PH wins bronze in sepak takraw men’s doubles

first_imgLATEST STORIES Myanmar won the gold while Malaysia settled for silver.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games Read Next LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief FILE PHOTO – PH Chinlone team wins the 1st silver for the country during the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZThe Philippines earned a podium finish in sepak takraw in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.The Philippines won the bronze medal in the men’s doubles event sharing the plum with Laos.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Centeno wins gold, Amit settles for silver anew in women’s 9-ball View commentslast_img read more

Knights, Lions relish unlikely team-up in NCAA All-Star Game

first_imgBrace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa “When we’re opponents, we’re opponents, But we know [the Letran players] are good. Here, we’re teammates, so it’s really different for us,” Bolick said. “But this game showed us how smart they are on the court because they were able to adjust. I’m so happy that I was able to have fun playing with them.”Being on the same team was also an eye-opener for players from the two rival schools.“We know that when we’re facing them, they won’t back down. But it really surprised me that when you’re with them, they’re really kind,” said Bolick.“We’re just rivals on the court. Outside the court, we’re all friends,” Nambatac said.ADVERTISEMENT #KicksStalker: LeBron uncorks ‘Silver Bullet’ MOST READ WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments “The rivalry was suddenly gone,” said Red Lion Javee Mocon. “We really helped each other out to get the win against CJ Perez because they’re really strong.”The Saints forged a bond between the Red Lions, who had Mocon, Robert Bolick, and Davon Potts, and the Knights, who were represented by Rey Nambatac, Bong Quinto, and JP Calvo, as they, together with standouts from Perpetual, St. Benilde, and San Sebastian, dealt Perez his first taste of defeat this year.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBut the players themselves said that the union really wasn’t difficult at all, sharing that being rivals is what actually made playing together easy.“Bolick and I have known each other since high school so we know each other’s games. We just enjoyed the game and it resulted well for us because we really had a chance to play together,” Nambatac said. LATEST STORIES UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netIt took an unlikely alliance between longtime rivals to finally take down the league-leaders.Stars from San Beda and Letran conspired on Friday as they headlined the Saints’ takedown of Lyceum-powered Heroes in the 2017 NCAA All-Star Game, 84-80.ADVERTISEMENT Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games PLAY LIST 03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Read Nextlast_img read more

Beermen, Painters try to bolster Q’Final bid

first_imgFire hits houses in Mandaluyong City BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Read Next “Alaska is not a team you can relax against,” said RoS coach Caloy Garcia referring to the Aces. “We have to come out with the mentality of wanting to win rather than just playing the game.” MOST READ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:33Leo Austria, SMB wary of ‘more experienced’ Hotshots ahead of PBA Finals rematch00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LATEST STORIES Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  PH fighters bag 2 golds LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversarycenter_img Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer and Rain or Shine will shoot for wins on Wednesday that would push them closer to a twice-to-beat bonus in the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors’ Cup.And it’s not much of an advantage that the Beermen and the Elasto Painters will be facing teams that have scraped the bottom of the barrel. In fact, it could work against the two squads in the doubleheader at Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president The Beermen take on Phoenix Fuel at 7 p.m., right after the 4:15 p.m. duel between the Painters and the Alaska Aces.San Miguel coach Leo Austria got first-hand experience how it is paying against a team with nothing to lose when the Beermen needed a big finish and a huge game from June Mar Fajardo to subdue KIA Picanto, 118-112, in what he aptly described as “an ugly win.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“It is a wake-up call for us,” said Austria who is hoping to bring to the illustrious franchise its second Grand Slam.Rain or Shine will also guard against complacency when it battles Alaska. E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa View commentslast_img read more

Talked out: Cavs drop 4th straight day after team meeting

first_imgMOST READ Thaddeus Young scored 26 points, Darren Collison had 25 and the Indiana Pacers sent Cleveland to its fourth straight loss, 124-107 on Wednesday night.James had 33 points and 11 assists, but it wasn’t enough to keep Cleveland from losing for the fifth time in six games and falling to 3-5.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutJames was upbeat following Sunday’s 19-point loss to New York and pointed out it was still October. He was in a far less positive mood Wednesday, saying three times, “It’s a new month.”The Cavaliers held a lengthy meeting before Tuesday’s practice to discuss their struggles, but the defending Eastern Conference champions have lost by a combined margin of 58 points in their losing streak. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH The Cavaliers haven’t looked like the team that has been in three straight NBA Finals since winning their first two games.“No one’s going to feel sorry for us,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “We’ve got to do it ourselves.”Indiana showed little effect from playing the second end of a back-to-back. The Pacers rolled pastSacramento 101-83 on Tuesday and led for most of the first half.“It’s a big win for this young team,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “We knew Cleveland would come outwith a sense of urgency after losing their last three.”Lance Stephenson was assessed a flagrant one in the second quarter for hitting James in the groin area as the four-time MVP drove to the basket.James spent several seconds on the baseline hunched over in pain before walking to the bench while the officials looked at the replay. James made both free throws, sparking an 11-0 run.Derrick Rose had 19 points while Kevin Love had 13 points and 13 rebounds.BAD NUMBERJames tied a season high with eight turnovers.“That’s way too many,” he said. “I’ve been in the three or four range, but when you double that, that’s nota good ingredient for your team to be successful.” View comments LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, right, drives against Indiana Pacers’ Thaddeus Young in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)CLEVELAND — There’s not much more for the Cleveland Cavaliers to talk about.A day after a clear-the-air team meeting, LeBron James and his teammates didn’t get any better.ADVERTISEMENT Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Read Nextcenter_img Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC PH team chief wants new facilities for nat’l athletes Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa “A lot of teams are playing well right now,” James said. “We’re not. That’s just a simple fact.”The Cavaliers still have issues to work out, especially on the defensive end. Cleveland led 69-68 in the third quarter, but Indiana hit four straight 3-pointers and built an eight-point lead.Indiana was 16 of 26 from 3-point range. Cleveland had allowed the second most 3-pointers in the league going into the game.Victor Oladipo scored 23 points for the Pacers. Bojan Bogdanovic added 17, and Domantas Sabonis had 15 points and 12 rebounds.Cleveland has battled injuries since training camp and was hit with another when forward Tristan Thompson left in the second quarter with a strained left calf. He exited the arena on crutches.ADVERTISEMENT QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games GOOD BALANCEEach of Indiana’s five starters scored in double figures and combined for 106 points.“That’s what we’re doing, winning games by committee,” Young said. “We’re moving the ball and trusting each other. I love playing with this team.”CLOSING INJames will likely reach two personal milestones Friday against Washington. He’s eight points away from becoming the seventh player with 29,000 in his career. James can also extend his streak of double-figure scoring games to 800. The last time he didn’t score 10 in a regular-season game was Jan. 5, 2007 inMilwaukee, where he had eight.TIP-INSPacers: Bogdanovic took a knee to the head from Dwyane Wade, who was leaping trying to block his shot in the fourth quarter, but stayed in the game. … C Myles Turner worked out before the game, but remains in the concussion protocol.Cavaliers: Thompson had eight rebounds and two points in 14 minutes. He had one point, no rebounds and four fouls in 19 minutes Sunday. … G Iman Shumpert (sore right knee) has missed the last two games.UP NEXTPacers: Visit Philadelphia on Friday night. Indiana has won 12 of the last 14 in the series.Cavaliers: Visit Washington on Friday night.last_img read more

Alejandro cherishes time with Jarin: ‘He’s like a father figure to us’

first_imgJohn Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. “Every night he’ll send me a random text, and we’re always talking. That’s extra special for me.” Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC UST averts winless season, beats UE ‘Pamana’: Mausoleum caretaker cherishes humble work for family PLAY LIST 03:06‘Pamana’: Mausoleum caretaker cherishes humble work for family02:36Archers, Eagles favorites to win UAAP Season 8000:58UE’s rookie coach Silva ‘honored’ to be in same league as champion coaches, former mentors01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LATEST STORIES Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 READ: Alejandro laments not playing more years under NU coach Jarin“My UAAP career has been fun especially my last year with coach Jamike, that’s really been my best memory,” said Alejandro, who played in his final UAAP game after NU lost to University of the Philippines, 106-81, Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“What made it special was I had the chance to play under coach Jamike who we all know is a multi-titled coach in the UAAP and the NCAA.”READ: Jarin takes blame for NU’s failed Final Four bidcenter_img QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Read Next Jarin was an eight-time UAAP juniors champion with Ateneo and a one-time NCAA seniors champion with San Beda and that was the kind of pedigree that Alejandro admired.Another thing that drew Alejandro, who is a one-time UAAP champion back in Season 77, to Jarin was the trust the mentor gave him.“The sweetest thing was he allowed Matt (Salem) and I to be captains.”Alejandro added Jarin rarely talked to them about basketball and evoked an aura not of a coach’s, but of a father figure.“He’s like a father figure to us, we actually talk more about other things not about basketball,” said Alejandro, who finished with 16 points and eight assists.ADVERTISEMENT Jay Alejandro. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netJ-Jay Alejandro played just one year for National University head coach Jamike Jarin, but the graduating Bulldog said that lone year has been the most special in his UAAP tenure.And all that was thanks to Jarin.ADVERTISEMENT Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion View commentslast_img read more

