Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Haseena Syed withdraws her nomination from Krishnagiri


Chennai, Mar 30 : Confusion continued to reign high in the Congress camp as Haseena Syed, nominated to contest from Krishnagiri in the April 13 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, withdrew her papers today.

Like in Mylapore in the city, where TNCC President became the official candidate after the papers filed by his wife, Jayanthi Thangkabalu were rejected, Syed Zia-ul-Haq became the official candidate in Krishnagiri after his wife Haseena Syed withdrew her papers.

Ms Syed was at the centre of controversy after local partymen opposed her nomination stating that she was an outsider and the party should change the candidate.

Heeding the protests, the Congress high command had announced change of candidate, replacing her with Maqbul Jan.

As Mr Jan could not file his papers in time on the last date for filing of papers on March 26, Ms Syed remained the official candidate.

In a surprise development, she withdrew her papers today along with 16 rebel candidates, leaving the field for her hushand, who had filed his papers as a dummy candidate.

Thangkabalu's role was suspected in preventing Mr Jan from filing his papers.

The TNCC President was also accused of entering the electoral arena through the backdoor after deliberately asking his wife to file her papers without signature, so that they would be rejected.

The papers filed by Ms Jayanthi Thangkabalu were rejected, when the nominations were taken up for scrutiny on March 28. The Returning Officer said Ms Jayanthi had not signed in the two sets of nominations.

Radiation from Japan n-plant reachesBritain

London, March 29 :

Faint traces of radiation from Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant have been traced to the Scottish city of Glasgow, officials said.

The radiation was, however, "extremely low" and the Scottish government said there was no threat to public health, Sky News reported.

Traces of radioactive iodine 131 were picked up by an air sampler in the city, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency said, adding that the value of the sample was low and similar to those detected in other European countries like Iceland and Switzerland.

James Gemmill, the radioactive substances manager of the agency, said: "The concentration of iodine detected is not of concern for the public or the environment."

Britain is now collecting samples from 92 monitoring sites around the country. Air samples are checked every hour and the data is then checked by the Met Office in London for any abnormal radiation readings.

Three reactors of the Fukushima nuclear power plant blew up after the March 


Left caught in flap as leaders go slap,slap

·          DC Correspondent

A day after CPM MLA P. Jayarajan assaulted a TV reporter, Kerala’s food minister C. Divakaran, allegedly slapped a voter on Tuesday for refusing to commit his vote.
It now looks as if the acerbic election debate in Kerala is tipping over into violence as the state speeds towards the crucial poll date. The signs are there for all to see - verbal abuse and physical attacks on journalists, threats to voters and assaults on election officials. And it is mostly the ruling LDF and its leaders who are in the dock.

Mr Divakaran’s alleged assault on a voter occurred at a railway station in the southern constituency of Karunagapally in Kollam where he is seeking re-election.
“First he caught me by the collar, snatched my files and slapped me, asking which department I was working for,” said the rattled voter, Mr Sudhakaran.
He was among the morning commuters, seated on a bench at the station when Mr Divakaran walked in, with folded hands, seeking votes.

Assam: Only 8 pc women candidates in first phase

Press Trust Of India  Posted on Mar 29, 2011 at 06:54pm IST 

Guwahati: Women contestants for the first phase of assembly elections in Assam on April 4 form only 7.84 per cent of the 485 candidates in the fray. While only 38 women, nominated by political parties and as Independent candidates, are contesting, the number of male candidates is 447.

The ruling Congress and opposition BJP have nominated 10 women contestants each, while Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has put up only two women candidates. Among the other parties, NCP has given tickets to four women, Trinamool Congress and SUCI(Communist) two each and CPM one. Four women are trying their electoral luck as 
Independents in the first phase.

The current assembly has 10 women legislators in a house of 126. Among the 62 of the 126 assembly constituencies going to the polls in the first phase, Karimganj (South) has the highest number of contestants at 25 and well as having the highest number of Independents at 20. The least number of contestants are in Bokajan (ST) seat with one candidate from the Congress and the BJP and one Independent.


Muslim votes key factor in Assam's Karimganj

Posted on Mar 29, 2011 at 12:54pm IST


Muslim votes are expected to be a deciding factor in at least four of the five Assembly constituencies in south Assam's sensitive Karimganj district, bordering Bangladesh, which goes to poll on April 4 in the first phase. As many as 62 per cent of the 1,41,941-strong electorate in South Karimganj Assembly seat are Muslims and their votes will determine the outcome of the election, observers say.

