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It was like the festivals of Holi and Diwali being celebrated together on the streets of Patna as hundreds of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) workers smeared colour on each other and burst firecrackers to hail the interim Railway Budget presented by party chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad in parliament Friday.

The RJD chief's supporters, mostly workers and leaders of the party, also took out celebratory marches to the accompaniment of drums, shouted his praise and danced on the streets to popular tunes. Reports of celebrations came in from other Bihar cities too.

'It is time for us to celebrate and pray to god to bless Lalu Prasad to become the prime minister of India and make a similar turnaround like he has done to the railways,' said Chotu Singh, a RJD leader and a die-hard supporter of Lalu Prasad, a view echoed by many on the streets.

The people on the streets were full of praise for the minister's move to cut train fares and also announce the start of a bullet train from Patna to Delhi.

'I heard that Lalu Prasad has not hiked train fares and instead has cut fares by two percent, it is a people-friendly step. He has proved his innings to be a successful one,' said Shakaldeo Kumar, a businessman.

Gopi Lal Sharma, sitting at a tea shop in Maurya Lok market complex, said that Lalu Prasad should be given another term as railway minister.

However, Lalu Prasad's rivals, particularly the ruling alliance of Janata Dal-United and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters, criticized the Railway Budget like they have in the past.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar described the Railway Budget as nothing but an 'election budget'.

'There is nothing in it except a rail budget for the next parliament elections,' Kumar said.

Lalu Prasad introduced 43 new trains and said feasibility studies were on for starting 'bullet trains' in the country.


We don't want to sound as the devil's advocate but looking at the rising tensions between India and Pakistan it is looking like the clouds of war are looming over the skies. It has been a teething issue of militancy and cross border terrorism that has been happening from decades that has spoiled the peace and economy of the country in many ways.

But the recent terror attacks in Mumbai have been a straight shot on the heart. India is not taking it easily and they have indicated strongly of air attacks if their demands are not met. On the other hand, Taliban has declared it is ready to fight if Pakistan is attacked. Given the hawk eye of the US government on Taliban this is more than a reason for them to weed out the extremists and once US involves then the magnitude of this battle will change for sure.

While the fear is still high on many quarters and the three forces of defense- army, air and naval have been gearing up in full strength and Pakistan being adamant on their stand it will not be long before a war ten times more higher than Kargil will take place and a skirmish in the sub continent would mean an inevitable war involving other powerful nations of the world.


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Types:  Astrological wheel, Fortune Telling, Palmistry, Tarot cards, Sign of the zodiac.

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Hyderabad: Save your plans of investing in gold till the last week of January as prices are expected to dip then. Avoid a trip to north India before February 20 as the region is likely to be hit by an earthquake within the first one and half months. Also, stay away from fire as fire accidents might see a spurt in 2009. These words of caution come straight from the mouth of those busy reading the stars, checking the planetary positions and taking stock of 2009 before it starts.

Star gazers in and around Hyderabad, who have been calculating the fate of 2009 now feel that the year is definitely going to be more peaceful than the turbulent 2008, which was bid adieu on a rather sombre note.

People are more likely to bend towards spirituality this year. Even the young and restless, who would otherwise not pay much attention to such practices, will also be drawn towards it. “Bhakti Bhavana is on the cards,’’ says noted astrologer Daivagna Sharma adding that it is the young and especially children who would hold centre stage in 2009. “Children will outshine the rest of the crowd with their extraordinary performance in every field. Their creative talent will be showcased like never before,’’ he says. Women too are predicted to steal the show in 2009. Like Daivagna puts it, “everything they venture into will make them successful’’. Though some cast a doubt on their security in the New Year, most agree that its the year of the fairer sex.

Besides bright kids and ladies, even our politicians would be talked about a lot this year, say astrologers, predicting a major political upheaval.A lot of action in this area would also include regional parties coming to the forefront and hogging tremendous limelight.

“The political turmoil could well lead to an Indo-Pak war,’’ says Kurnool-based astrologer Pelala Prem Kumar who sees a threat call from the neighbours looming large in 2009. M R L Rao of Vishakapatanam, whose readings predict similar situations, however, asks his countrymen not to worry. “Even if we are faced with a war, India will emerge as winner,’’ he says adding that his calculations clearly hint towards some violent outbursts that will primarily target theatres, temples and other places of worship and recreation clubs. His predictions also include epidemic-related deaths by the mid or fag end of the year across cities.

That such tragedies will take a toll on the economic quotient of the country is also a highlight of these readings. Though Daivagna feels that markets will gain some stability in 2009, his fellow star gazers like Chanda Gorakh and Vasudeva Rao do not see any such hope at least till September. “The share market will crash further in the first half of the year with the period from January to March facing maximum crisis. Things might get better later but definitely not before September or October when figures can cross the 10,000 mark,’’ says Vasudeva.

Amid such turmoil, areas like science and technology, music, sports and films are expected to make good business. In fact C Vijaya Raghavacharyulu a vedic scholar and jyotish from Tirupati feels that the country will also prosper in agriculture with the skies indicating good rains this year.



After being left out of the Rest of India squad for the Irani Trophy, former India captain Sourav Ganguly has been included in the Indian Test squad for the first two Tests against Australia. The buzz doing the rounds is that the series will be Ganguly's last and he is likely to announce his retirement after the series. Over the last year, Ganguly has made over 1,000 runs in Test cricket at an impressive average of nearly 45, which is above his career average. However, he failed to do much during the Sri Lanka tour and had scored less than 100 runs. Is the BCCI being unfair to the all-rounder?

Is the BCCI being fair to Sourav Ganguly?
 Give your comments Yes or No


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