|N A T I O N|
|DMK rules out
support to BJP
CHENNAI, Sept 19 DMK president M. Karunanidhi today said he was not ruling out extending outside support to the Congress to form a government at the Centre if the Vajpayee ministry fell.
BJP to go ahead with Vananchal, Uttaranchal
BANGALORE, Sept 19 The BJP said today its coalition government would go ahead with the creation of new Vananchal and Uttaranchal States. Despite "threats" by RJD leader Laloo Prasad Yadav and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
|PM stresses on alliance 'dharma'
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee says that the BJP-led coalition partners should practice the "dharma" of alliance for the sake of stability and rejected suggestions that his government faced any threat from "happenings" in Tamil Nadu.
govt is the answer: Venkataraman
shrugs off Cauvery row
against BJP minister rejected
festivities: Wodeyar sets terms
of Red Fort opposed
DMK rules out support to BJP
CHENNAI, Sept 19 (PTI) DMK president M. Karunanidhi today said he was not ruling out extending outside support to the Congress to form a government at the Centre if the Vajpayee ministry fell.
He told reporters here that a decision in this regard would be taken collectively by the CPM, the CPI and the DMK at a meeting in Delhi in the middle of October, which would also formalise the proposal to form a third front.
He ruled out the possibility of the DMK extending support to the BJP government. "BJP is not a secular party. It cannot prove its secular credentials as it has not given up its Hindutva principles and Ram temple construction programme," he said.
Mr Karunanidhi said the Congress was a secular party. Even though it did not take steps to stop the demolition of Babri masjid in 1992. Despite the fact that Army was stationed just 11 km away from the disputed site on that day.
When reporters pointed out that he had expressed reservations on the CPM and the CPIs proposal extending outside support to the Congress, he said "I was angry with them as they did not consult the DMK on the issue".
"Everything is settled now with CPM general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet and CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan clarifying their position personally to me," he said.
Mr Bardhan called on Mr Karunanidhi this evening and discussed the latest political situation with him.
Mr Karunanidhi said he had seen newspaper reports that the DMK was desperately trying to woo the BJP during Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayees recent visit to Chennai.
We had both hugged each other and posed for photographs. This did not mean that we are moving closer to the BJP. It is not the DMKs culture to show any disrespect to the leaders of Opposition, whatever might be the differences at the political level, he said.
The DMK chief said if the Congress had not withdrawn its support to the Gujral Government, elections would not have been held and the BJP would not have come to power.
Recently, the Left had stated that it would extend support to the Congress to form the government in case the BJP government fell, without even consulting us, he said. However, this would not affect our relationship with the state unit of the CPM, and the DMK would fight the next general election only in alliance with it, he said.
The DMK chief said there
was no need for the DMK to confront the central
government on all issues. The state would continue to
fight the Centre only on issues affecting the interests
of people, like the imposition of Hindi and more powers
for states, the Chief Minister said.
BJP to go ahead with Vananchal, Uttaranchal
BANGALORE, Sept 19 (PTI) The BJP said today its coalition government would go ahead with the creation of new Vananchal and Uttaranchal States. Despite "threats" by RJD leader Laloo Prasad Yadav and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
"No amount of threats will stop formation of these states", the BJP general secretary, M. Venkaiah Naidu, told reporters here. Even as he charged Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav with trying to "rouse peoples passions" on Vananchal and create violence.
Mr Naidu said "nobody cares for Laloos threats" and warned him that his attempts to stoke peoples feelings would only "boomerang on him". The BJP-led government was also committed to the creation of Chhattisgarh state, he said.
Accusing Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav and the Rabri Devi government of "political flip flop" by backing out on creating tribal dominated Vananchal, he said "it appears Laloos social justice ends where justice to tribals begins".
Mr Naidu said having been driven to the wall because of the Rabri Devi governments "failure on all fronts" and fearing central action against the state government, the RJD leader was trying to divert peoples attention and "arouse parochial feelings".
All major parties, he said, had made a mention about Vananchal in their manifestos and "there is no question of going back".
