Friday, October 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Selloff: test for PM tomorrow

New Delhi, October 3
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is likely to assert his authority for the second time this week, on October 5, when he presides over the full Planning Commission meeting which is to clear the Tenth Five Year Plan, aiming to raise a whopping Rs 80,000 crore through disinvestment over which there are dissensions in the Cabinet.

Top Cabinet ministers, including those opposing disinvestment of the profit-making companies, will attend the meeting to be held at 7, Race Course Road, on Saturday.

It will be an acid test for the NDA government to come out with a united face on the issue of disinvestment which, sources in the political circles told UNI, is only a “news peg for many other things going behind the scene”.

Sources said the Prime Minister’s outburst yesterday supporting the disinvestment programme was not a one-off statement. “Many more opportunities are going to come in the near future,’’ they said.

As for the Prime Minister’s assertion yesterday, sources said it was building up in his mind for quite some time since many of the senior ministers had started giving their own views, irrespective of the NDA Agenda for Governance.

The Prime Minister is also likely to hold a meeting of the state Chief Ministers on October 16. Asked whether the issue of disinvestment will figure in the meeting, sources said, “Yesterday’s meeting was on labour and not on disinvestment. When the PM wants to speak, he speaks.” UNI

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