Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
The coroner may have concluded that there was no foul play in legendary singer Michael Jackson's death, but his family is not satisfied. It wants an independent autopsy to determine the cause of the pop singer's death.
The Jackson family is understood to have requested a second independent post-mortem examination of the body.
According to reports, Coroner's investigator said that on Saturday Jackson family told his office, that they wanted a second autopsy carried out, as they still have unanswered questions about MJ's death.
Veteran politician and a friend of MJ's, Reverend Jesse Jackson said the Jacksons were upset because the official cause of death might not be known for weeks.
He said the family wanted answers from the star's personal doctor, Conrad Murray, who was with him when he died.
Jesse Jackson told a news daily "When did the doctor come? What did he do? Did they inject him, if so with what?"
He went missing immediately following the death, which raise questions of substance that will not go away until they are answered.
And while the details of his death are a mystery, so are the details of his funeral.
Jackson's body was handed over to his family on Saturday afternoon, which was taken by them to an undisclosed mortuary. The family is still pondering plans for the King of Pop's funeral and there is no news of when and where will it take place.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The signal has come despite a feeling among most of those who matter in the BJP and the RSS that he is no longer a vote-catcher or a crowd mobiliser.
The irony of a simile borrowed from cricket — Advani is as obsessive about the sport as he is about films — was not lost on the more perceptive executive members. In his concluding remarks, he repeatedly alluded to his party’s defeat (he insisted the drop of 22 seats between 2004 and 2009 was a “setback” and not a “rout”) and said: “When we lost, the people were disappointed exactly the way they get disappointed whenever Sachin Tendulkar gets out in 90s.”
One of the members elaborated on the comparison and said that unlike Tendulkar, who withdrew when he realised he was a far better batsman than captain, Advani was “unwilling to believe his best years are behind him and that it’s time he lets the party move on under a new captain”. Tendulkar was happy being a member of the Indian team, the source pointed out, without “disturbing” its spirit and structure and simultaneously playing to the best of his ability.
The verdict in the BJP is that Advani would not do a Tendulkar. “Initially, everyone in the BJP, including the chief ministers, believed it was a matter of time before the Advani era was over. Now it seems increasingly clear he wants a role for himself, as a player and not a mentor,” an insider said.
At the fag end of his speech, when Advani announced he would tour the country in the coming months, most of the listeners prepared themselves to watch another “yatra” unroll. A source close to Advani, however, claimed it would not be a chariot ride but “meetings to pep up the morale of our workers”.
A prelude to yet another tenure as the BJP president when the incumbent, Rajnath Singh, demits office in September this year? In his first briefing after the two-day session, spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy was asked why Advani had arrogated to himself the role of revving up the party when a president was in place. He was mum.
Advani rejected the suggestion. When journalists in Coorg, where he is now holidaying, asked whether he would take over as party president, Advani said: “No chance.”
The doubts over Advani’s role arose because when he was made the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha — the most coveted role for an out-of-power leader — the “understanding” between the BJP and the RSS was it was a holding operation.
By the end of 2009, the BJP will have a new president. This appointment is expected to trigger a number of changes at the top, underpinned by the strategy that it was time to usher in the “younger generation” and prepare the party to take on a Rahul Gandhi-spearheaded Congress in 2014. Advani is 82 and if he is to lead the next election, he will be 87.
Yet in his address on June 21, Advani tactically avoided a mention of the second generation of leaders in the BJP as he deplored the party’s “train compartment” mentality “which makes those in leadership positions ignore promising, talented and committed cadres who are ‘standing outside’ and waiting for the door to open.... We must identify, train, groom and empower third, fourth and fifth generation leaders....”
“How can the second rung move up if those at the top of the queue are not moving?” an insider asked.
Sources said the initial assessment was if, for instance, Sushma Swaraj (57), who was appointed the deputy leader of the parliamentary party and effectively functioned as Advani’s number two in the Lok Sabha, was elevated as the leader of the Opposition, the message would be the generational change the BJP had been talking of since 2004 was a reality. A part of the strategy was put in place after Arun Jaitley (also 57) was made the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
Both these appointments were jointly decided by the BJP and the RSS. At 59, the new RSS chief, Mohanrao Bhagwat is considered “young” by the organisation’s geriatric standards. “The Sangh works through signals and insinuations. It hoped the BJP would get the message about a generational transition with Mohanraoji’s anointment,” an RSS source said.
The sources said the RSS was also convinced that “public perceptions” about a leader were as important as other criteria such as acceptability within the party and organisational skills. A BJP functionary of Sangh provenance, who used to have reservations about Jaitley and Sushma, conceded: “On the perception scale, they score higher over their peers. Jaitley has a positive image, he is articulate and has worked as a general secretary in most states. So he cannot be faulted for being out of touch with the organisation. Sushma is an asset, she has charisma and after Vajpayee and Advani, she is our best orator.”
This is why the oblique attacks against Jaitley by Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie were criticised by veterans like Sunderlal Patwa at the executive. “These persons are outsiders to the Sangh. Yet, each one of them got the best of the NDA government. That’s why their remarks were dismissed with the contempt they deserved. Jaitley has come in through the ABVP (the Sangh’s student wing),” a source said.
But with Advani digging in his heels, all eyes are on the RSS to see if it can implement the second part of its blueprint for change. “The Sangh has not revealed its hand right now because there are pulls and pressures within,” a source said.
One section wants the Sangh to keep off the BJP and chart a “modernisation” course for itself before delivering homilies to the party. The other believes that it should continue being pro-active.