Monday 31 March 2008

Karnataka, TN lock horn over Hogenekal


B D Narayankar
Bangalore: After waging a battle against Kerala on Mullaperiyar water issue, Tamil Nadu has locked horn with Karnataka over Rs 13-billion Hogenekal water supply project.

Pro-Kannada activists in Bangalore went on a rampage attacking cinema halls screening Tamil films amidst tearing down posters after TN chief minister M Karunanidhi declared the intention of going ahead with the project at any cost.

Karnataka contends that Hogenekal belongs to it and the project will affect its interests.

Kannada Rakshana Vedike (KRV) will be organizing a meeting of various pro-Kannada groups, Kannada writers, representatives of Dalit organisations on Tuesday to decide on steps to intensify the agitation, particularly in the Cauvery belt of Mysore, Chamarajnagar and Mandya districts. The organization also will pressure Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur to approach the Supreme Court against the project. “The project is detrimental to Karnataka’s interest,” spokesperson B Sanneerappa stated.

Among political parties in Karnataka, BJP has been the most vocal. Former chief minister B S Yediyurappa recebtly visited Hogenekal with other BJP members and said his party would oppose the project.

Meanwhile, in Hogenakkal village, situated 350 km from Chennai, flag-waving protestors of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) burnt effigies of Yediyurappa. They demanded the deployment of central paramilitary forces to “safeguard” their “interests”.

“The inflow of tourists - as important to our livelihood as the Cauvery water that descends here from the waterfalls - has seen a downturn due to the invasion by chauvinist (former) Karnataka chief minister (and his) attempt to usurp real estate rightfully belonging to Tamil Nadu,” said K. Rajesh, a VCK demonstrator.

“He (Yediyurappa) is trying to stop the water supply project that will quench parched throats in the districts of Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri. To safeguard our interests we demand deployment of central paramilitary forces here immediately. We will also stop all agent provocateurs coming here under disguise of tourists,” he added.

The foundation stone for the Rs.13.3 billion scheme, funded by Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), was laid by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Feb 26.

The Hogenakkal Water Supply and Fluorosis Mitigation Project is expected to cover 6,755 households in three municipal areas, 17 panchayats and 18 small towns, benefiting about three million people.

Safe drinking water would be provided from the waterfall to the fluoride-affected towns and villages in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts bordering Karnataka.

Orissa Speaker resigns after sex row





Bhubaneshwar: Under mounting attack following sexual abuse charges levelled against him by a woman Assembly employee, Orissa Speaker Maheswar Mohanty resigned on Monday even as a key minister was sacked for allegedly instigating the woman to hurl the allegation.

The Speaker, against whom a case of sexual harassment has been registered following an FIR lodged with police by lady Assistant Marshal Gayatri Panda, gave his resignation to Deputy Speaker Prahallad Dora, official sources said.

In a related development, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik dismissed Information and Public Relations Minister Debashish Naik who had allegedly instigated Gayatri to hurl the charge against Mohanty.

The Speaker had said that the charge against him was part of a conspiracy in which influential people were involved.

The criminal case against Mohanty was registered on March 29, two days after the lady assembly employee lodged an FIR through a group of women activists accusing him of sexually harassing her.

Soon after reports about charges levelled by Panda appeared in the media on March 26, opposition parties mounted a campaign demanding Mohanty's resignation and a thorough and independent probe either by a High Court judge or by CBI.

The proposal given by the government and the Speaker of a probe by a House committee was rejected by a determined opposition, which also paralysed the assembly since last week.

Mohanty said on Monday that he wanted a unanimous decision of the assembly but unanimity was not possible and ''I resigned to protect the office of the Speaker''.
COURTESY: NDTV

Thursday 27 March 2008

BJP a pale copy of Congress!


