THE KARGIL FUND Set up by The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika
More than a hundred soldiers have already died in the undeclared war in Kargil. Many more are lying injured in hospitals. No assistance is compensation enough for the mother who has lost her son or the wife her husband. But we, the citizens of this country, need to help, in however small a way. The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika are setting up a fund with that modest aim in mind. The fund is being started with an intial contribution of Rs 5 Lakh from the ABP Group. If every reader of The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika donates a small sum, we can raise a huge amount for the families of the soldiers killed or injured in action. As a token of appreciation, both papers will publish the names of donors contributing Rs 500 or more. This is a time to ask yourself what can you do for the nation.   Only account payee cheques and drafts - payable to 'ABP Kargil Fund' - will be accepted. Put the cheque/draft in an envelope with your name and address. Write 'ABP Kargil Fund' and mail it to or deliver (between 10 am and 6 pm except on Sundays) at  
6 Prafulla Sarkar Street 
Calcutta 700001 
Vajpayee sets the pace with winning ticket, party
Dead trap before Pakistan
Government gets Dave across, stumbles on Sen
Bhutia gets English foothold
Calcutta Weather

New Delhi, July 15 
After Kargil, Karnataka. Atal Behari Vajpayee?s winning streak continued as the BJP today all but sealed a three-way alliance in the southern state, adding to Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu where it already has an electoral understanding going.

Janata Dal chief minister J.H. Patel announced that he was throwing his lot with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at the risk of splitting the party.

The deal with Patel was hammered out not by L.K. Advani, in charge of the BJP?s election machinery, or any other BJP leader. George Fernandes and R.K. Hegde, both close to Vajpayee, negotiated with Patel.

The BJP has denied Vajpayee ever spoke to Patel, but the chief minister has said twice that the Prime Minister has been trying to persuade him. In any case, Fernandes and Hegde would not have opened talks with Patel without Vajpayee?s endorsement.

Even as Patel was reported to have set up a date with Vajpayee tomorrow, a BJP spokesman said the party was ?waiting and watching?, muffling angry objections voiced by the Karnataka unit.

Despite the perceived unpopularity of the Patel government, Vajpayee thought it expedient to rope in regional stalwarts with a popular base of their own, party sources said.

Described last year as the mask that went wherever the ?real face? took it, Vajpayee is now leading the party wherever he chooses to go.

He is even venturing into areas he had shunned since ceasing to be party president in 1987. Vajpayee has begun intervening in group fights and ironing out dissent. Party sources said the Prime Minister is likely to extend his area of influence to ticket distribution ? an exercise left in the past to Advani.

In Maharashtra, his confidant Pramod Mahajan turned Bal Thackeray around to accept simultaneous polls to the Assembly and the Lok Sabha. After the agreement, the House was diss- olved.

Scoring a Karnataka double, Vajpayee won over Congress leader M. Rajashekhar Murthy after sensing his disenchantment with the party high command, BJP sources said. Murthy met the Prime Minister today and expressed his willingness to join the BJP. His entry is likely to be formalised this week, delivering a heavy blow to the Congress which will lose a veteran leader who has hardly ever lost an election.

The recent events in Haryana, too, appear to have been ?shaped? by Vajpayee. BJP sources said he decided to pull the plug on Bansi Lal, a move resisted by former Union minister Sushma Swaraj.

Acting on the advice of M.L. Khurana, Vajpayee swung into action the moment Swaraj left India on an overseas tour.

The political reason was that Bansi Lal?s government had become ?extremely unpopular? and it was no longer ?viable? for the BJP to be part of it.

The parting of ways with Bansi Lal had strong implications for power equations within the BJP. Thakre was kept in the dark. The signal that went out to Advani was that a loyal follower, Swaraj, had been overruled while giving more weight to the opinion of Khurana who was not in his good books.

During the recent rebellion in the Uttar Pradesh BJP, Vajpayee mediated along with Advani. Although Advani managed to retain his prot?g? Kalyan Singh as chief minister, Singh?s wings were clipped when his confidante Kusum Rai lost her official post.

Vajpayee is likely to ensure that some of Singh?s nominees do not get Lok Sabha tickets.    

New Delhi, July 15 
With the Kargil conflict nearing its end, India and Pakistan are getting enmeshed in a tug-of-war over bodies.

