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Congress President Sonia Gandhi presents a memento to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the farewell dinner hosted by her at her residence 10 Janpath in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Sonia hosts dinner in PM's honour New Delhi, May 14 : Congress president Sonia Gandhi Wednesday hosted a farewell dinner in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and lauded his contribution to the country. A leader who attended the dinner said there were emotional moments as the prime minister went around and talked to party members with whom he worked closely over the last 10 years in running two successive United Progressive Alliance governments. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was not present at the dinner held at Sonia Gandhi's 10 Janpath residence.Official sources said Rahul Gandhi was not
in Delhi and had met the prime minister last week to convey that he will not be able to attend the dinner. They said Rahul Gandhi had "already thanked" the prime minister. The dinner was attended by union ministers, including P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Sushilkumar Shinde, A.K. Antony, Krishna Tirath, and Congress Working Committee members, including Digvijaya Singh and B.K. Hariprasad. A leader said there were no formal speeches but Sonia Gandhi made brief remarks.Sonia Gandhi also presented a shawl and a memento to the prime minister. Another leader said the
atmosphere inside was "happy" and the impending results of the Lok Sabha election were not discussed. "Invitees were going to the place where prime minister, his wife and Sonia Gandhi were standing and got themselved clicked," he said. The dinner was "lavish" and there was a variety of food items, he said. The Oxford and Cambridge-educated Manmohan Singh has been prime minister since May 2004 when Sonia Gandhi hand-picked him for the job. The two top Congress leaders have worked in a unique relationship with Sonia Gandhi heading the party and Manmohan Singh
Don’t write us off: Digvijaya Singh Bangalore, May 14 : With exit polls forecasting National Democratic Allaiance staging a comeback to power, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Wednesday said his party could not be written off and it would fight for “politics of secularism” whether it forms the government or sits in the opposition. “Media had written us off in 1977 (but) we bounced back; again wrote us off in 89, we bounced back; ... So for God’s sake, don’t write us off,” Mr. Singh told reporters here responding to questions on exit poll numbers that predicted a debacle for the Congress. “Day after tomorrow, the counting will begin and the results of the 16th Lok Sabha will be coming. Although all the surveys have written us off, let me remind you that these surveys and media had written us off in 2004 and
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Three killed in police firing in Hyderabad
Governor reviews bifurcation process Hyderabad, May 14 (IPT) : Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasiman today reviewed with senior officials of Higher Education, Transport and Industries on progress of the bifurcation exercise in the institutions and the centres of excellence that would fall under Schedule IX and X of State Bifurcation Act The officials informed the Governor that under Section 75 of Schedule X, 107 institutions are listed and they would continue to offer their services to the people of both the states. The entities listed in Schedule X are performing diversified activities like Regulatory-AP Pollution Control Board, Programme execution -- SERP and Rajiv Vidya Mission, training AP Police Academy, consultancy - centre for Good Governance, commissions - SC, ST Commission and awareness like National Green Corps. The officials said that under the provisions of the Act, these institutions will continue to provide services to the people of the both the states for one year from the appointed day. The officials suggested a common governance mechanism for managing the institutions like the MCR-HRD, AP Police Academy, EPTRI, National Institute of Urban Management, etc., this will be a transitory arrangement till the other state establishes its own facility, the officials added.
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2009 also,” he said. Mr. Singh, who attended the co-ordination committee meeting of ruling state Congress here, said his party had seen “ups and downs in its long political history but it has never deviated from the ideology of socialism, secularism...” ”...this has been a very distinctive fight between the ideology of extreme right coupled with the religious fundamentalism of the BJP and the socialist, secular character of Congress.” He said the BJP always begins its campaign talking about development but in the final stages it comes back to communal politics. ”...we can’t hand over this country to people who create communal disturbances, disturb the communal harmony. And therefore, whether we form the government or sit in the opposition, the Congress party shall al-
ways fight for politics of secularism, politics of socialism.” Asked if his party had accepted defeat, he said, ”...democracy means change. We have fought this election to form the government. If we get an opportunity we will form the government.” Responding to a question whether the election results will be a reflection on Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, Singh said, “As far as Rahul Gandhi’s leadership is concerned, the Congress party has got greatest regard and respect and confidence in his leadership.” On Congress’ performance in Seemandhra and Telangana, Mr. Singh said, “We hope to form the government in Telangana, but we are not too hopeful in Seemandhra.” On the Third Front, Mr. Singh said, ”...we have already experimented where a
leader from small party becomes Prime Minister and (we are) giving outside support to them. But that experiment was not successful... so if any coalition government or secular front...if there is a possibility, then it has to be Congress-led government.” On Narendra Modi’s campaign, he said the amount spent on it was “mind boggling” and his assessment was it should be anywhere around Rs 5,000 crore. ”...this kind of money we have never seen in Indian politics and obviously he has the support of the corporates..,” the Congress leader said. Asked why the Prime Minister was kept out of campaign, Mr. Singh said, “Manmohan Singhji is not a mass leader; he is a professional, an economist. He did campaign in Telangana, in UP, Maharashtra, Assam...”
heading the government. Sonia Gandhi is credited with driving the social agenda of the government. The dinner was held two days before votes polled in the Lok Sabha election are counted May 16. The prime minister will submit his resignation to President Pranab Mukherjee May 17. Manmohan Singh, who became India's 14th prime minister and the first technocrat to rule the country, will continue to be a member of the Rajya Sabha after he demits office.The 81-year old prime minister had Jan 3 addressed his final press conference and announced his retirement after a decade at the helm of two successive UPA governments.
Congress releases video thanking Dr Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, May 14 : The Congress has put up a small video thanking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for performance of his government. The video, released on the official youtube page of the Congress, highlighted achievements of Dr Singh. It concluded with a expression of gratitude for the outgoing PM, thanking him for helping the country reach new heights during the 10 year role of the UPA government.
