Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Raj Thackeray backs FDI in retail, demands jobs only for locals

Mumbai, Sep 18 (IANS) Expressing full support to FDI in retail,Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray Tuesday demanded that local people must be given employment by MNCs opening shop here.
"We are fully with the policy (FDI in retail), as it will createemployment opportunities for the people. But, the MNCs must give jobs to locals," Thackeray told media persons here.
He warned that the MNS would not permit the MNCs and retail giants to give jobs to migrants under any circumstances "otherwise, they will have to bear the consequences".
The MNS chief also attacked the National Democratic Alliance(NDA) for calling a nationwide shutdown Thursday on grounds that it clashed with the 10-day Ganeshotsav festival starting all over Maharashtra the same day.
"When it was well known that the one and half day Ganpati immersion celebrations are due Thursday, what was the need to call for the nationwide shutdown that day," Thackeray demanded.
The MNS and Shiv Sena - the latter a constituent of the NDA - have excused themselves from joining the shutdown as it will hit the Ganeshotsav celebrations in the state.
However, both parties have strongly opposed the recent hike in prices of diesel and cooking gas which, they said, will hit the common man hard.
Home Minister R.R. Patil last night appealed to the NDA constituents in the state not to enforce shutdown in the state in view of the state's biggest festival starting Thursday.
"They can submit memorandum of their demands to district collectorates or other government offices and express their opposition in a democratic manner instead of enforcing shutdown," he said.

Mamata withdraws support to UPA government


TMC ministers will submit their resignation to the PM on Friday.

Kolkata: The wait to know whether Trinamool Congress, the second largest constituent of the 40-month old UPA government would remain a part of the government is finally over.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee announced that the party will withdraw its support to the UPA government. She said TMC ministers will submit their resignation to the Prime Minister on Friday.

In a press conference in Kolkata, Mamata said she tried her best to make things work with the UPAgovt but finally came to a decision leave because "the way they function is not acceptable". She said the Congress does not consult allies and that they function on their own.

The TMC is protesting against the FDI in retail, diesel price rise and a cap on cylinder that the govt announced last week. She rules out outside support to the government. "We gave the Congress enough time to rethink their decision", she said.

With the UPA in minority, all eyes are on Mulayam's SP and Mayawati's BSP. Upon being asked if theSamajwadi Party will take their place in the govt, she said the SP's leadership will be the ones to take the call. As far as she is concerned, she will fight alone. She said, "we will fight our battle alone".

However, Mamata didn't give a clear answer as to what their future plan of action is. She said she may rethink her decision if there is a partial rollback.

Soon after her press conference, Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi spoke to the media very briefly and said the party is ready to reach out to her and discuss the issues she's raised.

Meanwhile, the BJP is unwilling to comment on her decision to quit. Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said they will wait till Friday to see how the situation unfolds.

The meeting was attended by all Trinamool members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha along with senior party leaders and ministers of the state cabinet, is being held at the historic Town Hall auditorium.

Mamata on Saturday warned that her party planned to take a "hard decision" if the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government did not roll back the twin decisions of FDI in retail anddiesel price hike within 72 hours. The deadline ended Monday without any rollback.

The government Monday ruled out a roll back of its decisions to open up the retail industry and hike diesel prices even as some of its allies and an united opposition tested its resolve and promised more policy initiatives in the coming days.

"To my knowledge there is no question of any rollback (of diesel price hike)," Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said

Asked whether the government has risked its stability, he said, "I do not think government faces any threat. Government is stable. Our allies in the government and outside will understand and continue their support to the government. We will be able to convince our allies."

Last week, the government allowed FDI in multi-brand retail, raised diesel prices by Rs. 5 a litre and capped the number of subsidised LPG cylinders at six a year.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

NSUI bags 3 of 4 DUSU posts, cheers up Congress


NEW DELHI: Giving the beleaguered Congresssomething to smile about, its students wing - National Students Union of India (NSUI) - has bagged three of the four posts in the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU). The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJP's face on the campus, barely managed a tie with NSUI for joint secretary.