Vir Sanghvi
I am filled with admiration for Prakash Karat. On Thursday, he addressed the CPM’s Jan Sangharsh rally in Lucknow, and outlined his party’s agenda for the future. The BJP was a communal party. The Congress was a bourgeois party. The CPM wanted, therefore, to be part of a Third Front. So far so good.Except that, according to The Hindu, Mr Karat went on to suggest that, “the CPM would have no truck with those parties which appeal to people on the basis of caste”. Not so good.If you do not align with the Congress, the BJP or any casteist party, then who can you possibly align with? In Lucknow, where Mr Karat made his impassioned address, the party in power, the BSP, is founded entirely on a casteist agenda. Its predecessor, the Samajwadi Party, which ruled UP till a year or so ago, was proud of its casteist appeal. (And Mr Karat, who presumably had not decided that caste was such a bad thing in those days, was quite happy to support the Samajwadi Party.)In neighbouring Bihar, elections are also decided largely on the basis of caste. Lalu Prasad’s supporters vote for him because he is a Yadav. And Nitish Kumar’s core support base is his own Kurmi community.So, no allies at all, in north India at least, for Mr Karat and his friends given his disapproval of casteism.Things are slightly different in the south. While casteism plays an important role, regionalism is supreme. The principal Opposition party in Andhra Pradesh is a regional grouping. In Karnataka, HD Deve Gowda’s version of the Janata Dal is state-specific. In Tamil Nadu, both the leading parties are regional players.Given how high-minded the CPM is, I doubt if it regards narrow regionalism as being morally superior to casteism. So, Mr Karat will have trouble finding members for his Third Front in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu or Andhra. And in Kerala, he’s stuck with the bourgeois Congress. How can you not admire a man who dares dream the impossible dream? A man who believes that he will create a Third Front — and then imposes conditions that make it impossible for him to admit any members at all?How can you not marvel at the starry-eyed idealism of the CPM? At that same rally, Subhashini Ali, a member of the party’s central committee, also declared (according to The Hindu) that, “Time is up for caste politics in UP.” To stand up in a city where the only question is whether Mulayam Singh Yadav can defeat Mayawati and still talk about the end of caste politics, is sweet and admirable. Of course, we all know what will happen. Mr Karat and his idealistic pals will keep up the rhetoric till the election results are in. Then, they will do a quick calculation and see if a non-Congress, non-BJP government is possible. At that stage, all the rhetoric about fighting casteism will be hastily chucked out of the window. Mr Karat will welcome Amar Singh to the CPM office. His colleagues will reach out to any casteist whose party has more than three seats. And, if the Third Front has the numbers, then the CPM will support it from outside. New rhetoric about the victory of socialism and the defeat of communalism and bourgeois capitalism will quickly be invented. But let’s be fair. Whatever my views on the CPM’s hypocrisy or the absurdity of its rhetoric, there’s no denying that it remains one of the few ideologically-based parties in Indian politics. The ideology may now be well past its sell-by-date, but it is an ideology nevertheless.Outside of the Left and the two big parties, there is an almost total absence of ideology. The smaller players are based on what political scientists like to call ‘identity’: caste, region, religion etc. And the Congress has always been, in Jawaharlal Nehru’s phrase, a banyan tree offering shelter to travellers who hold many different views. Rather than ideology it believes in pragmatism. Its current pro-poor stance is a political position rather than a deeply-felt ideology.Until recently, most of us would have argued that the BJP was also an identity-based party; it was the party of the Hindus. But over the last decade, the BJP has worked hard to move away from that positioning and, to a large extent, it has succeeded. In fact, it has now got to the stage where I sometimes wonder if the BJP has overdone the we-are-a-mainstream-party routine. Consider the issues that dominate politics today. And tell me if you think the BJP’s real position is very different from the Congress’s.Let’s take the Budget. As far as I can tell, the BJP’s principal opposition to the farm loan waiver is that it does not go far enough. “What will happen to those who have borrowed from moneylenders rather than banks?”, “How will they finish the procedure by the end of June?” And so on.There is no dispute on issues of principle, let alone economics.Then, there’s the nuclear deal. The BJP has tied itself up in so many knots on this issue that it is beginning to look more like a jalebi and less like a political party. But nobody in the know disputes that the deal is in accordance with the foreign policy that the NDA followed when it was in office. In fact, Strobe Talbott, who spent many hours negotiating with Jaswant Singh, says that the Vajpayee government would have been thrilled if it had got even half of what the Bush administration has now promised India. On the broader thrust of economic policy, there’s virtually no difference between the Congress and the BJP at all. Both parties believe in liberalisation. Both are committed to as much privatisation as they can get away with. Both regard globalisation as inevitable. Till AB Vajpayee became Prime Minister, you could have argued that the BJP took a hard line on Pakistan while the Congress was soft. But the NDA government changed that policy. It isn’t just Vajpayee who is regarded as a hero in Pakistan for his peace-making efforts. Many Pakistanis admire L.K. Advani for his praise of Mohammad Ali Jinnah.All that the Congress and the BJP differ on are matters of implementation and personality. The BJP may be out to get Naveen Chawla, who it sees as the Congress’s man. It might argue that the UPA has not done enough to fight terrorism while the ruling party might respond that some of the worst terrorist attacks (such as the raid on Parliament) occurred when the NDA was in office. And so on.But none of this amounts to much more than the normal bear-baiting between the government and the Opposition. On matters of principle and ideology, the differences are so small as to be minimal. All this demonstrates how far the BJP has sailed from its original moorings. There is a substantial lobby within the Sangh Parivar that argues that the BJP has lost its way and no longer stands for very much.The Sangh Parivar view of the world is symbolised by swadeshi economics, by a desire to rewrite the secularist version of Indian history and to reform the educational system, and by a deep-rooted suspicion of the forces of Westernisation and globalisation which strike at the heart of the Indian cultural tradition.I do not believe that this is a valid or reasonable view of the world. But, for better or worse, this is the vision that the BJP was founded on. If it moves away from these ideological foundations and adopts policies that are suspiciously similar to the Congress’s, then it risks seeming like a pale carbon copy of the real thing, distinguished only by a covert, communalist agenda that its leaders are anyway committed to denying in public.Nevertheless, the BJP leadership does not seem to be worried. So eager is the party to claim the ideological centre that Hindutva has become an empty and rarely used slogan, and the absence of a distinctive ideology is seen as a measure of electability.Is this the future of Indian politics? Are we heading towards a situation where there will be two ideologically-identical national parties, one anachronistic, communist behemoth and a host of identity-driven smaller parties?My guess is that we are. For all practical purposes, ideology is dead. Pragmatism and vote-getting are all that matters. This may or may not be a happy development – personally, I think it is a tragedy – but one thing is certain: whenever Mr Karat gives another of those rousing speeches about excluding communalists, capitalists, casteists, and nearly everyone else from his beloved Third Front, we will all admire his rhetoric. And we will know that it is an impossible dream.
COURTESY: THE MORUNG EXPRESS
PHOTO: GOOGLE IMAGES

