Monday, November 6,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

NDA says no to Soren as CM
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 5 — The National Democratic Alliance has virtually rejected Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (S) leader Shibu Soren’s claim for the top post in the new state even as the JMM leader maintained that a full meeting of the NDA would discuss the issue.

Talking to TNS, JMM spokesperson Mukti Nath Upadhyaya said a meeting of all NDA partners would be convened by Mr George Fernandes shortly. He said that Mr Soren held a meeting with Mr Fernandes and Samata Party leader Digvijay Singh today.

Sources said that the decision to turn down Mr Soren’s demand and endorse the BJP candidate for chief ministership was taken at a meeting between Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr Fernandes here this afternoon. The meeting was attended by senior BJP leaders, including Mr Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, party’s in charge of Jharkhand.

There were several rounds of informal meetings between Mr Soren and leaders of BJP-led NDA. The BJP, with 32 members, is the largest group in the Jharkhand Assembly. The JMM (S) has 12.

BJP leaders hoped that Mr Soren would accept the BJP candidate for chief ministership and also be part of the NDA government. Efforts were also being made by Samata Party leaders to keep the JMM within the NDA. BJP leaders from the proposed state expressed confidence that the issue of chief ministership would go in their favour. The BJP is also hoping to have support from some MLAs from the Congress and the RJD, besides Independents.

Mr Soren had yesterday told the Prime Minister that his party would prefer to sit in the Opposition if the demand for chief ministership was not met. The JMM has been insisting that a "promise" to make Mr Soren Chief Minister had been made by Mr Fernandes. The BJP has been adamant on the issue, with the party leaders saying that the post should come to it automatically, being the single largest party.Back

JMM opts out

NEW DELHI, Nov 5 (UNI) — In a significant development, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha tonight decided to severe ties with the NDA at the state-level after the latter rejected its demand for installing JMM leader Shibu Soren as the first Chief Minister of Jharkhand.

The JMM declared that it would explore all possibilities of installing a non-NDA government.

Senior JMM leader R.K. Anand said, “Now, we will not support the NDA at any cost, keeping in mind their adamant attitude on the issue.”Back




Bansi: No political tie-up
From Raman Mohan

BHIWANI, Nov 5 — Former Haryana Chief Minister Bansi Lal today ruled out any future tie-up with other political parties, including the BJP and the Congress.

Talking to mediapersons before addressing the Haryana Vikas Party’s first major political rally here since the ouster of the HVP government last year, Mr Bansi Lal said he “would now tie up only with the public” and it was for this purpose that he had decided to launch a statewide campaign against the Om Prakash Chautala government.

He said his party was strong enough to contest the Assembly elections in Haryana on its own. There was, therefore, no question of any political tie-up in the future. Asked whether he would impose prohibition if he came to power again, Mr Bansi Lal said there was no such possibility.

Later, addressing a huge rally at the Municipal Park a beaming Mr Bansi Lal declared that if he came to power in the future, he would withdraw all taxes imposed by the Chautala government. He said he had opposed the imposition of these taxes in the Vidhan Sabha too.

The heavy dose of taxes had dealt a severe blow to business and industry in Haryana. A large number of industries had shifted to other states because of the stiff dose of taxes. As against this, he said, as Chief Minister he had taken several steps to provide relief to the business community. This included raising of self-assessment of tax up to a turnover of Rs 50 lakh a year and a half per cent increase in commission for arhtiyas.

Mr Bansi Lal, who was visibly happy by the massive turnout in the rally, promised to ensure a round-the-clock supply of power and adequate water for irrigation. He said water would be made available at all tail-ends of different canals and distributaries in the state. He said the sales tax imposed on halwais and bakeries would also be withdrawn.

The former Chief Minister said he had never favoured free power and water for farmers since this was financially unviable. Therefore, he would not make false promises in this regard. He claimed that during the Lok Sabha poll he was pressurised to publicly say that he would consider such a possibility, as it would have helped his son, Mr Surinder Singh, who was contesting the poll. He said he outrightly refused to do so because he was not given to misleading the masses.

He said he planned to educate the masses about his achievements as Chief Minister and the failures of the Chautala government. He said if need be he would spend the rest of the four odd years among the public for the purpose.

Alleging a nexus between Mr Chautala and former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, the HVP leader said the latter had helped Mr Ajay Chautala in 1998 when he was contesting the Bhiwani Lok Sabha seat. In return, Mr Chautala had helped Mr Bhajan Lal who was the Congress nominee from Karnal.

He claimed the massive turnout at his rally proved his contention that the Chautala government stood exposed and the people had realised that they had been misled by false promises, not meant to be fulfilled. Mr Bansi Lal lamented that farmers were the worst sufferers at the hands of the Chief Minister who had raised power tariffs to an unprecedented level. Despite drought in the southern districts, no help was forthcoming from the government.

He said the government apathy had led to distress sale of agricultural produce for the first time in the history of Haryana.

Others who addressed the rally were: Mr Swaraj Kaushal, Rajya Sabha member, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Kanwal Singh, Mr Chhattar Singh Chauhan and Satya Pal Sangwan.Back


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