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Parties continue bickering over prez polls

DIGVIJAY ASKS MAMATA TO BACK PRANAB AS PREZ

Digvijay Singh, who was recently snubbed by Congress for his remarks against Mamata Banerjee, today asked the West Bengal Chief Minister to back UPA’s Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee as there was no nominee of her choice in the fray.

‘Since there is no candidate of Mamata’s choice, she should now openly support Pranab Mukherjee for the post of president as an ally in the UPA government,’ Digvijay told reporters in Kota where he is currently on a personal visit.

However, the Congress General Secretary, who had been snubbed by the party earlier this week for calling Banerjee ‘immature’ and ‘erratic’, said he was just expressing his personal opinion.

The AICC had rebuffed Digvijay for his remarks against Banerjee making it clear that he was ‘not officially authorised’ to speak to the media on behalf of the party.

The Congress leader also asked RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to cleary define ‘Hindutva’ and not just go on talking about it.


'SANGMA SHOULD READ CONSTITUTION FIRST'

Urging the Trinamool Congress to support presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee, the  Bengal PCC chief on Sunday rebuked his rival Sangma for demanding a debate with Mukherjee.

‘Is he not aware of the Constitution and the dos and don’ts of a president? He should first read it to develop better understanding of the post,’ Pradip Bhattacharya said.

‘[Sangma] is not getting proper support, so he is trying to hog the limelight by using these tricks,’ Bhattacharya said.


PRANAB RESPONSIBLE FOR ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN, SAYS RIVAL

The BJP-backed presidential poll candidate P A Sangma targeted the finance minister and United Progressive Alliance [UPA] nominee Pranab Mukherjee for the economic slowdown.

‘If the rupee is at an all time low, if the international rating for credit has been downgraded, [there is] so much of corruption, who is responsible?’ he asked.

Sangma, who is supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP], the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal [BJD], was talking to reporters here during a visit to the Golden Temple.

‘You see individually, it is the finance minister who is responsible for price rice, corruption, devaluation of money and [controlling the spread of] black money … Collectively the prime minister and his cabinet, but individually it is the finance minister’s responsibility,’ he said.

Sangma, who is pinning hopes on a ‘conscience vote’ and his tribal identity, has virtually dared Mukherjee for a debate ahead of the presidential poll.


CPI-ML[L] TO ABSTAIN FROM VOTING IN PREZ POLLS

CPIML [Liberation] will abstain from the 16 July presidential polls, its general secretary Deepankar Bhattacharya said today.

Defending the party’s decision, Bhattacharya said the presidential poll is not merely election of a person to the top post but also a vote for policies and programmes of political parties contesting this election.

CPI-ML[L], he said, has decided to abstain from the presidential election as it disapproved of policies and programmes of both UPA and NDA. ‘The adverse impact of economic and foreign policies are there for everyone to see.' he said.


REBEL MEMBER SACKED FOR QUESTIONING SUPPORT TO PRANAB

The CPI-M on Saturday expelled party leader Prasenjit Bose who had attacked the party for supporting UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential race.

Bose, the convener of party’s research unit, had resigned from the party  on Friday and issued an open letter attacking the party’s stand supporting Mukherjee. However, the CPI-M announced, it had rejected Bose’s letter of resignation and instead expelled him.

‘The Politbureau rejects the letter of resignation submitted by Prasenjit Bose, convener of the Research Unit,’ said a CPI-M statement.

In his letter on Friday, Bose,a familiar face on TV debates, said the CPI-M had committed a ‘grave error’ by supporting Mukherjee.

Bose, who holds a PhD in Economics from JNU, said the party’s decision to support Mukherjee was against the line taken at the Party Congress held earlier this year.

CPI-M has 3.30 percent votes in the electoral college and Forward Bloc has 0.40 percent.Agencies


I'M CHURNING IT IN MY MIND: PM ON PRANAB'S SUCCESSOR

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is still ‘churning’ in his mind as to who will take over the key finance portfolio from Pranab Mukherjee who will step down from the coveted post on Tuesday.

Amid widespread speculation that Singh, the architect of economic reforms in the 1990s during his stint as finance minister may keep the portfolio with himself in the immediate future, there are no clear indications as to who will get the crucial job when the country’s economy is going through turbulence.

The speculation is that the Prime Minister may run the finance ministry with the assistance of the two ministers of state - Namo Narain Meena and S S Palanimanickam.

Kaushik Basu, the Prime Minister’s own economic adviser, wants Manmohan Singh to take charge of the finance ministry after Mukherjee demits office, saying that he is an extremely capable person.

Prime Minister Singh is keeping his cards close to the chest as journalists travelling on his special flight to Mexico and Brazil tried to get an indication from him about his thinking on the issue and he refused to be drawn into a discussion.

‘I have been churning it in my mind. Quite honestly I have a number of issues which I have to resolve. It will not be proper for me to announce while I am outside the country. When the decision is taken, you will get to know about it,’ he said.


STATES URGE PRANAB TO SOLVE TAX ISSUE BEFORE MOVING AHEAD


States have asked Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to resolve the issue of payment of compensation for reduction in Central Sales Tax [CST] rate before demitting his office to contest the election of the post of President of India.

'I understand that you may be soon demitting the office of the Union Finance Minister. I therefore, humbly request you to kindly resolve the CST compensation issue before that,' said Sushil Kumar Modi, chairman of the Empowered Committee [EC] of State Finance Ministers in a letter to Mukherjee.

Talking to PTI over phone, Modi while lauding Mukherjee for the work he has done so that the proposed Goods and Services Tax [GST] regime could be implemented at the earliest, cautioned that 'in case the CST compensation issue remains unresolved longer, it may affect the implementation of GST'.

Mukherjee, who is the UPA nominee for the Presidential election, is likely to resign on June 26 ahead of filing nomination to contest the election for the country's highest post.

States have complained that they got only about Rs 6,000 crore compensation in 2010-11 against the demand of Rs 19,000 crore. They are also agitated that they did not get any compensation in the last fiscal and the Centre has no plans for 2012-13 either. As per an agreement, the CST rate was to be reduced to zero in a phased manner, and the Centre was to compensate state governments for the loss of their revenue on account of cut in the levy rate.
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