Friday, May 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Govt to back censure move in RS
Jaswant takes Oppn by surprise
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 2
Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh today took the Opposition by surprise when he said that the government would support the censure motion in “letter and spirit”.

While seeking to build a consensus on the issue, he asked all members in the House to pass the motion unanimously and assured that the Centre would continue to take steps under Article 355 of the Constitution to protect the life and property of the people.

With the Opposition having numbers on its side in the Rajya Sabha, the motion under Rule 170, entailing voting, was expected to be carried in the absence of government support.

The government’s strategy to go with the motion actually put to naught the Opposition’s attempt to cause embarrassment to it. The Opposition-sponsored censure motion in the Lok Sabha was convincingly defeated by the government on Wednesday morning by a comfortable margin of 94 votes.

Mr Jaswant Singh said, “We should pass the motion unanimously and we should move ahead and work together to meet the challenges.”

The move also saved Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee of the effort to give an immediate reply to the motion moved by Mr Arjun Singh.

When Chairman Krishan Kant invited the Prime Minister to speak after Jaswant Singh had put forth his views, the Leader of the House was again on his feet. He said the Prime Minister had the same views as his and that he would make a short intervention only towards the end of the debate.

Earlier, soon after senior Congress member Arjun Singh initiated the discussion on the motion. Jaswant Singh said, “We accept the motion in letter and spirit and the Home Ministry has already taken some steps under Article 355 of the Constitution and more steps will be taken in the coming days.”

The seven-line motion drafted in consultation with all political parties has expressed deep sense of anguish at the persistence of violence in Gujarat for over six weeks, leading to loss of lives of a large number of persons and destruction of property worth crores.

It also urged the Centre to intervene effectively under Article 355 of the Constitution to protect the lives and property of the citizens and to provide effective relief and rehabilitation to victims of violence.

Agreeing with Arjun Singh, Jaswant Singh appealed to members to rise above partisan politics by not trading charges and counter-charges on the important issue.

He said the government had taken cognisance of what had been said in the motion and it totally shared the anguish expressed in it.


Laloo slams NDA in maiden RS speech
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 2
RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav, in his maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha today, minced no words in blasting the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led government and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for “shaking the foundations of our secular fabric” in their handling of Gujarat.

Living up to his reputation, the former Bihar Chief Minister regaled the Upper House with his hard-hitting speech punctuated by wit and humour and accused on the BJP and the Sangh Parivar of “destabilising the country.”

His personal attacks on the Prime Minister, Home Minister L.K. Advani and strident criticism of the government on issues of Hindutva, RSS and Ayodhya, triggered spontaneous protest from BJP members, leading to the adjournment of the House twice during the discussion on a motion under Rule 170 on Gujarat violence.

Mr Yadav, who was cheered by Opposition members, especially from the Congress, strongly criticised Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani for not being present in the House when it was discussing such an important topic.

There was pandemonium in the House when Mr Yadav recalled the contributions made by Muslims for the country’s freedom struggle. Mr Yadav’s reference to Mr Vajpayee on the Gwalior incident during the freedom struggle led to another bout of protests from BJP members.

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