Friday, January 5, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Nitish resigns
Spits fire on rebels
From Santosh Jha

PATNA, Jan 4 — In an unexpected move, aimed at preempting the move of the Samata rebels, threatening to split the party, the senior Samata leader and Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, resigned from the ministry saying: “I cannot tolerate the blackmailing of the six MPs over the affairs of the party”.

Mr Kumar tendered his resignation to the party’s leader in Parliament, NDA coordination committee chief and Union Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, late on Wednesday night.

On being asked as to his tendering the resignation to George and not the PM hinted at the possibility of he not being serious over his resignation, Mr Kumar ruled out any backtracking from it.



Resignations lose value in NDA
From T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, JAN 4 — The ploy of ' unintended ' resignation from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government to gain political mileage is beginning to lose its importance as evidenced yet again in the case of Union Agriculture Minister and Samata Party leader Nitish Kumar.

The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, who is busy with the two-day national executive of the BJP here to evolve the party’s strategy for the upcoming assembly elections, is unfazed with the turmoil in the Samata Party. The BJP views the current problem in the Samata Party as its internal affair.

For all practical intents and purposes, the rebel MPs in the Samata Party are making their presence felt by opposing a merger with the Janata Dal (United), thus coming into direct conflict with the political calculations of Mr Kumar.

It is apparent nobody wants to give up the trappings of power as a minister and those responsible for whipping up the ongoing intra-party squabble visualise themselves as potential ministers. The increasing restlessness is on account of being left out of the ministerial stakes.

The BJP realises that Mr Kumar’s resignation letter handed over to Union Defence Minister and convener of the NDA George Fernandes was more in the nature of political oneupmanship for the internal consumption of the Samata Party.

When mediapersons drew attention to the resignation of Mr Kumar, a BJP spokesperson responded with a wry smile that “he (Mr Nitish Kumar) had handed over his resignation to Mr Fernandes.” The inference was obvious that Mr Kumar or the Samata Party had no intention of rocking the NDA boat.

Mr Fernandes put the record straight in Bangalore when he refused to take cognizance of Mr Kumar’s resignation from the Union Cabinet. He was emphatic that the inner wrangling in the Samata Party would have no impact on the NDA government.

The resignation drama is becoming an all too frequent affair in the NDA with Mr Vajpayee refusing to accept the same. Union Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee has gone through the motions of putting in her papers on two occasions with all the attendant theatrics.

At the end of the day, the lure of ministership far outweighed other considerations.

Several senior leaders of the BJP and other constituents of the NDA summed up the periodic threat of resignations “as becoming more of a joke and lacking the seriousness it deserves. The ground realities are that nobody wants to create a crisis or find the ground slipping from the NDA.

That would necessarily entail a snap poll which again is farthest from everyone’s mind given the complexities of the prevailing political environment. These aberrations are unavoidable because of the political compulsions of the various partners of the NDA,” they added.Back


BJP expels Jain from Executive
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Jan 4 — Sending a tough signal to all those opposed to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee within the party, the BJP party has expelled the former party MP J.K. Jain, who has been in the thick of a controversy following alleged branding of him as an “ISI agent”, from the National Executive.

The BJP leadership decided to expel Dr Jain, who is the owner of the Jain TV News Channel, after he had sent his lawyer’s notice to Mr Vajpayee seeking apology from him.

Much dirty linen is expected to be washed in the coming weeks after Dr Jain’s expulsion as the powerful owner of the Jain TV News Channel enjoys the support of the RSS. The Jain channel has already been showing promos of a coming investigative report on the alleged misdeeds of the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary, Mr Brajesh Mishra, who in Dr Jain’s perception has been responsible for his branding as an “ISI agent”.

“I regret to inform you that you will no longer be a member of National Executive of the party and hence any invitation to you to attend the National Executive on fourth and fifth instant stands withdrawn with immediate effect”, the BJP President, Mr Bangaru Laxman said in a letter to Dr Jain last night.

The expulsion follows the notice sent by Dr Jain to Mr Vajpayee on the issue of alleged branding of him and his network JAIN TV by RAW as an “ISI agent” and sought a “written unqualified apology” for the “false, scandalous, defamatory act done through the abuse and misuse of RAW”.

In the notice to Mr Vajpayee, Dr Jain’s lawyer also sought the ouster of his Principal Secretary and the RAW Director.

Dr Jain released Mr Laxman’s letter and his reply in which he said the expulsion order should be withdrawn failing which he would approach a court of law for redress.

In the notice to the Prime Minister, which was also sent to Mr Mishra, the Cabinet Secretary, the Home Secretary and Directors of the RAW and the IB, Dr Jain detailed the way the intelligence agencies had sought to “falsely brand” him and his network which was a dual abuse of authority and rule of law.Back

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