Hyderabad, May 14 (IPT) : Three people were shot dead and eight injured Wednesday when police opened fire to disperse two clashing groups in Hyderabad, officials said. An indefinite curfew was imposed to bring the situation under control in Sikh Chowni in Kishan Bagh, a part of Cyberabad police commissionerate. Trouble broke out after miscreants attacked houses and shops of a particular community in the early hours of Wednesday after some unidentified people burnt a religious flag overnight. Police opened fire to disperse the clashing groups, killing three people and injuring eight, a police spokesman of Cyberabad told IANS. In the clashes, 15 people, including 10 policemen, were also injured. Few houses and shops were set afire by the attackers and some cars and two-wheelers were also damaged. Bodies of two victims, both in their 20s, were shifted to government-run Osmania
General Hospital and the third, aged 38, was taken to Gandhi Hospital for autopsy. The injured were admitted to the two hospitals. Relatives of the victims alleged that the assailants armed with swords and knives entered their houses and attacked them. They said police opened fire without using teargas or batons. A police officer, however, justified the firing, saying it was inevitable to control the situation. Cyberabad police commissioner C.V. Anand said the situation was brought under control. He appealed to people to maintain calm and cooperate with the police in restoring peace. As tension spread to the adjoining areas of the old city of Hyderabad, police imposed prohibitory orders. Additional police and paramilitary forces were rushed to the area. Hyderabad police commissioner Anurag Sharma also visited areas adjoining Kishan Bagh and reviewed the situation.Shopkeepers in
Two jailed for 20 years for techie's rape in Hyderabad Hyderabad, May 14 (IPT) : A fast-track court here Wednesday sentenced two youths to 20 years in prison for the gang rape of a 22-year-old woman techie. In the first judgment in Andhra Pradesh under the Nirbhaya Act, the fast-track court at the Ranga Reddy district court complex here also imposed a fine of Rs.1,000 each on the accused. A lawyer told reporters that the court held V. Sathish (30) and N. Venkateswarlu (28) guilty of wrongful confinement, kidnapping and gang rape, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. The woman software engineer, an employee of an IT company at Hitec City here, was kidnapped and raped by the two car drivers Oct 18 last year. The woman, named as 'Abhaya' by police, was waiting for an autorickshaw after shopping at a mall in Hitec City when Sathish, driver of a car belonging to a businessman, offered to drop her at her hostel. His friend Venkateswarlu, a cab driver, was also seated in the car and was posing as a passenger. The accused diverted the car, took the woman to Kolluru in Medak district on the outskirts of the city and raped her. They later left the woman at her hostel. Police had taken the help of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to crack the case. The charge sheet was filed in January in a fast-track court set up for speedy trial. The prosecution produced scientific evidence and 21 witnesses in the court.
the markets around the historic Charminar downed shutters while police stepped up patrolling. Rapid Action Force (RAF) was deployed in the communally sensitive old city. Several RAF vehicles were seen moving into the interior areas as a precautionary measure. Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan reviewed the law and order situation with Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty and Director General of Police B. Prasada Rao. The governor appealed to the people to maintain peace. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, YSR Congress party president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader K. Chandrasekhara Rao, Majlise-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi also appealed for peace. Owaisi also demanded a through probe into the police firing and the violence. One person was killed and many were injured in violence in the same area over a similar incident in 2006.
TDP continues its winning streak
Hyderabad, May 14 (IPT) : The Telugu Desam Party continued its winning streak in Seemandhra while the Congress and Telangana Rashtra Samithi shared the honours in Telangana in the panchayat elections,results of which were announced tonight. After its impressive performance in the municipal elections,the TDP bagged 5,216 MPTCs and 373 ZPTCs as against 4,199 MPTCs and 275 ZPTCs won by its arch rival YSR Congress in Seemandhra. As expected,the Congress faced a near rout in the local bodies elections in Seemandhra. But in Telangana,the Congress put up a better show winning the maximum number of 2351 MPTCs while the TRS claimed 1860 MPTCs. The TRS was ahead in the ZPTC polls winning 191 ZPTCs as against 166 won by the Congress.
Only Cong campaign individual-centric not BJP: Venkaiah Hyderabad, May 14 (IPT) : BJP Senior National Leader M Venkaiah Naidu today said only Congress campaign was individual-centric not BJP's. Addressing a press conference here, Mr Naidu said it was surprising that some Congressmen were saying they wanted to make the campaign substantial but the BJP was not in the campaign.'We never felt shy of our ideology but we and our MP candidates were trying to highligt the failures of the Congress and the UPA and the achievements of Vajapayee's NDA Government and our BJP-ruled states', Mr Naidu said.He alleged the Congress campaign was individualcentric focused on personal attacks and built on total lies.
They tried to damage NaMo's personality and then started talking about communalizing politics.Neither Mr Modi nor any other BJP leader worth the name raised communal issues.Our campaign was focused on development and good governance and of course, on failures of UPA, he claimed.The Congress Party ran a communal campaign, Mr Naidu alleged adding 'they tried 'to polarize voters and shamelessly approached religious leaders and also raised religious issues.''Though the BJP campaign was spearheaded by Mr Modi all the national leaders of the party are totally involved in the campaign but whereas the Congress campaign was confined only to one family and nobody else.
Buddhist monks on the occasion of "Budh Purnima" and the 2558th birth anniversary of Lord Buddha in Bhopal on Wednesday.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
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Tiny scanner that checks your fruit's nutritional value What if you can get the nutritional value of an apple or a watermelon by just scanning it with a hand-held device? Move over Google to search for your medication. A hand-held scanner - about the size of a flash drive - can determine the molecular makeup of objects like food and medication. Developed by Consumer Physics, a Tel Aviv-based start up in Israel, the scanner called 'Scio' emits a beam of light, which you can shine on, say, a piece of fruit. The device will then connect to a smart phone app that reveals the nutritional breakdown of that piece of fruit, Dror Sharon, cofounder of Consumer Physics, was quoted as saying in wired.com. The Scio app uses an algorithm to compare digital signature to its entire database and provide the end user with the objects molecular breakdown. People can analyse plants, foods and medication using the Scio app.
So what will 'Prime Minister Modi' do? These days Narendra Modi fans in our midst aggressively reject our views if we were to say that one should wait for May 16 before presuming that he will become prime minister. Since Netizens get angry and are often abusive when defending Modi, Rediff.com decided to give a break to our discussions on serious issues and instead play a guessing game today about what may happen if Modi indeed becomes prime minister.These predictions are based on what he did in Gujarat after becoming chief minister in 2001: His tenure and everything about Modi will depend on who his political allies are and how much he depends on them. Nobody can give a definitive answer to this now. He will understand Manmohan Singh's plight if he were to depend on truant allies as Dr Singh has been forced to during his years as prime minister. President Pranab Mukherjee will remain very important in the coming days, especially for Modi if he were to come to power. Modi will take care of the colour of his kurtas and the fabric of his attire much more than what he does now. In the first week he will invest a lot of time in fixing his official portrait. After all, this portrait will adorn government offices and our diplomatic missions abroad. He will have a difficult relationship with the media in
general. He won't speak much to the media. His Prime Minister's Office will not be transparent and will be almost inaccessible. In the first few days he will get a lot of bad press as he will crush the egos of many BJP leaders while forming his Cabinet. The BJP doesn't have much of a brains trust of intellectuals and retired officials for the posts of 'advisors' in ministries and in the PMO. So there will be mixed opinion on his selection for the National Security Adviser's office and other sensitive posts.Few Gujarat cadre officers will be a part of his core team and just a handful of Gujaratis will be part of his private team. Behind closed doors, Modi is a good listener and he collects many people around him to give him factbased inputs. 7, Racecourse Road -the prime minister's residence -- will turn vegetarian! And the PMO will be spic and span -- better than it is now. From day one he will start worrying about how to win the assembly elections in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and wherever it is due. He will go on a pilgrimage to a few shrines, including the Ma Amba temple in Ambaji to say 'thank you'. Roads, power and improving the railways will be his priority.He will not ditch the middle class and their aspirations.On the issues of Kashmir, Pakistan, China and America, there won't be
any dramatic surprise, but there will surely be some dramatic media movements. He will wear a mukhota (mask), portraying an Atal Bihari Vajpayee-like public face, and will sit pretty. His politics will be acted upon by his party. BJP MPs will lose their actual value. In fact, non-BJP MPs will find Modi maintaining good relations with them. Modi will seek counsel from the babus to see how they work. He is humble enough, even now, to learn the tricks of governance. In no time, he will select his trusted men and form a coterie. His babus will track cables and files to ensure that files don't lose their way, meaning what he wants, he will get it done in time. Modi's English may not rival the British queen's, but his confidence and pride will ensure that it doesn't matter. If the political leaders of France, Germany, Japan, Russia and China can excel in their jobs despite a weak knowledge of English, Modi can also manage well. Why not? Sooner than later, he will give Amitabh Bachchan a Bharat Ratna, a highly deserving one. If Sachin Tendulkar can get it, then Amitabh surely is a better choice any day. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Varanasi, Mathura will all see a change in their landscape. All the concerned departments will be coordinated to improve their facili-
ties, making them a huge tourist attraction. He is unlikely to show his bias towards Gujarat. He will give more funds to states where the BJP wants to spread its influence. Gujarat is not one of them -- the BJP has reached a saturation point in the state. State governments in Bihar, Jharkhand and even Uttar Pradesh will see instability. Amit Shah will most likely continue to be in charge of UP, and will be asked to concentrate on West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Regional parties will be Modi's sharp target since he is most comfortable with the Congress as his opponent.Modi will keep issuing 'emotion-loaded' messages for the people, unlike Dr Singh. This will be a culture shock for all of us. Modi identifies with and behaves as the middle class does. He was never elitist, but intelligent enough to defy New Delhi's elitism and make his point.In China, Hong Kong, London and elsewhere, he has participated in five-star dinners and knows table etiquette, an important part of being a global leader. He knows 'money speaks' on Wall Street and in the Western world. He will play his 'business card' well. He is so image-conscious that he will quickly learn what is needed to be learnt. Very soon, Modi will realise the nuances of the decisions made by Dr Singh, in dealing with the economy, Pakistan, China and the US.
space of social justice and secularism (read protection to minorities from violent religious strife; tragically the notion of 'secularism' in terms of political-administrative practice has been reduced to this protection only. The BJP will reclaim the politics of good governance and development. That is why once you probe the electorates on Nitish Kumar's accomplishments on development, and then ask why they are deserting him, they will suddenly insist, 'No no, we will let him win and form his government in the assembly elections.' This type of remark will come from both Hindus as well as Muslims. As of now, the Nitish Kumar-led provincial administration has struck a brilliant balance between both these agendas of advancing social/ gender justice-secularism and good governance-development. Contrary to what the pollsters and newsmen have to say, well aware of these unwelcome prospects, the less
vocal social groups like the Ati Pichhrha and MahaDalit are standing solidly behind the JD-U as they are scared of the revival of Yadav hegemony in Bihar, besides every other kind of destruction including rise in crime. Moreover, by and large women, cutting across castes and communities, remain appreciative of Nitish Kumar who has provided 50 per cent reservations for them in rural and urban local bodies. Hence, all reports about JD-U losing very badly (pollsters predict the JD-U will win 0-5 seats from Bihar) may not be such a big truth. On May 16, if you hear of the JDU getting many more seats than what the pollsters are suggestively predicting, don't be surprised, except that the JD-U's Muslim candidates may end up losing (compared to the RJD's Muslim nominees who have received the bigger benefits of the 'NaMo scare' among the Muslim communities). Ooverall, there is the wave of none in Bihar except
that Lalu's resurgence is the big news at the moment. Similarly, in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party (despite having presided over a horrific communal massacre in Muzaffarnagar in September 2013 and the continuing dislocation of thousands of riot victims) is getting some Muslim votes at least for its Muslim candidates. This duplicity of sections of the Muslim electorate is quite visible. They talk of voting against Narendra Modi's BJP invoking the Gujarat massacre of 2002, but simultaneously choose to ignore the massacres of Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts besides dozens of riots across UP during March 2012-2013 under the Akhilesh Yadav administration.These duplicities are confined largely to urban and semi urban middle class Muslims. Other sections of Muslims are more inclined towards Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, which will most probably throw up another surprise for the pollsters and newsmen on May 16.
