March 23, 2009

Chennai, March 23: Normalcy returned to the Madras High Court today after the more than twomonth-long boycott of courts by advocates over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue

Normalcy returns in High Court and other courts in TN
campus. ''Unless the High Court Registry or the Chief Justice give us in writing requesting for police protection in the event of a n y untoward incident, no police force will be deployed in the High C o u r t campus,'' top Police sources told UNI. ''Advo cates are looking at u s a s enemies. We do not want to be there. If anything untoward happens, we will not go, unless there is a written request from the Court Registry or the Chief Justice,'' the sources added. A day after the Madras High Court directed the Tamil Nadu government to suspend two senior police officials in connection with the attack on lawyers during the February 19 violence, the Joint Action Council (JAC) of advocates had on March 19 decided to suspend their stir and attend courts from today. The JAC, comprising representatives of various advocates associations, also took out a massive rally on that day condemning the police excesses and demanding action against all the senior police officials. Though the advocates had decided to attend courts from today, they would continue with their other forms of agitations till action was taken against all the senior police officials in connection with the February 19 incidents. The lawyers had decided to suspend their court boycott, in deference to the appeal made by former acting Chief J u s t i c e S J Mukhopadhaya. The Judge, while directing the government to place under suspension Additional Commissioner A K Viswanathan and f o r m e r J o i n t Commissioner M Ramasubramani, had on March 18 observed that lawyers had no right to resort to strike and appealed to them to immediately The advocates had been boycotting courts and launching agitations since the third week of January espousing the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils and demanding immediate ceasefire to end the ongoing genocide of Tamils. Their agitation took a turn for the worse on February 17, when a group of lawyers hurled rotten eggs on Janata Party president Dr Subramanian Swamy in a court hall, for his antiLT T E s t a n d . P o l i c e registered a case against 20 lawyers and named 14 of them and launched a manhunt to arrest them. Trouble arose on February 19, when the lawyers named in the FIR, presented themselves before the police and demanded that a case be registered against Dr Swamy for abusing the Dalit lawyers, using their caste name. When police registered a case, conceding their demand, the lawyers insisted that the police arrest Dr Swamy, before arresting them. A wordy duel between the police and advocates snowballed into a bloody clash as they fought pitched battle inside the court premises, injuring people from both the sides. Since then the lawyers had intensified their agitation and started boycotting the courts. A CBI probe was ordered by the High Court and it was accepted by the state government. As the issue was taken to the Supreme Court, it had ordered a judicial probe by retired Justice B N Srikrishna, who in his interim report indicted the advocates of behaving like hooligans and also condemned the police. This virtually added fuel to the fire, as the advocates rejected the Commission's report and continued their court boycott stating they would not budge till action was taken against the senior police officials. The state government had transferred some police officials on the orders of the Supreme Court. But the lawyers did not relent as they demanded the suspension of Director General of Police K P Jain and City Police Commissioner K Radhakrishnan. In a bid to end the strike, the Madras High Court ordered that all courts in the state

could decide matters on merit in the absence of lawyers. But the situation worsened when the lawyers withdrew their practice, resulting in litigants themselves appearing before the courts and obtaining orders. However, wiser sense prevailed at last, and the advocates announced suspension of their prolonged agitation on March 19, paving way for normal functioning of courts from today. - Agencies

and in the aftermath of the February 19 violence that rocked the court campus. All the courts across Tamil Nadu started functioning from today, with advocates attending the courts. The Madras High Court and other courts situated in the campus, including the City Civil C o u rt, Fa mi l y C o u rt, Sessions Court and the Metropolitan Magistrate Courts in Egmore, Saidapet and George Town in the city, besides all the courts in districts and the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court started functioning from today. Though the security committee of the Madras High Court had stated that those with valid identity cards and passes would be allowed entry into the Court campus, no such frisking was made today as advocates, litigants and public had a free walk into the campus. H o w e v e r, n o police personnel were posted either inside or outside the High Court

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March 23, 2009

Traffic restrictions at Perambur
Chennai, March 23: Traffic on roads leading to Perambur subway will be restricted, following the second phase of construction of overbridge at Perambur High Road South. The new overbridge will extend upto the subway North. All traffic diversions announced on February 12 will stay. The new changes are as follows: C a r , autorickshaws and motorcycles plying to Ayanavaram and Pullianthope from Madhavaram High Road and Sirivallur Salai will be diverted to the subway parallel to the main one. From there, the vehicles can take Pikkington Road, Anderson Road and Konnur High Road Junction to reach their destinations. Commercial goods vehicles, MTC buses and sports utility vehicles (jeeps) will not be allowed to proceed towards the Perambur H i g h R o a d , Ganesapuram Bridge and Pullianthope High Road. Commercial vehicles and jeeps intending to go to Perambur from Medavakkam Tank Road and Konnur High Road will not be allowed to proceed towards Anderson Road, Pilkington High Road and Anderson Road Junction. -Agencies

India's 1st Student-made Satellite Set for Launch To take-off in April
Chennai, March 23: Coming April, India's student community will get a big morale booster when the country's first student-made satellite will ride into space on the PSLV, (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) along with ISRO's (Indian Space Research Organization) Risat Satellite. The "Anusat" has been designed by 37 aerospace engineering students with the help of 10 teachers from the Madras Institute of Technology. ISRO, which has been promoting the development of satellites (microsatellites), is finally seeing its efforts bearing fruit with the imminent launch of the Anusat. The idea behind the promotion was to make the students aware of the various factors involved in the design and launch of a satellite. These involved taking in to consideration the thermal management of the satellite, controls, the guidance system, power delivery, and not to m e n t i o n , t h e communications part wherein the two-way communication between the satellite and the command centre will be managed. The satellite will orbit the earth in a low altitude orbit between 600 and 800km. Data from the satellite will be received at the Chennai Tech University and the Pune University. Anusat has been designed to cater the basic communication purposes. However, the main purpose behind the initiative, apart from the obvious scientific intent, was to give the students a "hands-on" experience in handling complex projects like the design, development and execution of a project of this nature. The program was initiated in 2002 and was ideated by R. Vasagam, the former vice chancellor of Anna University. Other universities and educational institutions are already in the midst of developing micro satellites. These include the IIT Mumbaui and IIT Kanpur and not to mention, Anna University to which the Madras Institute of Technology is affiliated with. The launch of the satellite is expected to happen on April 5 or 6. -Agencies

Call to enforce legal provisions strictly against hatred
Chennai, March 23 : Prince of Arcot Mohammed Abdul Ali today appealed to the Centre and Tamil Nadu government to strictly enforce all legal provisions prohibiting promotion of religious hatred, especially in politics and political discourse. In a statement here, he said though the Constitution gives everyone the right to profess and propagate their religion, nothing could entitle any person, political parties and politicians from misusing religion and the religious identity and promote hatred against followers of other religions. In an obvious reference to the controversial remarks made by BJP leader Varun Gandhi while campaigning , the Prince of Arcot said ''most unfortunately and tragically, instances of such hate-mongering were increasing in a secular country. ''This was almost entirely due to weak enforcement of legal provisions and lack of will to prevent such poison from spreading'', he pointed out. -Agencies

March 23, 2009 Times Chennai E-Paper News You Can Use

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Human chain to save Ganga
Varanasi, March 23: In an effort to raise awareness about rising pollution in river Ganga, hundreds of students on Sunday formed a seven-kilometre long human chain through the ghats here on the occasion of World Water Day. "The Ganges is highly polluted and we are making full efforts to create awareness about it," said Sardar Fakruddin, one of the participants in the event. A number of citizens, students and members of various institutions participated in the event organised for the fourth consecutive time by an NGO Sankat Mochan Foundation, working for the conservation of river Ganga. A rally was also organised on the occasion where SP MLA Ajay Rai, BJP MLA Shyam Dev Roy Chowdhary and social activists took a pledge to save Ganga -Agencies

Tourists to get a taste of eco-tourism in Kashmir
Jammu, March 23 Ta k i n g a c u e f r o m Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir is set to promote eco-tourism which will give tourists myriad experiences of the JLRL also suggested providing technical assistance to the local community by capacity building initiative for providing an insightful, mindful and Ecotourism Project head, A Khanna said. Viewing of river borders, springs, lakes, water wildlife species, rafting, canoeing, fishing and boating besides dances, cultural items and folk music will be part of the eco-tourism package. In the first phase, the action plan has been formulated for smaller sanctuaries and wetlands i n c l u d i n g R a m n a g a r, Jasrota, Nandni, sanctuaries, Gharana, wetland, Surinsar and Mansar lake forested areas in Jammu region, Dachigam, Haigam sanctuaries and Hokarsar wetland in Kashmir and Hemis High altitude national park, Tso-Moriri, Tso-Kar wetlands and

Discovery readies for 3rd spacewalk
Washington, March 23: Discovery astronauts prepared for a third and final spacewalk on Monday, with a busy to-do list that may include unsticking a jammed down during a space w a l k o n S a t u r d a y, causing a jam that prevents the tool container from swinging away from the space station, NASA said. and looking at it tomorrow," he said, adding that engineers were drawing up a schedule for Monday's spacewalk, the third and final one of the 13-day mission. As the mission passed its halfway mark, astronauts Acaba and Richard Arnold were to spend the night in the space station's airlock in anticipation of Monday's walk in space, NASA said. Earlier on S u n d a y, D i s c o v e r y began to manoeuvre the shuttle and space station to increase drag, a move designed to alter the vessels' trajectory and so avoid a piece of debris that is also floating in space. "The debris is estimated to be about four inches in diameter, part of a spent Chinese satellite upper stage," NASA's website said. -Agencies

restraint pin used to clamp a toolbox to the outside of the International Space Station. Astronauts Steve Swenson and Joseph Acaba inadvertently inserted the pin upside-

"The engineers are trying to troubleshoot it," hoping to figure out a way to free the pin, NASA spokesman Bill Jeffs said on Sunday. The astronauts "possibly are going back

Daily drinking is biggest risk factor in serious liver disease
London, March 23: Long-term daily drinking, rather than weekly binge drinking, is by far the biggest risk factor in serious liver disease, according to a new report from the University of Southampton. The stud y, published in Addiction journal this week, concludes that increases in UK liver deaths are a result of daily or near daily heavy drinking, not episodic or binge drinking, and this regular drinking pattern is often discernable at an early age. I t a l s o reccommends that several alcohol-free days a week is a healthier drinking pattern, says a press release by EurekAlert. In the study of drinking patterns, dependency and lifetime drinking history in 234 subjects with liver disease, 106 had ALD (Alcoholrelated Liver Disease) – 80 of whom had evidence of cirrhosis or progressive fibrosis – the team found that 71 per cent of ALD patients drank on a daily basis. In contrast to the patients with alcoholrelated cirrhosis or fibrosis, patients with other forms of liver disease tended to drink sparingly with only 10 subjects (8 per cent) drinking moderately on four or more days each week. The study also explored lifetime drinking histories of 105 subjects and found that ALD patients started drinking at a significantly younger age (on average at 15 years old) than other subjects and had significantly more drinking days and units than non-ALD patients from the age of 20 onwards. Lead author of the study Dr Nick Sheron, consultant hepatologist and senior lecturer at the U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h a m p t o n , comments: "If we are to turn the tide of liver deaths, then along with an overall reduction in alcohol consumption – which means tackling cheap booze and unregulated marketing – we need to find a way to identify those people who are most likely to develop alcohol-related illnesses at a much earlier stage, and perhaps we need to pay as much attention to the frequency of drinking occasions as we do to binge drinking. "The transition from a late teenage and early 20's binge drinking pattern to a more frequent pattern of increased intake may prove to be a useful point of intervention in the future, and the importance of three alcohol-free days each week should r e c e i v e m o r e prominence." -Agencies

countryside while helping locals living in remote areas. Under the eco-tourism project, the state would promote adventure tourism, trekking, water rafting, bird watching, fishing, night camps, forest camps, wetland visits and wildlife education. T h e o b j e c t i v e o f developing ecotourism facility in Jammu and Kashmir is also to uplift people living in rural and remote areas. "We have decided to launch ecotourism in J&K on the lines of Karanataka to offer wildlife, forest and adventure tourism to domestic and foreign tourists in the state as a unique and natural experience," chief wildlife warden, J&K, A. K. Srivastava told PTI. In this direction, a pilot project has been prepared by Karnataka government owned company Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd (JLRL), which is successfully running eco-tourism sector in the southern state for the past 29 years. "The project has been submitted to the Union Ministry of Tourism and has been approved by it," he said, adding the action plan for tourism has been entrusted to JLRL in consultation with Wildlife department and Tourism department in J&K. The virgin and untouched areas of the state makes it perfect for eco-tourists, JLRL said, adding the major ecotourism zones in the first phase have been considered as wetlands and protected areas.

participatory travel experience to natural and cultural environments.

