Wednesday, August 31, 2011

delhi to host south asian games in 2012

31 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Not yet recovered from the tainted Commonwealth Games (CWG), Delhi now plans to host the 2012 South Asian Games, tentatively planned between October and November next year.

The Indian Olympic Association, which is headed by senior BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra as its senior vice-president since after its chief Suresh Kalmadi was arrested and put in jail in the CWG scams, wants the games in Delhi, though Ranchi and Chennai offered to host them.

"Both Chennai and Ranchi have the infrastructure. But we felt Delhi, having hosted the Commonwealth Games, is more prepared," Malhotra said, claiming that he has secured an in-principle nod from a reluctant Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

She, however, wants her government's role clearly defined if it is to organise the games that is expected to attract over 2000 players as she says the CWG controversies are still nagging her and she does not want any more.

The IOA has estimated the expenditure at Rs 50-60 crores but the actual sum can go up alike the CWG, though Malhotra says there would not be much expenditure since the CWG facilities are already there for use in the new event.

Ticklish issue is the funding. The IOA, a conglomeration of various sports bodies in India, does not have money to host the event. Delhi chief secretary P K Tripathi has communicated to the Sport Ministry that "the government of Delhi would be willing to help in the organisation of the (South Asian) Games, provided the Government of India is willing to bear the expenditure."

Malhotra is quite clear. The IOA does not want to get any blame for anything going wrong. "We would be more than happy to hand over (organisation of the event) if the Sports Ministry handles the finances," he said.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011



From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: A parliamentary standing committee headed by a Congress MP has slammed the government for massive corruption in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGA), stressing that "the number of corruption cases s reported is just a tip of the iceberg.

In its report on disbursement of wages under the programme through post offices, the panel expressed shock at discrepancies in the records furnished by the Department of Posts (DOP) and Department of Rural Development (DRD). While DOP claimed only seven cases of frauds in the accounts of the beneficiaries, the DRD records showed 244 such frauds.

"Huge gaps in the data of the two departments raise a question mark about the system of maintaining as well as monitoring of accounts under MGNREGA, one of the biggest centrally-sponsored scheme of the Union Government," says the report of the panel headed by Rao Inderjit Singh, a Congress MP from Gurgaon, Haryana.

It noted that the gap in data submitted by the two departments widened to 13 lakhs in terms of the workers engaged in MGNREGA works and there was also a big difference in their accounts of the wages paid by over Rs 1000 crores in 2009-10. This gap further widened in 2010-11 to 29 lakhs in terms of the number of accounts of the workers and Rs 1221 crores in terms of the amounts disbursed.


30 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Inordinate delay in the coastal security plan become operational since after 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai has prompted Defence Minister A K Antony to do some plain-speaking at a review meeting here and demand definite timelines for major projects and actions on unresolved issues.

This was the second review meeting held by him in less than three weeks and attended by all the 18 stake holders in the coastal security network and they were hard put by Antony seeking detailed explanation from them on the delays in setting up the electronic "eyes and ears" to secure Mumbai and other coastal towns and villages.

The biggest sore point emerging in the review was the lack of coastal radars as the chain of coastal radars cleared way back in February 2001 by a Group of Ministers has not yet kicked off the ground. Post-Mumbai attacks, the government raised the project cost to Rs 602 crores but yet no radars are yet installed.

At an earlier review meeting on August 10, Antony wanted to know how MT Pavit sailed into Juhu, Mumbai, undetected early this month and he expressed shock when the Naval chief told him that no critical equipment had been okayed post-26/11 and as such it was impossible to pick out such ships sneaking in and as such the Navy is dependent on other agencies for information needed to tackle any threads from the coasts.


30 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare(74) is still recouping in cardiologist Dr Naresh Trehan's hospital Medanta in Gurgaon near here since after breaking his fast at Ramlila Maidan on Sunday and he is expected to move back to his Ralegaon Sidhi village on September 3 after discharge.

Dr Trehan said he had dehydrated badly during 12 days of fast and as such he has not yet been put back to solid food. He is being fed coconut water and fruit juice. "I don't know when he will be discharged from the hospital," Dr Trehan said when told about Team Anna planning his return home on Saturday.

The Team Anna's core group plans to visit his village around September 10 after he has rested for a week to discuss further strategy to spare him of travelling to Delhi for keeping on the pressure for early and effective Lokpal Bill's enactment, his associate Arvind Kejriwal said.


30 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Both the Houses of Parliament were repeatedly rocked on Tuesday and ultimately adjourned for the day as both sides agitated with focus on Gujarat over the Lok Ayukt's appointment and the High Court acquitting all 12 accused, trashing botched CBI probe into murder of the state's BJP home minister Haren Pandya.

The main Opposition Bhartiya Janata Party protested at the Lokayukt's appointment without consulting Chief Minister Narendra Modi and its parliamentary party chairman Lal Krishna Advani went to the extent of threatening no further Opposition cooperation in running Parliament.

The Congress members from Gujarat pricked the BJP, demanding a fresh probe into Pandya's murder with hints that it was a political murder masterminded by Modi. Both sides entered into repeated shouting matches and the BJP members stormed the well to press for the Gujarat Governor's recall for arbitrarily appointing a "biased" retired High Court judge as the state's Lok Ayukt.

The wrangle between the two sides started in the Lok Sabha right from the start when the BJP wanted the Question Hour suspended while both the Houses became made house after Advani and Opposition leader Arun Jaitley were permitted to speak in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha respectively in the Zero Hour at noon.

Pandemonium broke out as the Congress members hackled Advani and Jaitley and it was the turn of the BJP benches making it inaudible in the Lok Sabha when the Chair permitted Congress member Jagdish Thakor, MP from Patan in Gujarat, to raise the issue of Pandya's murder.

Both Advani and Jaitley demanded recall of Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal, alleging that she had acted on behest of the Centre in appointment of retired Gujarat High Court judge R A Mehta as the Lok Ayukt without consulting the CM.

They accused the Centre of creating a constitutional crisis by attacking the federal structure of the Constitution and Advani warned: "Don't expect the Opposition's cooperation (in Parliament) until the attacks on the federal structure that are not limited to the Lok Ayukt's appointment are reversed."

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal repeatedly intervened to accuse the Opposition determined not to allow Parliament function and loudly protested at the BJP members making din to drown the Gujarat Congress member raising the issue of Haren Pandya's murder.

Since the Governor's conduct can not be questioned in Parliament, Advani and Jaitley took recourse to claim they were bringing to notice attack on the basic federal structure envisaged in the Constitution. While Advani refrained from any comments on the former judge, Jaitley did not mince words in pointing out that retired Justice Mehta has been participating in rallies against Chief Minister Modi and hence he is bound to give malafide reports with political intentions.

Both the BJP leaders pointed out that the governor ought to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers under Article 163, but she appointed the Lok Ayukt without even consulting the chief minister. The party members marched into the well in the Rajya Sabha and kept doing so every time the House re-assembled, shouting the slogan of "Pradhan Mantri javab do."

Advani and around 15 BJP MPs from Gujarat also staged a protest dharna and raised slogans at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Parliament House complex and he told reporters that they would meet President Pratibha Patil on Thursday or Friday after she is back in the capital to demand the Gujarat Governor's removal for "bypassing all established norms."

The MPs carried placards saying, "Dual policy on Gujarat will not be tolerated", "Recall Gujarat governor", "murder of democracy" and "Rajyapal Bhawan has become Congress Bhawan (Governor's House has become Congress Bhawan).

Lok Sabha Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj and Jaitley told a Press conference later that the Lok Ayukt appointed by the governor is a known Modi baiter from whom they can not expect any impartiality and hence the BJP will intensify agitation both inside and outside Parliament until Governor Beniwal (she is a veteran Congress leader from neighbouring Rajasthan) is removed.


30 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: A saying that the cat has nine lives aptly applies to the Lokpal Bill that is in its ninth avatar and all past Bills were jinxed spelling death knell for the governments who either failed to complete their full terms in their tryst with the legislation or did not return to power.