Bihar doesn't have much of a Modi wave There is much talk of communal polarisation in favour of Narendra Modi. This is quite true. What is being ignored or downplayed is the fact that this polarisation is also a great advantage for the otherwise discredited 'secularists' -- regional satraps like Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. According to less prejudiced latest field reports and pollsters, Bihar doesn't have as much of a 'Modi wave'. Still, both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the RJD (which is contesting this election in alliance with the Congress) have succeeded in driving home the point that there is one and that those who want to stop Modi should rally behind Lalu (who is judicially disallowed to contest elections as he has been convicted on corruption charges). These parties will want you to believe that Lalu enjoys the rock-solid support of the Yadavas, unlike Nitish Kumar who doesn't have any such core support. Nothing can be more untruthful. The ground-reality is that the Ati Pichhrha (32%) and MahaDalit (12%) besides Nitish's own Koeri-Kurmi (7%) caste, are still with the Janata Dal-United quite strongly. Only the Pasmanda communities of Muslims (out of 41 Muslim communities, around 37 are listed as Backward, and of them 27 are listed as Ati Pichhrha) are said to have joined, howsoever reluctantly, the Ashraf
communities of Muslims -- in order to checkmate Narendra Modi. They are expected to return to Nitish Kumar and the JD-U in the 2015 assembly election. Many surmise that if Nitish Kumar does not perform well in the Lok Sabha election, there will be defections by JD-U MLAs and that he may be replaced by the BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi in Bihar. Sushil Modi has stated this in a recent interview. With this propaganda by the BJP and RJD, the Muslims fear that any 'wrong decision' (voting for JD-U candidates) may lead to the BJP's success. This is pushing the Muslim communities towards the RJD, enabling Lalu to resurge back. The Lalu-Rabri Devi era (1990 to 2005) in Bihar, more particularly after 1995, wreaked havoc in the state. This is not to deny Lalu's contribution in enabling subordinated communities to consolidate and become assertive, and also firmly keeping communal riots in check. But Bihar needed much more than that and Lalu-Rabri doggedly refused to perform on all those fronts during their 15 year rule. It is feared that his revival will see the return of horrific ills like kidnapping for ransom, vehicle snatching, the influence of gangsters in politics and the administration, gross neglect of roads, public health and education systems. The BJP's game of polarisation is giving a fresh lease of life to Lalu. This resurgence of Lalu causes discomfort to upper caste Hin-
dus. They apprehend that even in the assembly election, polarisation will take place around Sushil ModiLalu, pushing the Muslims towards Lalu and the Hindus towards the BJP. While Lalu's corruption and absolute failure on governance and development is concealed under the garb of 'secularism', Bihar's BJP voters are voting for communalism under the garb of the Gujarat model of development.In doing so, they conveniently ignore the much successful Bihar model of inclusive development despite resource constraints and a long history of political-bureaucratic inefficiency in under-utilisation of central funds. It is precisely because of the apprehensions about Lalu's revival that the upper castes have started re-thinking their electoral preferences. Out of confusion, rather than rallying behind the JD-U, they are simply deciding to vote for winnable candidates from their respective castes of any of the three parties -- the BJP, JD-U or RJD. This is what has considerably neutralised the NaMo wave in Bihar and resulted in Nitin Gadkari's remark that 'Caste is in the DNA of Biharis'. This is why Giriraj Singh, the BJP candidate from Nawada, made provocative statements. An electorally and politically weak Nitish Kumar is advantageous for both the BJP and Lalu. Once Nitish Kumar is rendered weak and is ousted: Lalu will reclaim the
It is precisely because of the apprehensions about Lalu's revival that the upper castes have started rethinking their electoral preferences. Out of confusion, rather than rallying behind the JD-U, they are simply deciding to vote for winnable candidates from their respective castes of any of the three parties -- the BJP, JD-U or RJD.
Beware! Early menopause increases risk of heart failure In a first, researchers have found that women who go through menopause early - at ages 40 to 45 - have a higher rate of heart failure because of the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Smoking raises the risk even more, the study noted. The study involved 22,000 postmenopausal women in Sweden. Women who went through menopause naturally at this early age had a rate of heart failure some 40 percent higher than women who went through menopause at the usual age between 50 and 54, the average age being 51.And for every one-year increase in age at menopause, the rate of heart failure was 2 percent lower, the study revealed.What is more, women who smoked, even if they had quit earlier, had a higher risk of heart failure if they went through menopause only somewhat early - at ages 46 to 49. Smokers are known to go through menopause an average of one year earlier than nonsmokers."Menopause, early or late, is always a good time to take more steps to reduce heart disease risk through exercise, a healthy diet, weight loss, and quitting smoking, said Margery Gass, executive director, The North American Menopause Society.The study appeared in the journal Menopause.
3D 'map' of enzymes may lead to effective drugs
Understanding enzymes better could be a key way of devising effective drug designs for various ailments and researchers have now completed a 3D map of an enzyme called Proline utilization A (PutA). The human body is full of proteins called enzymes that help nearly every function in the body. PutA facilitates metabolism by adding oxygen to molecules. Mapping this enzyme would give researchers a better understanding of its function, which could help drug manufacturers create more effective drugs, said John Tanner, a professor at the University of Missouri in the US.The researchers mapped the enzyme by using a process called protein crystallography. This process involves growing microscopic crystals made of PutA enzymes. The protein crystals were exposed to a high-powered X-ray device called a beamline.The beamline device is one of only five in the world and is the size of a football field. The beamline captures X-rays, focuses them on protein crystals, and records the beams that reflect or diffract off the crystals. Researchers decoded the diffraction patterns from his crystals to understand the precise arrangement of the atoms in the protein and created a 3D map of the PutA enzyme. PutA is actually two enzymes fused together to make its processing more efficient, Tanner noted. Some dangerous bacteria, such as h. pylori, which infect stomach tissue, utilise the PutA enzyme to grow.
Why athletes likelier to need pacemakers during old age
A new research from the University of Manchester has found as to why athletes are more likely to have abnormal heart rhythms. Elderly athletes with a lifelong history of training and competing in endurance events like marathons, triathlons and iron man challenges can have heart rhythm disturbances, known as arrhythmias. The Manchester research in rodents, funded by the British Heart Foundation, shows molecular changes in the heart's pacemaker occur in response to exercise training. The finding overturns the commonly held belief that an increased activity of the autonomic nervous system causes this specific reaction to endurance training. While normal adults have resting heart rates between 60-100 beats per minute, hearts of endurance athletes can beat only 30 times per minute or even lower at night time when there can be long pauses between heart beats. "The heart rate is set by the heart's pacemaker, but this is controlled by the nervous system. The 'vagal' nerves lower the heart rate and therefore it was assumed the low heart rate of athletes is the result of over activity of the vagal nerves," Dr Alicia D'Souza, from The University of Manchester and first author on the paper, said. "But our research shows this is not the case. Actually the heart's pacemaker changes in response to training and in particular there is a decrease in an important pacemaker protein, known as HCN4, and this is responsible for the low heart rate," she added. The researchers say these molecular changes in the sinus node - the cardiac structure responsible for generating heart rhythm - may help us to understand the more frequent occurrence of heart rhythm disturbances or even loss of consciousness in athletes.The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
MARK INDIA, Hyderabad