Under this project, J&K government shall setup a eco-tourism board – as an apex body to coordinate ecotourism activities in the state. The board will develop infrastructure facilities and will outsource the management of the sites to interested parties under revenue sharing model with minimum guaranteed money, he said. The nodal officer of the project has been appointed and it will explore eco-tourism potential, development, eco-infrastructure building up, eco-lodge management, marketing of eco-tourist sites and strong customer n e t w o r k s a n d development of organizational setup, Mr. Srivastava said. "The potential ecotourism activities will attract different type of visitors and tourists in forest in J&K for travelling in dense woods, trekking, long excursions, jeep safaris, jungle tours, camping, wildlife education and viewing, bird watching and wetland visits,"

Pongang lake in Ladakh. "But all these activities would be outside the protected areas and would be undertaken specifically under guidance and supervision of wildlife department," he said. In the beginning package tours would be organized in these destinations for night forest c a m p , t e n t e d accommodations, birdwatching, fishing, film shows, star gazing, camp fire and natural forest trails, he said, adding that every package tour would be meant for five to ten persons only. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the department of Wildlife Preservation, J&K and JLRL to develop an ecotourism action plan for Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Srivastava said. Ecotourism is a joint venture project between Tourism and Wildlife departments of Jammu and Kashmir and funding would be done by the Union Ministry of Tourism through state Tourism department, he said. -Agencies

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March 23, 2009

BJP says Varun still its candidate
New Delhi, March 23: The BJP on Monday rejected the Election Commission's advise to it not not to nominate Varun Pilibhit. " H e ( Va r u n ) i s o u r candidate. We have turned down the advise (by the E C ) because it is does not not have the right to give such a n advise," p a r t y spokesm an Balbir Punj told reporters a f t e r meeting Varun. He said he was speaking as the authorised spokesman of the party and this was the view of the party leaders after consultations among them. In an unprecedented action, the Election Commission last night asked the BJP not not to nominate Varun as its candidate in the Lok Sabha elections after holding him guilty of making communal s p e e c h e s . " Va r u n Gandhi does not not deserve to be a candidate at the present general elections...." the t h r e e - m e m b e r Commission said in its advise to BJP. -Agencies

Is Satyam fraud much higher than disclosed by Raju?
New Delhi, March 23: Its probe into the accounting fraud in Satyam Computer has given the CBI enough books. The sources said these inflated figures were also reflected in the balance sheet in the form of audit reports which helped the company to cheat the public who were purchasing its shares. The buck did not stop here as the accused also have given false and fabricated statements about high capital of the company. The accused forged documents and created fake fixed deposit receipts to the tune of Rs 3,300 crore. The FDRs were shown by the accused as available deposits by the company, the sources said on Sunday, adding, the accused had also allegedly manipulated the bank guarantees to show the balance in bank accounts as Rs 1,800 crore. The CBI alleged that the accused had forged bank documents showing the existence of the cash balance in five banks including ICICI bank, HSBC, Citibank and BNP Paribas, but the banks clarified that they do not have any cash balance in the name of the firm. The CBI is at present questioning the disgraced former chairman of Satyam B Ramalinga Raju and others including the a u d i t o r s o f Pricewaterhouse. Their custody was handed over to the CBI on Saturday for a period of two days. Besides Raju, his brother Rama Raju, Satyam’s former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas, Pw partners S Gopalakrishnan and Talluri Srinivas are in jail awaiting trial in connection with the case dubbed as India’s biggest corporate fraud. In a related development, the CBI was examining the digital evidence about the share transactions at the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange and did not rule out the possibility of questioning some officials of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the capital market regulator. SEBI too is independently probing the fraud. The CBI was probing the rotation of funds and role of front companies used in rotation of funds, the sources said, adding that it was found that the accused had floated more than 320 companies and nearly 60 companies had same addresses. Experts including chartered accountants from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India are also assisting the CBI in probing the role of the regulator in this case, the sources said. -Agencies

Gandhi as candidate in the Lok Sabha elections and declared that he would be the party candidate in

I’m from Faridkot in Pakistan, Kasab tells court
Mumbai, March 23: Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist of the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks, on Monday confessed before a Special Court judge in Mumbai that he is a resident of Pakistan’s Faridkot district. The confession came during the first day of trial in the Mumbai terror attacks, which began at 11.00 am this morning. During the hearing, Kasab also asked for an advocate. Two months ago, lawyers in Mumbai had unanimously announced that none of them would represent Kasab in the trial and he has been unrepresented at all the remand hearings conducted so far. As the work for the Special Court inside the heavily secured precincts of the Arthur Road Jail in south-central Mumbai is yet to be completed, the hearing of Kasab and the other two accused took place in Mumbai Session Court through video conferencing. Apart from Kasab, the other two accused in the case are Fahim Ansari and S a b a h u d d i n Mohammed, suspected members of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba who are alleged to be accomplices in the crime that shook the world and left India traumatised. The remaining 35 accused have been listed in the chargesheet as "wanted absconders". Among the charges under different sections of various Indian laws are waging war against the nation, terrorist activities, kidnapping, entering the country illegally, attempt to murder, murders, planning and abetting the Mumbai terror attacks, attacks conspiracy, etc. Special Judge ML Tahilyani has been appointed to presided over the trial that is likely to draw attention of the national and international media. While the prosecution is being led by Special Public Prosecutor Ujwal Nikam, Ansari and Mohammed are being represented by noted criminal lawyer Aejaz Naqvi. Nikam had earlier said that Monday would mark the formal opening of the trial, but it would not be the actual date of hearing. That will be decided by the judge. Nine associates of Kasab were killed by the combined security operations that battled the terrorists for 60 hours at several locations, including a busy railway terminus, luxury hotels and a Jewish centre, all in south Mumbai. The carnage resulted in the killing of over 170 Indians, foreigners and security personnel and injuries to more than 300 people. Eighteen security personnel were among those killed. -Agencies

reason to believe that the scam involves a much bigger amount close to Rs 10,000 crore, than what was disclosed by the IT company’s founder Ramalinga Raju, who is now awaiting trial. Sources said the agency has retrieved over 7,000 fake invoices and forged documents showing fixed deposits and bank balances and their evaluation shows that the size of the scam is over Rs 9,600 crore, much more than the Rs 7,800 crore disclosed by Raju on January 7. They said the investigating agency during the probe found that the accused relied heavily on technology to generate nearly 7,000 fake invoices to the tune of Rs 4,500 crore and fed the same into Satyam’s