Man City sends out another statement with 4-0 win at Basel

first_imgAFP official booed out of forum Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises St. Jakob-Park hasn’t been a happy ground for English teams, with Liverpool, Chelsea and — in this season’s group stage — Manchester United all losing at Basel’s atmospheric home in recent seasons in the Champions League.Basel had its moments against City, especially early on when the visitors looked susceptible to a long ball behind center backs Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi. Oberlin could also have earned a penalty, after tumbling under a challenge from Otamendi.“After 10 minutes, we could have been 2-0 down,” Guardiola said. “After 20 minutes, we were 3-0 in the lead. We were clinical today.”It was a stroll for City from the moment Gundogan, playing in front of Germany coach Joachim Loew, met a corner by De Bruyne with a header that flew in at the near post. It was De Bruyne’s 19th assist of a stunning season.Four minutes later, Sterling crossed from the left, Silva chested the ball down and sent a dipping volley beyond the goalkeeper, who could only get his fingertips to the ball.ADVERTISEMENT 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Read Next Viva Arianna: Italy’s Fontana wins 500 meters in short track Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games PLAY LIST 01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City LATEST STORIES MOST READ City, which enjoyed 74 percent possession, scored four goals away from home for the third time in this season’s Champions League and has only lost two games in all competitions, one of them against Shakhtar Donetsk when qualification for the last 16 was already guaranteed.This is the best chance City has had to win Europe’s biggest prize, especially with one of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain sure to be eliminated this round.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCity didn’t even have to be at its best on a bobbly pitch and near-freezing conditions to see off the Swiss champions, whose striker Dimitri Oberlin wasted chances either side of the visitors’ flurry of goals. With his team still trying to win a quadruple of trophies, Guardiola had the luxury of substituting Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling around the hour mark for fit-again pair David Silva and Leroy Sane.The return match is on March 7, when Juventus and Tottenham will also play their second leg after drawing 2-2 in Turin on Tuesday. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Aguero came into the match with 13 goals from 10 games in 2018 — four coming in one half against Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday — and naturally he got involved in the scoring.Fernandinho was tackled 30 meters out but the ball fell to Aguero, who took one touch and shot low into the corner for his 198th goal for City.Gundogan saved the best goal for last and it was another long-ranger that curled into the top corner from 25 meters.That margin of victory gives Guardiola the option to rest key players for the second leg at Etihad Stadium, by which time City might have won the English League Cup — it plays Arsenal in the final on Feb. 25 — extended its 16-point lead in the Premier League, and advanced to the FA Cup quarterfinals.“If we play like we did today and in the past few weeks,” Gundogan said, “we will be successful, for sure.” John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, front, celebrates his team’s third goal, as Basel’s Marek Suchy, left, and goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik watch, during the Champions League round of sixteen first leg soccer match between Switzerland’s FC Basel 1893 and England’s Manchester City FC in the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Walter Bieri/Keystone via AP)BASEL, Switzerland — Manchester City sent out another statement to the rest of Europe by thrashing Basel 4-0 away in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match on Tuesday, with Ilkay Gundogan scoring two of the goals.The Premier League’s runaway leaders scored three times between the 14th and 23 minutes — through Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero — before Gundogan added a fourth goal from long range in the 53rd minute.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

Warriors ready for third straight NBA Finals appearance

first_img‘He’s human’: Cavs coach defends LeBron after ‘weird’ loss MOST READ Golden State Warriors’ JaVale McGee, top left, Kevin Durant, top center, Stephen Curry, center right, and Draymond Green, top right, join the rest of their team as they pose with the trophy after their 129-115 win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Monday, May 22, 2017, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)SAN ANTONIO — Kevin Durant does not need to be told that Golden State should have a muted celebration after winning the Western Conference Finals.Durant is fully aware a tough challenge waits for them. It’s why Durant signed with the Warriors and why Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green embraced him at the expense of their own stats.ADVERTISEMENT Lillard, Anthony lead Blazers over Thunder 250 enrolled at phony school arrested in immigration scam Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Hornets beat Pistons for 8th straight time The biggest difference is the addition of Durant, who left Oklahoma City in the offseason to sign with Golden State.His presence has given the Warriors a deep and talented roster headlined by four All-Stars in Durant, Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. But Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said to credit talent as the sole reason behind Golden State’s current run is disrespectful.READ: Warriors adjusting to life without Durant“They’re really talented, but that’s not everything that describes them,” Popovich said. “This is maybe the best defensive team in the league on top of everything. So, they don’t just play with talent. They execute at the defensive end of the floor. On offense, no team is more unselfish finding the open man and that sort of thing.”The Warriors have shown their strength by blasting through the playoffs in the normally rugged West.Golden State is shooting 50 percent from the field while averaging 118.3 points in 12 playoff games. As good as the offense has been, it’s been the Warriors’ defense that has been key to their playoff dominance. Golden State held San Antonio, Utah and Portland to 102 points and averaged 9.2 steals per game.“I think our defensive intensity has been amazing,” Green said. “Overall, I think we’ve done a great job locking in on the defensive side, scrambling around, trying to take away team’s No. 1 option. That doesn’t necessarily mean the player, just trying to make them go to a second or third option in the set and also trying to cover that. I think we’ve been doing a great job of that.”The addition of David West and Matt Barnes has given the Warriors two more defensive-minded players off the bench to go along with Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee.Still, Golden State coach Mike Brown knows better execution is critical in the finals.“We feel like we can play better,” said Brown, who is filling in on the sideline for an injured Steve Kerr. “To get to our ultimate goal of winning the whole thing, we’ve got to be better on both ends of the floor.” Golden State will host Game 1 of the NBA Finals on June 1 against either Cleveland or Boston. The Cavaliers hold a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals, but Curry alluded the Warriors are expecting a rematch with LeBron James and company.“We all know, obviously, who we’re going to play,” Curry said. “We’ll be watching the Eastern Conference Finals to see how that unfolds. But it will be easy to start this new chapter and really just lock in on what’s in front of us.”READ: NBA: Durant powers Warriors past slumping Spurs Facing Cleveland will resurrect chatter of Golden State’s collapse in last season’s finals, which saw the Cavaliers rally from a 3-1 deficit to win the franchise’s first championship.“This year is a totally different year, different group, different journey,” Curry said.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: PH beats Indonesia, enters gold medal round in polo LATEST STORIES LOOK: Vhong Navarro’s romantic posts spark speculations he’s marrying longtime GF Man who told immigrant to go back to country asked to write essay “We have a bigger goal in mind,” Durant said.Golden State has a chance to earn their second championship in three years after sweeping the San Antonio Spurs with a 129-115 victory Monday night.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingREAD: Warriors set 12-0 record for 3rd straight trip to NBA FinalsThe Warriors became the first team in league history to open the playoffs 12-0, which provides them with a week of rest prior to their third straight finals appearance. Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes As a 23-year-old playing with the Thunder. Durant learned a heightened effort is needed in the Finals. Oklahoma City celebrated advancing to the 2012 Finals only to be steamrolled by Miami in five games.Experience has taught Durant that winning the West is no reason to relax or celebrate.“Yea, it’s a little different, definitely. I can’t lie,” Durant said. “I went when I was 23-years-old, and it felt like the Western Conference Finals was almost like the championship. Just getting to that point, you know how hard it is and how much work you put in to start the season. So, it’s a little different now, obviously.“I feel like we could definitely be better.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

After rocky road in LA, Russell seeks smooth start with Nets

first_imgBut his turbulent time in Los Angeles is over, so the only voices Russell are listening to are in Brooklyn.“It’s good to be here. I can’t really control that, what they say,” Russell said Monday. “I’m gone. It’s the past. I’m here now. It’s irrelevant, honestly.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Nets introduced Russell and center Timofey Mozgov in a news conference at their training facility, having acquired the pair in the deal last week that sent center Brook Lopez and a draft pick to Los Angeles.Russell is just 21 and himself was the No. 2 pick just two years ago, the kind of player who isn’t usually available via trade. But the Lakers needed to make room for Ball, and the Nets are in desperate need of talent after finishing with the worst record in the NBA. What ‘missteps’? Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. NBA: Green, Gobert, Leonard pace All-Defensive squad But the key to the deal will be Russell, who joins Jeremy Lin as the point guards on the Nets’ roster. His transition from Ohio State to Los Angeles was rough. Perhaps going coast to coast will be a smoother start.“A lot of guys have it easier. A lot may have it harder,” Russell said. “My situation was different. It was what it was. It’s the past. I’m here and looking forward to it.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “Looking at what the Lakers were dealing with, we’re always in that talent-acquisition mode here,” general manager Sean Marks said. “We will be for a while, but adding a player — specifically D’Angelo being 21 — we could’ve easily drafted somebody who was a year older than D’Angelo.”Russell averaged 15.6 points last season, an improvement over his rocky rookie season. Fitting in under coach Byron Scott in Kobe Bryant’s final season was a difficult transition, and Russell made it harder on himself when his video of a private conversation with teammate Nick Young ended up on social media.Even though Russell played better under Luke Walton, the fallout from the video may have already damaged his ability to become the leader Johnson was seeking. Marks didn’t dwell on the past, believing Russell will find a more stable situation under second-year coach Kenny Atkinson.“I think everybody’s going to question what happened in the past with the whole Nick Young so forth,” Marks said. “But as I said before, I’m not really concerned about that, because I think if any one of us looked in our little dark secret of closets there would be things that we would be embarrassed about and wish we could take back. So again, I’m going to bet on this group, from Kenny, the coaching staff, they’ve done a terrific, terrific job of developing these guys.”Lopez was the Nets’ career scoring leader, but Atkinson believes the Nets will get strong play from Mozgov, remembering how hard the Russian worked when Atkinson was on Mike D’Antoni’s staff with the Knicks. Mozgov didn’t play late last season as the Lakers went with their youth, but he is a strong rim protector who won an NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ LATEST STORIEScenter_img Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell celebrates after scoring against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)NEW YORK — D’Angelo Russell wasn’t only traded, he was insulted on the way out the door.After the Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft, team President Magic Johnson said Russell played well but stressed that he needed a leader as his point guard. Given that Johnson is one of the greatest ever to play the position, the sting might have really hurt Russell.ADVERTISEMENT World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken 1 dead in Cavite blast, firelast_img read more

