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September 29, 2001 - September 29, 2001

Pariah Narendra Modi acquires messiah status in BJP Saturday, September 29, 2001

Times News Network
AHMEDABAD: He earned the sobriquet of 'Super CM' when Keshubhai Patel first became chief minister in 1995. He was the power behind the throne and many saw Keshubhai as just a figurehead. Modi seems to have come the full circle as a beleaguered BJP, which had banished him from Gujarat for the last four years, now looks up to him again for deliverance.

It's not clear so far, what form Modi's involvement in Gujarat affairs will take and whether he would wield the same level of authority he used to earlier. It is, however, becoming clear to the BJP leadership that the man they treated as a pariah in Gujarat for long is the only hope if the party were to harbour any ambitions in the next assembly elections.

While many in the BJP consider Modi CM material, others would be happy if he is entrusted with some organisational role in Gujarat. Whether he would be the BJP's state president or supervisor-emissary from the Delhi leadership is something the party will have to decide soon, going by the indications from the BJP headquarters.

It was perhaps after months, if not years, that Keshubhai and Modi met in New Delhi on Wednesday evening with a considerable degree of cordiality. Keshubhai had clearly told the high command when he became CM for the second time that Gujarat should remain out of bounds for Modi. He was convinced that it was Modi and Modi alone, who was responsible for his travails during the previous tenure which culminated in Shankersinh Vaghela's rebellion.

Modi's visits to Ahmedabad have been discreet and low-key for the last three years or more. He never visited Gandhinagar and close aides who used to meet him had a lurking suspicion that they would incur the wrath of the state leadership. Modi never commented on Gujarat though he was comfortable discussing national issues with mediapersons. "My hands are tied," he used to tell BJP leaders complaining about the drift in Gujarat BJP.

But the BJP leadership should have listened to the applause and the standing ovation Modi received at a ceremony held a year back to honour leaders who had defied the imposition of Emergency 25 years back. The popularity that he still commands among the BJP rank and file was in full evidence as red-faced BJP leaders were forced to join in the clapping which went on for a full five minutes, in sharp contrast to the muted applause some other MISA detainees from the BJP got.

But the BJP, while acknowledging Modi's exceptional organisational skills, took the nobody-is-indispensable line even as it hoped that Sanjay Joshi, the RSS nominee in the BJP as organisation secretary, would eclipse his predecessor.

But neither Joshi nor the numerous other BJP leaders who swear by the RSS could forge the Sangh Parivar into a cohesive fighting unit, as elections to the panchayats, municipal bodies and now the Assembly and Lok Sabha by-elections have shown.

Some in the BJP may argue that there was a conspiracy by the RSS and the VHP to make things difficult for the BJP in order to create conditions for Modi's return. Whatever be the case, there are now reports that Keshubhai has been forced to grudgingly accept a distinct role for Modi in the Gujarat BJP in coming days. However, doubts still persist about their ability to work as a team, given the recent history of bitterness.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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Two Congress men suspended for anti-party activities Saturday, September 29, 2001

News Source : TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AMEDABAD: Soon after the election wins, trouble has begun to brew in the Gujarat Congress with All-India Congress Committee member Irshadbaig Mirza alleging that Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee Amarsinh Chaudhary was "out to ruin his career".

In the city, two Congress workers , Vishnu Patel and OP Sharma, from Sabarmati, have been suspended from the party for anti-party activities.

Mirza was reacting to Chaudhary's statement in an interview accusing Mirza of foisting candidates from the minorities in the Sabarkantha parliamentary constituency to divide the votebank in the by-polls that concluded recently. Chaudhary had also stated that he would bring Mirza's dissidence before the Congress high command, which seems to have put the AICC leader on a sticky wicket.

When contacted on Wednesday evening, Chaudhary completely denied the report and told TNN, "I have never made such allegations; it is totally baseless". He, however confirmed that he had suspended Patel and Sharma for anti-campaigns in the Sabarmati assembly constituency.

Incidentally, three Independent candidates from the minority group cornered at least 43,000 votes in Sabarkantha which the party believes are of the minorities and might have given a bigger margin to the Congress. This has led the party to do a lot of introspection.

Mirza stated that he had campaigned for the party in all possible segments of Sabarkantha and had no hand in diverting minority votes.

Meanwhile, the changing political scenario in the state is expected to have the Congress buy more time on appointing the Congress Legislature Party leader, say sources. With rumours that the BJP high command might have a change of guard, the Congress high command, which was to announce the CLP leader for Gujarat soon, may wait a while.

