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June 13, 2001 - June 13, 2001

GPPC chief follows tradition, flays BJP for ‘misrule’ Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Ahmedabad, June 12: After being selected as the president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee on Tuesday, Amarsinh Chaudhary told mediapersons that he has been given the responsibility of handling the Congress in Gujarat. Mr Chaudhary said that the high command has given him a very big responsibility and he has accepted it.

He added that his main concern would be to make the Congress in Gujarat strong. Talking about the failure of BJP, Mr Chaudhary said that BJP has failed to live up to people’s expectations.

Whether it was a gram panchayat election or a mahanagarpalika election, the people had snubbed the party. He also alleged that BJP has increased people’s problems. Citing example of the corporation elections in Ahmedabad and Rajkot, Mr Chaudhary said that these two cities were considered to be BJP bastion and even there they received drubbing.

This shows that people don’t want BJP anymore. He also said that in the elections, which were held in five states recently, of the 800 BJP candidates only eight of them could win.

Mr Chaudhary said that Congress is people’s party. He added that he was confident that the senior leaders of Gujarat would give him full support to improve the performance of Congress.

He also said that he would try to bring about a change in the attitude of Congress workers in such a way that they would be proud of being a Congressman. Mr Chaudhary said that in a short time he would tone up organisational structure of Congress right from district level to the state level.

While referring to the renaming controversy, he said that Congress was not interested in changing the name of the city. Leaders from all the factions of the party were present to greet Amarsinh Chaudhary except Madhavsinh Solanki.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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Choksi brothers face probe Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Ahmedabad, June 12: Naresh K Choksi, 53, Prashant N Choksi, 24, and Jignesh N Choksi, 26, were brought to the Navrangpura police station for interrogation through a transfer warrant, late on Monday night.

The three were named by Daksha Shah, wife of the late Devang Shah for abetting and instigating her husband to commit suicide and an offence of the same was filed under Section 306 of the IPC. Ms Shah had also named Mohit Srivastav, Bank of Baroda official, who was incharge of the gold desk at the overseas branch of the bank.

Before his death, Shah had given a statement in front of the executive magistrate that Srivastav and the three Choksis forced him to commit suicide.

All the three Choksis are already in judicial custody in Sabarmati Central jail and under CBI investigation for their involvement in MMCB and Classic Co-operative Bank. Meanwhile Srivastav has been granted bail but is yet to take the lie detector test.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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Chaudhary solicits support from various factions to revamp party Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Ahmedabad, June 12: Mr Amarsinh Chaudhary, who took over as the 19th president of the Gujarat Congress, strongly feels that the people in the state are disillusioned with the BJP and the Congress is all set to make an impressive comeback.

After taking over his charge as the state party president on Tuesday, Mr Chaudhary said that he is well aware that revitalising the Gujarat Congress is going to be a difficult task but assures that he would do this “smoothly”, taking all different factions into confidence and “soon” make the Gujarat Congress a cohesive unit.

Mr Chaudhary, who is known to be an arch rival of senior Congress leader, Mr Madhavsinh Solanki, says that he is open for any “political patch up and understanding” with the Solanki group too. Of course, this is in the political paragon of “in the larger interest of the party.” Excerpts:

Q: You have outsmarted everyone and become the PCC president. How does it feel?
A: Great. I am feeling good that our national president Mrs Sonia Gandhi has picked me up to lead the Congress in Gujarat. It is a big responsibility and I am going to perform it well.

Q: But there are so many different factions. The Ahmed Patel group, the Urmila Patel, the Shankarsinh Vaghela group, the Madhavsinh Solanki group….. Isn’t it going to be difficult to please everyone.
A: There are many factions. Barring one, all support me. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.

Q: But isn’t the factionalism within the Congress a matter of concern?
A: Factionalism can be a healthy sign also. In a democracy, it’s good to have different groups with different thinking. I take factionalism as a vibrant sign of democracy. Only that it does not have to go out of hand. I will ensure that I don’t encourage any particular group and take different factions in confidence. I believe in the concept of collective leadership. I want to take everyone with me and recharge the Gujarat Congress. And factionalism in Gujarat is very normal. The media makes it sound abnormal.

Q: What are your top priorities as the PCC president?
A: My topmost priority is to curb indiscipline. I am not going to tolerate any indiscipline. Democratic functioning could mean expression of ideas but it should not amount to indiscipline. I am very clear about this.

Q: What according to you are the weaknesses of the Gujarat Congress at present?
A: Blind ambition nursed by some and sheer passivity exhibited by others. The ambition is without a reason. This is what makes the Gujarat Congress weak. Since we have won the panchayat and municipality and civic elections, the ambitions of every Congressman has soared up unrealistically. This is because majority of those who have been elected are fresh faces and do not really know how a party functions. Not every person can become a chairman of a committee or an office bearer. But then these are all freshers. What I plan to do is to organise training camps, special shibirs where we would give them a clear understanding of what is expected of them in public life. Public life does not just mean having a post. I will be soon talking to AICC Gujarat incharge Mr Kamal Nath and chalk out these training camps. Also, these camps would recharge all those who are playing very passive roles. I am sure after these camps, everyone will understand that it is practically not feasible to give a post to everyone. This acquired understanding will make a lot of positive influence on the Congress in the state.

