Sunday, April 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Modi mum on fresh mandate

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi addresses a Press conference at Hotel Marriot in Panaji on Saturday.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi addresses a Press conference at Hotel Marriot in Panaji on Saturday. — PTI photo

Gandhinagar, April 13
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today chose to keep mum on holding early Assembly elections as “advised” to him by the BJP after rejecting his offer to resign at the ongoing party national executive meet at Panajai in Goa.

When asked about the party advice, Mr Modi did not disclose if and when he would recommend dissolution of the Vidhan Sabha and when the possible poll would be held.

The last Assembly elections were held in 1998 and the Vidhan Sabha is due for poll early next year. At present, the ruling BJP has 115 seats in the 182-member Assembly and main Opposition Congress has 59, the other seats being held by smaller parties and Independents.

Talking to UNI over phone from Panaji, he said this morning that the party leadership had merely “advised” him, not directed, to seek a fresh mandate in Gujarat so as to silence the plethora of critics who had given a “bad name” to the state.

Asked if, after returning here late tonight as scheduled, he would call his Cabinet colleagues and recommend dissolution of the Vidhan Sabha, Mr Modi chose to keep mum.

Even after being asked again, he did not react on the early poll issue. “My first and foremost priority is to provide succour to the unfortunate people displaced by the riots and staying in the relief camps, to wipe the tears of those who have lost not only their home and hearth but also their near and dear ones and to rehabilitate those who have nowhere else to go.” UNI


Left asks NDA allies to take stand
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 13
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) today flayed the decision of the Bharatiya Janata Party to retain Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in office and call for elections.

The Politburo of the CPI (M) said Mr Modi had been asked to seek a fresh mandate to promote the party’s “communal agenda”.

It said it was “regrettable” that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had endorsed Mr Modi’s “communal stance” instead of removing him from office as demanded by the allies of the BJP, including the Telugu Desam.

Despite the demand of the Telugu Desam Party, the principal ally of the NDA, for Mr Modi’s resignation, Mr Vajpayee had decided to allow him to remain in office, the CPI(M) said in a statement.

The Politburo said Mr Modi had been accused of “total failure” to protect the lives and property of the minority community in his state. The administration headed by Mr Modi had not only failed to discharge its constitutional duty but was also biased against the Muslim community.

The entire nation was concerned over the sordid happenings in Gujarat where its secular fabric had been challenged by communal forces abetted by the state government”, it added.

It urged the non-BJP allies in the ruling NDA to decide if “Mr Vajpayee has to go or remain.”

“If NDA allies take a position, Mr Vajpayee will have to go,” CPI General Secretary A.B. Bardhan said here. Mr Bardhan said the non-BJP constituents in the NDA, who talked of Mr Modi’s resignation, now faced “their moment of truth.”

Coming down heavily on Mr Vajpayee for his reported remark that “Muslims do not want to live together with others and that they want to propagate their views with terror and fear,” Mr Bardhan said the PM had embraced the hardline ‘Hindutva’ propaganda.

“The PM did not target Islamic fundamentalism but the Muslim community as a whole,” he said.


Boycott Gujarat poll, Mulayam tells Oppn

Lucknow, April 13
Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav today called upon the Opposition parties to boycott the likely Assembly elections in Gujarat as these were aimed at polarising Hindu votes.

Mr Yadav told the media here that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s statement on Gujarat violence had divided the nation along communal lines.

Accusing Mr Vajpayee of indulging in double speak over Gujarat violence, Mr Yadav said his statement in Goa was contrary to what he had said in Ahmedabad during his recent visit to the riot-torn state.

He said the BJP move to hold mid-term poll in Gujarat was aimed at polarising Hindu votes by playing its ‘Hindutva card’ in the state. PTI

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