Delhi University student shot dead outside college

first_imgA second year degree student was shot dead by an unidentified person near her college in south Delhi on Tuesday morning, police said.The spot where the girl was killed by unidentified persons.Radhika Tanwar was attacked by an unidentified man near a foot-over-bridge outside Ramlal Anand College in Dhaula Kuan’s Shantiniketan area at around 10.20 am, a senior official said. The victim resided in Naraina area.”A man attacked her from behind. He pumped bullets into her. He fled the scene soon after the incident. Passersby took the girl in an autorickshaw to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where she was declared brought dead,” the official said.The incident came on a day when the city was celebrating the International Women’s Day.The motive behind the incident is being investigated, a senior police official said, adding that they suspect the hand of a “jilted lover” in the murder.”We are investigating all angles. It could be a case of a jilted lover committing the murder. But we cannot say anything now as the investigations are at the initial stages,” the official said.”It appears that the girl was specifically targeted with an intention to kill her. There was no attempt to snatch her money or purse,” H G S Dhaliwal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South), said.The attacker appeared to be known to the victim and was trailing her, he said, adding that the girl was shot at on her stomach.With PTi inputslast_img read more

Laxman dreams of maiden Lord’s ton

first_imgStylish middle-order batsman VVS Laxman says his dream is to score a century at Lord’s and help India win the match during the team’s upcoming tour of England.VVS Laxman is looking for his first Test century at Lord’s. APA veteran of 120 Tests, Laxman has scored centuries in some of the most famous grounds in the world, but is yet to get one at the Lord’s, considered to be the Mecca of cricket.”I never got a 100 in England.Hopefully, it would be very special if I get a 100 at Lord’s and India win the match,” Laxman said before leaving for the West Indies, where India will play three Tests, besides the ongoing five-match ODI series. India won the first ODI on Monday.Laxman has been appointed deputy to Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the tour of West Indies and England. Showering praise on former coach Gary Kirsten, Laxman hoped that incumbent Duncan Fletcher would continue the good work.”Definitely, we will miss Gary. He has been with us for the last three years and it is a great experience that we will relish throughout our lives. But Duncan Fletcher has done well with the teams he has been associated with. I am sure the Indian team will prosper during his tenure,” Laxman said.The elegant Hyderabadi observed that the upcoming series against the West Indies, England and Australia will test the world No. 1 side.”There are three tough overseas series. Playing the West Indies in West Indies is always a tough competition. My goal is to put up a good performance and play some match-winning knocks,” he told reporters in Hyderabad.advertisementReflecting further on the West Indies tour, Laxman said: “The first time I opened for the country was in 1997 against West Indies. That series was a great learning experience for me.Opening for the first time and playing the likes of Walsh, Bishop and Ambrose was a great experience for me.”After that, I had a great series in 2002 and the last series also. I am quite happy with my performance against them. West Indies is one of my favourite places to tour, everyone is so knowledgeable and they appreciate the opposition players also if they do well.” Laxman expressed confidence that the youngsters will make up for the absence of senior players like Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag in the West Indies.”We all take the responsibility.The replacements – Abhinav (Mukund), Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli – and there are many up and coming young players. It is a good opportunity for all of them.It is a good team as a whole. So, if we play to the best of our ability, I am sure we can win. We won the series when we toured the West Indies last,” he said.The batsman also expressed a desire to bat higher up in the order than his usual number five slot. “It would be known after we go there. It depends on strategy, plan and the wickets in West Indies. My combination would be decided then. But, I definitely will like to play much ahead in the order,” he said.When pointed out that the West Indies lacked experienced players, he said the side cannot be taken lightly as there are some potential match-winners.”They have very good fast bowlers. Though they are young and inexperienced, they are potential match- winners. You have to be cautious. You cannot be complacent. It will be a good contest between the bat and the ball,” he said.Laxman was gung-ho about the ability of Indian bowlers. “I think we have a talented bowling attack. Zaheer Khan is one of the most dangerous bowlers in international cricket now.Ishant has done well in coming back to rhythm. He was fabulous in IPL. Then Sreesanth and Munaf (Patel) are there. It is a great bunch of fast bowlers.In spin department, we got the experienced Harbhajan Singh and then (Pragyan) Ojha. The bowling combination is great.”Asked if he has set any targets for the upcoming series, Laxman said: “I always relish performing overseas. I think it is a challenge for an Indian cricketer to go abroad and perform on different conditions. I want to do well and contribute to the team’s success.”- With PTI inputslast_img read more

Indian-origin doctor on FBI’s list of most-wanted fugitives

first_imgFBI has launched a nationwide manhunt and alerted Interpol to locate one of its most-wanted fugitives, Indian-origin doctor Gautam Gupta whose ads promising weight loss are well-known, for allegedly defrauding US insurance companies of $ 25 million over the last decade. An FBI complaint alleges that Gupta received almost $ 25 million over the last decade when he submitted claims to Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois and Illinois Medicaid for services that were not medically necessary or, in some cases, were never performed, according to the Chicago Tribune. Medicaid is a US health programme for citizens from low family incomes and resources, funded by the federal and state governments and is managed by the state. According to the complaint, FBI agents and Illinois State Police used interviews with current and former employees and patients of 57-year-old Gupta to build the case against him. The agencies also had undercover agents pose as patients. “We don’t know where he is,” Ross Rice, an FBI spokesman here, was quoted as saying by the paper. “All we know for sure is that he is not at his residence or any of his clinics.” Gupta, who is now on the FBI’s list of most-wanted fugitives, has been charged with one count each of mail fraud, health care fraud and conspiracy by the FBI. If convicted, he faces up to 35 years in prison. The paper said that Federal authorities believe Gupta has fled the country and may be in India, according to a filing in federal court in Springfield. Interpol has been alerted. Gupta has been entered by the FBI as a wanted fugitive in a computer database accessible to law enforcement officers across the country. The last known address for Gupta was in the 1600 block of North Mulford Road in Rockford. According to the complaint, patients were given ultrasound exams of their thyroid glands and electro- cardiograms even before they saw Gupta or other doctors at the clinics. Also women dressed in scrubs appeared to be nurses although there were no real nurses working at his clinics. This is not the first time Gupta has been in trouble. In 1999, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation suspended his controlled substances licenses for a year because Gupta failed “to properly apprise female patients of the procedures required in heart and lung examinations” and was unaware “of inventory and record-keeping requirements regarding dispensing of controlled substances.” In 2008, Gupta was accused of insider trading by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. In the allegation, a brother of a Georgia-Pacific board member illegally shared information on a deal with Gupta, who then bought more than USD 1 million of Georgia-Pacific securities and gained $ 689,401 in profits. Gupta was ordered to pay back profits with interest and to pay an equal amount in penalties in the insider trading case.advertisementFor more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

Cricket will not forget Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi

first_imgFormer India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi will be remembered for the touch of class which he brought to everything in life. An attacking batsman, fielder par excellence, astute captain and a true gentleman, he will be spoken of for his invaluable contributions long after his death.People talk of MS Dhoni as a bold captain.But Pataudi had, as early as 1968, instilled in the Indian team what it takes to win Test matches abroad. And even after losing an eye in a car accident, Pataudi fielded with aplomb.Unlike modern cricketers who don’t retire because of commercial reasons, he quit at his peak. Yet, he remained associated with the sport in various capacities, especially as the editor of Sportsworld, a well-known magazine.A regular at the capital’s Jaipur polo ground, ‘Tiger’ Pataudi couldn’t be missed on Sundays. His dress sense, famous hats and cigar were symbols of how he lived life, kingsize.last_img read more

