Monday, January 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

BJP ultimatum to INLD on seats
Chautala is unrelenting
Tribune News Service

NARNAUND (Hisar), Jan 9 — The state unit of the BJP today served an ultimatum on its alliance partner, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), saying it would either contest 35 seats or all 90 assembly seats. It also unilaterally announced its candidate for Narnaund constituency.

Addressing a public rally here today, the state BJP President, Mr Om Prakash Grover, again staked his party’s claim to 35 seats in the coming assembly elections in the state. He claimed that the BJP was in a position to contest all 90 seats on its own as the “charisma of Mr Vajpayee still prevails”.

He alleged that the INLD leader, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, was unilaterally announcing candidates for various assembly segments without consulting the BJP. He said, “Alliance can only be built on trust and not on mistrust”. Mr Grover announced the name of Mr Ram Kumar Gautam as the BJP candidate from Narnaund.

Narnaund was represented by Mr Jaswant Singh in the dissolved assembly who won it on the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) ticket. He subsequently joined the INLD and was a minister in the Chautala government.

Another senior BJP leader, Mr Ram Bilas Sharma, claimed that the two parties had “agreed in principle” to contest seats in the 55:35 ratio. He said a meeting of the leaders of the two parties was held recently, which was attended, among others, by the BJP General Secretary and in charge Haryana, Mr Narinder Modi, and Mr Chautala. He claimed that a consensus emerged at the meeting that the INLD would contest 55 seats, and the BJP 35. He said the alliance would be formalised and finalised in the next few days.

Mr Sharma claimed the alliance was “comfortably placed and bound to repeat the Lok Sabha election performance”. He asserted, “It will be far better than the rehearsal (the Lok Sabha elections)”.

Both Mr Grover and Mr Sharma harped on the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal issue. They claimed that the way Mr Vajpayee solved the Cauvery water dispute, he would resolve the SYL canal issue between Punjab and Haryana. Mr Sharma said the SYL canal would be the main issue, as it formed the backbone of the state’s economy.

He pointed out that Haryana was not demanding a share from Punjab’s water, but its own share which was flowing into Pakistan.

The rally was addressed by the party MPs from Sonepat, Mr Krishen Sangwan, and Faridabad Mr Ram Kumar Bainda, a former Union Transport Minister, Mr Chand Ram, and the state BJP executive member and the party candidate from Narnaund, Mr Ram Kumar Gautam. A large number of people attended the rally despite cold whether.

GURGAON: The Haryana Chief Minister Mr Om Prakash Chautala on Sunday said here that there would be a friendly contest between his INLD and its ally,the BJP, in some assembly segments if the differences between the two on seat sharing were not resolved.The views expressed by Mr Chautala add a new dimension to the ongoing war of words between the ruling INLD and the BJP on the issue of sharing of seats.

He was talking to mediapersons at the zonal training camp of INLD workers from Gurgaon, Faridabad, Rewari, Mahendergarh and Jhajjar districts.

Mr Chautala stuck to his guns, saying that the allotment of seats would not be based on ratios and numbers but on who would win the seats concerned. A seat going to the INLD or the BJP was not important. The question was to defeat the Congress, as was done in the Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Chautala, who was apparently guarded in his utterances on the BJP,asserted that the INLD and the BJP would contest the election as allies. Unlike the earlier occasions, he did not say anything against BJP leaders. Referring to Mr Sitaram Singla, Mr Chautala said when he had referred to the BJP leader as an efficient person, it was misconstrued by the BJP. A few days ago, Mr Chautala had said that Mr Singla did not have the capacity to win the Gurgaon seat while praising him as an efficient person. He had also questioned the popularity of the BJP leaders,including Prof Ram Bilas Sharma. This had created bad blood between the two parties.

The BJP leaders and Mr Chautala had subsequently met the Prime Minister to apprise him of their views on the issue of sharing of seats and the current political situation in Haryana.

In response to a specific question relating to his unilaterally announcing INLD nominees, Mr Chautala said it was only for about five seats.


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