old charges of irregularities through local media, which according to Dr Sharma had been found baseless after enquiry. Sharma was the VC of Nagaland University for five years from July, 2001 to April, 2006 and during this period the teachers' association had given a letter to the Auditor General of Nagaland, which was included in the report and the reply was sought from the university administration. Dr Sharma told Lokayat that the reply for the same was sent forthwith. Later the audit report was submitted to the Parliament and approved. Regarding so called charges of irregularities ranging from the appointment of deputy registrar to professors, he said that Nagaland's society is badly divided into fiercely rival tribal loyalties and it is routine for people belonging to the aggrieved tribes making frivolous complaints. 'It is not easy to placate all the tribes in such matters as appointments are done on objective criterion.' So far as the alleged irregularity in spending the money given as special package for the development of the infrastructure of the university as a special package of the prime minister is concerned, Prof Sharma said on the contrary he systematised things where there was no system of floating tenders and quotations. 'I introduced tendering system to bring transparency. Seven-eight years' audit had been pending when I joined as Vice Chancellor and I got all these done. The issues related to irregularities belong to that period.' Irregularities were investigated by the CBI also when Prof Kannan became the Vice Chancellor of Nagaland University after Prof Sharma, but the charges against anybody could not be substantiated. Dr. Sharma is presently the pro-VC and life time dean of Assam University. On the recommendations of the Chhattisgarh government, the governor Shekhar Datt appointed him the first Chancellor of New Bilaspur University some six weeks ago, but he could not take charge as he had to properly handover charge of the ongoing projects to deserving hands. According to sources he would take charge of his new job in the first week of June. He had sought time from the state government till July to join, but was told to join at the earliest as the government wanted that the university start its functioning from this session itself.

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CAMPUS

AT LAST STUDENTS OF IISERS & NEW IITS WOULD GET PROPER

DEGREES

The HRD minister Kapil Sibal chose to bend backwards to bring the opposition round and get the two important bills passed. The opposition liked the new avatar of the minister and insisted that he retain this commendable character.

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CAMPUS By Shruti Gupta

he lengthy and tedious lawm a k i n g process of the country was holding up hundreds of talented students of five Indian Institute of Science Education and Research and eight new Indian Institutes of Technology and ten new National Institutes of Technology from getting their proper degrees in convocations about which they have been dreaming all along. The Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2011, was passed by the Lok Sabha in August last, which sought to set up eight new IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) in Bhubaneshwar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhpur, Mandi, Patna and Ropar and give IIT status to the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University. But it could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha despite being listed in the House business for six consecutive days in the winter session last year. Passing the National Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill especially came as a great relief to the IISER graduates who completed their courses from Pune and Kolkata in May last year, but could not get their degrees till now because the institutes did not have the power to issue degrees. There was some element of fear in the air that the Bill may not get

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THE INSTITUTES OF TECHNOLOGY (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2011: The Rajya Sabha finally endorsed this Bill which was passed by the Lok Sabha last year. Now students of eight new Indian Institutes of Technology --in Bhubaneshwar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhpur, Mandi, Patna and Ropar--and the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University which also gets the IIT-hallow, will be able to get IIT degrees.

ROW OVER THE STATUS uring the debate over the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2011 in the Rajya Sabha, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Chandan Mitra, along with several others cutting across party lines expressed apprehension over the loss of legacy and status of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) thanks to the provisions of the proposed Act. Their main objection was that by putting the Vice Chancellor of BHU under the Chairman of the IIT-BHU, the staChandan Mitra of the BJP raised the issues of BHU's autonomy and character which tus of the famous university was were sought to be destroyed by demoting the VC of the BHU on the Board of IIT-BHU. being demoted. The members said that the provision was opposed in the Lok Sabha, in the Parliamentary Standing Committee, and now in the Rajya Sabha; but it might still be passed without amendment because of the numbers on the government side. HRD Minister Kapil Sibal tried to justify that for the first 3 years BHU Vice Chancellor would be the Chairman of the IIT-BHU Board and after that too he could nominate himself or somebody as the Vice Chairman. Chandan Mitra questioned if it was necessary to keep the VC as Chairman for three years, why not for all time to come. He and other MPs appealed not to destroy BHU's historic importance which produced many freedom fighters and eminent scholars. The sprawling university on 1350 acres of land was founded by Pandit Madanmohan Malviya in 1916. The BHU has been helping excellent inter-disciplinary research and in order to maintain that a close linkage with the BHU would be required. Sibal maintained that to serve this purpose three members would be nominated by the Executive Council of the BHU to the Senate of IIT-BHU. So, there will be representation in the Senate, there will be representation in the Board, and there will be a Vice-Chairman of the Board, who shall be a permanent Vice-Chairman, as nominated by the BHU. Sibal justified the move to make the Vice Chancellor the Chairman of IITBHU for just 3 years of the transition period. His argument was that generally a

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THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF TECHNOLOGY (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2010: This also could not be passed by the Rajya Sabha last year after its approval in the lower house. Now the Rajya Sabha has given its nod to the Bill, which declares ten new NITs also as institutions of national importance along with five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (established in Kolkata, Pune, Mohali, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram).