Every Bill that surfaced to enable appointment the ombudsman to fight corruption in the government was introduced in the Lok Sabha and hence did not survive after the House completed its term or dissolved.

The government could have brought the Bill this time in the Rajya Sabha that is a permanent body with members changing periodically through elections and as such any legislation placed in it never lapses or expires.

The Lokpal Bill is, however, before the Lok Sabha and hence doubts are being raised that it may also meet the same fate of its earlier copies as the standing committee examining it may recommend a Constitution amendment to make the Lokpal a constitutional authority in deference to PM-in-waiting Rahul Gandhi's wish and not just a statutory body as envisaged in the Bill before it for scrutiny.

The standing committee's chairman Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is also one of the spokespersons of the Congress, has already gone on record to back Rahul Gandhi's idea and there should be no surprise that he will push for the committee to rewrite the Bill for a constitutional amendment.

The passage of any amendment to the Constitution is a lengthy haul, requiring passage by Parliament by 2/3rd majority and concurrence of a score of the Assemblies. The life of the Lok Sabha may prove too short to achieve this and that will mean yet another death of the law to fight corruption.

The Congress MPs express fear in private conversations that the government mishandled the Anna Hazare's agitation and they see the jinxed Lokpal Bill repeating the history, taking toll of the party in the next elections.

The first Lokpal Bill was introduced by the Indira Gandhi government in the Lok Sabha on May 7, 1968 and passed on August 20, 1969. However, the Congress split with Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai parting ways and the Lok Sabha was dissolved even before the Bill could be ratified by the Rajya Sabha.

Another Lokpal Bill was brought by Indira Gandhi on August 2, 1971, but then followed the Emergency in 1975 and the Congress suffered a massive defeat in the 1977 elections, putting to sleep the Bill once again.

The third attempt was by Morarji Desai's government coming to power after emergency and tabling the Bill on July 23, 1977. He, however, had to quit before full term in 1979 and the Lok Sabha was ultimately dissolved, resulting in the Bill getting lapsed.

Rajiv Gandhi too introduced yet another Lokpal Bill on August 25, 1985 but he could not turn into an Act as the guns of the Bofors kickbacks boomed and brought V P Singh to power to make yet another tryst of introducing a new bill on December 21, 1989 that lapsed with his government falling in 1990.

H D Deve Gowda, who took the reins in 1990, too found the power stepping out his hands with a few months after introducing the Lokpal Bill on September 10, 1990.

The next attempt was made by the first NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It introduced the Bill on July 23, 1998 but it was voted out of power, losing the trust vote by just one vote by the end of that year.

It brought yet another Bill on July 9, 2001, only to find it losing power in 2004 as if repeating the history of the Lokpal Bill being always jinxed.


30 Aug 2011        [Total words: 896]


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: A parliamentary standing committee has dubbed the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill as government's piecemeal approach with only limited success unless the issue of the judges' appointments is comprehensively addressed, though separately.

Tabling its report in Parliament on Tuesday, it asked the government to give urgent an due thought to bring a "holistic" legislation encompassing appointment and some mechanism to optimise judges' performance for the judicial accountability the Bill seeks for improved administration of justice.

The committee, headed by Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi, noted that "the method of appointment of judges in the higher judiciary was raised in almost all the meetings of the committee while deliberating upon the Bill, although this matter is not a part of the present Bill; be it the members of the committee or the witnesses, all were unanimously in favour of replacing the present judiciary driven collegium system of appointment of judges."

Singhvi told a Press conference after tabling the report that the accountability bill will be only a "half story" sans new mechanism for selection and appointment of the judges.

The recommendation is in consonance with the BJP's campaign for the National Judicial Commission and the government is already in the process of bringing yet another Bill for constituting such a commission to decide appointment of the judges, instead of the present system of the chief justice and four judges selecting the new judges.

NO COMMENTS: The committee has also sought to gag the judges in the habit of making comments in the course of hearing to extract response. It has recommended insertion of a specific clause to restrain them from making "unwarranted comments against other constitutional/statutory bodies/ institutions/persons in open court while hearing cases."

It has also sought to gag the media from reporting any information about proceedings of the proposed Oversight Committee, Investigation Committee and Complaint Scrutiny Panel (CSP) who will be probing complaints against the judges. It calls it "the accountability of the media."

Recommending that the proceedings of CSP should be held "in camera" to ensure the element of confidentiality, the committee wants no media trial of the judges even before the complaints are found correct. It seeks the Bill to provide "prohibition" of the media from divulging information at various stages of investigation and inquiry.

Committee chairman Singhvi justified the restriction proposed on the media, pointing out that it is to protect the judges concerned from unwarranted defamation at the initial stage of investigation. The original Bill did not provide for any "in camera" proceedings in the investigations.

GAG ON WHISTLE-BLOWERS: The committee also came down heavily on the punishment of jail up to five years and fine up to Rs 5 lakhs prescribed for making frivolous or vexation complaints. The severe punishment will only deter the prospective complainants from coming forward, defeating the very rationale of the Bill at a time when the government talks of providing protection to the whistle-blowers, Singhvi said.

Stressing that the quantum of punishment is such that it does not discourage people from taking initiative against the misbehaviour of a judge, the committee recommended that in any case it should not exceed the punishment provided under the Contempt of Court Act. The maximum punishment under the Act is the jail term of one year.

Going further, the committee has sought specific proviso in the Bill to protect those "who for some genuine reasons fail to prove their complaints. The protection should cover complaints made "in good faith" in line with the defence of good faith available under the Indian Penal Code.

BALANCING ACT: An elaborate procedure laid down in the Bill for investigation into individual complaints of misbehaviour or incapacity of judges received appreciation from the committee, pointing out that "it empowers the common man to expose the misbehaviour of judges" and at the same time "strikes a reasonable balance between the demands of accountability and judicial independence."

On a clause in the Bill that no judge shall have close association with individual members of the Bar, the committee felt the expression "close association" is very vague inviting different interpretations and hence better to use the phrase "close social interaction."

As regards the Bill envisaging a "statutory responsibility" of the judges to declare their assets, the committee felt it acknowledges people's "right to know" and facilitates greater transparency in judiciary, but there should be also a mechanism to ensure scrutiny of such declarations is "possible and implementable." A designated executive agency undertaking such scrutiny can report either to the CSP or the Oversight Committee.

BALANCED BODY: The committee also disapproved the government's contention of having only the judges on the National Judicial Oversight Committee and its opposition to put MPs on it on the ground that Parliament comprising the MPs already have authority to impeach any judge.

Pointing out that screening by the oversight committee which is the first stage of deciding the fate of any complaint against a judge is as important as the final stage when the impeachment process begins, the committee recommended that the oversight panel shall have two MPs "having legal expertise and high standing in the legal arena," one each nominated by the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman.

It insists that all the three organs of the government, namely executive, judiciary and legislature have to be represented on the oversight panel as such a balanced body would ensure the independent and transparent functioning of the committee and brace people's faith in redressal of complaints against the erring judges.