Costly, controversial Afro-Asian Games cleared after 18 years of debate; nobody knows why

first_imgWorn out: Uma Bharati inspects the battered track at Delhi’s Nehru StadiumIt is the simplest of questions: does Indian sport need a nine-day sports extravaganza which will cost the Government, the tax payers and corporates close to Rs 80 crore?The Afro-Asian Games scheduled to be held in Delhi from November,Worn out: Uma Bharati inspects the battered track at Delhi’s Nehru StadiumIt is the simplest of questions: does Indian sport need a nine-day sports extravaganza which will cost the Government, the tax payers and corporates close to Rs 80 crore?The Afro-Asian Games scheduled to be held in Delhi from November 3 to 11 have taken 18 years to come to fruition. Only time will decide whether the fruit will be sweet or rotten but at the moment, most bets are on rotten.Given government sanction in 2000, the Afro-Asian Games will be the first-ever inter continental sporting festival to be held across eight disciplines featuring the top four athletes/teams from Asia and Africa, with one Asian berth set aside for India.The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) promises 96 countries, 2, 500 athletes and a blaze of goodwill and camaraderie. Former International Olympic Committee vice-president and respected sports administrator Ashwini Kumar cuts through the hoopla saying,” I am all for international competitions but this Afro-Asian Games is part of a tamasha… the money could have been better spent.” There are several factors at work around the staging of this sporting festival, but few work in its favour.The PoliticsThe Afro-Asian Games hit the spotlight when Sports Minister Uma Bharati postponed them last week saying she could organise the games “but not its organising committee.” Congress MP and IOA President Suresh Kalmadiand BJP MP and IOA Vice-President V.K. Malhotra were said to be jousting for the position of Organising Committee chairman.The Congress-BJP sports dust-upgoes back almost two decades to when Malhotra was thrown out of the organizing committee of the 1982 Asian Games by then prime minister Indira Gandhi.advertisementThe price we payAccommodation and boarding for international athletes and officials in five-star hotels are estimated to cost Rs 20.32 crore.The expenses of the opening and closing ceremonies, including the torch relay, are budgeted at a staggering Rs 3 crore.The IOA has also set aside a sum of Rs 2.40 lakh for the transportation of the torch relay committee.This time he probably thought things would go differently. The decision to postpone the games was taken with the consent of Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee.However, Vajpayee changed his mind citing the importance of keeping an “international commitment” to Bharati’s embarrassment.His change of heart has come about, it is said, due to Kalmadi’s close relations with members of the Prime Minister’s Office.Malhotra stepped down from the organising committee citing a packed schedule, “These are not the Asian or the Commonwealth Games but will need 30 hour-days.” Bharati was appointed head of the organising committee with Kalmadi acting as “working chairman.”The EconomicsThe organisers will pay for air-fare, five-star hotel stay and allowances for athletes and officials. According to estimates for the games available with INDIA TODAY, the accommodation and boarding will cost Rs 20.3 crore.Other items budgeted for include Rs 20 lakh for hospitality in VIP lounges and Rs 50 lakh slotted under asinister” miscellaneous”. Of the Rs 56 crore budgeted for by the IOA, the Government will pay Rs20crore and Rs10 crore is expected from Doordarshan for television rights.These costs do not include expenses for updating infrastructure, relaying stadium surfaces and buying new equipment which according to Bharati, should touch Rs 30 crore.There are no guarantees, however, that the job will be well done as time is short. A Sports Authority of India official says,” The National Stadium’s base is potholed and needs to be redone before the hockey turf can be laid.But there’s no time and they are bound to do a shoddy job.” The up gradation of sporting infrastructure is the only benefit the games could bring. Says Kalmadi: “This should be the start of a movement – once we have spent on infrastructure, more international events will come to India.” Experience shows otherwise.The Amateur Athletics Federation of India (headed by Kalmadi himself) has held only one international event in the past four years at the Nehru Stadium after the track was relaid in 1996 for the Asian Junior Track and Field meet.The crores that will be spent for these Games could change athletes’lives. Because of the lack of artificial surfaces, hockey is still played on grass, athletes still run on mud and cinder tracks and throwers can’t afford the international standard javelin two years after its introduction.An official says, “We fight to raise athletes’ daily food allowances from Rs 100toRs 118. Here money is just being thrown away.” Adds Ashwini Kumar: “This money could have been spent on a sport like hockey in which we have a chance of winning Olympic gold. How many artificial surfaces could you install for this sum?”advertisementChief: Suresh Kalmadi celebrating IOC chief Juan Samaranch’s visit The SportSadly but inevitably the core of the Afro-Asian Games – the actual athletic competition – is farthest from everyone’s mind. Let alone the proposed cost, the very sporting merit of the event is dubious.The games are neither recognised continental multi-discipline events like the Asian Games nor are they an agegroup event where young talent could test itself against the world’s best.The Afro-Asian Games are awk-wardly placed in the international sporting calendar. They are in the middle of the international club football season (when the best African and Asian players will be in the lucrative European leagues), will clash with the tennis World Doubles Championships, where India’s Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi hope to be playing, and also overlap the Champions Trophy hockey where Pakistan and South Korea are involved.The Indian hockey team is currently in training and has targeted three major events: the World Cup qualifying competition, the Champions Challenge and the World Cup. No one dismisses the Afro-Asian Games in public, with Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) President K.P.S.The games we seeTennis without Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi who will focus on the World Doubles Championships being held the same week.Hockey without Asian giants Pakistan and Olympic silver medallists South Korea who will be playing in the Champions Trophy in Lahore.Football teams without their star players who will be in the midst of their European club seasons.Gill telling India Today, “Any international exposure is good for the Indian team.” However an IHF insider admits, “The Afro-Asian Games are not the focus for the national team – the team is training to peak for more important events.”With Pakistan and Olympic silver medal lists Korea’s best teams sure to be absent from the games, it is equally unlikely that 2002 World Cup hosts Malaysia will put their best squad into what is at best a hiccup in the hockey calendar.The Indian Football squad would rather play in the South Asian Football Federation Cup in Dhaka (now due to be postponed) than get whipped by far-stronger opposition in front of home crowds. Athletics and swimming are deep into off-season in November.Athletes from these events who turn up will do so either under duress from their federations or lured by fat appearance money cheques. And Kalmadi says, “All the best athletes will come – we’ve ensured there are no conflicting games. “Thanks to the moguls of the Indian Olympic Association, the Government is being asked to spend close to Rs 80 crore on the Afro-Asian Games.The total budget for other sports expenses this year, (excluding the Rs 20 crore handout for the Afro-Asian Games) is Rs 153 crore. The mathematics tells its own story of lopsided priorities.Kalmadi defends his association’s venture saying, “These Games are not as expensive as the Asian Games. The main benefit from them will be renovating stadia. The rest is friendship.” With apologies to Casablanca, this could be the beginning of a very expensive friendship.advertisementlast_img read more

Congress(I) holds training camps to tone up party, make it fighting fit for 1985 polls