Wednesday 26 March 2008

If Modiism wins, Bharatiyata loses

TJS George
ARUN Jaitley, named Senapati of the BJP’s akshauhinis, has visited his troops. S M Krishna, appointed charioteer of the Congress armies, has inspected his field formations. The conches have finally sounded announcing the order of battle. Kurukshetra is all set. So who is planning what chakravyuhas? We can safely leave the Congress and JDS alone for the moment. They plan nothing new. One will be busy with self-destructive faction fights, the other with the nano technology of separating sub-castes from sub-sub-castes. It’s the BJP’s approach that bears implications for the future, because it has declared that it wants to repeat Gujarat in other states. Can it? Of the three basic factors that made Narendra Modi what he is in Gujarat, only the first applies to Karnataka - Congress factionalism. The second factor, not replicable elsewhere, is that it was Modi’s victory rather than the BJP’s. He actually kept the BJP and the RSS at bay by the strength of his personality, his ability to sway audiences and, importantly, the perception he has created that he is personally above corruption. In Karnataka there are BJP leaders who can match Modi’s arrogance, but not his oratory, and certainly not his image of corruptionlessness. Many of the BJP leaders who tasted power in Delhi and later in Karnataka proved to be not second to Congressmen in corruption. In effect, then, the BJP’s chief option in Karnataka is to try out the third and most important factor behind the Gujarat phenomenon, Hindutva extremism. This went so deep into people’s psyche in Gujarat that today communalism is no longer a discussed issue there. There’s nothing to discuss; it’s there, entrenched, embedded in the mind, solidified. A former IIM-Ahmedabad Professor, Shreekant Samprani, said blandly that “an overwhelming majority in Gujarat is unrepentant about 2002... are not even sorry for (the riot victims)”. Modi’s ultimate triumph is that he has succeeded in changing the thinking of the “overwhelming majority” of Gujarati voters. Profound as this change is, it won’t be easy to bring it about in other states. Firstly, the polarisation will have to be contrived over a fairly long period and violently when necessary. Secondly, the majority will have to be of a kind that will be unrepentant about violence while the minority should be willing to be ghettoised silently. Both these are virtually unthinkable in Karnataka, Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, even Orissa. Their cultural histories and literary heritage do not tend to facilitate majority rigidification of the Gujarat kind. As for the minorities, there may be soft targets that can be easily hit for point-scoring. But the real targets, of the kind that Modi has marginalised in Gujarat, are too many, too assertive, and too organised to be simply beaten down. So when the BJP talks about repeating the Gujarat formula in other states, more is involved than winning or losing an election. We are talking about changing people and their minds, about changing the history and culture of India, about changing the meaning of India. We are talking about moving away from what has made us what we are - Sanatana Dharma. Which means: If Modiism wins, Bharatiyata loses.