Death toll in Turkish mine blast exceeds 200, many still trapped Soma, May 14: Rescuers pulled more dead and injured from a coal mine in western Turkey on Wednesday more than 19 hours after an explosion, bringing the death toll to 205 in what could become the nation's worst ever mining disaster. Hundreds more were still believed to be trapped in the mine in Soma, about 480 kilometers (298 miles) southwest of Istanbul. The explosion, which triggered a fire, occurred shortly after 3 pm (1200 GMT) on Tuesday."We are heading towards this accident likely being the deadliest ever in Turkey," Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters at the scene. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan declared three days of national mourning. The disaster highlighted Turkey's poor record on worker safety and drew renewed opposition calls for an inquiry into a drop in safety standards at previously state-run mines. The International Labour Organization ranked the EU candidate nation third worst in the world
for worker deaths in 2012. Yildiz said the fire was still burning underground, which miners said was hampering the rescue operation and denting hopes of finding more survivors. A pall of smoke hung above the area. The blast happened during a shift change, leading to uncertainty over the exact numbers of miners trapped inside. Yildiz earlier said 787 workers were in the mine at the time and that the death toll may rise further. "I have to say that our hopes are dimming in terms of the rescue efforts," he said. Rescue workers pumped oxygen into the mine to try to keep those trapped by the blaze alive, as thousands of family members and coworkers gathered outside the town's hospital. Many of the dead had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, Yildiz said. Some 93 people were rescued, including several rescuers, and 85 of them were being treated for their injuries, the Disaster and Emergency Management
Presidency said in an email. One relative told broadcaster CNN Turk that his 15-yearold nephew was among workers still trapped inside the shaft. A cold storage warehouse, usually used for food, and freezer trucks served as makeshift morgues as hospital facilities overflowed. Medical staff intermittently emerged from the hospital to read the names of survivors being treated inside, with families and fellow workers clamoring for information. Teams of psychiatrists were being pulled together to help counsel the families of victims. Paramilitary police guarded the entrance to the mine to keep distressed relatives at a safe distance from the rescue effort. There were calls on social media for protests in front of the Istanbul headquarters of Soma Komur Isletmeleri, the operator of the mine. The company said in a brief statement late on Tuesday that there had been "a grave accident" caused by an ex-
plosion in a substation but gave few other details. Erdogan cancelled a visit to Albania, scheduled for Wednesday, and is instead going to the site of the disaster, his office said. President Abdullah Gul also cancelled a trip to China scheduled for Thursday in order to travel to Soma. At Istanbul's Taksim Square, two left-wing opposition newspaper vendors read out headlines to silent morning commuters. "Turkey is a graveyard for workers", and "This wasn't an accident, this was negligence." Turkey's rapid growth over the past decade has seen a construction boom and a scramble to meet soaring energy demands, with worker safety standards often failing to keep pace. Its safety record in coal mining has been poor for decades, with its deadliest accident to date in 1992, when a gas blast killed 263 workers in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak.The Labour Ministry said late on Tuesday its
Separatists kill seven Europe's centre-right Ukraine soldiers in heaviest leads by a sliver before loss for Kiev forces EU election: poll Kiev, May 14: Pro-Russian separatists ambushed Ukrainian troops on Tuesday, killing seven in the heaviest loss of life for government forces in a single clash since Kiev sent soldiers to put down a rebellion in the country's east. With the uprising and Russia's annexation of Crimea poisoning East-West relations, Moscow retaliated against U.S. sanctions by hitting aerospace projects, including refusing to extend the life of the International Space Station, a showcase of post-Cold War cooperation. In Kiev, Ukraine's defense ministry and state security service said the troops were killed and seven others wounded when their armored column was ambushed near the town of Kramatorsk, one of several hot spots in the largely Russian-speaking east where the army has had scant success against the rebels. About 30 rebels, who had taken cover among bushes along a river, attacked with grenade-launchers and automatic weapons near a village 20 km (12 miles) from Kramatorsk, the ministry said in a statement on its website. "In all, as a result of the prolonged fighting, six members of the armed forces
were killed. Eight soldiers were wounded, one of them seriously," it said. The state security service (SBU) said later that the seriously wounded soldier had died while being taken to hospital. Rebel leaders held referendums in two eastern regions on Sunday which they said backed self-rule overwhelmingly. While Kiev and the West denounced the votes as illegal, the rebels called on Monday for their regions to become part of Russia. Moscow has stopped short of endorsing their bid for annexation. Before the Kramatorsk incident, Defence Minister Mykhailo Koval said a total of nine servicemen had been killed so far in the army's "anti-terrorist" operation, which has been directed mainly against rebels in the towns of Slaviansk and Mariupol. The dead included five air crew, Koval said. They died when their helicopters were downed by separatist fire. Rebels have also suffered losses in the uprising, which began with the seizure of public buildings in eastern towns and cities. Many of the separatists hope to follow Crimea, which voted for union with Russia before its formal annexation in March.
Brussels, May 14: The center-right is set to win the most seats in European Parliament elections next week, but its wafer-thin poll lead suggests the chances of securing the presidency of the European Commission are uncertain. The European People's Party (EPP) will take 212 seats in the May 22-25 vote, according to an analysis of national polls on Wednesday by PollWatch 2014, only three more seats than its center-left rivals, the Socialists and Democrats (S&D).There are 751 seats in the parliament, around 70 percent of which are expected to go to Europe's four mainstream groups - the center-right, center-left, Liberals and Greens. Around a quarter of seats look likely to be won by anti-EU or protest parties on the far-right and far-left, almost double their standing at the last election in 2009. That's largely because of voter frustration with high unemployment and low growth.Under EU rules introduced in 2009, the party that wins the election is best placed to have its top candidate become the president of the European Commission, one of Brussels' most powerful jobs, with far-reaching influence over legislation. But while the EPP may just edge out the Socialists in the vote, according to Wednesday's survey, the Socialists are better placed to secure allegiances with other parties on the left, potentially helping them secure a majority in parliament. Since the nominee for Commission president must be approved by parliamentary majority, the Socialists may be able to argue that their candidate has greater legitimacy than the center-right EPP's. The nomination for Commission president will be made by EU leaders, who are required to "take into account" the results of the election in making their choice. The EPP has chosen Jean-Claude Juncker, 59, the former prime minister of Luxembourg and a central broker during the euro zone debt crisis, as their candidate to succeed Portugal's Jose Manuel Barroso, who has led the Commission since 2004. The Socialists are backing Germany's Martin Schulz, 58, the current head of the European Parliament and an ardent campaigner for more money to be spent helping young people get jobs. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, known as ALDE, have chosen former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt as their candidate for Commission president.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, second left, sits next to French President Francois Hollande, center, and French Education Minister Benoit Hamon, right, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris.
officials had carried out regular inspections at the Soma mine, most recently in March, and that no irregularities had been detected. But Hursit Gunes, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party, said a previous request for a parliamentary inquiry into safety and working conditions at mines around Soma had been rejected by the ruling AK Party. "I'm going to renew that parliamentary investigation demand today. If (the government) has been warned about this and they did nothing, then people will be angry, naturally. The opposition warned them. But there's unbelievable lethargy on this issue," Gunes told Reuters. The ILO in 2012 said Turkey had the highest rate of worker deaths in Europe and the world's third-highest. In the mining sector, 61 people died in 2012, according to the ILO's latest statistics. Between 2002 and 2012, the death toll at Turkish mines totaled more than 1,000.
