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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Join Anna Hazare, Politics


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India has taken a principled stand on CTBT: Krishna

S M KrishnaUNITED NATIONS: Foreign minister SM Krishna has said that the country has taken a “principled” stand on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
and there is no scope for change in its position unless a number of other “developments” take place to address the concerns.

This comes after a high-level conference on disarmament here yesterday, addressed by UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon, asked India and eight other countries to ratify the agreement so that it comes into force.

“India has taken a position and we don’t see any reason for changing our stand, Krishna told journalists.

“We have taken a principled stand and and so the question of India revisiting it stand depends on a number of other developments that would address our concerns,” he added.

Earlier, Moon said that “the CTBT is a fundamental building block for a free world of nuclear weapons”.

“By establishing a global norm against testing, the CTBT has made a significant contribution to the world community’s efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to promote nuclear disarmament,” he added.

But Krishna responded by saying, “India’s stand remains unchanged. We have spelt out why we our unable to sign the pact as it is”.

During the occasion, the Moroccan Foreign Minister and chair of the conference Taib Fassi-Fihri said, “We will continue to work with very hard to convince others to join us”.

Without directly referring to India and Pakistan, he noted, “I am sure that some countries living in some specific areas with some political problems will join us and we will ask them to join us because it is important for peace and security.”

In a meeting chaired by US President Barack Obama, the Security Council has unanimously passed a nuclear non proliferation resolution.

It also calls upon all states to “refrain from conducting a nuclear test explosion and to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to bring it into force early.”

Russia and the United States have also committed to a new agreement to reduce nuclear war heads and launchers.


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Posted by on September 24, 2009 in Politics


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Rahul follows austerity mantra, takes train to Ludhiana

Rahul  gandhiNEW DELHI/LUDHIANA: If his mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi took the economy class to Mumbai on Monday, it was the turn of Congress
general secretary Rahul Gandhi to follow the austerity suit on Tuesday. The Gandhi scion travelled to Ludhiana from Delhi on Amritsar Swarn Shatabdi Express, hopping on the train at New Delhi Railway Station around 7.20 am.

“We had no clue that Rahul would be travelling. I got a call around 7 am when the SPG sought our permission to carry a security check. With only 15 minutes for departure, we could not prepare in the manner we would have liked to,” said Vivek Sahai, general manager Northern Railway.

According to Baroda House sources, Rahul’s ticket was bought in the last minutes and, therefore, had to be confirmed by the headquarters. What puzzled officers was the Amethi MP’s decision to take the ordinary chair car in place of the executive class. “The Congress leader refused flowers at the station saying he was an ordinary man. Later, he even refused porcelain cups saying if the norm stated that chair car passengers must use plastic cups for tea, he would gladly use these. He ate fruit, idli and vada, that other passengers ate on his way to Ludhiana,” said an official.

The passengers, however, gave contradictory reactions to Rahul’s decision to travel with the “common man”. “It’s good that Rahul is travelling with the common people. He will get to see our problems firsthand,” said a passenger. But others were circumspect. “Passengers travelling in AC in one of the most expensive trains in India don’t represent the common man. His guards stood in the C-3 coach and were a hindrance to passengers arriving during the last moments. Others wondered that with seven men travelling with the leader, how much worth the entire trouble was.

Rahul went to Ludhiana to inaugurate a Youth Congress conference and returned by the same train in the evening.

In Ludhiana, Rahul gave a rousing cry to the youth to make themselves heard and not depend solely on senior party leaders to set the agenda. He addressed 378 delegates and went very nearly to each table where the youth brigade sat deliberating on questions. Most said pollution, drug addiction, and female foeticide In Punjab and population at the national level were issues that needed attention.

And if there was any doubt as to who would lead the party in Punjab, Rahul laid these to rest by saying it would be none other than Captain Amarinder Singh. Earlier, he was whisked away from the Railway station leaving his fans waiting with flowers to greet him disappointed.


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Posted by on September 15, 2009 in Politics


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RSS should bombard BJP hq and take over leadership: Shourie

BJP FLAGNEW DELHI: There is no stemming the blood-letting in BJP. On Monday, former minister Arun Shourie took the baton from expelled leader Jaswant Singh as he launched a furious attack on the entire brass of the party and called for the RSS to “bombard the party headquarters” and replace the top leadership with 10-15 nominees of its choice. As a result, he now faces expulsion or at least suspension.

In a TV interview and in an impromptu interaction with the media, Shourie savaged the leadership.

He called the leadership “humpty-dumpty” and “Alice in blunderland”, while saying the party was adrift like a ‘kati patang’.

