The Tribune
Vibha Sharma
New Delhi



Mandate defies past  
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, November 25
The results of Bihar Assembly election has not only given a spectacular victory to Nitish Kumar led NDA, it also exploded many myths and set new records.

Basking in the glory of a ‘historic’ victory, the ruling NDA also had to suffer the defeat of five of its ministers. However, the ruling combination was able to made deep inroads into newer areas winning some of those seats that were considered to be bastion of other parties for a long time. The Raghopur seat having a predominant population of Yadavs was considered to be the safest seat for Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi all this while has gone to the JD(U) this time.

Similarly, the native constituency of Ram Vilas Paswan - Alaluli, from where he had made his electoral debut and was being represented by his younger brother Pashupati Kumar Paras for the last two decades - has also been wrested by the JD(U). The Sheikhpura constituency had been under the domain of the Congress and only one family for the last four decades has also gone away into the JD(U)’s kitty this time.

The Left parties have suffered the worst casualties in the election.

The CPI, the oldest Left party of the state and a major opposition force for quite some time, has been reduced to just one seat. It had three MLAs in the outgoing Assembly. The CPI-ML which had five MLAs in the last Assembly had become a non-entity now and so is the CPM. Its lone MLA Ram Dev Verma who had been winning from Bibhutipur for the last three decades had lost at the hands of JD(U) now. The historical red bastion-Teghra (old name Barauni) which was usually referred as ‘Leningrad’ because of its continued representation by the CPI since 1956 has also gone into the hands of NDA this time.

It would be for the first time after decades that the newly constituted Assembly would not have any kith or kin of Lalu Prasad or Ram Vilas Paswan as all of them have been defeated.

The Mayawati-led BSP that had been winning four to five seats in Bihar as well ever since the party came to power in neighbouring UP had failed to open its account this time even though the party had contested on almost all the seats. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, which had contested on more than 100 seats, was also out on zero.

The dissident MPs of ruling JD(U) who had put their wards on the symbol of RJD or other parties in the electoral arena had to bite the dust. The kin of all the five JD(U) MPs contesting against their party nominees had been badly defeated.

The representation of fair sex in the newly constituted Vidhan sabha would be an all time high. In 1962 , the state assembly had 25 MLAs which was reduced to just 4 in 1969 . But this time 33 women had won the elections, which includes two from the Muslim community.

Nitish to be sworn in today

As expected Nitish Kumar on Thursday was elected unanimously as the leader of JD(U) Legislature Party and Sushil Kumar Modi as leader of BJP Legislature party.

Now the combined meeting of NDA legislators would meet tomorrow to elect Nitish Kumar as their leader in the newly constituted State Assembly.

The swearing-in ceremony of the new Chief Minister and his Cabinet is scheduled on Friday afternoon.

As per his wish, Nitish Kumar would be administered the oath of office at sprawling Gandhi Maidan located in the heart of state capital, the same venue where he had taken oath as Chief Minister five years ago. 

No kith or kin of lalu, paswan in house

It would be for the first time after decades that the newly constituted Assembly would not have any kith or kin of Lalu Prasad or Ram Vilas Paswan as all of them have been defeated

l Raghopur seat considered the safest seat for Lalu and Rabri Devi goes to the JD(U)

l The CPI, the oldest Left party of the state and a major opposition, reduced to just one seat

l The CPI-ML which had five MLAs in the last Assembly a non-entity now and so is the CPM

l The Mayawati-led BSP that had been winning four to five seats in Bihar fails to open its account

l Samajwadi Party, which had contested on more than 100 seats, out on zero

l Dissident JD(U) MPs, who had put their wards on symbol of RJD or other parties, bite the dust

l Native constituency of Ram Vilas Paswan, from where he had made debut, wrested by JD(U)

They got their math wrong 
Faraz Ahmad/TNS

New Delhi, November 25
Sheer arithmetic failed Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan’s RJD- LJP combine in the Bihar Assembly election.

This arithmetic, however, favoured the BJP more than JD-U, with the MBC, Mahadalit and even a fraction of Muslim votes in their strongholds like Kishanganj, Purnea, Katihar, Sitamarhi and Darbhanga trickling down to the BJP.

“In Round 2 of the 2005 Assembly election, we got 36 per cent votes with just around 60 seats for JD-U and over 40 for the BJP. Lalu got 29 per cent of the votes. This time, our votes went up by four per cent to touch 40, while his votes came down by four per cent to 25, but the gap in the number of seats was phenomenal, thanks to the caste arithmetic, which worked against Lalu,” explained a BJP leader in detail.

