Thursday, August 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

NDA reposes faith in PM
Tribune News Service

Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha having a discussion
Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha having a discussion with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan, while Union Home Minister L.K. Advani looks on at the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) meeting at Prime Minister's residence in New Delhi on Wednesday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, August 1
With the National Democratic Alliance partners reposing unflinching faith in him and the BJP leadership accepting his supremacy, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today withdrew his resignation threat and attended the Lok Sabha.

After getting “unqualified faith and trust” in his leadership at the NDA meeting this morning, a confident Mr Vajpayee regaining his composure and usual wit admitted in the Lok Sabha that he had expressed his wish to resign saying “Barsat ka mausam hai, Badal to ghirengi hi, Lekin badal chhatenge bhi, Yeh baki hai abhi (The monsoon is on. Clouds are bound to be there. But these do disappear. This is still to happen)”.

“It is a fact that yesterday at the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting, I had expressed a desire to tender my resignation. The party did not accept my offer”, Mr Vajpayee said in response to a vociferous and loud Opposition which demanded that he take the House into confidence and explain the circumstances that forced him to make such a move.

The Prime Minister further informed that the NDA, which met this morning, had also asked him to continue as Prime Minister and expressed full faith in him.

Expressing regret over any inconvenience caused to the Speaker or the House by his remarks yesterday, Mr Vajpayee said he had no intention of showing any disrespect to the House.

The House would accept that an expression of desire is not an issue which had to be brought before the House instantly, the Prime Minister said in his effort to wrest the initiative from the Opposition.

Earlier in the morning, the NDA constituent leaders reiterated faith in the Prime Minister and decided to draw a code of conduct that would apply to all its members.

The meeting resolved to set up a four-member group, consisting of BJP leader Sikander Bakht, Commerce and Industry Minister Murosali Maran, Water Resources Minister Arjun Sethi and former Defence Minister George Fernandes to evolve the code of conduct.

The meeting, lasting an hour at the Prime Minister’s residence, was not attended by the Shiv Sena whose Rajya Sabah MP Sanjay Nirupam, participating in the debate on UTI fiasco in the Upper House on Monday had precipitated the crisis resulting in Mr Vajpayee’s offer to resign on Tuesday morning.

A resolution, passed at the meeting, said:” The NDA shares the Prime Minister’s disappointment and distress over the irresponsible actions and behaviour of some individuals which give the impression of a lack of cohesiveness in our alliance”.

Reading out the resolution to newspersons, NDA Convenor George Fernandes said the meeting also resolved “to formulate a code of conduct applicable to all parties who are members of the alliance to ensure adherence by all to the canons of coalition politics”.

“During the last three years, Atalji has led the nation with unmatched sagacity and far-sightedness”, the resolution said adding that the country today needed Mr Vajpayee’s leadership to effectively deal with the many challenges facing it on the domestic and external front.

“The NDA rededicates itself to work as a solid phalanx under the leadership of Atalji”, the resolution said.

At the same time, the NDA resolved not to allow the Opposition to make political capital out of these developments, the resolution said.

“We are, as we have always been, ready to discuss any issue in Parliament. We urge the Opposition not to disturb the smooth functioning of Parliament and allow a meaningful debate on all issues as decided by the Speaker (Lok Sabha) and the Chairman (of the Rajya Sabha)”.

Asked whether the Prime Minister had taken back his resignation, Mr Fernandes said “He has gone to Parliament. This answers your question”.

To a question about Mr Nirupam’s attack on the PMO regarding the UTI scam, Mr Fernandes said “These are issues which will be taken up in Parliament.”

Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Deputy leader of the Congress Madhavrao Scindia said the Prime Minister’s remarks yesterday had created doubts about the existence of the government.

Mr Vajpayee’s remarks that he was incapable of running the NDA coalition in a coherent and disciplined manner should be clarified in the House, he said.

Mr Scinida was critical of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan making public the Prime Minister’s remarks outside Parliament.

The Prime Minister should take the House and people into confidence and clarify all doubts.

CPM leader Somnath Chatterjee said the Prime Minister should come out clearly with the reasons that prompted him to take the drastic step.

“It is good to see the Prime Minister occupying seat number one even today”, he remarked.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said this was not an ordinary issue. His remarks had created “turmoil” in the country and there was speculation about fresh polls.

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati and AIADMK leader P H Pandian also wanted Mr Vajpayee to inform the House about the circumstances that led him to offer his resignation.Back


No threat to govt: Thackeray
Relents after meeting George

Mumbai, August 1
Rallying behind Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Shiv Sena today ruled out any threat to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre in the wake of Sena members of Parliament boycotting the NDA meeting in the morning.

After a one-and-a-half-hour meeting with NDA convener and former Defence Minister George Fernandes, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray told newspersons at his residence that his party was with the Prime Minister and the NDA.

“I respect Mr Vajpayee like anything... Our support is there with the government. It has always been there and it is going to continue,’’ the Sena chief added.

On being asked repeatedly about the Sena’s resentment, Mr Thackeray said: “There was a political move in Maharashtra, but it was sabotaged because of a telephone call from Delhi. It was a strategy which was sabotaged.’’ He, however, refused to name the person because of whom the “move in Maharashtra’’ was foiled.

Mr Thackeray added, “We know each other for the past 50 years. Even when Mr Fernandes was the Defence Minister, he used to visit me.’’

Asked about the reason behind the Sena members not attending the crucial NDA meeting, Mr Fernandes said there were several reasons because of which the NDA constituents could not attend the meeting. UNI

Rajeev Sharma adds from Delhi: Reassured by soothing words and deeds from none other than Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Samata Party leader and former Defence Minister George Fernandes on Wednesday flew to Mumbai for holding parleys with Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

Political sources told The Tribune that the Sena had given indications to the government that Thackeray might hold a news conference in Mumbai tomorrow where he may announce drastic action like withdrawing the Sena’s three ministers from the Vajpayee government.Back

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