He argued that BJP needed radical surgery, saying, “My prescription is jhatka (one swift execution) not halal (slow execution). Saare, saare (lock, stock and barrel). There should be a total transformation,” said Shourie. He said the party leaders were indulging in “mutual protection and projection.” He also said the party’s moral authority had depleted owing to involvement in cases like the cash-for-query scam.

He asked the RSS to take charge while arguing that the Sangh had been “too democratic” and had given too much latitude to the party. He urged the RSS to remember that BJP was its most visible face, its “biggest instrument” and could not be left to its own devices in the current situation of drift. “It should keen an eye on the moral conduct of the party like an eagle,” he said.

Concentrating his ire on all the central leaders ranging from L K Advani, Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar, Shourie indicted all of them.

The leadership responded to the assault by threatening disciplinary action. “He is seeking political martyrdom,” party spokesperson Rajeev Pratap Rudy said. A defiant Shourie dismissed both the threat and the spokesperson with disdain. “Do what you can,” he declared. He said that there was no space for dissent in the party which was being treated as a private property, and any criticism of the party was completely walled out and not discussed.

The BJP is likely to call a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the latest eruption with indications that suspension or expulsion of the latest rebel may be on the table. But at a time when it is under fire for being intolerant and illiberal because of the expulsion of Jaswant, the party may be compelled to tread cautiously. Besides, they may also have to factor in Shourie’s praise for RSS which he said should be overseeing the party’s affairs, besides playing “BJP’s moral policeman”.

Calling for a total recast of the party top hierarchy, Shourie said there was need to borrow from Mao’s tactics of “bombarding the headquarters. Clean up everybody from top. Bring 10-15 people from the states who are competent and honest and dedicated and reconstruct immediately.”

He was quite secular in the choice of his targets, sparing virtually none. Though he named no names, he left few doubts as to who all were on the comprehensive hit list.

For instance, while he denied that he wanted Advani to go, he forcefully argued that the Leader of Opposition went further than Jaswant in praising Jinnah. Then, he quoted Advani’s critic, Yashwant Sinha, to support Jaswant’s rubbishing of Advani’s claim that he was not aware of the decision to release terrorists in exchange for the release of passengers of IC-814.

Shourie denied that his ‘humpty dumpty’ dig was meant for Rajnath. But his criticism of the decisions to axe B C Khanduri as CM and Vasundhara Raje as BJP group leader in Rajasthan when they had support seemed to be directly aimed at Singh.


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Posted by on August 24, 2009 in Politics


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BJP’s internal report blames Advani, Modi, Jaitley for poll debacle

Advani, left, Arun JaitleyAn internal report of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is being discussed at the party’s Chintan Baithak in Shimla, has reportedly blamed senior party leader L K Advani, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and the party’s chief election manager Arun Jaitley, besides other top leaders for the BJP’s debacle in this year’s general elections. TV channel Times Now has accessed a highly confidential internal report prepared for the Chintan Baithak or introspection meet in Shimla, in which the party outlines the reasons for the poll debacle. The BJP’s report is unsparing in its criticism of the BJP top brass, indirectly indicting L K Advani, Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley for the loss However, BJP spokesperson Arun Jaitley on Thursday denied that he or any other senior leader had ever seen or heard of such a note. The report for the first time in detail goes into the reasons for the BJP’s Lok Sabha poll debacle. The report was handed over to top leaders as they landed in Shimla on Wednesday. The report is unsparing in its criticism of the BJP top brass. Though it names no one directly, it criticizes tactics employed during the campaign that are clearly identified with certain individuals. It is quite clear that it was not just Jaswant Singh’s expulsion that made BJP top brass uncomfortable on Day 1 of the Chintan Baithak – but the scathing internal report that could have led to much finger-pointing and bitterness within party ranks. The report was prepared after open demands by Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Arun Shourie for accountability for the so called poll- mismanagement and the rout. Primarily the report slams the internal squabble within the party and the poor performance of the poll managers for the drubbing in the elections. The report talks of key issues that backfired, it mentions how the Varun Gandhi controversy overshadowed the party’s agenda, the speculations fuelled over Modi as future PM candidate, as well as the deliberate attack on Manmohan Singh’s weak prime ministership that did not go down well with the people. source

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Posted by on August 20, 2009 in Politics


Uproar over fuel price increase

NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday rejected the Opposition demand for an immediate rollback in increased prices of petrol and diesel even as Lok Sabha witnessed frequent adjournments with non-Congress parties, including UPA allies the DMK and the Trinamool Congress, criticising the hike and the Opposition staging a walkout from the Rajya Sabha over the issue.

