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Nation at a Glance

Meira Kumar back in Congress

New Delhi: Prominent Dalit leader Meira Kumar on Monday returned to the Congress, regretting her critical comments against Sonia Gandhi and the party three years ago, reports our special correspondent.

A former AICC general secretary and Indian Foreign Service officer, Kumar had left the party in a huff after accusing its chief of being “immature” and neglecting the cause of Dalits. She was miffed over Sonia’s move to drop her as party general secretary.

Before leaving the party, Kumar had addressed a press conference where she underlined the merit in Sharad Pawar’s foreign origins slur on Sonia. The Congress had reacted sharply, with party general secretary Ambika Soni even questioning Kumar’s political credentials other than being the daughter of late Jagjivan Ram.

Kumar said the past should be treated as a “closed chapter”. Informed sources say that despite the harsh exchange of words with the Congress, Kumar decided to return as she had failed to secure a “proper deal” with other political groups.

“It was a case of fulfilling mutual needs. Kumar could not get into the BJP and viewed Ram Vilas Paswan as a regional leader. The Congress was also in desperate need of a prominent Dalit leader to counter the likes of Mayavati,” an AICC functionary said.

umar denied that she was returning to the Congress hoping for some reward. To a question as to whether she decided to rejoin in the wake of the party’s growing fortunes, Kumar said: “In the life of a political party, there are good tidings and rough times but I have not given a consideration to these factors.”

Kumar also denied the charge that she had unsuccessfully negotiated with the BJP. “When I left the Congress, I remained apolitical,” she said.

Badal phone tapping notice

chandigarh (PTI): Akali Dal president and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday issued a legal notice to chief minister Amarinder Singh asking him to stop “tapping” his telephone and that of his nephew Manpreet Singh Badal.

Badal, in his notice served through a local advocate, said three of his telephones in the city and his native village and two of his nephew in the same village were being tapped by government agencies, including the vigilance and the intelligence departments.

“The tapping is being done wholly illegally and surreptitiously without any authorisation of any competent authority and contrary to the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and guidelines issued by the Supreme Court,” Badal said in the notice.

Armymen die in jeep crash

Gorakhpur (PTI): Four Assam Rifles personnel were killed and two seriously injured when the jeep in which they were travelling rammed into a stationary truck near Campierganj on Gorakhpur-Sonauli highway on Monday.

The mishap occurred when the personnel, posted in Arunachal Pradesh, were returning home on leave, superintendent of police Ikramul Haq said. The dead have been identified as Dinesh Pandey, Surya Bahdur Pradhan, Gupt Bahdur Thapa and Indra Bahadur Sarki.

Bendre let off

Mumbai (PTI): A local court has cancelled a non-bailable warrant against Sonali Bendre for not appearing in a case of alleged obscenity. The warrant was cancelled by additional chief metropolitan magistrate Ravindra Gate after the actress appeared on October 16. Bendre was asked to pay a penalty of Rs 100 for not appearing before the court earlier.

Naxalite attack

patna: The People’s War struck in Jehanabad for the second time in two days, killing three residents of Nagauli village early on Monday, reports our special correspondent. Police sources said about 25 People’s War cadre raided Nagauli village around 1 am and gunned down three members of the Yadav caste.

Bofors case

New Delhi (PTI): The Hinduja brothers have alleged that then Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme acted as an agent of arms manufacturer A.B. Bofors to help it bag the contract for the supply of Howitzer guns to India in March 1986. “It was Palme and not Win Chadha or anybody else who acted as Bofors agent and clinched the deal. In fact, he was trying to further the economic interest of Sweden,” the brothers’ counsel Ram Jethmalani said.

Truckers’ threat

New Delhi (PTI): Truckers and commercial road transport operators staged a nationwide dharna against the hike in insurance premium and imposition of toll tax. “If our charter of demands is not met by November 7, we will stop accepting fresh bookings and suspend all operations from November 15,” All India Motor Transport Congress leader j.m. Saxena said.

Seven senior Punjab police officers will undergo special training in community policing in New York, starting Thursday. The policemen, along with chief of the Institute of Development and Communication Pramod Kumar, will take part in the eight-day course.


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