59% MLAs have criminal charges pending against them
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, November 25
Bihar may have voted for development and law and order but a whopping 141 —59 pc — of its newly-elected MLAs have criminal cases against them, including serious ones like murder and attempt to murder. The data shows an increase in criminalisation among MLAs as compared to 2005, when 68 MLAs with serious pending criminal cases made it to Assembly.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) analysed self-sworn affidavits of 241 of the 243 new lawmakers to find that of the 141 MLAs in the dock, 85 face serious charges like murder, attempt to murder and kidnapping. Of these 85, 43 MLAs are from JD-U, 29 from BJP, seven from RJD, two from Congress, two from LJP and two Independents.

The top 10 MLAs with criminal cases on serious IPC counts against them are Pradip Kumar (JD-U, Warsaliganj), Shivji Raj (JD-U, Madhuban), Narendra Kumar Pandey (alias Sunil Pandey) (JD-U, Tarari), Narendra Kumar Singh (JD-U, Matihani), Satish Kumar Dubey (BJP, Narkatiaganj), Amarendra Kumar Pandey (JD-U, Kuchaikote) Ananadi Prasad Yadav (BJP, Sikti) Manoranjan Singh (JD-U, Ekma, Mohammad Tousif Alam (Congress, Bahadurganj) and Avaneesh Kumar Singh (BJP, Chiraria).

Meanwhile, in the present Assembly, 47 MLAs — 20% — are crorepatis. Last year, only eight MLAs were crorepatis. While 76 MLAs whose affidavits were analysed (32%) did not declare their PAN card details, highest assets declared were Rs 15.83 crore by Fiayaj Ahmed of RJD from Bisfi followed by Suresh Kumar Sharma of BJP from Muzaffarpur with Rs 9.10 crore. 


77 NGOs under lens for funding irregularities 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
Following coordinated efforts to track down illegal funding of NGOs, 77-odd organisations have come to the notice of the Home Ministry for the source of funds and its route.

The NGOs came under the scanner after the Intelligence Bureau started sharing a negative list with the Financial Intelligence Unit and other agencies to track foreign remittances to organisations and individuals. Data in respect of the associations that have reported receipt of foreign contribution for education, health and sanitation details out 100 top donor agencies under each sector. All recipient associations have submitted audited accounts during the said period. The government will now continue to closely monitor the NGOs.

In a related development, Rs 5,463 crore was channeled into India for imparting education. Another Rs 2,557 crore came in for the health sector and Rs 21.42 crore for sanitation. 

Shift Sohrabuddin case to Mumbai, SC urged

New Delhi, November 25 
The Gujarat police continued to help Chief Minister Narender Modi’s close aide Amit Shah even after his arrest for his alleged role in the killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in the fake encounter, the CBI said in a report submitted to the Supreme Court today.

The CBI in its 37-page report has also sought shifting of the ongoing trial in the case to Mumbai expressing fears that a fair trial would not be possible as the accused persons are very influential, sources said.

They said the agency in its final report had claimed that Shah had got Sheikh eliminated with the twin motive of securing “political prominence” and “monetary gains”.

Sources said the agency in its report filed in a sealed cover has stated that Sheikh was eliminated as he had started extorting money from politically-connected marble traders, who initially approached politicians in Rajasthan.

On inputs from the Rajasthan police, the Gujarat police had registered a case against the gangster, while Shah, who was the Minister of State for Home, put encounter specialist DG Vanzara of anti-terrorist squad and his team on Sheikh's trail.

The CBI had arrested Shah on July 25 and he was granted bail by the Gujarat High Court on October 29. The apex court has ordered him to stay out of the state. — PTI

‘Reduntant’ Defence Estates Dept may be disbanded 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
In a stinging retort on the functioning of the Defence Estates Department, an in-house study of the Ministry of Defence has said that the department “had very limited utility” and suggested its disbanding. Defence Minister AK Antony yesterday told Parliament that the Controller General of Defence Accounts had asked the Controller of Defence Accounts to carry out a special performance audit to examine the existing land acquisition system and the report had been received.

The report says: “The Ministry may like to order a comprehensive study for disbanding the organisation in a phased manner.” 

IMTECH signs $150-million deal with US firm 
New-age clotbusters in the pipeline
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, November 25
Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), a Chandigarh-based biotechnology laboratory has signed a $150-million licensing agreement with Nostrum Pharmaceuticals, a US company, for new-generation clot busters developed by it. The IMTECH would also be entitled to royalties generated by the promotion of its product.