Monday, August 29, 2011

political grapevine one liners

August 29, 2011
Wrong pronounciation of a word "prosecution" by Labour Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge 
while replying to a question on Child labour on Monday in Lok Sabha landed him
in a major problem and scene was pathetic. 
Kharge a senior parliamentarian and three times Minister in Karnataka
went on to pronounce it as prostitution.Video recording of the proceedings now
being edited to save embarrassment to Hon Minister.
Biju Janta Dal MP Thathagata Satpathi during Question Hour made a pun at the
Government said that thumping of Desks should not be construed as passage of resolution.(as it happened
on Saturday to seek anna hazare to end fast-all members thumped desk after Pranab da spoke.
Satpathi was asking a supplementary question in Lok Sabha on Monday. 
During Question Hour  in Lok Sabha on Monday, Yashwant Sinha walked
across to treasury bench to take T R Baalu DMK leader out Both discussed
about the clemancy petition and hanging of three Rajvi Gandhi killers.
Having learnt spoken Hindi- V Narayanaswamy Union Minister of state for parliamentary affairs 
on Monday during question hour went to Mulayam Singh to ask SP member Sailendra Kumar
to return to his seat from the well of the house. Mulayam said since Narayanaswami spoke to
him in Hindi- obligation was done. Mulayam at once called "Harrey Sailender vaapas aajaoo"
obediently Sailender returned to his seat. Like narayanaswamy other Ministers from Tamil nadu
should learn Hindi was advise by Mulayam. Hinting at P Chidambaram to learn Hindi like
narayanaswamy. "Hotho-chaste angreesi bholtha hai" remarked Mulayam
Kalyan Singh former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the first time in Monsoon session
attended Lok Sabha on Monday walking slowly as he is unwell.
Except Pranab Mukherjee no senior Union Minister was seen in the first row of Treasurcy benches
during question hour on Monday. BJP MPs repeatedly pointed out. Still many union ministers
preferred to sit in the third or fourth row. "Anna effect BJP commented"
Supriya Sule on Monday put a question to Shipping Minister GK Vasan on collision of two
Ships in the high sea in Mumbai. Effectively Vasan answered. From the back benches
Congress MPs murmured that Vasan has picked up like P Chidambaram in chaste English.
BJP leader   Rajnath Singh on Monday sought Government attention on Crop Holiday in Coastal districts of 
Andhra Pradesh- and insisting Govt to include Crop Holiday under insurances schemes
also to National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Since it was raised in Zero Hour
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh waved his hand towards Rajnath Singh that 
Ministry will examine Rajnath Singh plea. Quickly Rajnath Singh also nodded his head.
Two Union Ministers intentionally wanted to derail peace process 
initiated by Pranab da. Insiders speak loud on spoilsport
Much more than UP elections, you have to bear the Presidential 
elections in 2012, that is too crucial for future of Congress
2 Youths in Tamil Nadu self immolate against hanging 3 Tamils 
on September 9, in Rajiv Gandhi killing case.Centre says 
it is state subject
Why to involve Arun Jaitley to draft/correct appeal to Anna to 
end fast. how Ministers spoiled a peace atmosphere. Insider 
details shocking
Union Ministers played havoc till last moment on Saturday,
not to carry forward the appeal to end fast of Anna. 
Insider details too shocking 
Congress facing internal crisis. For a month there was 
no leadership. No senior leader wants to take a chance 
to save party
Congress Union Ministers seen relaxed,Lunching with family 
in hotels in Delhi.joke unprintable terms about Cong & PM 
others overhear/enjoy
Game changer Rahul Gandhi why was he absent on Saturday for 
special session of Parliament on Anna Hazare.Punjab Cong MP 
reply. Changing Game
Sonia Gandhi formed 4 member committee to oversee day to day 
affairs. It is one month today, met two times. Rahul not keen 
on more meetings
Why PM did not speak on Saturday in both houses. No Union 
Minister nor Congress MPs has reply.But a Union Minister 
joked Dr Singh is maunvrt 
Group of Ministers on Media is meeting daily, but not 
appearing before TV. Reaso "Ministers have begun GOM on 
Anna fasting"-joke by Congmen
Anna ended fast.What next in Congress. blame game begun. 
A Union Minister wrote handwritten personal letter to 
Prime Minister

Friday, August 26, 2011

Madam Speaker,

I have been deeply distressed at the developments of the last few
days. Many aspects of the situation have caused me anguish.
We are all aware that corruption is pervasive. It operates at every
level. The poor may carry its greatest burden but it is an affliction
that every Indian is desperate to be rid off. Fighting corruption is
as integral to eliminating poverty as is Mahatma Gandhi NREGA or
the Land Acquisition Bill. Yet it is equally imperative to the growth
and development of our nation.
Madam Speaker, we cannot wish away corruption by the mere
desire to see it removed from our lives. This requires a
comprehensive framework of action and a concerted political
program supported by all levels of the state from the highest to the
lowest. Most importantly, it requires firm political will.
Madam Speaker, in the past few years I have travelled the length
and breadth of our country. I have met scores of countrymen, rich
and poor, old and young, privileged and disempowered who have
expressed their disillusionment to me. In the last few months,
Annaji has helped the people to articulate this same sentiment. I
thank him for that.
I believe that the real question before us as representatives of the
people of India today is whether we are prepared to take the battle
against corruption head on? It is not a matter of how the present
impasse will resolve, it is a much greater battle. There are no
simple solutions. To eradicate corruption demands a far deeper
engagement and sustained commitment from each one of us.
Witnessing the events of the last few days it would appear that the
enactment of a single Bill will usher in a corruption-free society. I
have serious doubts about this belief.
An effective Lok Pal law is only one element in the legal framework
to combat corruption. The Lok Pal institution alone cannot be a
substitute for a comprehensive anti-corruption code. A set of
effective laws is required. Laws that address the following critical
issues are necessary to stand alongside the Lok Pal initiative:
(1) government funding of elections and political parties,
(2) transparency in public procurement,
(3) proper regulation of sectors that fuel corruption like land and
(4) grievance redress mechanisms in public service delivery of old
age pensions and ration cards; and
(5) continued tax reforms to end tax evasion.
We owe it to the people of this country to work together across
party lines to ensure that Parliament functions at its optimum
capacity and delivers these laws in a just and time bound manner.
We speak of a statutory Lok Pal but our discussions cease at the
point of its accountability to the people and the risk that it might
itself become corrupt. Madam Speaker, why not elevate the
debate and fortify the Lok Pal by making it a Constitutional body
accountable to Parliament like the Election Commission of India? I
feel the time has come for us to seriously consider this idea.
Madam Speaker, laws and institutions are not enough. A
representative, inclusive and accessible democracy is central to
fighting corruption.
Individuals have brought our country great gains. They have
galvanized people in the cause of freedom and
development. However, individual dictates, no matter how well
intentioned, must not weaken the democratic process. This
process is often lengthy and lumbering. But it is so in order to be
inclusive and fair. It provides a representative and transparent
platform where ideas are translated into laws. A tactical incursion,
divorced from the machinery of an elected Government that seeks
to undo the checks and balances created to protect the supremacy
of Parliament sets a dangerous precedent for a democracy. Today
the proposed law is against corruption. Tomorrow the target may
be something less universally heralded. It may attack the plurality
of our society and democracy.
India’s biggest achievement is our democratic system. It is the life
force of our nation. I believe we need more democracy within our
political parties. I believe in Government funding of our political
parties. I believe in empowering our youth; in opening the doors of
our closed political system; in bringing fresh blood into politics and
into this House. I believe in moving our democracy deeper and
deeper into our villages and our cities.
I know my faith in our democracy, is shared by members of this
House. I know that regardless of their political affiliation, many of
my colleagues work tirelessly to realize the ideals upon which our
nation was built. The pursuit of truth is the greatest of those ideals.
It won us our freedom. It gave us our democracy. Let us commit
ourselves to truth and probity in public life. We owe it to the people
of India.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011



By R Rajagopalan

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Tuesday 
wrote a personal letter to former Chief Justice of India
J S Varma to find a resolution to the Anna Hazare 
fast on Jan Lokpal.

JS Varma through common friend informed the Government
to handle with care the Jan Lokpal issue. Varma and Santhi Bhushan
are considered to be too close.

Varma is expected to meet Prashant Bhushan and his father Santhi Bhushan
on Thursday afternoon.

Varma if he narrows down the differences, a new turn is expected.


Monday, August 22, 2011

anna rejects mediators wants direct talks

22 August 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Fasting anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare on Monday set his terms for negotiations, wanting either the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) or Rahul Gandhi to come forward for talks even as the government is shying away from starting any direct talks despite his movement gaining momentum across the country.

He is even ready to talk to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, but not with the non-government mediators sent on Sunday and Monday and certainly not with Home Minister P Chidambaram or HRD Minister Kapil Sibal with whom he sat in a committee to draft the Lokpal Bill.

