Friday, March 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Advani rejects Oppn demand
Balayogi meets PM on RSS issue
NEW DELHI, March 2 — Lok Sabha Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi today had a meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and asked him to take the initiative to end the week-long stand-off on the RSS issue but the government ruled out giving a constitutional directive to Gujarat to withdraw its controversial order.

As the House lay paralysed, in an unusual step the Speaker called the Prime Minister to his chamber in Parliament House to discuss the impasse arising out of the Opposition demand for a censure discussion on Gujarat decision to allow government employees to join the RSS.
Four former Prime Ministers — Mr V.P. Singh, Mr H.D. Deve Gowda, Mr Chandra Shekhar and Mr I.K. Gujral — have asked the Centre to direct the Gujarat Government to withdraw its order allowing employees to join the RSS, saying that politicisation of bureaucracy would endanger democracy and pluralism.

“The Centre should take a sensible view and ask the Gujarat Government to withdraw the order allowing its employees to participate in RSS activities”, Mr V. P. Singh told reporters after the former Premiers met at Mr Chandra Shekhar’s residence today.

Mr Balayogi is understood to have impressed on Mr Vajpayee that the situation was now out of his hands and that as Leader of the House he should take the initiative to resolve the issue.

The 20-minute meeting between the two assumes significance in the context of the reported inability of the BJP allies that they would not be able to vote with the government on a motion that would appear to be an endorsement of the RSS.

In the Rajya Sabha, which has been having a short duration discussion on the issue, Home Minister L.K. Advani rejected the Opposition demand that the Centre issue a constitutional directive to the Gujarat Government to withdraw the order, saying that it was left to the wisdom of the state government to do it.

“We have no constitutional authority to ask them to withdraw it,” he said adding that the circular was the state government’s decision. The “tirade” against the RSS was an opposition attempt to destabilise the NDA Government, he said.

Mr Advani’s reply to the three-day acrimonious debate on the issue was marred by a noisy walkout by the entire Opposition led by Congress leader Manmohan Singh midway through his speech.

Mr Advani put up a spirited defence of the RSS, saying that the tirade to malign RSS campaign was out of place and at the same time assured ruffled alliance partners that as long as the NDA was in power “ideological issues” would be kept aside.

He said Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had already made it clear that the Central Government had no plan to remove the ban on its employees joining the RSS.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma suggested that the government should set up a parliamentary committee to go into the provisions of Article 19(4) to overcome the present impasse it was facing in the Lok Sabha over the Gujarat Government’s decision.

Meanwhile, as many as 20 Lok Sabha members belonging to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regretted that many important issues on the country and their constituencies could not be raised due to stalling of the proceedings.

In a letter to Mr Balayogi, they said they did not oppose a discussion on the RSS issue under a rule as decided by the presiding officer, but could not support the negative attitude of the Opposition.

In a related development, the Rajya Sabha was thrown into turmoil for about half an hour over a procedural wrangle during the pre-lunch session today as it resumed the short duration discussion on the RSS issue.

As Congress member Kapil Sibal rose to continue his yesterday’s unfinished speech, BJP member Narendra Mohan rose on a point of order, saying that Mr Sibal had made objectionable remarks against the RSS which had gone on record. He demanded that Mr Sibal should apologise.

Mr Sibal clarified that he had not said RSS leaders Hedgewar and Golwalkar had defamed martyrs Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh and other freedom fighters.

Quoting from a book by Shams ul-Haq, Mr Sibal said members had got the impression that the RSS leaders had defamed the freedom fighters and, added that he should have mentioned that it was the view of the author.

Mr Sibal demanded a ban on the RSS and said it was not a social and cultural organisation as it often aired its views on foreign policy and economy.

The National Conference, a partner in the ruling NDA government, also asked the BJP high command to prevail upon the Gujarat Government to withdraw the controversial circular.

Mr Narendra Mohan (BJP) said much had been talked about the RSS without understanding its ideology and added that it was a political conspiracy to defame the organisation.

Mr Peter Alphonse (TMC) said NDA partners — DMK and National Conference — had spoken and warned the people against the RSS in the past.

Mr Abani Roy (RSP) said the RSS was not only a socio-cultural organisation as claimed by the BJP but also a political organisation. Stating that Gujarat had witnessed communal clashes in the recent past, he said the Centre should not allow Gujarat or any other government employees to be members of such organisation.

Mr Onkar Singh Lakhawat (BJP) said every state government had the right to do things within its limits and the Centre should not interfere in the issue.

Mr Sanathan Bisi (JD-S) alleged that the BJP was adopting a double standard on the RSS issue. “It is taking one stand in Gujarat and another in New Delhi,” he said.Back

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |