Archive for the ‘Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’ Category

Mumbai: Additional Ministers Resign In India’s Shaken Government

December 1, 2008

India’s government, badly shaken by the Mumbai massacre and a poor police response, is suffering addional bleeding as the very top members of the government are resigning….  In the U.S., this would be like the FBI Director, the Director of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Defense resigning….

Related:
Mumbai Terror Strike: India’s Government to Fall?

Manmohan Singh
India’s prime Minister Singh

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After union home minister Shivraj Patil, Maharashtra deputy chief minister R R Patil quit on Monday in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks and now chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh also appears to be on the way out.

The Times of india

“I offered to resign at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Saturday,” said Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

“High Command will decide (on the resignation issue),” he said.

Earlier, highly placed Congress sources said Deshmukh has offered to resign and a decision on it will be taken in a day or two.

The offer comes after the CWC meet attended by Deshmukh on Saturday evening which saw leader after leader emphasising the need to ensure accountability from “higher to lower level”.

Party leaders say since the union home minister has resigned at the higher level, the accountability now needs to be fixed at the lower level also and the Chief Minister has to take a call at the earliest.

His deputy R R Patil resigned three days after the terror strikes and his party chief Sharad Pawar has asked the chief minister to accept the resignation.

“We have taken our own decision. It is for them to take their decision,” the NCP supremo said when asked whether the chief minister, who belongs to Congress, had also quit.

Read the rest:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Deshmukh_set_
to_go_Shinde_may_be_next_CM/articleshow/3778350.cms

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Mumbai: Times of India Suggests Massive Government Redirection

November 30, 2008
The day after the July 2006 serial train blasts in Mumbai killed almost 200 people, The Times of India struck a dissenting note. Even as the world —most conveniently our politicians — waxed eloquent about the city’s never-say-die spirit and its famed ability to bounce back, we chose to carry pictures across our front page of grieving parents, children, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters and friends, and asked: How Much More Can We Take? Who’s In Charge Here?

Editorial
The Times of India
November 30, 2008

Since then, there have been serial blasts across the length and breadth of the country — from Delhi to Bangalore, Jaipur to Hyderabad, Ahmedabad to Guwahati — killing hundreds and maiming many more. The post-terror response has become depressingly predictable. Each time, the home minister commends the people for their resilience and promises the strongest possible measures to ensure there is no repetition. Each time, we are assured that a federal agency to tackle terror will be set up. Then, the minister and his colleagues across the political spectrum return to the business of either doing nothing or doing more harm than good.

Over the last three years, this newspaper has written enough to fill a thick book on the giant loopholes in our internal security systems and examined what needs be done to protect, as best as possible, the public from acts of terror. But nothing has changed. Innocent blood continues to be shed—at railway stations, marketplaces, hospitals and hotels. Terrorism, darkly enough, has become a way of life.

On Wednesday night, when Mumbai’s heart was ripped out of its body yet again, the editors of this paper took a conscious decision to desist from criticizing anyone (except to say that the lessons of the past have not been learnt and that a professional infrastructure to counter terror is still to be put in place). Hundreds were still being held hostage, and saving them took precedence over everything else.

But today, as heaps of bodies lie in morgues in a charred or decomposed state, and loved ones huddle outside to receive them one last time, it is time to ask our politicians: Are you going to go back to playing politics with our lives? Or are you going to do something worthwhile with yours? How many deaths will it take till you know that too many people have died?

Related:
Mumbai Terror Strike: India’s Government to Fall?

Mumbai Fallout: India’s home minister offers resignation; government uproar

November 30, 2008

India‘s top security official offered his resignation Sunday, a senior aide said, as the government struggled under growing accusations of security failures following the Mumbai attacks that left at least 174 people dead.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil submitted his resignation letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but has not received a response, aide R.K. Kumar said.

By PAUL PEACHEY, Associated Press Writer

Patil has become highly unpopular during a long series of terror attacks and his ouster has long been predicted in political circles.