Alarmed by the government roping in his NGO nephew, Indore-based religious leader Bhaiyuji Maharaj and Maharashtra Additional Secretary Umesh Chandra Sarangi to influence him to breakaway from his team, the 74-year old crusader declared on the seventh day of his fast at Ramlila Maidan here that he would not speak to anyone without the presence of his Associates like Arvind Kejriwal and ex-top cop Kiran Bedi running the show.

He made it clear that he won't negotiate with Sarangi, Maharaj or Sri Sri Ravi Shankar fielded by the government for the back-channel talks. Let there be direct talks if the government is sincere, he asserted. The government is talking through these negotiators since after the Congress core group, attended by Dr Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi, on Thursday decided to wait and watch with "hands-off" policy.

His associates are angry that no formal proposal has emerged from the government despite the PM doling out the offer of talks two days ago. They are also angry at the government sending mediators who can not take any decisions. Kiran Bedi tweeted: "Let govt come forward... Let PM send his representatives. Any negotiations are rumours."

Anna also set his terms that the Lokpal Bill introduced by the government in Parliament will have to be withdrawn for any fruitful talks as it is too weak to fight the corruption menace and the judiciary can be excluded from the Lokpal's purview only if a strong Judicial Accountability Bill is offered.

At the golden jubilee of the Indian Institute of Management in Kolkata, Dr Manmohan Singh asked Team Anna to see "reason," affirming that the government is open to a "reasoned debate on the anti-corruption Lokpal bill." He said "The creation of the Lok Pal as an institution will help, but it will not solve the problem. It needs to be supported by improvements in the pace and quality of judicial processes and revamp of the governance procedure."

In his absence, Chidambaram, Law Minister Salman Khurshid and PMO's MoS V Narayanasamy reviewed the situation and later Khurshid told reporters that the issue can be resolved through talks and the modus of the talks is being debated.

"Talks must take place to resolve this issue. The fact that 2 lakh people are protesting is significant. Solution to complex issues cannot be delivered within 2-3 days. But what the people really want can be decided only through elections," he said.

Even after losing more than five kilos in his seventh day of the fast for strong Lokpal Bill, Hazare drew strength from more than 25,000 people thronging the Ramlila Maidan for the second running because of a national holiday for Janmashtami. It is this endless stream of supporters pouring into the grounds that Hazare and his team re-affirmed not to give up their demand for their version of the Lokpal Bill be passed by Parliament by August 30 or face a "revolution" from August 31.

While Kiran Bedi was busy trying to educate the people on differences between the government's Lokpal Bill and Anna's Jan Lokpal Bill, Kejriwal again gave a call to the people to protest "peacefully" outside the holes of ministers and MPs to pressurise them to accept their line, stressing that such protests are not aimed at destabilising the government as some people say.

Countering charges that Anna's movement is undermining Parliament and its right to legislate, Kejriwal said, "What is democracy?  It is not just voting once every five years and handing over your destiny to representatives.  It is day-to-day engagement with your representatives."

Meanwhile, Anil Shastri, son of late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and a Congress Working Committee (CWC), came out in open criticising the government for underestimating the Gandhian's movement against corruption and asking it to enter into a dialogue with him.

Shastri, who was summarily sacked as editor of Congress mouthpiece "Sandesh" only two weeks ago for serious goof-ups, tweeted: "Anna's movement against corruption was underestimated by  government. It is time that it entered into dialogue with him to end his fast."


separate law to tackle lower bureaucracy

22 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: In an apparent answer to crusader Anna Hazare's team mobilising the masses suffering corruption of the lower level bureaucracy, the government has quietly kicked of drafting of a Bill for creating a mechanism for the public services grievance redressal.

The task of drafting the Bill has been assigned to Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh by the Union Cabinet and he promises to mount it on the Internet next week for public debate.

While the Lokpal Bill covers only the Group A officers and ministers, Jairam said the new Bill he is readying will handle corruption and accountability at the cutting edge level of the government employees with whom the people come into contact in their day-to-day works like clerks, tehsildars, BDOs and RTOs giving driving licences.

He told reporters here on Monday that he is drawing lessons from the social audit of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employement Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) where the redressal institution is already in existence. He said the mechanism will incorporate various other mechanisms available to the public, including the consumer courts.

Jairam pointed out that the Lokpal is not going to be a stand-alone institution. He also disapproved the Team India resorting to agitation against the Lokpal Bill introduced in Parliament early this week, particularly when the RTI activists like Arvind Kejriwal have experience of the improvements made in the Right To Information (RTI) Bill after it was brought before Parliament alike the Lokpal Bill.

The parliamentary standing committee had then recommended not one or two but 150 amendments in the RTI Bill, after consulting the civil society and as such what emerged as the Act was altogether different from the draft, he said, advocating space to the Abhishek Manu Singhvi-led standing committee to dissect the Lokpal Bill and come up with a radically new bill.

Jairam also felt that a solution to the impasse created by Hazare resorting to an indefinite fast since last Tuesday can be to include the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Rahul Gandhi in the talks. They will have to chip in to defuse the crisis, he added.


seen and heard on Anna

one liners
Seen and Heard

From R Rajagopalan Delhi

Monday  August 22, 2011

Anna supporters protests at 86 MPs houses in 9 states,
belonging to Cong, BJP, BSP and SP parties. This is
One pm- update from Union Home Ministry Control room
UPA2 political leadership is really concerned.
Vinayak Chaturti declare parliament a Holiday 
enitre Opposition to demand in Business Advisory 
Committee of both houses - on Tuesday.
Delhi Police Commissioner withdraws lathis 
from Police constables at Ram Lila grounds, 
where Anna Hazare is fasting.
Anna effect a Shocking trend. Congress ruled states 
curtail assembly sessions to a week or ten days 
ike Rajasthan, Kerala and Maharashtra.
Centre summons Andhra Governor and Chief Minister 
to Delhi on Wednesday discuss Congress MPs/MLAs 
resignation on Jagan Reddy & law and order
Anna fast Congress stops signature campaign to end. 
Cong MPs familes worried safety, as agitation spreads 
front of houses
Confusion prevails in Congress on Anna fast.Senior 
Union Minister.interprets it as major crisis for 
future of Congress . Pranab da distances 
"Find a formula to end Anna fast " 25 Congress MPs 
begin a signature campaign addressed to PM and Rahul 
100 MLAs 10 MPs quit on Telangana it was not accepted 
similarly 26 MLAs and 2 MPs resigned on Jagan Reddy, 
how can it be accepted, says AICC
My Ministry is nothing.Just from conception to 
cremation,said MinisterGulamNabi in today's 
Planning Commission meeting.PM notliked comment
PM and media ,Feb 16 eleven TV editors,June 29 
five print editors today only 3 TV journalists 
standing with mike.Why less.Is it Anna effect

Saturday, August 20, 2011


20 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: A day after the fasting anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare served an ultimatum to Parliament to pass the Lokpal Bill in 12 days by Aug 30, his team on Saturday wanted its own alternate Jan Lokpal Bill tabled in Parliament and claimed the government can pass it in five minutes if it has will and concern for life of the 74-year-old on fast since August 16.

The Ramlila Maidan reverberated with anti-corruption slogans and songs even as the strength of supporters started petering out but the crowds swelling in a sort of carnival by the curious wanting to have a look at an ordinary ex-Army truck driver taking on the might of the government and virtually dictating his terms.

Anna Team's concern is that Hazare has stood ground to cross 100 hours of fast without any problem to his health but it can not go on forever as he is not on "fast unto death" but fasting to build a public pressure on the government to go for a strong anti-corruption law.

It was the turn of the 86-year old former Union Law Minister Shanti Bhushan, a legal mind behind the Jan Lokpal Bill the Team Anna is trying to thrust on the government, to assert that the gathering at the grounds is symbolic of the people's will from across the country that the government should concede.

