Monday, March 19, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

RSS blames PMO for crisis
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 18
RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan today held “incompetent persons” in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for the crisis triggered off by the Tehelka expose.

Talking to newspersons on the concluding day of the three-day session of the RSS Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, Mr Sudarshan said the Sangh had told the government time and again not to have incompetent persons in the PMO. “If there were competent persons, the present crisis would not have taken place.” While asserting that the government need not resign over the disclosures in defence deals made by Tehelka, Mr Sudarshan said persons who were not accountable to the public in any manner should not have any extra constitutional authority. The RSS chief made this observation while replying to a question on the PM’s foster son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharyya acting as an extra constitutional authority.

Asked whether the Sangh was suggesting that officials in the PMO as Brajesh Mishra lacked competence, Mr Sudarshan said: “They lack the desired level of competence”. Asked how the PM had responded to the Sangh’s advice, Mr Sudarshan said, “We have said whatever we wanted to say to the PM. We are not going to tell you”.

Asked whether the Sangh was concerned over the “Congressisation” of the BJP, he said the RSS has been advising the BJP to do some introspection and not head in the same direction as the Congress.

On the question of the Prime Minister’s resignation following the Tehelka expose, Mr Sudarshan said: “The rot in the system began over 50 years ago and struggle is needed to bring about changes in the system. It is an elaborate exercise and the government had set into motion the process of bringing about changes. In the last 53 years, the nation had been under the rule of a single party for 43 years. Rule of a single party for so many years has resulted in a nexus between politicians and the administration.”

Asked whether the RSS had sought the PM’s resignation, Mr Sudarshan replied in the negative.

The RSS chief said he does not agree that the PM should resign on moral grounds. “Who has resigned till date on moral grounds? Allegations can be levelled against anybody but these ought to be investigated. Former PM, Narasimha Rao faced allegations of bribing MPs to save his government. Did he resign?”

The RSS chief appeared ill at ease as he countered a volley of questions arising out of the Tehelka expose.

Newspersons were not convinced with Mr Sudarshan’s contention that the government need not resign as the PM had announced the decision to order a time-bound judicial inquiry into the allegations by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court and the government was willing to hold a discussion on the issue in Parliament under any rule. “The tapes could have been manipulated and investigation is necessary. A few persons gave the money as party fund. Wait for four months and see what happens.”

Sudarshan clarifies

New Delhi, March 18
The RSS chief, Mr K.S. Sudarshan, tonight clarified he had not made any remarks against the functioning of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

He said: “I had said that the PMO should be managed by competent officers in a general way.” PTI

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