first_imgRajiv (left) and Tariq Anwar at a Youth Congress(I) meeting: Management therapyIt might have passed off as a workshop of jet set professionals, crackling with high-tech lingo, embellished with neatly documented figures and complete with company-paid lunches. Like all management meets, it had its peaks and troughs of adrenaline level,Rajiv (left) and Tariq Anwar at a Youth Congress(I) meeting: Management therapyIt might have passed off as a workshop of jet set professionals, crackling with high-tech lingo, embellished with neatly documented figures and complete with company-paid lunches. Like all management meets, it had its peaks and troughs of adrenaline level and also its light moments of guarded executive humour. If the pin-stripes were missing, they were abundantly compensated for by the starchy rustle of white khadi uniforms. And, like in all business conferences, the few hundred participants were discussing the product, which is the Indian National Congress of Mrs Indira Gandhi; the immediate sales target – winning the 1985 general election; and the long-term marketing strategy of establishing unassailable monopoly in the future.Gone was the sight of pot-bellied Congressmen delivering pep talks while reclining on thick cushions, draped in white. Gone was the rush of toadies and hangers-on during a typical Congress session. Gone too were the truck-borne rent-a-crowds and the populist rallies. The ongoing orientation and training camps of the Congress(I) and its front organisations, taking place in New Delhi through most of the summer/monsoon months, were much more than the usual jamboree of the Congress kind. They released a highly motivated army of 4,000 Congress(I) workers who, before the year is out, will rope in a militia of one million Congressmen spreading the message of the party to virtually each of the 5,72,000 villages of the country. No deployment of this magnitude was ever ordered by any party in the country. Nor did the Congress gird up its loins so purposefully on the eve of any of the past seven parliamentary elections.Low Morale: It could not have been better timed for the party either. Even with 352 MP’s in the 542-member Lok Sabha, the party’s morale had sunk to its lowest depth. None of the 25 Pradesh Congress Committees(I) (PCC-I), which is supposed to- be the. fulcrum of the party, had been elected by the members.advertisement Even the District Congress Committees(I) (DCC-I) units, all 327 of them, have been nominated ad hoc and have been foisted on the organisation from Delhi, like the PCC(I)’s. The image of the party among the more sensitive urban middle class was that of a wild bunch of rapacious politicians clinging to Mrs Gandhi because she was nothing more than a meal ticket.The Congressmen’s track record in government has also sunk unspeakably low: A.R. Antulay, Gundu Rao, Jagannath and Ram Lai providing some of the latest grim examples.There was also the painful realisation that the Congress(I)’s triumphal return to power in 1980 might not be repeated. The Sanjay brigades who spearheaded that victory lay scattered, and the party suffered the humiliating loss of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, two states long considered to be its bastions, in the assembly elections early this year. In 12 out of 23 Lok Sabha by-elections held in the country since 1980, its candidates have been defeated. Last year, it was re-elected in the two northern states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh with a much depleted strength: particularly in Haryana, it retained power by horse-trading in MLA’s rather than by the strength of its popularity. In Kerala, it no doubt ousted the Marxist-led government, but there too it had to join hands with others to establish a wafer-thin majority. In West Bengal, it improved its position in the assembly polls but was still lagging miles behind the Marxists.All the while, the downward droop of its electoral curve was only reflective of its diminishing popularity among the masses. Its ranks were criss-crossed by conflicting loyalties; its leadership lacked purpose; its ideology was reduced to a few phrases of well-meaning cliche which had lost relevance many years ago.Its members left the business of winning elections to Mrs Gandhi, their only insurance against bad times, and if they still stayed close to the party, it was just as ants stay close to crystals of sugar. The concept of training and motivation had been given a decent burial long ago.But, not any longer. The flurry of activity in the Congress(I) beginning from end-July, if not anything else, is normally what could be associated with a war command. It was time to shake the mothballs off the 1980 Congress(I) election manifesto: a manifesto implementation committee, headed by former minister Vidya Charan Shukla, therefore got going at once.Its activities have been marked by unaccustomed briskness, the committee having met six times since its inception in June, and having already submitted its first interim report. Shukla said the reports have relied heavily on “unorthodox channels of information” and are “factual and down-to-earth”.Said Ramachandra Rath, minister of state for petroleum and chemicals, and a member of the committee: “The main task is to fathom – for our own consumption – the gap already there between the 1980 election promises and the real achievement. Whenever there has been a shortfall, we have tried to understand the reasons.”advertisementThe committee is armed with extraordinary power: it can question the chief ministers of the party and can route its queries directly to Congress(I) ministers and office bearers in the states. It was also the hour to look clean before the public: hence, Youth Congress(I) commissars were despatched to places away from their homes to stay with the masses, snoop around at government offices, and file reports to the high command about corruption, bungling and inadequate implementation of the 20-point plan.And, when mere filing of reports was not enough, they were given the green signal to challenge the authorities. While the widespread establishments of the Congress(I), its impressive office buildings and its hierarchical committees remained intact, things were indeed happening at another level.For the first time, the party was realising that it was accountable for the actions of the Government; it was realising the need to reach over the shoulders of the administration. As Tariq Anwar, MP from Bihar and president of the Youth Congress(I) (YC-I), put it: “It is our government, not the administration’s. Before the electorate holds us responsible for the officials’ follies, we must put them right ourselves.”Heralding Change: The changes were triggered by a series of camps held in New Delhi. The earliest was the YC(I) camp commencing on April 13 (INDIA TODAY, May 15), only a month after Rajiv Gandhi, the prime mover of the operation shake-up, had assumed office as general secretary of the All India Congress Committee(I) (AICC-I) in charge of its front organisations, the VC(l) included.A Youth Congress training campFrom July 22, the Congress(I) Sewa Dal too held its camp, lending itself for the first time to any organisational discipline; the Dal was so far looked upon as a reservoir of obedient odd-job men. Close on its heels came a camp of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), the students’ wing of the AICC(I), where, by way of a refreshing change, college-going boys and girls, many in their teens, participated. From August 1, however, the Congress(l) elders were summoned to AICC(I) training camps, divided into four for the four zones of the country.The PCC(I) office-bearers and the DCC(I) chiefs, fed for years only on the staple of factional politics, were given brainstorming lectures at the camps on topics ranging from history of the freedom movement to matters of high finance.The top floor of Jhankar, a large catering complex in the shadow of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, was converted into the venue for the lecture sessions, with Sewa Dal volunteers strictly regulating entry.advertisementRajiv with aides in the 2K, Motilal Nehru Marg office: Coordinated progressParty veteran Shankar Dayal Sharma, himself a former AICC(I) president, spoke on the Congress’s history: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, in a lecture aided with charts and diagrams, advised partymen on how they should defend themselves against the charges of financial bungling; External Affairs Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao provided the catch-line for the claim of achieving a foreign policy breakthrough; Home Minister P.C. Sethi expatiated on the party’s strategy to combat the pulls of regionalism; Mrs Gandhi inaugurated the camps while Rajiv rounded them off.The speeches were often heavy, the drawl punctuated by yawns hidden behind sleeves. The day’s sessions over, the delegates retired to their neatly furnished rooms on the eastern wing of the saucer-shaped Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, watching films on the video terminal placed in the lobby, or just relaxing.Still the camps had served their twin purpose: that of bringing Rajiv in close touch with a thousand Congress(I) functionaries; and of gently driving home the message that to be a Congressman meant something more than just lording over one’s private organisational fiefdom. They were also a reminder that the partymen themselves would have to fight the 1985 general elections, and they could not perhaps win a war by proxy. “The idea was clearly Rajivji’s”, said Jagdish Tytler, the goatee-sporting general secretary of the Delhi PCC(I) who, like many others attending the camps, marvelled at their “strict business-like approach”.Rajiv was indeed the mastermind behind the new burst of activity, the undisputed archangel to call out his flock to the electoral arena, and the supreme strategist of the party. He was the author of the party’s new diction and approach and the planner of each of its moves in recent times.Last fortnight, besides meeting the delegates at the camps, he met individually nearly 300 Congressmen including chief ministers, MP’s, MLA’s and leaders of the front organisations. In early August, when the constitution of the YC(I) was being amended, he sat up with its leaders till two in the morning, helping them draft the amended clauses to the last comma, and even checking out the bad phrases.The secretariat attached to his office at the AICC(I) headquarters on Akbar Road buzzed with activity, the pool-typists often working way past evening to prepare for him an assortment of papers – notes, manuals, letters, even accounting procedures. Each time he met a person, he dictated out brief minutes with a marginal noting in deep blue ink of the prescribed follow-up action.Says a person working in the AICC(I) office: “Everything is put on record in Rajiv Gandhi’s office. No other general secretary uses so much of paper as he does. I may also say that no other general secretary expends so much of labour on party affairs.”Building Bridges: This was surely not the first time that Rajiv was at a hailing distance from his partymen. He first began building bridges with the vast, amorphous mass of Congressmen way back in October 1980, four months after Sanjay’s tragic death, when, switching from aviation to politics, he organised from backstage an extravagant kisan rally in Delhi.After his election to the Lok Sabha in 1981, he began meeting partymen directly though discreetly. However, since his installation as a general secretary in March this year, Rajiv wasted no time to take over the controlling levers of the party.Chief ministers were jettisoned at his behest. PCC(I)’s were reshuffled lock, stock and barrel as he had wanted. Every dispute in the party was ultimately referred to him, and each warring faction reposed its final loyalty in him. He humoured all but kept his own counsel, freely using his growing clout to cram bitter pills down unwilling throats.The camps jolted the Congress(I) hierarchy, never quick at appreciating novelty or responding to changes. While private reactions alternated between stupefaction and muted scepticism, there was no dearth of encomiums showered on Rajiv in public.Said Raghunandanlal Bhatia, who owes his new post of president of the Punjab PCC(I) to Rajiv: “Shri Rajiv Gandhi is in total command of the party machine. He is providing a new, valuable guidance to the party.” Echoed M. Veerappa Moily, leader of the Congress(I) legislature party in the Karnataka Assembly: “We seem to have got a new lease of life. Thanks to Rajivji, there are a lot more programmes, guidelines and communications in the party now. Suddenly there’s so much of activity!”Rajiv is by no reckoning a man of eloquence, and there was nothing in his speeches delivered at the camps which could have set the Ganga on fire. But, given his flair for organisation, he readily grasped the practical significance of the meetings.In an interview he gave recently said of the training programmes: “This…is a one-year programme based on building a sizeable cadre strength of 1 million to 1.5 million by the end of next year. If the message goes down in depth it will be a major achievement with the involvement of 70 per cent to 80 per cent. Once this formidable number get the message it will constitute an impressive gain in quality as well as quantity.”The “message” itself was hardly unique: identify with the masses; assess the work of the Government, and implementation of poll promises first hand; bury the factional squabbles; and, above all, get ready for the polls.There was no clear ideological line discernible anywhere. On the contrary, Pranab Mukherjee and P.C. Sethi spoke on their respective charges as though they were arming the partymen with plausible replies to the most likely opposition charges at the election time.What struck observers was not the content of the speeches but the clockwork organisation that Rajiv was attempting to build.Significant Force: Significant emphasis was attached to a nation-wide mobilisation of the Sewa Dal, 372 of whose instructors were trained in Delhi in a two-week session. They will raise in the next two months a force of 20,000 people, who, in their turn, will build up an auxilliary force of 7 lakh. “We want to have two Sewa Dal volunteers for each of the three-and-a-half lakh election booths in the country.” said C.M. Stephen, the party’s vociferous ideologue and general secretary of the AICC(I) in charge of the training camps.Mrs Gandhi addressing Congress workers outside the Red Fort: Formidable forceThe Dal is surely not going to take any chances: the camp witnessed a long and arduous training of these sturdy people, dressed in coarse khadi trousers and sporting khadi caps, undergoing training in unarmed combat. “They must know how to protect themselves,” said Navin Bhai, chief organiser of the Dal, with an enigmatic smile.The camps were far from an all-male affair. The women’s wing of the party, hibernating for long under a soporific leadership, had all of a sudden woken from slumber. The delegates included a brand-new crop of post-university women, polite and pretty, attending special sessions and scrawling out on their note-sheets the strategy of action: fanning