Neither the cloud of corruption, nor the hike in diesel prices seemed to have made any difference. Registering one of its best wins in recent times, NSUI claimed the posts of president, vice-president and secretary in the results declared on Saturday.

The first major victory of NSUI since its clean sweep in 2007 showed up the ABVP as a bad loser. Its activists went berserk on the campus and indulged in vandalism, alleging rigging, forcing the police to lathi-charge them. The ABVP has now called for an indefinite bandh from Monday if the authorities fail to order a probe into the results.

Arun Hooda of NSUI, a student of Law Centre-I, defeated his closest rival of the ABVP, Ankit Dhananjay Choudhary, by a margin of 5,465 for the post of DUSU president. Hooda said he would work to improve the basic infrastructure in the varsity.

Focus on campus issues did the trick

After NSUI won three of the four posts in the Delhi University Students Union beating the ABVP on Saturday, its spokesperson Amrish Ranjan Pandey said the "saffron safaya" had happened primarily because they concentrated on DU issues. "We worked towards improving the campus life of students and fought for their rights. The photocopy issue also struck a chord with the students," he said.

NSUI's candidate from Campus Law Centre for the DU vice-president's post, Varun Khari, won by a margin of 4,475 while Varun Chaudhary won the post of secretary by a margin of 2,617. For the post of joint secretary, there is a tie between Raveena Choudhary of NSUI and Vishu Basoya of ABVP, the first in DUSU elections ever - each has polled 13,164 votes.

With ABVP left licking its wounds after one of its worst defeats, there are warning bells ringing for the BJP. In the previous two DUSU elections, ABVP had won three posts and even the Congress - as admitted by chief minister Sheila Dikshit - didn't expect this spectacularperformance.

"Despite so many adverse factors like corruption and price rise, if ABVP loses like this, it's time for the BJP to do some serious introspection. We are facing big elections soon. All factors are against the government and still we lose. Probably the poll managers and candidates failed to put up relevant issues among students. The senior leadership should have been involved instead of putting relatively unknown faces in charge of the elections," said Delhi BJP vice-president Poonam Azad, indicating dissensions within the party.

NSUI considers this to be one of its biggest wins. "Our efforts to address issues directly impacting DU students have paid off," said national vice-president of NSUI, Bharat Kumar.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

BJP misleading nation with lies, says Congress

Lucknow, Sep 12 (IANS) Under attack for alleged irregularities in coal block allocations, the Congress Wednesday charged theBharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with "misleading the nation with a bunch of lies".
The BJP had mastered the art of gossip and rumour mongering and it was no surprise that it was spreading canard against the UPA II government over coal block allotments, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.
"They had accused the Congress of forcibly sterilising young men and senior citizens during Emergency, they had charged the late Rajiv Gandhi with getting kickbacks in the Bofors gun deal... this is their style of creating hype on non-issues," Azad said.
With Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh next to him, Azad went on to accuse the BJP of making attempts to destabilise the country.
"BJP is running away from truth as its chief ministers are involved in recommending allocation of coal blocks," Azad said.
He said he had not seen such undemocratic behaviour by any opposition party in his entire political career.
The BJP, he said, was creating hype around false allegations to gain mileage in the forthcoming elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
Digvijay Singh added that the BJP government in Chhattisgarh was helping a close aide of its national president Nitin Gadkari while allotting a coal block at throwaway prices.
"Coal block allotments have been strictly state government recommendations. Will the Chhattisgarh government explain why a single bid tender of SRS Infrastructure, a company owned by a close Gadkari aide, was accepted by the Chhattisgarh Mining Development Corp?" he asked.
--Indo-Asian News Servoce

