Tuesday, July 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Reshuffle denotes PM’s demotion: Cong
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 1
The Congress said today that the reshuffle of the BJP-led government denoted the demotion of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, heralded the dominance of the BJP and the total eclipse of the NDA, besides indicating that the BJP was brazenly getting back to its original Hindutva agenda.

Party’s chief spokesman Jaipal Reddy said today that the reshuffle had sent retrograde signals. “It denotes more of the demotion of Mr Vajpayee than the promotion of Mr Advani. The Prime Minister’s authority has been eroded,’’ he said. “At the Goa national executive meeting of the BJP, it was Mr Advani who announced changes in the party,’’ Mr Reddy recalled.

Maintaining that Mr Advani had been “a dismal failure’’ as Home Minister, Mr Reddy said he had still been promoted. “Mr Advani may like to be likened to Sardar Patel. Such a comparison is politically scandalous and historically sacrilegious,’’ he said.

Mr Reddy said the Cabinet reshuffle heralded the total eclipse of the NDA and the dominance of the BJP.

“Mr Advani could not be made Deputy Prime Minister in 1998 but only in 2002 because the non-Hindutva parties have lost their bargaining leverage. In fact, the non-Hindutva parties have been reduced to the status of bonded labour,’’ he said.

Referring to the tussle for the Railways portfolio among two NDA allies, Mr Reddy said the schism and splits had been created among non-Hindutva parties to deny them their legitimate due.

Having a dig at NDA convener George Fernandes, Mr Reddy said he had become a “servile subordinate’’ of the BJP. “It is the government of the BJP and by the BJP,’’ he said.

Mr Reddy said the BJP was brazenly getting back to its original Hindutva agenda. Accusing the BJP of throwing the NDA agenda to the winds, Mr Reddy said during the past four years people had witnessed the “collapse of governance,’’ because of which the BJP and its partners had lost one poll after the other in the past two years.

Referring to the proposed “rath yatra” by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the appointment of Mr Vinay Katiar as president of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP, Mr Reddy said: “The BJP has chosen to deploy divisive ideology to erase the memory of its misrule,” he maintained.

Asked about the possibility of a similar revamp in the Congress in the near future, Mr Reddy said: “We do not need revamp because we have not faced a debacle.”

To a question, he said the party was not objecting to the appointment of Mr Advani on constitutional grounds. “Why was he not made Deputy Prime Minister in 1998,’’ Mr Reddy asked.


PM’s position in peril: Paswan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 1
Former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said today that the position of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had been “put in peril” with the appointment of Mr L.K. Advani as Deputy Prime Minister.

“Right since Independence, whenever a Deputy Prime Minister has been chosen, he has worked against the Prime Minister, leading to the latter’s ouster,” said Mr Paswan.

Talking to mediapersons, the Lok Janshakti chief said barring Sardar Patel, who lived only for six months after his elevation as Deputy Prime Minister, all other six Deputy Prime Ministers down the line campaigned against their respective Prime Ministers.

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