Monday, March 12, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Rebels’ threat unnerves BJP
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, March 11
Unnerved by the threat to “expose” the Dhumal government in the Vidhan Sabha, the top brass of the Sangh Parivar and the BJP high command have swung into action to dissuade the rebels from taking any action which could further precipitate matters.

Senior RSS leaders Chet Ram and Prem Kumar and Mr Jai Krishan Sharma, state BJP chief, are in touch with national leaders. They have already spoken to Mr Bangaru Laxman, party President and Mr Madan Dass, RSS leader who looks after political affairs, and have held several rounds of talks with Dr Rajan Sushant and Mr Krishan Kapoor, two dissident leaders who are in town.

The tough posture adopted by the dissidents has had the desired impact and forced the high command, which had so far adopted a wait and watch policy, to make a serious bid to resolve the crisis. All efforts to settle the issue at the state level failed as the rebels refused to hold talks until their demand for change in leadership and replacement of Mr Narinder Modi as in charge of the party affairs in Himachal were taken up by the high command.

According to party sources, things are moving in the “right direction” and some positive developments are expected by tomorrow. Mr Bangaru Laxman, who is due to return to New Delhi from Coimbatore, is likely to get back to the state leaders after discussing a possible solution with Central leaders.

Mr Madan Dass, who has been briefed in detail about the situation and the demands of the dissidents, is also in touch with the BJP high command.

Dr Rajan Sushant said they wanted the BJP government to last its term. That was why they had allowed time to the high command to sort out the matters, but their gesture should not be seen as a weakness.

They were firm on their two demands and could go to any extent if no effort was made to redress their grievances. He said they had been exercising caution but any of the seven rebels “opened his mouth in the Vidhan Sabha, things will reach a point of no return”. The onus was on the party leadership to prevent such a situation, he said.

Mr Jai Krishan Sharma, state party President, has made an appeal to the dissidents not to take any extreme step and refrain from confronting the government in the House. He has assured them that the issues raised by them are being addressed by the party, both at the state and the national level, and a solution will be soon found.

He has advised partymen not to issue any statement against any faction or leader and help create a congenial atmosphere to resolve the crisis.

Dr Sushant said the party leadership is in touch with them but they would respond to the appeal of Mr Sharma only tomorrow. Other dissidents leaders are expected to arrive at the state capital later. They will hold a meeting on whether or not to go ahead with the threat to “expose” the government in the House and announce their decision before the start of the session tomorrow.

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