COURTESY: THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS

PHOTO: GOOGLE IMAGES

Tuesday 25 March 2008

Deve Gowda may emerge king-maker


B D Narayankar


KARNATAKA: Political pundits believe that the Karnataka Assembly polls will yet again throw up a fractured verdict given the entry of Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) in the fray.

Psephologists contend that both parties lacked the potential of making inroads into Karnataka politics, but acknowledge that they would play the spoilsport by eating into the votes of national parties like BJP and Congress.

Will they not affect JDS’ prospects? Well, it all depends on SP leader S Bangarappa triumph in striking an alliance with JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda. However, Gowda has not responded to Bangarappa’s statement of a pre-poll alliance with JDS given the latter’s track record of founding new parties and merging with another and demerging when the association seized to lay golden eggs. Also no formal talks had been held as yet between the two parties in this regard.

However, the BJP, the Congress and JDS have sewed up different strategies to fight the battle. BJP is confident of winning the polls on exploiting the ‘betrayal card’ to the hilt.

A reluctant Congress, which is hit by internecine fighting, has decided to use the stability card, raising an ante against JDS-BJP coalition governance. S M Krishna is hardly suited to accept the political gauntlet. His chances of regaining lost ground in north Karnataka, the support of which is vital for any party wanting to come to power in Karnataka, are not very bright at all.
Krishna’s record of having let down north Karnataka badly during his tenure of the Chief Minister still remains etched firmly in the people’s memory in the region. Krishna reneged on his promise to implement the D.M. Nanjundappa committee report on the removal of regional imbalance; he came in the way of the early completion of Upper Tunga scheme which was vital for Northern Karnataka; and he dragged his feet on the question of taking up Kalasa Banduri naala designed as a project to meet the drinking water needs of North Karnataka.

Wily Deve Gowda is pretty confident that the election will throw up a fractured verdict. In the 224-member assembly neither the BJP nor the Congress can cross the 113-seat mark to form a government on their own. In the circumstances, the third most successful party at the elections will play a crucial role in government formation. Thus, Gowda hopes that even if he does not emerge the king he will be force himself into the position of king-maker.

Saturday 22 March 2008

Leaving no stones unturned



B D Narayankar

KARNATAKA: The only party which is effervescent about the upcoming assembly election in the state is probably the BJP. And it is not leaving any room for the opposition parties Congress and JDS to go one up against it.
Understanding the dynamics of coalition where numbers become a vital issue in forming a government, the BJP is not taking things easy and are in a bid to woo a sizeable Tamil population in Bangalore city and Kollar district by attempting to forge an alliance with J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK in the ensuing elections.
BJP sources told that the party was making sincere efforts to set aside some seats to AIADMK in areas where there was a sizeable Tamil population.
However, the exact framework of a possible poll tie up is not clear. Sources said while the Tamil vote won't be a deciding factor, it could help BJP in southern districts of Karnataka.
For sometime now, the BJP and AIADMK have been coming close on issues like controversial Sethusamudram project. In January, 2008 Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi had met Jayalalithaa in Chennai and the meeting sparked rumours of a BJP-AIADMK alliance.
However, reports from Bangalore indicated that both parties would have an electoral understanding in Tamil Nadu for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

PHOTO: L K ADVANI AND J JAYALALITHAA

COURTESY: GOOGLE IMAGES

Friday 21 March 2008

Will Krishna do to Kharge what he did to Dharam?