Lalu signals end of alliance with Congress in Bihar
Patna, March 23: Vi r t u a l l y e n d i n g i t s alliance with Congress in Bihar, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad on Monday announced candidates for 28 of the 40 which Mr. Prasad's party was to contest 25 of Bihar's 40 seats while LJP 12. The rest of the three seats were left for Congress. However, after the Congress rejected the offer and resolved to contest 37 seats on its own sparing the two seats, Saran and Pataliputra, for its two allies, Lalu fielded his party's candidates even in the three seats won by the Congress in the previous Lok Sabha polls. Lalu is trying his luck from Saran while LJP supremo is contesting from Pataliputra. The RJD's list includes Union Ministers T a s l i m u d d i n ( K i s h a n g a n j ) , Raghuvansh Prasad S i n g h ( Va i s h a l i ) , Akhilesh Prasad Singh (Purvi Champaran), Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav (Bbanka), Kanti Singh (Karakat), Raghunath Jha (Valmikinagar) and M A A Fatmi (Darbhanga). Mr. Prasad fielded Lalan Paswan, who resigned as JD(U) member in the state assembly and switched over to RJD yesterday, against union minister and Congress nominee Meira Kumar from Sasaram (SC). Similarly, state president Abdul Bari Siddiqui would be contesting against Union Minister of State for Home and Congress candidate Shakeel Ahmed in Madhubani. R J D ' s spokesman and MLA Shakeel Ahmed Khan would take on sitting Congress MP and retired IPS officer Nikhil Kumar from Aurangabad, Prasad added. -Agencies

Judicial probe ordered into Orissa police firing
Bhubaneswar, March 23: A police officer has been suspended and a judicial probe ordered into an incident of police firing that left one person dead and several injured in Orissa's Dhenkanal district, authorities said on Monday. The officer in charge of the local police station has been suspended and Rs 100,000 ex-gratia payment has been announced for the family of the victim, an official statement said. "A judge of the rank of district judge will conduct the probe," it said. Duryodhan Malik, 45, was killed and several people injured when police opened fire on a mob that attacked a police station and set vehicles on fire in Bhuban town, 110 km from here, on Sunday. Nearly 400 people were protesting the mysterious death of a class 10 student Bimalendu Nayak whose body was found in a pond at Dhenkanal, 80 km from Bhuban. Dhenkanal police chief SK Gajbhiye said people in the town suspected it to be a case of murder and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits. "The mob pelted stones at the police station and set fire to vehicles." "Police tried to disperse the mob by resorting to a batoncharge but it did not work. Police were forced to open fire," he said. -Agencies

constituencies in the state including from the three seats where Congress has sitting MPs. The RJD chief released the list of candidates here but left without taking any questions. The RJD had initially stitched an alliance with Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP under

March 23, 2009 Times Chennai E-Paper


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Shyam Saran on a four day visit to US
Washington, March 23: Prime Minister's special envoy on climate change Shyam Saran has arrived in Washington on a four day visit to US to hold discussions with senior officials of the new Obama the two countries on climate change, the meetings is expected to focus on areas of IndoUS cooperation in the field of renewable and clean energy. He would also use the opportunity t o m e e t Washington-based think tanks and address them. Tomorrow, he would address the p r e s t i g i o u s C a r n e g i e Endowment for International Peace on "India's Climate Change Initiatives: Strategies for a Greener Future". During the meeting, Saran is expected to discuss India's domestic initiatives on climate change mitigation, including the Prime Minister's National Action Plan on Climate Change. Unveiled in July 2008, the plan aims to support rapid economic development in an environmentally sustainable manner. Saran, who was actively involved in the negotiations of the IndoUS civilian nuclear deal in various capacities, is scheduled to deliver a key note address on the issue at the prestigious Brookings Institute today. A Washingtonbased think tank, Brookings has organised a day-long meeting on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and the changing relationship between the two countries in the context of the landmark agreement. The event will examine the agreement's implications on American and Indian policy pertaining to energy, economics and technology; nonproliferation and nuclear strategy; and overall USIndia relations. -Agencies

Foreign Policy magazine ranks Zardari fifth biggest loser in world
Washington, March 23: The famous Foreign Policy magazine has ranked Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari Many of the closest friends of his late wife, Benazir Bhutto, could not stand him. Now, as it turns out, neither can most of the Pakistani people,” the magazine stated. According to the magazine, Zardari’s giving in to the demands of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s of reinstating the judiciary and particularly former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has made him weaker. “He’s on the ropes, his opposition is gaining strength, and meanwhile fraught, dangerous, complex Pakistan is hardly being governed at all,” the magazine said. Other biggest losers in the list are US Democratic Senator, Chris Dodd at number four, US swindler Bernie Madoff at number three, and the Roman Catholic Pope on the second spot for his ‘out of touch with the real world’ view. The magazine has termed Pope’s papacy as a ‘disaster’, The News reports. A u s t r i a n businessman, Josef Fritzl has been ranked the number one loser. Fritzl, 73, is currently facing trial for putting his own daughter in a dungeon beneath his house and raping her for over 24 years continuously. The list also has British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on number ten, and Israeli politician Benjamin Netahanyahu on the ninth spot. -Agencies

administration on the crucial issue. Saran, who landed here last night, is expected to articulate the view point of the Indian government on the crucial matter during his meetings with the officials. While sharp differences exists between

as the fifth biggest loser in the world. “Zardari was known to be a bad guy long before he became Pakistan’s President.

LTTE attack thwarted; five cadres killed: Lankan military
Colombo, March 23: The Sri Lankan Navy has killed five LTTE cadres, who were dressed as civilians, fleeing the war zone and were planning to attack security forces, the defence ministry said on Monday. It said the incident took place on Sunday morning off Chundikulam in the north when an inshore naval patrol craft spotted four dinghies carrying civilians fleeing from the Tamil Tigers-held areas. The naval vessel approached to help them. "When the naval personnel had approached them as usual for their (civilian) rescue, they found one dinghy with only five men on board suspicious. As they were about act on their suspicion, the persons on board the suspicious boat started firing at the navy," the Defence Ministry report said. The navy personnel in retaliatory fire killed all five Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide cadres on board the dinghy. The dead bodies of the rebels along with fire-arms were found in a subsequent search. "(The) navy believes that the LTTE's intention here was to mix with troops on land on the sly and inflict a huge devastation on them," the defence ministry said, adding 54 innocent civilians who were on board the other three dinghies were rescued by navy and safely brought ashore at Point Pedro and Vettilaikerni in the north. The military here said that the LTTE has now been boxed into a mere 28 square km land area in the Mullaitivu district, facing a multi-pronged military onslaught. It said that the number of civilians fleeing the rebel-held areas defying LTTE orders was on the rise and over 47,000 internally displaced people have entered the government-held areas since the beginning of 2009. These displaced people are being temporarily housed in welfare centres and villages in the northern Vavuniya district.

