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Updated: February 25, 2012 00:58 IST

Row over Manmohan’s anti-Kundankulam funding remark

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File photo of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant waiting to be commissioned.
The Hindu Photo Library File photo of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant waiting to be commissioned.

Even as PMANE, the principal body against the nuclear power plant cries foul in the Prime Minister’s claim, Minister V. Narayanaswamy has a Home Ministry inquiry report to back the claim

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s charge that foreign NGOs were stoking protests at the Kudankulam nuclear plant triggered a row, with the Home Ministry endorsing the claim and activists spearheading the stir dismissing it as “baseless”. BJP demanded that facts on the “very important” statement by Dr. Singh be made public.

The statement by Dr. Singh was endorsed by Congress which said it was given on the basis of the reports given by the intelligence agencies. “Party supports his statement”, Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi said in New Delhi.

“Foreign NGOs behind protests”

Minister for State in the PMO V. Narayanasamy said three NGOs were found to be diverting foreign funds for the anti-nuclear campaign in Kudankulam and their licences cancelled.

The cancellation followed a Home Ministry inquiry that the NGOs were using funds meant for social causes to fuel the protests, he said.

Mr. Narayanasamy said the government had taken action after it found that some NGOs, receiving funds from the U.S. and Scandinavian countries, were spending huge amounts of money on the agitation.

“These NGOs were receiving funds from foreign countries for social service causes like helping the physically handicapped and eradication of leprosy but these were used for anti-nuclear protests,” he told PTI.

“In fact, the people who are agitating near the plant have been continuing their agitation for the past three months. People are being brought there in trucks from various villages, they are being given food,” he claimed.

Mr. Narayanasamy said three NGOs were found to be violating the FCRA guidelines by not using the funds for the cause they were received for.

He said the Prime Minister’s observation on anti-nuclear activists using foreign funds came from the inquiry.

PMANE rejects remark

People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) spearheading the stir against Koodankulam rejected as baseless Dr. Singh’s remark. The commissioning of the plant in Tirunelveli district has been stalled due to the protests.

“It is unfortunate that the Prime Minister has made the allegations without any documentary proof. We strongly deny his observation that the agitation is being funded by other countries,” S.P. Udayakumar told reporters in Chennai.

Mr. Udayakumar demanded that Dr. Singh provide documentary proof in support of his allegation or withdraw his remarks.

Make details public: BJP

BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley asked the government to make public the details of the alleged protest-funding NGOs.

“It is a very important statement that the Prime Minister has made. Therefore, since he has made a statement, I think the government must make facts in regard to this public so that the veracity of all this is known to people of India who are in a position then to decide what is the correct position,” Mr. Jaitley said.

CPI leader D. Raja alleged that the prime minister was trying to isolate some of the NGOs who are working among the local people in Kudankulam.

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Who all support Nuclear Power Plants wherever it is are either enemies of the people and their own children or just fools who do not know the destructions that it would cause to humanity.

from:  Shekar
Posted on: Apr 10, 2012 at 18:33 IST

Days are gone when we had our technological feat inferior to that of US.Partnering with Russia, we are now very well abled to start our debut as a commercial supplier of nuclear power.If US can house around 104 reactors for its power supply why can't we? Launching a new idea is often very difficult, Centre needs to crush those opposing forces to successfully make the plants up and running.

from:  Arunachaleswaran
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 09:58 IST

The agitations against the reactors is a world-wide issue. So far as
the KKNPP is concerned, the most of the protesters are belonging to RC
Christians and so, it is suspected that foreign hand may be in the protest. In the meantime, the Hon'ble PM of India has stated the NGOs are mis-using the fund received from abroad for agitations. Without any strong evidence, it is not possible to him to state this. If it is true, the govt. should release the proof to the public. Otherwise, it may be considered that the centre is hiding the truth about the reactors safety.

from:  P. Sukumar
Posted on: Feb 25, 2012 at 23:06 IST

Congress Party (of all) claiming foreign support for anti-nuclear
protests is a first.

