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Wednesday, September 2, 1998
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Tandon drops bombshell, opposes
people's commission
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 1 — By coming out openly against the people's commission, the BJP Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, today dropped a political bombshell at the doorstep of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Mr Badal is yet to react on the setting up of the commission.

Mr Tandon said today that the Punjab government, in which his party is also a partner, must take action as the setting up of the commission was a highly condemnable act. He and his party has conveyed their views against the commission to the Punjab Chief Minister.

When asked what was the response of Mr Badal, the BJP Minister said that the Chief Minister wanted to have a detailed discussion on the issue.

However, before the meeting could take place, the BJP Minister has come out openly against the commission that will certainly politically embarrass the Chief Minister, who only yesterday faced another political embarrassment due to a statement issued by the BJP spokesman, Mr K.L. Sharma.

Mr K.L. Sharma had stated that Mr Badal had never raised the issues pertaining to Punjab before the Union Government led by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. Mr Badal had to refute the statement of Mr Sharma.

Mr Tandon said that there was no question of police officials or other officers appearing before the commission as it was not a legal body. Having a further dig at the commission, Mr Tandon said that tomorrow some group would set up a parallel High Court, a Supreme Court or even the office of Chief Minister and Chief Secretary.

When reminded that the Akali Dal in its election manifesto had promised to set up such a commission, Mr Tandon said that this question should be addressed to Mr Badal.

When asked whether Mr Sharma's statement had caused a politically awkward situation for Mr Badal, the BJP Minister said that perhaps Mr Sharma did not know the facts about issues pertaining to Punjab. He said that Mr Badal had taken up Punjab's demands with the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister.

He said it was not necessary that the party spokesman must know everything pertaining to every state. He said that he would talk to Mr Sharma in this connection. The BJP's stand on Punjab's demands were known he added.

Meanwhile, political observers said that the BJP's top brass in Punjab was under tremendous pressure from within the party to take a stand against the commission.

Already, Ms Luxmi Kanta Chawla a BJP MLA has threatened to organise dharnas against the peoples commission wherever it held its sittings. Other political outfits, including the Congress party, had also criticised the commission. back

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