"It is the people's demand that next Tuesday when Parliament opens, the government should withdraw its version of the Lokpal Bill and introduce our Bill," he declared and asserted that the government can get it passed within days and in any case by August 30, the deadline set by Anna, if it has a "strong will" to do it. "It can happen. I have been a Union Law Minister and I know how things happen in government," he said.

His only rider was that the government give an assurance to Hazare "to issue a whip to the MPs of the ruling coalition to vote for the Jan Lokpal Bill whenever it comes before Parliament."

15 BILLS IN 5 MINUTES: Arvind Kejriwal, another Team Anna leader, asserted that the crusader's 12-day deadline to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill or face his fast "till my last breath" was not an impractical demand.  "If the government desires, it can pass 15 Bills in five minutes. But for the anti-corruption bill, they are taking more than 42 years. So we want to know how many more years will they take," he asked.

He also said the civil society group was open to a separate mechanism for corruption in the higher judiciary but then it would be drafting such a Bill to ensure there are no loopholes.

A union minister quipped that if the government concedes the group's demand to draft the judicial responsibility bill, a day will not be far when it will also stake claim to draft a new Constitution for India. He said only a "fascist mind" can talk of passing 15 laws in five minutes without discussion, muzzling democracy.

Both Shanti Bhushan and Kejriwal said the Team Anna is open to some small changes in its Jan Lokpal Bill if the government gives assurance to the crusader to pass the Bill without loss of time. "If the government feels that some small changes need to be made to the Bill, then even those should be made only after taking permission and support from Anna. If they are willing to give that assurance, then it will show a respect for public sentiment and it is possible that Anna may agree to it," Bhushan told the cheering crowds.

PUBLIC OPINION: An advertisement put out in newspapers by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice inviting suggestions from public on the Lokpal Bill gave a fodder to the agitators to claim the government is trying to gauge the public opinion to decide its future course of action in the wake of the public upsurge against this Bill.

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who heads the committee, however, explained that the notice inviting suggestions from public is a regular drill by the parliamentary panels examining the Bills and nothing special about the Lokpal Bill.

The public views are sought "within fifteen days of publication of the advertisement," i.e. up to September 3 and thereafter the committing will be inviting those wanting to make oral submissions as the notice says.

The committee, a sort of "mini Parliament" with all major parties represented on it, will hold its own meetings after eliciting the public opinion before giving a report to Parliament on changes in the Bill, if necessary, Singhvi said. He said this process cannot be short-circuited to let Parliament enact the law by August 30 as Hazare wishes. The process includes invitation of diverse views in writing, examination of witness evidence and detailed confidential deliberations, he said.

WASTING TIME: Kejriwal, however, asserted that the exercise of the parliamentary panel is "a waste of time" of public and parliamentarians. "We appeared before the standing committee earlier and told them that the present Bill is actually for promotion of corruption and save the corrupt people," he said.

He claimed the Bill before the panel is so faulty that it needs rejection as it will be never acceptable to the people. He said it is nothing but yet another attempt by the government to divert attention and buy time as it has no intention whatsoever to really fight corruption.

Better if the government withdraws its Bill and places the Jan Lokpal Bill before Parliament, he said and dismissed BJP member Varun Gandhi's bid to bring it as a private member's Bill. Kejriwal said a private member's Bill is brought just to draw the attention of the House towards an issue and nothing more.

In an interview to a news agency, Singhvi said his standing committee can not be pushed to give its report on the Lokpal Bill in no time, but said it will have an "open mind" on all suggestions. He said: "No time limit can be accurately specified except that the reference to us initially is for three months." At times, the committees seek extension of even this time limit, he underlined.

Soon after the Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 4 by the government, the Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari had referred it to the Singhvi committee and given it three months to give the recommendations. Even before the notice inviting public views was issued, the committee chose in an unusual manner to give a hearing to Hazare and his colleagues and told them that they were welcome to appear again to advance their case for the Jan Lokpal Bill.


Friday, August 19, 2011

how anna aura built up through tv media

20 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Team Anna has roped in half a dozen experienced hands from the electronic media to build up an aura of the anti-graft crusader through the 24-hour news channels to sway the masses across the country.

Heading the band of the media mangers of the group is Manish Sisodia, a former journalist of Zee News who jumped into the RTI movement with Arvind Kejriwal and runs his own NGO Parivartan. He is also a trustee of the Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF).

His team knows tricks of the trade in the electronic media like no press meet at 7.30 pm when TV news channels run sports shows and would not cut them out to show Anna antics or at 2.30 pm when the Hindi news channels run Saas-Bahu shows giving them big ratings.

It advises how to remain in "breaking news" forever to keep up the heat on the government and never kick off a major protest on a Sunday when the TV channels telecast pre-recorded shows and space for live news shrinks while most top editors are not there to play up their news.

Among these media mangers is Shazia Ilmi, once a lead anchor on Star News who studied mass communication at Jamia here and did a diploma in broadcast journalism from the University of Wales, Cardiff.

Sisodia depends much on Aswathi Murlidharan who did her PG in mass communication from Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan here in 2006. She is with his PCRF since 2009. Others in his team include Abhinandan Sekhri, a writer and film maker who has worked as a reporter for TV news networks and writes political satire for NDTV, and Neeraj Kumar, a journalist-turned RTI expert, specialising in analysing orders passed by the information commissions across the country.



19 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Delhi Police finds itself in a piquant embarrassment of allowing 'India Against Corruption' of Team Anna to carry on the protest fast for a strong Lokpal Bill up to September 2 at the Ramlila Ground, without checking that the place is already booked by another organisation for a rally on September 1.

The deal was struck past midnight and it was not possible to check with Delhi Municipal Corporation about availability of the ground. It came as a surprise even to the municipal corporation as the Team India has booked the ground only up to August 31.

The Team India swung into action on Thursday on advice from the BJP-ruled municipal corporation to better negotiate with the Allahabad-based Bharat Mukti Morcha that has booked the ground on September 1 for a rally in support of a caste census.

The Morcha's convener J S Kashyap, however, showed reluctance to shift the rally's venue or date, claiming that his organisation has already mobilised some one lakh people from across the country, though he told the negotiators that he is also with Anna Hazare on fight against corruption.

"Anna Hazare is fighting for a good cause and we are also doing the same for a large section of the country. I told them that let's support each other and after our rally we will be with them."

According to the municipal sources, there is no booking of the ground from September 2 to 8 and hence it can be given to Team Anna if it makes a deal with the OBC Morcha, but not beyond as the Ramlila Committee takes it over for a month from September 9 for the annual Ramlila plays.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Speaker sets up Parliamentary Forum on Water Conservations and Management

Meeting of the Parliamentary Forum
on Water Conservation and Management

The Hon‟ble Speaker, Lok Sabha in consultation with the Hon‟ble Chairman,
Rajya Sabha, has constituted the Parliamentary Forum on Water Conservation and
Management with the broad aim and objective to identify and discuss the problems
relating to water conservation and management and to equip the Members of Parliament
with the information and knowledge related to water conservation and management and
to make them aware of the seriousness of the issues involved which would enable them
to adopt a result-oriented approach towards this critical issue.

A meeting of the Parliamentary Forum on Water Conservation and Management
will be held  on  Wednesday,  17 August, 2011  at 1530 hrs. in Committee Room
No.074, Ground Floor, Parliament Library Building, New Delhi  wherein              
Shri M.E. Haque, Member, Central Water Commission  will make a presentation on the
subject „Water Bodies in Rural Areas‟.  Members are requested to kindly make it convenient to attend the meeting


16 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: A Rahul Gandhi's snub in a closed-door meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Congress leaders in the AICC headquarters here on Monday has chastised the party leaders from making any personal attacks on crusader Anna Hazare arrested here on Tuesday.

In his very first meeting with the party leaders in absence of his mother Sonia Gandhi away in New York convalescing after a surgery, Rahul is reported to have objected to the party launching a no-holds-barred attack on Hazare on the ground that he was himself indicted for corruption in an inquiry report by retired Supreme Court judge P B Sawant.

