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From the archives of the Hindustan Times: February 03

Important and interesting stories from HT Chronicle.

chronicles Updated: Feb 03, 2020 16:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
(HT File)

Indira is declared elected (1959)

New Delhi- Mrs Indira Gandhi was today declared elected as President of the Indian National Congress to succeed Mr Dhebar who is retiring on February 8 in the middle of his present term.

Announcing her unanimous election at a Press conference here, Mr Sadiq Ali, AICC general secretary, who acted as returning officer, said that three names - Mrs Gandhi, Mr S. Nijalingappa and Mr Kumbha Ram Arya - had been received until yesterday, the last date for receiving-nominations.

Mr Nijalingappa, he said, had conveyed to him his decision to withdraw his candidature. The nomination paper of Mr Arya was not valid. Moreover Mr Arya had informed him that he too wished to withdraw.

“This,” said the AICC general secretary, “leaves Mrs Gandhi as the only candidate in the field. I, therefore, declare her duly elected as President of the Indian National Congress in accordance with the provisions of the Congress constitution.”

Replying questions, Mr Sadig Ali said that Mrs Gandhi would be Congress President for the remaining period of the current presidential term.

In reply to a further question, Mr Sadig Ali said that there was no bar against Mrs Gandhi seeking re-election for a full two-year term.


A special ceremony will be held at the AICC headquarters here on Jantar Mantar Road in the afternoon of February 8 when Mr Dhebar will hand over the office to Mrs Gandhi. Mr Nehru is expected to be present on the occasion.

Aged 42, Mrs Gandhi is the ,57th Congress President. She is the fourth woman to occupy this once, others being Mrs Annie Besant who presided over the Calcutta session of the Congress in 1917; Mrs Sarojini Naldu who was President of the Kanpur Congress in 1925; and Mrs Nellie Sen Gupta, who acted for a few weeks only in an emergency during the civil disobedience movement.

Nomination papers in favour of Mrs Gandhi were received from Andhra, Bihar, Bombay, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Mysore, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. West Bengal nominated Mr Nijalingappa, there was no nomination paper from Assam. While the invalid one for Mr Arya was received from Rajasthan.

The Delhi Congress Committee has organised a reception for the Congress President-elect on Wednesday morning at Delhi junction when Mrs Gandhi arrives by train from Allahabad after performing her padvatra.

Mrs Gandhi is likely to announce the new Congress Working Committee during the second week of February.

Highest French award for Ray (1989)


Calcutta- Mr Satyajit Ray was presented the Legion D. Honour, the highest civilian award of France, by President Francois Mitterrand here today at a simple ceremony at the picturesque National Library grounds.

Mr Mitterrand first read out a speech, which was translated into English for the benefit of a select gathering. He then presented the award to the film director. Mr Ray replied, “I feel fulfilled as an Indian artist.” West Bengal Governor S. Nurul Hasan and Chief Minister Jyoti Basu were present on the occasion.

Mr Mitterrand said, Mr Ray’s films were both a typical representation of the Indian culture and universal creativity. While the films presented traditional and modern Bengal, its renaissance and many crisis, the themes also proved to be of equal concern to the world. While one found him embodying nostalgia, his films often reminded us of many characters described by Guy de Maupassant and Emile Zola.

Referring to the great masters of Bengali literature like Rabindranath Tagore, Bibhuti Bhusan Bandopadhyaya and Tarashankar Chattopadhyaya on whose stories and novels Mr Ray has made films, Mr Mitterrand said, “You have taken all these to produce your own work.” in the Ray films, there was a particular “looking at things” that was entirely his. He spoke at length on Mr Ray’s emergence as a superb “successor” of Tagore. “He paid a very striking tribute to Tagore a few year ago referring to the 1961 documentary on the poet,” Mr Mitterrand added.

“France today pays tribute to a great film director who is also a friend,” the French President said before presenting the Award.

He also referred to the “long friendship” between India and France and said that despite the geographical distance and the “vicissitudes of history”, a dialogue had always taken place between the two countries. Describing Calcutta as the “Centre of cultural and intellectual development”, he said it was a pleasure to visit the city.

Mr Ray on accepting the Award said, “I feel immensely happy and proud to receive this great honour from France on the eve of the Festival of France in India and on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. “I have learnt a great deal from the French masters and consider Jean Renoir as my principal mentor. This signal honour makes me feel that my efforts have not been in vain,” he added.

Rural job scheme gets off the ground (2006)

Hyderabad/Orissa- The rural job scheme has finally got off the ground. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Thursday launched the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme in Bandlapalle village of Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh. Under the scheme, unemployed people will get employment for at least 100 days per annum or be dished out doles.

Hundreds of farmers and landless labourers, who had gathered at the site, cheered Sonia and the PM when they unveiled the Act. To start with, the scheme has been launched in 80,000 villages in 200 districts, 13 of them in Andhra. “It is a historic day not only for Andhra Pradesh, but for the entire country. Imagine how happy Indira Gandhi would’ve been if she was alive,” Sonia said.

Stressing the need for proper implementation, she said, “No matter how good a scheme is, its implementation is more important.” Singh described the launch as the government’s fulfilment of its poll promises. “The Act will provide those who have lost all hope the right to live a life of self-respect and dignity.” The scheme was also launched in Orissa.

On the formulation of schemes by the state governments, the operational guidelines issued by the Union rural development ministry say: “The Act defines the non-negotiable parameters within which state governments have the flexibility of drawing up the Employment Guarantee Scheme according to their contextual requirements.”

Section 4 of the Act says that within six months from the date of commencement of the Act, every state government will by notification enact a scheme to provide not less than 100 days of guaranteed employment in a financial year to each household under the scheme.

Until such a scheme is notified by the government, the annual or perspective plan of the Sampoorna Rozgar Yojana or National Food For Work Programme, whichever is in force, will be deemed as action plan for the scheme.

Every state will appoint a district programme coordinator for overall implementation of the scheme. In Orissa, district collectors will act as district programme coordinators. Programme officers will also be appointed at the block level.