Tuesday, April 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Vajpayee to convene all-party meeting
Cong ready for debate on Tehelka
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 9
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will convene an all-party meeting here for resolving the impasse over the Tehelka issue before Parliament resumes its sitting for the Budget session on April 16.

“It will be our effort to ensure that Parliament functions normally and many issues of concern to the people should be discussed. All parties should sit together and discuss the dates on which specific subjects can be debated”. National Democratic Alliance coordination committee convener George Fernandes told newspersons here today after a meeting of the alliance.

Mr Fernandes said Mr Vajpayee had convened an all-party meeting to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament, the date for which would be announced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan.

An NDA meeting would also be held before the resumption of the session.

Asked if the alliance partners were divided on the Tehelka issue as some of them had not attended the rallies, Mr Fernandes said: “These are stories spread by our enemies wherever they are. It is a misconception that the NDA is not together”.

The NDA convener said the alliance had decided to continue with its rallies in Bhopal, Raipur and Ranchi before rounding it off with a meeting in Lucknow to be addressed by Mr Vajpayee.

The meeting was attended among others by Home Minister L. K. Advani, BJP President K. Jana Krishnamurthi, Mr Murasoli Maran (DMK), Mr Vaiko (MDMK), Mr Suresh Prabhu (Shiv Sena), Mr Omar Abdullah (NC), Mr O.P. Chautala (INLD) and Mr S. D. Dhindsa (Akali Dal).

Continuing with its aggressive line, the NDA has warned the Congress to stop the “obscene demonstration” by its workers against the Prime Minister in Mumbai. The NDA said if the party continued with this, Congress President Sonia Gandhi would have to face similar protests.

The alliance leaders expressed concern over the kind of demonstrations against Mr Vajpayee by the Congress. It felt the Congress should be “publicly told to stop forthwith these demonstrations and the kind of slogans thrown at the Prime Minister.”

If this is not done forthwith, then “wherever the Congress President goes, similar demonstrations will be held against her but minus the obscenity”, Mr Fernandes said.

“It is up to the Congress to decide whether they would like to have such demonstrations,” he said.

The Congress workers had yesterday staged a black flag demonstration along the route of the Prime Minister during his day-long visit to Mumbai.

Mr Fernandes said once the present phase of its public rallies on the Tehelka expose and the poll campaign were over, the NDA would, among other things, expose the continuing corruption by the Congress wherever they were in government.

The alliance would particularly focus on “extraordinary assets” acquired by Vincent George, personal secretary to Mrs Sonia Gandhi. “It needs to be explained how a person who was drawing Rs 400 a month has come to possess assets of crores of rupees”.

Mr Vaiko asserted that his party was very much part of the NDA despite falling out with the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu.

Mr Vaiko, told reporters “I have not walked out of the NDA.”

Speculations over the MDMK parting ways with the alliance were rife following its break up with the ruling DMK over the issue of seat-sharing in the coming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.

Mr Fernandes said NDA allies contesting against each other was not new but that did not mean that they had parted ways with the alliance.Back

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