France's Royal criticizes 'macho' politicians Paris, May 14: French Environment Minister Segolene Royal criticized her male colleagues on Wednesday, calling them "cocksure machos" who treat her with contempt. Angry with the resurgence in parliament of a environment tax she wants to bury, Royal, who made a political comeback when she was named minister in March, used a magazine interview to accuse her male colleagues of being patronizing."If they think they can muzzle me, they're mistaken. Yes, I do speak my mind. This is my right and I will defend it whatever happens," Royale, the former partner of President Francois Hollande and mother of his four children said in the Paris Match interview. She denounced a political class she said "was mostly composed of cocksure machos". Royale, who was first an environment minister 22 years ago and was her Socialist Party's unsuccessful candidate in the 2007 presidential race, is an experienced operator but has a reputation as a poor team-player. In the interview, she criticized Finance Minister Michel Sapin for siding with a parliament committee which proposed to maintain plans for the controversial green tax on trucks - a line she has opposed. Royal said Sapin had hidden his close ties to the chairman of that committee. "I had to discover this by chance," she said. She told reporters the government would take a decision on the tax next month. Hollande's previous government suspended the planned environmental tax on trucks in October after violent protests in the western Brittany region against the planned levy on heavy goods vehicles which was set to bring in about 1 billion euros per year to help finance mostly rail projects. In the Paris Match interview, Royal also made comments that put her at odds with Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg on cash-strapped engineer group Alstom.The offer made by U.S. conglomerate General Electric to take over Alstom's power arm was "a very good opportunity," she said in comments that appeared to counter Montebourg's push for a European tie-up with Germany's Siemens.
Family members react, as they wait outside the mine in Soma, western Turkey. Rescuers desperately raced against time to reach the more than 200 miners trapped underground after an explosion and fire at a coal mine in Turkey killed over 200 workers, authorities said, in one of the worst mining disasters in the nation's history. Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people were inside the coal mine in Soma, some 250 kilometers south of Istanbul, at the time of the accident and 363 of them had been rescued so far.
Public employees demand big raise from Lebanese parliament Beirut, May 14: Thousands of Lebanese teachers, civil servants and children rallied outside parliament on Wednesday in the biggest of a year of pay protests as the assembly debated a muchdelayed bill on public sector salaries. The draft being discussed in parliament fell far short of the demands for a doubling of pay, as the government struggles with a ballooning deficit and an economic slowdown. The International Monetary Fund last week urged Lebanon to implement structural reforms to balance its budget deficit, and called for public sector pay restraint. Protesters' demands for at least a doubling of pay would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The bill under discussion proposes much lower increases, to be offset by an increase in value added tax. But feelings among public sector workers are running high. "You can't live on our salaries," Laurent Chidiac, a primary school drama teacher
who travelled 13 miles from the Christian seaside town of Jounieh to Beirut. He said teachers were paid around $700 a month, and the protesters wanted that to be doubled "at the very minimum". Teachers began staging protests a year ago. Their latest strike has kept state schools closed since last week. "Stop your procrastinating!" read some of the signs held aloft at the march. Government finances have been strained by the effects of labor unrest and power cuts as well as longstanding electricity subsidies.In 2012, the primary budget turned negative and last year the fiscal deficit was 9.3 percent of GDP, with the debt burden at 141 percent of GDP. Economic growth dropped to about 1.5 percent last year from an average of eight percent a year between 2007 and 2010. The IMF says it could rise to 4 percent in the medium term with the right structural reforms, including cutting state spending. Members of parliament
told Reuters that a muchamended public sector pay bill could pass on Wednesday, but could also be delayed again. Ali Ammar, a member of parliament for the Islamist Hezbollah party, told reporters that parliament had been "trying since this morning to discuss the draft law, article by article". The Lebanese government that assumed office in February took a year to form. Another political vacuum looms this month, as President Michel Suleiman comes to the end of his five-year term with no successor in sight after three rounds of voting in parliament.Still struggling to recover from its own 19751990 civil war, Lebanon has found its internal rifts aggravated by the conflict in Syria, whose sectarian divisions mirror its own. A million Syrian refugees have entered Lebanon, equivalent to a quarter of the resident population, and rebels have crossed into Lebanese border regions to take refuge from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Scottish independence bid flags questions about Union Jack London, May 14: For centuries the Union Jack has been the symbol of British power across the globe but a bid by secessionists in Scotland to break the union with England has thrust the future of the red-white-and-blue flag into question. Gracing gunboats, guitars and even iPhones, the Union Flag has by turns served as a banner of imperial might and of British identity for everyone from monarchs to the Sex Pistols. But Scotland's white-on-blue diagonal St Andrew's cross could be cut out of the flag if Scots vote to leave the United Kingdom in a referendum on September 18. As the Union Flag has not been adopted as Britain's official flag, even the prospect of independence has unfurled a quandary for admirers as no one has full authority over the flag. "This situation is terribly British in that we are almost unique among developed nations in muddling through," said Charles Ashburner, chief executive of the London-based Flag Institute, a charity that studies and documents flags. "Virtually every other country has this sorted out, with legislation for the flag and its use, and this needs to change for the UK if Scotland votes for or against independence." With three overlapping crosses, the flag merges the English red-on-white cross of St George, Scotland's St Andrew's cross and Ireland's red-on-white diagonal cross of St Patrick. The red dragon of Wales is not included in the flag, which traces its history to 1606 when King James VI of Scotland joined the flags of Scotland and England. For admirers, the Union Flag is an expression of patriotism for the United Kingdom and the calling card of a lucrative industry selling popular British culture to the world. But for opponents, the flag symbolizes an archaic British jingoism that helped an English-led
'warrior nation' occupy a far-flung empire and dominate the Welsh, Scots and Irish. So powerful is its symbolism that riots erupted in Northern Ireland last year after nationalist politicians voted to remove the flag from Belfast city hall on all but 17 days of the year. Above the Scottish parliament, the St Andrew's Saltire has central position flanked by the European Union flag, a ring of 12 golden stars against azure, and the Union Flag. But even the idea of breaking the union could unravel the Union Flag into some of its parts, which are used by national supporters at the soccer World Cup or the Six Nations rugby union championship. "It's a union flag, so if there's no union we don't need it anymore," Josie Alderton, an English resident of Carlisle in northern England near the Scottish border, told Reuters. "Each of the nations, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, have their own flags, why would we need to keep this one?" When asked what would happen to the Union Jack if Scotland voted for independence, a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron declined to speculate, saying the government was focused on making the case for the United Kingdom to stay together. Change could have consequences far beyond Britain: it features on the flags of more than 20 countries including Australia and New Zealand as well as on the flag of the U.S. state of Hawaii, Barack Obama's birthplace.An earlier version of Union flag even featured on the first flag to have any resemblance to the current Stars and Stripes of the United States, though Britain's colors were later dropped. New Zealand has signaled it may drop the Union Jack from its flag, following Canada, South Africa and Hong Kong.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
MARK INDIA, Hyderabad Abhibus.com appointed by APSRTC as B2C franchisee
A sari printed with a portrait of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at a garments shop in Mumbai.
