Sunday, August 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Advani: govt for simultaneous LS, Assembly poll

On board special IAF aircraft, August 2
The government is seriously thinking to either reschedule the poll timetable or, if necessary, make constitutional amendments for “restoring the synchronity’’ between Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani said today.

The government had been sounding members of the Election Commission informally in this regard, but formally no decision had been taken yet at either the government or the party level, Mr Advani told mediapersons on way to Pune, where he was scheduled to attend a series of functions.

Replying to questions, Mr Advani said if something was to be decided formally in this connection, the main opposition party would also have to be consulted.

“Parliament elections may be in our hands but Assembly elections are in the hands of the state governments,’’ he said.

Asked whether NDA partners had been consulted on the matter, Mr Advani said at least one NDA ally had been taken into confidence.

Asked what would be the suitable time in a year for holding elections, he said it should be the first quarter.

Replying to questions, Mr Advani said several pieces of legislations relating to poll reforms would be taken up during the current session of Parliament. These included proxy voting by the Army, electoral funding and open voting for the Rajya Sabha, he added.

Dismissing speculation about his taking over as BJP President ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections, Mr Advani said there was no such proposal.

PUNE: Mr Advani declared on Saturday that Pakistan would be defeated in its proxy war against India even as he asserted that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was gradually improving.

“Pakistan’s steps are weakening. There was a time when it used to recruit youths from Kashmir, train them, provide them with money and arms and send them across the border. But today, nobody goes from Kashmir,” Mr Advani said while addressing a rally of BJP workers here.

He said even as Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee offered a hand of friendship to Pakistan during his visit to Jammu and Kashmir, security forces had launched “Operation Sarp Vinash”, during which 80 terrorist hideouts had been busted and many militants eliminated. About 200 modules of Pakistan’s ISI had also been busted, he said.

He said there was a “feel” good situation across the country, including Jammu and Kashmir. “A large number of tourists are visiting J and K though stray incidents do cause concern. The situation in Kashmir is gradually changing as is evident from the fact that 50,000 Kashmiri Pandits visited the shrine of Khir Bhawani near Srinagar, he said.

Mr Advani attributed the change of situation to the strong steps taken by security forces to curb terrorism— UNI, PTI



PM, Advani keep Ayodhya issue alive, says Congress
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 2
The Congress said today that remarks of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani about construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya were “a gambit meant to keep the issue of Ramjanmabhoomi alive through periodical lip-service.”

Congress chief spokesman Jaipal Reddy said it was unfortunate that Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani had used the occasion of death of a saint to kick up the controversy over the Ayodhya issue.

Attending the cremation of Mahant Ram Chandra Paramhans yesterday, Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani had said wishes of the saint for the construction of temple would be fulfilled.

“The statements, which both of them made, are totally opposed to the agenda of the NDA on the basis of which they got majority to run the government,” Mr Reddy said.

Asked about Mr Advani’s suggestion about holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, Mr Reddy said the proposal had neither been discussed in the NDA nor in the Cabinet. “It is ridiculous for Mr Advani to try to hold a dialogue with the Congress through the media. It is neither a legislative proposal nor a political proposition. This issue was not looked into by the Constitution Review Commission,” he said.

Mr Reddy said the Congress was prepared to face the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, whether these were held separately or simultaneously.


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