OF BHU Vice Chancellor had been an academician with humanities background, while an IIT is generally headed by a technologist. He did not appreciate the fact that even with the so-called humanities background Vice Chancellors of the IT-BHU had been producing excellent engineers and much better research than a few IITs. Incidentally the current Vice Chancellor of the BHU is Dr Lalji Singh who is a world renowned scientist. Chandan Mitra proposed an amendment before the voice vote, but the presiding Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha did not allow this on the technical ground that it was not given a day earlier, as per the rules of business. Chandan Mitra also raised the issue of land. It may be noted that the IITBHU would be developed on the existing 300 acres of land and not on 500 acres as required for an IIT. He said there was a provision that IITs must be set up on 500 acres of land. Today the Institute of Technology of BHU is located on 200 acres. The total campus area is around 1,300 acres. Tomorrow, if there is an insistence that in order to designate this as an IIT, the entire 500 acres of land be given to this Institute, then, what happens? Where will other institutes already there go? (There are the Medical Institute and Agricultural Institute apart from many others located on the BHU campus.) If, in the event of a conflict, the Chairman of the Board of Governors was not in a position to hold concurrently the position held by the Vice-Chancellor, there was the danger that the IIT Board might say that in order to conform to IIT regulations you please part with 300 acres more. What happens to the rest of the institutes then? Chandan Mitra also pointed out that if tomorrow, on the model of setting up the IIT-BHU, the Government decides to affiliate the medical college of BHU to some other national agency, the agricultural institute to some other national institute and so on, what would remain of the BHU? He insisted that this was going to be a precursor of breaking up the BHU into different components and linking them up to national institutions in the name of upgrading, and thereby, destroying the character of BHU. He gave the example of the AMU (Aligarh Muslim University), which was made a similar offer, but they rejected it as they did not want any erosion to their autonomy and identity, but the BHU accepted it. It should not mean that its identity be sacrificed. This will be disastrous to the heritage and character of the BHU, Mr Mitra said. Hammered by many members, Sibal finally assured to revisit the legislation after three years if it was found that not making the VC the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the IIT-BHU affected its autonomy, identity or heritage.

the nod of the Rajya Sabha given the continuing tiff between the UPA leadership and the opposition on a host of issues. But Kapil Sibal prudently changed his attitude and behaviour towards the opposition, and finally got the two Bills passed. The idea of new IITs had a long journey-in 2000 the NDA government decided to open new IITs as the existing five were too few to meet the needs of excellent engineers. But before anything concrete could happen, the ruling alliance lost elections. The UPA government took its own time and on 17th July, 2008, decided afresh to establish eight new IITs. Six new IITs at Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Patna, Jodhpur and Ropar commenced their academic sessions in 2008-09 and the remaining two (in Mandi and Indore) in 2009-10. Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research had also started their courses in 2008. The Council of Indian Institutes of Technology, in the 39th meeting held on the 28th January, 2009, approved the proposal of conversion of IT (BHU) into an IIT (BHU). The UPA government conceded the demand that each state of India should get an NIT, so in addition to the existing 20, it was decided to set up 10 more NITs in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Goa, Delhi, Pondicherry and Uttarakhand. But the law was needed to grant legitimacy to the degrees of these institutes, which took so much time.

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HEALTH IS WEALTH

Strict no-no for these in breakfast: Deep fried or oily food like pakoras, puris, samosas, potato chips etc. Junk food, cakes, pastries etc. Refined food e.g. white rice and white bread Foods loaded with fat, salt and calories e.g. noodles, pizzas, french fries etc. Breakfast platter containing juices only.

IT IS WISE TO HAVE HEALTHY BREAKFAST By Dr P K Mukherjee

ost nutritionists agree that breakfast is the first and most crucial meal of the day. The word breakfast literally means 'breaking the fast'. Actually, after having dinner the previous night, a person goes about 1012 hours without food. The energy reserves of the person are obviously low the next morning. Skipping breakfast will naturally add to the fasting period of the person. This may disturb the person's blood sugar balance and insulin output. Studies have linked healthy breakfast with less occurrence of chronic diseases, increased longevity and better health. Starting your day with a healthy, balanced breakfast boosts your energy, increases your attention span, and heightens your sense of well-

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being. You may be in better control of your emotions. Indeed, a healthy breakfast has a very positive and beneficial role to play. By skipping it a person might feel hungrier later. In the process, he may end up munching more, usually the junk food stuff, thereby putting on undesirable weight. Ideally, a healthy breakfast is one that provides at least one third of the day's energy and nutrients required by the body. Therefore, by skipping breakfast, the person's energy will be at low level and his physical agility would also decline. As a result, a person skipping breakfast would feel fatigued and low level of concentration. This gets coupled with short attention span, lack of alertness and longer reaction time on the part of the person which ultimately might affect one's efficiency and productivity. According to nutritionists, skipping

breakfast may prove to be deleterious to health. Besides, putting on weight the person might suffer from heart disease, osteoporosis, irritability or mood swings, menstrual irregularity, low metabolic rate, low energy levels, low memory and hormonal stress. A study revealed that people who skipped breakfast developed higher bad LDL cholesterol levels and were less sensitive to insulin than persons who ate breakfast every day. Therefore, it is wise to have healthy breakfast in the morning every day. What makes a breakfast healthy and balanced? Well, an ideal breakfast should be a combination of vitamins, carbohydrates, protein, good fat and fibre. Whole wheat bread, egg, milk, cholesterol-free butter, paneer, idli, dosa, vegetable poha, upma, cornflakes, fruits, whole grain, oatmeal, sprouts etc. may be some of the items which fits the bill.