Beginning on a stormy note, the opening day of the budget session saw two adjournments in the pre-lunch session over Wednesday night’s increase of Rs. 4 a litre in the price of petrol and Rs. 2 a litre of diesel. Later, when the Lok Sabha reassembled in the afternoon, furore over the issue continued and the House was adjourned for the day.

Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora said the government would keep the views of the members in mind and would respond suitably in case there was a decline in international prices of crude oil. “At the same time, I would appeal to State governments to do their bit by revising downwards the sales tax imposed on petrol and diesel,” he suggested while making a statement in Lok Sabha.

Defending the decision to raise fuel prices, Mr. Deora said that against the desired increase of Rs. 6.94 per litre, the retail price of petrol was increased by only Rs.4 a litre. Similarly, against the desired price increase of Rs.4.11 per litre in diesel, the retail price was increased by only Rs.2 a litre.

He said the government had decided not to increase the retail prices of PDS kerosene and domestic LPG. The government was bearing a burden of Rs.15.26 on each litre of PDS kerosene and Rs.92.96 on each cylinder of domestic LPG. “To ensure uninterrupted supply of these two products at subsidised prices, the government is prepared to bear the projected subsidy of over Rs.30,000 crore in 2009-10,” Mr. Deora said.

Earlier, members of the Left parties and the Samajwadi Party were joined by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Shiv Sena, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the RJD and the Telugu Desam Party in criticising the government on the issue.

Noisy scenes and uproar in the House did not allow the Question Hour to proceed. While condemning the decision, T.R. Baalu (DMK) said: “This government is not a unitary government but is supported by the DMK and the Trinamool Congress. The hike is not at all good. It should have been discussed with the party leaders as also in the Cabinet.”

“I strongly condemn this increase. It should not recur. I am saying this as a close friend of the Congress,” he said. Mr. Baalu said the action was not “justifiable” as it had come a day before the budget session was to begin.

Trinamool member Sudip Bandopadhyay said the decision should be revoked. “We understand that international crude prices have gone up. But this [price rise] will affect common people,” he said.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj charged the government with “violating Parliamentary propriety” and said the move to hike petrol and diesel prices “raises suspicion as to which companies will be benefited by this decision.”

“The public sector oil companies have been making profits and giving dividends to the government. Then why this secrecy over who is making losses,” she asked.
Call for all-party meet

Sharif-ud Shariq of the National Conference, which is also an ally of the government, suggested that an all-party meeting be called to find a way out in view of the demand for a rollback.

The issue was raised by CPI member Gurudas Dasgupta, who said the decision would have a cascading effect on the prices of other commodities. He and Basudeb Acharia of the CPI(M) slammed the government for showing scant regard for Parliament and no concern for “aam aadmi.”

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh and RJD president Lalu Prasad attacked the government, saying it would put a burden on the masses.

In the Rajya Sabha, Opposition members termed the hike as “unwarranted” and demanded its withdrawal. The members staged a walkout with the Leader of the Opposition, Arun Jaitley, trooping out with BJP MPs on the grounds that the government was not offering any assurance.

Prasanta Chatterjee (CPI-M) said the government raised the fuel prices at a time when people were burdened with the rise in prices of essential commodities.

M. Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) said the manner in which the price rise was effected was “not a way to treat Parliament.”

D. Raja (CPI) said it would have a cascading effect on the prices of foodgrains, vegetables, pulses, cereals and milk.


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Posted by on July 2, 2009 in Politics


Mamata to present a ‘pro-people’ rail budget

NEW DELHI: Amid expectations of improvement in railway amenities and food served in trains, railway minister Mamata Banerjee would present a
“pro-people” budget in Parliament on Thursday.

“It will be a pro-people budget, a simple budget, people’s budget,” Banerjee said.

According to sources close to her, the budget in a way would reflect Mamata’s vision for the Railways in the coming years and means of generating resources for key projects.

High on her agenda would be completion of Kashmir rail link project and putting the dedicated freight corridor project on fast track.

As she has gone on record saying that Railways should always have a humane side to it, she is expected to carry out some revision in passenger fares and waive off superfast charges that has come in for flak.

She might also announce changes in the Tatkal scheme to make it more passenger friendly.

The sources said Mamata would be constrained to avoid a deficit budget especially when the burden of the Sixth Pay Commission has to be fulfilled for which Railways have to fork out Rs 14,000 crore for implementing it.


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Posted by on July 1, 2009 in Politics


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