Monday, April 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

No immediate poll in Gujarat, says BJP

New Delhi, April 14
As a sop to its angry ally, TDP, opposing fresh Assembly poll in Gujarat, the BJP tonight told the NDA that there was no proposal to go in for such an exercise immediately in the state, even as the coalition appealed to its key ally from Andhra Pradesh not to withdraw support to the Vajpayee government.

At an emergency meeting of the alliance here this evening, the BJP made it clear that there was no proposal for elections in Gujarat after TDP’s strong objections to holding of franchise in the state in the face of communal riots there came up for discussion.

Convener of the NDA George Fernandes told reporters after the 90-minute meeting held at Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s residence that “there is no proposal to go for elections in Gujarat.”

The assertion by the BJP assumes significance as the TDP insists on the removal of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Only two days back, the BJP national executive meeting in Panji had rejected Mr Modi’s quit offer and advised him to seek a fresh mandate.

Mr Fernandes spoke to TDP supremo and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu twice today as parts of efforts to pacify him.

“The NDA meeting adopted a resolution appealing to the TDP not to withdraw support to the Vajpayee government on the Modi issue. At the same time, it opposed any interference in the “democratic functioning” of a state.

The NDA appeals to the TDP, which as our valued friend has steadfastly supported us all these four years, to continue its support to the government,” said the resolution.

It, however, said the alliance “is of the view that in a federal polity, interference in the democratic functioning of states or of Delhi determining who is or is not to be the Chief Minister of any particular state will completely distort the constitutional of federalism.”

The meeting reaffirmed NDA’s commitment to its secular agenda, saying there was no deviation, “nor shall any be permitted.”

The Trinamool Congress stayed away from the meeting, saying it would go by the TDP’s decision on the continuance of support to the Vajpayee government on the Gujarat issue. PTI

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