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 NDA, RJD stake claim
The Bihar Chief Minister, Mrs. Rabri Devi, and the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr. Nitish Kumar, today staked claim to form the next government in the State.

RSS issue continues to haunt Parliament
For the fifth consecutive day, question hour was disrupted in the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day before scheduled time as the differences between the Opposition and the Government over the Gujarat Government order allowing its employees to join the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh continued unresolved.

PDS rice, wheat prices up
The National Democratic Alliance Government has taken the first step towards easing out the middle class from the Public Distribution System (PDS) by withdrawing subsidised sugar allocation for the Above Poverty Line (APL) population and by raising the price of rationed rice and wheat to levels higher than the open market.

Allies not to back BJP on Gujarat order
The allies in the National Democratic Alliance and the supporting parties today virtually rejected a suggestion by the Bharatiya Janata Party that they give a firm commitment on voting with the Government on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh issue in the Lok Sabha, if the need arose.

BSP to support Laloo
The Bahujan Samaj Party president, Mr. Kanshi Ram, today said the party had decided to support the Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar, even as hectic political activity began in Patna after the outgoing Chief Minister, Mrs. Rabri Devi, and Mr Nitish Kumar of the National Democratic Alliance staked claim to form the Government.

 Focus was on equitable distribution of burden: Sinha
The Union Finance Minister, Mr. Yashwant Sinha, today defended the Budget proposals, saying that the focus was on equitable distribution of burden on all sections of society.

'Musharraf influenced defence budget'
Who indeed decides the size of India's defence budget? The Finance Minister, Mr. Yashwant Sinha, seems to think that the credit for the highest-ever increase in the country's defence allocation should go to Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Chief Executive of Pakistan.

India sore over Chinese advice to U.S.
India has conveyed to China its disappointment over Beijing's advice to the U.S., on the eve of the President, Mr. Bill Clinton's visit here, to be firm with New Delhi on nuclear non-proliferation issues.

No inflationary impact: Govt.
Finance Ministry officials today claimed that the Budget proposals would have no inflationary impact on the economy. Although the rate of inflation was currently at a historic low of two-to-three per cent, their estimate was that the general level of inflation during 2000-2001 would be around five per cent.

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