Ronaldo’s redemption
Advani conquers allies, Jaya
Sangh applause for Advani and VHP
No work for judges under cloud
Mayavati temple pinch to partner
Calcutta Weather

Yokohama, June 30: 
The fireworks exploded and the paper glitz snowstormed down from the roof to salute a mighty achievement as Brazil set off on a lap of honour to celebrate their fifth World Cup.

On a personal level it was triumph for Ronaldo, the victim of 1998 who had returned on a mission of revenge and had scored both goals in the 2-0 defeat of a German side who had never expected to share in the final party in the Yokohama International Stadium.

Gold and green were the colours of glory, black and white the colours of what might have been. The 2002 World Cup had ended with world football’s hierarchy vindicated and the shocks and upsets of the past four weeks almost a trick of the memory. When it came down it, when push came to shove, when reality cut in, then it was the traditional giants of South America and Europe who had taken the last curtain call.

Football’s traditional powers had retaken centrestage. It was almost as if the passion and ecstasy of South Korea, the dynamism of Japan had been factors in a different tournament. When fans and football historians look back through the game’s bibles they will see only Brazil beating Germany.

The real tale of the first co-hosted World Cup will be enshrouded in the mists of football folklore.

Yet this first World Cup in Asia has been full of delight not only for the home fans in South Korea and Japan but for the billions of international tele-viewers. For one thing, co-hosting worked exceptionally, despite the countries’ uneasy history. For another, hooligans were conspicuous by their absence from the 20 superb, mostly new, stadia. The only snags concerned those perennially problematic issues of ticketing and refereeing standards.

Senegal, appearing in the finals for the first time, had provided the tournament with a sensational start by defeating holders France 1-0 in the opening match in Seoul. But the final never threatened to surprise. Germany started by challenging the mettle of the champions-elect in a brave effort of mental willpower and physical resilience. Frankly, they could have been three or four goals adrift at half-time and no one could have argued.

I had hoped Germany would score first, to force Brazil to greater heights than any they had scaled thus far in these finals. In fact, once Ronaldo had punished a rare mistake by German keeper Oliver Kahn to strike his first goal, it was all over.

Germany did not have the attacking verve to score themselves and their vain attempts only exposed them to a further killer blow from the player even his team-mates address as ‘Phenomenon’.

No doubt Ronaldo, the World Cup’s eight-goal top scorer, will go on to collect end-of-year awards as FIFA World Player of the Year and the European Footballer of the Year (on the grounds that he plays for a European club, Internazionale of Italy). But his revival after an injury-scarred four years was a gesture exclusively for the people of Brazil.

Already now, it is being woven into the fabric of the history of the game.

The World Cup final is a strange occasion. It is the triumphant climax to six years of work by the host nations and their people, the end of the rainbow after two years of competition for the world’s 200 football-playing nations, and a supposed demonstration of all that is best at the pinnacle of the game.

But it also leaves a strange sense of emptiness. I sit here in the half-empty Yokohama stadium press box, looking down at a pitch littered only now with silver paper, the players having long abandoned the scene of their triumph and their defeat.

The few remaining fans are shuffling towards the exit as if they cannot believe it is all over and the public address ‘thank yous’ are echoing around empty seats and stands to a non-existent audience.

A handful of coloured paper birds lie on the desk around me, having floated down out of the roof in the thunder of triumphant celebration but now with nowhere left to fly.

Similarly, the 2002 World Cup has landed. This flight is over. The next departure is for Germany... 2006.


New Delhi, June 30: 
A day after L.K. Advani was anointed the deputy Prime Minister, the NDA allies and parties supporting from outside were as quick to greet him as those in the BJP.

ADMK leader Jayalalithaa was among the first off the block. She was followed by Haryana chief minister O.P. Chautala and Samata Party leader Nitish Kumar, who said: “Advani is a senior NDA leader and his elevation to the post of deputy PM is a welcome step.”