ISI not supporting militants now’
New York, March 23: Pakistan's present military leadership is "very supportive of democratic dispensation", the country's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has claimed and denied that spy agency ISI supports militants now. "I can speak with confidence of the present leadership of the ISI. I have worked closely and am working closely with (ISI chief) Gen. (Shuja) Pasha. I think he is very clear where the interests of Pakistan lies. And I can tell you he's not soft on extremists or militants," Qureshi said. But the Foreign Minister said he could not vouch for the ISI's links with militants in the past as "I was not interacting with them." O n apprehensions of a military take over in the country days after Pakistan almost turned back from the edge of a political strife, Qureshi in an interview to ABC News said the present military leadership is "very supportive of democratic dispensation". "I think what we have in place is a thinking General (Asfaq Pervez Kayani) who understands the challenges Pakistan faces, who understands the economic challenges we face, who understands the challenges of governance that we face, who understands how civilian institutions over the years under a dictatorship had weakened and why we need to strengthen them again," he said. In the interview, Qureshi again sought to make a case to stop drone attacks on the volatile Pak-Afghan border where al-Qaeda and Taliban have their sanctuaries, saying that the militants were seeking to build a groundswell for themselves on collateral damage caused by the strikes. Instead, the Pakistan foreign minister sought enhanced supply of sophisticated US weaponry including helicopters, night visions and better training for its paramilitary and law enforcement agencies to take on the militants in the restive areas of NWFP. T h e U S authorities, particularly the CIA, recently announced that they planned to go ahead with drone attacks on alQaeda hideouts on PakAfghan border. U S n e w s reports have said that the drone attacks have been highly successful having so far taken out as many as 50- 70 high value Taliban and al-Qaeda commanders. The reports have also spoken o f O b a m a ' s administration tinkering with the idea of expanding the strikes to n e i g h b o u r i n g Balochistan. T h e B u s h administration's strategy has not worked, Qureshi said, stressing, "We need a new strategy." In the course of the i n t e r v i e w, Q u r e s h i admitted that the Pakistani army was not adapt at fighting militancy. "We are adjusting to a new situation. Let's not forget that our army, that our troops are trained for a different theatre of war. And this insurgency and this sort of fight that is taking place up in the north is somewhat different. They have adapted and they have adapted very quickly," he said. Asked why the Army chief is resisting attempts by the US to directly train army officers, the foreign minister said the Americans are training the trainers. "Once we have our trainers trained, we can do the training." "We don't have to start from scratch. We have institutions, functional institutions in Pakistan. All we have to do is strengthen them further, and that's exactly what's taking place," he added. His comments come in the backdrop of US confirming that its forces were imparting training in counter i n s u r g e n c y t o paramilitary Frontier Corps.

Bangladesh, India to renew inland water transit & trade protocol
Dhaka, March 23: Bangladesh and India began talks here Monday to renew the inland water transit and trade protocol that is aimed at boosting river-borne trade between the two countries. Foreign and shipping ministry officials said they hoped to renew the deal, scheduled to expire March 31, when talks end Tuesday. Bangladesh shipping secretary Masud Elahi and additional secretary of India's road, transport and highways ministry Vijay Chhibber carried out the negotiations. Officials in Dhaka, however, hinted that the inclusion of Ashuganj as a new port of call to facilitate easy transport of Indian goods from Kolkata to Agartala through Bangladesh, w o u l d n o t b e incorporated in the renewed deal. Dhaka had agreed to it during the brief visit here by India's Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee Feb 9. But officials say there has been "little progress" since then. "Other than high level political decision, there is no scope for any significant change in this sort of deal," an unnamed official told New Age newspaper. Dhaka wants more money as levy than t h e Ta k a 2 0 m i l l i o n ($290,000) it gets annually. It was agreed at the last meeting in New Delhi that an upward revision of the rate would be considered by the two governments, the newspaper said. The inland water transit protocol was first signed in 1980 under a bilateral trade agreement which facilitated mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of the waterways for commerce, keeping the river routes navigable within each territories. The protocol was first renewed in 1999, then in 2001 and last in 2007.

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Times Chennai E-Paper


March 23, 2009

Tata fulfills Indians’ dream, launches Nano
Mumbai, March 23: Bringing a 6-yr old dream of delivering an affordable car to the Indian family to fruition, Tata on Monday launched the Nano here in Mumbai. With a on the road price tag of Rs 1.2 to 1.3 lakhs, Nano is the cheapest car in the World. forms will cost Rs 300 only. Tata Motors’ dream car comes with a warranty of 18 months or 24,000 kms. Tata Motors will produce more than 1 lakh cars in first year out of which about 50,00060,000 cars to be unveiling at the Auto Expo in New Delhi and then becoming the centrepiece of a political controversy over the location of its plant at Singur in West Bengal. The USD 62.5 billion group finally had to shift its factory to Sanand in Gujarat after cascading politically-motivated protests over land acquisition from farmers raised questions over the company's ability to stick to its launch deadline, informally set for October 2008. Showcasing its prototype last year, Tata Motors had announced that it will cost all of Rs 100,000 at factory gates the lowest cost for any car so far. C o m p a n y o f f i c i a l s s a i d arrangements were being made to accept bookings with the existing dealers of Tata Motors, at Westside apparel chain and Croma appliances stores promoted by the group, and select branches of the State Bank of India. The four-door, five-seat car has a small 33-bhp engine at the rear and is targeted at the strong Indian middle class population that aspires to trade its twowheelers for a much safer vehicle at an affordable cost. With a length of 3.1 metres, a width of 1.5 metres and a height of 1.6 metres, Nano also has adequate ground clearance and can effortlessly manoeuvre on busy roads in cities as well as in rural areas.

Fag-end buying lifts Sensex above 9,400 points
Mumbai March 23: Buying at the fag-end drove the Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex to a six-week high of over 9,400 points on optimism that US stimulus measures will help ease the credit crisis and revive global economic growth. The Sensex, which remained rangebound in the last two trading sessions, shot up by 457.34 points, or 5.10 per cent, to 9,424.02, a level last seen on February 12. It touched the day's high of 9,454.69 and a low of 9,040.30 points. Similarly, the 50-share National Stock Exchange index Nifty rose by 132.85 points at 2,939.90, after touching the day's high of 2,949.75 and a low of 2,807.25 points with most of the refinery and banking stocks recording handsome gains. Among the 30 BSE index stocks, barring DLF Ltd all ended with gains. DLF fell by 2.16 per cent to Rs 167.40 on funds selling. Reliance Industries Ltd led the rise with a hefty gain of 7.56 per cent to Rs 1,439.80. Marketmen said shares of oil and gas firms and banks were higher after a fresh plan to clean up the US financial system sparked a rally across Asia.