“Our Politicians Fiddle as Innocents Die,” read a headline Sunday in the Times of India newspaper, part of a growing chorus of criticism.

A day after the siege ended, corpses were still being brought out of the ritzy Taj Mahal hotel where three suspected Muslim militants made a last stand before Indian commandos killed them in a blaze of gunfire and explosions.

On Sunday, the landmark waterfront hotel, popular among foreign tourists and Indian society, was surrounded by metal barricades, its shattered windows boarded over. At the famous Gateway of India basalt arch nearby, a shrine of candles, flowers and messages commemorated victims.

“We have been to two funerals already,” Mumbai resident Karin Dutta said as she placed a small bouquet of white flowers for several friends killed in the hotel. “We’re going to another one now.”

In this July 27, 2008 file photo, Indian Home Minister Shivraj ... 
In this July 27, 2008 file photo, Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil poses for photographs after addressing the media in New Delhi, India. Patil sent his resignation to the prime minister Sunday, Nov. 30, 2008 to take responsibility for the attacks on Mumbai.(AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi, File)

The rampage was carried out by gunmen at 10 sites across Mumbai starting Wednesday night. One site, the Cafe Leopold, a famous tourist restaurant and scene of one of the first attacks, opened Sunday for the first time since the attacks — but police asked it to close just minutes later.

The death toll was revised down Sunday from 195 after authorities said some bodies were counted twice, but they said it could rise again as areas of the Taj Mahal were still being searched. Among the dead were 18 foreigners, including six Americans. Nine attackers were killed.

The dead also included Germans, Canadians, Israelis and nationals from Britain, Italy, Japan, China, Thailand, Australia and Singapore.

“Suddenly no one feels safe or secure,” said Joe Sequeira, the manager of a popular restaurant near the Oberoi hotel, another targeted site. “It will take time. People are scared but they will realize it’s no use being scared and sitting at home.”

A previously unknown Muslim group called Deccan Mujahideen — a name suggesting origins inside India — has claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed more than 170 people. But Indian officials said the sole surviving gunman, now in custody, was from Pakistan and voiced suspicions of their neighbor.

Pakistan denied it was involved and demanded evidence.

The assaults have raised fears among U.S. officials about a possible surge in violence between Pakistan and India. The nuclear-armed rivals have fought three wars against each other, two over the disputed region of Kashmir.

Prime Minister Singh called a rare meeting of leaders from the country’s main political parties to discuss the situation Sunday.

Each new detail about the attackers raised more questions. Who trained the militants, who were so well prepared that they carried bags of almonds to keep their energy up? What role, if any, did archrival Pakistan play in the attack? And how did so few assailants, who looked like college students, wreak so much damage?

As officials pointed the finger at “elements in Pakistan,” some Indians looked inward and expressed anger at their own government.

“People are worried, but the key difference is anger,” said Rajahs Jan, chief executive officer at a brokerage firm, Prank Securities. “Does the government have the will, the ability to tackle the dangers we face?”

The gunmen were as brazen as they were well trained, using sophisticated weapons as well as GPS technology and mobile and satellite phones to communicate, officials said. The group made repeated contact with an unidentified foreign country.

“Whenever they were under a little bit of pressure they would hurl a grenade. They freely used grenades,” said J.K. Duet, director general of India’s elite commando unit.

Suspicions in Indian media quickly settled on the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, long seen as a creation of the Pakistani intelligence service to help wage its clandestine war against India in disputed Kashmir.

A U.S. counterterrorism official said some “signatures of the attack” were consistent with Lascar and Jaish-e-Mohammed, another group that has operated in Kashmir. Both are reported to be linked to al-Qaida.

President George W. Bush pledged full U.S. support for the investigation, saying the killers “will not have the final word.” FBI agents were sent to India to help with the probe.

