Kolkata: Expressing her deep anguish over the way BJP spent money, polarised voters and used the institutions to win the Lok Sabha poll, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said it would open a dangerous trend in Indian democracy in the coming years. She also expressed her doubt over the alleged tampering of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during the entire election process.The Bharatiya Janata Party alone secured 303 of 542 Lok Sabha seats, while the Congress won 52 seats. In Bengal, the TMC won 22 out of 42 seats, while the BJP raised its tally from two seats in 2014 to 18 this year. The Congress won only two seats here while the Left Front was completely routed. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaAddressing her first press conference at her Kalighat residence on Saturday evening since the announcement of results, Banerjee said she had wished to resign as the Chief Minister but her party leaders did not endorse it. She met the core committee members and those who had contested in the Lok Sabha election along with the district presidents and observers. “I cannot accept the way BJP has used money power and all the institutions to win votes. There has been total polarisation. This is a dangerous trend for Indian democracy. I had expressed my willingness to resign but my party leaders turned it down,” she said. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersBanerjee alleged that the Election Commission of India had functioned in tandem with the BJP. “We had lodged several complaints but the EC did not pay any heed to them. For the past five months, the state government could not work and even now the Code of Conduct has not been withdrawn, she said and added: “There are more than 200 companies of Central Forces and we have to pay money for their maintenance. Where from we will get money. They had withdrawn the Central Forces from Jangalmahal and Darjeeling which are vulnerable areas.” She further maintained that though “one cannot say anything against the Judiciary but recently many of its judgments have raised questions. Where should we go to register our grievances?” Banerjee said the party has increased its vote share by 5 percent but lost 18 seats. She said she had never seen the way BJP had spent money in the recent election. “Development took a back seat and they won the election by spending lakhs of rupees. BJP leaders along with the Central Force personnel had visited the houses of voters and spent Rs 5000 for every vote. This is unfortunate.” Coming down heavily on the CPI(M), she said the party made “suicidal attempts to help BJP to win the polls. The Left Front vote has come down to 7 percent from 29 percent and 22 percent votes have gone in favour of BJP.” She also said the BJP has resorted to violence in many places and has tried to create fear psychosis among the people. “The police do not report to me as it is under the Election Commission but my government would have controlled it,” she said further adding: “The party offices which the BJP have taken over will be brought back soon.” Banerjee did not rule out the tampering of the Electronic Voting Machines. “I will not elaborate the matter now. Experts are working on it. But how come Congress has not got a single seat in Delhi or Rajasthan where it had formed the government a few months ago. I will talk on the subject later,” she said. “When Rajiv Gandhi had got 400 plus seats in the Lok Sabha, nobody questioned but why are people raising doubts this time. It should be looked into.” Banerjee said she would cooperate with the Centre and support all the democratic decisions but will oppose all the decisions which that are “undemocratic and affects secularism.” The TMC chief also brought major changes in the district leadership and said she would meet the leaders once again on May 31.
By: Express Web Desk | Updated: August 15 Noor Sheikh (24) came back early morning and was later whisked away by sleuths of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and grilled through the day.By: PTI | Los Angeles | Published: January 30 The reason — the horses and the pony have been kept with NGO Animal Rahat in Sangli; while AWBI is not ready to bring them to Pune, Share This Article Related Article An additional sum of Rs 8 crore has been allotted for “extracurricular activities such as theatre, which is slated to release on December 18. and so I cherish every moment we play each other in a big tournament,“This centre has been hugely successful Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin both won their 100-meter semifinal heats and are set to resume their tense rivalry later Sunday in the final. who played in her first match since having ACL surgery in December. prepared by the Directorate of Economic and Statistics,the most significant sequence of events in the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.