India says it is willing to hand over bodies of Pakistani soldiers to the Nawaz Sharif government, provided Islamabad accepts them as its own. But Pakistan argues that unless the verification is done on its own soil, the bodies cannot be accepted.

Delhi?s move is a smart one. If Islamabad accepts the dead as its own, it will establish the involvement of Pakistani soldiers in Kargil.

If Islamabad refuses to take them, it will create dissatisfaction among the people of Pakistan, particularly the affected families who will expect the Sharif government to at least ensure a decent burial.

Pakistan understands the Indian move, which is why it wants the verification to be done in Islamabad. If its officials come to India, they will either have to accept the bodies or refuse to acknowledge them.

But if the verification is done in Pakistan, the Sharif government can maintain that the dead are not Pakistani soldiers but ?Mujahideen?. At the same time, the government can hand over the bodies quietly to their families.

This will help Islamabad maintain the charade that its army was not involved in Kargil, while ensuring proper burial for the dead.

India says it has the bodies of Capt. Imtiaz Malik of 165 Mortar regiment and Capt. Karnal Sher of 12 Northern Light Infantry.

While the body of Capt. Malik was found at Point 4875 in Mushkoh, that of Capt. Sher was recovered from Tiger Hill. Pakistan continues to deny the involvement of its army in Kargil.

?The callousness and inhumanity with which they are persisting in this fiction is demonstrated in the current matter concerning the bodies of the two captains of the Pakistani army who died in action on the Line of Control in Kargil,? Indian foreign ministry spokesman R.S. Jassal said today.

According to Jassal, Delhi had informed Islamabad on July 12 about the two bodies and said it was willing to hand them over. Though there was no response from Pakistan immediately, on July 13 the Indian authorities were approached by the Red Cross, which said Pakistan had asked it to get the bodies from Delhi. However, Islamabad did not specify the names and identities of the two officers, though India had given the details.

?The Pakistan authorities realised that if they conceded the identities of the two officers, it would demolish the myth that the Pakistani army was not involved in Kargil,? Jassal said.

He added that Pakistan conveyed through the Red Cross that the material furnished by India was ?insufficient? to establish the identities of the officers and, therefore, they would like the bodies to be flown to Islamabad for verification.

?This is a ridiculous demand.... How do they expect us to fly the bodies to Islamabad when they are not even claiming them to be their own?? the Indian spokesman asked.

He said India was willing to accept persons, including family members of the victims, sent by the Sharif government to come here and identify the bodies.

According to agency reports quoting defence sources, bodies of at least 30 officers of the Pakistani army have been identified by India and could be handed over to Islamabad. However, Jassal said he had no such information.

An Associated Press report said tonight that Indian troops buried Pakistani fighters on Point 4875, where 170 men have died. The bodies were draped in Pakistani flags and an Indian Muslim soldier led the prayers.

More time: India today said it could consider giving ?one or two? days? extension to intruders to withdraw from Kargil. ?The agreement between the two directors-general of military operations says the withdrawal of the militants has to be completed by the 16th. If necessary, we will extend the deadline by one or two days, but after that we shall resume our military operations against them,?? national security adviser Brajesh Mishra said in a television interview tonight.

Kargil cess: The PMO said today a preliminary discussion had been held on the proposed Kargil cess but no decision reached. However, finance ministry officials claimed the Cabinet could clear the proposal as early as next Tuesday.

In Mumbai, finance minister Yashwant Sinha was evasive when asked about the proposed tax. ?I am not in a position to say now (on the Kargil tax),? he said. ?I neither confirm nor deny the media reports.?    

New Delhi, July 15 
The BJP-led government has managed to have a Governor of its choice in Arunachal Pradesh but failed to get the President?s nod in regularising the temporary appointment of West Bengal Governor Shyamal Sen.

The Centre recommended Arvind Dave, outgoing chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), as Arunachal Pradesh Governor at the behest of an influential official in the Prime Minister?s Office (PMO). The official is believed to have directed Union home secretary Kamal Pande yesterday to propose Dave?s name.

The home ministry feels quite comfortable with Sen, acting chief justice of Calcutta High Court, as West Bengal Governor and would like him to continue for a full term. The ministry believes that even West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu, who insists on being consulted before Governors are appointed in his state, is not unhappy with Sen.

