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Ex-skipper Mohammad Azharuddin to contest on Congress ticket

COUNTERING AP ALLIANCE: With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in AP, Azhar’s entry will boost Cong’s confidence.

With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in AP, Azhar

Former cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin may contest the coming Lok Sabha polls on a Congress ticket. The Congress leadership has been in touch with him for the past few months.

With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in Andhra Pradesh, Azharuddin’s entry will boost the confidence of the Congress.

Azharuddin will be used by Congress to counter the powerful MIM influence on Muslim voters in Hyderabad.

The batsman might stand from his hometown Hyderabad. He has a huge fan-following there despite his premature exit from the world of cricket following allegations of match fixing in the late 90s.

Azhar has kept a low profile since his exit from the Indian cricket scene and runs a successful event management firm.

Speculation was rife in February last year that he may either join or campaign for the Telangana Rastra Samiti in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation polls. The talk was sparked by the hour-long luncheon meeting he had with TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao.

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January 20, 2009 Posted by | Cricket, Elections, General, India Related, Politics, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sanjay Dutt gets a Rs 3-crore bus for poll campaign

Sanjay Dutt’s luxury cruise caravan is being built on an original Volvo chassis.

Sanjay Dutt

Sanjay Dutt, a new entrant to the field politics, is kicking off his new career in style.

The Bollywood star is all set for smashing debut at the political box office in Lucknow and it’s time now for the Samajwadi party candidate to do a bit of travelling.

Dutt is getting a Rs 3-crore luxury Volvo caravan, equipped with a shower and a toilet for his campaign trails.

The luxury cruise caravan is being built on an original Volvo chassis complete with all the comforts of home.

“The forward section has an office lounge section. The central section has a bar and complete set-up which houses all the DVDs, the play station, the X-Box, computers,” says Dilip Chhabria of DC Design Pvt Ltd.

The designer says Sanjay designed it for his outdoor movie shoots. Sources close to the actor believe otherwise and say he would also be using it for his election campaigns in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of North India.

The luxury vehicle could even be a gift from the Samajwadi Party.

“Sanjay Dutt’s specification was very, very clear. He wanted a vehicle that could spell a wow,” says Chhabria.

The caravan has been nine months in the making and would be delivered to Sanjay Dutt soon.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Bollywood, Cinema, Elections, General, India Related, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India may still strike Pakistan

A US intelligence report claims that India is fully prepared and await go ahead for unilateral precision strikes on Pakistan (File photo)

India may have ruled out the military option against Pakistan in the aftermath of Mumbai terror attacks but the international intelligence community continues to believe that strikes in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and elsewhere could still happen.

Global intelligence service Stratfor, in its latest report, said, “Indian military operations against targets in Pakistan have in fact been prepared and await the signal to go forward.” It added, “These most likely would take the form of unilateral precision strikes inside Pakistan-administered Kashmir, along with special forces action on the ground in Pakistan proper.”

The private sector intelligence service said that unlike the massive movements of 2002 during Operation Parakram, India’s preparations this time were more under the radar and not visible to the world at large. Its only indication was the fact that the Border Security Force (BSF) has been put on high alert on the western sector as well as the eastern sector – this paramilitary force’s main mandate would be to prevent infiltration.

“Sources have indicated to Stratfor that New Delhi is going through the diplomatic motions in order to give Pakistan the opportunity to take care of the militant problem itself β€” but the Indians know that Islamabad has neither the will nor the capability to address their concerns,” Stratfor said.

Three weeks after the attacks, India has gone out of its way to reassure everyone that it is not thinking of military action on Pakistan. This was most recently conveyed by Indian high commissioner to Pakistan Satyabrata Pal to Awami National Party chief Afsandyar Wali Khan in Islamabad earlier this week. But India continues to tell all its international interlocutors that its patience will not last long, particularly if Islamabad cannot crack down on terrorism.

India’s actions thus far have been to build a kind of international consensus that the attacks were sourced in Pakistan. It has led to a huge spurt in international pressure on Pakistan to “do more” to combat terrorism. Almost every member of the international community also believes that the next attack in India would see the gloves come off. But everybody knows that Pakistan’s civilian government is unable to take any steps to curb terrorists and the military establishment is unwilling to do so.

“From a strategic perspective, the Indian government can no more afford to accept the Mumbai attacks and move forward than the US government could have afforded to ignore the 9/11 attacks. New Delhi has little choice but to respond – regardless of which political party is in power – and because the perpetrators are linked to elements within the Pakistani state, the response must be directed against Pakistan. And if Islamabad will not cooperate in controlling the militants, India will have to take unilateral action,” Stratfor said.

It explained that India knew strikes in Pakistan would not eliminate the terrorist threat, “but that would not be the aim of any such operation”. It added, “Instead, India has to communicate firmly that it will no longer tolerate attacks from Pakistan-based militants – whether they are rogue or approved by the state. Failure to do so risks emboldening the Islamists and their enablers, as well as a domestic political backlash. The Indian government could not live with either of those outcomes.”

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Attacks, General, India Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Banks safe, but economy may slump: PM

Manmohan Singh says tackling inflation remains goverment's priority.

HIS ECONOMIC ADVICE: Manmohan Singh says tackling inflation remains goverment’s priority.

Indians banks are safe and depositors need not worry for their money, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told Parliament for the first time after the worldwide financial crisis.

“Our banks, both in the public sector and in the private sector, are financially sound, well capitalised and well regulated. There should be no fear of a failure of any bank,” Singh said in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

“I wish to assure depositors in our banks that their deposits are entirely safe.” Singh, however, warned that the economy might slow down.

“The financial storm has shaken confidence in the system and precipitated a steep decline in stock markets. It has produced a sharp slowdown in economic activity, with the prospect of a prolonged recession in industrialised countries,” he said.

There is enough capital, but “nevertheless, we must be prepared for a temporary slowdown in the Indian economy”.

Singh said the precise impact of the global financial crisis was difficult to estimate but the economic slowdown in developed countries is likely to have an “indirect impact” on the Indian economy.

Some estimates projected GDP growth to reduce to 7.5 per cent in the current year, but “our effort will be to minimise the negative effect of the financial crisis… to return to the growth trajectory of 9 per cent.”

The Prime Minister said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Government were carefully monitoring the flow of credit and would ensure that the additional liquidity infused into the system translated into actual credit.

“We will not hesitate to do more, if needed. While the capital adequacy ratios of all our banks are well above the Basel norm and above the RBI stipulated norm, government has promised that it will help banks, which have lower ratios, to access funds to increase the capital risk-weighted asset ratio to 12 per cent,” he said.

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Business, General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Parliament session starts, ‘fireworks’ expected

The economic crisis will be the big issue after Parliament reconvenes on Friday even as the session is expected to be a short one.

The session is also expected to be stormy with the United Progressive Alliance Government facing fire from the Opposition on many other issues.

With General Elections next year and five states going to polls starting November 14, there are many issues like the global financial crisis and its impact on the Indian economy, terror attacks, communal riots, price
rise and the Indo-US nuclear deal, which the Opposition will try to raise.

It could also be the last session under the leadership of Manmohan Singh.

But with elections for Assemblies of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Mizoram already announced, there are many who feel that there is no point of continuing with a month-long session.

So it might well be cut short by at least 10 days to allow leaders to campaign aggressively in a poll that is already been billed as mini General Election.

“Whenever we need to have something, we will discuss it. There is no hard and fast position on that because political exigencies can definitely come,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said.

An estimated Rs 25000 are spent per minute on Parliament’s activity.

October 17, 2008 Posted by | General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment