The BJP leadership has begun an exercise to choose a successor to Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, highly placed party sources said, adding that Keshubhai has been asked to step down by the party high command.
The decision to replace Patel came after a two-hour long meeting Patel had yesterday with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee which was attended by Home Minister L K Advani, BJP President Jana Krishnamurthy, Vice President Madan Lal Khurana among others.
Soon after the meeting, a high-level committee headed by party President Jana Krishnamurthy was constituted to go into the issue of leadership change.
Some of the names doing the rounds as replacements to Keshubhai Patel are:
- Gujarat's Minister of State for Heavy Industries Vallabh Kathiria, a member of the dominant Patel community same as the present Chief Minister.
- Gujarat assembly's Speaker Dhirubhai Shah, who could be a consensus candidate.
- Suresh Mehta, a moderate and the second-most important man in the Gujarat cabinet.
- BJP National General Secretary Narendra Modi who may have the central leadership's support but not so much at the local level.
Earlier, the BJP high command had declined to rule out a change of guard in Gujarat following the ruling party's defeat in recent by-elections in the state.
The committee will talk to a wide section of state party leaders to elicit views on the choice for successor in the wake of BJP's defeat in the recent bye-elections in Sabarkantha Lok Sabha seat and Sabarmati assembly seat in Advani's Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency. Suresh Mehta leaves for Delhi
Gujarat Industry Minister Suresh Mehta, who is number two in Keshubhai Patel ministry in the state, has left for New Delhi this morning following a summon by BJP high command, as the BJP leadership reportedly began an exercise to choose a successor to Keshubhai Patel.
Besides Mehta, about 20 other ministers and MLAs have left for Delhi this morning, and would meet the high powered committee, that is expected to ascertain the views of party leaders before taking the final decision on leadership change.
Mehta was made the Chief Minister in 1995 when a political crisis erupted due to a revolt by Shankarsinh Vaghela. (With PTI inputs)
Ragging turns ugly at M S University hostel Monday, October 1, 2001
BY SACHIN SHARMA, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: In an ugly incident of ragging at MS University (MSU) halls of residence, junior medical students coming from outside the state were 'forced to strip and perform vulgar acts by seniors'. Hostel authorities had to call police to handle an otherwise volatile situation.
Sources told TNN that the ragging episode unfolded at the Jivraj Mehta Hall on Saturday night. A group of four senior students, reportedly intern doctors, allegedly went to the hall around 11 pm and ragged juniors.
The junior students, alleged ragging victims, are learnt to have come to Vadodara only a few days back for studies. Sources said the students who were forced into ragging had obtained admission recently after clearing the all-India pre-medical entrance tests.
A source in the hall and eye witness of the ragging incident said on conditions of anonymity that `the students were forced to strip by the seniors'. "Some students were asked to do sit-ups. All the while the seniors kept abusing them and jeered at them," the source said.
As many as ten students had been called in a particular room by the seniors for ragging. These include not only freshers but also students who were admitted to medicine last year.
In the meantime, employees of the hostel came to know of the incident and reported it to the hostel warden. The warden, Dr H B Kothari rushed to the room on the ground floor where the students were being ragged.
However, due to the ruckus the seniors got alarmed and escaped from the place. Hostel authorities claimed that they had managed to identity the students who were involved in the episode. They said the seniors who were involved in ragging were also those who had obtained admission on the basis of pre-medical tests.
The police, however, returned empty-handed from the spot. Sayajiganj police officials said no complaint had been registered with them regarding the incident. Nonetheless, they confirmed that they had rushed to the spot after disturbance was reported in the hostel.
Commenting on the episode Dr Kothari said junior students who had faced the ragging were afraid to come forward and complain. "We have identified four persons who were involved in the incident. However, the juniors are terrified to complain. There is little we can do if they do not cooperate", he said. The terrified students have been calling the episode an "introduction".
Incidentally, this is the first episode of its kind to be reported on the campus in years. The university had earlier issued a circular stating that all ragging activities on the campus must be dealt with strictly.
Student leaders, meanwhile, have reacted sharply to the issue saying that such acts must stop. Faculty of Arts general secretary and a hostel resident, Nitin Patel, said, "It is unfortunate that these students who have come from far off places like Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana are tortured in the hostels. The authorities must deal strictly with those involved in ragging".
MSU old hands believe that the ragging incident is likely to have larger ramifications and may snowball into a major controversy if those who had ragged juniors are left off the hook.
News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]
Junagadh :: Students felicitated Monday, October 1, 2001
JUNAGADH:Outstanding students of Aahir community were felicitated by the Aahir Workers Group of Keshod last week. An elocution competition was also organised on the occasion. Assistant conservator of forests Pratapbhai Der was the chief guest at the function.
News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]