US and Scandinavian NGOs could spend their money in their own
neighborhood to oppose nuclear power first!

May be the opposition is just because the Russians are involved and
not enough money going to America. Anyway India needs many more such
nuclear power stations. Why not grant a couple of billlion dollars to
America and see if these protests die down automatically ?

from:  John Doe
Posted on: Feb 25, 2012 at 19:44 IST

In accusing the NGO's the PM has only let himself to be accused of political immaturity. If only the authorities concerned had sought the opinion of the people residing in the vicinity of the site before hand, these issues would not have arisen. Indian politicians beg the voters for their votes and then treat them like aliens. Instead of going for the clean energy(CE) option like Germany and leap frog the rest of the world in this(CE) sector, India is only happy to go for the dangerous nuclear option. Here are some questions for those who advocate nuclear energy: how and where would you dispose the nuclear waste, in the event of a disaster how and where would you re-locate those affected, whether it is the Centre or State who would be responsible for compensating the affected for loss of lives and property, the size of compensation and the time taken to dipense such compensation and finally those who want the nuclear option should be prepared to swap lands and live near the plant

from:  rakavan
Posted on: Feb 25, 2012 at 18:30 IST

I am concerned about the xenophobic nature of the PM's reported comments. What is wrong with the foreign origin, per se, of the funds? If the sources are not made transparent or the funds derive from proceeds of crime or the funds are supplied by intelligence and similar offensive wings of governments, the issue of the origin of funds would be a legitimate issue for concern. The view conveyed by the reported comments of the PM is that foreign origin, per se, of the funds received by the NGOs under the scanner is the problem. That is crude xenophobia.

from:  S.P.Chakravarty
Posted on: Feb 25, 2012 at 15:59 IST

Why US forget their >1500 nuclear test executed at NTS (Nevada test site) including >200 atmospheric blast which left a wide geographical area radioactively contaminated (no mans land) and they are still spending billions $ for bio-remediation and radioactive waste management programs. Don't they remember Castle Bravo (1954) and genetically defected Marshal islanders and other peoples exposed and still getting compensation from radiation exposure act-1992. As far the nuclear accident concerned, they can be happened anywhere in countries like Japan (Fukushima), Ukraine (Chernobyl), in USA (Three miles Island). There is no predicted criteria of accident. India also dependent not on indigenous technology its all purchased from France and Russia etc, working well from last half centuries. The main issue at present is the crisis of energy in India, our need is increasing several magnitude day by day, then why to take chance with newer, more promising and green technology.

from:  Arvind
Posted on: Feb 25, 2012 at 14:14 IST

In the midst of all this mess one should not forget the legitimate fears of all sections of society. The government instead of putting facts before the people are shying away from telling the truth. Vested interests of the government has ignored the fight against the nuclear power programme. The government failed to quench the protests but they are saying that foreign ngos are fuelling the protests. Why have they ignored the legitimate concerns of people? When they found that their loot of the country via nukes is being thwarted by hook or by crook(?), the PM who has ignored the demerits of nukes pitched in. What is the government's energy audit of the entire nuclear power programme? Silence! Why ignore the 2003 Recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk(Foreigners!) in favour of the IAEA/ICRP Risk Model which is pre DNA and unscientific and risky? Silence! But the government will massively fund the foreign supply of reactors which can never be safe and give no power!

from:  Ramaswami Kumar
Posted on: Feb 25, 2012 at 10:43 IST

Dr. Singh is not an ordinary person who makes statement without any
base. Instead of opposing each and every move by him, BJP should
sometime learn to support him. If they really want to check the authenticity of his statements, why are they not trying to catch the
NGO's and get the necessary clarification..? If any discrepancy is found
they can come back to PM with proof..

from:  Kunal
Posted on: Feb 25, 2012 at 03:24 IST

Pakistan is building nuclear plants with help of China. Japan has the biggest nuclear reactor in the world and it has not shut any of its nuclear reactors even after Fukushima incident. China continues to build nuclear plants. Germany is a developed country with high per capita income and nuclear power played a vital role in its rapid development after WW2. India is energy starved and electricity shortages are severe. Anti-Kudankulam protesters are against progress and development of the country and are against poverty upliftment in India. The benefits of nuclear power far outweigh its negatives especially in developing countries like India with 37% population below poverty line, illiteracy and unemployment. India is no comparison with Germany in terms of per capita income and development. A referendum in TN will prove that majority favor nuclear power. The government on its part must develop infrastructure in Kudankulam and provide employment to locals.

from:  Shyam Teegala
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 23:50 IST

Enough is enough!! Put a stop to this madness in the name of opposing nuclear power! TN state govt ought to put a stop to this irrational agitation with ill-motives against an almost completed plant built with enormous money. To those who parrot western NGO propaganda, renewable energy is part of the solution but that is the not the entire solution, if so India would not go on a binge to build coal power plants that are immensely polluting, global warming causing and results in death from mercury and respiratory diseases. Renewable power is not in a stage to be able to meet massive energy needs of a growing country like India. India needs to have all options including nuclear power in a judicious mix of power sources. India has been operating nuclear plants for decades without accidents. You learn from accidents like Fukushima and build safer plants, but not put a stop to entire nuclear power. If that is the case there won't be any chemical plant because there was Bhopal disaster!

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 23:36 IST

I went through the comments or response of others on PM's remark.
Majority of them support the view that foreign NGOs are triggering
protests in Kundankulam with a view to stop generation of electricity.
I feel an unbiased investigation has to be carried out by the Central
Government to find the truth. The guilty- be it a NGO, state
government, political party, or police - to be punished and law shall
be strictly enforced.If not done, the menace of disobedience to law
will spread to other parts of the country, that too, on many trivial
Reading this news item and responses of the readers to it, only
reminds me of a novel "Dogs of war" written by Fredrick Frosyth.

from:  M.Siva Kumar
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 23:20 IST

i think its actually the reverse. PM and the Congress is forced by foreign countries to go nuclear and buy technology and fuel from them. Why would US or other western countries support the protest against nuclear energy when they themselves are trying to sell nuclear technology to India. Wont they know that if such a protest is supported, it would turn back on themselves when their companies setup a similar plant in future?

from:  Raja
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 23:19 IST

India is a country which desperately needs power. Reading this report
just frustrates, as people instead of thinking about welfare of the
country(in the end welfare of everyone), are thinking about their
personal gains for short term. Developed countries would seem like to
control India's growth to their gains. Although Nuclear energy isn't
complete harmless, but this risk of it is not arguable w.r.t the
advantages country gains. India lags in development of cutting edge
technology for renewable energy power generation, considering this
fact I don't think it makes a good sense to halt a project which is
about to start its production.

from:  Vinay
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 23:10 IST

Why is the PM beating about the bush since 1980? The government must govern so people are prosperous and busy and happy. I have been arguing against nuclear power because it does not give any energy to society outside the nuclear industry. That is what the rigorous overall energy balance between input to the whole nuclear fuel cycle and the output and use of nuclear electricity shows. The prime minister must answer the concerns of the people. He is also one of us. He he understood the nuclear mess or is he believing in the experts without understanding the issues? When I say no safety in nukes, over the heads of his scientists who say everything is ticketeeboo, does he display an understanding of the various issues? Does he say the villagers cannot be expected to have an understanding? Or as one naive tv moderator put it why should we say over the heads of scientists who have certified safety that nukes are unsafe anywhere? Does democracy allow such a bigotted stand?Put up facts to us

from:  Ramaswami Kumar
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 23:00 IST