The drug developed by IMTECH is said to be novel clot-specific proteins used for treatment of cardiac ailments and heart attack.

These have unique molecular properties that mitigate a number of systematic side effects like bleeding that is usually associated with related products available in the market.

The deal was signed in New Delhi yesterday, under which IMTECH will grant the New Jersey-based firm licenses for clinical development and worldwide commercialisation rights for “Next-Generation thrombolytics with clot-specific activation and with properties that prevent re-occlusion”.

The agreement will be executed in several phases. The quantum of the first phase is stated to be about $25 lakh. Nostrum will develop these new thrombolytics in association with its Mumbai-based affiliate.

Nostrum has been associated with the IMTECH for the past several years and has entered into similar deals related to other biotechnology products developed by the laboratory earlier. This includes transfer of a technology package for the “Streptokinase” clot-buster protein in 2006. 

ABC of clotbusters

l Clotbusters are drugs that were developed approximately 20 years ago with the intent of reducing the likelihood of death following a heart attack

l Heart attacks in a majority of individuals are caused by a blood clot forming inside a blood vessel with atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries

l Clotbusters were developed after many years of research to dissolve blood clots, and as a result, reduce the extent of heart damage

Eye on UP poll, Sonia slams Mayawati 

Allahabad, November 25
Congress president Sonia Gandhi today slammed the Mayawati government for its failure to utilise "massive" funds provided by the Centre for welfare schemes and expressed grave concern over "rampant" crime and corruption in the state.

"The people of Uttar Pradesh are being compelled to live in the midst of deteriorating law and order and rising corruption. People are not feeling safe and secure and are facing enormous difficulties because of the corrupt government machinery," she said. Gandhi was addressing a rally organised here as part of the celebrations for 125 years of the party's establishment.

Without naming Mayawati or her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), she said for Congress, "Politics was a medium to serve the people. Because of this approach, massive funds have been provided to Uttar Pradesh by the UPA government."

"However, the state government does not seem to have the will to utilise the billions of rupees allocated by the Centre for improving the living conditions of its own people. Even basic facilities like drinking water are not adequately available. How can UP, in such a situation, keep pace with the rest of the country which is progressing rapidly," she asked.

Her criticism of the state government comes at a time when the ruling BSP is preparing for the Assembly election due in early 2012.

Reminding Congress workers of their "tremendous responsibility," she asked them to get in touch with people, apprise them of the schemes that are in place and see to it that the programmes are being properly implemented.

"Workers of our party need to work hard and drive home the point that the Congress is always eager to take up the problems affecting the common man. Hence, they must also closely monitor implementation of the welfare schemes in place and strengthen the party's bond with public," Gandhi said.

Before leaving for Delhi, she flagged off the last leg of the Congress "Sandesh Yatra", a public mobilisation programme being held across Uttar Pradesh, which began in April. — PTI 

Nuclear capable  Agni missile test-fired 

Balasore (Orissa), Nov 25
India's nuclear-capable Agni-I strategic ballistic missile, which has a  striking range of 700 km, was successfully test-fired by the Army during a user trial from the Integ-rated Test Range at Wheeler Island off Orissa  coast today.

"The trial of Agni-I was smooth and the test flight was fully successful," ITR Director SP Dash said.

The indigenously developed surface-to-surface single-stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was test-fired from a rail mobile launcher around 1010 hours from launch pad-4 of ITR, 100 km off Orissa coast, defence sources said, adding "all parameters were met during the trial".

User of the missile -- the Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the Indian Army -- as part of their training exercise, executed the entire launch operation with the logistic support provided by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) at the ITR, said a DRDO official.

The missile has a highly specialised navigation system, which ensures it reaches the target  with a high degree of accuracy, he said.

The entire trajectory of the missile was tracked by sophisticated radars  and electro-optic telemetry stations located along the sea coast and two ships positioned near the impact point in the downrange area.

Weighing 12 tonne, the 15-metre-long Agni-I, which can carry payloads up to 1,000 kg, has already been inducted into the Indian Army. — PTI

Kiran sworn in as Andhra CM 
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, November 25
Bringing down the curtain on the high-voltage political drama in Andhra Pradesh, N Kiran Kumar Reddy was today sworn in as the Chief Minister in place of K Rosaiah, who stepped down yesterday citing health reasons.

Kiran, 50, was the Speaker of the state Assembly before being catapulted into the Chief Minister’s position in a move widely seen as a strategy to checkmate the rebel MP and CM-aspirant YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Kiran was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor ESL Narasimhan at a simple ceremony at the Raj Bhavan.