Mr Naidu also deplored the dissolution of the Jharkhand Autonomous Council by the Bihar government, describing it as "an assault on aspirations of the tribal people".
Reiterating that the BJP was against the misuse of Article 356 of the Constitution, he said the party was "working towards a textbook example on the imposition of Presidents rule on Bihar".
He said the BJP felt that Bihar was "a fit case" for imposing Presidents rule and the party was confident that the Centre "understands the mood of the people and the need of the hour and take constitutional corrective steps".
Asked when the Rabri Devi government would be dismissed, he said it was for the Centre to decide.
Mr Naidu said opponents of the BJP had now given up hopes of forming an alternative government and "everybody is reconciled to the fact that the government is stable".
Delhi to lift ban on packed
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 The Delhi Government today decided to lift the ban on the sale of packed mustard oil in the Capital from Wednesday. Ban on the sale of loose oil would, however, continue.
The Cabinet decided to lift the ban almost a month after it was imposed. The Delhi High Court had imposed the ban on the sale of loose mustard oil in the Capital on August 26.
So far nearly 60 persons in Delhi have died due to dropsy caused by the consumption of adulterated mustard oil.
Delhi Chief Minister, Sahib Singh Verma, said that mustard oil would be sold in 10 to 20-litre tins only, adding that the people should form groups and buy the oil to share among themselves.
He said that the existing stock of mustard oil with the traders would be tested by the Prevention of Food Adulteration Department and other notified laboratories before being sold in the open market. The traders found in the possession of adulterated oil would be prosecuted, he added.
The Cabinet decided to lift the ban as it felt that many innocent traders were being harassed for no fault of theirs, he said, adding that adulteration was due to a bigger conspiracy.
Moreover, the season to sow mustard crop was round the corner and the ban has been lifted to prevent any shortfall in the production, he added.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Government has decided to go in appeal against the Supreme Court order phasing out all 15-year-old commercial vehicles buses, trucks, taxis and autorickshaws a major source of air pollution in the Capital from October 2.
Mr Sahib Singh Verma said that the state government would move the Apex Court to allow the old commercial vehicles to ply in the Capital after these changed engines.
The major source of air pollution was due to old and worn-out engines and once these are replaced these would be under the eco-friendly clause, he said.
The Supreme Court had categorically ordered that "there is no way we are going to extend the deadline beyond October 2 for certain aged commercial vehicles in Delhi."
There are about 8574 autorickshaws, 1652 taxis, 5947 commercial vehicles and 1840 buses which are more than 15-year-old and would be affected the court order.
Mr Verma said that the government would move the court as the implementation of the order would render thousands of persons jobless and this situation could be avoided if the engines of the vehicles were replaced.
Moreover, many vehicle owners would not be in a position to buy a new vehicle and replacing the engine would be a better alternative.
In another development,
the Cabinet has approved the freedom fighters' pension
per month as Rs 2251. It has also decided to allow the
freedom fighters to avail the "best" medical
care "anywhere" and the expenses would be borne
by the state government, Delhi Chief Minister said.
Scindia favours Cong going it alone
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 (PTI) AICC general secretary Madhavrao Scindia yesterday favoured the party going it alone in elections, but suggested the Congress play the role of a senior partner if it forged alliances as was done in Maharashtra during the last Lok Sabha poll.
A party of an All-India nature should not enter into an alliance as a junior partner as it would run the risk of perpetuating such a situation, Mr Scindia told PTI. He, however, made it clear that this was his personal view.
Mr Scindia said the only option left for the revival of the Congress in several states, including the key states of UP and Bihar, was to stand on its own legs as going into alliances there with a lower share of seats is like committing suicide.
Mr Scindia disfavoured a tie-up with the BSP in Madhya Pradesh for the assembly elections in November where the main contest was between the BJP and the Congress.
There are certain states where there is no third force. We should try to ensure that we do not unwittingly allow the entry of a third force, he said when asked about Madhya Pradesh.
He, however, said a final decision on alliances, including the one in Madhya Pradesh, rested with the Congress Working Committee.