COOKERY By Nidhi Sahni

lmost all Indian mothers persuade their kids to drink an extra cup of milk each day, and nearly all will refuse. Mothers want to ensure that their kids do not suffer from calcium deficiency. Each year the health departments worldwide report striking records of osteoporosis and arthritic cases. These ailments are primarily marked by a decrease in the bone mass and bone density, weakening of the bones, primarily owing to lack of calcium and vitamin-D. One may splurge on supplements available in the market, but nothing can match natural sources of calcium at the end of the day. It is a good idea to include various desserts made of milk often to rule out risk of calcium deficiency. The milk based dessert, Sewain Sheer, is a traditional delight on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr is a simple item which can be included regularly in home meals. It not only guarantees a feast for those who try to avoid milk on one pretext or the other but also ensures a daily dose of absorbable calcium. Sewain Sheer, known to have originated in the kitchens of Nawabs, being quite easy to cook has become a common family party dish in all communities in India. In South India this is known as Semiya Payasam. In Hindi it is called Sewain Kheer. From the health point of view it is better to choose either plain or roasted whole wheat vermicelli rather than that made of refined flour (maida). Many like to roast it with a trace of ghee.

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WATCHING CALCIUM WITH

Sewain Sheer PREP TIME: 5 MIN

COOKING TIME: 25 MIN

INGREDIENTS:

SERVES: 6

METHOD:

Sewain (Vermicelli) :

50 gm

Milk

:

1 kg

Sugar

:

Saffron

:

3 tbsp or to taste Raisins, almonds, cashews, pistachio and chironji: Âź cup, finely chopped Elaichi (cardamom) powder: 1/2 tsp a pinch

TIPS: 1. Stir the milk frequently, it tends to burn and overflow. 2. Substitute artificial sweeteners if your doctor so requires. 3. Can use jaggery or brown sugar for a change.

1. Dry roast sewain (vermicelli) in a heavy bottom pan on slow flame in ghee. 3. Keep stirring till the sewain changes color to light golden. 4. Add milk and sugar simultaneously. 5. Once it reaches boil, reduce heat. 6. Stir frequently and allow it to thicken to the required consistency. 7. Fry chopped dry fruits in one teaspoon of ghee. Mix saffron in a teaspoon of cold milk and add. 8. Finally when ready, sprinkle powdered cardamom, mix and allow the flavours to infuse. 9. Serve hot or cold.

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INTERVIEW

RAM GOPAL VARMA speaks on various topics under the sun including his approach to film making, his opinion about critics, why he feels that while Amitabh Bachchan is Cinema, Rajanikant is Special Effect and his latest film DEPARTMENT in a no holds barred interview to JYOTHI VENKATESH on the sets of his film at Film City over cola and burger‌‌.

You have chosen to make a film like DEPARTMENT on the cops though you have always been fascinated to make films on gangsters and the underworld! t is true that I have always had a fascination to make films which deal with either the underworld forces, like I had made COMPANY but this time around I decided to make a film which sets out to deal with the politics inherent within the police forces. The hierarchy will be different when you make a gangster film like COMPANY and a film on police forces like DEPARTMENT.

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INTERVIEW

Were you inspired by the success of action films like SINGHAM and FORCE, which also dealt with the cops? INGHAM and FORCE were also films that dealt with the cops but they were released just eight months ago, whereas I had actually launched my film DEPARTMENT almost two years ago. I do not set out to make a film just because a film on a particular genre has clicked and it has become the trend. I make a film only if I am interested in the subject matter. I'd rather like to set the trend as a filmmaker than just ape the trend that is in vogue.

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Amitabh Bachchan seems to be your favorite actor! grew up watching Amitji's films. Amitji is Cinema. I am lucky that Amitji has been part of my films like SARKAR, SARKAR 2, NISHABDH, and AAG and, now last but not the least, Department. It is all about your clarity as a filmmaker and how you communicate with a star, whether it is Amitji or Mohanlal. In DEPARTMENT, his character has shades of dark. He plays the role of Sarje Rao, who is a hard core gangster who has turned into a dreaded politician.

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Though you have directed Amitabh Bachchan in five films and Mohanlal in COMPANY and AAG, why have you still not directed an iconic star like Rajanikant? he reason I have still not directed an iconic star like Rajanikant as you put it correctly is that you need a completely different kind of sensitivity if you have to make a film with Rajanikant and I do not see myself making a film with Rajanikant. I'd not hesitate to state that you just cannot call Rajanikant an actor but a special effect.

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"I'd rather like to set the trend as a filmmaker than just ape the trend that is in vogue"

Is it true that you had actually zeroed in on Abhishek Bachchan to play the son of Amitabh Bachchan in DEPARTMENT? es. It is one hundred per cent true that Abhishek Bachchan was my first choice for the role of Amitabh Bachchan's son, which is now being played by Rana Daggubati. I chose Rana because of his impressive height as well as body of performance down South in Telugu films.