Union Ministers and AICC observers M Veerappa Moily and Ghulam Nabi Azad, outgoing Chief Minister Rosaiah and a host of Congress leaders, MLAs and MLCs attended the brief swearing-in ceremony in the Darbar Hall of the Raj Bhavan.

Kiran is expected to constitute his cabinet after his visit to New Delhi tomorrow. He has been a four-time MLA from Chittoor district in Rayalaseema region. The selection of Kiran, who also served as the government chief whip from 2004 to 2009, was guided by a combination of caste and political factors. It was widely believed that Rosaiah was only a stop-gap arrangement.

The party leadership found Kiran as the best bet to take on the rebellious Jagan as both belong to the Rayalaseema region and connect with young voters. Kiran was a close confidant of YSR, though he has been maintaining a safe distance from Jagan.

With the Telangana statehood agitation posing a big challenge to the ruling party, the high command has come round to the view that a strong leader with persuasive skills would be required at the helm.

This is particularly important as the Justice Srikrishna Committee on the Telangana issue is scheduled to submit its report by December-end. 

Ex-Ranji player sets out for innings No. 2 
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, November 25
As captain of Under-25 Hyderabad cricket team, N Kiran Kumar Reddy was an aggressive middle-order batsman and agile wicketkeeper with a burning desire to make it to national team one day.

Little did he expect that one day he would be asked to lead the state of Andhra Pradesh. Catapulted into the Chief Minister’s position, Kiran, a four-time MLA, has to marshal his cricketing skills to steer the state out of turbulent times.

As he pads up for the second innings in his new political role, Kiran, now 50, has a plethora of challenges to contend with. The foremost among them is the rebellion by ambitious first-time MP and former Chief Minister late YS Rajasekhar Reddy’s son YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

By choosing a young leader from the Reddy community, the backbone of Congress’ support base, the high command plans to checkmate Jagan and stem the growing dissidence. Incidentally, Kiran was a close aide of YSR.

The party is also banking on the persuasive skills, assertiveness and leadership qualities of Kiran to tackle the political fallout of the Telangana statehood agitation. Though his family hails from the Rayalaseema region, Kiran was born and brought up in Hyderabad which is part of Telangana, a fact that even the rabid elements among statehood supporters cannot ignore.

Kiran was an avid cricket player right from his days at the prestigious Hyderabad Public School (HPS) here. Starting with leagues under the Hyderabad Cricket Association, he rose to play for Hyderabad team in Ranji matches in early 1980s.

Former Indian cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin was his contemporary and both played together for Hyderabad in the under-25 team. Renowned cricket commentator and analyst Harsha Bhogle was also his buddy in school. In fact, Harsha, in his latest twitter message, wished all the best for “his good old friend Kiran” on his selection as the Chief Minister.

A commerce and law graduate, Kiran was forced to enter politics in 1987 following the death of his father N Amarnath Reddy, a former Congress minister. He was first elected to the Assembly from the Vaylapad assembly constituency in 1989. He lost in 1994, but was re-elected in 1999 and 2004. He was elected from Piler in the last year’s elections. 

HC: Remove advanced castes from OBC list 
Shubhadeep Choudhury/TNS

Bangalore, November 25
Yeddyurappa and Deve Gowda, bitter adversaries in Karnataka, will make common cause against a High Court order that today urging the state government to remove the “politically advanced” castes of Lingayats and Vokkaligas from the list of OBCs in the state.

While Yeddy is a Lingayat, Gowda is Vokkaliga. Both politicians thrive on their caste affiliations.

Ironically, the verdict by the division bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and A S Bopanna paved the way for the zilla panchayat (ZP) and taluk panchayat (TP) elections in Karnataka where Yeddy and Gowda will have a high voltage showdown.

Performance in the polls, it is believed, will determine whether the scam-tainted Yeddyurappa continues as Chief Minister or not. In view of its impact on Yeddyurappa’s fate, JD(S) headed by Deve Gowda will do its best to scuttle the ruling BJP’s chance in the elections. The Court today said the elections should be completed before the expiry of the term of the present ZPs and TPs on January 16, 2011. However, it wanted the state government to leave out Lingayats and Vokkaligas from the list of backward classes.

The advocate representing those opposing the 50 pc cap on reservation of candidates for ZP and TP polls introduced by the state government cited the Karnataka Third Backward Class Commission report and argued that the political representation of these two castes was actually much higher than their percentage in the total population of the state.

“It was difficult to understand, what restrains the state government, if a few “politically advanced” castes, which are beyond the pale of any doubt, are excluded from the list of Backward Classes. Could it be, that the castes holding the reigns of power in the state of Karnataka, desire the benefit of reservation to continue, for members of their own caste?”

