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The Changing Mood
More for Less

 
OTHER STORIES


First Strike: Destroy Terror to   Get Talking
Fountain of Hate
Holding for Now
In Top Gear
Reforms on the Edge
The Burden of Plenty
Tug of War
Unholy Nexus
Rule Blocks
Lost World
Starved of Veracity
Countdown to Catastrophe
Spring of Life
Blackballed
Next Change

 
 
METRO TODAY


Diary of Events

 


Deportation cases of Punjabi illegal migrants rise as countries tighten entry laws after the 9/11 attacks.

NRI DIARY
Bowled Over
Paradise Found
Legendary Workaholic
In the News

 

 
WEB ONLY FEATURES
In the perennial battleground of Iraq lies a vibrant society which was once the hope and pride of the Middle East. India Today's
Ashok Malik
travels to the
dream that died.
Guns and Gaiety
 
INDIA TODAY CONCLAVE

The Conclave concludes on a high note. Al Gore, Stanley Fischer and other world leaders listen and are heard. Catch up on the highlights.
Take me to Conclave now
 
CARE TODAY
 
INDIA TODAY HINDI
 
 
 CURRENT ISSUE NOVEMBER 4, 2002

NEWSNOTES: FIRST TAKE

Rocky Road to Islamabad

Is prime minister A.B. Vajpayee attending the SAARC summit in Islamabad or not? The confusion arose when Minister of State for External Affairs Digvijay Singh announced that the prime minister would attend. External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha pulled up Singh for speaking out of turn but South Block's embarrassment continued when Defence Minister George Fernandes made a similar statement.

CAN AND ABLE: Mentally challenged children in Delhi prepare for the Games

Delhi's dilemma is that it does not want to signal that relations with Islamabad are "normal". Yet, it does not want to be accused of sabotaging SAARC. So it has resorted to diplomatic doublespeak. Islamabad says it sent the schedule to India on August 28: officials-level meeting on January 7-8, foreign ministers' meeting on January 9-11 and the summit on January 11-13, 2003. The schedule was discussed at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Pakistan claims. But Delhi maintains the dates are still to be finalised so the question of whether the prime minister will attend or not has not been decided yet. If only the ministers knew as much.

By George, He's Back

The Kashmir polls has changed the power equations in the top echelons of the Congress-not just in Srinagar but in Delhi as well. Party President Sonia Gandhi's private secretary Vincent George, who had been lying low after being charged with possessing assets disproportionate to his income, is visible again at 10 Janpath. Reason: He is close to Kashmir PCC chief Ghulam Nabi Azad. More surprising was the guest who visited George's home: Sonia's political secretary Ambika Soni, who was responsible for his ouster from 10 Janpath, came calling. Everybody loves a winner, and his cohorts.

CONFESSIONAL

Narendra Modi
The Gujarat chief minister on the riots in the state and the coming assembly elections

Q. Your opponents call you "Jinnah of the Hindus".
A
. I am hearing this for the first time though I still don't consider you my enemy.

Q. You are held responsible for the killing of 1,100 innocent people in the riots.
A
. In our previous interview you said 900 people. Now you are saying 1,100. Are you adding all the people killed in other states like Maharashtra and Bengal to Gujarat's account?

Q. So what is the correct tally?
A
. There would have been no riots in Gujarat if there was no Godhra.

Q. Aren't you trying to justify the riots by saying that it was the result of Godhra?
A
. Nobody can deny the fact that the Gujarat riots were the aftermath of Godhra.

Q. Do you accept that you failed to provide security to people of the state?
A
. Ninety-eight per cent of Gujarat would not have had peace if we had failed to fulfil our duties. We managed to control the riots within 72 hours.

Q. You have nothing good to say about Muslims.
A
. I talk about the interests of five crore Gujaratis and the figure includes every class and religion.

Q. Do you think that the Gaurav Yatra will fetch you votes and enable you to return to power?
A
. I am using the Yatra to reach out to the people.

Q. What is your view on the Muslims of the country?
A
. I don't like to think of minority or majority communities. As far as Gujarat is concerned, its five crore population should unite to take the state forward.

Q. You have made provocative comments about the Muslims. On their population growth rate, for example.
A
. I stand by my words. I strongly believe that to make ours a developed country the population growth rate has to be checked. You should not categorise society into Hindus and Muslims but into the rich and poor in order to ascertain the level of development.

Q. Are you confident enough to go to the Muslim community to ask for their vote?
A
. We will ask the five crore Gujaratis for their votes on the basis of performance and good governance.

Q. Are you working on the agenda of the RSS or the BJP?
A
. I am following the agenda of the BJP. Gujarat is the No. 1 state in the country. I am going to fight the elections to maintain its premier position.

Q. Prime Minister Vajpayee and Home Minister Advani have said that whatever happened in Gujarat was wrong.
A
. I say the same thing. The communal riots in Gujarat were unfortunate and we are sad they took place.

Q. Why don't you admit that Gujarat is being defamed because of Narendra Modi?
A
. If that is true, give the people of Gujarat a chance to pronounce their verdict through elections.

-Seedhi Baat/Aaj Tak

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