BJP confident of Modi becoming PM, hold flurry of meetings New Delhi/Ahmedabad, May 14 : BJP president Rajnath Singh Wednesday said Narendra Modi will "definitely" be the next prime minister, as top party leaders held a string of meetings two days ahead of vote count. Rajnath Singh and former party president Nitin Gadkari met party leader Sushma Swaraj, while prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's close aide Amit Shah met Arun Jaitley in the national capital Wednesday morning. Later in the day, Rajnath Singh, Gadkari and Jaitley flew to Gandhinagar to meet prime ministerial candidate Modi. Rajnath Singh said it was to discuss the "campaign experiences". "It is definite that Modi will become the prime minister," Rajnath Singh told reporters
LS 2014 D-day; India holds its breath for May 16 outcome New Delhi/Lucknow/Bangalore/Mumbai/Kolkata, May 14 : As the Election Commission geared up to hold the process of counting of votes on May 16, India held its breath for the outcome of the hectic month-long nine phase polling for the 16th Lok Sabha and four Assemblies. Hectic power-broking parleys commenced in the BJPled NDA, tipped by observers to come to power at the Centre. A picture of the mandate will be available by noon. Assemblies of Telangana, Seemandhra, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh will also deliver the verdict of the people. Uttar Pradesh government issued strict orders banning victory processions to maintain law and order for next fortnight in view of the Lok Sabha results to be declared for 80 constituencies. Fate of 1,288 candidates, including 125 women, would be decided in the counting of 1,91,421 Electronic Voting Machines(EVMs) in the state. The entire counting process will be done under the strict monitoring of the Central observers and security of the Central forces. There would be three tier security system at the counting centers and none would be allowed inside without valid passes.
in Gandhinagar.The meetings took place amid speculations over the role party veteran L.K. Advani will get in the government to be formed. Rajnath Singh said a decision in this regard will be taken by top party leaders, but did not make it clear if Advani will be a part of the decision making process. The BJP appears confident of victory in the 10phase staggered general election that began April 7 and ended May 12. The millions of votes will be counted Friday. "There will be a meeting of the party, all senior leaders will be there and a decision will be taken," the BJP president said. Gadkari earlier said Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani "are our founder members, our most senior leaders. The party's parliamentary board
will take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time (about Advani)". "The guidance of Advaniji is very important," he added. Sushma Swaraj on her part described the meetings with Rajnath Singh and Gadkari as "courtesy meet". "It is true they had come to meet me but it was purely a courtesy meet. Before the declaration of election results, all of us wanted to meet each other," Sushma Swaraj said. Most exit polls have predicted a victory for the BJPled National Democratic Alliance in the Lok Sabha election. Asked if talks were being held with BJP's allies over government formation, Gadkari said: "There are no talks ... yet. We have not discussed anything and have not even thought about it."
He said the party was "confident of (securing) a majority" in the Lok Sabha and those who want to support it were "welcome". A party leader, who did not want to be named, said they were expecting Biju Janata Dal (BJD), and AIADMK to come in the alliance later. The BJP leader also said that NDA would be more or less like what it used to be during the Vajpayee government. Odisha Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik remained non-committal on supporting a BJPled central government, but party leader Pravat Tripathi indicated conditional support may be given."No talks at all. We have not discussed anything. We have not thought of it yet. Let us wait till the results," Patnaik said.
Hyderabad, May 14 (IPT) : One of India's fastest growing online bus ticket booking portals, abhibus.com has been appointed by Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) as a franchisee for its B2C bookings. This means that the portal will be able to sell tickets for the APSRTC network in cities, towns and villages in Andhra Pradesh as well as beyond the state's borders, wherever the APSRTC has its services, a release from Bhibus.com said here today. APSRTC is currently powered also by the online passenger reservation system provided by Abhibus Services India Pvt. Ltd. APSRTC bus tickets inventory would now be available for the first time on abhibus.com apart from being available on apsrtconline.in. Talking about the appointment, Mr Sudhakar Reddy Chirra, Founder and CEO of Abhibus said, 'We are extremely proud to be chosen as one of the B2C franchisee for APSRTC. This is a great boost for us at abhibus.com. This takes up our current inventory up from 5.5 lakh seats daily to 8 lakh seats and adds up over 9000 bus services. Currently abhibus.com provides bus ticket inventory from over 1500 operators and 15,000 routes.
Lt Gen Dalbir Singh to be next Army Chief New Delhi, May 14 : Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag will be the next Army Chief, it was officially announced here today, putting an end to the controversy over the appointment of successor to Gen Bikram Singh. "Government have decided to appoint Lt General Dalbir Singh, presently ViceChief of the Army Staff, as the next Chief of Army Staff (COAS) after retirement of the present Chief General Bikram Singh on July 31," an
official statement said. Lt Gen Dalbir Singh's appointment as the next Army Chief was mired in controversy as the UPA government had made the announcement when elections were on. The BJP opposed the appointment saying the announcement was made during the elections and hence amounted to violation of Model Code of Conduct. The BJP also took the matter to the Election Commission questioning the un-
Advani's role to be decided later: Rajnath
Gandhinagar, May 14 : | BJP national president Rajnath Singh today said the role of party stalwarts including LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi will be decided later by the party if it comes to power at the Centre. 'A meeting of all the senior leaders will be called later to discuss role of the stalwarts in the post-poll scenario,' Singh told reporters at Ahmedabad airport before a meeting with BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Gandhinagar.He was asked by mediapersons about the role of Advani and Dr Joshi if the BJP forms the next government at the Centre after May 16.About the exit polls' conclusion which indicated a clear majority for the BJP-led NDA, Singh said he would not comment on the issue before the counting of votes on May 16.When asked about Modi's successor in Gujarat, the BJP chief said that will be decided later. 'We will discuss various issues. But one thing is clear that Narendra Modi will be the next Prime Minister,' Singh said.'BJP leaders regularly meet to each other. We also share our experience during the electioneering. We meet regularly in Delhi. We also spoke to each other on phone but all the talks can't be done on phone so we sit with each other,' the BJP president said when asked about agenda of the meeting which was also attended by senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari.
seemly haste in which the announcement was made and demanded stay on his appointment. However, the EC ruled that Defence appointments were not subject to Model Code of Conduct and hence the government could go ahead. After the EC nod, the Defence Ministry referred the matter to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) which gave its assent to his appointment.
