Friday, June 20, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

BJP for LS poll on schedule

Mumbai, June 19
Top BJP leaders at their brainstorming session here today favoured holding of Lok Sabha poll on schedule in the “latter half of next year” scotching speculation of any preponement even as they discussed threadbare the party’s relations with NDA allies in different states.

The meeting, attended by both Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, deliberated the pros and cons on the timing of the Lok Sabha poll with some leaders reportedly suggesting that it should be held along with coming Assembly elections or immediately thereafter, depending on the poll outcome.

However, the sources said the leaders for the time being felt the Lok Sabha poll should be held on schedule with ‘Mission 2004’ of winning 300 seats on its own and two-thirds majority with NDA allies.

Mr Advani, who attended the meeting for the first time after returning home from his foreign tour, showered praise on Mr Vajpayee saying his peace initiative had won “global acclaim”.

Mr Advani, who briefed party leaders on his deliberations in the USA and UK, said, “It has once again convinced the international community of Atalji’s sincere efforts to establish peace and normal relations with Pakistan and to resolve all bilateral issues with our neighbour through dialogue.”

Other participants, who complimented Mr Vajpayee on the peace initiative, appreciated the success in the government’s drive against cross-border terrorism and said the drive should be further intensified.

Putting behind the unsavoury leadership controversy that rocked the party recently, Mr Vajpayee had yesterday said “not only he (Mr Advani) is a source of strength for me in the government, but he also devotes a lot of time and energy to guide the party in its work”.

The meeting also suggested some new and “populist” initiatives for the poor, farmers, unemployed youth and backward regions which could be announced by the government ahead of the crucial Assembly poll, party sources said.

Some seat-sharing arrangements in some states with the party’s allies were also discussed at the conclave. — PTI


VHP to boycott leaders opposing temple

Lucknow, June 19
After accusing the NDA government of selling out Hindu interests to some Muslim organisations in the name of resolving the Ayodhya tangle, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad today warned that, in the next Lok Sabha elections, it would boycott leaders who opposed the construction of Ram temple.

“It is a warning to leaders that they should either favour the construction of Ram temple or the VHP would ensure that they do not win Parliament elections in future,” the VHP president, Mr Ashok Singhal, told reporters here. He said leaders in favour of the temple should come out of the NDA umbrella and help the VHP in its construction effort. — PTI

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