out in their areas; organising campaigns against dowry; holding evening classes for uneducated women; counselling on family planning. Many of the girls had just come in from the fringes of feminist organisations and were much better educated than the sisterhood of traditional Congress women. The Congress(I) legal aid cell for women organised walks in Delhi and other metros, and provided legal defence in a large number of dowry victimisation cases.Many of the DCC(I) chiefs and youth workers were meeting Rajiv for the first time, and carried their experience of the man to their home towns. To many of them, the AICC(I) headquarters in the capital had so far seemed to be a remote symbol of authority without people they could relate to and almost totally fenced in by its own bureaucracy.Said Hargian Singh, president of east Delhi DCC(I), who participated in the camps: “Rajivji is not like an ordinary politician who would command his men from a distance. There is a personal touch in his relationship with the party.”The personal touch was manifest in the detailed exercise that the YC(I) has now embarked on sending droves of its middle-rank workers, or coordinators, out to districts away from their home states to report directly to the capital on practically every aspect of the Congress(I) party and the local administration.The 434 coordinators, carefully picked from a few thousand applicants by Rajiv’s deputies, brought in a whiff of fresh air in the stale corridors of the traditional YC(I), riven by the spill-over factionalism of the parent body, and generally playing second fiddle to the PCC(I)’s.They were a cut above the rank and file of the YC(I) in every way. Each of them is a graduate. Of the first lot of 217, as many as 59 held postgraduate degrees. Over a dozen are professionals including doctors, engineers and business executives.Rajiv assigned Deba Prasad Ray, an unobtrusive youth leader from West Bengal and one of the general secretaries of the YC(I), the task of selecting the coordinators. Their curricula vitae were checked in New Delhi, and their referees were questioned by YC(I)’s central team visiting each recruiting zone. Finally they were called for written and oral tests, “just as”, said one of them, “the personnel department chief of a corporation would interview us for a managerial post”. They were asked to pen out brief notes on a variety of subjects: on India’s poverty, on how to ensure a larger flow of resources to the villages, on the Congress tradition, on the freedom movement, on the international situation, even on ecology and society.Said Ray: “Their writings were checked for depth and imagination, for grammar and diction. Modern psychometric methods were applied to size them up for commitment, loyalty and qualities of leadership. They were literally put under the gaze of a mental microscope. I must say that those who made the grade finally are a fine specimen of humanity, a type that any party would be proud to own.”After the six-week orientation in the capital, they were despatched by the last fortnight to each of the “target districts”‘ in groups of two. Each was given an allowance of Rs 500 – not a princely sum but still entailing an expenditure of Rs 2.13 lakh every month from the party’s central coffers.The local MP’s of the Congress(I) were asked to put them up and provide them with transport. In most cases they didn’t; nevertheless, the youths, all in the 25-28 age group, managed to survive even though the lie of the land was not known to them and the local party units treated them as strangers. Anand Prakash Sharma, the coordinator selected from Haryana, was assigned to the sun-baked, sandy Osia block in the Jodhpur district of Rajasthan, where, in the absence of anything to ride on, he walks every day 13 km from his temporary residence to the villages and footslogs all the way back.Bimal Jain and Narendra Dev, one from Madhya Pradesh and the other from Uttar Pradesh, were sent to Katihar district in Bihar, the home town of Anwar, where they have been pedalling down the village dirl-roads everyday on their own bicycles, stopping by the jhopar-pattis to interview casual labourers, calling on the manager of the local branch of the nationalised bank for some intensive statistics about loans, and even literally counting the number of saplings planted by the Forest Department under the afforestation programme.Detailed Data: The first batch of coordinators, with the help of a second tier of youth motivators – 30 in each district – and the last tier of rural youth workers – 200 in every district-have been sending in piles of raw data every week.(From left) coordinators Dev and Jain, data processor Bakshi and Deba Prasad Ray: “Meaningful work”The data pours into the new, whitewashed office of the YC(I) monitoring cell on Raisina Road, sparsely furnished with only a desk, a few chairs and rows upon rows of filing cabinets. Anuradha Bakshi, the YC(I) worker who looks after the data pool, is an attractive 26-year-old who recently resigned her lecturership in the French department of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, “to put in more meaningful work”.She underwent a crash course in computer programming, and will take charge of the computer that is shortly to be installed at the cell. At the moment, she and her two assistants condense, rewrite and file the mass of reports coming in from the coordinators, with a self-approving earnestness that shows on their faces and the late hours that they put in.The processed reports, which unfailingly go up to Rajiv at the end of the week, often make interesting reading. They are invariably marked by a certain cheekiness and candour, qualities that the Congressmen seemed to have irretrievably lost ever since the Union Jack went down to make way for the tricolour in 1947. Examples:Om Prakash Panday and C.S. Yadav, coordinators posted at Lohardaga in Bihar, write that the local administration and the Congress(I) are in collusion with the mafia operating in the mica mines of the area.They say the local bank officials have been forcing the tribals to “pay commissions” on loans and that some leaders of the local Congress(I) are a party to “this system of exploitation”.Jain and Dev report from Katihar that the 20-point programme has been implemented “only within five kilometres of the district town”. They say that the district officials levy a “10 per cent cut” on every loan under the programme, and that “a half of the tube-wells sunk under the programme are unserviceable”.Sharma reports from Osia in Jodhpur a series of examples of bureaucratic bungling, and sums up pithily with the words that “the 20-point programme is implemented only on paper and is in fact a source of income not for the poor, who are the intended beneficiaries, but for the officials entrusted with its implementation”.B.P. Chowdhury reports from Ranchi that the local Congress(I) is gradually losing ground to the Marxists and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha because the party MLA’s have substituted the 20-point programme with their one-point programme, that of “feathering their own nests”.The fact that the coordinators, strangers as they are to the local intrigues of the neighbourhood, have no axe to grind in the district-level politics lends a new element of honesty to the reports.They have tried to drag out under the public gaze the hidden truth behind the strident claims of success in implementing the 20-point programme as made frequently by the Congress(I) chief ministers. Ironically, these chief ministers have often trotted out evidence, which are mostly as thin as the paper on which they are advertised at government cost, claiming even over 100 per cent successful implementation of the programme. The coordinators, for instance, filed the most devastating reports from Bihar even though Jagannath, the state’s chief minister till mid-August, had all along claimed that his government’s success rate in the implementation of the programme was above 90 per cent.Implicit Trust: Rajiv retains the caution of the commercial pilot that he was, and is normally wary of discussing his findings in open forums of the party.But his implicit trust in the observations of his new youth brigade is being reflected in his increasing petulence with the traditional Congress(I) leaders and his diminishing confidence in their capacity to put the party in fighting trim.A close aide of Rajiv says that he recently blew up when a Union minister sidled up to him with lengthy reports of the implementation of tribal area uplift plans. “How I wish the tribals you say you’d helped were present here, and were in agreement with your statistics,” he reportedly snarled back.Even at the PCC(I) office-bearers’ and DCC(I) chief’s camp in Delhi, when the Bihar contingent complained to him about the “new Youth Congress boys” trying to ride roughshod over them, he exploded, saying: “I know your exact worth. You can’t solve your own problems of factionalism, and you think you can solve the problems of the nation? Please don’t create hurdles for the boys who are doing an excellent job and do your own work.”Sitting serenely in his AICC(I) office at room number seven of the building, and keeping his own hours, Rajiv has a flair for insulating himself from the general atmosphere of cynical intrigue and petty-mindedness of the place. His room, complete with the charts, the diagrams and a shiny mahogany working desk that seats three on each side, is totally insulated from the office. The other general secretaries, occupying neighbouring rooms, are often blissfully unaware of his true intentions and the real motives underlying his actions. The Working President. Kamalapati Tripathi, for instance, was recently trying to convince newsmen assembled in his house about the seeming permanence of Jagannalh’s tenure in Bihar: “He’ll stay in power,” Tripathi said, “don’t you know that he came to my house the other day to seek my blessings?”The exercise was indeed redolent of the theatre of the absurd, because the same morning a message had gone out from Rajiv and Mrs Gandhi to Jagannath, asking him to resign.For Rajiv, it was as speedy as growing-up could be. There is no evidence that he was even remotely interested in politics till Sanjay’s death in 1980, after which Mrs Gandhi summoned him to fill the void, unobtrusively at first, but with more vigour later on. Once parachuted onto the political scene, he fast realised his limitation that he could not perhaps emerge, unlike his mother and his illustrious grandfather, as a leader of the masses. Nehru had fired the imagination of an entire generation by assuming the vanguard role in the freedom movement, which was essentially a moral struggle.Mrs Gandhi, with her image of a lone woman fighting against persistent odds, had become synonymous with a Joan of Arc-type bravery. But, for Rajiv, joining politics was only a smooth take-off, facilitated by the fact of his birth.He had a long way to climb and fly, unaided by charisma, special charm, and, as one of Mrs Gandhi’s former aides wryly says, “unaided by history”.Even Sanjay, who was dropped on the political scene with similar suddenness, had a chequered phase of the country’s recent political history to catapult him on a high perch. The extraordinary and extra-constitutional powers he had wielded during the Emergency enabled him to slide into the armour-plate to terror – a useful component of leadership in India.The following 30 months of Janata rule put to test his feisty calibre as a street-fighter: he stormed the law courts, rustled up his own squad of goons, and won the game whose rules he had himself set.Clockwise from top left) Antulay, Pahadia, Bhosale and Jagannath: Shedding liabilities An unabashed champion of free enterprise, and free from most of the Fabian socialist dogmas of the Nehru era, Sanjay was the last stormy petrel of Congress politics.Rajiv entered around a stable, and unexciting, phase – at a time when the rot had set in from within. Disunity was at its peak. The scandals involving A.R. Antulay had besmirched the reputation of the entire party.A gang of petty bureaucrats and office assistants had encircled the prime minister and had acquired clout. The top ministers were a bunch of Lilliputians trying to make up for their inefficiency with loud professions of loyalty to Mrs Gandhi. The Augean stables were rendered still more daunting by the fact that there was no second line of leadership in sight. The 150-odd new MP’s whom Sanjay had brought into the Lok Sabha for the first time were essentially one-function robots: they knew how to win elections, and not much else.It limited Rajiv’s choice to a degree of hopelessness. On the plus side, he knew that the party was so dependent on Mrs Gandhi for its survival that there would be hardly any revolt against his taking charge.On the other hand, he had to bear the heavy cross of the 1980 poll-winning slogan-‘elect the government that works’-which was a promise that could hardly be fulfilled with the human material at his disposal.”Things became no doubt a bit chaotic since 1980,” said C.M. Stephen, in what might have been the understatement of the year.Personal Friendships: Rajiv dithered for a while, pretending to “help mummy”, while actually having his hairline recede further in an effort to get a hang of things in the Congress(I).The vacuum in the party impelled him to turn towards the people whom he had known closely for years in personal life: such as Arun Nehru, the MP, well-known for his bulldozing ways; Arun Singh, the quiet organiser who helped him experiment with advanced management ideas in politics; Vijay Dhar, the Kashmiri pandit with a cool head and a flair for public relations.Beside putting together a coterie of aides, he relied more and more on the relatively unspoilt elements of the YC(I). After March, when he formally took over as AICC(I) general secretary, he has openly tilted the scale in favour of the youth. Some instances:Vinod Sharma, one of the YC(I) general secretaries, has now been appointed a PCC(I) general secretary in the troubled state of Punjab;Arun Kumar Singh, another YC(I) general secretary, is now one among the Uttar Pradesh PCC(I) general secretaries;Jagdish Tytler, a former president of the Delhi unit of the YC(I), is now a general secretary of the Delhi PCC(I); and,Harbhajan Singh, the former president of the Himachal Pradesh YC(I), is now a general secretary of the state PCC(I).Clearly, Rajiv’s “education programme” extends much beyond what it outwardly seems: it involves building up a party within a party, avoiding fuss, and – as is typical of Rajiv – without attracting a lot of public attention. Although Rajiv has begun to open up to the media, for example, he is cautious and calculated in his access, choosing his moment and the outlet. The only exception is the liberal attention given to him in the government media, All India Radio and Doordarshan (INDIA TODAY, August 31).In a similar vein, Rajiv’s approach to his work is methodical and systematic. His methods are outlined in the note on the YC(I) training programme, drafted entirely by him. It has an instruction carrying the curious headline: “Important collaboration stages before any confrontation is launched”. It exhorts the YC(I) coordinator