Monday, October 23, 2000,
 Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PM says bye to Breach Candy
From V. Gangadhar

MUMBAI, Oct 22 — It was goodbye time at Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital. As the crowds gathered, flowers thrown and nurses sang a farewell song composed by them, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, left the hospital where he was admitted on October 9 for knee joint replacement surgery. The operation was performed by the US based surgeon, Dr Chittaranjan Ranawat.

The Prime Minister who was able to walk taking slow steps one after the other, was driven to the airport on a stretcher. He was seen off by Maharashtra Governor P.C. Alexander, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and his cabinet colleagues and other dignitaries. Mr Vajpayee who was accompanied by his aides, personal physicians and family members flew to the Capital in a special Indian Air Force plane.

A spokesman at the hospital said the PM’s knee wound was healing without any complications Though he can walk normally, rather slowly, he had been advised to make use of a walker for some time. The Prime Minister was also able to bend his knee.



Sardinha asked to seek trust vote

PANAJI, Oct 22 (PTI) — Goa Governor Mohammed Fazal tonight asked Chief Minister Francisco Sardinha to seek a vote of confidence in the state Assembly on Tuesday, two days after his coalition government was reduced to minority following of withdrawal support by its key ally BJP.

On a day of hectic developments, the BJP met the Governor and staked claim to form government claiming the support of 21 MLAS, including 18 of its own, in the 40-member House while Mr Sardinha also called on Mr Fazal.

A notification issued by the Raj Bhavan convened a special session of the state Assembly on October 24 (Tuesday) to facilitate Mr Sardinha to seek trust vote.


Sardinha not to quit

PANAJI, Oct 22 (UNI) — The Chief Minister of Goa, Mr Francisco Sardinha, today said he would not step down in the wake of the political crisis that arose following the BJP’s decision to walk out of the coalition and said he would prove the majority on the floor of the House.

“I am not resigning. We have the requisite majority and will prove it in the state Assembly,” he told reporters here on his return from a foreign tour this afternoon.

Stating that he had already got in touch with all concerned, Mr Sardinha said he was confident that his government would tide over the present crisis with the support of 22 legislators in the 40-member Assembly.

Asked when he would face the state Assembly to prove the majority, Mr Sardinha said he would work out the strategies after consultation with his party colleagues who, he said, were all united.

To a question about the possibility of his return to the Congress, the Chief Minister quipped, “Am I running a private business? I have to discuss with my colleagues before taking any decision.”

When asked who would be the Chief Minister in the event of his party’s realignment with the Congress and the group securing required strength to form a government, Mr Sardinha said “who becomes the Chief Minister is not important”.

Asked what went wrong with the 11-month-old coalition of the Goa Peoples Congress and the BJP, Mr Sardinha said, “I don’t know. But I am surprised over the steps taken by that party. I do not know what made to leave us.”

“It is the BJP which supported us to form a government. Now I realise that their intentions were not good right from the beginning,” he said adding that the BJP might have thought that it could muster support when he was out of the country. “They showed their true colours”, he added.

About the BJP charge that the state government went ahead for a Rs 150 crore loan without proper application of mind and ignoring the coalition partner’s opposition to it, the Chief Minister said the matter was discussed in detail by the Cabinet and none of the BJP ministers had opposed it.

Mr Sardinha said he never thought that the BJP would do this as he never mistrusted his coalition partner since the formation of the government in November last year.

Replying to a question about the BJP’s criticism against him for granting extension to the one-man judicial commission, headed by a retired high court judge, Mr Justice Eurico Santan D’Silva, probing the aspects pertaining to the controversial evacuee property matters, Mr Sardinha said the commission could not complete its work as its chairman was away in Portugal for about a month.

“When we have instituted a judicial inquiry, what is the point in getting an incomplete report after spending lot of money”, he asked and said, “why anybody should be scared about a fact finding commission. It is for finding the facts and rectifying any mistakes.”


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