In recent years powerful and rich countries have used (rather abused) NGOs in various regions of the world for various purposes other than the declared charitable works. In Eastern Europe it was used with telling effect for regime change and installing sympathetic regimes to the western powers (e.g. Georgia, Ukraine). This is one reason why countries like Russia became very concerned about the activities of NGOs. (The ‘fake rock’ spying incident with UK and subsequent revelations of funding for NGOs lead to Vladimir Putin introducing a law restricting foreign funding for NGOs). Recently an Egyptian cabinet minister has accused the US of directly funding NGOs to create chaos in the country following last year’s ouster of U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak. Past decade has shown various regions of the world developing fast and the powers that have controlled and dominated the world over centuries are finding it difficult to continue the game as usual. Hence they are developing new methods of influencing public opinion and manipulating the developmental policies of the governments as preferred options. NGOs are being used for this purpose and if it continues, sadly it will create a bad image for such organisations many of which have been doing very valuable humanitarian services. India with its diversity, poverty and mass illiteracy has to be very weary of allowing unsupervised freedom of activity to such organisations. Their funding and expenditure should be monitored and audited to make sure that their activities do not harm our national interests.
However if there are any underlying cause for grievances such as inadequate compensation for or rehabilitation of people evicted should be addressed and fairly dealt with.

from:  B. Baburajan
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 22:47 IST

I have a strange feeling... Only after Hillary Clinten met TN CM
Jayalalitha, the whole issue against KK Plan came-up. Even the guy who
is heading the anti-nuclear crowd is so arrogant - I feel only and
ONLY if he has sufficient TN political backing can behave like that.
Also it is even strange for TN CM to keep mum for so many months, in
spite of the Central Govt taking all possible efforts. The TN police
has not lifted a finger against the anti-nuclear crowd. They in fact
provide tacit support. Central Govt cannot take police action against
the anti-nuclear crowd because the law & order is a state subject. It
is also possible for TN CM sing the KK issue to arm-twist Central Govt
demanding additional funds for providing useless free-bees. It is
becoming too much and crossed all limits of tolerance.

from:  Pats
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 22:43 IST

Renewable energy sources - sun, wind, tide - all of them need more time to be deployed in the kind of scale that will be required by the country. It is only wise that we look to solve the need for energy with nuclear power in the mean time. The Fukushima incident happened because TEPCO did not maintain power plants properly and the natural calamity was of an unimaginable order. There need not be concerns regarding the same thing happening in India. With all scientists assuring that its all safe to go, it s certainly bad that the power plant has not yet been commissioned!

from:  Renil
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 22:37 IST

i think he's is pretty right in this regard...apart from the kundankulam
issue there's another issue in assam where some ngo's headed by akhil
gogoi are oppsoing the lower subansiri dam project.they are ignorant
about the fact that north east region is facing energy deficit problem
but region has the capacity to generate 20000mw enery if all the
proposed projects once comes into the reality.i want the govt to probe
into that issue too,wheter they are self motivated or separatist forces
are behind the blockade like ulfa.

from:  sambhrant sen
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 22:32 IST

Nice to see that the Center has initiated some steps towards bringing
the protest to an end. Massive National properties and interests should
not be allowed to be taken for a ransom like this. The Central
Government should act immediately to dedicate the Koodankulam Plant to
the Nation at the earliest. These NGO's and its members should not be
spared - irrespective of their caste, creed or religion. Center has
delayed beyond a reasonable time limit. Time to act.

Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 22:20 IST

I'm no big fan of the Prime Minister or his government.But one thing i
could never doubt is his own personal integrity and wisdom. Therefore
we can not ignore it as just any other statement by a cunning

Calling the observation by the Prime Minister Of India as baseless is
an outright insult to the mandate given by the people of India.

The nation expects an immediate investigation into this conspiracy

from:  Sahir
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 22:20 IST

Foreign funds issue is irrelevant. Foreign funds and technology is
used to build the plant in the first place. The real issues are the
economics and safety of nuclear plants. On both scores, nuclear power
is proven to be a failure. Within India, nuclear power is the most
expensive form of electricity generation, as it is many other
countries. It cannot meet the market criteria if allowed to compete
without subsidies of various kind.