to take the following steps “assuming that the administrator is indifferent to the 20-point programme”.The coordinator should at first discuss with him the problem and “try to convince him”;failing which, he should meet the administrator “along with several group leaders” and send a report to the local party or district organisation;if that fails, he should send a report to the state organisation of the party;and as last resort, “active confrontation backed by local groups should be organised”, with district, state and central leaderships to be treated as “go ahead”.Ray describes the new militancy as a vindication of the “age old values” that the Congress(I) stands for, that of complete identification with the masses and “standing by the poor”.He says: “The poorer people have all along voted for us, whereas we have been led by the richer sections. Rajivji’s efforts will for the first time resolve this inherent dichotomy. We are training an army for him.” Ray’s reverie apart, the novelty of Rajiv’s approach seems to have caught on.Gimmickry: This was in stark contrast to Mrs Gandhi’s populist phase between 1969 and 1971, when she converted her minority presence in the Lok Sabha to a massive majority by a series of gimmicks with hardly any involvement of the party.Anwar and Rajiv overseeing a camp: Novel approachOnly once, in 1975, when D.K. Borooah was the AICC(I) president, a cadre-training drive was initiated, though with limited effect. That was in the thick of the Emergency when the party had entirely alienated the middle class by its absolutist stance and Borooah’s lone voice in favour of the abiding values of the Congress was liable to be interpreted as a comic interlude.Nor is there any evidence that Mrs Gandhi ever thought of building up the party from below upwards. Says K.P. Unnikrishnan, a far-left Congressman even during the Emergency days and now a leader of the Congress(S): “She is a mass leader of sorts, but she had never been a party leader as such. In fact, she had always taken the party for granted.”Even after her ignoble defeat in 1977, she rode the crest of a negative wave against the Janata rule, projecting only herself on the political horizon, keeping herself busy on her barnstorming tours, and leaving the affairs of the party to the hands of Sanjay. Decades earlier, when her father was alive and she had become the AICC(I) president, there was hardly any evidence of her greater involvement in party affairs, which used to be looked after by S.K. Patil, Atulya Ghosh and K. Kamaraj.Said H.N. Bahuguna, president of the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), a former secretary-general of the Congress(I), and a know-all of Congress affairs: “Mrs Gandhi, as I know her, is not a party-person at all. She is a mass leader, and will always remain so.” In the Congress(I) circles, stories still do the rounds of Mrs Gandhi not being able to recognise PCC(I) chiefs and important party dignitaries.Rajiv too is not much of a party man. Right now, his efforts aim at bypassing the present party hierarchy rather than making it serviceable again. The recruitment of coordinators is a good start: but, Rajiv cannot overnight disregard the imperatives of Indian politics which has a strong element of the satrap system, with individual families or caste groups holding sway over particular regions.For instance, he wanted to replace the ad hoc office-bearers of the Congress(I) with elected representatives, and prompted the party leadership to make a commitment that internal elections would be held by October 1982.Limitations: They did not come about except in five states, thanks to the party’s factionalism and internecine squabbles. Says Stephen: “Election presupposes an electorate, which, in the context of a party, means members who have been properly enrolled.And this is a vicious circle: if you don’t have properly elected party committees, you don’t have members; if you don’t have members, you don’t have party committees.” But, the factor that really stood in the way of inner-party elections was not any technical snag as Stephen suggests but the basic truth that Congressmen could never agree on a consensus “electorate”: often the membership forms of the party were forged and duplicated, and the high command played the role of helpless bystander.Rajiv at the Sewa Dal camp: Building up a cadreRajiv’s writ seldom runs beyond the neophytes and those who are overly anxious to be on his right side. As a matter of fact, the Rajiv idolatry which is evident in New Delhi has not permeated much down the state and the district levels.The traditional Congressmen disregard Rajiv’s injunctions whenever it suits their purpose. For instance, the anti-chief minister dissidents from Bihar, Rajasthan and Haryana descended on Delhi in hundreds even though Rajiv had explicitly ordained that they should not flock to the capital each time they had to ventilate their grievances against the leadership. He said the dissidents should not rush to the press with their complaints against the chief ministers; yet, there was no let-up in their issuing press statements.It is doubtful if the high-pressure selling of Rajiv and his new ideas will really infect the PCC(I) offices in the state capitals, and the levels further down. At the PCC(I) offices, Rajiv’s portraits are not yet as conspicuously on display as even Sanjay’s, even though Sanjay died over three years ago.Under Rajiv’s leadership, if the old order in the states changeth, it does so only too slowly and too little. In Gujarat, for instance, the talking point in the Congress(I) circles now is not so much what Rajiv is going to do, but what is the latest in the battle of attrition between Madhavsinh Solanki, the chief minister, and Jinabhai Darji, the PCC(I) chief.In West Bengal, the impact of Rajiv on the PCC(I) and the YC(I) is minuscule: “He has to be tolerated as long as madam is there,” cynically remarked a young MLA holding a key portfolio in the West Bengal PCC(I).So far, the traditional Congressmen have had a rather favourable experience of Rajiv, their consensus being reflected in key words like “mild-mannered”, “pleasant” and “accommodating”.One reason for it may be that while supervising the distribution of nominations for the assembly polls during the last two years he did not thrust himself too much, and did not offend the entrenched pressure groups. But, if he seriously intends to bring the coordinators up to the forefront, the “pleasant” exterior will wear off.In 1971, Mrs Gandhi could bring a new team into the Lok Sabha because she was not weighted down by a legacy of the past: she had split the party only two years ago. In 1980, Sanjay brought in his own team for a similar reason – the 1978 split. Rajiv does not have the advantage of such a safety valve to let off the steam.The camps are undoubtedly an attempt to inculcate discipline into an otherwise unruly party, given to agitating on patently selfish grounds and functioning purely on considerations of group or clan loyalty. Their impact on the YC(I) will be much greater than on the older Congressmen who, as an aide of Rajiv said, quoting an apt saying in Hindi, are like “old parrots who never learn to sing”.Naturally, Rajiv hopes for a rapid downward filtration of the rigorous training imparted to the coordinators at the YC(I) camps, so that the 125,000 trained YC(I) personnel take up positions in the villages before the elections are called.Continuing Process: “The process will definitely not stop with the elections,” said G.K. Moopanar, another general secretary of the AICC(I), pointing out a clause in the amended 1974 constitution of the party which states that no Congressman without the experience of attending training camps is eligible to contest for any party post.But nearly everyone in the AICC(I) privately admits that the constitution is a mere formality, and that the new crop of people occupying top places in the Government since 1975, the year of the Emergency, have little or no political culture.Explained Stephen: “Mrs Gandhi had little or no respite ever since the party split for the first time in 1969 and again in 1978. There was thus little scope for choosing workers, for training them up. It was a war-like situation right through, and we had to accept whoever was on our side.” Whether Rajiv can now hone the Congress(I) into a creative set-up is a question which only the future can answer. In a recent interview, Rajiv carefully skirted the basic issue: in which direction does he want the country to be led?When he was asked why in India the rich have grown richer and the poor poorer, his disarmingly innocent answer was that it happened because of the “traditional reasons”: he said the people of Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu, being “quite aggressive”, have “cornered all the developmental works”.Rajiv also conducted election campaigns actively in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Jammu & Kashmir, but never did he pronounce the kernels of his basic thoughts on the economy, politics and society. Even in formal interviews, he generally avoids questions that might draw him out of his shell and force him to comment on the gut-issues – such as the almost colonial bureaucracy, the anti-business taxation and licensing procedures, the low productivity of labour, the pampering of the public sector, and the plunder of public resources carried out by paying lip-service to socialism. “Neither riff nor raff”: the 1981 aphorism about Rajiv seems to have stuck relentlessly.In managing the party, his key phrase is “competent working methods”. And to him, “competence” is an input, even in politics. “We have professionals in transactional analysis and like techniques, which will introduce new and competent working methods (of party management),” he said recently.But, with the clock already ticking towards the 1985 elections, can he put all his trust on his greenhorn coordinators, all steeped through in the jargon of “effective leadership”? On the other hand, he has to contend with the cumulative clout of 17 Congress(I) chief ministers and over 400 state ministers of the party – all carrying a labyrinth of vested interests and localised pressure groups. The lesson of the Congress(I) defeat in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh proved that the people had judged the party not in terms of “Indiramma”, nor Rajiv (‘the man who made the Asiad a success’), but by the image, reputation and performance of the state governments.The record of the Congress(I) governments in Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh or Orissa is not a whit better than that of the Gundu Rao administration in Karnataka.After shaking off his early coyness, Rajiv experimented with the familiar maxim: “If you can’t beat’em, join’em.” There was sycophancy unleashed (INDIA TODAY, January 31, 1982) by the party’s entrenched Sanjay brigade who thought there would be business as usual behind the change of guards at 1, Safdarjung Road.Some of Rajiv’s personal acts confirmed the impression: tolerated for a while the indefensible actions of A.R. Antulay, saying that there was nothing “illegal” in his controversial trusts; he allowed Gundu Rao, the former Karnataka chief minister, to felicitate him in Bangalore in an obscene display of toadyism; even as late as 1982, he remained a silent spectator when Bhajan Lai carried out horse-trading in MLA’s in Haryana.But before long he realised that he was riding a tiger, and his”priorities shifted. Rajiv may axe a few of the chief ministers in the months to come, but he cannot replace the culture of the party in 15 months.On the contrary, he at times has to come to terms with it. For instance, though his antipathy to T. Anjiah, Bhavanam Venkataram and M. Channa Reddy – all former chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh – is well-known, he could not but accommodate all of them when the PCC(I) executive was reconstituted last month. In Bihar, he gave marching orders to Jagannath, yet retained five of the former chief minister’s men in the new cabinet. Though projecting himself as a modern man, and not a believer in castes, he had to go into the caste composition of the ministers carefully each time requests for the green signal to reshuffle cabinets came to him from the chief ministers. The same wariness is reflected in his hesitation to change Darbara Singh, the ineffective chief minister of Punjab, or in sorting out the nagging internecine feuds in as many as four partly units – Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.Electoral considerations, again, stand in the way of changing the chief ministers too often. Mrs Gandhi, in consultation with Rajiv, tried it in Andhra Pradesh where four chief ministers were changed in two years. It did not go down well with the electorate, and the party paid dearly for it.Indian Realities: Mrs Gandhi recently in an interview with The Times of lndia, referred to the British Broadcasting Corporation serial. Yes Minister, to buttress the argument that shifting personnel was an integral part of democratic working. Maybe Rajiv shares the view too; but, between intention and action, falls the shadow of the Indian reality.Given a chance, Rajiv would go to the electorate in 1985 leading the column of his new drummer boys, sanitized against the epidemic of factionalism and computer-tested for “effective leadership”, “power of articulation”, and all such virtues which are copiously lauded in manuals of modern management.There is as yet little evidence that Rajiv has been able to size up the resistance that will be offered when the election drums roll, and he really tries to throw his weight about in the distribution of party tickets.If he wants to put his new methods to the litmus test, he has to act around that time, ruthlessly sweeping the broom to clear the accumulated cobwebs of the past, bringing into the centre-stage his trained personnel, and meeting the threat of internal revolt on his own terms.Those who feel threatened by Rajiv’s new stance so far continued to say homilies to him only with the hope that he would apply his scalpel too deep and too extensively. Sanjay too had applied his scalpel in 1980: but he had the double-billing of leading a party not in power, and leading it against a tottering enemy.The Opposition is still disunited on a national level. But the regional parties are firmly in the saddle; such as the Marxists in West Bengal and Tripura, the Telugu Desam in Andhra Pradesh, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagarh in Tamil Nadu and the National Conference in Jammu & Kashmir. The recently forged alliance between the Lok Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party is a formidable adversary in a sizeable part of the Hindi-speaking north. The Janata Party is now a force to reckon with in Karnataka and Bihar, just as the Congress(S) cannot be written off in Maharashtra. Opposition from within the Congress(I) may make that marginal difference between victory and defeat. If Rajiv wants to quell it, he has to leave his brave new team in the lurch. If he wants to face it head on, he makes his task doubly difficult. If he still wins the electoral battle, the saga will go down as the triumph of management over politics.last_img read more

