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Under fire, Antony to make fresh statement in Parliament

Thursday, August 8, 2013

New Delhi, Under all-around attack, the government is set to make a fresh statement on the killing of five Indian soldiers along the Line of Control in Jammu on Thursday that is expected to address criticism that Pakistan was let off the hook for the outrage. The government assured BJP leaders on Wednesday evening that defence minister AK Antony will update Parliament after being briefed by Army chief Gen Bikram Singh about events leading to the death of Indian soldiers in an ambush by Pakistani intruders on Indian territory. A BJP delegation comprising LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that dilution of an Indian Army statement by the claim that persons dressed in Pakistan army uniforms killed Indian troops was totally unacceptable. The expected course correction will come in the wake of an aggressive opposition stalling Parliament to protest against the clean chit to Pakistan and widespread dismay in the Congress over the politically embarrassing statement that conveyed an impression that non-state actors may have carried out the
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LoC attack: Antony should apologise to India, Sushma Swaraj says

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Delhi, Opposition BJP and UPA`s outside supporter SP on Wednesday stalled Parliament over contradictory statements by defence minister A K Antony and Army over the killing of Indian soldiers on the Line of Control. BJP demanded that Antony should apologise for toeing the Pakistani line when he stated that the 5 Indian soldiers were killed by 20 heavily armed terrorists and persons in Pakistani army uniform, while an Indian Army statement said the terrorist were assisted by Pakistan Army. As the Lok Sabha met for the day, leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj slammed Antony for giving Pakistan army a clean chit in the attack. She said while an earlier statement by the Army and the defence ministry blamed terrorists and Pakistan army regulars for the attack, Antony said those involved in the incident were terrorists and people wearing Pakistan Army uniforms. The defence minister should apologise to the country, Swaraj said amid din over Telangana and law and order situation in West Bengal. As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was present in the House, Swaraj demanded a statement from him on
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Pak army violates ceasefire, kills 5 Indian soldiers at LoC

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Jammu, Pakistani troops attacked an Indian post along the Line of Control in the Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir late on Monday night, killing five Indian soldiers. Defence sources said on Tuesday the Pakistani soldiers intruded into the Indian territory past midnight and ambushed the Sarla post on the Indian side of the LoC. Five Indian soldiers were killed, the sources said. Chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, (I) was briefed early this morning about the news that five of our soldiers had been killed on the LoC. My heartfelt condolences to their next of kin. These incidents don`t help efforts to normalise or even improve relations with Pak and call in to question the Pak Govt`s recent overtures, he said. Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh is taking stock of the situation, Army sources said in Delhi. The incident could cast a shadow on the resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue process expected later this month. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif are slated to meet in New York next month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. The incident
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Pak attack on Indian post will not help efforts to normalize ties: Omar

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said the killing of five Indian soldiers along the LoC in Poonch sector puts a question mark on Pakistan government`s overtures to India for improving ties. (I) was briefed early this morning about the news that five of our soldiers had been killed on the LoC. My heartfelt condolences to the next of the kin, Abdullah said on microblogging site Twitter. These incidents don`t help efforts to normalize or even improve relations with Pakistan and call into question the Pakistan`s government`s recent overtures, he said. Pakistani troops attacked an Indian post along the Line of Control in the Poonch sector late last night, killing five Indian soldiers. Defence sources on Tuesday said the Pakistani soldiers intruded into the Indian territory past midnight and ambushed the Sarla post on the Indian side of the
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Govt should ensure smooth functioning of Parliament: BJP

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Delhi, The BJP on Tuesday said it wants discussion in Parliament on the food security and land acquisition bills and their passage but insisted that the government should first ensure smooth functioning of the house as such important legislation cannot be passed in the din. Even as the government is on the back foot as anti-Telangana members from the Congress are disrupting Parliament, BJP put the onus of smooth functioning of the House on the government and said it is ready to cooperate on passage of key bills. BJP parliamentary party in its meeting on Tuesday agreed that the house should function smoothly. Six hours each have been allocated to the food security bill and the land acquisition bill. Both the bills should be passed but after proper discussion, deputy leader of BJP in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde said. The party will also demand debates on the Uttarakhand floods, state of the economy especially in the wake of increasing devaluation of the rupee and the dilution of norms for FDI in multi-brand retail. The BJP parliamentary party discussed the Uttarakhand tragedy and government`s
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60 dead in rain, floods; Karachi worst-hit in Pakistan

