Tuesday, March 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Sonia vows to foil RSS plans
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, March 6 — It was meant to be a rally to protest against ‘saffronisation’ of bureaucracy and the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, chose the occasion to launch a broadside both against the move and the effect of the recent Budget on the people.

Under a hot afternoon sun, thousands of persons assembled at the Ram Lila ground in central Delhi and heard the Congress President, patiently as she lashed out at the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) attempts on various fronts to “unleash their agenda” and promised “never to allow the RSS to succeed”.

Stating that the ‘real face’ of the RSS-BJP was now emerging, she did not spare even the allies of the NDA, alleging that they were looking askance to remain in power.

She charged that the Gujarat Government order permitting its employees to take part in RSS activities was to make the administration ‘its slave’ and warned once these employees associated themselves with the organisation ‘justice cannot ever be done’.

Tracing the history of the RSS, she said the organisation was formed when the country was in the thick of the freedom struggle, but it only adopted a ‘nakaratmak’ (negative) role and even the person who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi had links with the RSS.

Apart from the Gujarat Government order, she said the RSS-BJP combine was moving to other areas like targeting writers and artistes, altering the Constitution and changing books to spread ‘their ideology’.

‘They are imposing their ideology through moral policing and unleashing cultural terrorism’, she said in an apparent reference to the withdrawal of history textbooks, attack on ‘Water’ film production unit and setting up a committee to review the Constitution.

Mrs Gandhi said at a time when the world was moving ahead and frontiers were being erased due to new technology, India could not afford to remain behind by pursuing such ‘narrow agenda’.

‘Instead of doing work for the benefit of the people, they (the BJP-RSS) are taking steps to promote their narrow agenda’, she said, speaking in Hindi from a written text.

Mindful of a forceful opinion within the party that attacking the RSS beyond a point might be counter-productive, the Congress President asserted the party represented all communities and all religions even as she was gently reminded to halt her speech midway for a prayer call from a mosque in the adjacent walled city.

During her 20-minute speech, the Congress President also hit out at the recent hike in prices, including fertilisers, and steps taken by the government which allowed import of wheat and sugar.

‘At a time when our granaries were overflowing, the government imported wheat and when our farmers were not being remunerated for cane, they imported sugar from Pakistan’ she said, adding that the recent move to allow more imports including rice, potato, maize and millet among others, was ‘dangerous’.

Taking a dig at the BJP, Mrs Gandhi said these steps are being taken by a party of ‘self-proclaimed swadeshis’.

Earlier, the rally was addressed, among others, by the Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Mr Digvijay Singh, of Karnataka Mr S M Krishna, of Rajasthan Mr Ashok Gehlot, and of Delhi Mrs Sheila Dikshit.


Sangh clears way for breaking deadlock

NEW DELHI, March 6 (PTI) — The RSS today said it was ‘‘unconcerned’’ whether Gujarat Government’s circular banning the state employees from joining it “exists or not”, raising hopes this would clear the way for the state government to reconsider the order.

However, till late tonight there was no move from Gujarat Government to withdraw the circular lifting the ban but BJP sources were expecting that the state government would take a fresh look at the controversial order in the light of statement by RSS chief Rajendra Singh.

Mr Rajendra Singh said “ the RSS had not sought withdrawal of the circular prohibiting government employees from participating in its activities, because RSS worker has never been dependent on any government’s attitude, positive or negative towards it”.

Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya told PTI in Ahmedabad that the decision on the circular was taken by the state government not on the demand of the RSS but on its own.

Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi has called another meeting of all political parties to discuss ways to break the deadlock on the RSS issue.

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 |