Kinetic Group to bring MV Agusta superbikes to India

first_imgMotorcycle enthusiasts in India now have something to really look forward to – the world’s most premium high-performance superbikes from the legendary Italian company “MV Agusta” are finally headed this way. Pune’s well-known automobile major, Kinetic Group has signed a partnership with the Italian marquee for bringing MV Agusta superbikes to India.Ajinkya Firodia, Managing Director, Kinetic World said, “We are really excited to be bringing these extraordinary machines to India, for riders who demand the utmost performance from their bikes. MV Agusta sports bikes and superbikes are packed with high-end technology and race-derived electronics, which come together to offer an unbeatable blend of power, performance and handling.”ALSO READ: MV Agusta to re-enter India with former partner Kinetic GroupKinetic will set up a network of world-class showrooms in India’s top cities to retail MV Agusta motorcycles and to provide after-sales service. The current MV Agusta portfolio consists of a range of exotic high-performance machines such as the Brutale, Rivale, Turismo Veloce, F3 and the range-topping F4.Firodia  said, “The styling and the sheer riding dynamics of these machines underline MV Agusta’s tagline – this indeed, is ‘Motorcycling Art’ as never seen before in our country.”Kinetic can launch any or all of these motorcycles in India over the next 2-3 years, with the first launch slated for November 2015. A team of engineering experts is already working on homologation and other formalities, while the dealership network is being set up across India. The bikes will be brought in as CBUs and SKDs, and prices are likely to range from Rs 12 lakh – Rs 33 lakh.advertisementlast_img read more

Nirmala Sheoran Banned for 4 Years, Stripped of Asian Titles for Doping

first_imgMonaco: Indian sprinter Nirmala Sheoran Banned has been banned for four years for doping and stripped of two titles from the 2017 Asian Championships.The Athletics Integrity Unit, which manages track and field doping cases, says Nirmla tested positive for the steroids drostanolone and metenolone at a competition in India in June 2018. Nirmla, whose biological passport also showed irregular blood readings, “accepted the charge, did not request a hearing and was ready to accept the consequences,” the AIU says. asiaAsia Championshipsathleticsban First Published: October 9, 2019, 6:08 PM IST Read the full decision here ⬇️https://t.co/cBkQOqSHT4#AIUNews pic.twitter.com/Z9org5ltSS— Athletics Integrity Unit (@aiu_athletics) October 9, 2019The 24-year-old Nirmla’s ban was backdated to take effect on June 29, 2018. Her results from August 2016 to November 2018 were disqualified.Nirmla won gold medals in the 400 meters and 4×400 relay at the 2017 Asian Championships held in India.She ran in both events at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and was eliminated in the heats. The Athletics Integrity Unit has banned Indian sprinter Sheoran Nirmla for four-years with effect from 29 June 2018, for the presence and use of a Prohibited Substance.The athlete accepted the sanction. Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time.last_img read more