President poll - Pranab dismisses report
After the CPM openly supported Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee as a presidential nominee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh remained non-committal on it.
But the Union External Affairs Minister, whose name has figured in several news-reports as potential candidate, stepped out on Friday to emphasise that the Congress High Command would decide his role and the media should not speculate on his name.
Dismissing reports of being a presidential candidate, in a brief and carefully worded statement, Mukherjee said: "My role in the party and in the Government is decided by the Congress leadership. Whatever responsibilities are assigned to me, I try to discharge these to the best of my capabilities."
The Minister stopped short of saying that he is not in the race for Rashtrapati Bhavan. Recent news-reports on the presidential election were all "speculative in nature," he said, emphasizing that any speculation on the matter should be avoided.
Mukherjee’s statement comes a day after BJP leader and former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee ruled himself out as a candidate when Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Bannerjee suggested that the NDA project him for the top post.
Earlier in the day, the PM said it was "too premature" to say anything on the issue of a Presidential candidate since discussions were still going on with allies. He refused to respond to queries whether he could spare Mukherjee for the top job in view of the Left’s support to the West Bengal leader’s name. "I am not saying anything on the matter. It is not appropriate," he said.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury’s statement on Thursday that if the Congress and the UPA put up Mukherjee, the Left parties would support him had put Sonia Gandhi’s party in a spot, specially where the other UPA constituents are concerned.
This is because, well-placed Congress sources said, no name has been projected or decided on so far. They also said that the talks would gather momentum after establishing contact with Bahujan Samaj Party leader and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati who the Congress would like to have on board for two reasons: one, to boost the UPA’s tally in the electoral college that elects the President; and two, to woo new allies after losing old one like the Telangana Rashtra Samiti and Vaiko’s MDMK which had joined hands with Jayalalitha’s AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.
The Samajwadi Party, too, has withdrawn support to the UPA in the run-up to the UP assembly polls.
"Mayawati holds the veto power. She can influence the outcome of the presidential election," said a Union Minister. According to him, the Congress cannot afford to lose the polls if there is a contest for the post.
Smaller parties and potential third front partners can tilt the balance in the college. The value of votes of the UPA is 5.12 lakh, of the NDA 3.52 lakh and the non-UPA, non-NDA parties 2.29 lakh.
The alleged mastermind of a cyber fraud gang managed to flee after firing at a Telangana Police team when it raided his residence in Bihar's Nawada late on Saturday even as four of his accomplices were arrested and Rs 1.22 crore in cash, five smartphones, three luxury cars, and liquor bottles were recovered. Later three more accused Bhutali Ram, Mahesh Kumar Mahto, and Jitendra Kumar were arrested.
The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation has introduced 300 electric buses, which have been dedicated to the "citizens of the city" by the state government. Five bus routes have been identified to run these newly introduced electric buses. These electric buses will run between Kempegowda Bus Station to Vidyaranyapura, Shivajinagar to Yelahanka, Yelahanka to Kengeri, Kempegowda Bus Station to Yelahanka Satellite town and Hebbal to Central Silk Board.
The Capital has over 18,000 parks and gardens, but most of them are concentrated in just five districts, a new analysis has found, with the fewest such spaces in the congested north-east Delhi region, throwing up concerns over the inequitable spread of green patches in the rapidly expanding margins of the city. West Delhi is second, with such spots spread over 6.6% of the district and East Delhi third with 6.3%.
A year has passed since the day a 9-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped and murdered inside a crematorium in west Delhi's Delhi Cantonment area. The girl's mother has still kept her clothes. She says that she will immerse them in the Ganga, but only after the court decides on the fate of four men who raped and murdered her daughter. The four accused are lodged in Tihar Jail.
The death toll in the Banda boat tragedy rose to 12 on Sunday after one more body was recovered three days after the fateful mishap in the Yamuna river on August 11. Three more bodies are still missing and search operations were going on, Banda superintendent of police Abhinandan said. “Three bodies are missing. The search operation by the NDRF, SDRF and PAC divers are underway,” he said.