Tuesday, May 22, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Samata leaves it to George
BJP not to stake claim in Manipur * NDA not to invite Mamata Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
The Samata Party, a key constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the Centre, today kept the Vajpayee government on the tenterhooks as it deferred a final decision on its status in the ruling coalition and authorised senior leader George Fernandes to decide on the issue in the wake of the fall of the Radhabinod Koijam government in Manipur earlier in the day.

“Seniormost party leader, George Fernandes, has been unanimously authorised to take the final decision on whether or not to remain in the NDA”, party general secretary and spokesperson, Mr Shambhu Srivastava told newspersons after a marathon four-hour-long emergency meeting late this evening of the party’s national executive here.

He said during the meeting, attended by 46 members, including the three Union Ministers of the Samata Party in the Vajpayee Cabinet, deliberated at length the situation arising out of the Manipur Assembly crisis and also various proposals moved by members relating to its alliance with the NDA Government. However, Mr Srivastava said no definite time-frame had been set for Mr Fernandes for deciding upon the party’s plan of action.

Earlier, Mr Fernandes refused to meet the two emissaries of the Prime Minister — BJP MP Vijay Goel and OSD to PM, Sudheendra Kulkarni – and conveyed to them through the party general secretary, Mr Srivastava, that he would not be attending the NDA coordination committee meeting which was being held simultaneously. Mr Srivastava said the emissaries while conveying Vajpayee’s request to Mr Fernandes to attend the meeting also informed that the BJP will not form the next government in Manipur. Mr Srivastava regretted that the BJP’s assurance of support to the Koijam government had not been translated into reality.

Meanhile, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) meeting ended today making a conscious effort to downplay the impact of the absence of the Samata Party at the meeting in the wake of defeat of its government in Manipur.

Briefing newspersons after an hour-long meeting, Defence and External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said the meeting decided to continue with former Defence Minister and senior Samata Party leader George Fernandes as the NDA convener.

Denying that developments in Manipur where the Samata party-led state government was defeated on the floor of the house by the BJP legislators figured at the meeting, Mr Jaswant Singh said the NDA members discussed the peace process in Jammu and Kashmir.

Asserting that there was no threat to the NDA and its government at the Centre due to developments in Manipur, he said “nobody in the BJP will be a contender for the Chief Minister’s post.”

Expressing confidence that the situation there would be resolved, he denied suggestions the development would have its repercussions in states like Jharkhand where the Samata Party was sharing power with the BJP. The meeting also reviewed the assembly election results and the issues concerning Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh whose Chief Ministers attended the NDA meeting, Mr Jaswant Singh said.

The meeting authorised Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to take appropriate decision on the issue of extending ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir without compromising on the issue of terrorism, Mr Singh said.

Meanwhile, the NDA tonight ruled out extending an invitation to Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee to rejoin the alliance.

“There is no question of extending such an invitation and no such discussion took place either,” External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh told reporters after a meeting of the NDA Coordination Committee chaired by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Asked whether the meeting deliberated upon the issue of inviting new entrants to the NDA, Mr Jaswant Singh said no specific discussion took place. He replied in the negative when asked whether the possible entry of Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh in the NDA took place and whether the issue was raised by Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, who is reportedly against such a move.Back


Ties with Samata will improve: Krishnamurthi
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Mussoorie, May 21
The national office-bearers of the BJP today grilled the NDA government at the Centre on the final day of the two-day meeting held here for its inability to get the economically beneficial schemes for the poor implemented at the grassroots level. The party issued certain guidelines for the Central Government and the BJP-led state governments to make such schemes practical in nature. The Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, asked the office-bearers of the party not to adopt short-cut methods for gaining popularity and keep themselves away from caste-based and vote-bank politics.

Addressing mediapersons after the conclusion of the two-day meet, Mr K. Jana Krishnamurthi said the party felt that the NDA government should adopt much more vigorous steps especially to target the rural and the urban poor so that the economic growth and prosperity can become more visible and perceptible. Many of the schemes announced by the Central Government had not been fully implemented and hence the necessary follow-up action was needed.

Regarding the Manipur crisis, he said the NDA government’s relations with the Samata Party would improve in the coming days despite a few misunderstandings at the state level.

He said the office-bearers of the BJP had asked the economic ministries to fix achievable targets within a specific period of say three or six months and account for their implementation. The meet urged the Prime Minister and the ministries concerned to seriously consider the suggestion and implement it to improve the image of the party.

Other major suggestions made by the BJP to the NDA government included a systematic approach towards the implementation of policies and programmes of the government, to improve technology and provide more credit limit facilities to the small-scale industries and to put more stress on development of tribal and border areas.

Addressing the office-bearers of the party in the second session last night, Mr Advani said the party should not claim success for coming into power after elections. The success of the government should be measured by the completion of the tenure. Everybody should work unitedly to further improve the image of the party and the NDA government.

The party president said the office-bearers of the BJP were of the collective view that although there were more than three crore members of the party on the national level, there was need to do much more to get them involved in the party work at the grassroots level. Every unit of the party needed to be activated.Back

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