His query was simple: "Has Anna lost right to protest against corruption because of the indictment? Then each one of us will have to first declare to have not indulged in even a small corruption before talking against corruption."

The impact of his blunt talk could be seen in nobody in the party making any uncharitable remarks against Hazare and company unlike two days ago when party spokesman Manish Tewari accused them of trying to bring instability in the country and dubbed them as "armchair fascists, overground Maoists, closet anarchists...lurking behind forces of right reaction and funded by invisible donors whose links may go back a long way abroad."

Another Congress spokesman Abishek Manu Singhvi taking the briefing on Tuesday skirted all questions and refused to comment whether the party still believes that Hazare is corrupt. He was pointedly asked to comment on Tewari's outburst against Hazare on Sunday and whether the party still stands by the Justice Sawant report indicting the crusader.

At the GoM interaction with the media, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal went to the extent of asserting that "we are on Anna's side and Anna is on our side as far as fight against corruption goes." He said the disagreement was over team Anna's insistence to accept its Bill and no other Bill. Home Minister P Chidambaram and I&B Minister Ambika Soni said the government rather shared Hazare's concern on corruption.

The three ministers came for the media interaction after a strategic session with Rahul Gandhi that was also attended by Pranab Mukherjee and the impact could be seen from the way they just stopped short of glorifying Hazare in all respects.

Ambika Soni said Hazare was a "reputed person" and the government trusted his word on protest being peaceful. However, no one can guarantee that there can not be any problem when such a large number of people gather at a place as people on the dais do not have control on each and every person participating in an agitation, she said.

She felt that the crusader may have been ill-advised by his colleagues like former IPS officer Kiran Bedi and senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan "who understand the law." Kiran Bedi has been part of Delhi Police for long and hence knows how it handles public agitations, she said.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

A friend writes to Dr Manmohan Singh

14-40-4/1 Gokhale Road
Visakhapatnam 530002
Tel. Nos. 0891-6619858/ 9866021646


Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister

Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh,

From what I have gathered from the news reports and TV broadcasts during the last couple of days, you issued a “terse” reply to a letter addressed to you by Shri Anna Hazare to intervene in the ongoing face-off between him and the government. You have evidently adopted a righteous approach by advising Anna Hazare to approach the police.

These reports also indicate that some of your responsible Cabinet colleagues and equally responsible UPA colleagues have cast serious aspersions on Anna Hazare’s personal integrity.

If these reports are accurate, I think it marks a very sad day for India’s democracy.

In today’s scam ridden environment, Anna Hazare has emerged as the civil society’s undeclared leader to symbolize the public anger and anguish against corruption. The people of this country have helplessly watched in dismay and disgust one scandal after another unfolding ad nauseam, not because that the executive that you head is over anxious to unravel it but more as a result of the fearless investigations carried out by the media, the objective analyses conducted by C&AG and the timely interventions made by the judiciary. At every stage, you and your esteemed colleagues, frowned upon the actions of each of theseinstitutions.

The people at large have read about these scams in the vernacular news papers, heard about them on the radio and viewed them on the TV channels. These scams stand out clearly because they are ugly, exploitative and are in the nature of plundering the country’s resources. Their dimensions are truly mind boggling. To think that the people of this country are not moved by what Anna Hazare has done during the last few months is like the proverbial ostrich hiding its head, unwilling to face the harsh reality!

Let us see why this diminutive man, leading a simple life, incurred the Prime Minister's displeasure.

Has he asked you for thousands of hectares of land as some industrialists nurtured by post-1991 reform have done? Has he approached you to give him a mining franchise in violation of the law of the land, as the mining lobby that permeates the political system today has often done? He has not asked for captive mineral blocks as Poscoe has done. Has he requested you to allot 2-G spectrum against all cannons of ethics as some of your own former Cabinet colleagues had allowed the influential industrial houses to do? Has he arm-twisted you for a remunerative berth in your Cabinet, as some of your coalition partners have done? Nor has he ever tried to stay in a 5-Star hotel as some of your Cabinet colleagues did!

You are an extraordinarily courteous person, as I have known you. I am sure you have not been terse to any of these influential persons anytime. I am therefore particularly surprised and distressed at the “terseness” that you have reportedly displayed to a physically fragile but morally strong person like Anna Hazare!

On behalf of the civil society, may I appeal to you, Mr. Prime Minister, to treat Anna Hazare with the respect that is due to him as an important member of the civil society and as a highly liked person among the youth of this country? You should remember that Shri Hazare has single-handedly woken up the nation to rise as one entity against the scourge of corruption. While I appreciate that the Constitution has bequeathed us an elaborate legislative machinery in the name of democracy, you should realize that the people of this country who are sovereign in their own right have no patience to wait for the machinery to go through the procedure of processing a draft law that ab initio falls short of their basic expectations. This is particularly true in the present context in which the UPA government is getting surrounded by scams and scandals galore, as never before.

On behalf of the civil society, I appeal to you to treat Shri Hazare as our representative and invite him for an interaction as such an interaction is what the public wants. I would welcome the government inviting for a similar interaction, the rights activists working in different parts of the country, the various NGOs known for their work, eminent concerned citizens and so on. In a democracy like ours, consultation is the essence and despotic methods of law making, the anathema. I hope good sense will prevail on the government and the ongoing face-off is resolved at the earliest without leaving a sense of bitterness among the people.

I write this letter on the eve of the 64th Independence Day. Sixty four years have gone by but the freedom we gained in 1947 at the national level is yet to percolate down fully to the disadvantaged sections of the people. To them, governance has become synonymous with corruption and harassment. I hope there is all round realization of this bitter truth.


Yours sincerely

Former Secretary to GOI

Saturday, August 13, 2011


14 Aug 2011


NEW DELHI: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday shot off a strongly-worded letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to restrain and discipline Home Minister P Chidambaram openly "encouraging indiscipline among the police officers of Gujarat."

In a 3-page letter released by the BJP headquarters here, Modi took offence to Chidambaram's invite to the erring officers to seek the Centre's help and made it clear that "uch blatant statements by Central Ministers will destroy the very fabric of Federal structure."

"The Centre cannot intervene in the cases that fall under the jurisdiction of the state. The police officers are to discipline the society and in discharge of their duties they are supposed to set up high standards," Modi asserted.

"It is surprising that an officer who was absent from duty continuously for 10 months un-authorisedly is being defended by the Union Government. Any misconduct, dereliction of duty and recalcitrant behaviour of the officers cannot be tolerated, failing which it will lead to anarchy in Government," he warned.

He urged the Prime Minister to view this matter very seriously and issue appropriate instructions "so that such incidents are not repeated in future, in the interest of a healthy Centre-State relationship."

Modi noted that "when the Union Government comes out in open supporting such in-disciplined conduct of an All India Service Officers, it should be a matter of concern for the entire nation." In other words, he said "one is indirectly encouraging the political activities by Service Officers."

He said looking at the series of such incidents in the last two years, "there seems to be a definite pattern of conspiracy in meddling with Gujarat's affairs. Such selective interference is a cause for major concern, as it goes against constitutional principles.

"Unfortunately, it appears that UPA government at the Centre is a party to these activities, in one way or other, with a strong hidden agenda to destabilize a progressive and performing State like Gujarat. I firmly believe that you cannot build a strong India by destabilizing and weakening progressive and development oriented States in a Federal structure. At any cost, we should not convert these constitutional arms as political battle-fields by misusing them."

Pointing out that the role of the Disciplinary Authority is vested in the State Governments in the Federal structure under the All India Service Act and Rules, Modi affirmed that "no authority, including the Central Government, can usurp these powers" and if the officers have any grievances on the issue of actions being taken by the State Government, they can represent to the State Government, or can take a legal recourse by approaching CAT, High Court, Supreme Court, etc."