Monday, August 5, 2013

Islamabad, Heavy monsoon rain and flash floods across Pakistan have killed 60 people over the past three days, with southern port city of Karachi being worst-hit, officials said on Monday. Most of the people were killed in Karachi where some areas like Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Amroha Society and Saadi Town are still inundated, they said. The deaths occurred due to electrocution, roof-collapsing and drowning, said a rescue official of Edhi ambulance service. Rain started in Karachi on Saturday and was still going on intermittently in some parts of the city, creating hurdles in the rescue operations. Monsoon also wreaked havoc in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in north-west, Balochistan in south-west, interior districts of Sindh and Rajanpur district of Punjab. Kamran Zia of National Disaster Management Authority said that eight people were killed in KP and 12 in tribal areas, 10 people in Balochistan and 12 in Punjab. Hundreds of people have been affected and army was called in Karachi to shift the marooned people to the safe places. Crops over hundreds of hectares have also been damaged. The Meteorological
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No anti-incumbency factor against MP govt: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Monday, August 5, 2013

Rewa(MP), Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has expressed confidence that there was no anti-incumbency factor working against his government. The state is slated to go for the assembly polls around year-end. After a decade in power, the manner in which people are coming out on the streets to bless this government is the proof that we are on the right path and there is no anti-incumbency factor, Chouhan told reporters here on Sunday evening. The policies we introduced and implemented have worked and even influenced people to believe in us, he said. He said that all the 230 assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh are equal for BJP, which believes that development is the only issue. We feel that a person who works for the welfare of his constituency will get the advantage and support of voters, the chief minister said. Chouhan said he was surprised that leaders from Congress strongholds in the past 10 years did not demand any developmental work from the BJP government. The Congress has a royalty fixation in Madhya Pradesh and the party projects `rajas and maharajas` for the
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Centre in touch with Uttar Pradesh government on IAS officer suspension issue, PM says

Monday, August 5, 2013

New Delhi, As the Uttar Pradesh government charged IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said the Centre is in touch with the state authorities on the issue and that laid down rules will be followed. We are in touch with the state government to find out the full details of the issue, he told reporters outside Parliament House ahead of the start of the monsoon session. He also said the the laid down rules to deal with such cases will be followed. There are rules laid down and the rules will be followed, he said. The Centre had on Sunday asked the UP government to immediately give a report on the suspension of Nagpal, who had cracked down on sand mafia in Gautam Buddh Nagar area. Minister of state for personnel V Narayanasamy said this is the third such letter sent to the state government so far after the 2010-batch IAS officer was suspended on July 27. The Centre`s fresh reminder came in the backdrop of Sonia Gandhi, who is chairperson of National Advisory Council (NAC), writing a letter to the Prime Minister, saying that Nagpal should not be unfairly
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B S Yeddyurappa rules out merger with BJP

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mysore, KJP chief B S Yeddyurappa on Friday set to rest speculations on KJP`s merger with BJP or his joining BJP, saying his goal was to build KJP in the state as a strong regional outfit and take on both Congress and BJP in the future elections. But at the same time he also said no party was untouchable in the elections and his option on KJP`s alliance with other parties was open. We have an open mind on alliance politics and KJP will take a decision that suits its interests best, he said, denying he has been approached by BJP leaders asking him to join BJP. Yeddyurappa disclosed that the party had decided not to field its candidates in the bypoll to Lok Sabha from Bangalore Rural and Mandya constituencies. Later addressing a workers meeting, Yeddyurappa said country politics was at the cross roads and in all states regional outfits were strongly emerging on the political scene and people were also of the opinion that regional parties protect their interests better than national parties. Shoba Karandlaje also ruled out KJP`s merger with BJP. She said BJP cheated Yeddyurappa and in the process
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Congress sets up panel to assuage anti-Telangana sentiment

Saturday, August 3, 2013

New Delhi, Seven non-Telangana Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh quit in protest against the party`s decision to back bifurcation of the state, forcing the party leadership to swiftly announce a committee to examine their grievances. The MPs submitted their resignations in correct format to the offices of the presiding officers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Friday. Five Rajya Sabha MPs and two Lok Sabha MPs are understood to have quit. No minister from Andhra Pradesh has resigned and while HRD minister Pallam Raju offered to do so, he did not go ahead in view of assurances offered by party managers. The committee will look into concerns raised by non-Telangana MPs with regard to the status of Hyderabad, law and order in the state and future of settlers who have come to the state capital from other areas. Congress general secretary incharge of Andhra Pradesh Digivijay Singh and health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad - who has held organizational charge earlier - will be on the committee. The MPs` decision to quit was taken after consultations among non-Telangana leaders who also decided that ministers
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Leader Sushilkumar Shinde owns up to his 'mistakes'