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Is DEPARTMENT based on any real life gangster who has turned a politician? hen you set out to make a realistic film as a filmmaker, your film is bound to have some real life characters. DEPARTMENT too has a certain amount of realism though I confess it has not been made on any real life character, though I confess that when I made SARKAR, I was definitely inspired by Balasaheb Thackeray and his larger than life persona. If only Bal Thackeray was not there, I would not have made SARKAR

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You have an item number with Nathalia in your film!

How would you rate Sanjay Dutt as an actor?

What next?

epartment has been made on a commercial format. It wasn't a conscious decision because today an item song has become the face of any film. I have adapted the hit Rajanikant number Aasai Nooru Vagai from his film ADUTHA VARISU in DEPARTMENT. The other day a six year old said that she had seen Chikni Chameli and did not remember that AGNEEPATH was the title of the film. If there was no song in BHOOT or SARKAR, it was because the films did not need a song.

anjay Dutt has grown as far as experience is concerned as an actor and come a long way since the time I had last directed him in my film DAUD. He was more into comedy and stylish roles earlier; he has portrayed an out and out hard core action role in DEPARTMENT and will be a revelation for all his fans.

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y next film will be ATTACK OF 26/11. It will be about the blasts triggered by Kasab on November 26 and how it affected the normalcy of Mumbai. I plan to cast all new comers in the films because I do not want any actor with any image to be part of my film. Besides ATTACK OF 26/11, I am also raring to make SARKAR 3 with Amitji and Abhishek Bachchan, because besides the fact that I love working with him, Amitji goes beyond what I think of him as an actor and rises to the occasion, however challenging the role may be.

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esha who is acting in the Telugu film SHADOW opposite Nagarjun is now all set to make her debut in Hindi with a music video called MASTT TAKILA opposite Dev Rajan. The album has songs composed by Sahil Rayyan and sung by Sahil along with Dhaa Joshi. The video directed by documentary filmmaker Satya has Nitin as the choreographer. Dev Rajan confesses that he is producing the music video to project himself as an actor, because acting is his passion, though he is actively involved in Janta Dal Secular party, besides being a captain in The Merchant Navy. Kesha will make her debut in Bollywood with a triangular murder mystery, to be produced by Dev Rajan with Kaizad Gustad as the director shortly. Kesha, who is ready to do glamorous roles which call for exposure is not yet in a frame of mind to do item numbers in Bollywood because she does not want to risk getting slotted in that bracket alone and says she will do an item number only after she becomes a big star.

DEV RAJAN TO COME UP WITH MUSIC VIDEO WITH KESHA

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SHOOR AAMHI SARDAR GLORIFIES COPS he well known Hindi film producer Sajid Nadiadwala, whose recent release HOUSEFULL 2 has grossed over a 100 crores at the box office within three weeks of its release and Alka Athalye, who had reigned the Marathi film industry as a leading lady for more than a decade, triggered off the mahurat shot of the Marathi film SHOOR AAMHI SARDAR starring Milind Gawli, Arun Nalawade, Ravi Kale, Suhaas Palshikar, Pooja Nayak etc at the Khoja Bungalow, in the presence of comedian Ali Asghar. The film is being produced by Harish Mugul and Hanif Chatriwala, who are making their debut in Marathi films with Ramesh More, who had earlier directed the award winnning film CHAMPIONS. Ramesh More, besides directing the film, is also writing the story, screenplay and dialogues for SHOOR AAMHI SARDAR, which will set out to highlight the positive side of the police force.

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SURESH WADKAR IS MAHAGURU OF GAURAV MAHARASHTRACHA fter winning global awards for the Best Reality show in its first season, BIG Marathi Music Awards for The Best Anchor Pallavi Joshi and Best Marathi Reality show awards in its second season and being nominated for Best Director Gajendra Singh in Season 3, the fourth season of GAURAV MAHARASHTRACHA is on air on ETV. The show promises to make the small screen large with Suresh Wadkar as the Mahaguru Swaradish, like Mithun Chakraborty is the Mahaguru of Dance India Dance on Zee TV, Pallavi Joshi as the anchor and Anand Shinde and Vaishali Samant as the captains of their respective teams with 12 kids aged between 8 and 13 years. Says Gajendra Singh, "Every season, we try to do something novel and scale newer heights. This current season, we have taken on kids who have never even had a radio or a TV set at home and never seen any show. Maharashtra is very rich in culture and tradition since there is music in each home. We have tried to bring that culture into TV".

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mitabh Bachchan will be seen with Jaya Bachchan after a long time in his makeup man Deepak Sawant's Bhojpuri film GANGA DEVI and its Hindi version SMT NETAJI starring Dinesh Nirahua Lal and Pakhi Hegde in the lead. The woman oriented political film on women's reservation, which also stars Gulshan Grover and boasts of the first rap song in Bhojpuri language, has been written and directed by Abhishek Chadha, who had earlier directed Amitabh Bachchan in Deepak's earlier Bhojpuri film GANGA and its Hindi version GANGOTRI. Amitabh Bachchan is elated to be part of the film GANGA DEVI and SMT NETAJI in the 50th year of the inception of the Bhojpuri film industry. "After Hindi, it is Bhojpuri which is spoken by the maximum number of people in our country and Bhojpuri film industry is a salient part of the Indian Cinema today. It was our former President Dr Rajendra Prasad who had encouraged Bhojpuri films initially. No Hindi film has been made with the backdrop of a village in the last 30 years. SMT NETAJI is based on a story that is rooted in our Indian culture and I am glad that Abhishek Chadha has directed the film with the accent on emotion," says Amitabh..

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AMITABH BACHCHAN TO BE SEEN WITH JAYA IN SMT NETAJI

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THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

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ne of the world's most popular characters is back on the big screen as a new chapter in the Spider-Man legacy is revealed in The Amazing Spider-Man. Focussing on an untold story that reveals a different side of the Peter Parker story-the new film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, with Martin Sheen and Sally Field. Irrfan Khan is the only Indian actor. The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay written by James Vanderbilt, based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach are producing the film in association with Marvel Entertainment for Columbia Pictures, which will open in theaters everywhere in 3D on July 3, 2012. The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents' disappearanceleading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father's former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors' alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.

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HOLLYWOOD

SMITH AND JONES A WELL COOKED CHEMISTRY RETURNS

he duo, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, put up a rare unseen comedy in 1997 with Men in black, the first movie in the series. This science fiction comedy flick was much liked by the audience and was followed by its sequel Men in Black II in 2002. Audience had missed out on this well cooked chemistry between the cool dude J and dry, direct K. But

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now this sultry team is back in action after 10 years with Men In Black III where Agent J and Agent K will be seen chasing past. "The Men in Black movies are about the relationship between J and K," says Will Smith, who returns to one of his signature and favorite roles, Agent J. "This movie brings that home - it's about the power and

origin of their relationship." Tommy Lee Jones, who again dons the suit and shades to play Agent K, says, "The relationship between J and K has been both contentious and affectionate throughout the movies." The movie that was most eagerly awaited Hollywood flick of the year, hit the Indian theatres on May 25th.

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n a Suk m g n hwinder Singh turns leadi fter proving himself to be a versatile singer as well as music director, Sukhwinder Singh has now turned a leading man with the film Khudi Ko Kar Bulund Itna produced and directed by Jagbir Dahiya under the banner of Surya Entertainment. Shriya Narayan is his leading lady in the film, which also stars Vikrum Kumar, Rufy Khan, Khuahhish, Surendra Pal, Mukesh Tiwari and Dipak Shirke. 'I play the role of a simple and honest musician who is in love with Alpna, played by Shriya, who is forced to leave his home town and move to Mumbai by the people of his city. I am honest enough to confess that I am no big deal as an actor and my first love will always remain singing. As many as six cameras were on to shoot me in action because the director did not want to say cut and interrupt the flow of my acting. The same film was released more than a year ago with the title Kuch Kariye in just a single theater in Mumbai before it was withdrawn, because all of us felt that it should be reshot and re-released with a better title. I am confident that the film, which has now been extensively reshot will hit the bull's eye at the box office", quips Sukhwinder Singh.

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'YEH DEEWANGI YEH DEEWANAPAN' WILL HAVE BACKDROP OF TERRORISM & ROMANCE he New Zealand based Rajiv Das is all set to make his debut as a producer-director with the film Yeh Deewangi Yeh Deewanapan, which will set out to advocate against terrorism. The film to be produced under the banner of Indo Kiwi Films will also have a concurrent romantic track and deal with seven youngsters who set out to form a team to uphold peace and national integration. It will be shot in Mumbai, Rajasthan as well as New Zealand and set out to drive home the subtle message that if people can live in New Zealand together irrespective of their castes and creeds, why the Hindus and Muslims who live in India can't love each other in their own countries. Rajiv, who has already shot the TV serial Ashiana in New Zealand, which will be on air on TV3 says that it has been his dream to make films in India. His film will have seven songs recorded in the voices of singers like Shaan, Kumar Sanu, Pankaj Udhas, Sudesh Bhosle and Sadhna Sargam by the music director Sameer Sen. Rajiv is also planning to come up with a video album called Jeevan Ki Raah sponsored and supported by Shalom Celebration Centre, New Zealand..

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shwini Dhir's 'Son of Sardaar' starring Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt, Sonakshi Sinha and Juhi Chawla and produced by Ajay Devgn Films and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures is slated for a Diwali release on 13th November 2012 ! Here's an exclusive photo from the sets of the much anticipated festival film with Ajay Devgn at his macho best along with Sonakshi Sinha in Patiala! The film promises to be a complete entertainer with never seen before festival fun and dhamaal for audiences!.