Mr Scindia said the party had not taken any decision to project certain leaders as chief ministerial candidates for the coming assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Mizoram.
On the reasons for the partys poor performance in recent years, the CWC member said: The country has always been a coalition of interests and diversities and the Congress has always represented that coalition through the years.
It is only when some sections feel that for some reason their interest is not being catered to by the Congress, they go to a regional party or any other party representing narrow interests, he said.
He said at the just concluded Pachmarhi conclave of senior party leaders, the party introspected on the political situation and took far-reaching decisions which would help it to once again represent the coalition of interests and diversities.
Disagreeing with the notion that the country had entered into an era of coalition governance, he said the one dominant party scenario could be re-established if the Congress continues to represent that very same coalition.
The AICC general secretary disputed the opinion that the Pachmarhi session had helped the shaky BJP-led coalition to stabilise.
We are not involved in toppling games... the BJP-led coalition is unstable not because the Congress is trying to unseat it but due to its own internal contradictions, Mr Scindia said, adding that these contradictions existed between the BJP and its allies as also within the BJP itself.
The resignation move of senior Gujarat Minister Suresh Mehta and the sharp tussle within the BJP in UP, Delhi and other states were examples of differences in the BJP, he said.
Asked about the disappointment of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Morcha (RLM) comprising the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, over decisions at Pachmarhi, Mr Scindia said: We have taken a responsible and mature line. We have done nothing to upset them.
He also sought to make it clear that the Pachmarhi declaration had not named any party as a casteist force. We have certainly talked about the dangers of casteism...if the Samajwadi Party thinks we are implying them, then it is unfortunate.
Asked whether the reported decision of the Samajwadi Party to contest all assembly seats in Rajasthan would divide the anti-BJP votes, he said it was for those parties to think about it.
PM stresses on alliance 'dharma'
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 (PTI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee says that the BJP-led coalition partners should practice the "dharma" of alliance for the sake of stability and rejected suggestions that his government faced any threat from "happenings" in Tamil Nadu.
"The government stability is possible only through stable and principled coalitions. This places an obligation on all political parties to practice the "dharma" of alliance, in keeping with the wishes of the people who have voted us to power and govern the country, he said in an interview to a Tamil weekly "Nakkeeran".
Mr Vajpayee said he would even say that ruling and opposition parties should adhere to certain basic principles for parliamentary democracy to deliver the goods.
He said India had entered the era of coalitions and "all of us are still new to coalition politics".
The Prime Minister said it was the people of Tamil Nadu who gave a resounding verdict in favour of a BJP-led government at the Centre.
"But I do not agree
that there is any threat to my government because of the
happenings in Tamil Nadu. I deeply value the association
with AIADMK and other parties in the coalition. Ms
Jayalalitha is an important member of our alliance and I
am fully confident that we can resolve everything through
mutual dialogue, he said.
Consensual govt is the answer: Venkataraman
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 (PTI) Former President R. Venkataraman today mooted the idea of a consensual form of government to overcome the political instability since 1989 forcing successive governments to fight for survival and leaving little time for work.
Stating that since 1989 the Union Government had consisted of several diverse and incompatible parties pulling in different directions, Mr Venkataraman compared the present situation to that of a tail wagging the head.
Each constituent unit of the government insists on its demands with a threat of disruption of the government. Governments spend all their time to survive and have hardly any time to serve the nation and the people, he said.
The former President was speaking at a seminar on Stable government in India organised here by the Indian Radical Humanist Association and the Indian Renaissance Institute.
Describing true democracy as one in which all shades of opinion jointly participated in decision making and in administration, he suggested a government by consensus where the Prime Minister would be elected by the Lok Sabha by single transferable vote and would have a fixed tenure.
Ministers, too, would be elected by the same process from both Houses under the new pattern in which MPs would be elected as under the French model whereby if no candidate got the majority of the votes cast, there would be a run-off between the top two candidates, he said.
In support of his case, the former President cited the example of Nehrus Cabinet during 1950-52 which included non-Congressmen like S.P. Mukherji, Dr B.R. Ambedkar and K.C. Neogy.