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Delhi, Sushilkumar Shinde, who completed a year as home minister on Thursday, said that though he was criticized for his mistakes — including addressing Lashker-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed as `Shri` — he had played the leader by taking the blame for these slip-ups left uncorrected by officers vetting his statements in Parliament. While preferring to describe his achievements as service to the nation, Shinde made it a point to mention the errors that brought him criticism: be it addressing terrorists as Shri or naming gangrape victims on the floor of Parliament. I have suffered and the media has criticised me. But I have to take it into my stride because I was leading the team. Though it was not my job (to correct the errors in my Parliament statements), I took it on my shoulders. I think that showed the leadership existing in my department, Shinde said at a press conference to present the report card for his first year as home minister. Incidentally, Shinde had made his displeasure known to his officers after the glaring errors were left uncorrected in the statements read out by him
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Akhilesh government mute spectator as clashes rock Lucknow

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lucknow, Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday vehemently defended his decision to suspend IAS officer Durga Sakthi Nagpal, who took on the powerful sand mafia in Noida, as a pre-emptive measure to prevent communal tension in the Noida locality where a boundary wall of a religious place was demolished. His MP Naresh Agarwal went one step ahead seeking not only a `harsher punishment` for the Noida SDM, but also stern action against the Noida DM who said in his report that Nagpal, in fact, didn`t get the wall demolished. But while the chief minister is defending something unheard-of - preemptive suspension - there have been sectarian clashes for two days in a row in Lucknow, a city where he lives. The same government which lost no time in suspending Nagpal at 1.27 in the morning on Sunday, presumably to scotch any possibility of communal tension, has watched mutely for two days as rioters have run amok in the Old City area. No one has been suspended for this, nor has anyone been transferred. So, while a potential threat called for `emergency measures`, real violence has drawn a blank. The
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Food security good for nation's nutrition?

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Delhi, Parliament`s monsoon session starting next week is expected to green light the food security ordinance paving the way for implementation of the much-debated law. The need for a Food Security Act was triggered by the urgent need to fight malnutrition and hunger. The legislation received a positive response, but the timing of the ordinance and its impact on the economy raised doubts. The opposition questioned the government`s motive saying UPA wants to win votes off the back of the massive scheme. The programme`s scale and implementation challenges also raised serious queries. The key concern is over the delivery machinery — the public distribution system. Critics say it can`t handle such a large programme given its track record and the leakages that have been reported in the past. But recent studies show some improvement in the PDS following state and central efforts. A group of researchers recently evaluated PDS, randomly picking 100 villages across nine states. It points to an impressive revival. The researchers have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying the days when up to
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SP leader brags he got IAS officer Durga Shakti suspended in 41 minutes

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lucknow, A video purportedly showing a senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader claiming he got IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal suspended in just 41 minutes has put the Uttar Pradesh government in a tight spot. The video comes after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav firmed up his stance in the matter of the official`s suspension, and said there was no question of revoking the order served to the officer. The video shows Narendra Bhati, agro chairman who enjoys minister status in the state, telling supporters in the Greater Noida region that he rang up chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav at around 10.30am and by 11.11am suspension orders were served to Nagpal. This showed the power of democracy, said the leader, who is also the SP candidate from Noida for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. Bhati has been in the eye of a storm ever since Nagpal was suspended last week, as it is alleged that he was behind serving her the orders, under pressure from the sand mining mafia against whom she had earlier clamped down. BJP legislator from Noida Mahesh Sharma has also
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Will take up Sikh displacement issue with Narendra Modi: Parkash Singh Badal

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sunam, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has assured to take up the issue of displacement of Sikh farmers with his Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The allegations of some minority Sikhs being displaced from Kutch region of Gujarat are doing the rounds. Though I am not aware of the matter, I will take it up with NarendraModi and will find some amicable solution if the displacement issue is true, said Badal. On the issue of separate Telangana state, he said, I am in favour of smaller independent states and if more states demand this, the Union government should also consider the demand of formation of more states
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Shiv Sena, MNS target Shobhaa De over Tweet

