March 19, 2012
CPI(M) today termed as "drama" the resignation of Dinesh Trivedi as Railway Minister, saying the episode reflected badly on the functioning of UPA and his
party Trinamool Congress.
Alleging that the Union Budget will result in all-round price rise and imposition of greater burdens on the working people, the party asked its units to protest against these new burdens imposed by the budget and mobilise people to demand that such provisions be scrapped.
"The drama of the resignation of Dinesh Trivedi as Railway Minister after the presentation of the Railway Budget reflects badly on the Trinamool Congress and the functioning of the UPA government.
Mamata Banerjee tells CNN IBN that the railway budget is not a reformist budget.
Dinesh Trivedi says it took 10 seconds for him to resign.
Mamata Banerjee wants the creation of a coordination committee if UPA2 has to survive for another two years, the West Bengal CM told our correspondent at the Central Hall of Parliament today.
She said she does NOT want immediate polls, but hinted that if UPA2 failed to live up to people's expectations, she was not averse to an early election be it in 2012 or 2013.
She also indicated that she would discuss the upcoming presidential elections with Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh during her next visit to the capital.
The WB chief minister said she was happy that two of her choices were getting into the union cabinet at 10 am tomorrow. PM wrote to the President that Mukul Roy would be given cabinet berth, while Ratna De would be joining as MOS Shipping under GK Vasan.
Mamata Banerjee has also indicated that the hike in the lower class fares proposed by him in the Railway budget may be rolled back. Another Trinamool leader and currently Union Minister of Shipping Mukul Roy is scheduled to be sworn in as the new Railway Minister in the rank of a Cabinet minister.
"If our nominee will become Railway Minister then we will modify the fares. There is no problem in the hike in upper class fares. We have no objection...it is tolerable. "But for those who are poor, who travel daily in trains or those who travel in sleeper classes, it matters," she said
"Whatever we do, the common people should not suffer. This is our policy. In railways there is no travel for a distance of mere one km or two km distance. It is always more than 100 km or so in urban areas for people who go to office daily. If you count those two paisa per km then it willcome to a good amount," she said.
"Common people travel in sleeper classes. Whatever we do the common people should not suffer. This is our policy," the West Bengal Chief Minister said.
WB CM Mamata Banerjee in an interview to CNN IBN says the TMC will quit the UPA if humiliated, but the party does not want to topple the government.
Defending her decision to sack Dinesh Trivedi, she says he had kept the party in the dark on the fare hike and it was her right to name the railway minister and the Congress could not interfere.
The Congress-led UPA has a better chance of winning the 2012 Presidential election if it fields a candidate "more acceptable" and beyond party line, but
regional parties like the SP, AIADMK and BSP would play an important role, an analysis by a think-tank says. An analysis by the Centre for Media Studies says no national party can get its nominee elected in July elections without the support of regional parties which account for a quarter of nearly 11 lakh electorate.
It says the UPA has not got the numbers on its own to get its candidate elected, but it has a better chance to mobilise support by having a "more acceptable and much beyond party line candidate."
Faced with pressures from its allies the JD(U) and the JMM, the BJP has relented and given up its demand of fielding its full share of candidates for
Rajya Sabha from Bihar and Jharkhand, and also denied a ticket to its Deputy Leader in the Upper House S S Ahluwalia for another term.
The BJP wanted to contest three of the vacant seats for Rajya Sabha in Bihar. However, ally the JD(U) insisted on allowing only two seats to the party and has fielded former minister Vashist Narain Singh as its candidate. As a consequence, the BJP has fielded its general secretaries Ravi Shankar Prasad and Dharmendra Pradhan from Bihar. Ahluwalia has been denied a ticket for another term, party sources said today.
Though Ahluwalia, a former Congressman, did not have "many friends" in the BJP, he was "useful" in the Rajya Sabha for "effectively" taking on the government due to his experience about parliamentary practices and tactics as well as his "rapport" with the Congress leaders, they said.
The sources said Bihar unit BJP leaders tried to convince Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to give it the third seat but he did not budge. Later, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, who has a good equation with Kumar, also made an effort but to no avail, they said.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said inflation will fluctuate for a couple of months and will stabilise after that. "Couple of months there will be fluctuations (in inflation) ... So I do hope that after couple of months it will stabilise," he told reporters after chairing the RBI's Central Board Meeting here.
Mukherjee, however, added that inflation will not come down drastically to 4-4.5 per cent.
"It would be around 6.5 per cent to 7 per cent for the year as a whole, he said. On the food inflation, he said steps have been taken to address the supply constraints of major agricultural products and they are constantly being reviewed.
Five-times world amateur boxing champion MC Mary Kom cracks a smile when she recalls the phone call from her father ordering her back to the village to explain herself.
Read the reuters report.
The Chinese Communist Party's takedown of party boss Bo Xilai shows just exactly how much talk about "democracy" it's willing to listen to.
Read the report on the Foreign Policy.
Like a pesky ghost that won't be exorcized, Jawaharlal Nehru's nonalignment policy continues to hover over India's foreign relations. Later this month, New Delhi will host its first BRICS summit, an oddball gathering of authoritarian and democratic nations united only by regional heft and implicit opposition to the US-led international order.
Read the report on the Foreign Policy
Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav today said strict action could be initiated against ministers if any celebratory firing takes place during their felicitation.
"The ministers involved in such an act creating inconvenience to people will not be tolerated. We will take strict action against those ministers and they can even be removed (from the ministry)," he said.
A young boy was killed during celebratory firing allegedly by Samajwadi supporters after the party candidate's victory in Sambhal area. About following Gujarat and Bihar style of governance, Yadav said no government was ideal and he would ensure that SP government in the state could set an example before others.
Elections have just concluded in several states and with general elections to follow in 2014, almost every conceivable issue in the entire country has been emotionally and politically charged to very high voltages.
Personalities on either side of the political divide are attempting to develop controversies on all possible issues to extract whatever mileage can be squeezed out of it. But what is new and disturbing this time around is that even matters pertaining to core issues of national security like the proposed National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) have come into the zone of political crossfire.
A century of centuries. Sachin Tendulkar finally achieved the landmark that had eluded him for more than a year '" that of one hundred international centuries. The landmark knock, however, came amid a loss, as Bangladesh pulled off a dramatic upset and infused life into an otherwise dull Asia Cup. Unfortunately for the success-starved Bangladesh cricket team, the incredible milestone achieved by man known as Little Master overshadowed their win.
Read more on the WSJ
A brave new voice has sounded in the assembly elections of 2012. The voice of the Indian voter that has thundered out from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur, is a voice both modern and rational and contains pointers for the future
TMC Parliamentary Party to meet at Mukul Roy's house at 7 pm today.
Tender coconut water is to be the official drink of Kerala. Announcing this while presenting the annual budget for 2012-13 in the State Assembly on Monday, Finance Minister KM Mani said that the government also proposes to implement an integrated coconut development project with assistance from the Coconut Development Board.
Asma al-Assad, the British-born wife of Syria's president, told a friend that she was the "real dictator' in the family, according to leaked emails that suggest she holds a cherished place in the leader's inner circle.
Read more on the Telegraph, UK
Right now, PM Dr Manmohan Singh is meeting West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and the next union railway minister Mukul Roy. Roy, who has replaced Dinesh Trivedi, will be sworn in tomorrow.
Thanks to some heavy airbrushing, the Ghost star appears to have erased the gaunt look she has been sporting since her split from Two And A Half Men star Ashton Kutcher, 34, last November. Demi, 49, is the face of cosmetics giant Helena Rubenstein, and these pics prove she is moving on after a stint in rehab, reports the Sun.
Disapproving of her Bihar counterpart's remarks that the city will come to a halt if Biharis stop working, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today wondered why such statements were being made as people from across the country live here.
"Delhi is a metropolitan city. Here people from Jammu and Kashmir to Kerala to Tamil Nadu to Bihar to Uttar Pradesh to Haryana live here. The city belongs to everyone. I don't know why such statements are being made when people are not going (out of the city)," she said today.
She was responding to a question on Kumar's statement at a function here yesterday that Delhi would come to an halt if Biharis stop working for a day.