Whether the adulation Advani attracted was “proof” that NDA convener George Fernandes succeeded in his mission to convince even the “secular” allies of Advani’s redesignation or they fell in line when presented with a fait accompli was not regarded as germane in BJP circles. What was significant, sources pointed out, was the fact that even a non-NDA member like Jayalalithaa was quick to read the writing on the wall.

The ADMK chief, they said, was keen to mend fences with the BJP after the disastrous partnership of 1998 and the BJP, in turn, especially the Tamil Nadu unit, returned her overtures. In the unfolding scenario, the sources said Jayalalithaa could “see which side the power was gravitating towards”.

Advani scoffed at suggestions that a parallel power centre was emerging alongside Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

In an interview to a TV channel, he likened his anointment to Sardar Vallabhai Patel serving as deputy to India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Patel — who bore the honorific of Iron Man — was believed to be Advani’s role model, and many in the BJP felt that as home minister, he had emulated Patel’s example in many ways.

“If we talk of history, I would say that except in the first case, in all other cases the Prime Minister’s decision or proposal of having a deputy Prime Minister has been essentially a kind of device to sort out problems between parties or factions,” Advani said and added that his example was like the first.

In a separate interview to PTI, he asserted: “There is no second power centre. Even before this what else has been written about in the last four years except that there are two power centres. Those who talk of these power centres, you see their reports saying that this conspiracy to make Advani the deputy PM has died a premature death. What kind of stories are these written only one day or two days back?”

In the TV interview, Advani suggested that Vajpayee might have been prompted to make him his deputy by the “sustained campaign” and reports of “differences” between the Top Two.

He recalled an incident last year when the Prime Minister had called his wife suddenly to say he would drop in for lunch. “I can only say he has a style of his own. But by this one single, simple gesture he tried to debunk reports of differences between Vajpayeeji and Advani.”


Kurukshetra, June 30: 
Emboldened by the elevation of Lal Krishna Advani to deputy Prime Minister, the RSS today hardened its stand on the Ram Janmabhoomi issue by iterating that it stood behind the recent Vishwa Hindu Parishad declaration at Hardwar.

“We welcome Advani’s elevation,” was RSS spokesman Madhav Govind Vaidya’s immediate reaction on the issue.

“The Ayodhya problem may be a legal issue for Muslims, but for Hindus, it is a matter of faith. We endorse the VHP stand that no court is capable of judging matters of faith and we want the Centre to enact a law and hand over the disputed site for the construction of the Ram temple,” he added.

The two-day RSS national executive meeting that ended here today was attended by RSS chief K.C. Sudarshan, VHP chief Ashok Singhal, former BJP president Kushabhau Thakre and over 250 delegates from all over the country. The meet also endorsed two resolutions, including one demanding the three-way split of Jammu and Kashmir.

“We believe that Jammu and Kashmir should be divided into three regions. Ladakh should be turned into a Union Territory. Jammu, including the Muslim majority areas of Poonch, Rajouri and Doda, and Kashmir should be made into separate states,” Vaidya said, adding that the government should also hold a dialogue with Kashmiri Pandits for their rehabilitation.

Vaidya denied that dividing Jammu and Kashmir on religious lines would send wrong signals to other similar demands in the country.

“Why should dividing Jammu and Kashmir into three states cause problems? Uttaranchal was carved out of Uttar Pradesh. Bihar was divided into two. Our demand for trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir stems from the fact that even western agencies holding polls have said that over 60 per cent of the Muslims want to remain with India.

“Kashmir has always been an integral part of the country and will remain with us. Any talks with Pakistan would have to be regarding Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and not any inch of land on our side of the LoC. The demand for the division of Jammu and Kashmir does not mean opening of routes of further division of states,” Vaidya explained.

Stopping short of demanding President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir for the Assembly polls, the RSS, in its resolution, stated: “It is also very important that every precaution and arrangement should be taken to ensure free and fair election in J&K which are fast approaching. In view of the past experience, the present National Conference government cannot generate confidence that it will help conduct free and fair elections.”


Chandigarh, June 30: 
Punjab and Haryana High Court has withdrawn work from Justices Amarbil Singh Gill, M.L. Singhal and Mehtab Singh Gill after their names figured in the vigilance probe into the Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scandal.

