Telephone Obsession

Pandit Sukh Ram, the former communications
minister, was in the headlines and stories of almost all dailies
and magazines in August 1996. Allegations of corruptions. Raids
on his residences. Cash haul of Rs 4 crore. CBI interrogations.
Lie detection moments … And the final by rubbing the salt in
the wounds of Panditji was his expulsion from the Congress party.

Over two-and-half years, now after that
episode, Sukh Ram is active in politics. Not as a Congress
nominee or as a UF partner. But as the leader of a new party,
Himachal Vikas Party, in Himachal Pradesh. With the poll dates
announced for the 12th Lok Sabha, the man is gearing up to face
the election with conviction. His party has been recognized as a
regional party by the Election Commission. And it may sound
ironical, but it’s a reality: the instrument which had
almost jeopardized his political career has become his election
symbol. The telephone. Is it Panditji’s good omen? Or
EC’s light hour in a busy time. Whatever one may perceive,
Panditji’s reason would be that the symbol would attract
mass attention considering the spectacular development made by
his state in telecommunications. Whether Sukh Ram’s
obsession for the telephone will help him in the elections or
boomerang—await till the polls in the state on 22 February.

Cellular Indicators For
Asia-Pacific
Country Cellular Standards Cellular
Teledensity*
Australia AMPS 20.86
China AMPS, TACS, ETDMA, GSM 0.56
Hong Kong AMPS, CDMA, ETACS, GSM, TACS, TDMA 12.97
India GSM 0.01
Indonesia AMPS, ETDMA, GSM, NMT, NAMPS 0.28
Japan JTACS, NTT, PDC 8.15
Malaysia AMPS, DCS, ETACS, GSM, NMT 7.39
New Zealand AMPS, GSM 10.80
The Philippines AMPS, ETACS, NAMPS, GSM 1.38
Singapore AMPS, DCS, ETACS, GSM, NMT 10.25
South Korea AMPS, CDMA 7.02
Taiwan AMPS, GSM 4.52
Thailand AMPS, DCS, GSM, NMT, NAMPS 2.50
Vietnam DAMPS, GSM 0.09
Source:
ITU.    * 1996 figures.

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