April 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India
BJP Parliamentary Board to decide on UP Govt
New Delhi, April 18
This was decided at a 90-minute meeting of the BJP top brass led by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with state party leaders.
Emerging out of the meeting, BJP President K. Jana Krishnamurthi told newspersons that the meeting today decided that in the wake of the latest developments, the board could review its earlier decision of sitting in the Opposition.
Mr Krishnamurthi clarified that the meeting was held in view of a series of talks between the BSP leaders and the Prime Minister. “The talks with the BSP will continue. Nothing has been decided now as the board is empowered to review its decision,” the BJP President said.
“The Parliamentary Board meeting will be held any time next week. Meanwhile, talks will continue and the details will be worked out,” he said.
Mr Krishnamurthi’s assertions notwithstanding, the tie-up between the two parties is final and the board will only technically give a green light.
Asked about the likely arrangement on the sharing of power between the two parties in the new government, Mr Krishnamurthi said no details had been worked out and talks would continue.
Mr Krishnamurthi said the party would stick to its earlier decision taken by the board which met immediately after the Uttar Pradesh elections that it would sit in the Opposition “till the time the board reviews its decision.”
Asked if the BJP would have its Deputy Chief Minister, the BJP President said: “No details have been finalised. So there is no question of discussing this aspect. It has only been decided that talks with the BSP will continue.”
Besides the Prime Minister, the meeting was attended by Home Minister L.K. Advani, Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, former party chief Kushabhau Thakre and state party leaders, including former Chief Minister Rajnath Singh and state party chief Kalraj Mishra, were present at the meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence.
Former state ministers Lalji Tandon and Om Prakash Singh also attended the meeting.
Mr Rajnath Singh and Mr Mishra remained tight-lipped when asked to comment on the central leadership’s decision. Both had earlier said the party should not get into any alliance with the BSP due to the past experience.
Mr Krishnamurthi said the meeting was necessitated as the BSP was showing interest to get into an understanding with the BJP. The BSP supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, and Ms Mayawati were among those who had called on the Prime Minister in the past few days.
Indications are that while the BJP had agreed to have Ms Mayawati as Chief Minister, it was pressing for the posts of Deputy Chief Minister and Speaker of the Assembly.
There are also reports that both parties have agreed to have a common minimum programme for governance.
In a House of 403, the BSP has a strength of 98, while the BJP with its allies has 107 members. The largest single party, Samajwadi Party, has 145 members and the Congress 25.
The state was brought under President’s rule on March 8, after no party got a clear majority in the February Assembly elections.
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