The Indian navy said it was investigating whether a trawler found drifting off the coast of Mumbai, with a bound corpse on board, was used in the attack.

It was the country’s deadliest terrorist act since 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai killed 257 people.

___

Associated Press writers Ravi Nessman, Ramola Talwar Badam, Erika Kinetz and Anita Chang contributed to this report from Mumbai, and Foster Klug and Lara Jakes Jordan contributed from Washington.

Mumbai: India’s Home Secretary Resigns, Government Imperiled

November 30, 2008

On November 29, Peace and Freedom predicted a change in government in India as a result of the Mumbai massacre. Political analysist inside india said the weakended government of India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could probably not gracefully accept the criticism bound to come after the Mumbai attacks.  Now the first political “victim” of the Mumbai terrorism is out…

Mumbai Terror Strike: India’s Government to Fall?

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By Nagendar Sharma
Hindustan Times

Under fire from within his party and ruling allies for his inept handling of the security situation in the country, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil resigned on Sunday, owning the moral responsibility for terror attacks in Mumbai.

Shivraj Patil
Home minister Shivraj Patil gestures as he addresses mediapersons after a cabinet meeting with Prime Minister

Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Thursday. (AFP Photo)

Patil has submitted his resignation to Prime Minister  Manmohan Singh, highly placed government sources said. The resignation is likely to be accepted and more resignations of top officials responsible for country’s security and intelligence gathering cannot be ruled out, they said.

Patil’s resignation has also put a question mark on the continuation of Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who is also under intense party pressure to step down.

Prime Minister Singh was reportedly unhappy with Patil’s performance in the wake of repeated terror attacks in different parts of the country.

Beleagured Patil faced severe criticism at the Congress Working Committee meeting on Saturday night, and party president Sonia Gandhi’s disapproval of his handling of the ministry sealed his fate, it is learnt.

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Mumbai Terror Strike: India’s Government to Fall?

November 29, 2008

We are told that India’s government could fall as a result of the Mumbai terror attacks.

Political analysist inside India said the weak government of India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could probably not gracefully accept the criticism bound to come after the Mumbai attacks. 

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

These analysts expect resignations among top security and intelligence officials almost immediately.

Experts in India’s politics say that in public you won’t hear the real truth about the Mumbai terror attacks.

Already on Sunday India’s interior minister resigned as anger grew over intelligence failures leading up to the devastating attacks on Mumbai.

Indian interior minister Shivraj Patil seen in New Delhi on ... 
Indian interior minister Shivraj Patil seen in New Delhi on November 27. Patil resigned Sunday as anger grew over intelligence failures leading up to the attacks on Mumbai and investigators focused on a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group.(AFP/File/Raveendran)

Two professors in New Deli and Mumbai told us that the terror attacks on Mumbai could well be just more of the brutal side of Indian politics.

In South Asia, where assassinations, violence and warfare have played a huge role in politics in every decade since the partitioning of Pakistan and India, some regional scholars say this week’s bloodshed in Mumbai could have been instigated by the opposition political party.

Our sources, which wanted to remain anonymous, said the opposition parties to India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could well have engineered the violence to help end the PM’s hold on government.

Manmohan Singh
ਮਨਮੋਹਨ ਸਿੰਘ
Manmohan Singh

“Manmohan Singh is the George W. Bush of India’s politics.  People want him discedited, disgraced and out of office.  If the opposition is responsible for Mumbai, they will say ‘Look, the PM cannot even assure security,'” said a reliable source to Peace and Freedom.

one of our sources is a native of Mumbai and a professor of politics in India.

“One cannot over estimate the hatred for this [Indian] government from the opposition.  And elections are on the way.  The new government will claim credit for reestablishing security and India’s business greatness, if they are elected and the economy changes,” said the professor.

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This article from the Indo Asian News Service just two months ago shows the level of dissatisfaction with India’s current government from the opposition. 