Rippling his muscles and flashing a toothless grin a former Mr Universe known as the 'Pocket Hercules' celebrates his 100th birthday. And what has been the key to long life for the super-fit centenarian who has battled poverty, a stint in prison and a minor stroke - not taking life too seriously. The diminutive Manohar Aich, who is 4ft 11ins tall, overcame many hurdles to achieve his body building glory.
Read the story on the Daily Mail.
Still the Iron Lady: Dignified, elegant - and in remarkably good spirits. A unique portrait of Baroness Thatcher ...
The pictures on the Daily Mail
Details on the Tamil Nadu nod for Kudankulam.
Seeking to end the impasse over the Kudankulam nuclear plant issue, the Jayalalilthaa government in Tamil Nadu today gave the go ahead to the controversial project and announced a Rs 500 crore special development
package for the area where it is located.
"In accordance with (today's) cabinet decision, immediate steps will be taken (to facilitate commissioning) of the plant," Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said in a statement, breaking her silence over the issue. She also sought the cooperation of political parties and all concerned to immediately resume work at the plant in Tirunelveli district, stalled following protests since September 2011, spearheaded by the People's Movement against Nuclear Energy.
Mulayam Singh Yadav comes clean: Says there is no question of joining the UPA government. Congress has not invited us to join. No talks of a third front as of now.
This comes after the SP bailed out the government over the NCTC amendment moved by the BJP, BJD and the Left in Parliament today.
The media meet in Lucknow ends.
Update on the US soldier who went on a killing spree in Afghanistan shooting down 16 people, including children and then burning their bodies.
A aliban leader has said: "We want this soldier to be prosecuted in Afghanistan, and according to Islamic law. The Afghans should prosecute him."
Read the report on the Daily Beast
Swami Agnivesh today offered to mediate between Maoists and the Odisha government for the release of two Italians taken hostage by the Left extremists.
Appealing to the Maoists not to harm the Italians, he said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should take an active role in the negotiation process.
"I offer to mediate between the two sides for the release of two hostages," Agnivesh, who has in the past mediated between the government and Maoists. He said it was for the first time that the Maoists have targeted foreign nationals.
Children are reported to be among at least three people killed in a shooting outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, south-west France, reports the bbc.
Witnesses told French media that one adult and two children were among the dead. They said a man opened fire on people waiting at a school drop-off point and then fled on a scooter. It comes days after three soldiers were shot dead by a man on a scooter in the same part of France.
The government today came under sharp attack from the Opposition for the poor attendance of members of the ruling coalition in Rajya Sabha during the
debate on Motion of Thanks to the President's Address, with BJP calling it a "mockery".
Resenting the low turn out of UPA members during the debate, S S Ahluwalia (BJP) said only four of the 70 members from the treasury benches were present. P J Kurien, who was in the Chair tried to pacify the senior BJP leader pointing out that two Union ministers were present and more members would be coming.
"It is a mockery. It never happened. Normally the Leader of the House is present. Where is the mover of the motion? Where is the seconder of the motion. The motion has been moved by the Government and it (the poor attendance) shows the importance being given to the motion," Ahluwalia said.
So, the BJP, BJD and the Left's motion on amendments to NCTC were defeated.
The PM finally speaks in Parliament on the President's address in the Lok Sabha.
BSP and Trinamool abstain from voting.
And the NCTC may yet live to see light of day.
In other news:
Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda today rejected the B S Yeddyurappa camp's demand for convening a legislature party meeting within 48 hours, saying it would be called only after presentation of the budget.
"I have not received any request from anybody to call for a meeting of the legislature party", Gowda told reporters, adding, he would convene it only after the budget (slated to be presented on Mar 21).
The budget session begins tomorrow. The Yeddyurappa camp yesterday set a 48-hour deadline on convening the legislature party meeting, where they want to
formally elect him as the leader facilitating his reinstatement as Chief Minister.
Sushma Swaraj says arrogance is the reason behind the UPA government's downfall. CMs opposing the NCTC include, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Bihar, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh.
CPM says the government is assaulting federalism and NCTC is an imposition
Read on rediff.com: Why India needs the National Counter Terrorism Centre
Chaos in the LS as BJP moves NCTC amendment.
DMK supremo M Karunanidhi welcomes the PM's statement on the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka.
PM: We fully share concerns of Tamils in Sri Lanka
India will vote against Sri Lanka.
