INDIA TODAY - The most widely read newsweekly in South Asia.

INDIA TODAY - The most widely read newsweekly in South Asia.

P. CHIDAMBARAM Union finance minister versus Y. K. SABHARWAL Chief Justice of India

"Sadly, executive has yielded place to the judiciary. If executive uses its authority, it doesn't mean there's no place for judiciary."

"If you can't trust the chief justice and other judges, what can be said? This system, after all, rests on confidence, faith."

EPILOGUE: Both executive and judiciary are pillars of democracy we can't do without.


"Though he (Vajpayee) and I are best of friends, many times we don't agree with each other 100 per cent. We sit together and come to a consensus."

L.K. Advani, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha

"Manmohan Singh is a non-political personality. His integrity, humbleness and style of taking everyone along is beyond doubt. He is the reason the UPA Government is stable.".

Sharad Pawar, Union agriculture minister

"Pseudo-secularists want the Uttar Pradesh polls to be held in the name of Ram and Babar. Ram stood for Indian culture and ethos, and we all know what Babar stood for."

Vijay Kumar Malhotra, deputy leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha

"Perhaps the kiss was noticed because we are two women. It's really a very anti-feminist thing."

Vasundhara Raje, Rajasthan chief minister, on her liplock with Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

"I am too good looking to be a politician"

Shah Rukh Khan, actor


Ministers of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma and E. Ahamed had their hands full when Manmohan Singh handled the external affairs portfolio, but with Pranab Mukherjee in control, the two ministers have a lot of spare time.

DISMISSED: Former Uttar Pradesh minister Amar Mani Tripathi's bail plea by the Supreme Court. He is the main accused in the Hindi poetess Madhumita Shukla murder case.

APPOINTED: Shahid Malik as the new high commissioner of Pakistan to India, replacing Aziz Ahmed Khan. Malik has served here as Pakistan's deputy high commissioner in 1992-95.

DISMISSED: A public interest litigation, by the Supreme Court, seeking a ban on the publication of obscene and nude photographs in newspapers.

ANNOUNCED: By the Board for Cricket Control in India, that Mumbai will host the 2011 Cricket World Cup final. The tournament's co-hosts are Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and the two semi-finals will be played in Colombo and Lahore.

The Birthday Buoy
A BASH: Pawar celebrates
DELHI Sharad Pawar's 66th birthday was celebrated with an ad blitzkrieg that was on par with Sonia Gandhi's 60th birthday celebrated in the same week. All national dailies were swamped with full-page advertisements extolling "Power 2 Pawar", describing him as 'statesman', 'strategist', 'thinker' and the 'magnanimous Maratha'.

His bio-data printed alongside is even more creative. It points out how Pawar "never campaigns in Baramati but the town elects him consistently from 1967 onwards". You get the drift. Incidentally, one of the advertisements is by the National Egg Co-ordination Committee, another by the National Bulk Handling Corporation and one by his party, the NCP. The party sees nothing out of the ordinary in this public display claiming that any over-the-top gesture could be because he is a Cabinet minister.

However, Pawar was also a minister last year but the gush was missing. At that time, both Pawar and Praful Patel were in Pune (closer home to Baramati than New Delhi). Patel had given international status to Pune airport by getting Pawar to flag off the first international flight from there to Dubai. This year, however, Pawar stayed in the capital and most of the state NCP MLAs flew to greet him in a plane specially chartered for the purpose. He laid the foundation stone for a new Maharashtra Sadan in the capital, where Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was present along with NCP ministers R.R. Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal and Ravisheth Patil.

The NCP denies that the advertising campaign is an attempt to portray the Maratha leader with national overtones. But with rumours of a third front gathering strength, Pawar's sudden bid for the limelight cannot be discounted. Especially not with his bio-data staring at you in the face over your morning coffee.

-By Priya Sahgal

A Rift Carved in Stone
STATUESQUE: Manmohan, Sonia unveil Maran's statue
DELHI It was a game of oneupmanship between the two Dravidian parties as both the DMK and AIADMK took their war to Delhi, unveiling statues of AIADMK founder M.G. Ramachandran and former Union minister Murasoli Maran in the Parliament on consecutive days last week.

AIADMK General Secretary J. Jayalalithaa had been pushing for the installation of MGR's statue since 1998. But the plan fell through once she withdrew support to the NDA government a year later.

Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh boycotted the unveiling of MGR's statue. Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi said prior engagements kept Sonia away but Congressmen claim that speculation of a possible Sonia-Jaya thaw at the meeting had not gone down well with the DMK. But Cabinet ministers Pranab Mukherjee and P. Chidambaram were present, though the finance minister stood in a corner feeling out of place in the AIADMK-dominated show.

The DMK says theirs was not a me-too effort but had been proposed by them soon after Maran's death in November 2003. But a war of words broke out when Jayalalithaa said that having Maran's statue along with that of 'Bharat Ratnas' like MGR would be "obscene". Following her statement, Maran-owned TV channel in Tamil Nadu started showing stills of Jayalalithaa in "obscene" dresses in the film Vairam and tried to mobilise public opinion in favour of Maran.

There are 42 statues in Parliament. Eight more have been approved, including those of N.T. Rama Rao and Bhagat Singh. After that, any other statues will be accommodated in the Parliament library complex.

-By Peer Mohammad

Close Encounters
DELHI With a decline in terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, the pattern of violence has moved to desperate close-quarter combat in stuffy hideouts. This is when the army calls in its 'room intervention specialists', commandos who specialise in storming terrorist hideouts to kill or capture high value targets or rescue hostages.

One such special unit reported 30 militant killings in just 13 months. Often, their actual role surfaces only in tragedies like a recent encounter in Bijbiara town in Anantnag. When the army received an intelligence input that the Hizbul Mujahideen's deputy supreme commander Suhail Faizal was hiding in a house, they acted fast. Faizal, 43, a hardcore militant, had planned all the attacks in Srinagar for the past two years.

The army deputed one of their room intervention specialists, Major Manish Pitambare, 32, of the 3 Paras, who had recently apprehended Abu Ahamda, the Al-Badr divisional commander and one of the plotters of the Mumbai train blasts.

In the firefight, the major killed Faizal, but succumbed to his injuries. A tragic loss indeed.

-By Sandeep Unnithan


Sound Style
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INDIA TODAY - The most widely read newsweekly in South Asia.
DECEMBER 25, 2006

Sensational. Shocking. Tabloid. Exclusive. Tamasha News


Getting Personal

Hanging in the Middle

Why We Should Go Ahead

Against National Interest

Ending the Isolation

Internal Injury

Withering Away

Investment Speedbreaker

Deep Waters

Southern Express

For Home, A Fistful Of Dollars

Life After 14k Surviving The Ride

Dancing On Safe Ground

The Grassland's Great Hope

Outclassed, Outrun

Divisional Managers

Sales Pitch

Mate Value

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South Asia's most influential and most read newsweekly presents the fifth Conclave India Tomorrow 2006: Bridging the Divide