New Delhi, Former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi said that he is very happy with the resignation from ministership and has done what the party asked him to do.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday in Lok Sabha that Trivedi's resignation was accepted and forward to the President.
Trivedi told reporters after his resignation as railway minister on Sunday, "I am very happy with my decision to step down as a minister and I had done what our party supremo Mamata Banerjee asked to do me."
On the railway budget that he had presented last week he commented , "I had done my duty. As a Union Minister I had been proposed this year's rail budget and did whatever necessary for the country."
"I am a responsible citizen and did my job with responsibility. That's what I acquired from my parents. Country is more important for me than party, " he added on Monday.
On the Prime Minister's support during the presentation of the budget, he said, "We have one of the best Prime Ministers. I must thank Prime Minister and the entire cabinet colleagues who were supporting me for presenting this budget."
Reacting on the Trinmool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee who had expressed bitter comments on the railway fair hikes as 'anti aam admi' he said, "She is a great leader and I have lot of respect for her. She always talks to me with lot of respect."
"I have no complaints, everybody has to play their part and similarly I had played my part as a leader."
On Monday TMC parliamentary party is meeting in ... Read Full Story
New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday said the government was "intending" to vote in favour of the US-backed resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).
"We are intending to vote in the favour of the resolution at UNHRC," the prime minister told the Lok Sabha. "We share the concerns of the members of the parliament."
The Indian government is under domestic pressure to vote against Sri Lanka for the "war crimes" committed against the Tamils during the end of the civil war. ... Read Full Story
New Delhi, In a major relief to the government over the fiercely contested National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), three amendment motions moved by the opposition on the anti-terror intelligence hub were defeated in the Lok Sabha Monday.
The Trinamool Congress, a bitter critic of the NCTC but part of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), lent tacit support to the government in defeating the amendments after its MPs walked out of the house and didn't participate in the voting. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MPs also walked out.
The amendments were moved by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Left and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) after Prime Manmohan Singh told the house that the proposed anti-terror agency was crucial in "dealing with terrorism and dealing with it effectively".
Manmohan Singh was responding to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to President Pratibha Patil's address.
The prime minister in his speech said consultations with state governments over the NCTC would continue and that the anti-terror agency would not be commissioned till a meeting was held with all chief ministers April 16.
Not impressed by Manmohan Singh's assurances, BJP's Sushma Swaraj, who is also leader of the opposition in the house, pressed for a vote on her amendment.
At least 141 members voted for the amendment and 226 voted against it. One member abstained.
The second amendment motion was moved by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). The motion by Basudeb Acharia of the CPI-M also met the same ... Read Full Story
Lucknow, The Samajwadi Party (SP) is not joining the Congress-led central government, party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said Monday.
"We are not joining the government," Mulayam Singh said, in response to persistent queries if the SP was planning to join the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
He quickly added that his party was backing the central government from the outside only to prevent "communal forces" from taking power in New Delhi.
The SP took office in Uttar Pradesh this month after scoring a thumping ... Read Full Story
Islamabad, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt Monday took over as the new chief of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).
He succeeds Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Geo News reported.
Butt was commissioned in the Pakistan Air Force on graduating from the PAF Academy, Risalpur in March, 1977.
He has flown various types of fighters and training aircraft in the PAF Inventory and is a qualified flying instructor.
Before taking over his new assignment, Butt was the PAF vice chief. ... Read Full Story
New Delhi, Unhappy with Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal's bowling action, senior Indian cricketers have reportedly complained to the International Cricket Council ( ICC), sources said.
Sources said that senior players feel that Ajmal chucks while bowling.
India crushed Pakistan by six wickets in their Asia Cup clash in Mirpur on Sunday with Virat Kohli hitting a magnificent 183.
The Pakistan bowler has a bagful of tricks, he deceives batsmen with his flight and guile, and the latest addition to his repertoire is the teesra.
Unlike the doosra, which goes the other way, it goes straight after pitching, with the batsmen playing for the turn. Ajmal used it brilliantly in the Test matches against England and even in the first game of the Asia Cup, he brought the delivery into play to win Pakistan a tight game against Bangladesh.
With the demands of instant cricket in mind, a spinner constantly has to work on variations. Ajantha Mendis brought the carom ball to the game but it got a little too predictable after a point of time and the Sri Lankan bowler went on lose his place in the team.
The obvious query for Ajmal was how he bowls the teesra to such devastating ... Read Full Story
New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said India was intending to vote in favour of the resolution on UNHCR on Sri Lanka.
