Wednesday, March 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Advani’s statement today
Mayawati videotape issue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 4
With the Opposition mounting pressure on the reported remarks of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati about collecting money for party coffers, the government today informed the Lok Sabha that it would make a statement on the issue tomorrow.

Following Speaker Manohar Joshi’s directive, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she had spoken to Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who had sought a day’s time to collect relevant information from the state government. He would make a statement tomorrow, Ms Swaraj added.

Earlier, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha witnessed turmoil, with the issue being raised by agitated Samajwadi Party members seeking adjournment of question hour.

In the Lok Sabha, the SP members trooped into the well of the House, charging Mayawati with “encouraging corruption” and seeking a CBI probe into it.

The motions, moved by Samajwadi Party leaders Ram Gopal Yadav in the Rajya Sabha and Akhilesh Singh and Ramjilal Suman in the lower House, were rejected, but the Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi asked the government to make a statement. The members also demanded Ms Mayawati’s resignation for reportedly asking BSP legislators to collect money for the party coffers from the local area development funds.

The SP members were supported in the lower House by the RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Mr P R Dasmunshi (Congress) and other Opposition leaders, who said such reported statements “lowered the dignity of Parliament”. They also demanded that privilege notice be issued against Ms Mayawati.

In the Rajya Sabha, Mr Ramgopal Yadav’s motion was rejected by Deputy Chairperson Najma Heptullah. Meanwhile, Ms Mayawati has come out saying she was prepared to have a thorough inquiry into the cassettes, reportedly showing her telling her partymen to collect money for the party, BJP leader Kalraj Misra said here.

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