'Kidnapped' man challenges Dimple Yadav's election to Lok Sabha

Lucknow, Sep 12 (IANS) The election of Dimple Yadav, wife of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, to the Lok Sabha fromKannauj has been challenged in the Allahabad High Court by a man who says he was kidnapped to prevent him from contesting.
Hearing a petition filed by lawyer Prabhat Kumar Pandey, Justice D.P. Singh Tuesday issued notice to Yadav and the Kannauj districtmagistrate seeking a response within six weeks.
The petitioner alleged that he wanted to contest against Dimple Yadav in the Kannauj by-polls, but workers and activists of theSamajwadi Party (SP) kidnapped him at the behest of Dimple Yadav. As a result, he could not file his nomination, the lawyer claimed.
Pandey further told the court in his petition that he brought the matter to the notice of the district magistrate, but the official refused to come to his aid.
Demanding that the election of Dimple Yadav be cancelled and fresh elections for the Kannauj Lok Sabha seat be held, the petitioner has also sought action against the district magistrate for neglecting her duties.
Seeking a response from the Kannauj Member of Parliament and the district magistrate within six weeks, the HC fixed November 5 as the next date of hearing.
The 35-year-old Dimple Yadav was elected to the Lok Sabha unopposed June 9 after two contestants in Kannauj - Dashrath Singh Shankwar of the Sanyukt Samajwadi Dal and Sanju Katiyar, an independent - withdrew from the race, leaving Dimple Yadav the lone candidate in the fray.
While the BSP and the Congress refused to field a candidate, the BJP made a last-minute decision to contest, but its nominee failed to file the papers within the deadline.
Dimple Yadav was earlier been fielded by the Samajwadi Party from Firozabad in the 2009 Lok Sabha election. She then lost to Raj Babbar of Congress, the Bollywood actor who was formerly in the Samajwadi Party.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

India's richest political parties

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Thackeray bats for Sushma Swaraj as PM, BJP says decision later

Mumbai/New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) Shiv Sena chief Bal ThackeraySunday expressed admiration for BJP leader Sushma Swaraj and termed her best suited to becoming the next prime minister but her party played down his remarks and said any such decision would be taken at an appropriate time.
Thackeray said in the third part of his marathon four-part interview published in the party mouthpiece "Saamna" Sunday that Sushma Swaraj was the most suited leader for the top post.
"Presently, she is the most suited to the top post. I think she will make a dashing prime minister," he said.
"There is a long queue for the post of prime minister. Only Sushma (Swaraj) is deserving, intelligent and could make an excellent choice for prime minister," Thackeray said, seeming to curb hopes of other aspirants from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) like Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar or Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Thackeray's comments, which seem to indicate his party would not favour Modi as NDA's prime ministerial candidate, come after similar sentiments from Janata Dal-United.
Modi is among BJP leaders along with Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and party chief Nitin Gadkari who are seen in party circles as potential prime ministerial candidates. Party veteran Lal Krishna Advanihas also not ruled himself out.
Reacting to Thackeray's remarks, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was a matter of joy that the BJP had several leaders who were capable of being prime minister and Sushma Swaraj, who is leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, was one of them.
"It is matter of joy for us that there are leaders who are capable, acceptable for the post of prime minister and who are effective... Party will take a decision in consultation with NDA and announce it at an appropriate time," Naqvi told IANS.
Party leader Balbir Punj also welcomed Thackeray's remarks and took a dig at the Congress, saying BJP was not dependent on a single family for its existence.
BJP leaders privately expressed surprise over the timing of Thackeray's pitch for Sushma Swaraj and said it was possibly the first time an ally has openly backed a party leader for the prime minister's post.
If other allies also comment openly about their choice, the party may be forced to settle the leadership issue earlier than expected, they said, adding the BJP has also to factor in possibility of Rahul Gandhi emerging as Congress' possible candidate in 2014.
The Congress, however, hit out at the BJP over the perceived jostling among senior leaders to emerge as prime ministerial candidate.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the NDA "suffers from malady of anointing prime mnisters without waiting for people's verdict" and urged BJP not to count its chickens before they hatch.
Thackeray also neatly side-stepped Advani's recent musings that the country's next government would be formed by a non-United Progressive Alliance (UPA), non-NDA front.
"He (Advani) is nine months younger than me. Though I am senior to him and I have a right, I find it difficult to say anything against him. What can we expect from persons like him? Wonder why he said such a thing... Let it be," Thackeray said, trailing off.
He also dismissed other third front aspirants like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Sharad Pawar or Jayalalithaa, saying they only wanted the 'chair' and none of them had made any significant contribution to the nation.