As for safety, if Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima incidents
tell us anything it is that this technology is proven to be dangerous.
If the technologically advanced countries such as USA, the former
Soviet Union and Japan experienced such disasters with worldwide
consequences, there is no guarantee that any Indian plant is safe. It
is only a matter of time that an incident happens due to
technological, human or natural causes with all the inevitable
consequences. Let India follow the German example and phase out all
nuclear plants.

from:  k.v.nagarajan
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 22:17 IST

The government has given a long rope to the protesters.Enough of it.Atleast now the government push the protests aside and start commissioning the plant.

from:  A.Somasundaram
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 22:16 IST

dr. singh has received numerous brickbats for the way he has run his UPA II administration. i think most of those are well-deserved. however, he also deserves some boquets. some of his achievements that i like are: his energy (particularly nuclear) policy and his devotion to implement it, RTI act, deal with Bangladesh, standing upto USA on Iran (in self-interest) are the most prominent and important. may god bless him with more such achievements so he can guide india better.

from:  raj
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 22:09 IST

every citizen who wants growth/development in India needs Nuclear plants to overcome power/energy crisis and some vested inteests including various section of corrupt political set ups in Tamil Nadu with the influence of scruplous western powers to sabotage the growth/technology development progress in India. Most unfortunate the ruling party in Tamil Nadu is taking poor stand on Anti Nuclear activists for the sake of votes bypassing the real progress.

from:  PN BADRI
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 21:59 IST

every citizen who wants growth/development in India needs Nuclear plants to overcome power/energy crisis and some vested inteests including various section of corrupt political set ups in Tamil Nadu with the influence of scruplous western powers to sabotage the growth/technology development progress in India. Most unfortunate the ruling party in Tamil Nadu is taking poor stand on Anti Nuclear activists for the sake of votes bypassing the real progress.

from:  PN BADRI
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 21:59 IST

India needs to generate enormous amount of power to continue on its growth trajectory and to reduce and eliminate poverty. These are paid and professional protesters wanting to go back and live in the dark ages. Can the Indian governament set aside some forest land for these people to live without modernity like the Adivasi's.

Let them go and live in the reserved land and let rest of the Indians and India to grow. There are useful and realistic protests and there are useless, unrealistic and protest for protests in the and this falls in the latter.

from:  Menon
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 21:55 IST

Dr.Singh also takes the credit where the post of PM has been reduced
to a post of another bureaucratic officer taking orders from
politicians. While his personal honesty and integrity is not
questionable, it is also undeniable that this has been used as a
shield or worse compensation for all the corruption in his government.
Let us not forget that he gave clean chit to both Raja and Maran when
the whole country knows their foul play. A good Prime minister leads
the team. Even if he is not direct beneficiary of the scams, he is as
much responsible in facilitating the scams of his government by way of
mute response and blatant in-action.

from:  B Shankar
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 21:43 IST

India needs energy that is less dependent on foreign oil. The country will need to put trust in some leadership (Dr. Singh, Dr. Kalam, Dr. Kakodkar etc.). It also should not ignore the legitimate safety concerns raised by NGOs, even if they appear to be motivated by foreign based interests intent on torpedoing Indo-Russian cooperation.
In the near term, India has no option but to depend on nuclear power. It needs to mitigate public fears by additional layers of safety protocols at the plant sites.

from:  Dr. Ajay
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 21:38 IST

The "foreign" hand argument is a joke. A very practical one though. On
the one side we have France, US, Russia bending their backs to sell
their nuclear technology to India. Even the saintly Germany and Japan
has plans to sell nuclear technology to India.

On the other side we have the PM saying the anti-nuclear protest are
funded by foreign hand. Well, when the foreign hand badly wants to
sell its unwanted technology to boost its economy, why should it fund
anti-nuclear protests that will damage its business?