Pranab Mukherjee bugging- double speak by PMO

14 Aug 2011


NEW DELHI: The government exhibited a doublespeak on the suspected bugging of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's office that prompted him to write to the Prime Minister for a probe.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) says it is a matter of State's security that can not be divulged while S S Palanimanickam, a junior minister in the Finance Ministry, finds no such problem in reeling out the information in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

The PMO's reply refusing the information sought by a local daily through a RTI (right to information) application landed on its desk on the very day Palanimanickam gave a detailed reply.

The refusal only gave birth to suspicion that Mukherjee's office was really bugged and the government is not ready to part any information on it as it may relate to the leakage of some State secrets through the listening devices planted in the office.

More honest is 
Palanimanickam to debunk any such doubts as he told the House that there was no bugging and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) that probed at the PM's instance found just sticky substance "comparable with those of chewing gum." The adhesives were found stuck at 16 places in the offices of Mukherjee, his private secretary and his adviser.

The PMO's reply, however, says: "The requested information is related to the security of the State and disclosure thereof is, therefore, denied under Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act, 2005." The particular section says the government shall be under no obligation to give information to any citizen, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with a foreign state or lead to the incitement of an offence."

BJP Secretary Dr Kirit Somaiya was also initially refused information under this section by the Finance Ministry, but he got a revised reply from the Finance Ministry's central public relation officer furnishing the information sought under RTI Act, clarifying that  "no (bugging) devices were detected during regular screening undertaken in all concerned premises."

The daily had sought in its RTI application filed on July 5 a copies of Mukherjee's letter to the PM, the latter's response and details of the final report of the probe ordered by the Prime Minister.




NEW DELHI: With President Pratibha Patil yet to give her nod to the Home Ministry's recommendation for hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, the Tihar Jail authorities here are frenetically hunting for a hangman for putting to gallows Khalistani terrorist Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar sent to death row by her rejecting his mercy petition.

The Tihar Jails do not have any hangman now as the last hanging in the jail took place 22 years ago in 1989 when Indira Gandhi's assassins Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh were executed. "We will have to get the hangman from outside, a tedious task since there are only few hangmen left in India," a jail official said.

Pointing out that attempts are on to locate Kallu and Fakira who executed the Indira killers, the official said: "They could not be located so far and if I am not wrong, Fakira is dead." Though the jail has not yet got the "black warrant" from the district and sessions judge for hanging Bhullar, the authorities are trying to set into motion the drill for such executions as they do not know when yet another execution of Afzal Guru is cleared.

Bhullar, who was sentenced to death for an explosion in 1993 targeting then Youth Congress president Maninderjit Singh Bitta, has slipped into depression and is lodged in the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) for psychiatric treatment.

Pending receipt of his death warrant that is required in the run-up to the actual hanging, the jail authorities are reading about procedures and rules as there is nobody in the present staff who may have any experience in this regard.

Only after the death warrant is received that the jail will buy a rope and it will be tested for at least one week by the concerned jail superintendent by conducting mock hangings to ensure the actual execution is done smoothly. The rule book requires a new rope acquired and tested for each hanging, the officials said.


Thursday, August 11, 2011


11 Aug 2011


NEW DELHI: The Election Commission is bracing up right from now for a hectic and prestigious 2012 when it has to handle elections of the new president and vice-president of India and conduct assembly elections in five states, including an all-important Uttar Pradesh.

A tentative calendar of schedules drawn up to kick-start the preparations envisages the Assembly polls in Punjab and Uttarakhand mid-January and those in Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur in second week of April. The Uttar Pradesh elections may be spread over to seven phases to complete the process mid-May while Punjab will have a two-phase polls.

Even while busy with the elections in UP and the other two states, the Election Commission will get busy with the election of the new President of India. The polling for the President is expected mid-June.

The Chief Election Commissioner and his two colleague election commissioners have already started visiting the states going to polls in 2012. They have completed one trip each to Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur. The Commission plans visit to Goa in the third week of August to assess the poll preparations.


election commission 2012 heavy schedule


By R Rajagopalan

2012 is a hectic and prestigious year for Election Commission.
President, Vice President and five state assemblies polls.
Scheduling dates, deployment of forces for Uttar Pradesh
and Punjab are the too testing for EC

Sources in EC say that Punjab and Uttarakhand will go in for polls
in mid January 2012, while Rashtrapathi Elections will
be held in mid June 2012. Before this the EC has
to work out the poll dates for Uttar Pradesh and Goa
and Manipur. By May 2012 the UP ele3ctions should have
been over.


Elections to  Punjab,  Uttrakhand in mid of January 2012
while Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur may be held  
in second week of April 2012. UP will face 7 phases polls 
while Punjab 2 phases. Schedule will have 
bearing on the availability and deployment process
of central reserve forces

Election Commission plans a visit Goa in the third 
week of August to assess the poll preparations.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

chidambaram must go for letting loose brute police force says bjp

10 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: The Bhartiya Janata Party's "deal" with the ruling Congress to stall Parliament to skirt the debate other parties wanted on some key issues?

Lok Sabha Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj had to face the embarrassing question at a joint press conference with her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley and Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete.

She denied any such deal and asserted that the disruption of the House was also a parliamentary tool to attract attention. Both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned without transacting any business because of the disruptions.

Sushma said her party was not shying away from debates, but certain people smell conspiracy and deals in every issue. Her dig was at the Left Parties upset and angry at pandemonium washing out the debates they secured.

She said her party had no desire to disrupt Parliament, but the events have overtaken it. Demanding resignation of Home Minister P. Chidambaram, she said the government had shown utmost disregard to democracy by beating up BJP Yuva Morcha activists, who were demanding action against corruption.

She said there were three such incidents in the recent past, where government did not allow peaceful protests. Rejecting the police statement that nobody was injured in the police action, Swaraj said 56 people, including four police personnel, have received injuries and were recuperating in different city hospitals. She said a BJP Yuva Morcha activist has received a spinal injury and dozen others have their arms and legs fractured.

"Till recently we were attacking Chidambaram for his role in the spectrum scam. Now, we demand his dismissal from the council of ministers for letting loose brute police force on peaceful protesters," she said.

Arun Jaitely drew parallels between allowing separatists conducting meetings in Delhi and police actions against BJP members and against Baba Ramdev. He said Chidambaram had defended the separatists' meetings citing freedom of expression.

Asked why his party didn’t allow the Home Minister to make a statement, he said police version was not acceptable to them. "We would like to know the truth behind using disproportionate use of force. Police version is that nobody was injured. It is so fanciful, it didn’t serve any purpose."

Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete said the use of force against farmers near Pune was unparalleled. He said it was third such incident after Jaitapur, Paditpur Yatra, where farmers were targeted by police. He thanked Samajwadi Party and Biju Janata Dal for supporting the issue and joining hands to demand dismissal of the Maharashtra government.



August 10, 2011

Lots of fun
Heard so in Parliament
Javed Akhtar invited Left leaders next week in Delhi
for Dinner to request them not to fall into the BJP 
trap to oppose Congress.
Trichy Siva DMK MP and Brinda Karat discussed Tamil 
Nadu/SriLankan politics, seated in a corner in 
parliament ADMK MPs sore., from distanced 
watched this event with a fun
Ahmed Patel is heading a core group of Congress, 
but Arun Jaitley is heading a sore group of 
congressmen.MS AIyer and MS Gill.
Heard a joke in Parliament
Sports Ministers MS Gill and MS Aiyer 
both are now close to BJP leaders, giving inside 
details of CWG and South Block connections
Lalu Prasad was angry on Vinay Katiyar in Parliament 
for circulating a false papers on blackmoney. Katiyar 
denied his role.

BJP blames it on P Chidambaram on Police brutality

10 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Screaming Opposition brought down Parliament on Wednesday over Delhi Police "brutality" on the BJP youths demonstrating against corruption, demanding Home Minister P Chidambaram's sack for engineering the attacks to avenge the 2G scam graft charges levelled on him.