Spencer's Retail wins award at Food Forum India 2009
New Delhi, March 23: RPG Enterprises retail chain Spencer's Retail on Monday announced that it has received the Coca Cola Golden Spoon award for the 'Most Admired Food & Grocery Retailer for Convenience and Express formats' during the just-concluded Food Forum India 2009 at Mumbai. The award was conferred upon the company for excellence in the segments of Food and Beverages and Food and Grocery retail in India, Spencer's Retail said in a statement. "Food and Grocery has been our primary focus since the very beginning... The award is a testimony to our brand proposition ' Ta s t e - t h e - W o r l d ' , " Spencer's Retail Ltd President Vineet Kapila said. Spencer's Retail has around 350 stores spread across 60 cities. The company had last year announced a Rs 1,500 investment plan to expand its business across the country.

The bookings for the car will be open from April 9 to April 25, and can be done with an initial amount of Rs 2,999. Speaking to mediapersons at the l a u n c h , Ta t a G r o u p Chairman Ratan Tata said, “It is a milestone from its conception six year ago and its unveiling today. We took measures to make it ready for public. We fulfilled it under trying circumstances.” “Nano was conceived as an affordable vehicle for Indian public. It would be available in Tata showrooms from now onwards,” he added. Commenting on its price, Ratan Tata said, “It was never conceived as the cheapest car, but an affordable car for the people of India.” The booking

manufactured at its Pantnagar plant. According to figures, as many as 30,000 cars have been booked so far in 1,000 cities across the nation. Three models of Nano would be launched viz Standard, CX and LX. Touted as the next revolution in automobiles after the legendary Model T, the Nano will be available in three variants - standard, deluxe and luxury. The base model will have no air-conditioning. The delivery of the car would start from the month of July. The owners of the car would be decided by a lucky draw. T h e Ta t a group’s small car that hit the global headlines last year, both after its

Tata Motors speeds 8% on bourses driven by Nano
Mumbai, March 23: Shares of Tata Motors soared as much as eight per cent on the domestic bourses in the morning trade on Monday as the company is scheduled to launch its much-awaited and the world's least expensive car, Nano, later in the day. On the Bombay Stock Exchange, Tata Motors opened on a firm note and surged over eight per cent to touch an intraday high of Rs 173.85. Similarly, on the National Stock Exchange, the scrip opened at Rs 165 and soon witnessed a rally and jumped 7.76 per cent from its previous close to touch a high of Rs 173.40. Marketmen said the surge in the counter is largely due to the fact that Nano's commercial launch would mark a milestone in a journey and the car has the potential to redefine the personal transportation in modern India. On the volume front, over 6.2 lakh shares exchanged hands on the BSE and 20.36 lakh shares got traded on the NSE. Tata Motors was later quoted at Rs 170, up 5.66 per cent on the NSE. It was trading at Rs 169.75 on the BSE, up by 5.5 per cent. The customers of Nano -- described as "People's Car" by Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata -- can expect to own a four-wheeler at a price between Rs 1.20 lakh and Rs 1.30 lakh. After the launch in Mumbai, Nano would be displayed at the company's dealerships from the first week of April, while the bookings would start from the following week. -Agencies

March 23, 2009 Times Chennai E-Paper


Page 7

NZ names squad for 2nd test, drops Arnel
WELLINGTON, March 23: New Zealand omitted injured medium pacer Brent Arnel from its squad for the second cricket test against India starting Thursday but otherwise resisted changing a lineup beaten by 10 wickets in the first test. Arnel was a member of a 13-man squad named for the first test at Hamilton but was left out along with offspinner Jeetan Patel from the match 11. \ The uncapped medium pacer returned to play for his Northern Districts provincial side against Auckland in a domestic first-class match in which he sustained a side strain, ruling him out of the second test at Napier. Patel has retained his place in a trimmed 12-man squad. New Zealand also resisted recalling experienced all-rounder Jacob Oram for the Napier match, the second in a three-test series. Oram was unavailable for the first test because of an Achilles tendon injury but could have been considered for the second. ``He's only had a couple of days in the domestic competition, and after talking with him we agree he'd benefit from more game time to get up to the fitness level needed for the test side,'' selector Glenn Turner said. Medium pacer Iain O'Brien, who suffered a side strain in the Hamilton test, and batsman Daniel Flynn, who had a bruised hand, were both included in the New Zealand squad and are expected to play. Meanwhile, New Zealand has made a late change to the pitch on which the Napier test will be played but has denied the move has any sinister motive. Officials at McLean Park, where the test will be played, said the decision to change pitches was taken because of patchy grass growth on the original test pitch. The new pitch had better grass coverage and was likely to produce a better playing surface, Central Districts cricket spokesman Blair Furlong said. Furlong said the move was not designed to provide a pitch better suited to the New Zealand bowlers. Team: New Zealand team: Daniel Vettori (captain), Tim McIntosh, Martin Guptill, Daniel Flynn, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, James Franklin, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Iain O'Brien, Chris Martin, Jeetan Patel.

Chidambaram lashes out at BCCI over IPL row
New Delhi, March 23: Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday lashed out at the Indian Premier League authorities, the BCCI and the BJP, saying that the remarks made by them were absolutely 'unwarranted'. The BCCI had said that is was the attitude of Andhra P r a d e s h a n d M a h a r a s h t r a governments that forced them to take IPL out of the country. \Chidambaram, however, said that one must respect the decision made by the state governments as it is their duty to ensure incident free elections. “ S u c h statements are absolutely unwarranted. It is contrary to the letter dated March 4, 2009 wherein N. Srinivasan, secretary BCCI said, 'We shall not ask the central paramilitary forces to provide security for matches.' If Manohar was referring to the states government alone, I would like to remind him that state governments are ultimately responsible for maintaining law and order and providing security and one has to respect the judgements made by the state governments on this behalf,” Chidambaram said. He added that the government had sent out notices to all the concerned state governments and had asked them to revert back in writing on if they would be able to provide security to the cash-rich league which would run parallel to the elections in the country. Out of all, only three states; Punjab, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and one Union Territory, Chandigarh had replied back in writing stating their positions on the same. He accused the BCCI of taking the decision before all the states could revert back and that the board didn't give the central government a chance to sort out issues. Chidambaram also targeted Arun Jaitley, also the president of the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA), who said on Sunday, “the decision will send a negative message to the world that India is unable to hold a domestic sporting event”. Jaitley also said that, “The whole country is disturbed and concerned over the non-cooperative attitude of the congress ruled states.” \ The Home Mister said that Jaitley has a tendency to exaggerate issues. “He also wears the cap of the president of DDCA, he has gone overboard with his statements this time,” said Chidambaram He added, “I have repeatedly said that Cricket in India is still safe and all players will be provided complete security. The question is when the IPL matches should be played? Should they be played during the 45 days period from April 1 to May 13 when the election campaign will be in full swing? On this subject, the final judgement should be that of the State Government.” \ Chidambaram hit the bulls-eye while referring to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's comments of stating the IPL move-out as a 'national shame'. He said that the statement made by Modi were 'most provocative'. “What is a national shame? Most people in India think that the Gujarat communal riots were a national shame and not the IPL moving out of India,” said Chidambaram. Clearly disturbed by the comments made by the BCCI and the BJP leaders, Chidambaram said, “IPL is a shrewd combination of cricket and b u s i n e s s . There is no need to add politics into it.” When asked if he would like to appeal the BCCI to reconsider their decision of moving out, the Home Minister said that he had “no suggestion for the IPL”.