Rahul can in no way compare with Modi: Jaitley New Delhi, May 14 : Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley today said Congress 'undeclared Prime Ministerial candidate' Rahul Gandhi could not match BJP's pick Narendra Modi. In an article, Mr Jaitley queried,'Does the Congress party honestly have the capacity to accept that as the undeclared Prime Ministerial candidate of the party, Rahul Gandhi, did not measure up in comparison with Modi?' Mr Jaitley alleged that the Nehru-Gandhi family controls the Congress party and they can never commit errors. 'Being a party controlled by a family it is inherent in the belief of the Congress that the family can do no wrong,' the BJP leader said.
Governor approves santion of DA Hyderabad, May 14 (IPT) : Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan has approved the sanction of D.A to the State Government employees payable from January, 2014. Around 12 lakh Government employees including pensioners would be benefitted from the D A hike, a Raj Bhavan release said here today. ' It is the first time in the history of Andhra Pradesh
that the D.A is being enhanced during the President Rule'.DA for May month will be paid along with the salary on May 24. The arrears of D.A would be deposited in the GPF account of the employees. D.A per cent in the salary of an employee has gone upto 71.9% following the fresh hike. Employees of Zilla Parishad, Mandal Parishad, Gram Panchayats, Munici-
palities, Municipal Corporations and Agriculture Market Committees and Zilla Grandhalaya Samsthas, Work Charged Establishment, teaching and nonteaching staff of Aided Institutions including Aided Polytechnics would be benefitted with this hike besides teaching and non-teaching staff of universities including Acharya N.G.Ranga Agricultural University, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University
People stand in a queue to get medical help at a relief camp of Narayanguri in violence-hit Baksa district, Assam.
No plan B, say BJP-RSS
New Delhi, May 14 :The fallibility of exit polls notwithstanding, the BJP and the RSS seem to have taken the prediction of a simple majority for the National Democratic Alliance for granted and are tight lipped -- at least in public -- about any possible post-poll strategy including a reconsideration on the prime ministerial candidate if it falls short of the magic figure."We don't have any plan B or plan C... we are confident that the NDA will cross the 300mark," BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told IANS when it was put to him that at least one of the big surveys -by Times NOW-ORG -- has ruled out the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition touching even the half-way mark of 272 when counting for the 2014 general election takes place
May 16.He dismissed speculations that the increased meetings between top BJP leaders and the RSS brass had anything to do with the arithmetic of new alliances in the 16th parliament."The BJP-RSS meeting was not for chalking out future strategy, as results will be in our favour. RSS workers were involved at the grassroots, so we went to meet them," Prasad asserted, overlooking the fact that exit polls have often over-estimated in favour of the BJP, most notoriously in 2004, when exit polls predicted an NDA sweep even as the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led coalition performed its worst in several years.Some experts believe that BJP may in private be uncertain of a clear 272 for the NDA, but it is evading the
possibility since any talk on assembling new allies - the Bahujan Samaj Party or the Trinamool Congress - would mean an inescapable debate on replacing the prime ministerial candidate.While BSP supremo Mayawati has ruled out the possibility of supporting them with Narendra Modi at the helm, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee was involved in a bitter verbal spat with the Gujarat chief minister in her recent public addresses."The BJP wants to come to power anyhow. If they are within striking distance to the halfway mark, there may be a rethinking on Modi to attract either Mamata or Mayawati. I would be surprised if they decide to sit in the opposition instead," Pradeep Kumar Dutta, political analyst and professor in
Delhi University, told . Interestingly, the BJP leadership has not once said on record that they would give up power rather than succumb to pressure from allies who may demand a person with softer public image replaced Modi. They have repeatedly ducked the question, saying it was not imperative for them to answer "hypothetical" queries. A senior BJP leader even suspected the motive behind such questions.The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological fountainhead of the BJP, too has been evading this question."Which exit poll is showing we will not get the numbers," asked RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav in reply to a question by on whether the BJP-RSS meetings involved any discussion
on an alternative leadership to placate likely king-makers if the NDA performed less emphatically than exit polls suggested.But experts believe BJP president Rajnath Singh's meeting with Sushma Swaraj may be a step in that direction. While ABP news has predicted 281 seats for NDA, Headlines Today and CNN/IBN have said the saffron front would score 272 (+/- 11) and 270-282, respectively."BJP will go back to its tested model of having a soft person as prime minister and a hardliner as the deputy. In this case, (Lal Krishna) Advani or Sushma will be that soft person who may be inducted as prime minister if the potential allies are extremely insistent they would not back Modi," JNU professor and commentator Manindra Thakur told.
SCR moves over 1 lakh Para Military Forces on election duties Hyderabad, May 14 (IPT) : South Central Railway (SCR) has played a pivotal role in the transport of huge numbers of Para Military Forces deputed for Election Duty in the just concluded General Elections 2014. This effort is in tune with the priority accorded by Indian Railways for the movement of security personnel for election duty across the length and the breadth of the country. SCR General Manager P K Srivastava specially monitored this stupendous task and issued necessary instructions from time to time to various departments of SCR, which ensured smooth movement of troops by Rail on SCR, an SCR release said here today. During a short span of 10 weeks (during March-May), as many as 87 election special trains (each carrying around 18 coaches, totalling to 1566 coaches) have been run by SCR, which include 5 in March 2014, 35 in April 2014 and a record 47 in May.In addition, 95 coaches were earmarked and utilised exclusively to meet the requirements of the security personnel. These coaches were attached on various regular trains bound for different destinations. Resultantly, over 1005 Companies of Para Military Forces totalling to a staggering 1,00,500 personnel were moved in this period, a record of sorts on SCR.The high point of the movement of these Election Special Trains was the running of 16 election special trains in just a span of 4 hours on a single day -- May 8. These trains were run immediately after the completion of elections in Andhra Pradesh to shift the security forces to various places in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.
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