The constituency is set to witness a triangular contest between sitting Congress MLA and parliamentary secretary Sidiq Ahmed, Sipra Gun, BJP nominee and vice-president of All-India Yuva Morcha, and Iqbal Hussain of the Trinamool Congress. Although Gun is virtually out of the race, Hussain, a dissident Congressman, is expected to give a stiff fight to Ahmed as he is regarded to be a strong contender by virtue of being a close confidant of minister Gautam Roy.

Hussain, after being denied a Congress ticket, joined the Trinamool. "In the last five years, I have nurtured my constituency like a mother does for her child and I am very optimistic," Hussain said.

In neighbouring Badarpur constituency, as many as 58 per cent of the 1,28,650-strong electorate are Muslims, and the race will be confined to the Congress, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and BJP nominees. Congress' Jamaluddin is pitted against AIUDF's Halauddin Choudhury and BJP's Biswarup Bhattacharjee.

The sitting MLA of Congress is Anwarul Haque and although he sought re-nomination, much to his dismay, the party decided to shift him to Borkhola constituency of neighbouring Cachar district. Promising not to harm the prospects of the Congress candidate, Haque claimed he had bright chances of sweeping the poll.

In the North Karimganj constituency, there are 48 per cent Muslims among 1,57,152 voters. Sitting BJP MLA and leader of the party's legislative
wing Ranjan Das is pitted against Kamalakhya Dev Purkayastha of Congress.

Das, sitting MLA of two years, claims to have served the people and bring local problems to be discussed on the floor of the state Assembly in his last two terms. He is also said to enjoy an edge over rival AIUDF's Abdul Mugtadif Choudhury, a former MLA and dissident Congress leader. Choudhury said on the prospect of Congress nominee Purkayastha that he "will leave no stone unturned to ensure his defeat."

The Patarkandi constituency, which has an electorate of 1,42,142, has approximately 42 per cent of Muslim voters. The front runners in the race are Congress nominee Manilal Gowala, Sukhendu Bikash Som of BJP and sitting MLA Kartik Sen Singha who is fighting as a AIUDF candidate after he was dropped from the BJP.

Singha hit headlines when he cross-voted for the Congress candidate in the Rajya Sabha election last year, prompting his suspension from the BJP. Sipra Das a local businessman ruled out any chance of Singha winning this time. "He had 'betrayed' the people when he voted for the Congress candidate," he said. The fight is expected to be confined to Gowala, Som and Moiunul Haque of the AGP, who is bound to get support from the minority community.

The Ratabari (SC) seat, regarded as a tea belt in the district, is the only one dominated by the tea garden community. Sitting Congress MLA Kripanath Malla, hailing from the tea garden community, has got a strong chance of winning over his AGP rival Moon Sarnakar and Nikhil Suklabaidya of the BJP here.

Infiltration-prone Karimganj district has a 93-kms border with Bangladesh of which about 20 kms is unmanned with no fencing at all. There are a total of 948 polling stations in the entire district of which 318 have been identified as highly sensitive.

Maharashtra may ban controversial book on Gandhi

2011-03-29 22:50:00
Last Updated: 2011-03-30 02:47:25

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Tuesday indicated that it would take steps to ban 'Great Soul - Mahatma Gandhi and his Struggles with India', penned by Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Joseph Lelyveld.
The book, authored by a former executive editor of the New York Times, reportedly has certain objectionable references to Gandhi and portrays the Father of the Nation in a poor light.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said he has already spoken to the central government on the issue.

When the issue figured in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, Industries Minister Narayan Rane said: 'The government will initiate steps to ensure that the book is not published in the state.'

'Gandhiji was a respected leader and is known as the Father of the Nation. He led the freedom movement of India,' Rane pointed out, saying the state government would write to the central government seeking a ban on its publication here.

Condemning the book, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Manikrao Thakre said it has maligned the image of Mahatma Gandhi.

'This is very serious matter that the author of the book has raised questions about the character of Gandhiji who initiated the non-violence movement. I condemn the book and it should not be made available,' Thakre said.

Council chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh said that the government should enquire into the matter in detail and take


Peace Between Wickets: A Political Game

The Indo-Pak political stasis is precisely this with subsequent governments trying to make and break records. Peace is outsourced to other areas – like cricket and the entertainment industries
by Farzana Versey
Countercurrents, March 29

They are sewing the Indian and Pakistani flags even as troops of army personnel are getting ready to protect the players and the spectators. As if the sheer disparateness of these two aspects of the cricket World Cup semi-finals was not farcical enough, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited Pakistan’s PM Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari for the March 30 match, a day after secretary-level talks between the two countries. While the Indian premier mentioned the great match that will be a “victory for sport”, the underlying business is another game.

