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 Samata leaves it to Fernandes
The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) today suffered a jolt, even if only a temporary one, when its convener and Samata Party leader, Mr. George Fernandes, did not attend a meeting of the allies called by the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee.

 Koijam Ministry voted out
The three-month-old Samata Party-led People's Front Ministry in Manipur headed by Mr. R.B. Koijam was defeated in a vote of confidence in the Assembly today.

Jaswant hints at President's rule
The National Democratic Alliance leaders met at the Prime Minister's residence this evening to take stock of the political situation in the aftermath of the disastrous Assembly election results even as yet another crisis in the NDA stared them in the face in the form of the Bharatiya Janata Party-Samata Party stand off triggered by the Manipur developments.

 States against move to decentralise procurement
The Centre today failed to have its way with the States on its proposal to decentralise procurement of foodgrains for the Public Distribution System. Almost all States rejected the proposal at the conference of Chief Ministers on the WTO agreement on agriculture and food management convened by the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, here, saying it was the Centre's ``social obligation'' to procure and distribute foodgrains.

 Homage paid to Rajiv Gandhi
The President, Mr. K. R. Narayanan, today led the nation in paying homage to the former Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, on his 10th death anniversary which saw people across the country re-dedicate themselves to the vision he had of India in the 21st Century.

CMs' panel on WTO deal
The Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, today announced the setting up of a committee of Chief Ministers on food management and agriculture exports to look at enhancing the efficiency of procurement and reducing the cost of distribution of foodgrains under the Public Distribution System through decentralisation and the active involvement of States.

Taliban denies reports
Afghanistan's ruling Taliban today denied news reports that the militia has imposed restrictions on the religious and cultural practices of Hindus settled there. The Taliban embassy spokesman, Mr. Mohammad Shaheen, expressed surprise over the reports in a section of the Indian media.

Panja removed from key posts
The dissident Trinamool Congress MP and former Union Minister, Mr. Ajit Panja, was today removed from all key party posts for his alleged anti-party activities.


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