Yeddyurappa asks his wards to leave official residence

Bangalore, November 25 
Aiming at deflecting accusations of nepotism after saving his chair, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa has asked his son and daughter to shift from his official residence here immediately.

“The Chief Minister asked his son BY Vijendra and daughter Umadevi to shift from his Race Course official residence yesterday and they obliged him immediately,” an official attached to Chief Minister's secretariat said.

Vijendra and Umadevi and her husband Sohan Kumar were staying with Yeddyurappa and his elder son BY Raghavendra used to frequently visit him.

Yeddyurappa came under attack from the Opposition for denotifying lands favouring his two sons, son-in-law and allotment of land to her daughter. While reports emerged that the party was wanting him to make way for a successor, Yeddyurappa staved off the challenge to his leadership and the BJP yesterday announced that he would continue in office.

The official said Yeddyurappa had issued a strict directive to his secretaries not to be influenced by the words of his family members on any issue and bring those instances to his notice.

The directive came in the wake of BJP high command asking him to keep away his relatives from interfering in administration.

“I will keep those selfish people and my kin away from the administration. I will give good governance in the coming two years’ tenure,” Yeddyurappa said while participating at a function here. — PTI

Clever move

The CM’s son BY Vijendra and his daughter Umadevi (and her husband Sohan Kumar ) were staying with him. The latest move by Yeddyurappa is aimed at deflecting accusations of nepotism against him.

DMK might quit Cabinet, hints Karunanidhi  
N Ravikumar/TNS

Chennai, November 25
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has indirectly warned the Congress that the DMK will consider quitting the Union Cabinet, if the Congress party felt that staying together with the regional ally is harmful.

Referring to the criticism by a section of Congress leaders that the DMK was claiming credit for Central schemes, Karunanidhi said, “We have been staying with the Centre hoping that we will perform together. If it is felt that staying together is harmful, please tell us, we will consider”.

The DMK leader’s warning came at a public meeting last night, a few hours after the declaration of Bihar Assembly election results, in which the Congress suffered a rout.

Karunanidhi said the DMK had dropped its demand for a separate Tamil state, as the Centre promised distribution of resources equally. National unity and integrity should not be a one-way traffic to be followed by Tamils alone. If the same principles were followed by North India also, everyone could be Indians. If not, we will remain as Tamils or Dravidians”, he said.

“When I say that the government is implementing welfare schemes, I mean both Central and state governments. I don’t differentiate between the two. The Indian Union includes all states and we implement the schemes for Indians. We never forget the share of the Centre in implementing the schemes,” he said.

Using clever word play, Karunanidhi, under the guise of expressing his opinion on Centre-state ties, chose to speak about the relationship between his party and Congress. The DMK leader was reacting to criticism from a section of Congress, including youth Congress leader M Yuvaraja, who accused the DMK of taking credit for the welfare schemes implemented by the Centre.

Why hasn’t Raja been quizzed, SC asks CBI
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 25
The Supreme Court today questioned the CBI as to why it had not examined former Telecom Minister A Raja so far despite the adverse findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) about his role in the 2G spectrum scam.

“There should have been some action,” in the wake of the report of the CAG, an important Constitutional authority, a Bench comprising Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly remarked during arguments.

“If such an authority gives such a report any reasonable person will question the involvement of the minister and the secretary,” the Bench told senior counsel KK Venugopal, who was arguing for the CBI. At one point, the Bench put a pointed question to the CBI counsel: “Has that gentleman been examined?”

To this, Venugopal said “No one, he or she, will be spared. But in such a case where the proceeds of the crime are to be traced, the methods of investigation are different.”

According to the CAG, the government has suffered a notional loss of a staggering Rs 1.76 crore due to the allocation of 2G spectrum to telecom companies in 2008 at 2001 prices on the basis of first come, first served, instead of taking the auction route.

The Bench felt that the CBI was “beating about the bush” by stating that it was examining 8,000 documents. The minimum that was expected of the premier investigation agency was some action, it clarified.

Counsel Venugopal said the CBI had a particular method of investigation and was ready to submit status reports even on a daily basis, but in sealed covers. Even today, the CEO of a company was “sitting in the CBI office,” he said without naming the person.

He also said the CBI had already submitted a report to the Bench, but the court was reluctant to take a look at it.

Raja quit as Telecom Minister on November 14, two weeks after the Bench had questioned (on October 29) the logic of his continuance in the Cabinet. 



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