Welcome at the border
There is a naïve belief that cricket can act as peace-maker; 6500 visas have been issued to Pakistanis to watch the match. Such moves have been made earlier by both countries. This is a subterfuge to deal with political atrophy. It is interesting that three South Asians are in the running for the cup but there is no such attempt to woo Sri Lanka, and India has a huge stake there with large numbers of its Tamil population being in refugee camps and tortured.

The Pakistan issue is important due to emotional reasons. The separated-at-birth theory would work only if we use Independence from the British as the time-frame. If that is the case, then cricket is paying obeisance to our colonial heritage. The political dimensions ought not to be lost. Indians did play a rudimentary form of sticks and stones in gulli-danda; the Raj introduced cricket, the sophisticated version with bat and ball. As a nation with the largest areas under its control and the industrial revolution giving it the aura of a true renaissance, Britain luxuriated in clubs and a game that was more epicurean than pugnacious. There wasn’t any goal to be scored; there was the stratum of runs, a set number of innings and strategic field placements. The men were dressed as gentlemen in all white.

When they brought the game to India, unlike the chess-playing nawabs who were too consumed by their passion to bother about the extending British rule, they tried to act as the traders they came in as. Cricket became political machination and the hierarchy inherent in the game helped bring in the maharajahs and the minions. The imperialists, convinced they were the superior race, made it their business to tame the tribal societies with animalistic passions and over-the-top emotions. The score card revealed less what was happening on the field than off it – a price was being extracted for such ‘friendly’ gestures.

Scene from 'Lagaan'

In the film Lagaan, the poor take up the challenge to play a game they do not know only to avoid paying the unfair taxes. They learn by watching from behind the fence, a bunch of illiterate and in different ways incapacitated men. However, and this is the huge flaw, it is the Englishwoman who helps them, a sort of Mountbatten idea that divided the villagers. Her attraction towards the rustic protagonist is a political manoeuvre. Grains as tax to be replaced by affection as tax.

Using the peace principle serves a similar context. The masters, in this case the establishment, cannot deal with diplomatic issues. The gathering of defence forces at the borders when seen from the cricketing vision would be defensive play, where the batsman goes slow in scoring to stay at the crease long. It serves to tire the opposition and also to chalk up a personal score. The Indo-Pak political stasis is precisely this with subsequent governments trying to make and break records. Peace is outsourced to other areas – like cricket and the entertainment industries. That both are commercial enterprises also adds to the trade as diplomacy element.

Mukesh Ambani and daughter at an IPL match

The semi-final match at Mohali will showcase the power of India’s corporate sector. Eight heads of business houses have sought to park their private jets at the airstrip and it is the defence ministry that is helping them. High profile politicians will be around. In keeping with India’s secular polity, there will be applause for the Pakistanis. Trivia will not fail to mention how the faithful among the opposite team offered prayers and the Indians stood by respectfully.

Sport as religion is the most political aspect of the game. It expects blind belief and the painted faces become maps of nationalistic religiosity. God is in the geography. Like religion, the State’s appeal lies in it being imposed benignly in the games sector. However, like all faiths, its identity gets more leverage with expansion. The seers propagate spiritual salvation by appearing before you on high-definition screens. Icons replace deities and rituals are easy to mimic, whether in joy or sorrow or penitence. The Confession box of the studios serves to purge guilt and clarify innocence.

Ball tampering, dope tests, kickback deals are the ugly faces of sport, but that has been made possible due to institutionalisation. Sports lend themselves to politicisation precisely because they are organised. Even the evolution in cricket has been possible because of this. Team India has the name of a business group, just as labels appear on other sports stars' costumes. The positive aspect is that games are not restricted to the arena or the gladiatorial ring and most certainly not about man against beast, as in a bull-fight. In cricket, the knee pads and helmets have made the game less bloody. It has taken survival instinct to another level that has to co-exist with the killer instinct. The latter’s role is essentially to display the country’s wares, much like nuclear weapons. And as with nuclear arms, this too is for global consumption.

In Mumbai, the supposedly most cosmopolitan place in India, a pugilistic regional party like the Shiv Sena had once dug up the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium and still holds the country captive to its threat that it will not permit Pakistan to play in the city. What does it reveal? Is it a limited viewpoint? Or is the central government letting a lesser source be in the line of fire and carry forward its own ideology and that has been reciprocated by Pakistan’s own rigid stance? Projecting a soft-focus image only hides the blemishes; it does not make them vanish.