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Ajay Devgn's 'Son of Sardaar' to release in November

PRALAY HAS A HARD HITTING MESSAGE handrapal Singh, the producer of the issue based film PRALAY, written and directed by Jasbir Bijendar Bhati, has been keenly watching serials like Ramayan, Mahabharata and Krishna. Having started off as an equipment supplier in 2001 with postproduction suites, Chandrapal ventured into filmmaking with LAKEER KA FAKEER. "The script of PRALAY brought back memories of devotional epic dramas to me. It is a journey of an innocent woman who is betrayed and what happens after that is what the film is all about. We shot on actual locations 45 kms away from Gorakhpur city on the banks of Ganga, Yamuna and Saryu, with Aditya Panscholi, Raghubeer Yadav, Mohan Joshi, Mukesh Tiwari, Manoj Joshi, Shakti Kapoor etc. Apart from hard-hitting message to the entire society, the film has all the ingredients to make it a commercial potboiler. The shooting of the film is complete and I am looking forward to the release of the film in August", says Chandrapal, who is planning to make at least two films every year and also start an institute near Benaras on the lines of Subhash Ghai's Whistling Woods shortly to impart film training to the youth..

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WHY KIDNAP SACHIN TENDULKAR!

By Ramu Sharma

achin Tendulkar, batsman extra ordinary, has become Member Parliament. He has been nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the Congress and quite predictably accepted without a murmur from the opposition at this early moment. Who would dare criticise his selection in India?

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It is not yet clear how a full time cricketer can afford to make his presence felt in the Indian parliament. Will he be able to take time off from his pet vocation for what is purely a symbolic post for him? After all what is in a parliament more pronounced for walkouts, adjourned motions, often long periods of boycotts and ironically punctuated with frequent spells of unparliamentary behaviour for a man successfully employed on the field of cricket. Perhaps the Congress has been ill-advised or does not really care whether Tendulkar has retired or refuses to call it a day yet. The nomination of a personality

like Tendulkar for a job like the Rajya Sabha MP does not however jell, either for the parliament or for the cricketer. He has neither the temperament nor the wherewithal for the responsibilities the job carries. It is too much to expect him to do justice to the position he has been thrust into. As a cricketer he has been basically involved with his own batting within the perimeters of his team's requirement. A total failure as a captain who shunned responsibilities after a short tenure, Tendulkar has lived within himself and away from controversies. How can he now be expected to project as a useful member of parliament? Or may be he is expected to be a dummy and vote with the party whenever attendant duty calls. Frankly nominating celebrities like Tendulkar is a pure waste of time. With rare exceptions celebrities have been silent spectators if and when present. Attendance has also not been very important for them. This is not to cast reflection on Tendulkar but an appreciation of what he has done well all these years and to allow him to continue doing so. He is a batsman and a great one at that. Let him alone. If at all a cricketer is a must for the parliamentarian job, why not someone like Sunil Gavaskar who probably will do the job well and enjoy himself too. That is if he accepts it and is able to get away from his cricketing responsibilities. Or someone like Bishan Bedi! Tendulkar would be totally out of place in the parliament. He is happiest on the cricket field. Why kidnap him from there!


SPORT

FOUR TIMES MORE MEDALS FOR INDIA AT LONDON OLYMPICS ! The Indian government has set its team a target of winning a dozen medals at the London Olympics–four times more than they claimed at Beijing in 2008, which itself was their best-ever performance.

Mary has a goal to achieve ndia's boxing mother-of-two, Mary Kom has qualified for the London Olympics by finishing as one of the top two Asian boxers at the Women's World Boxing Championships in China. After losing in the quarter-finals of the tournament, 'Magnificent Mary' was left relying on results to go in her favour. Mary Kom became the latest sportsperson from India to make the cut for the forthcoming London Olympics when the five-time world women's boxing champion squeezed into the contingent despite failing to gain an automatic Olympic spot. With the introduction of women's boxing at London 2012, the seventh edition of the World Championships took on added significance. Mary Kom usually fights at light flyweight level and is therefore punching above her weight. She struggled at the recent Olympic test event in London where she was beaten 13-9 by Argentina's Pamela Paoloa Benavides. Mary has always believed that sport was the way out of poverty and she is passionate about passing that message on to Manipur's youth. In fact, Manipur supplies India with a disproportionate number of top athletes.

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India's number one woman boxer Mary Kom hopes to bring laurels for the country in the London Olympics which has included women's boxing for the first time

By Lokayat Correspondent

ome this July and top Indian athletes would be vying to keep the country's flag fluttering high at the biggest sporting event of the world. The mega event which is scheduled to happen in London from July 27th to 12th August would see a fierce Indian challenge. India would be fielding a strong contingent of over 60 athletes and the chances of winning medals looks better than ever. Indian players are buoyed by its success at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, where they finished second to Australia in the overall medals tally with a total of 101 medals, 38 of which were gold. Since India made its debut in the Olympics in Paris in 1900 it has won a total of 20 medals only, nine of them gold. Eight of them have come in hockey and it was not until Abhinav Bindra won the men's 10 metre air rifle in Beijing that they claimed an individual gold.

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They also won two other medals in the Chinese capital, bronzes for wrestler Sushil Kumar and boxer Vijender Kumar. Vijender Kumar, who fights in the men's middleweight category, has resisted overtures to turn professional to remain amateur to try to chase gold in London. He has been receiving sponsorship from Sahara India and won a gold medal in the Asian Games in Guangzhou last year, following up the bronze he had collected in the Commonwealth Games. Indian sportpersons have been working hard for quite some time to put India on the world sport map. London will provide them another chance to prove their mettle. Most Indian sportpersons and teams who have already qualified for the Games are presently training abroad while the men's hockey team was recently in London taking part in a four-nation tournament to get acclimatised. A few more Indians are expected to qualify for the Olympics through qualification tournaments in the next few weeks.

