Tuesday, July 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Vajpayee rejects Nitish Kumar’s resignation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
Within 30 minutes of announcing his decision to resign at the end of a two-day open session of the Samata Party here today, Railway Minister Nitish Kumar tendered his resignation to the Prime Minister.

Sources in the PMO and the Railway Ministry said that his resignation was not accepted by Prime MInister, Atal Bihari Vajapyee.

In his evening address at the end of the meeting of the National Executive and National Council of the Samata Party, Mr Nitish Kumar minced no words while expressing his displeasure about the lack of discipline in the party.

He said he was hurt and upset about the unprovoked attacks made by his own partymen. “I will not return to the government till proved innocent of baseless charges of corruption levelled against me by party MPs,” he said.

Mr Nitish Kumar’s offer to resign was, however, not accepted by Samata Party President George Fernandes. His loyalists in the audience cheered him with show of hands.

Urging NDA Convener George Fernandes, who was re-elected Samata President today to institute an inquiry on the charges against, him Mr Nitish stressed on the need for party discipline.

Under pressure to resign for the rise in number of train accidents, Mr Nitish Kumar said his patience had given way to anger. “Even my detractors have not levelled the kind of allegations made against me by my own partymen. I have not reacted to the charges not because I can not react, but because my reaction would have caused harm to the party.”

Accusing Mr Fernandes of not ensuring discipline among partymen, he said he had been a victim of unprovoked attacks.

He told TNS at the end of the meeting that he was serious about his resignation.

He said he was a grassroots leader and would prefer to support the party than hold a portfolio by compromising on dignity and self-respect. He said he was not interested in holding the portfolio of a “Bigda hua mantralay” (ministry in a shambles). He said he would not stay on even under pressure.


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