Besides, the home ministry felt Sen needed to be relieved from one of his two posts and that he should continue as Governor rather than acting chief justice.

A recommendation that Justice A. Mathur of Jabalpur High Court be appointed chief justice in Calcutta is pending with President K.R. Narayanan. There is no explanation why the President has not yet cleared it, but Mathur is reportedly senior to Sen.

Sources said if Mathur is appointed in Calcutta, a judge professionally junior to him will have to continue as Governor in the state. The ministry felt that if Sen is appointed Governor for a full five-year term, such a scenario could be averted.

Government sources said in Dave?s case, the entire process ? from proposing his name to getting the President?s signature ? was completed with unusual speed.

Questions are being raised among bureaucrats on what forced the senior PMO official to consider Dave?s candidature, especially after the Centre had issued an order only on July 12 promoting A.S. Dulat as the new RAW chief. The official notification appointing Dave as Arunachal Governor was issued yesterday by the information wing of the PMO.

Usually, the Union home ministry proposes the name or names of a panel of candidates for Governors. The file will be processed, approved by the home minister and sent to the Prime Minister for his signature. Only then will the PMO send the file to the President, who may or may not give assent.

Soon after getting his appointment order, Dave met home minister L.K. Advani and paid a ?courtesy call? to Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee today.

RAW officials resent the fact that someone under whose leadership the agency committed serious intelligence lapses ? particularly relating to Pakistan ? over the past 18 months should be appointed Governor.

Officials pointed out that the PMO official had earlier bypassed the Cabinet secretariat and got an order signed by the Prime Minister, giving a three-month extension to Dave as RAW chief.

In May, the same official had asked Union home secretary B.P. Singh to relinquish office and hand over charge to Pande the next day.    

Calcutta, July 15 
Bhaichung Bhutia is set to become the first Indian to play in the English football league. Fulham Football Club have made their interest in Bhaichung official. Through the English Football Association (FA), Harrods? owner Mohamed Al Fayed?s first division team asked for a no-objection certificate from the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) today.

So far, Bhaichung is the only foreign player this season and the first-ever Asian Fulham want to try out. Although there are players of Indian origin plying their trade in Europe ? like Leeds United?s Harpal Singh ? Bhaichung is the first Indian to be made such an offer.

Fulham Club?s press officer Mark Maunters told The Telegraph that Bhaichung will go on trial ?either from tomorrow or Monday.?

?As to how long he stays depends on how Bhaichung (the name pronounced with some difficulty) gets along with the manager (Paul Bracewell) and the other players. And, of course, on how he fares in the pre-season friendlies,? he added.

Fulham, promoted to the first division this season, will play a series of them beginning Monday. The first match, Maunters said, is against a team called Aldershop. Fulham?s reserve team is scheduled to play that tie. If Bhaichung impresses Bracewell sufficiently, he could graduate to the first team which opens the season with a game against Heart of Midlothian.

Coached to the second-division title by Kevin Keegan, the current England manager, Fulham begin their league campaign on August 7 against Birmingham. Bobby Robson, a former England manager, too was in charge of this team, based in Craven Cottage, close to London.

The AIFF routed FA?s brief fax message to the Indian Football Association (IFA) for clearance. The IFA promptly okayed the European stint of the striker, now a free player.

The fax, signed by Jamie Bradbury of the Registrations Department, said: ?In accordance with Fifa regulations, we request the International Transfer Certificate for the following player (Bhaichung) to enable him to play in two matches for Fulham FC, the first game being on July 19.?

Bhaichung will not be paid for the trials. As Maunters put it: ?It is an opportunity for the player.? For this Indian, voted Asian Football Confederation?s Player of the Month recently, it sure is.

Determined to get a toe-hold in soccer?s most lucrative continent after the Aston Villa experiment early this year, Bhaichung has been in Europe for almost two months now, trying various clubs.    

Today?s forecast: Partly cloudy sky. Possibility of one or two spells of light rain.
Temperature: Maximum 32.4?C (Normal)
Minimum 26?C (Normal)
Relative humidity: Maximum 97% Minimum 63%
Rainfall: 6.8 mm
Sunset: 6.22 pm
Sunrise: 5.04 am    

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