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BOYS CAN BE BILLIONAIRES, FASTER THAN SHEIKHS OF INDUSTRY Mark Zuckerberg who started Facebook, the world's most popular social networking site with three friends at the age of 19!

By Aaditya Tewari

ark Elliot Zuckerberg became a billionaire in the space of eight years at the age of 27, richer than Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and Russian steel billionaire Vladimir Lisin, both of whom are twice his age. Zuckerberg started his earning curve by serving his classmates at Harvard University as a 19-year-old lad. He built Facebook, which is now the most popular social networking site in the world. It has more than 90 crore users, according to the latest statistics. This is a fantastic success story as Zuckerberg initially did not know what his Facebook would mean to the world. The site was launched in 2004 just to help better interaction with fellow students and colleagues at Harvard

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where Zuckerberg was a student. Later it was expanded to various universities and colleges in the USA and then across the world. Now the market value of the shares Zuckerberg has in Facebook is more than 19 billion dollars (Rs 95,000 crore) and he is the 29th richest person in the world, richer than many tycoons, sheikhs and barons. The total worth of the site is 104.2 billion dollars in the wake of the IPO last month. Zuckerberg is not the only person witnessing a huge windfall from Facebook's 104.2 billion dollar valuation. Several others like Dustin Moskovitz, 27, who stayed in the same room with Zuckerberg at Harvard and was the company's first chief technology officer, is now worth 5.1 billion dollars. It all shows how new ideas and innovations can create wealth faster

than those who have been doing business for generations. It also proves the utility of social media which have acquired an iconic status. They have potential to make or mar people. Look at the Indian scene. We find how it brought about the instant fall of the chief spokesperson of the Congress, Abhishek Manu Singhvi through a controversial sex CD on Facebook. Similarly, it showed film star Shakti Kapoor turning a bad lad in real life too. One can also remember the Congress party stalwart ND Tiwari (he was Chief Minister, Governor etc.) overnight becoming a person of ordinary stuff. Also remember how the whole world (including the Indian government) became jittery when Facebook became an instrument of forwarding political ideas as seen during the bloody revolution sweeping Arab countries. It is interesting to muse that a site

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ZUCKERBERG ACCUSED OF STEALING THE IDEA OF HIS FRIENDS uckerberg had developed interest in computer programming quite early in his career. When he was about 12, he created a messaging programme and named it 'Zucknet'. His dentist father used it in his office-- the receptionist could inform him of a new patient without yelling across the room. He, along with his friends, also created many computer games. While still in high school, he created music software 'Synapse'. Several companies, including AOL and Microsoft, expressed interest in buying the software, and hiring the teenager before graduation. He declined the offers. He developed an interesting platform 'Facemash', which used to upload two pictures of students and seek votes, as to which one was more attractive. It was wildDivya Narendra of Indian descent who had ly popular but the school developed 'ConnectU' with two of his friends sued Zuckerberg of stealing the administration shut it down idea and got a compensation of $65 terming it inappropriate. million after an out of court settlement The precursor to Facebook called 'ConnectU' was the brainchild of three students including Zuckerberg and Divya Narendra, a boy of Indian ethnicity. (Narendra is the eldest son of two immigrant doctors.) 'ConnectU' was a dating site for the Harvardians. Zuckerberg had agreed to collaborate on the project, but soon left the group to work on his own social networking site with three other friends. This group made the site called 'Facebook' in a room at Harvard. Later Zuckerberg dropped out of the college to devote full time on Facebook. Within six months it had one million users in 2004. The other pioneers of 'ConnectU' claimed that Zuckerberg stole their idea and sued him for compensation. Facebook and ConnectU settled the case out of court and agreed to pay a compensation of $65 million, but the legal dispute went on till last year as Narendra and Beijing Olympic rowers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss who had started the 'ConnectU' said they were misled about the value of their stock.

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like Facebook which has become synonymous with intimate social networking with its fabulous possibilities was not conceived by any big company like Google, Apple or Microsoft, who could afford extensive market survey, but by a group of three youngsters aged around 20 and not in any high-falutin office but in a hostel room in spare time! Like most prodigies the Chairman of Facebook, Zuckerberg is a college drop-out who despises limelight. His global fame as an instant success story is mounting in step with the soaring popularity of the Facebook-he was listed by Time magazine four times amongst 100 most influential people of the world. Zuckerberg has just got married to Priscilla Chan of Chinese origin. Both met at Harvard University in 2004 as undergraduates. While Zuckerberg left the institution to work on Facebook, Chan, now a pediatrician went on to earn her undergraduate degree. Zuckerberg has developed a reputation for introducing new products quickly, and this helped Facebook supplant MySpace as the most popular social service vehicle in the face of stiff competition from Google, Twitter and other social-media sites. It now also offers music, movies, e-commerce options and several other services.