The resolution should cover India's objectives to achieve a future for Lankan Tamils based on equality, dignity, justice and self respect.
The move will likely pacify the DMK who in an informal meeting of top leaders at party chief M Karunanidhi's residence here on Sunday decided, in principle, to pull out ministers from the UPA government if the Centre did not accede to their demand that it support the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lankan war crimes before the UN Human Rights Council.
While most DMK leaders wanted the party to withdraw its ministers from the Manmohan Singh ministry on Tuesday and support the government from outside, Union minister M K Alagiri and some others felt that any such strong decision should be taken only after March 23 when the US resolution is put to vote.
The DMK leadership began their informal deliberations on Saturday at the party headquarters in the run-up to the crucial high level committee meeting on Tuesday. Karunanidhi, general secretary K Anbalagan, son M K Stalin and former minister Duraimurugan are understood to favour hard line.
Karunanidhi has been discussing the UN resolution with senior leaders. He has already prepared a draft resolution for DMK high level committee meeting on March 20, said a source. "If the Congress is not accepting DMK's demand then we would pull out our ministers from the Centre. Our resolution may ... Read Full Story
Tokyo, A vast majority of Japanese favour the gradual phasing out of nuclear plants but accept that some reactors need to be restarted to secure enough power in the short term, a newspaper poll showed on Sunday.
The poll, published in the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper and conducted on the first anniversary of the tsunami-triggered nuclear crisis, comes ahead of decision expected soon by the government on whether to allow the restart of two idled nuclear reactors..
According to the poll by Japan Association for Public Opinion Research, 79.6% of those asked were at least more or less in favour of breaking with nuclear power eventually . But 69% backed the restart of some nuclear reactors to ensure enough power. Just 28% were opposed.
Since last year's accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant the country's commercial nuclear power plants have been undergoing safety inspections with just two out of 54 reactors currently online.
Japanese business circles fear power shortages could slow an already limping economy , but residents near existing plants are against the early resumption of idled reactors , some filing lawsuits seeking injunctions to block the process.
Despite the government's declaration in December that the crippled Fukushima plant had been brought to a stable state, 92% are worried about it, the survey said.
Prime minister Yoshiniko Noda's government is planning to draft Japan's overall energy policy later this year including the policy on nuclear power plants. Noda has ... Read Full Story
Amman, A heavy firefight broke out on Monday between Free Syrian Army rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in a main district of the capital Damascus, witnesses said.
The sound of heavy machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades echoed through the night from the western neighbourhood of al-Mezze, one of the most heavily guarded areas of the capital and home to several security installations, residents told Reuters by telephone.
"There is fighting near Hamada supermarket and the sound of explosions there and elsewhere in the neighbourhood. Security police have blocked several side streets and the street lighting has been cut off," a housewife who lives in the area said.
Extra troops have been patrolling in Mezze, located on the Damascus-Beirut road, after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the neighbourhood last month to denounce Assad following the killing of several protesters.
Security in the district is already heavy. Along with embassies and secret police complexes, several security officials have homes in the district, including Assef Shawkat, President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law and one of the central figures in the security apparatus underpinning the family-based power ... Read Full Story
New Delhi, Congress has decided to nominate mega star Chiranjeevi to Rajya Sabha, consolidating PRP's merger with the party in Andhra Pradesh.
The party has also fielded Uttarakhand dissident Harish Rawat loyalist and former minister Mahendra Singh Mehra to the upper house from the state. The decision seems forced by the standoff over Congress decision to make Vijay Bahuguna the chief minister. It was felt that fielding an "outsider" would have risked cross-voting from protesting MLAs and they have settled for a local.
While the choice of Mehra satisfies the local equation, he being close to Rawat and being a Thakur makes the decision a balance between the various factors that are at the core of party protest in the hill state. Instead, Congress has nominated Satyavrat Chaturvedi, the present retiring MP from the state, from Madhya Pradesh.
Congress has interestingly decided to field its candidate Abdul Mannan from West Bengal, a clear decision to put TMC chief Mamata Banerjee under pressure. The TMC has been insistent that Congress stay out of RS race and instead transfer its vote to its fourth candidate. Congress is ahead of TMC in terms of votes at its disposal for its sole candidate as against TMC for its fourth.
While Congress would have preferred to heed Banerjee's demand, Congress estimates that she is under pressure and should be conveyed that she has to check her brinkmanship for a peaceful alliance. The availability of 22-MP SP as an option seems to have bolstered the Congress. ... Read Full Story