Aftershock fears hang over market
Ray of support for Mamata
Jaya firms up alliance
Calcutta Weather

Mumbai, March 10: 
The scare of a payments default on the Calcutta stock market that spooked the bourses on Friday has now receded, but market players are bracing for fresh tremors when trading resumes on Monday.

The payments crisis on the CSE blew over at the weekend after the Unit Trust of India (UTI) stepped in with Rs 30 crore to buy DSQ Software shares. Four other brokers stumped up Rs 40 crore to forestall the crisis.

But when the market re-opens on Monday, it will have to contend with a few depressants: on Friday, the Bombay Stock Exchange’s sensitive index tumbled by almost 175 points (or 4.3 per cent) to 3,881.96. Later, the Nasdaq tanked 5.6 per cent.

Ironically, around this time last year, the Nasdaq had hit an all-time high of 5,048 points; in a year, the world’s technology stock-laced Nasdaq has shed almost 3,000 points.

Technology stocks may come under intense selling pressure on the BSE.

Soon after Mastek issued a profit warning, it was the turn of NIIT to follow suit. It is a matter of time before other technology companies start falling in line. “No one here is insulated,” a broker rued.

Brokers have heaved a huge sigh of relief now that the badla session — where they raise cash to stall deliveries of shares — has passed off without a hitch.

However, all eyes are fixed on March 15 when the payout for the March 5-9 settlement takes place. For the markets to be really proclaimed as safe, the pay-in and the pay-out on March 15 have to take place uneventfully.

Stocks like Himachal Futuristic and Global TeleSystems were the hot picks of Big Bull Ketan Parekh and have lost over 60 per cent of their values from their highs.

UTI and the Life Insurance Corporation of India are playing the lead in trying to rebuild the market’s confidence.

There is, however, a dark cloud hanging over the market with the distinct possibility of the Big Bull being called in for questioning by the economic intelligence wing of the Mumbai police to ascertain his links with film financier Bharat Shah.


Calcutta, March 10: 
Former chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray today offered support to Mamata Banerjee and delivered a slap in the face of the Congress leadership.

Ray, the last non-Left chief minister, said the Congress should have forged an alliance with Mamata, “ignoring her BJP connections”. He offered to campaign for Trinamul candidates.

Mamata today visited Ray at his residence ostensibly to discuss the problems of madarsa students, but the real purpose was to seek his support.

Ray is the second Congress leader after A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury to openly criticise the party for failing to work out an alliance with Mamata. Chowdhury, of course, has a mahajot for Malda — his home district — going with Mamata.

The former chief minister dismissed the Congress argument against aligning with her because of her ties with the BJP. “She is absolutely secular. The Muslims want to see her victorious as she has always fought for their cause,” he said.

He described Mamata as “an integral part of the Congress movement and a mass leader”. “I have not renewed my party membership as I am no more in active politics. But I will take part in the poll campaign to ensure the CPM’s defeat,” Ray said.

His statement stood in sharp contrast to the resolutions adopted by the Pradesh Congress executive during the day, criticising Chowdhury’s stand and seeking an alliance with the CPM breakaway group, Party for Democratic Socialism (PDS). The PCC decided to form a nine-member core committee to select candidates after the Bangalore AICC session.

Ray said the Congress made a mistake by spurning Mamata’s mahajot formula to ensure straight contests. He criticised the party’s decision to ally with the PDS led by Saifuddin Chowdhury.

Ray described Mamata as the only person who could lead “an effective fight against the CPM”. “She can well become the chief minister. She has already proved that she can handle bureaucrats,” he said.

He held Bengal Congress chief Pranab Mukherjee — without naming him — responsible for Mamata’s expulsion from the Congress three years ago. “The person who was really behind Mamata’s expulsion is unfortunately now at the helm of party affairs in Bengal,” he said.

The state Congress was taken aback by Ray’s pro-Mamata stand. “It is really embarrassing for the party. Those who are criticising the party line should resign and join Trinamul,” said Atish Sinha, leader of the Congress legislature party. Sinha wondered how Ray could ask the party to ignore the BJP factor.


Chennai, March 10: 
Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) chief G.K. Moopanar today announced that his party and the Congress have agreed to join the ADMK-led front in Tamil Nadu, completing Jayalalitha’s grand alliance in her quest to regain power in Tamil Nadu.

However, the arrangement does not extend to Pondicherry, where the Congress, TMC and the Left parties could come together to fight the ADMK-PMK combine. Moopanar said the strategy for enclave will be decided upon later. Jayalalitha has allotted a block of 47 seats to the TMC and the Congress. The Congress had demanded 15 seats, which was all that Moopanar was willing to concede.




Maximum:34.1°C (+1)
Minimum: 20.4°C (0)



Relative humidity

Maximum: 96%
Minimum: 29%


Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperatures likely to be around 34°C and 29°C
Sunrise: 5.54 am
Sunset: 5.39 pm

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