NATIONAL POLITICS: Digvijay dies in London – Bihar mourns while Nitish looses opposition ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY NALIN VERMA
Patna, June 24: Bihar MP Digvijay Singh, who had left the Janata Dal (United) and won as an Independent despite the sweep by Nitish Kumar’s party last year, passed away in London today. He was 54.
The former minister of state for external affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and five-time MP died following a brain haemorrhage in London’s St Thomas Hospital where he had been admitted after a heart attack two weeks back.
Digvijay is survived by wife Putul and daughters Manasi and Shreyasi.
The death of Digvijay, who had fallen out with Nitish and was denied a Dal (United) ticket before he contested and won from Banka, is being seen as big blow to the party rebels who are ranged against the chief minister. Digvijay’s victory had come in the face of a campaign by Nitish against his estranged colleague.
A founder of the Samata Party, the earlier incarnation of the Dal (United), along with George Fernandes and Nitish, Digvijay had been initiated into politics and mentored by former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar.
Nitish expressed shock at the death. “In his death, not only Bihar but also the country has lost a great leader and prominent social worker,” Nitish said in a condolence message. Digvijay’s death coincided with the death of a minister in the Nitish government, Sudha Shrivastav. Sudha was a niece of Jaiprakash Narayan. Nitish declared a state mourning and cancelled all his official programmes.
Rashtriya Janata Dal boss Lalu Prasad described Digvijay’s death as an “irreparable loss” to Bihar, while Ram Vilas Paswan said the state in particular, and the nation in general, had lost a “rising star” in Indian politics.
Digvijay completed his MA and MPhil from Delhi’s Jawahar Lal Nehru University, where he was a student union leader, after graduation from Patna University. Later, he studied in Tokyo University and joined there as lecturer but returned at the call of Chandrashekhar, in whose 1991 government he was minister of state for finance. In the Vajpayee cabinet, he was minister of state for railways, commerce, industry and external affairs.
Although a scion of the royal family of Giddhaur in Bihar, Singh’s socialist leanings made him popular with all sections of society in his constituency Banka.
Bhopal nod – a climb-down from the earlier 1500 cr package, culpability no succour ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
New Delhi, June 24: The Union cabinet today approved all 22 recommendations of the group of ministers on the Bhopal gas tragedy and announced a Rs 1265.56-crore compensation package.
The move will benefit over 45,000 victims who were affected most severely by the December 1984 tragedy.
Among the other proposals approved are those that call for fresh efforts to extradite former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson, filing a curative petition against a Supreme Court 1996 decision diluting charges against the accused, appealing this month’s Bhopal verdict and cleaning up the site.