Monday, May 21, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Samata reschedules executive meeting
To wait for Manipur trust vote outcome

New Delhi, May 20
The Samata Party, which had been waiting till midnight for a three-line BJP whip to its MLAs to support the Radha Binod Koijam government in Manipur, announced late tonight it had rescheduled its national executive committee meeting from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow to have time to watch the proceedings in the state legislature.

“Voting on the trust motion of the Samata Party-led government of Radha Binod Koijam is to take place at 4 p.m. By that time we will know the conduct of the BJP MLAs’’, Dr Shambhu Srivastava, spokesman of the party, a constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance, told UNI.

He said there was no change in the ground situation. Earlier, the party had said it stood by its earlier decision to review its support to the coalition government at a meeting of the party’s national executive tomorrow. This was because there was no change in its standoff with the BJP in the absence of their (BJP) three-line whip to its party MLAs in Manipur, it said

The efforts of the party leader and former Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, to resolve the issue through a meeting with the Prime Minister Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, here earlier in the day had not succeeded.

On his part, Mr Fernandes briefed the Prime Minister on the issue with a view to seek his intervention. Party sources claimed tonight Mr Vajpayee assured Mr Fernandes he would try to tackle the issue.

The party spokesman, Dr Shambhu Srivastava, explained that for the national executive the agenda was limited to deciding whether the party should continue in the government or support the government from outside.

That would mean that either of the decision does not threaten the survival of the NDA government. The party has 12 MPs in the Lok Sabha and three of them are ministers.

The Samata Party-led government of Mr Radha Binod Koijam is to seek a fresh trust of the state Assembly tomorrow as per the directive of the state Governor. The Samata Party has a strength of 13 members in the 60-member house and the support of the 26-member BJP group is crucial for the survival of the government.

In a statement in the evening, the Samata Party did not give much credence to the media reports that the BJP president, Mr Jana Krishnamurty, had announced the BJP support to the Koijam government saying that the BJP had not done the minimum required for such a situation — issue a three line whip to its members. UNI


Advani: Manipur crisis to be over soon
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, May 20
The political crisis in Manipur will be resolved soon and there is no possibility of the Samata Party parting ways from the NDA.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr L.K. Advani, Union Home Minister, said the NDA partners had a good understanding and there was no possibility of a split within the NDA. He was in the city to lay the foundation stone of an information technology institute for tribes of India to be run by an NGO.

He said senior BJP leaders had invited the president of the Manipur unit of the BJP to New Delhi recently to discuss the issue. The state unit of the BJP had assured to cooperate with the Samata leadership in Manipur. Senior leaders of the NDA had also discussed the issue with Samata Party leaders.

He said the BJP would continue support to the ruling party in Manipur.

When asked about the possibility of extending the ceasefire in Kashmir, he indicated that the ceasefire would be extended for another term to facilitate peace talks with the militant groups. However, the final decision regarding this would be taken in the Cabinet meeting of the Union Government, he added.

Earlier, addressing the gathering on the occasion of laying the foundation stone of the institute, Mr Advani defended the economic policies of the NDA government and said in the years to come India would emerge as the big economic power of the world.

He stressed on the need to spread computer education in the country. From the next census, the Central Government was considering a proposal to include computer literacy in data collection, he said.

He asked all state governments and the NGOs to spread computer education among the tribals of the country and pave the way for the betterment of their lives. Computer literacy would provide more employment opportunities to them.


BJP accepts Cong’s challenge
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Mussoorie, May 20
The BJP is likely to undergo a major organisational change in the near future after suffering heavy losses in the just concluded Assembly elections in the five states. An action plan for ensuring a better interaction between workers and leaders is also on the anvil.

Disclosing this here to mediapersons, the party general secretary, Mr Narendra Modi, said the party president, Mr K. Jana Krishanamurthi, had expressed his desire to bring about change in the organisational setup of the party at the national-level to ensure that the party worked more efficiently and more effectively.

Lashing out at the Congress Mr Modi said, it had failed to play a healthy role of the Opposition at the national level.

The real test for Congress would be in UP in the next few months. The BJP had accepted the challenge of the Congress in UP and the forthcoming Assembly elections would prove the relative strength of the BJP and the Congress.

Meanwhile, the party president clearly indicated in his introductory remarks while addressing the office-bearers present in the morning session that it was time to go in for self-introspection and bring about necessary changes in the organisation. The BJP national leadership began its two-day deliberations here today.

The morning session was attended by Mr Madan Lal Khurana, Kailash Joshi, Kushabhau Thakre, Puran Chand Sharma and many other senior leaders.

He said: “We are discussing various aspects of our organisational work. We will have to gear up our organisational machinery to meet electoral challenges later this year and early next year.” He was talking about the forthcoming Assembly elections in UP and Punjab. The BJP office-bearers had decided to setup a team of 40 leaders to visit all states to have better interaction with party workers at the grassroots level.

They stressed upon to bring qualitative changes in the functioning of state and district units of the BJP.

Mr Modi further said, the forthcoming Assembly elections in UP and Punjab would be considered as a test case for the party.

In UP the state unit of the BJP had been asked to start mass contract campaign at the village-level and prepare for the elections.

Regarding the possible electoral alliances in UP, Mr Modi refused to comment saying it was the duty of the state unit to decide about the alliance possibilities.

He said, the office-bearers of the party were of the view that the ceasefire in Kashmir should be extended to continue the peace process in the valley. And as far as the Manipur crisis was concerned, the BJP would continue support to the ruling Samata Party.Back

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