“Pending DB/SB cases part-heard or reserved for judgment by Hon’ble Justice Amarbil Singh Gill, Hon’ble Justice M.L. Singhal and Hon’ble Justice Mehtab Singh Gill stand discharged and the same shall be listed for fresh hearing as per order of date withdrawing work from these three Hon’ble judges separately made by Hon’ble Chief Justice,” stated the high court roster for July, signed by joint registrar R.K. Sharma.

Chief Justice A.B. Saharya has instituted a separate probe to look into allegations in the recruitment scandal.

On Thursday, Chief minister Amarinder Singh has removed IGP (intelligence) Sumedh Singh Saini, ADGP A.P. Bhatnagar, SP Surinderjit Singh Mand and DIG (counterintelligence) R.P. Singh. Yesterday, he clarified that the government decision to remove them had become “necessary” to “save” the probe into corruption from ending up in “confusion”.

The officials had done the spadework to unearth the multi-crore scandal and passed on the information for further action to the vigilance bureau. Former Punjab Public Service Commission chairman Ravinder Paul Singh Sidhu was arrested on March 25 by the vigilance bureau for allegedly accepting bribe from a candidate. Police recovered more than Rs 18 crore from him and his associates.

“The role of the intelligence wing is to gather information and pass it on to the vigilance bureau. The intelligence department is the faceless wing of the government and is not supp osed to hold press conferences and leak probe reports to the media. It is only supposed to see and listen and pass on the information to the vigilance bureau,” the chief minister said.


Lucknow, June 30: 
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati today said her government will uphold the court verdict on the Ayodhya imbroglio while reacting to the claim of new state BJP chief Vinay Katiyar that his appointment signified the return of the Ayodhya temple issue on the BJP agenda.

“It may be on their agenda but it’s not on my party’s or my government’s agenda. We will not allow any party or person to take any action at Ayodhya and other religious places and jeopardise communal harmony,” the Bahujan Samaj Party chief told party workers.

Mayavati’s clarification assumes significance in the context of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tacit endorsement of Katiyar’s stand during his recent visit to Lucknow.

As if to match the BJP’s move to appoint an OBC leader as the party’s state chief, Mayavati revamped the 32-member state executive of the BSP and appointed K.K. Sachan, an OBC leader, as the state BSP president.

Both Katiyar and Sachan belong to the Kurmi caste, which is second only to the Yadav community in terms of numerical and political mobilisation. Both the BSP and the BJP are now eyeing the non-Yadav middle and lower castes to bolster their respective Dalit and upper caste vote banks.

After the meeting of legislators and new office-bearers today, Mayavati issued a written statement clarifying her government’s stand on the Ayodhya issue. “If a solution is not found through talks between representatives of the two communities, my government will abide by the court order,” she said.

The statement also said the state government would not take any initiative for a dialogue. “If the Centre makes any effort in this direction I will welcome it and, if sought, provide all possible help,” it added.

BSP MLAs who attended the meeting said Mayavati had instructed them that while making every effort to make the coalition last, the party workers should be prepared for elections any time.

The besieged chief minister’s outbursts seems logical considering she commanded a party that boasted 14 Muslim MLAs while her coalition partner was giving the message that it was returning to its old Ram temple agenda.

The BSP leader made it clear that no person belonging to any party will be allowed to interfere in the functioning of the government. “Stern action would be taken against such persons.”

Mayavati assured her party workers that despite the cash crunch faced by her government, it would go ahead with the development work for Dalits and the weaker sections.

She also defended the reversal of Rajnath Singh’s reservation policy, pointing out that this would help in filling 28,000 vacancies for the SC/ST and OBCs.




Maximum: 31.3°C (-2)
Minimum: 26.6°C (+1)


0.7 mm

Relative humidity

Max: 95%
Min: 83%

Sunrise: 4.58 am

Sunset: 6.22 pm


A few spells of light to moderate rain, accompanied by thunder

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