Saturday, March 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Himachal BJP crisis deepens
Rebels to slam Dhumal govt in House
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, March 9
Crisis in the BJP appeared to be heading for a flashpoint with the rebels deciding to abandon the tactical truce and blast the Dhumal government in the Vidhan Sabha on March 12.

The decision came late this evening after the last-ditch effort of the Sangh Parivar to broker peace failed. RSS leaders had suggested certain options to make a beginning towards resolving the crisis during the first round of talks three days ago but they failed to cut ice with the dissidents who stuck to their demand for a change in the state leadership and replacement of Mr Narinder Modi as in charge of the party affairs in Himachal Pradesh. Sangh leaders expressed their helplessness in meeting the demands which pertained to the BJP high command. They advised the dissidents to start negotiations on the issues which could be settled at the state-level and pave the way for an amicable settlement but they refused to do so.

Mr Dulo Ram, spokesperson for the dissidents, said since, the high command had failed to initiate any steps for the redress of their grievances, they had no option but to abandon the tactical peace. All seven rebels would attend the House on March 12 and expose the government. They would explain in detail the reasons for the change in leadership so that people at large could appreciate their action in the right perspective.

The ball is now in the court of the high command and unless it takes initiative to pacify the dissidents, the Dhumal government is in for a major embarrassment in the House during the ongoing Budget session.

The team which had been involved in negotiations with the rebels for over the past one week has also given up. One of the team members said now no initiative would be taken at the state level. It was up to the party high command and the dissidents to sort out matters.

The dissidents have decided to return to their respective constituencies and they will reassemble here only on March 12 to participate in the session. Mr Suresh Chandel, MP and a former state BJP chief, has urged the dissidents not to take any hasty step. He said the party high command should not allow the matters to drift as things could go out of hand. He appealed to partymen not to issue statements in the Press against any senior leader.

Meanwhile, Mr Sukh Ram, HVC chief, also had a long meeting with Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, this afternoon. The two leaders discussed the grievances of Dr R.L. Markandey, the sole HVC minister in the coalition who had already submitted his resignation to Mr Sukh Ram.

The HVC leaders said he would again meet Mr Dhumal next week to finally sort out the matters. He again appealed to the dissidents not to embark on the “suicidal mission” and make renewed efforts for resolution of the crisis.

The rank and file of the BJP had high hopes from today’s meeting between the dissidents and representatives of the Sangh Parivar.

Certain senior RSS leaders from Delhi were expected to attend the meeting but that did not happen. The indifference of the high command left the rebels with no option but to confront the ruling camp within the House.

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