Suggesting a similar cabinet comprising talent from all sections of Parliament, Mr Venkataraman said: We have to get over certain fixation of mind developed over the years through confrontational party politics.
Disagreeing with Mr Venkataraman, former Janata Dal President S.R. Bommai said though a partyless democracy was the ideal situation, it was not a practical proposition.
Patel shrugs off Cauvery row
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 (PTI) Karnataka Chief Minister J.H. Patel today refused to be drawn into the Cauvery water controversy with Tamil Nadu and said his state was releasing water everyday.
I do not want to re-enter into the Cauvery issue, he told reporters when asked to comment on the complaint by his Tamil Nadu counterpart M. Karunanidhi and AIADMK supremo Jayalalitha about reduced quantum of water released by Karnataka.
Karnataka had been releasing water from K.R. Sagar and Kabini dams to Tamil Nadu, he said, adding may be for one month there was shortage of about five to ten tmcft of water and this has been made up for.
Asked to comment on Mr Karunanidhi writing a letter to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on the inadequate storage of water at Mettur Dam, Mr Patel said for Karunanidhi Cauvery is not an issue but something else, indirectly hitting at the political rivalry between Ms Jayalalitha and Mr Karunanidhi.
PIL against BJP minister rejected
CUTTACK, Sept 19 (UNI) The Orissa High Court has dropped a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking dismissal of Coal Minister Dilip Ray from the Vajpayee Government because of the vigilance case against him.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr S.N. Phukan and Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat yesterday disposed of the petition filed by Congress MLA from Rourkela Pravat Mahapatra after the state Vigilance Department submitted that its case against the minister, for possessing disproportionate assets to his known sources of income, was under investigation.
Earlier, while taking
cognisance of the petitioners allegation that the
Vigilance Department had slept over the matter since June
1996, the court had directed the agency to submit a
report about the progress of its investigation in the
case by September 18.
Dasehra festivities: Wodeyar sets terms
MYSORE, Sept 19 (PTI) A truce seems to have been reached between the Karnataka Government and scion of the Mysore royal family Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar over the smooth conduct of the Dasehra festival, beginning on September 21, with the former sending Mysore Divisional Commissioner to meet Wodeyar.
Mr Wodeyar said here today that Divisional Commissioner Raju Premkumar, acting as emissary, had met him and he had been apprised about the conditions for lending out the golden "howdah", to be used for the festivities. Mr Premkumar was supposed to return with a written reply from the government.
Mr Wodeyars conditions are that the "howdah" has to be insured. It would be made available on the morning of the day of the Dasehra procession, and should be returned the same night. He has insisted on the fulfilment of these conditions through a written undertaking.
Mr Wodeyar said he would
commence his poojas in the early hours of September 21.
The poojas, according to tradition, ought to have
commenced on September 18. However, since the officials
of the Directorate of Archaeology did not turn up to
assemble the throne in the palace, another feature of the
festivities, the poojas could not be held.
Renaming of Red Fort opposed
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 (UNI) Mr G.M. Banatwalla, MP, today opposed the proposal to rename the Red Fort, stating that it was aimed at suppressing history.
Expressing shock over Home Minister L.K. Advanis reported statement on a proposal to rename the Red Fort after Netaji Subhas Chander Bose, Mr Banatwalla said such motivated changes were highly objectionable.
There can be no two
opinions on the greatness of Subhas Chander Bose. But it
is white clear that the proposed change is motivated by
the unfortunate consideration to suppress a chapter in
the history of our country, The Indian Union Muslim
League leader said in a statement.
|Durga Puja amid
CALCUTTA: Battered by floods and rains, West Bengal prepares for its annual tryst with Goddess Durga this year with the festivities beginning with Mahalaya on September 20. Mahalaya, marks the end of Pitripaksha, dedicated to the memory of ancestors and the beginning of Devipaksha, the advent of the goddess. In the ravaged districts of Murshidabad and Malda in North Bengal. The construction of pandals is being taken up side by side with relief measures. This is so because the mother goddess is worshipped as the saviour from all evils. PTI
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