Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh to turn 90 on Wednesday

New Delhi, Apr.14 (ANI): Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh DFC will turn 90 on April 15.

The Marshal of the Air Force was born on April 15, 1919 at Lyallpur. He was educated at Montgomery and later at Government College, Lahore.

In 1938, he was selected for pilot’s training at Cranwell, UK and was commissioned as a pilot in the Royal Indian Air Force in December 1939. He joined No. 1 Squadron in September 1943. He was awarded the ‘Distinguished Flying Cross’ in 1944, for his outstanding leadership in the Burma Campaign during World War II.

At that point in time, the country was still under the British rule and for an Indian to be awarded such a high honour was indeed a matter of immense pride for the nation.

He was promoted to the rank of Wing Commander in 1945 and attended the first course at Royal Staff College, Bracknell.

After partition, as a Group Captain, he commanded Air Force Station Ambala. In 1949, as an Air Commodore, he was appointed as the Air Officer Commanding Operational Command and in 1952, he was appointed the Air Force Commanding-in-Chief Operational Command.

Subsequently, he held key appointments of AOA, DCAS and VCAS from 1958 to 1964. During 1960, he was specially selected for the Imperial Defence College, UK (later named as the Royal College of Defence Studies).

He was appointed as the Chief of the Air Staff in July 1964. He was the first IAF Chief to be promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal, in December 1965. In recognition of his services of an extremely high order, ad for his leadership during the 1965 War against Pakistan, Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest national award. He retired from the Air Force in July 1969. During his tenure as the Chief of Air Staff, he brought about significant changes in the structure and functioning of the Air Force, to charter it towards a path of strong professional growth.

On retiring from the IAF in July 1969, Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh (Retd) continued to dedicate himself in service of the nation and rendered distinguished service of an exceptionally high order. He served with remarkable success as the Indian Ambassador to Switzerland from 1971-74 and then as High Commissioner to Kenya from 1974-77. Later, he was appointed as Member of the Minorities Commission and the Lt Governor of Delhi State in 1989.

Many officers and airmen, who served with him, still fondly remember the Marshal as a hands-on, non-formal, incisive and humane person, who flew himself to visit stations and units in his Canbarra. He belongs to the breed of rare few individuals who had the difficult task of shaping the IAF not only in its nascent years, but also at several difficult periods. He saw the IAF carry out its assigned operations in the 1962 Indo-China war. He steered the AF through the 1965 war that was forced upon us. His stewardship ensured the defeat of the adversary and his plans. He also guided the Air Force through the post 1965 embargoes and sanctions.

An avid aviator all his serving years, he flew all the types in the IAF during his time, from its inception till the jets and supersonic types. (ANI)

President condoles passing away of Puducherry Lt. Governor

New Delhi, Apr 6 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil has condoled the passing away of Puducherry Lt. Governor Govind Singh Gurjar.

In a condolence message to his wife, Kamlesh Gurjar, the President said, ” Gurjar was a well-known public figure, who worked for the welfare of the people in Rajasthan, during his public life. His passing away is a deep loss for the people, especially for those in Rajasthan.”

Gurjar died following a cardiac arrest here on Monday.

Gurjar, 77, was admitted to a private hospital on March 14 following a massive cardiac arrest when he was visiting his native village in Rajasthan.

He suffered another attack on Monday and was declared dead at 6:00 a.m.

Gurjar was appointed Puducherry Lt. Governor on July 23, 2008. (ANI)

PM condoles passing away of Puducherry Lt. Governor

New Delhi, Apr 6 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has expressed grief over the demise of Puducherry Lt. Governor Govind Singh Gurjar.

In his condolence message, Dr. Singh remembered Gurjar as a prominent leader of Rajasthan and a dedicated social worker.

“Gurjar always kept up the high traditions of public life, and discharged his duties as the Lt. Governor of Puducherry with grace and dignity,” he said.

The Prime Minister conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family.

Gurjar died following a cardiac arrest here on Monday.

Gurjar, 77, was admitted to a private hospital on March 14 following a massive cardiac arrest when he was visiting his native village in Rajasthan.

He suffered another attack on Monday and was declared dead at 6:00 a.m.

Gurjar was appointed Puducherry Lt. Governor on July 23, 2008. (ANI)

Puducherry Lt. Governor dies of a heart attack

New Delhi, Apr. 6 (ANI): Puducherry’s Lieutenant Governor Govind Singh Gurjar died in New Delhi on Monday following a cardiac arrest.

Gurjar, 77, was admitted to a private hospital on March 14 following a massive cardiac arrest when he was visiting his native village in Rajasthan.

He suffered another attack on Monday and was declared dead at 6:00 a.m.

Pudducherry Chief Minister, V. Vaidhilingam and his cabinet ministers have offered condolences on Gurjar’s demise.

The Puducherry administration has declared a holiday for all state government offices.