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: It is either a case of the Congress high command getting desperate, or it is a case of the suave S.M. Krishna taking a brave and calculated risk. This is how the Congress’s decision to requisition the services of the former chief minister for the assembly elections can be viewed.
Once the B.S. Yediyurappa-led BJP-JDS coalition government fell, it was clear that the Congress in the State, and at the Centre, was not in favour of early elections, lest it gave an opportunity to the saffron party to cash in on the “sympathy factor” over the summary truncation of its hopes below the Vindhyas.
The instrument the Congress sought to use was the delimitation of constituencies as per the recommendations of the Kuldip Singh commission. Karnataka’s assembly was dissolved last November, five months after the issue of the presidential notification on redefining the parliamentary and assembly constituencies.
When everybody expected the Centre to issue another notification to give effect to the same, in view of the impending polls in Karnataka, the Congress-led UPA government needlessly started dragging its feet and took its own sweet time before issuing the same after a three-month delay in February.
The underlying message was clear. The Congress wanted to buy time in view of the delay entailed in revising the electoral rolls in the circumstances, which has changed after delimitation. And it was looking for the polls to be postponed well beyond May 28, when six months of President’s Rule comes to an end.
Obviously, the Election Commission has not bought this line. The EC, was dutybound to arrange for the free and fair elections under the rules vested in it for the revision of the electoral roles under Rule 24 of the Registration of the Electoral Rolls 1960, and the categorical opinion held out by a five-member Supreme Court bench on a presidential reference made in 2002 , that “man made situation intended to defer the holding of elections should be sternly dealt with and should not be normal ground for deferring elections beyond the six-month period from the date of dissolution”. And that, except in rare cases of the situation created by the act of God, which make the holding of elections impossible, the elections should not be delayed.
So the EC, which had undertaken a similar exercise in 1973-74 in holding elections to the Uttar Pradesh and Orissa assembly in the precomputer age, went ahead to act under the mandate to hold the elections in Karnataka within six months and got the job of revisiting the electoral roll with alacrity.
This stumped the Congress high command. Not only did it now seem likely that it would have to face elections earlier than envisaged but it was also having to deal with a rudderless party. Having faced a series of defeats in the assembly polls, the latest being the Nagaland and Tripura, the Congress was loathe to face some more discomfiture in Karnataka.
It is under these circumstances it took steps to plump for the leadership of Krishna and tried to draw the political mileage though the vote of account budget moved in the parliament.
It doing so, it is acting like a doctor who tries to treat a patient without diagnosing the disease.
Krishna may be the one of the tallest leaders that the Congress has in Karnataka. He proved his worth when he led the party to victory in the 1999 polls. But the fact that he had brought a humiliating defeat to the party in the 2004 elections, albeit under the cloud of successive droughts, cannot be easily forgotten.
How does the Congress expect Krishna to pull the party’s chestnuts out of the fire in circumstances which are vastly different now from the two challenges he faced in 1999 and 2004?
If he has been chosen as a counterfoil to the wily H.D. Deve Gowda to woo back Vokkaligas back to the Congress fold, one cannot but overlook it as a non-issue at the present. Gowda is not even a shade of his previous self. His party JDS is down and out. He should be happy to retain the political relevance rather than challenge the hegemony of his political rivals to come to power, notwithstanding his assertions made in the public pronouncements.
The real challenge that the Congress has to face in the forthcoming poll is to contain the rising tide of anti-Congress mood among the voters, which is finding expression repeatedly in elections across the country and in Karnataka of late. Whether the Congress loses or wins the elections depends on whether the anti-Congress votes get consolidated or get divided. This is the trend noticed in the elections being held from 1989.
What happened in 1999 and the 2004 will give us an idea of what Krishna is up against.
# In the 1999 elections, Congress polled 40.84% (90.77 lakh votes) as against the 44.64% (99.21 lakhs) polled by the three main non-Congress parties namely the BJP (20.69% and 45.98 lakhs); Janata Dal (United) (13.53% and 30.06 lakhs) and Janata Dal (Secular) (10.42% and 23.16 lakhs). The Congress romped home because of the division of the anti-Congress votes.
# In the 2004 elections, the Congress polled 35.37% (88.61 lakhs) of the votes as against the over 51% (128.56 lakhs) polled by the three main opposition parties. The Congress lost not because it had polled 2 lakhs votes less but because of the prevention of fragmentation of the anti-Congress votes.
What happened was that the JDU which had done well in the previous poll was a total wash out. The JDU votes were shared between the BJP and the JDS, which cooked the goose of the Congress. The Congress with its passive mentality has hardly taken any steps since to stem the rising tide of anti-Congress votes.
Krishna, who is known more as a peace-time general than a war commander, is hardly suited to accept the political gauntlet. While he may make some inroads in the Old Mysore area, his chances of regaining lost ground in north Karnataka, the support of which is vital for any party wanting to come to power in Karnataka, are not very bright at all.
Krishna’s record of having let down north Karnataka badly during his tenure of the Chief Minister still remains etched firmly in the people’s memory in the region. Krishna reneged on his promise to implement the D.M. Nanjundappa committee report on the removal of regional imbalance; he came in the way of the early completion of Upper Tunga scheme which was vital for Northern Karnataka; and he dragged his feet on the question of taking up Kalasa Banduri naala designed as a project to meet the drinking water needs of north Karnataka.
What made Krishna to accept the new assignment under these circumstances?
It is not that the leadership has been thrust on him. He has volunteered to so and ran a long campaign of returning to the State politics as early as possible. The manner in which he has entered the fray on the eve of two crucial elections in 1999 and the present has another controversial overtone.
In 1999 his replacing Dharam Singh, a politician of north Karnataka, as the state Congress president, robbed the latter the fruits of office for which he had laboured in the event of the victory. Now it is Mallikarjuna Kharge, also from north Karnataka, who is in a similar position. Kharge, who is eyeing the CM’s chair, finds that he is being replaced by Krishna as the virtual captain of the team, which may cost his the coveted post later in the event of the Congress romping home.
If the Congress succeeds in its gamble, it is known that the High Command would take the credit and the mantle would be Krishna’s to wear. If it fails, it would mean the end of the political road and curtains for Krishna.
COIURTESY: CHURMURI.COM