The government is panicky that it has become nearly impossible to get any work accomplished in the past 10 days and 8 sittings since the monsoon session began. Chidambaram offered to make a statement to break impasse, but the BJP leaders wriggled out as the party MPs won't allow them any new "compromise."

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal accused the BJP of stalling Parliament on "frivolous" issues after agreeing to cooperate in its smooth running. He was uncertain of fate of the heavy agenda of a large number of Bills to be passed in the remaining 20 sittings until September 8 if the Opposition remains adamant on blockade.

Both the Houses were disrupted right from the start as the shouting BJP members left their seats and entered the well to protest the police crackdown on the "peaceful" party youths at the instance of Chidambaram. They alleged that he ordered the crackdown to teach a lesson to the BJP repeatedly demanding his resignation on the 2G scam issue.

Pandemonium ruled when the two Houses met after a washed-out question hour due to adjournment, prompting the chair to adjourn the Rajya Sabha for the day immediately while the deputy speaker shut the Lok Sabha for the day after another attempt at 2 pm.

"You cannot use force to stop those protesting against corruption and rising prices. That is why Chidambaram should resign," BJP leader Gopinath Munde told reporters outside Parliament. He said the demonstration in the Lok Sabha was also to demand dismissal of the Maharashtra government for the police firing on farmers in Pune and protest at attack on the BJP workers in Pune, all happening on Tuesday.

The Lok Sabha was rocked immediately after an obituary references on death of former Gujarat MP Shanti Bhai Patel as the BJP and Shiv Sena members walked into the well shouting slogans. The Samajwadi Party members too joined him in solidarity to protest the police firing on farmers in Pune.

Some held placards of "Dismiss the Maharashtra government which fired on farmers." Three persons, including a woman and a child, were reportedly killed in the Police action in Pune. Others, including its youth wing president Anurag Thakur, displayed newspaper clippings carrying reports of the lathi-charge on those participating in a protest march to Parliament and claimed 40 youths were injured.

After both the Houses were adjourned for the day, Parliamentary minister Bansal shared the government's worry that it is totally in dark on what the Opposition wants. The main opposition BJP agreed on smooth running of Parliament and in turn the government is ready for discussion on any issues it wants, but still nothing is moving.

He wondered if the BJP wants to keep relevance of Parliament or not as the government finds itself helpless if it springs up new issues, not allowing completion of even the discussions it sought as it happened in Tuesday when the BJP-sponsored discussion on the Commonwealth Games (CWG) was disrupted by the party MPs themselves.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011




By R Rajagopalan

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Tuesday approved
extension of two years to Dr D Subba Rao as Governor of Reserve Bank of India
Extension in view of stability in fae of global markets crisis. Subba Rao was to retire 
on September 5, 2011 This move is to give industry a confidence about Govt 
stability to tackle crisis and insulate Indian markets. Subba Rao is an IAS officer 
of 1972 batch of Andhra Pradesh cadre. 


Monday, August 8, 2011


8 Aug 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: The Government and ruling Congress on Monday turned guns on the Media and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) even as the Bhartiya Janata Party-led Opposition battered them and forced the shut-down of Parliament demanding Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's ouster.

The Government was on backfoot on the CWG scams coming to haunt it again after the CAG gave its report, while the Opposition moved privileges against it for trying to feed "half truth" to Parliament through its sports minister after the leaked CAG findings cast shadow on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Opposition jumped into well in both the Houses and did not allow them to function as it insisted on removal of Dikshit after the CAG indictment of her government for irregularities in creation of facilities the Commonwealth Games (CWG) while the government insisted that adverse references to her role in certain contracts is "no indictment" warranting her resignation.

The BJP also moved privileged motions in both the Houses against Sports Minister Ajay Maken for a misleading statement last Tuesday to show as if arrested Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi was made the CWG organising committee chairman because of the wrongs of the BJP-led NDA government and it was a fait accomplie for the UPA government.

Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who gave the privilege notice in the Lok Sabha, quoted extensively from the CAG report tabled on Friday to nail Maken for revealing some facts and suppressing others. His another motion was to suspend question hour and immediately discuss the CAG findings.

Congress spokesman Manish Tewari, however, chose to question the CAG itself for overstepping its role as the financial watchdog under Article 149 and the 1971 CAG Act in commenting upon the process of appointment and trying to implicate the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) under Dr Manmohan Singh on how arrested Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi became the chairman of the CWG organising committee.

He wondered whether it is "intentional omission or oversight" or choosing to overlook two events on the part of the CAG to selectively refer to documents to fault the PMO on Kalmadi's appointment. The events he referred to had taken place in September and December 2003 during the NDA regime in the Cabinet approving the host city contract and the Delhi Government, the Centre nd Kalmadi signing the contract.

There was pandemonium in both the Houses right from the start, with the opposition members crowding in the well demanding Sheila Dikshit's head. The members in the well even before the Deputy Speaker took the chair at noon after one adjournment and he was forced to adjourn for the day after letting papers laid amid pandemonium. The same scenario was witnessed in the Rajya Sabha that gave a miss to the question hour and then adjourned for the day.

Even while confrontation between the government and the BJP escalated, an exercise was on between them to save the truce they entered only last week to allow Parliament to function and clear the financial business like insurance and banking bills as also laws on new direct and indirect taxes that are hanging fire. Sinha said an offer has come from the government but refused to share it with the media until the NDA takes a view on it. "We are interested in debates and functioning of Parliament and not deadlock," he said.

SONI, SIBAL & SALMAN: The government later chose to go into a media bashing drive at a press conference addressed jointly by Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal and Law Minister Salman Khurshid, particularly hitting at the electronic media going overboard and pleading to stop flaring up issues with false claims and without proofs. The TV media is concocting facts for the sake of their TRP to attract more advertisements, Soni alleged.

Sibal said one-sided reporting of events is dangerous for democracy and wanted the media to look for self-regulatory mechanism to stop sensationalising sensitive legislative and executive processes. Salman said the government was not shying away from discussing the CAG report, but there is a procedure that first the PAC examines it and then Parliament discusses it.

All three insisted that nobody in "high office", be it the PM or Sheila Dikshit, have been indicted in the CAG report to justify the way the BJP is demanding action. The government will take a stand only after the PAC has examined the report and it cannot be made to jump the gun, they insisted. "There is no indictment of anyone in the high office, leave aside that of Sheila Dikshit," Soni and Sibal affirmed, pointing out that adverse references in the report do not constitute any indictment.

Congress spokesman Tewari at a separate press conference chided the BJP that after shedding blood in Karnataka, it is trying to take blood in Delhi and not understanding that the Lokayukt report against its then chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and the CAG's CWG report are altogether different.

It is the function of the PAC to examine the CAG reports and if the CAG reports are to be taken on their face value for the government to take action, the BJP will have to answer why it did not act against its chief ministers in Uttarakhand and Gujarat despite the CAG censures, Tewari affirmed.

The CAG had unearthed misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 44 crores in the Maha Kumbh by the "Hindutva" party in power in Uttarakhand while Chief Minister Narendra Modi blocked the legislative process of submission of the PAC report for the past many years after it found weight in the CAG establishing corruption to the tune of Rs 500 crores in the state government's Sujlam, Suflam programme. The CAG also indicted his government for huge losses causes to the Gujarat electricity corporation, the Congress spokesman pointed out.


Sunday, August 7, 2011



Members, Rajya Sabha to raise a discussion on the situation arising out of the problems being faced by Sri Lankan Tamils, has been  admitted under Rule 177 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya  Sabha provisionally for Thursday, the  11th August, 2011.Notice received from Shri D. Raja, Shri M.P. Achuthan, Shri Syed Azeez Pasha, Dr. V. Maitreyan, Shri N. Balaganga, Shri A. Elavarasan,   Shri Tiruchi Siva, Shri S. Thangavelu, Smt. Vasanthi Stanley, Dr. K.P. Ramalingam, Shri S.S. Ahluwalia, Shri Vikram Verma and  Dr. Manohar Joshi, ENDS