Gurjar was appointed the Lt. Governor of Puducherry on July 23, 2008. (ANI)

Queen’s Baton unveiled as a prelude to Commonwealth Games 2010

New Delhi, Mar 9 (ANI): The countdown to the Commonwealth Games in 2010 has officially begun. The prototype of Queen’s Baton was unveiled at a spectacular show here last evening.

Delhi Lt. Governor Tejinder Khanna performed the honour to a thunderous applause from the hundreds of enthusiastic sports lovers who had gathered at the India Gate lawns on the eve of Commonwealth Day, celebrated on the second Monday of March every year.

The Queen’s Baton, embedded with the soil of each of India’s 28 states, portrays the rich diversity of India. Equipped with high-tech electronic gadgets and a gold leaf inscribed with the Queen’s message, the Baton also represents the resilient spirit of Indians and their prowess in the field of technology and IT.

“The Baton indicates the soil of all states of India. Secondly, it is high-tech and people expect that if India designs a Baton then it would surely be high-tech.

Wherever the Baton travels, it will show the colour of that country. It clicks photographs and identifies the location where it is present. Short Messaging Service (SMS) can be sent to it which gets recorded and such features are loaded in it,” said Lalit Bhanot, Organising Secretary of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

The cultural extravaganza witnessed a visual pageant including a giant water screen, a show by the ‘Flying Angels’ performers of toll theatre from United Kingdom and classical Indian dances.

The Queen’s Baton will be officially launched by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in November 2009. (ANI)

Steele becomes first African American to head Republican Party

Washington, Jan.31 (ANI): Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor, Michael Steele, has become the first African American to head the Republican National Committee.

According to CBS News, Steele emerged from a crowded field on Friday to become the chairman of the RNC.

“It’s time for something completely different. And, we’re going to bring it to them,” Steele said after his victory.

Later, he called his election “a remarkable moment.”

“We’ve been misdefined as a party that doesn’t care” about minorities and average Americans, Steele said. “Nothing can be further from the truth.”

The most moderate candidate in the field, Steele defeated the more conservative Katon Dawson, the head of the South Carolina GOP, in the sixth round of balloting. He took 91 votes, six more than he needed to win.

Several RNC members called Steele’s win a “historic moment” for the party.

Steele vowed to “cede no ground to anyone on matters of principle” in his victory speech. He said that Republicans “stand proud as the conservative party of the United States.”

Among those Steele defeated in previous rounds were current RNC chair Mike Duncan, Michigan GOP Chair Saul Anuzis, and former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell, who threw his support behind Steele after dropping out of the race after the fourth round of balloting today.

“I believe that the next chairman must inspire hope,” Blackwell said upon endorsing Steele, a fellow African-American.

Republicans have repeatedly expressed concern over the future of their party in the wake of Barack Obama’s victory in the presidential race, with some suggesting the party has to find ways to reach out to voters who do not traditionally gravitate toward the GOP.

In 2003, Steele became the first African-American elected to statewide office in Maryland, when he won the Lt. Governor’s race. He is the current Chairman of GOPAC, a national PAC dedicated to electing Republican candidates in state and local elections.

Born in 1958 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Steele was raised in Washington, DC. He spent three years as a seminarian in the Order of St. Augustine preparing for the priesthood before deciding to pursue a law career. He received a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Steele ran for Senate in Maryland in 2006 but lost to Democrat Ben Cardin. (ANI)

Blagojevich not surprised by 114-1 impeachment vote, vows to fight on

Washington, Jan 10 (ANI): Governor Rod Blagojevich has said that the 114-1 impeachment vote by the Illinois House of Representatives came as no surprise because of his clashes with lawmakers since his re-election in 2006.

Blagojevich was impeached by the Illinois House on a wide array of offenses including criminal corruption and wasting taxpayers’ money, FOX News reported.

Accompanied by his supporters, Blagojevich brushed off corruption accusations at a news conference on Friday by parading several Illinois residents onstage and touted his accomplishments as Governor.

“From the very moment of my re-election, I’ve been engaged in a struggle with the House to get things done for the people,” Blagojevich said, citing his efforts to improve health care and cut property taxes.

“The House has stood in the way of letting that happen,” he said, contending that his impeachment is related to their ongoing dispute and the failure of lawmakers to help Illinois residents.

“The House has failed to act,” he said. “So the House’s actions and the cause of the impeachment are because I’ve done things to fight for families who are with me today.”

The 52-year-old Democrat maintained his innocence, saying he’s “not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing.”

The House impeachment vote on Friday came exactly one month to the day after he was arrested on charges of trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat.

Impeachment required just 60 votes, but Friday’s decision was unprecedented in Illinois history, and sets the stage for a Senate trial on whether he should be thrown out of office for corruption and abuse of power.

Lt. Governor Pat Quinn said he’d hoped embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich would resign after the Illinois House’s impeachment vote. (ANI)