But the most important argument is "prove it"..

from:  Sreejith Murali
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 21:36 IST

Man Mohan Singh has to prove with documents and identify the persons involved. He failed to take action against CWG & 2g Scam in right time and failed to expose the people who stashed black money in foreign banks. He cannot undermine the people of the region who are, protesting against nuclear plant.Left parties have already protested against nuclear deal with US and it will not benefit the poor people of the state.

from:  Chanchal Dutta
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 21:25 IST

These are serious accusations. I do not doubt the PM and for that reason these should be investigated and bring to a logical conclusion.

from:  KVR
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 21:24 IST

This is a time Center and TN government to put an end to the protests and make a way for plant functioning. More than center TN government has more responsibility here as the state is facing severe power crisis. Also TN government should try to get 80% of power generated from this plant and should not allow the power sharing concept like the one of NLC. TN should be rewarded properly in terms of power allocation from Kudamkulam for that TN government should do all efforts to start the functioning of the plant at the earliest.

from:  Vanitha
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 21:03 IST

It won't be fair that merely accusing foreign NGOs, rather PM should
have accepted their failure in not taking peoples concerns into the confidence and not making sure their safety.

from:  Santhosh Juvvaka
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 20:52 IST

In the current situation where Households, Small scale industries and all the other sectors which are facing hardships due to the current power shortage seeing people in the country supporting and using fund from these kinds of organizations is awful. I think people who have been using these funds to protest should be booked under treason. With given conditions of power shortage, it is ridiculous to be involved in these kinds of protests.

from:  Saravanan
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 20:47 IST

Though i am totally against congress and its policies, i guess our PM has got this one rite.

from:  prahar
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 20:47 IST

I watched the Nuclear "nearly" disaster happened in Japan during the Tsunami, and I really think politicians& leaders need to think seriously whether India really need nuclear power. Japan, a country which is far ahead than India, in terms of crisis management capabilities and safety precautions, found themselves undone by the nature. What assurance the people living near any nuclear power plant have that there is absolutely zero probability of a leak let alone a disaster. Is nucelar energy and absolute necessity or is it something forced on to India by nuclear business lobby? Do we need nuclear energy? Can't we make energy from Sun (solar), Water, tide and wind? Can't we invest more into alternative energy resources. Isn't that Indian government is just looking for an easy solution rather than safe and feasible solution?

from:  Deepak
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 20:33 IST

If it is so, what you are waiting for. Charge the one who instigate the people to protest against the much needed project.

from:  Chellapa Subramaniam paul
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 20:33 IST

What's problem with Mr.Singh to release supporting documents on funding...? If he can't prove it like Mr.Narayansamy. Will he convey apologize to the poor public who fight against nuclear power.

from:  ssthanu
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 20:27 IST

at least On this point I agree with our PM MR Manmohan Singh.

from:  C S Sundaresha
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 20:14 IST

Majority of the Indian population supports nuclear power and wants it
expanded.I honestly don't understand these people who are
agitating.The state, Tamil Nadu has a severe power shortage.8 Hours of
power cut everyday and all walks of people complain and yet these
agitators are holding the plant for ransom.Nuclear plants are the
cleanest energy source without any greenhouse emissions.All the coal
plants pollute and kill innocent people.The government needs to evolve
a strategy, if it is convinced that these agitators have ill motive
next steps ought to be taken along with Judiciary to disperse these
people immediately and creating a restriction zone for the plant so
normal work can be continued.I hope the state government will support
this move,it will be futile to the economy and well being of the state
if it is not done.

Enough is enough, government has been very patient with the agitators
now it is time of action, along with approval of a good standing

from:  Prem
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 20:13 IST

PM's statement is a starting point and people expect a swift action by
the Govt. to commence power production at Koodankulam. Whether too much
democracy is stalling the country's growth path? An agitation(?) against
the project after 12 years of its commencement and that too at the time
of commencing production of energy, can very well be inferred as a
motivated one.

from:  G.Lakshminarayanan
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 20:03 IST

I think Dr. Singh is one of the smartest people in India and has been a stalwart in India's redesign for several years now. It is unlikely he will make a statement without basis. There must be truth about foreign NGOs receiving foreign funds engaging in anti-nuclear protests - that is not beyond question.

An honest politician is an oxymoron, but Dr. Singh may be the only well known exception.

from:  Rangarajan Suresh
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 19:57 IST
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