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Sonia gets party behind Manmohan

After getting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to return to the pre-Sharm-El-Sheikh line on linking terrorism with the composite dialogue process, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday declared her support for Mr Singh’s parliamentary “statement” on India-Pak relations.

Ms Gandhi’s stand on the government’s recent Pakistan initiatives, made during a speech to Congress parliamentarians, emphasised that the resumption of the composite dialogue process was conditional to Pakistan curbing India-directed terrorism from its soil. Without actually evoking the joint statement, she backed the PM’s intervention in Lok Sabha but, significantly, steered clear of mentioning Balochistan.

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July 31, 2009 Posted by | News, Politics, Terror | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No hike in passenger fares, freight charges: Rail Budget

Amid expectations of improvement in railway amenities, railway minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday presented the 15th Railway Budget in Parliament.

Presenting a promised ‘pro-people’ budget, the railway minister said that economic viability is not the only index of development, according top priority to social commitment.

She went on to add, “People expect to get better rail and train facilities. Development should not be restricted to only few people. People want better connectivity between stations in the nation. My priorities will include better passenger amenities, safety and security and provision of good quality food and drinking water”.

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July 3, 2009 Posted by | Business, Congress, Economy, Indian Economy, News, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Polls over, parties hold strategy sessions to woo allies 14 May 2009, 1305 hrs IST, IANS

A day after televisions projected a badly fractured Lok Sabha, leading contenders for power discussed ways Thursday to woo new alliesand estranged partners in a bid to cobble a majority in parliament.

Leaders of the ruling Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the so-called Third Front held informal discussions and prepared to hold strategy sessions in the run up to the eagerly awaited vote count Saturday.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, touted as the BJP’s poster boy, flew into New Delhi to add strength to the party’s confidence levels.

The BJP’s core group is to meet at the residence of its prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani and follow it up with talks with smaller groups that are expected to play a key role in government formation.

Modi explained to reporters why he was in New Delhi: “We are here for political reasons and to discuss the post-poll scenario. It is no secret.”

The Congress will also meet later Thursday at party president Sonia Gandhi’s residence.

Party sources said the meeting will be attended by Digvijay Singh, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel and Janardhan Dwivedi.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who was the star campaigner in the staggered April-May election that ended Wednesday, is also expected to join the discussions.

“We will take stock of where we have done well and also chart out a future course once the results are out Saturday,” said a party leader.

Exit polls by television channels Wednesday predicted that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) would finish just marginally ahead of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Third Front, made up of Communists and regional parties, is tipped to win around 100 seats.

Leaders of smaller and regional parties are aware that they will end up playing a vital role in deciding who will get to rule India the next five years.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said: “We’ll sit together, talk and discuss everything. Our future course of action will be decided only after May 16 (Saturday).”

Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat has repeatedly said that the Third Front would not back either the Congress or the BJP.

May 14, 2009 Posted by | Election, News, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment