Monday, March 26, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Make party funding transparent: PM
Says media not to be blamed for expose
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The National Executive meeting of the BJP today concluded its two- day session, finalising an elaborate strategy for regaining people’s confidence with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee stressing the need for introspection.

“There is need for introspection. A suitable mechanism should be evolved to ensure that such incidents do not recur,” Mr Vajpayee told mediapersons on the conclusion of the party’s two-day National Executive here.

In an apparent effort to assuage a hurt media which came under sharp attack from NDA leaders, including those of the BJP recently, the Prime Minister said the media was not to be blamed for the expose.

“I do not blame the media as it has done its job. It has alerted us. There are some shortcomings in the system and these need to be rectified,” Mr Vajpayee pointed out.

Mr Vajpayee, who delivered the valedictory speech at the concluding session, said as the elections were becoming increasingly expensive, there was need for electoral reforms to make party funding “transparent”.

The Prime Minister said while individual spending on elections was monitored and accounted for, there was no such provision for checking expenditure by political parties.

The BJP, he said, had the Aajiwan Sahyog Nidhi for fund collection from the public.

This scheme of political funding is based on the philosophy of decentralisation of political funds to reduce dependence on big money. It is based on the principle of collecting funds through small amounts from a larger section of supporters and sympathisers.

Earlier, in its economic resolution, the party decided to woo the middle class which has been the mainstay of the BJP and has got disillusioned with it recently, particularly after the Tehelka expose.

Echoing new party President K. Jana Krishnamurthi’s concern over lowering of interest rate on small savings, the executive recommended to the government to consider providing some relief to affected depositors in small savings.

The BJP also asked the government to strengthen anti-dumping machinery, provide timely protection to domestic economy, specially agricultural sector and safeguard interest of poorer section and workers while initiating second generation economic reforms.

At the same time, the party cautioned the government , saying while initiating second generation reforms, including labour reforms, “utmost care should be taken by the government to protect interests of poorer sections and workers with regard to increase in employment opportunities and accessibility to essential items.”

It also called upon the government to ensure speedy implementation of all social welfare and development measures besides strengthening anti-dumping machinery and providing timely protection to domestic economy, specially the agricultural sector.

The party said economic dimension would be an integral part of its forthcoming nationwide mass awareness campaign against the Tehelka related conspiracy “through which vested interests wanted to destabilise the economy and the country.”

The government’s economic policy, including lifting of quantitative restrictions under the WTO and labour laws, have been under attack from some quarters, including the Sangh Parivar outfits such as the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh.

In a separate resolution, the executive condemned the demolition of Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan by Taliban military rulers and asked the international community to examine appropriate action against the “medieval militia” and disapprove of Pakistan’s support to then regime.

“The principal mentor and supporter of the Taliban militia, in its international terrorist acts, is Pakistan and the international community must take note of this grave nexus and express its disapproval of Pakistan’s support for the encouragement of Taliban militia,” said a resolution which was adopted at the national executive meeting.

The international community, it said, “Apart from being outraged by the action (destruction of statues) must carefully address itself to the dangerous aberration in this region and understand its full implication”.

The party asked the government to request the UN General Assembly, the Security Council and UNESCO to carefully monitor the Taliban’s activities “in order to pre-empt any future acts of cultural vandalism.”

The party decided to go a whole hog to face the Congress offensive, accusing it of trying to destablise the ''longest surviving’’ non-Congress government. The political resolution said the Congress was ‘frustrated’ at having been out of power for long and was conspiring to “usurp’’ power.

The party chose to sharpen its attack on the Congress, “which is synonymous for corruption, having been in power for most of the period after independence’’. The party said the Congress could not talk of morals when its former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao was convicted in corruption case and another one, Rajiv Gandhi figured as an accused in the Bofors chargesheet.


Govt not to resign, says Vajpayee
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
Making a frontal attack on the Congress, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today said that his government would not bow to the Opposition’s demand for its resignation over the Tehelka expose and would stay in office till it enjoyed a majority in Parliament.

He accused the Congress of being hungry for power and charged Congress President Sonia Gandhi with using ``intemperate language’’ against her political rivals.

Mr Vajpyaee, who was addressing a huge NDA rally at the Ram Lila Grounds here, said that since the Congress was unwilling to discuss the Tehelka expose in Parliament and was not interested in a probe either, the NDA had decided to confront it through the masses.

Maintaining that democracy was under attack and parliamentary supremacy was being challenged, Mr Vajpayee wondered if the country was being pushed towards anarchy by the Opposition.

“I now doubt if the Congress has given up its faith in democracy,’’ Mr Vajpayee said, referring to the disruption of Parliament over the  Tehelka expose. Reminding of the Emergency, he said that the Congress had put people in jail to save its government.

Lamenting the stalemate in Parliament, Mr Vajpayee said important decisions are being stopped. “The Opposition should stick to some code of conduct and not behave irresponsibly.’’ Mr Vajpayee said during his long Parliamentary innings, his party had never paralysed the functioning of Parliament seeking the government’s ouster.

“Since the Congress has failed to bring down the government, it is not allowing Parliament to function,’’ Mr Vajpayee charged.

Reposing faith in former Defence Minister George Fernandes, Mr Vajpayee said no one could doubt his patriotism. He said all sorts of mindless allegations regarding defence deals were being levelled by the Opposition, which, however, was not keen on a probe.

Emphasising that stability was important for the progress of the country, he said the NDA was prepared to take on the challenge posed by the Congress.

He said the government had taken the Tehelka expose seriously and had offered to probe the issue in whatever manner the Opposition liked.

“We are not making a claim that corruption, which has been existing for 50 years, has been finished in the three years of our rule, but we are fighting it,’’ Mr Vajpayee said.

Objecting to his being described as “gaddar’’ by the Congress, Mr Vajpayee said the Opposition party perhaps did not know the word’s meaning. ``The Congress, it seems, feels jealous seeing us in power’’.

Regretting use of some ``intemperate words’’ by Mrs Gandhi against the NDA leaders, Mr Vajpayee said he had never used such words in his long political career.

Pointing to the results of recent byelections, he claimed that the Congress' popularity was waning and this would be further reflected in the Assembly elections to five states.

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