Thursday 20 March 2008

Is Cong smiling?

B D Narayankar

KARNATAKA: Even as the All India Congress Committee (AICC) has been making strides to solve the differences among Karanataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) members, the news of Assembly elections by May end has jolted the party which is making a bid to come back to power.


Congress, in fact, had petitioned the Election Commission (EC) not to hold the polls unless electoral rolls were corrected as per the new re-drawn constituencies.

A little probe into the Congress’ reluctance to face election by May end is something to do with the internecine differences within the party. The party is heading towards a major crisis after former chief minister S M Krishna re-entered Karnataka politics after quitting the post of Maharashtra Governor recently.

The differences came out in the open when the supporters of KPCC president and a prominent Dalit leader from North Karanataka Mallaikarjun Kharge met AICC president Sonia Gandhi at New Delhi and sought an assurance on the future prospects of their esteemed leader in the event of Krishna’s re-entry into Karnataka politics.

Infact, the Kharge camp had been resisting Krishna’s re-entry into the state’s politics for quite some time. Kharge has been at the helm of KPCC affairs for nearly three years now and though there has been no official word, he is touted to be the chief ministerial candidate.

The internecine differences came to the fore once again when a section of KPCC brass and senior Congress leaders chose to stay away from the reception accorded to Krishna by his loyalists.

Kharge, who was very much present in the city, chose to interact with party workers from Koppal district, instead of giving a warm welcome to Krishna. C K Jaffer Sherief, Margaret Alva and Veerappa Moily among others.

The differences in the party are community based. The dominant Vokkaliga community is rallying behind. Krishna, while senior Congress leaders such as M Veerappa Moily, Oscar Fernandes, B K Hariprasad, M V Rajasekharan, R L Jalappa, Tejaswini Gowda, C K Jaffer Sharief and N Dharam Singh are rallying behind Kharge who is a Dalit.

There are three groups in the State Congress: the pro-Krishna group (Vokkaliga), old Congressmen (Kharge, Sharief, Moily, Dharam Singh and others) and Siddaramaiah group (comprising former JD members).

PHOTO: S M KRISHNA (COURTESY GOOGLE IMAGES)

Wednesday 19 March 2008

Remove Shivraj Patil, demands JDU


B D Narayankar
New Delhi: JDU demanded removal of Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil over the killing of 14 Hindi-speaking workers in Manipur in Parliament here on Wednesday.
Raising the issue during zero hour, JDU member Prabhunath Singh said: “First thing that needs to be done is the removal of home minister.” There had been a series of attacks on Nortth Indian populace in several states including Maharashtra and Manipur.
Using the occasion to embarrass Union Railways Minister Lalu Yadav, BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain asked why RJD why it was not withdrawing its support to the Congress-led coalition at the Centre in the wake of attacks.
RJD's Devendra Prasad Yadav sought for joint operations to be carried out with the state government to suppress insurgents carrying out the killings in Assam and Manipur.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister P R Dasmunsi assured the house to convey the anguish of the members over the "selective targeting" of North Indians to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and would take strict action against the perpetrators.
Patil said there was a design to create problems in the name of language and region in various parts of the country.
Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) said the unity of the country would be in peril if the forces of regionalism have their sway. Mohd Salim (CPI-M) echoed similar sentiments.