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South Africans are tipped to access affordable internet.(Image: Bongani Nkosi)Broadband pundits are predicting internet connection rates in South Africa to drop by between 20% and 25% in the next 12 months. Most of the executives who spoke at the My Broadband conference in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, on 20 October forecast that prices will drop significantly in the next year, citing new infrastructure developments and escalating competition in the industry.Broadband wholesaler and network operator Neotel forecast price cuts of about 20%. Underwater cable operator Seacom’s Suveer Ramdhani said they expect international rates to drop by between 20% and 25%.South Africans who are connected to networks are now using more broadband, a trend that’s a plus to the growth of the young industry. “You’ll see costs dropping in the next 12 months. People are using more bandwidth,” said communications company Telkom’s managing executive Steve Lewis.Since the introduction of the Eassy and Seacom fibre optic cables, rates are said to have come down by about 40%. Eassy came online this year, while Seacom has been operational since 2009.“It’s great to see that prices have come down,” said Ryan Sher of Eassy. “There’s now more competition,” he added.“As an industry we’ve been keen to bring down prices,” said Sameer Dave of mobile provider MTN.There has certainly been an upsurge of mobile internet usage across the country. More and more South Africans now have Facebook accounts. Thousands of youngsters use Mxit and other chat sites. This is a prevailing trend even in rural areas where broadband connectivity is limited, and is aided by a range of data packages offered by all of South Africa’s mobile networks.“Prices are coming down, it’s a continuous evolution,” said mobile operator Vodacom’s CEO Pieter Uys.A great number of South Africans are currently without access to broadband connectivity. Of the estimated population of 47-million, between one and four million are said to be connected. This is blamed on inaccessibility to fibre optic networks in many areas, and excessively high rates for both internet service providers and consumers.“Local tariffs are still high, they have to drop,” said Uys.Infrastructure being improvedMobile service provider Cell C has embarked on a campaign to broaden its HSPA+ 900 network across the country. It’s already covered most of Port Elizabeth, where it started in September, and is aiming to have 34% of the country on the network by the end of 2010, with 64% connectivity by 2011.“We’re really serious about bringing the internet to the 45-million have-nots,” said Cell C’s CEO Lars Reichelt.The provider’s services have become the fastest in South Africa at 5.23 Mbps, surpassing other internet service providers including Telkom, Mweb, Vodacom, MTN and Internet Solutions. “Cell C is number one in terms of speed,” said Reichelt.He predicts that South Africa’s broadband capacity will improve within the next 12 months. “The amount of fibre that we have coming up is unbelievable. It is good news and we have to be smart about embracing it.”The West Africa Cable System fibre optic infrastructure is scheduled to go live by mid-2011. The 14 000km-long submarine network is predicted to be the next most exciting broadband connectivity development for Africa.Vodacom’s Uys said the group has also improved its infrastructure, having replaced all their equipment in Johannesburg over the last 18 months.The state-owned Broadband Infraco will launch in the third week of November, opening its fibre optic network for usage by internet service providers, which include the likes of Vodacom, Cell C, iBurst, MTN and a range of others. Infraco is focused on widening connectivity to provinces that are currently underserved.DOC and Icasa urgedThe industry called on the Department of Communications and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa to play more decisive roles in regulating the telecommunications industry. “We need a strong DoC and a strong Icasa,” said John Holdsworth, CEO of telecoms group ECN.Icasa “should stand up and take control” over the current 89 cents charged for interconnection between mobile networks, Holdsworth said. “The interconnection rate is too high.”Internet rates in South Africa remain high compared to that of many countries, despite recent industry developments.8.ta bringing competitionIntroduced on 18 October, Telkom’s new mobile network 8.ta promised to “disrupt” the telecommunications industry. 8.ta became the fourth mobile network operator in South Africa, thereby increasing competition.Like the three other network operators, MTN, Vodacom and Cell C, 8.ta is also offering data services. Industry analysts have predicted tough times ahead as the new network attempts to penetrate the market, given that Cell C, which became a third mobile network operator in 2001, is yet to reach its maximum customer base.Virgin Mobile relies completely on Cell C’s network, therefore isn’t considered a mobile network operator but a units reseller.Telkom is confident of the network’s prospects. “We really believe this will succeed,” said Lewis.The network already enjoys a nationwide connectivity through its 800 new base stations. Telkom also signed agreements with Vodacom and MTN’s to roam on their infrastructure. “We’re starting to disrupt the market,” Lewis said.He added that they want to make broadband more affordable.More competition is good for consumers, the experts agreed. “We embrace competition. It’s good for everybody, for us and the consumers,” said Uys.