West Indies defeat England to level ODI series
Georgetown, March 23: An unbeaten 112 by Shivnarine Chanderpaul trumped a fine 105 from Andrew Strauss as the West Indies beat England by 21 runs in the second one-day international at the National Stadium at Providence. Chanderpaul's 10th one-day century, spiced with 10 fours off 134 balls, was the backbone of the home team's challenging 264-8 off 50 overs yesterday, which proved enough to level the five-match series 1-1. Fellow Guyanese Ramnaresh Sarwan chipped in with 74 off 89 deliveries. James Anderson (3-37) led England's attack while medium pacers Paul Collingwood (3-49) and Dimitri Mascarenhas (253) provided fine support. Strauss anchored England's chase but the visitors were bowled out for 243 off 48.2 overs. The 32-year-old Strauss cracked seven fours off 129 balls in his third one-day hundred before he was ninth out. The medium pacers Dwayne Bravo (240), Kieron Pollard (2-46) and Darren Sammy (1-36 in 10 overs) starred for the home team. Strauss admitted that England were let down by early strikes from the West Indies. "We lost too many wickets too early so we were always a little bit behind the eight ball," he said. The West Indies were in early peril after they won the toss and batted. The 26-year-old Anderson removed both openers as the home team limped to 24-2. Lendl Simmons (0) feathered an edge to wicket-keeper Matt Prior while captain Chris Gayle (20 off 20 balls) was bowled off the inside edge just as he looked dangerous. Sarwan and Chanderpaul, cheered on by a capacity crowd of 15,000, revived the innings with their century stand that spanned 30 overs. England should h a v e c l a i m e d Chanderpaul, then 27, at 80-2, but Prior put down a regulation catch standing up to Mascarenhas. A n d e r s o n eventually returned to remove Sarwan in the first over of the batting powerplay. The righthander lofted a catch to mid-off at 157-3. Chanderpaul, who became the third West Indian to pass 8,000 one-day runs when he reached 96, dominated a 49-run stand with Kieron Pollard that accelerated the West Indian innings. But Pollard and the rest of the lower order could not provide telling assistance for Chanderpaul and the last ten overs only provided 57 runs. Mascarenhas dismissed Pollard and Dwayne Bravo (19) to two boundary catches. Bravo fell to a brilliant one from C o l l i n g w o o d backpedalling and hauling in a catch over his head. Collingwood then made an impact with the ball, removing Denesh Ramdin (1), Darren Sammy (11) and Nikita Miller (0) as the innings faded. England's reply also stuttered early, falling to 36-2 as Ravi Bopara (14) and Kevin Pietersen (12) departed cheaply. Bopara dragged into his stumps from Lionel Baker while Pietersen fell in similar circumstances to Fidel Edwards. Strauss and Owais Shah (22) rebuilt the innings in a stand of 50 for the third wicket before Bravo put his stamp on the match. He removed Shah and Paul Collingwood in the same over as England fell away in mid-innings. When Matt Prior was caught behind off Sammy, the visitors were down and out at 97-5. Strauss found an able ally in Dimitri Mascarenhas an the pair rallied in a partnership of 59. But when Mascarenhas was run out by a fine piece of fielding from Chris Gayle and Stuart Broad and Gareth Batty followed swiftly at 185-8, it seemed that Strauss was left too much to do. He and Steve Harmison shared a stand of 44 to lift fading hopes.But Pollard returned to pluck out Strauss's leg stump and also bowl Anderson to seal the victory.

Mixed reaction to staging of IPL outside India
New Delhi: The Cricket Board's decision to shift the Indian Premier League to another country on Sunday evoked a mixed reaction from former cricketers, some of whom felt that the entire issue was “messed up” by the BCCI. While some former players justified the move to shift the IPL overseas, former captain Kapil Dev and legendary spinner Erapalli Prasanna were among those who were critical of the decision. Prasanna said the BCCI should have c o n s u l t e d t h e Government before chalking out their schedule to avert such a move. “If I were BCCI President I would have c o n s u l t e d t h e Government of India much before the decision on Lok Sabha election dates. Having not done that I would have conceded to the government to cancel the IPL because the tournament has the tag of India since the title is 'Indian Premier League'. The BCCI has messed up the whole scenario,” he said. 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev felt the decision should have been taken after taking into account players' views but their opinion was not asked by the BCCI. “My thinking is entirely different. I would first take the players into confidence and take their concerns first before deciding to shift any tournament that belonged to India,” Kapil said. “The tournament was intended to be held in India, t h e r e f o r e t h e administrators of the game should have first talked to the players before venturing to shift the tournament. It is BCCI's apathy that players are not allowed to give their opinion on this matter,” said Kapil. Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar justified the decision, saying it was dictated by safety concerns for all, especially the players. “The important thing is the safety of the players. If the government has apprehensions about the safety of the players when polls are held it's advisable to move it out,” Vengsarkar said. -Agencies

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Times Chennai E-Paper

Election Special

March 23, 2009

Notification for five–phased Lok Sabha polls issued
New Delhi, March 23: The notification kickstarting the formal process for the fivephased Lok Sabha elections beginning on April 16 was issued Monday. President Pratibha Patil issued the phase. W i t h t h e issuance of notification, the filing of nominations by candidates would begin in the massive electoral exercise in which over 714 million voters would be eligible to exercise their franchise to elect a new 543-member House which is required to be constituted before June two. The Lok Sabha polls would be held in five phases on April 16, 23, 30 and May seven and 13. Counting of votes would take place on May 16. Nominations for the constituencies going to polls in the first phase will close on March 30 and withdrawal of candidatures would be on April two which would draw the battle lines. While Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh would have five phased elections, Bihar will see elections in four phases. Maharashtra and West Bengal will have elections in three phases. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Orissa and Punjab will witness two phased elections. The remaining 15 States and seven Union Territories will have a single phase polling. Notification for the second phase of elections for 141 seats would be issued on March 28, for third phase for 107 seats on April two, for fourth phase for 85 seats on April 11 and for the fifth phase for 86 seats on April 17. Nearly 2,500 observers would closely monitor the polls across the country for which 40 lakh civilian officials and 21 lakh security personnel would be deployed.

Permission of Central office valid across the country
Thane, March 23 : The Election Commission has issued a statement that political parties need to obtain only a single permission from the Central Office in New Delhi for placing advertisement on media for the current Lok Sabha elections. The instruction to this effect has been issued by the Election Commission during the weekend to the election officers, a release said here today. In an official letter the EC has said if the Central Office of any of the national or state party with headquarters in Delhi sought certification of same advertisement in multiple languages, the material along with certified transcripts should be submitted to the committee. It also added that, in such cases, the applicant should also submit a duly sworn affidavit stating that the regional language version of the advertisement is a true translation and the applicant would responsible for any mistake therein. The EC said any advertisement certified for broadcast by the Central Office would be valid for across the country adding that no separate certification would be required in such cases from the committees in other states.

notification for the first phase covering 124 seats spread over 17 States and Union Territories. Notifications were also issued by respective Governors for 154 of the 294 assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh and 70 of the 147 assembly seats in Orissa, going to polls along with the Lok Sabha elections in the first

What’s in a name? What’s in a name? Aplenty to those over 200-strong list of political parties spread across the country and registered with the Election Commission. “Though a political party by any other name would be as good or as bad as they actually are, several of them, with the Lok Sabha elections round the corner, have gone through the rigours of combination and permutation to choose the right word to woo voters. So next time, don’t be surprised if you hear names of parties like ‘Niswarth Sewa Party’ or ‘Lok Bhalai Party’ or ‘Pyramid Party of India’, though it has nothing to do with distant Egypt and even Bharatiya Muhabbat Party. Also, seeking to identify themselves with the ‘aam aadmi’, are parties like ‘Rashtriya Garib Dal’, ‘Rashtriya Hamara Dal’ and ‘Aapna Dal’ which are a dime a dozen. — Agencies Guns & roses Bihar’s controversial ‘love guru’ who married a student half his age, is all set to fight as an independent candidate against cine star-turned politician and BJP’s nominee Shatrughan Sinha in Patna (Saheb) Lok Sabha constituency. But he has apparently not traded love for politics. “I have decided to fight the polls from Patna (Saheb) LS seat as an independent for which I will approach the Election Commission to allot heart as my symbol,” Matuknath Choudhary, a former Patna University professor, told PTI. “I want to make love the centre of resolving all kind of problems faced by the present-day society,” he said, adding his foremost priority would be to spread the message of love. — Agencies Spy games They mushroomed in numbers providing security guards to offices and housing societies, upgraded technology and were increasingly engaged by people for various purposes that ranged from watch on spouses, children to report on character of a would be son-in-law. With increased demand, thanks to terror attacks, private security agencies are eying a share in the huge money spent by political parties and candidates. “We have been engaged in assessment exercises, where our mandate is to assess the winnability of a ticket aspirant versus others," says Rituraj, COO, security and intelligence services. An official of another agency says both candidates and parties have been approaching private companies for services ranging from providing a security cover to even spying on rival candidates. — Agencies Double dose As far as this doctorturned-politician is concerned, it’s a double dose. The Trinamool Congress candidate from Barasat town in West Bengal has hit the campaign trail with a stethoscope in hand. Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, the candidate, said: “Along with campaigning, I check up women, who come to attend my meetings. I cannot neglect my patients nor my duty as a politician. —Agencies Retro look At first glance he looks like India’s independence hero Mahatma Gandhi, wearing only a knee-length wraparound and slippers, but Bagun Sumbarai is a seasoned politician bidding for a sixth stint in Parliament. One of the oldest candidates in the general election, Sumbarai (85) treks for miles to woo voters and is hugely popular with the people of Singhbhum district in the eastern state of Jharkhand. “I believe in my work and follow Gandhiji’s ideology. When I was young I witnessed how Gandhiji mobilised people for the freedom of the country,” said the bald Sumbarai, who is contesting the election on a ruling Congress party ticket. — Agencies

EC lists over 1,000 political parties
New Delhi, March 23: The 543 Lok Sabha seats in the country are up for grabs by over 1000 political parties in the coming general elections. Since the last Lok Sabha polls in 2004, the number of political parties has gone up considerably with the Election Commission listing names of 1,027 parties. Most of the additions have been among the registered unrecognised parties. While the number of such parties was 173 in 2004, it has gone up to 980 this year, according to the EC list. There has also been an increase of four state parties and one n a t i o n a l p a r t y. T h e number of state parties was 36 in 2004 which rose to 40 this year, while Rashtriya Janata Dal has got the status of a national party. The national parties at present are BJP, BSP, Congress, CPI, CPM, NCP and RJD, the EC said. As per the EC norms, a party should be recognised as a national party if its candidates in any four or more states in the last general or assembly elections have secured not less than six per cent of the total valid votes polled in each of the respective states.

The history of Lok Sabha elections
1952 October 25, 1951 to February 21. 1957 February 24 to June 9. 1962 February 16 to June 6. 1967 February 15 to February 28. 1971 March 1 to March 13. 1977 March 16 to March 20. 1980 January 3 to January 6. 1984 Dec 24, Dec 27, Dec 28 (Polling in Punjab was held on Sept 25, 1985 and Assam on Dec 5, 1985). 1989 Nov 22 and Nov 26. 1991 First round was held on May 20, 1991. Following the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, the second and third rounds of polling were postponed to June 12 and June 15. Voting was the lowest ever in general elections' history in India, with only 53 per cent of voters exercising their franchise. -- In Punjab elections were held in 1992. However, Lok Sabha poll were not held in Jammu and Kashmir 1996 April 27, May 2, May 7 and May 21. 1998 February 16, Feb 22, Feb 28 March 7. 1999 September 4, Sep 11, Sep 17, Sep 24 and Oct 1. 2004 April 20, 26, May 5, May 10.

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