Sunday, May 29, 2011

CPI-M legislator jumps to death in Bengal

OLKATA: A Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) legislator, Mostafa Bin Quasem, on Sunday committed suicide in West Bengal by jumping from the fourth floor of the legislators' hostel, a senior party leader said.

"Quasem might have jumped out of his room through the window when none of his family members were present. His son noticed the body on the parapet and informed the police," said CPI-M leader and former speaker Hasim Abdul Halim.

In the recently concluded assembly elections, Quasem was elected from Basirhat North Assembly constituency in North 24 Parganas district and used to live in the state legislators' hostel.

Earlier, he was elected from Swarupnagar in the 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006 elections.

Police, fire and emergency services department personnel rushed Quasem to Calcutta Medical College, where he was declared brought dead.

A suicide note was recovered from his room and he was suffering from mental depression, said a senior police officer.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said: "It is an unfortunate incident. He was suffering from kidney ailment. If I had an opportunity to be introduced to him, I would have arranged for his treatment."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Centre rejects dismissal of Yeddyurappa govt BIP in Celebrity mood

The Centre on Sunday formally rejected Karnataka governor HR Bhardwaj's recommendation for dismissal of the BS Yeddyurappa government.

The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs despite Bhardwaj standing by his controversial recommendation. Sources said UPA's lack of majority in the Rajya Sabha, among other things, was one of the factors that weighed with the meeting of the CCPA presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

However, the Centre has decided to issue an advisory to the state government to look into the issues raised by the governor in his report sent two days after Supreme Court quashed the disqualification of 16 MLAs who had planned to vote against the BJP government in a trust vote last year.

Centre's decision came when BJP was gearing up for a confrontation over the governor's refusal to call the state assembly to session.

While the BJP leadership was hopeful that the recommendation for President's rule will be rejected by the Centre, it planned to launch a nation-wide agitation if the UPA leadership had acted otherwise.

UDF ministry expanded,with 20 Ministers

The UDF ministry in Kerala headed by Oommen Chandy was today expanded with the induction of 13 more ministers -- nine from Congress, three from IUML and one from Kerala Congress (M). With today's exercise, the ministry strength rose to 20. Chandy and six other ministers, each representing the UDF constituents, assumed office on May 18, after the coalition unseated the CPI(M)-led LDF ministry in the assembly polls.

The Congress nominees sworn-in by Governor R S Gavai at the Raj Bhavan included former ministers Aryadam Muhamed,Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan, Adoor Prakash and A P Anil Kumar. Others Congress nominees who joined the cabinet are lone woman representative P K Jayalakshmi, K C Joseph, K Babu,KPCC treasurer C N Balakrishnan and V S Sivakumar.Jayalakshmi, a Rahul Gandhi nominee, is the first minister from a tribal community in Kerala. The IUML members sworn-in today were former ministers M K Muneer and V K Ibraim Kunju and P K Abdurabb.

Kerala Congress leader P J Joseph, who was part of the LDF for long but dissolved his party and joined Kerala Congress (M) last year, returned to the cabinet after a gap of two years. The 'unilateral' announcement of IUML yesterday that the party would have five ministers in the cabinet, though one of them to be included at a later stage, had left the Congress unhappy.

Chandy and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala had said that the question of parliamentary affairs ministers, for which IUML has staked claim as the fifth cabinet berth, would be decided only after collective discussions.
IUML, the second largest component in the coalition, however, made it clear that it would not go back on its demand for five ministerial positions. The leaders of the UDF constituents who assumed office along with Chandy last week were P K Kunhalikutty (IUML), K M Mani (Kerala Cong-M), K P Mohanan (SJD), T M Jacob (Kerla Congress-J), K B Ganesh Kumar (Kerala Congress-B) and Shibu Baby John (RSP-B). PTI

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

UDF Ministry assumes office in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: A six-member UDF ministry headed by Congress stalwart Oommen Chandy was sworn in here Wednesday.

Apart from Chandy, others sworn in by Governor R S Gavai at Raj Bhavan are P.K. Kunhalikutty (Indian Union Muslim League), K.M. Mani (Kerala Congress-M), K.P. Mohanan (SJD), T.M. Jacob (Kerala Congress-J), K B Ganesh Kumar (Kerala Congress-B) and Shibu Baby John (RSP-B).

The new ministry would be expanded on May 23 with the induction of 13 more -- nine from lead partner Congress, three from IUML and one from Kerala Congress (M).

Chandy is becoming Chief Minister for the second time after a stint from 2004-06 following the resignation of A K Antony owning moral responsibility for the rout of Congress in Kerala in 2004 Lok Sabha polls.

Chandy, elected for the 10th consecutive time from his pocket borough Puthupally in Kottayam District, was on Sunday elected leader of Congress Legislature Party.

UDF, which won 72 seats to gain a slender margin of four seats in the 140-member House, reached an agreement on ministerial berths and portfolios with its partners.

Branded Nair But he is the Leader

Friday, May 13, 2011

UDF to form Govt in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress-led UDF Friday managed to wrest power from the ruling CPM-controlled LDF in Kerala with a wafer-thin majority of two seats in the 140-member Assembly, in the closest poll battle in the state in three decades. UDF won 72 seats, crossing the magic figure of 71 required for a simple majority as against its rival LDF's 68.

Led by CPM stalwart, 87-year-old V S Achuthanandan, the LDF succeeded in staving off the anti-incumbency trend against the government, which was reflected in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and civic elections last year, in which the UDF had stolen march over the Left front.

Even as LDF lost, the CPM emerged as the single largest party with 45 seats while Congress, which contested 82 seats, had to be content with a poor tally of 38 seats. Today's outcome gave the slenderest majority to either of the coalitions that ruled the state alternately in the last three decades. In 2006, the LDF won 98 seats and UDF 42.

The Indian Union Muslim League and Kerala Congress (Mani), which command good following in the Muslim and Christian dominated areas, contributed significantly to UDF's victory. However, the minor partners of the coalitions like JSS and CMP drew a blank.

The BJP once again proved an electoral flop in the bipolar polity of Kerala despite the saffron party pooling its resources in a handful of seats in north and south. Prominent UDF candidates, who romped home, include its Chief Ministerial probable Oommen Chandy, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, K Muraleedharan (Cong) IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty and Kerala Congress leader K M Mani (Pala). CPM veteran V S Achuthanandan, whose high spirited campaigning helped the LDF arrest the onslaught of the rival, scored a hat-trick of wins from the red bastion Malampuzha with a margin of over 23,000 votes.

While most of his cabinet colleagues won, Devaswom Minister Ramahandran Kadnapally (Cong-s), Water Resources Minister N K Premachandran (RSP)and Youth Affairs Minister V Surendran Pillai fell by the wayside. Veterans humbled by the voters included 92-year-old K R Gowry Ammma (JSS) and M V Raghavan (CMP), both UDF partners.

LDF maintained its sway over the northern districts, except the Muslim League-dominated Malappuram.While UDF put up good showing in the Christian heartland Central Travancore, the trend was mixed in the south including the state capital.