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mumbai, The Shiv Sena and the MNS on Wednesday targeted writer and socialite Shobhaa De for saying on Twitter, in the wake of the decision on Telangana, that `Mumbai has always fancied itself as an independent entity.` Even as De clarified that her remarks had been misinterpreted and that she was not asking for the separation of Mumbai from Maharashtra, MNS chief Raj Thackeray made personal remarks against her, and Shiv Sena MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut demanded a police case be registered against the writer. The intemperate comments of Sena and MNS leaders, which this newspaper has chosen not to publish in view of their offensive nature, came immediately after De tweeted, Maharashtra and Mumbai??? Why not? Mumbai has always fancied itself as an independent entity, anyway. This game has countless possibilities. The tasteless and threatening reaction of the two Senas came as an attack on the right of citizens to express their opinion. Debate is an integral part of any democratic society, and there has long been a demand that Mumbai needs a CEO. Let`s be clear: Violence and vandalism are signs
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UP DSP murder case: Raja Bhaiya may get clean chit

Thursday, August 1, 2013

New Delhi, Former Uttar Pradesh minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya is likely to get a clean chit from the CBI in the Kunda DSP murder case, according to Times Now. According to reports, the result of lie-detector test carried out on Raja Bhaiya is negative. Raja Bhaiya, who was an accused in the FIR lodged filed by DSP Zia-ul Haq`s widow Parveen Azad, was not named in the chargesheet filed by the CBI. However, the CBI had sought to conduct a lie-detector test on the former UP minister. Now, with the result of lie-detector test reportedly negative, Raja Bhaiya may be cleared in the case. The DSP, who was killed by a mob on March 2 in Balipur village of Kunda in Pratapgarh district, had gone there to control the violence which erupted after the village pradhan Nanhe Yadav was shot dead. The case was handed over to the CBI following complaint of DSP`s widow Parveen Azad, who also named Raja Bhaiya and his aides in the FIR. Raja Bhaiya was forced to resign from the cabinet on March 4. Initially, the case was probed by the local police but was handed over to the CBI on March 6
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Mayawati backs IAS Durga, says 'goondaraj' prevailing in UP

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lucknow, Holding that suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal proved that goonda and mafiaraj was prevailing under SP rule in the state, BSP chief Mayawati today demanded that the Centre and the UP governor intervene in the matter. In the prevailing dismal law and order situation and goonda and mafiaraj, apart from the people of the state, honest officials are also facing hardships. The suspension of Durga Shakti Nagpal is an example, as she been sacrificed for mining mafia, Mayawati said. I request the governor to intervene to provide justice to the officer. The central government should also take notice of it or else it would be most difficult for honest officials to function under the SP government and it would not be a good signal, she said. She reiterated her demand for imposing President`s Rule in the state. When asked about chief minister Akhilesh Yadav`s recent statement that those who are afraid of the law and order situation in UP need not come to the state, ostensibly aimed at her, Mayawati termed it a childish comment. On this childish comment, my party has to say that
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Congress in Himachal batting for National Food Security Ordinance

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Shimla, Chief minister Virbhadra Singh said that National Food Security Ordinance (NFSO) was a major step to ensure food security to the people. He said that Himachal Pradesh was the first state in the country to start subsidized ration in during his last tenure. He said state government would not only provide subsidized ration to BPL families but this facility would also be continued to APL families. Chief minister said that he had been in the politics for over 50 years and had opportunity to work with veteran Congress leaders of the country. He said that Congress candidate from Mandi parliamentary seat had won the by-election by a huge margin for which the credit goes to coordinated efforts of all Congress workers and above all people of the constituency. AICC general secretary and in charge of Himachal Pradesh Congress Party Ambika Soni has requested Congressmen to fan out in the fields to tell public about the benefits of the NFSO and dispel the false propaganda of the opposition. Soni said that Himachal Pradesh was making rapid strides in development under the able leadership of Virbhadra
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UK's move for £3,000 visa bond 'retrograde measure': Anand Sharma

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Delhi, Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday said the Britain`s move of demanding a 3,000 pound visa bond from visitors of certain countries including India, would be a retrograde measure, a negative step which should not be taken. However, he said India`s High Commissioner in UK and the foreign office have not received any confirmation of any such step having being put in place or a proposal cleared by the British cabinet. As far as we are concerned, we have made it abundantly clear that after the successful visit of (British Prime Minister) David Cameron and the clear assurances that have been given, the growing partnership that exists between India and the UK, this would be a retrograde measure and negative step and should not be taken, Sharma told reporters here. Britain`s plans to introduce a controversial scheme of demanding a 3,000-pound visa bond from visitors from certain countries, including India, has divided UK`s coalition government. Sharma said this issue was on the agenda when he had met his UK counterpart Vince Cable in London. I was assured both by Cable
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