Normalcy returning to Tamil areas of Lanka.
Need reconciliation, healing of wounds of Tamils.
No decision till final UN draft
PM: Our government gives high priority to agriculture and as a result the growth of the sector has been highest during last 5 years.
PM on NCTC: I promised Chief Ministers to consult them on internal security. A meeting will be held with them on April 16.
PM Dr Manmohan Singh addresses Parliament.
In Parliament today, Pranab Mukherjee pointed out that after the presentation of the Union Budget the Lok Sabha was adjourned till today. He said the government has informed the House of the developments at the earliest opportunity available. Earlier, Speaker Meira Kumar disallowed notices given by Yashwant Sinha (BJP), Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) and Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) for suspension of Question Hour to discuss the issue.
Dasgupta had given a notice for suspension of Question Hour, but the Speaker pointed out that it can be allowed only when there was a Motion being discussed in the House. She, however, allowed the three members to make brief submissions.
It seems fortune plotted against Pranab Mukherjee to rob him of his thunder on budget day this year. As if the disastrous state election showing wasn't enough, the Dinesh Trivedi-Mamata Banerjee drama, with Trivedi turning into an unlikely hero overnight with his bolder-than-expected Railway Budget, came as an added show-stealer. But the biggest blow of all for Pranab-da was Sachin Tendulkar's hundredth century, bang on Budget Day, over a year after the Master Blaster scored his last hundred.
I have been thinking a lot about S Mukherji , the founder of Filmalaya and one of the major influences in my career. I was witness to the care and love he lavished on his son Joy Mukherjee. He wanted to see Joy scale great heights as a star. It was not just a loving father's desire to see his son shine as a star on the screen; it was the conviction of the man who had spotted, groomed and launched some of the more adored stars of Hindi cinema besides writers, directors, technicians, singers and composers.
Mamata Banerjee has prevailed yet again and is tallying a pretty good score against this Congress-led coalition government. The mercurial chief minister of West Bengal insisted that her own colleague from the Trinamool Congress party, Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi, resign from the Cabinet for proposing to increase train fares.
Maoists, who took hostage two Italians in Kandhamal district, were yet to respond today to the Odisha government's offer of negotiations even as the
deadline set by the ultras was presumed to have been extended.
"The state government is yet to receive a response from the abductors of the two Italians. The chief minister has made it clear that we are open to any kind of negotiation under the law," Home Secretary U N Behera said. Though the deadline set by the abductors for their 13-point demands including immediate halt to combing operations and release of some leaders and tribals ended last evening, it was presumed to have been extended, a senior official said.
Indicating that the government was adopting a wait and watch approach, he said, "Since the government has made an offer of talks the deadline is understood to have been extended. A response from the kidnappers is awaited."
'Though there were reports that combing operations in Maoist-hit areas by the security forces had been halted, the home secretary said no formal order has been issued for stopping them.
The situation was being monitored constantly by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and top officials to resolve the hostage crisis and ensure their release, sources said. The Italians, Bosusco Paolo, a tour operator in Puri and tourist Claudio Colangelo, were trekking along the Ganjam-Kandhamal border, when they were kidnapped by Maoists on Saturday.
They had driven down from Puri and had entered a forested area inspite of being warned by the Daringibadi police about Maoists. A driver and cook who were accompanying them and their vehicle were released by the Maoists subsequently.
Imagine Pranab Mukherjee standing up in the Lok Sabha last Friday and announcing he was shunting the mainline national rural employment guarantee scheme into the junkyard. Amidst the thunder of jubilantly thumped Opposition desks, Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi would have lost no time in shunting him right out of the marshalling yard of active politics.
From the Trinamul Congress's point of view, Dinesh Trivedi committed a comparable act of heresy. Higher railway fares may be necessary but the rise derailed the propaganda of a party with a one-track mind, and that mind its chief's.
The opinion piece on the Telegraph, Kolkata
As India decides whether to back moves by the US to pressure Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes, it has to decide whether threats by the DMK to quit the government over the issue is just a bluff.
Read Tom Wright's report for the Wall Street Journal.
