Tuesday, August 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

AIADMK to abstain from voting

Chennai, August 18
The All-India Anna DMK (AIADMK) will abstain from voting on the no-confidence motion tabled by Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha against the Vajpayee Government, party supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa announced today.

Leaving no one in doubt that her party would have gone to the rescue of the Vajpayee government if it was in danger, she told reporters after the party’s 90-minute executive committee meeting at the AIADMK headquarters here that “as far as we can see, there is no danger to the government.’’

As nobody from either the government or the NDA had sought her party’s support, there was no need for her party to offer unsolicited support, she said.

Ms Jayalalithaa said her party, which had 11 members in the Lok Sabha, would also not participate in the debate on the motion.

Asked about reports that NDA Convener and Defence Minister George Fernandes had tried to contact her, the Chief Minister said he had tried to contact her on August 16, but she could not answer his call as she was away from home. She did not know the purpose of Mr Fernandes’ call, she claimed.

To a question on whether the BJP had refrained from seeking her party’s support in the context of protest from the DMK, Ms Jayalalithaa said she did not want to speculate on the issue.

On August 16, the DMK, a constituent of the NDA Government, had said it was yet to decide on its stand on the no-confidence motion, but party President M. Karunanidhi announced yesterday that his party, would oppose the motion. — UNI


Chandrashekhar not to support no-confidence motion
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 18
Former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar today refused to support the no- confidence motion against the government saying that it was moved with an eye on the coming Assembly elections.

In the same breath, he charged Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with inconsistency in his statements.

In a brief speech on the motion, Mr Chandrashekhar said: "I cannot support this motion." He said it was not for the first time that a report was not shown to the PAC on grounds of confidentiality and the usual practice was to solve it at a meeting between the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Minister concerned and the PAC Chairman.

Mr Chandrashekhar said he had tried to arrange a meeting between the PAC Chairman and Defence Minister George Fernandes but they kept shifting their stand. However, when the Rajya Sabha was told that there was no CVC Report on defence procurements made during the Kargil conflict, it was decided to make the no-confidence motion a "weapon" in view of the coming state Assembly poll.

Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav said the government had tarnished the image of the country abroad.

He said when the Prime Minister had himself admitted that none of Indian Muslims was involved in the Al-Qaida activities in the country, why the minority community was being targeted for every act of terrorism within or on the borders of the country. He said the country wanted to know how many Muslims had been sent to jail under POTA and why many Hindus known for their anti-national activities and collusion with Pakistan had been spared from such treatment.

Mr Somnath Chatterjee (CPM) called for the removal of the BJP-led NDA government "lock, stock, and barrel" as it was "incompetent" and "anti-people".

Mr Chatterjee admitted that the no-confidence motion was likely to be defeated by the "temporary majority contrived by the BJP with a totally opportunistic combination", but the vast majority of people outside the Parliament, who do not support the corrupt government and believe in secularism, would consign this government to the "dustbin of history".

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