Sunday, August 27, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Temple, civil code no more issues
Mandate for NDA manifesto: Laxman
From Satish Mishra
Tribune News Service

NAGPUR, Aug 26 — People have no interest in the three contentious issues with which the BJP has come to be popularly perceived, contended the newly elected president of the party, Mr Bangaru Laxman, while talking to mediapersons aboard GT Express from New Delhi to its mentor city.

Asserting that the BJP was not a three-issue party, Mr Laxman, who would be installed President tomorrow, said the three issues — Ayodhya, scrapping of Article 370 and introduction of a common civil code — were not on the agenda of the party.

BJP President Kushabhau Thakre with Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, J. P. Mathur, Janakrishna Murty, Venkaiah Naidu and Maharashtra units President Pandurang Phundkar at the party's National Executive Meeting in Nagpur on Saturday. 
BJP President Kushabhau Thakre with Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, J. P. Mathur, Janakrishna Murty, Venkaiah Naidu and Maharashtra units President Pandurang Phundkar at the party's National Executive Meeting in Nagpur on Saturday. 
— PTI photo

Mr Laxman said the BJP had received the people’s mandate on a common manifesto of the National Democratic Alliance. In the 1998 General Election, the party had gone to the people with the three issues, “but we did not get a mandate but in the 1999 General Election we did not have these issues yet we got a mandate from the people,” the newly elected President pointed out.

Asked on his approach in the biggest state of Uttar Pradesh where the BJP-led government had been losing credibility, Mr Laxman said there was nothing wrong there. Only the party workers’ morale had to be restored, he asserted, saying that an action plan would be prepared for the same.

Commending the Vajpayee government’s performance during the past one year, Mr Laxman said the government was transparent corruption-free.

Listing the government’s performance, the new president said its international prestige had gone up. Kashmir, where a terrorist organisation had declared ceasefire and offered a dialogue, was one example of better performance.

Pakistan had been isolated and tourism industry revived, Mr Laxman asserted adding that people in the Kashmir valley were moving away from militancy.

Even on the economic front, the performance of the government had been satisfactory, he said adding that inflation was under control and foreign exchange reserves were full.

Mr Laxman said it was not true that the party was one time totally against privatisation and disinvestment of the public sector. He said right from the Jana Sangh days they had been in favour of disinvestment. This was the reason why the BJP was supporting the disinvestment process taken up by the NDA government.


Sushma opposes draft fiscal resolution
Tribune News Service

NAGPUR, Aug 26 — Former Communications Minister and once the rising star of the party Sushma Swaraj today gave expression to simmering dissent within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party when she opposed the draft of the economic and political resolution of the party scheduled to be presented at the National Council meeting here tomorrow.

Intervening in the debate on the draft of the economic resolution this evening, Mrs Swaraj said the party worker was at a loss to understand the logic behind the economic policies of the Vajpayee government.

The party cadres were being asked to abandon the policies of self-reliance and swadeshi and support the policies which were resulting in the closure of many Indian industries, she said.

Mrs Swaraj, once the chief spokesperson of the party, said she agreed with those who said that the government’s economic policies were having a negative impact on the country.

Earlier participating in the debate on the draft of the political resolution, Mrs Swaraj expressed dissent on the government’s Kashmir policy.

Mrs Swaraj’s dissent became known to the media accidentally. A couple of mediapersons were waiting outside the venue when Mrs Swaraj’s voice on the public address system rung their ears.. They moved closer to hear what she was telling the fellow executive members.

After a while, the organisers noticed this presence and ordered all newspersons to leave.

Earlier, the National Executive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party began today under the chairmanship of outgoing party President Kushabhau Thakre with the party giving a commendation certificate to the Vajpayee-led government.

Addressing the executive, Mr Thakre said the National Democratic Alliance government had been able to perform well despite heavy odds under the able leadership of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee who was respected not only in India but also outside.

Referring to his successor, Mr Bangaru Laxman, Mr Thakre said change always brought freshness and hoped that under his leadership the party would forge ahead with vigour and enthusiasm. Mr Laxman is assuming charge of the party at Nagpur which was the workplace of the RSS founder, Dr K.B. Hegdewar, and the learning place of Dr B.R. Ambedkar.

The party membership has crossed the two-crore mark, the outgoing President informed the executive and said that the party existed now in every part of the country.

The BJP-led government had been able to move ahead despite international economic sanctions imposed after the nuclear test at Pokhran, Mr Thakre said, adding that today India enjoyed a respectable place among the comity of nations.

Later briefing mediapersons, the party spokesman, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu, said the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, who were to attend the executive meeting, had been held back as they had important governmental work in New Delhi. However, they were expected to reach here soon. Mr Naidu said that discussion on the political and economic resolution had begun at the meeting.

In a grilling question and answer session, the party spokesman said while in Jharkhand and Uttaranchal, the BJP would strive to form governments, in Chhatisgarh “we stand no chance”.

Asked about the RSS declared opposition to a dialogue with the Hizbul Mujahideen and imposition of emergency in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Naidu said it was “their demand, not ours.”

Asserting that he was a BJP spokesman and not of the RSS, Mr Naidu said this was clear evidence that the RSS did not control the BJP.

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