Maharashtra set to get new government

Maharashtra is set to get a new government tomorrow as Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and his Deputy Chhagan Bhujbal are expected to take oath of office.

“The Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister will take oath tomorrow,” highly placed Congress sources said, adding that the Cabinet formation would take place at a later date.

This indicates that the Congress and the NCP which returned to power for the third consecutive term were yet to reach an understanding on the sharing of portfolios.

The Congress, which has won 20 seats more than its ally NCP, has been demanding a lion’s share in the government, including key portfolios like Home, Finance and Power.

NCP insists on 50 per cent share in ministry

The NCP on the other hand has been insisting on 50 per cent share of the 42 ministries on offer, including key portfolios like Home, Finance and Power, which it has held since 1999 when the two parties first formed government.

The delay in government formation had triggered calls by BJP leader Eknath Khadse that the BJP-Shiv Sena opposition alliance will seek imposition of President’s rule in the state if the new government is not in place by November three, when the tenure of the present Assembly expires

New party launched


HYDERABAD: A new national political party, United Women Front with Suman Kishan Kant, widow of former Vice-President Krishan Kant, as president, and its State unit were launched here on Sunday. Shiraz Khan and D. Sangeeta are the State unit president and general secretary respectively.

Chavan, Hooda retained as Chief Ministers

 Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan flashes the victory sign after a press conference in Mumbai on Thrusday. Congress president Sonia Gandhi has chosen Chavan to head the new Cong.-NCP government in Maharashtra. Photo: Special Arrangement

Shortly past midnight on Saturday, the Congress announced that incumbents Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Ashok Chavan would continue as Chief Ministers in Haryana and Maharashtra respectively.

The announcement came after a series of meetings — the last round being at Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s residence — through the day in the two State capitals and here.

This put an end to the 48-hour-long uncertainty that has prevailed over the Chief Ministership issue since the results of the Assembly elections put the ball in the Congress court in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh.

The Haryana Chief Ministership was the most vexed issue as the poor showing by the party had Mr. Hooda’s detractors gunning for him. The day was marked by a series of meetings of Haryana leaders in the Capital. While the warring groups within the Congress met among themselves to strategise, the three-member team of central observers held two rounds of meetings with senior leaders from the State.

In the morning, the observers Mohsina Kidwai, B. K. Hariprasad and Prithviraj Chavan met all members of Parliament from Haryana to seek their views on the contentious issue of Chief Ministership .

Even as the central leadership was wrestling with the chief ministership issue in Haryana — with the three central observers having a late night meeting with Ms. Gandhi — the entire senior leadership of Maharashtra reached the Capital. Along with the Maharashtra observers, the Chief Minister and other hopefuls — Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Narayan Rane — were closeted with Ms. Gandhi till midnight in a bid to evolve a consensus.

CLP resolution

Special Correspondent writes from Mumbai:

Earlier in the day, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) passed a one-line resolution authorising Ms. Gandhi to elect a new leader.

SC directs handing over of viscera of Ashutosh Asthana to CBI

File photo of family of Ashutosh Asthana (inset), main accused in the Rs 49 cr PF scam. PTI Photo

New Delhi, Oct 20 (PTI)
The Supreme Court today directed the CBI to take possession of the viscera samples of Ashutosh Asthana, prime accused in the multi-crore PF scam, who died mysteriously in Ghaziabad’s Dasna jail.

A special bench headed by Justice D K Jain ordered the CBI to forward the samples to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to ascertain the cause of his death on Saturday.

The bench, also comprising Justices V S Sirpurkar and G S Singhvi, further directed that the judicial magistrate inquiring into the circumstances leading to Asthana’s death shall submit his report to it within eight weeks.

The apex court also asked the UP police to provide adequate protection to all the accused and witnesses in the case in which some judges were allegedly involved.

.KVP in Delhi over poster row

New Delhi : The Rajya Sabha member, Mr K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, arrived at the national capital on Tuesday amidst controversy over some Congress workers allegedly tearing posters of the party president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi.
Mr Rao said he was here to attend the Parliamentary committee for finance, of which he is a member.
Meanwhile, police in Khammam said the four people who were apprehended in connection with the incident were supporters of former Union minister, Ms Renuka Chowdhary. Senior leaders maintained that a decision on YSR’s successor would be taken only after Assembly polls in Maharashtra

.Rahul’s unannounced visit ruffles many feathers



Congress General Secretary arriving at New Delhi Railway station in this Sept. 15, 2009 picture. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Hindu Congress General Secretary arriving at New Delhi Railway station in this Sept. 15, 2009 picture. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s unscheduled two-day visit to Uttar Pradesh not only sent the Congressmen into a tizzy but also ruffled many feathers in the State administration with the Mayawati government deciding to take up the “security lapse” with the Centre.

The Amethi MP landed in Lucknow on Wednesday before whizzing towards Barabanki, Faizabad, Bahraich, Shravasti and Gonda districts in a fleet of six vehicles, including those of the Special Protection Group (SPG). He returned to Delhi on Thursday.

Stays and dines with Dalit

Mr. Gandhi, who was reportedly on a “fact-finding” mission in this part of the State, spent the intervening night in the hut of a Dalit, Chedi Ram Pasi, in Chhotey Deeh “majra” of Rampur Telihar village in Shravasti district. He also had food with him. But the Congress leader’s surprise visit has not amused the State government.

“Being an SPG protectee, Mr. Gandhi’s security is of utmost importance; the State government had no knowledge of his visit as no official tour programme had been received. The security lapse would be taken up with the Central government,” said Home Secretary Mahesh Gupta. Denying intelligence failure on the part of the State, Mr. Gupta told reporters that it was the responsibility of the Centre to inform the State government.

President of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee Rita Bahuguna Joshi said here that the State government should not worry about Mr. Gandhi’s security. “It is not necessary that his programme should be disclosed,” Dr. Joshi added.

Took a detour

After reaching Lucknow’s Amausi airport by a Kingfisher flight around 3.30 p.m., Mr. Gandhi’s cavalcade comprising six vehicles — three Safari SUVs had been airlifted earlier by a BSF plane — sped towards Gauriganj in Amethi parliamentary constituency. But, instead of going towards Gauriganj, where he was to inspect the Lifeline Express, Mr. Gandhi’s caravan took a detour and reached Ramnagar in Barabanki district. It was only when the Congress general secretary had reached Ramnagar around 6 p.m. and took time out for a glass of tea from a local “dhaba” and interacted with the people did the police realise that it was Mr. Gandhi.

Till that time and even till late in the night there was no official confirmation of his visit, or his programme as the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee was also not informed about his visit. From Ramnagar, Mr. Gandhi’s cavalcade sped towards Bahraich and Shravasti districts via Faizabad. After spending the night with Chedi Ram Pasi in Chhotey Deeh village perched on the Shravasti-Bahraich border, the Congress leader spent time in the village, met the students in the village school in Sirsiriya block on Thursday before his caravan entered Bhinga in Shravasti and Jarwal Road in Gonda district. He reached Barabanki around 3.25 p.m. en route to Lucknow from where he boarded a return flight to Delhi around 5.15 p.m.

Two “roughed up”

Reports said that a news stringer and a policeman in Bahraich district were allegedly roughed up by the SPG personnel guarding Mr. Gandhi.

About his unscheduled visit, the Uttar Pradesh Congress chief told newspersons that Mr. Gandhi had come to take stock of the progress of the Central schemes, mainly the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, and to meet the flood and drought-affected people. Even the local Congress MPs were not informed as he wanted to see the situation on the ground, Dr. Joshi said.