Now that Narhari Amin is in the State assembly, there are possibilities that he might take over the CLP mantle from Chaudhary.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]



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Counsellors cum lady constable. Saturday, September 29, 2001

Source : Times News Network
SURAT: The room is crammed with people occupying a wooden bench along a wall. Khaki-clad woman constables are patiently listening to cases, one by one. Suddenly in a corner, an argument ensues. A woman is on the verge of tears as she vehemently defends her case. The constables rally around, keen to calm her down.

This is a typical scene at the Mahila Police Station where many woman victims of oppression seek justice. For the constables here, it is not mere writing down complaints. They also double up as friendly listeners. They even try to suggest options to victims. "You have to try and settle your daughter in life", is an oft-heard punchline for in many cases victims are accompanied by parents.

Around five complaints come in a day. Indeed, many crimes against women go unreported. Most of the victims belong to lower classes. A few are from the middle class and fewer still from the higher class.

Salma, 23-year-old married woman separated from her husband. is a Hindu by birth. She eloped with her lover and converted to Islam, much against her parents' wishes. Three years of marriage and her husband decided to divorce her. Reality was tough for Salma, for her parents were not ready to accept her. Also, Salma is pregnant and resolute about having the baby. Before her marriage, she was a model. Today, Salma plans to get back to work and raise her child.

Besides divorce cases, complaints pertain to domestic violence. Parvati (26) was almost killed because of her inability to bring huge dowry. Her husband, along with his parents planned to set her ablaze, a plan which she overheard. A scared Parvati refuses to go back to her in-laws, certain that she will never have a second chance. On the other hand, there is Lalita, a migrant from Andhra Pradesh who is here with her parents to say that she was physically abused by her husband before he deserted her.

Justice, in certain cases, is delayed by as many as six years, says a constable on condition of anonymity. Physical and mental torture is a category which is hard to prove in court. So it is the woman who stands to lose, eventually. The need of a special court for women is strongly felt. Such a court could handle only women-related cases, thus saving a lot of time, feel some complainants. Said a victim that a woman judge could help matters as she might be more sensitive to the problems women faced.

Geeta Shroff, who heads ANIS (Apmrityu Nivaran Sahay), says they try to resolve conflict without blaming any one. This applies to homes where abuse may take a violent form. Shroff strikes a very different note when she says that in many cases, some fault lies with the victim, too. At times, even when matters have been partially solved families break up again.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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College student kills fellow in Ahmedabad Saturday, September 29, 2001

Source : Times News Network
AHMEDABAD: In yet another incident revealing the violent tendencies among today's youth, 18-year-old Deepak Govindbhai Vidyadhar killed another student Bharatkumar Amrutlal Patel (21) in broad daylight outside Patang Hotel near Nehru Bridge on Wednesday morning.

Deepak is a first-year student of S V College of Commerce, Pattharkuva, while Bharat studied at Gujarat College. The two are learnt to have fought over a girl which led to a confrontation, and Deepak stabbed Bharat in the chest. The Navrangpura police have arrested Deepak and booked him for murder.

The accused lives in Anand Vihar Society at Dani Limda and claimed that his father was a bill distributor in the Ahmedabad Electricity Company. The police is investigating if there were others involved in the crime. The girl is believed to be a student of H K College of Commerce, police sources said. However, the identity of the girl and the college she studied in are yet to be confirmed.

Several students are believed to have been witness to the heinous crime and rushed Bharat to V S Hospital where he was declared dead. "He had come to my place yesterday to beat me up, so I killed him," Deepak told TNN. His story was that the two had "fought about standing at the bus-stop". The motive and the immediate provocation for murder are yet to be investigated.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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Comprehensive funding for DPEP schemes Saturday, September 29, 2001

Souce : Times News Network
AHMEDABAD: Education minister Anandiben Patel said the state has decided to fully finance the expansion of District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) in Jamnagar, Bhavnagar and Junagadh districts. With this Gujarat wooould be the first state in the country to fully finance DPEP in any district.

She reviewed the progress of educational and reconstruction activities under DPEP and the Gujarat School Repair and Reconstruction Programme. The government had granted applications worth Rs 278.33 crore for reconstruction of 6,974 class-rooms that were destroyed and repair of 45,130 partially damaged class-rooms. According to the minister, the repair will be completed by December-end while rebuilding will be complete by September next year.

Patel said that encouraged by the successful implementation of DPEP, the state government had decided to implement Sarva Shikha Abhiyan in the remaining 14 districts and integrated efforts were being made towards the same.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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