Friday, May 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

RSS cautions govt on talks with Pak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 1
In an effort to bridge the differences among the various constituents of the Sangh Parivar and the BJP, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and his deputy L.K. Advani today held a meeting with leaders of the RSS, VHP and Swadeshi Jagran Manch and discussed ways for sharpening the electoral reach of the ruling party.

Mr Vajpayee spent about three hours at the meeting called by the RSS to discuss issues like Ayodhya, Kashmir and the Centre’s economic policies, including disinvestment, over which the Parivar outfits have varied and conflicting viewpoints.

The leaders, including RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan, laid emphasis on an increased coordination and a restrained mutual criticism, sources said, as the BJP leaders took pains to explain the government’s compulsions.

The effort is to make the BJP win a majority in the next Lok Sabha elections which alone could pave the way for the implementation of the Sangh agenda, sources said.

The meeting, which was also attended by BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu, RSS chief and VHP working president Ashok Singhal, assumes significance in the backdrop of the recent criticism of the Vajpayee government by some Sangh Parivar outfits, including the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM).

RSS joint general secretary Madan Das Devi told newspersons that it was proposed that there should be more coordination between Sangh Parivar outfits and the BJP so that there was no sense of bitterness among them.

To a question whether the Sangh and its affiliates would support the BJP in the coming Assembly elections in four states in a coordinated way, he said all the organisations were free to act on their own in this regard. Asked whether the RSS would depute ‘pracharaks’ to the BJP ahead of the Assembly poll, Mr Devi said, “We are all independent organisations who provide training to their cadres according to our requirements. We will offer whatever cooperation is sought from us.”

On the Indo-Pak relations, the RSS leader said the Sangh approved of friendly ties between the two countries but cautioned the government on Islamabad’s past track record before initiating any dialogue.

On the Ayodhya issue, RSS spokesman Ram Madhav said an effort was being made to evolve a balanced approach keeping in view the government’s compulsions as well as the VHP’s commitment to the Hindu society. The meeting, convened by the RSS, will continue for three days.


India does not work under pressure: MEA
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 1
India today denied that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had extended the hand of friendship to Pakistan under “international pressure” and asked Islamabad to consider whether raising the Kashmir issue at the United Nations at this point of time was “compatible” with this Indian gesture. “India does not work under pressure. India does not accept pressures. This presumption of pressure must be discounted once and for all,” foreign office spokesman, Navtej Sarna said at a briefing in response to a question.

To another question, he said, “Our Prime Minister has made a gesture of friendship. It is for Pakistan to decide how it has to respond.”

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