BOOK rint media in India, particularly the daily press in most Indian regional languages are flourishing and prospering to great heights day in and day out. But, Urdu daily newspapers and periodicals have been journeying through hard times of their existence. Though Urdu press represents one of India's oldest daily newspaper journalism, it has been, of late, losing its sheen and clientele very fast. While the number of Urdu daily newspapers and magazines is the second highest in India, according to the Registrar of Newspapers, the overall state of the Urdu newspapers is far from healthy. In this unique book, author G.D. Chandan lays bare the difficult and dismal journey of the Urdu press in India. The book, set in two parts and 19 chapters, traces the origin of Urdu press since 1822, its dreary and uncertain pace till 1857 and even to the present era. Laced with innumerable incidents that the Urdu papers grappled with during the 190 years of their existence, the author finds it inextricably entwined with India's freedom struggle in umpteen circumstances. He relates several sagas of sufferings of editors and publishers of Urdu newspapers and journals during the colonial times in India. Meanwhile, the Urdu press was on its unprecedented peaks in India in the undivided India before 1947, and even until the 1950s when Hindi language took over as the prime medium of the masses. But since Urdu came to be termed as the language of the Muslim minority, it suffered in

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Urdu Sahafat Ka Safar (The Journey of Urdu Newspapers) Author Publisher

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Pages Price

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G.D. Chandan Educational Publishers, Delhi 110006, 388; Rs 350.00

The author lays bare the difficult and dismal journey of the Urdu Press in India.

popularity and patronage, thus setting in the decline of the Urdu press in India. The malady has continued unabated. However, in telling the story of the Urdu press, the author has interestingly linked the role of many eminent national leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in latter's extremely vocal weekly, 'alHilal', in the overall development of Urdu press. He describes as to how on November 16, 1914, al-Hilal's security deposit of Rs 2,000 (a huge amount in those days) was forfeited, the manuscript for the next two issues seized, and the printing press locked up. All because some 'objectionable' news item about the second world war was published by alHilal on its front page. The author lists 15 most popular Urdu newspapers in India and Pakistan, such as Pratap, Tej, Milap, Inqualab, Ehsaan, Watan, Assar Jadid, Shahbaaz, which were hit in some form or the other by the oppressive policies of the colonial masters in India. Describing the reasons first for the rise, then fall and decline of the Urdu press in India, the author blames shrinkage of ad revenue, decrease in readership, mounting production costs and unsupportive social, economic, political environment in India toward the Urdu press. The author has rendered yeoman service to the Urdu press in spotlighting its golden past, albeit remorselessly highlighted its current stultifying state in India and its possibly continuing plight in the years to come. (MRD)

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Our parliamentary system! ndian Parliament's journey through the last 60 years has been remarkable. A few members of Team Anna used derogatory language against parliamentarians-- called them 'looters', 'corrupt', 'rapists' and 'murderers'-- yet if Parliament's overall performance is seen objectively, it would be hard to deny that it has brought about remarkable changes in the country. It has truly epitomised the will and aspirations of over 1.2 billion people. It is the supreme custodian of their fundamental rights and interests. There is no denying the fact that our political parties increasingly have given tickets to criminals and people have voted for them. This is a big conundrum of our successful democracy. But this irony has to be judged in the larger context. Our elites rate our politics, politicians and Parliament disparagingly; they even do not go out to vote. For such people our democracy is in the hands of largely illiterate people, who are misguided to vote on caste and other sectarian considerations. Indian polity is also vitiated by the influence of money and mafia; yet our nascent democracy has brought about revolutionary changes in our society and economy. Ending untouchability, bonded labour, providing assured minimum employment to rural people, bringing Panchayati Raj and giving 33 percent reservation to women therein, triggering socio-economic transformation through social engineering, bringing transparency in administration through Right to Information, and now guaranteed education for children through RTE are no small achievements. It may not be long before Lokpal Bill to check corruption in the country is also passed. Parliament also saw many bad periods the most horrendous being the internal emergency clamped down by Indira Gandhi, but our democracy came out of that unscathed and amended the Constitution to bar any repeat of such aberrations. The greatest achievement of our parliamentary democracy has been its ability to keep the country united against destructive pulls and pressures. We witnessed the great but undemocratic USSR disintegrating. We also saw many countries go under military dictatorships, or destroyed in civil wars. But India's strength keeps growing. Our Parliament continues to enact laws to promote the noble ideals of justice, liberty and equality enshrined in the Constitution. No matter how ugly the situation sometimes, our parliamentarians have stood rock-like defending the rights of the silent millions. There were times when our adolescent democracy seemed teetering and on the verge of collapse. One remembers with trepidation our early experiments with coalition governments. Some leaders advocated replacement of our parliamentary system with the presidential form as in the USA and France. But every system has its plus and minor points; with proper checks and balances alone they will work. Ours is working now superbly and it is the envy of the world, especially of our neighbours! Certainly there is immense scope for improvement in our Parliament's functioning. Continuous shouting, walk-outs and repeated adjournments are not in the best interest of democracy. Another aspect which shows our parliamentarians, at least some of them, in very poor light is their intolerance to works of arts, literature and even cartoons. These minor hiccups cannot shake the solid foundations our sterling democratic institutions if we keep unstinted vigil-eternal vigil.

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Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under no. DELENG/2011/37738. Postal Registration No: DL (E)-20/5372/2011-13

Lokayat June 2012  
Lokayat June 2012  

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