Making a statement is an old concept. However, is it as idealistic as when teams boycott games, including the Olympics, to protest against policies of the host government or take up specific causes? Sport by its very nature is a means of getting people together. To superimpose peace over it denudes the very intent of sports and shows it up for the battle it has become.

Two-in-one flags, soppy songs and hospitality are like tinsel. They aren’t the real metal.

Cricket Ka Satta Raj. Why Betting can’t be stopped ?


                                           Ms.Haseena Sayeed: Courtesy:Facebook
By Shafee Ahmed Ko
Chennai, March 29
Ms. Haseena Syed, who was at the start announced as Congress candidate for Krishnagiri Assembly seat in Tamil Nadu, after a  reshuffle with Mr.Maqbool Jan, now  claims to be the fitting candidate to contest the impending election in Tamil Nadu.
The conundrum that Ms.Haseena Sayeed, being replaced by Mr.Maqbool Jan, who enjoyed the congress party ticket seems to have lost the road to Krishnagiri to file the nomination papers in time.
Taking benefit of the state of affairs, there seemd to have nine nominations filed, but seven being rejected, and the remaining two, Ms. Haseena Sayeed claims that she holds form “B” required for Muslim minority contestant.
“There are two Muslim Minority constituencies, out of 63 seats for the present election namely Krishnagiri, and Ramanathapuram, consequent practice of Congress Party, reserving specific constituencies for Muslim minorities  both for State Assembly polls as well as Parliamentary constituencies in every state” said Ms.Haseena Sayeed to the eveninger media.
Ms.Haseena Sayeed further said that she has the blessings of both Ms.Sonia Gandhi, and Mr.Rahul Gandhi to challenge in the forthcoming poll on April 13 in the Krishnagiri constituency.
She also referred Mr. Thangabalu Tamil Nadu Congress President is the sole cause of  entire chaos confusion, for the prevailing disorder, and his effigies are being burnt in front of the party office in Chennai, and also in different parts of  Tamil Nadu.
She also said that the party high command is keenly watching the Mr.Thangbalu’s lopsided nepotism, and the "Congress High Command in New Delhi will soon declare the official candidate for Krishnagiri constituency ” 

Karunanidhi hints at coalition govt after assembly polls

Chennai, Mar 29 (PTI) 

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today hinted at his party DMK forming a coalition government after the state assembly elections if the situation warrants so.

To a question on the post-poll scenario and if DMK would go in for coalition rule, Karunanidhi said if the ''voting pattern'' changed and there was a situation wherein only such a rule was possible, "we will then discuss it with other parties and decide."

Congess, DMK''s key ally, is learnt to have made a pitch for power-sharing in the event of DMK-led alliance coming back to power.

Karunanidhi charged some politicians with "blowing out of proportion" the 2G spectrum scam.

"Only the channel, Kalaignar TV, is named after me but I have no rights in it. My daughter (Kanimozhi) and wife (Dayalu) hold 20 and 60 per cent respectively, besides (its CEO) Sharad Kumar having 20 per cent. Kalaignar TV is not owned by Karunanidhi," he told CNN-IBN television channel.
These two members of his family were share-holders in the company, he said.

'Indian' in Pakistani team

UPDATED  29/3/2011 3:33:48 PM

Vivek Shukla

New Delhi:

You can not take out the Indian connection of Pakistan manager Intikhab Alam Khan. He has a very strong Indian roots in the sense that he was born on December 28, 1941, at Hoshiarpur in Punjab.

As this is not enough, the ace leg spinner has also coached Punjab team in Ranji trophy in the recent years. Inti, as he was known in the Cricket world during his playing days, was the first bowler to grab the wicket on his very first ball of test match career.

During his coaching days in Punjab, the likes of Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh were also in Punjab side.

He played in 47 Tests and 4 ODIs from 1959 to 1977. He also played in English county cricket for Surrey between 1969 and 1981.

Once talking to this reporter,he said, "My family was uprooted from Hoshirpur in the wake of partition of the country after living there for more than 700 years."

Intikhab was Pakistan 's first One Day International cricket captain. He played 3 matches as captain, winning two and losing one. He was the coach in 1992 Cricket World Cup winning Pakistani team. 
In 2004, he was appointed as the first foreigner to coach a domestic Indian cricket team , coaching Punjab , in the Ranji Trophy .

On 25 October 2008, he was named as national coach of the Pakistan cricket team by PCB , a day after Australian Geoff Lawson was sacked as the national coach of Pakistan. 
In 2009, Intikhab led Pakistan to their first Twenty20 World Cup title by defeating Sri Lanka in the final.