Monday, March 26, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Bid to lower forces’ morale: Fernandes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
Former Defence Minister George Fernandes today alleged that an attempt was being made to lower the morale of the armed forces and the recent developments were part of the larger design that was going on for some years.

Speaking at an NDA rally called to give a reply to the “Opposition’s campaign of falsehood’’ in the wake of the Tehelka expose here today, Mr Fernandes said attempt were being made to affect the morale of the armed forces by showing pictures of a handful of people.

He said by Tehelka’s own admission only four-five hours of footage could be made out of over 100 hours of recording they had done posing as arms agents. “Ninetyfive per cent of the part has not come before the people,’’ he said, adding that effort was being made to paint everyone red.

“I have never been accused of corruption in 52 years of my political life and people who admired me for not having any security at my house and keeping its doors open are now suddenly making wild charges, “ Mr Fernandes said.

Home Minister L.K. Advani said the NDA would hold similar rallies in all parts of the country to give reply to the Congress “campaign of misinformation.” He said the accusations were being made to take away people’s attention from the achievements of the Vajpayee government. Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala demanded a thorough probe into the conspiracy aspect of the Tehelka expose. Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal said the people of country had full faith in the leadership of Mr Vajpayee.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said that the Congress, which was crying hoarse over corruption, recently gave a pride of place to the convicted former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao at its recent Bangalore session. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said the country can make fast progress under Mr Vajpayee’s leadership.


Congress observes ‘dhikkar divas’
Demands govt’s dismissal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) workers today held a unique rally of tempos and trucks here to press for the dismissal of the Vajpayee government and arrest of those accused of taking bribe in the Tehelka expose.

Led by DPCC President Subhash Chopra along with senior leaders of the AICC, Mr Moti Lal Vora, Mr Oscar Fernandes, Mr Ahmad Patel and Mr Kamal Nath, hundreds of Congress workers in tempos and trucks blocked the traffic at Link Road in Central Delhi and shouted anti-Vajpayee and anti-NDA slogans.

Enthusiastic Congressmen threw rotten eggs and tomatoes on the effigies of Mr Vajpayee, former BJP President Bangaru Laxman, former Defence Minister George Fernandes, former Samata Party President Jaya Jaitley, foster son-in-law of the Prime Minister Ranjan Bhattacharya and Home Minister L.K. Advani amidst noisy sloganeering and beating of drums.

As the effigies were set ablaze, the workers jumped with joy and demanded the immediate dismissal of what they called the “corrupt Vajpayee government”.

The convener of the rally, Mr Sajjan Kumar, former MPs — Mr Jagdish Tytler and Mr J.P. Aggarwal — and MLAs — Mr Deep Chand Bandhu and Mr Talwinder Singh Marwah — were also present at the rally. The DPCC observed the day as “dhikkar divas”.

Addressing the rally, senior Congress leader and CWC member Ahmed Patel declared that the party would continue its agitations and demonstrations across the country till the “corrupt” Vajpayee government was dethroned.

“We are demanding the Vajpayee Government’s dismissal not because we want to grab power, but to save the country from those who are working against national security,” Mr Patel said amidst a thunderous applause.

While congratulating the DPCC workers for a grand show of strength, Mr Vora said today’s rally was just a beginning of the struggle against the government and the party workers were determined to remove the Vajpayee government.

Mr Chopra declared that the countdown of the Vajpayee government had begun with the success of today’s rally.

“The Vajpayee government has to go and we will ensure that it goes,” Mr Chopra said urging party men to unitedly fight to dethrone the NDA government.

Mr Chopra said the NDA government at the Centre had lost the moral right to rule as not only the former BJP President and ministers of the Vajpayee government were involved in taking bribes but also officials of the PMO had been named in the Tehelka tapes indicating the extent to which corruption had made inroads into the administration.

Despite the enthusiasm and gathering of a sizeable crowd, some of the party workers were disappointed with the participation of only one Delhi minister, Mr Yoganand Shastri, and about half of the total party MLAs.Back

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