Fernandes, Mamata quit; Trinamool leaves NDA
The Defence Minister, Mr. George Fernandes,
today resigned from the Vajpayee Government in the wake of the
Tehelka.Com. ``expose'' of corruption in defence deals, while the
Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Ms. Mamata
Banerjee, quit the Ministry and withdrew her party's support to
the National Democratic Alliance Government. Another key player
in the Tehelka drama, Ms. Jaya Jaitly, stepped down from the
presidentship of the Samata Party.
Fernandes defends key defence deals
While submitting his resignation as Defence
Minister, Mr. George Fernandes today sought to counter
allegations of impropriety in the various defence deals signed
during his tenure.
Jaya Jaitly quits as Samata chief
Ms. Jaya Jaitly today resigned as the Samata
Party president, maintaining that the charges against her in the
Tehelka.com ``expose'' were baseless, and that she had done no
India ends Aussie winning streak
One of the most improbable victories in the long history of Test
match cricket was recorded at the spiritual home of Indian
cricket - Eden Gardens - on Thursday as Sourav Ganguly's badly
bruised and battered team went for the jugular, rather than lick
its wounds, to bring up a famous kill.
Annan offers to mediate on Kashmir issue
The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr.
Kofi Annan, today urged India and Pakistan to return to the
spirit of the Lahore Declaration with a renewal of dialogue to
reduce tension and build confidence.
Vajpayee pressured to ease out Fernandes
The Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari
Vajpayee, was apparently pushed into securing the resignation of
the Defence Minister, Mr. George Fernandes, after several allied
and supporting parties of his Government made it clear to him
that his continuation in office had become untenable. Some senior
BJP leaders also felt that it would be wise to get him to go.
Alternative coalition if NDA goes, says People's Front
While the Tehelka disclosures jolted the
ruling NDA coalition, the main Opposition party, the Congress and
the newly-formed People's Front, felt elated as heads rolled and
vowed to continue its agitation in and outside Parliament to
demand the exit of the NDA Government.
PM talks to Naidu
The Prime Minister, Mr. A. B. Vajpayee,
spoke to the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr. N. Chandrababu
Naidu, twice on Thursday to keep his crucial political ally
posted of the latest developments in Delhi and presumably to seek
his continued support in the critical juncture.
Hindu idols will be spared
The Foreign Minister of the ruling Taliban
movement said today that they would not smash idols of the
minority Hindu population in their campaign to eliminate statues
from Afghanistan. ``There are a limited number of Hindus and
Sikhs in Afghanistan with their temples,'' Mr. Wakil Ahmad
Muttawakil told a news conference.
An earthquake of ``moderate'' intensity
measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale was felt in the Car Nicobar
Island region at 6.53 a.m. today, the MET office said here.