In other news:
Fidel Castro had prior knowledge that US President John F Kennedy was about to be killed, according to a new book by retired CIA analyst. Rumours about the Cuban leader's involvement in a plot to murder his fierce adversary have swirled for almost half a century since communist sympathiser Lee Harvey Oswald shot the US president during a trip to Dallas in November 1963.
Now author Brian Latell, who studied Cuban affairs as a CIA analyst in the 1960s and later became the agency's chief intelligence officer for Latin America, says he is certain that Castro at least knew the attack was going to happen.
The Trinamool Congress today ruled out any action against Dinesh Trivedi, who resigned as Railway Minister, saying that he has been asked to attend the
parliamentary party meeting which party chief Mamata Banerjee is expected to attend.
"No. He has been asked to attend the Parliamentary Party meeting," Trinamool leader Sudip Bandhopadhyay said. He was asked whether Trinamool will take any action against Trivedi. He said the Prime Minister's Office had called Trivedi yesterday and asked him to tender his resignation.
Asked when would Banerjee's nominee Mukul Roy take over as Railway Minister, he said the decision will be taken at the Parliamentary Party meeting.
The Prime Minister will reply to the President's address in the Lok Sabha today.
The government is also likely to announce Dinesh Trivedi's resignation in Parliament.
1. Obituary Reference
2. Supplementary Demands for Grants (General) 2011-12
3. Motion of Thanks on the President's Address
4. General discussion on Railways Budget 2012-13
5. Discussion on situation arising out of widespread discontentment among working class due to faulty government policies
1. Supplementary Demands for Grants (General) 2011-12
2. Motion of Thanks on the President's Address
3. General discussion on Railways Budget 2012-13
Dinesh Trivedi, who resigned as Railway Minister over the Rail Budget, and Trinamool boss Mamata Banerjee will come face-to-face today for the firsttime after he incurred the wrath of the party for hiking passenger fares.Trivedi said he will be participating in the Trinamool Congress Parliamentary Party meeting in New Delhi which will be attended by the West Bengal Chief Minister. Mamata yesterday said she will be meeting her party MPs today.
"I would be going. Mamata has invited me and certainly I am still a member of Trinamool Congress. so I certainly will be attending," he said when asked by reporters whether he will attend the meeting.Trivedi said he is not meeting anybody when asked whether he will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
"I have done my duty and I am happy," he said. Trivedi resigned yesterday ending his defiance and bringing to an end a five-day drama after testing the nerves of the Trinamool supremo over the Railway Budget presented byhim last Wednesday.
Good morning. With Dravidian parties mounting pressure on Centre to support a resolution in UNHRC against Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has said the government will study the draft of the
resolution and consult Tamil MPs before taking a call.
The DMK has given a notice for discussion of the Lanka issue in Parliament.
"The minister is concerned over human rights. Once draft of the resolution is made, India will study it and consult MPs and take a call," official sources said. "Krishna is giving importance to views of MPs from Tamil Nadu," they said. Parties in Tamil Nadu want the government to support the resolution.
AIADMK and DMK had disrupted proceedings in Parliament last week to press their demand for supporting US-sponsored resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) based in Geneva. The resolution against Sri Lanka moved by the US, France, and Norway is scheduled to be taken up on March 23 in the UNHRC meeting.
Crisis in Karnataka BJP, Yeddyurappa revolts (The Times of India)
With 55 MLAs on his side, BS Yeddyurappa has set a 48-hour deadline for the party high command to reinstate him as chief minister. Read
Lanka resolution issue: DMK likely to pull out ministers from Centre (The Times of India)
Most DMK leaders wanted the party to withdraw its ministers from the Manmohan Singh ministry on Tuesday and support the government from outside. Read
Opposition may attack UPA government in Parliament (Hindustan Times)
The government is expected to face a tough time in the parliament today as it convenes for the first time after the union budget. Read
Mamata has her way, Trivedi to quit (The Hindu)
Mr. Trivedi succumbed to pressure from the party after he had a telephone conversation with Ms. Banerjee on Sunday. Read
Indian officials head to Norway for kids custody hearing (The Hindu)
Ahead of the hearing on the custody row involving two NRI children in Norway, two senior Indian officials are leaving for the country. Read
Pranab defence: Retrospective changes should not be done but...
...makes a strong case for his Budget proposal to amend the Income Tax Act. Read (Indian Express)