Q: You are the leader of the Congress legislative party. What made you jump into the fray for the PCC president? Isn’t this decision of yours taken just because you see yourself as a ‘natural’ choice for the chiefministership in case the Congress comes to power?
A: I never jumped into the fray. My well wishers and numerous Congress leaders and workers lobbied for me and made representations. In politics you cannot think too much ahead (laughs).

Q: You are a tribal. Now the Sabarkantha parliamentary elections are due. Are you going to start favouring the tribals rightaway by giving this seat to one of them?
A: No. The seat could go to a Patel also or anyone else also. Winnability will be the criteria, not caste. Tribals are not going to get any special deal just because I have become the PCC president. Everyone will get what they deserve and I am sure I will not be misunderstood for this.

Q: Why does Madhavsinh Solanki hate you?
A: I don’t know the reasons. I had been his “right hand” for nearly 15 years. I respect him a lot. He is my senior. I want to run the Gujarat Congress in a very cohesive manner. I am ready for a political patch up in the larger interest of the party.

Q: You have come a long way. What do you think is your biggest strength.
A: My willpower.

Q: And your biggest weakness?
A: Would any politician ever name his weakness?

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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Vora rejects allegations against state Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Gandhinagar, June 12: Minister of state for cooperatives Raman Vora on Tuesday rejected reports of the state government’s inaction in the Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Banking scam.

Apologising for the hurt feelings of the depositors, Mr Vora said he was misquoted and his statements distorted by reporters with a negative approach towards the MMCB since the time the scam came to light. He said that the reports quoting him are far from truth and aimed at inciting the depositors and harming their interests.

Mr Vora’s statement comes in the light of the attack on the BJP office on Tuesday by furious MMCB depositors after media reports of the state government’s inaction.

Reiterating the state government’s concern in the MMCB imbroglio Mr Vora said active measures are being taken for the revival of the bank. He said the MMCB has been discussed with the RBI, the central registrar and the active discussions are now being held with the leaders of cooperative bank for its revival. He said there is a possibility of finding a solution to the problem in the near future.

He said it is not reasonable to blame the state government for the delay in holding a meeting with the union finance minister Yashwant Sinha as he is presently unavailable due to health problems. He said finance minister Vaju Vala has represented the entire issue to the Centre who has assured of all possible steps in the interest of the depositors.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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Indifference affects GU admissions Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Ahmedabad, June 12: Come May-June and it is time for the Gujarat University to gear up once again to cope with the admission rush for first year degree courses. Introduction of new admission criteria, inviting admissions on first cum first basis, has fueled the crisis in 2001-02.

Lack of coordination between the Gujarat University and its colleges, paucity of seats across various degree colleges, substantial vacancies of teaching staff over the last three years now, unavailability of need committee’s report at this hour of crisis are some of the serious issues yet to be dealt with.

The Asian Age talked to some of the syndicate members, whose perplexity could be well felt. That the state government is doing almost nothing to keep the Gujarat University problems at bay, is a cause of concern to them.

“Merely blaming the Gujarat University or the students will not solve the crisis. Unless the state government steps in and takes a note of the problem at every level — administration, academic and execution — the problems will go on, and will chatacterise the Gujarat University admissions each year,” observed syndicate member Narhari Amin.

Dr M.N. Desai, the former vice-chancellor of the Gujarat University and presently its syndicate member added, “The state government is not ignorant to the pathetic demand to supply ratio between teachers and students. Yet, as many as 100 posts of teaching staff is vacant across colleges of the Gujarat University for three years now.

Despite repeated reminders to the government about granting permission to new self-financed colleges or permitting the existing colleges to increase the divisions, nothing has been done.”

Syndicate member Sudhir Nanavati added that although minister of state for higher and technical education Bharat Barot has promised to look into filling up the vacancies at the Gujarat University by July 31, it is unlikely that it would be done.

“The minister has specified that the government is in no position to open self-financed colleges or increase the number of divisions in colleges,” he informed. “While the university had asked all the colleges to grant admission to 130 students per division, the numbers were increased by 10 later in wake of the crisis. However, there are several candidates still lurching,” Mr Nanavati said.

The members even disapproved of the conduct of the Gujarat University regarding the admission. While they spoke in favor of the new admission criteria, they vehemently objected to the university’s lack of foresightedness while implementing the criteria.

“There was complete lack of coordination between the university and the colleges as regards mutual dissemination of information. It is ironical that the university has been unaware of the status of admissions across the colleges affiliated to it,” Mr Amin said.

Mr Nanavati remarked that the Gujarat University did not pre-plan the admission procedure at all. “A committee consisting of representatives of government, university, its administrative officials, syndicate members, principals of different colleges, management personnel and student representatives should have worked round the year to gather feedback about the pitfalls in the existing system, which could have been put to use now and other forthcoming academic sessions.”

Even the need committee report focusing on demand of colleges, has not been prepared as yet, which would further compound the problems, felt Mr Amin. “There are loopholes in every system, but one has to be careful enough to see to it that they do not mar the system repeatedly,” Mr Nanavati said summing it all up.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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