September 28, 2008

Guwahati, Sep 28 (IANS) Top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Sunday launched a personal attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, calling him the ‘weakest and most unsuccessful’ premier in the country’s parliamentary history.

Lal Krishna Advani
Lal Krishna Advani

‘I have seen 14 prime ministers since the first parliamentary elections and I am sad to say that Manmohan Singh is the weakest and most unsuccessful among them as he is a puppet in the hands of Sonia Gandhi (chairperson of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government),’ BJP’s prime ministerial candidate said.

Advani was addressing a public rally in Assam’s main city of Guwahati as part of the BJP’s Sankalp Yatra, a campaign pledging support for the party ahead of next years general elections.

‘Manmohan Singh has devalued the office of the prime minister as he is not only weak, but has failed on all fronts while dealing with crucial issues confronting the country,’ he said.

He said terrorism and inflation were the biggest threat faced by India today and lashed out at the central government for failing to tackle these twin problems.

‘There are terrorist attacks almost every other day, but the government is clueless. The common people are at their wits end due to soaring prices of essentials and on the agriculture front we have seen how farmers are committing suicide,’ he said.

‘The Congress party has betrayed the trust of the Aam Admi (common man).’

Advocating the slogan of Hindutva, Advani said the BJP believes in true secularism and want Hindus, like other faiths, to practise the religion without any fear.

‘True secularism is all about respecting each others faith where Muslims, Christians and Hindus could practise and espouse their religions without any bias.

‘And as Hindus we should not be called communal when we say we would construct Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. This is a pledge and our right to do so,’ he said.

Appealing to the people of Assam to vote the BJP during the upcoming parliamentary elections, Advani said the twin problems of illegal Bangladeshi infiltration and floods were the biggest challenge for the state.

‘The Assamese people are in great danger due to unabated influx of Bangladeshis and unless it is stopped, the indigenous people would soon be overwhelmed by foreigners,’ he said.

He also announced that an electoral understanding was being worked out between the BJP and Assam’s main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP).

Advani is due to address party workers in Shillong Monday afternoon and would leave for New Delhi Tuesday.

****

Officially, heads of state are speaking in the cool tones of diplomacy.

“The killers who struck this week are brutal and violent,” Bush said on the South Lawn with first lady Laura Bush at his side. “But terror will not have the final word. The people of India are resilient. The people of India are strong. They have built a vibrant, multiethnic democracy. They can withstand this trial.”

At a layer below the heads of state, officials are blaming Pakistan for the most part.  But insiders from India say the Mumbai violence could well be another example of the ugliest side of Indian politics.

***

Officially, “India Inc.” Says There Will Be No Mumbai Terror Fallout on Business
.
Press Trust of India

 

India Inc on Saturday exuded confidence that business will be back to normal from Monday and heaved a sigh of relief as the 60-hour terror horror got over this morning.

While urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for tougher laws against terrorism so that dastardly acts witnessed in the financial capital since Wednesday are not repeated elsewhere in India, apex industry chambers said the economy will recover fast from the blow.

“Even yesterday stock market in the midst of the battle showed some resilience, this is an indication as to how India and its people take these dastardly activities of terrorists in their stride. We expect that by Monday the regular financial parameters and fundamentals will come back into play,” FICCI Secretary General Amit Mitra told PTI.

Mitra, however, reminded the Prime Minister to keep his words for tough action against terrorism.

“We expect that the commitments made by the Prime Minister of tougher laws against terrorists and centralised single agency for dealing with such situations will come into force sooner or later,” he said.

Singh, on Thursday, had stated that “strongest possible measures” would be taken to deal with terrorists and their supporters.

Expressing confidence that the attack would not have any long lasting impact on foreign investments in India, Mitra said: “India is a natural destination for potential investors in the future. 25 billion dollars have come as FDI, we expect the flow to continue even if slightly muted, given the global circumstances.”

Assocham Secretary General DS Rawat also expressed confidence that India would recover fast from the blow although it could face a temporary setback.