M A I N   N E W S

Vajpayee takes stock of party’s poll preparedness
BJP to elect President on Feb 6
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 19
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today took stock of poll preparedness of the BJP and discussed several related issues with Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and party President M. Venkaiah Naidu.

At a meeting, which lasted for an hour, deliberations were held on the campaign programme of the BJP, dissolution of the Lok Sabha and other related issues, BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told mediapersons here.

“Atal Sandesh Yatra”, the BJP’s pre-poll campaign to be launched on January 23, also came up for the discussion, he said.

The intensive countryside pre-poll campaign would involve all senior leaders barring Mr Vajpayee and would be marked by rallies, conferences and meetings in every district.

Mr Naqvi said further modalities of the “Atal Sandesh Yatra” would be discussed during the meeting of BJP General Secretaries with the party President tomorrow. Another important event lined up was the meeting of BJP Chief Ministers with the Prime Minister on January 21.

Mr Naqvi said the election to elect next BJP President would be held on February 6.

The filing of nominations for the President’s post will commence on January 20, as per the schedule released here today by Om Prakash Kohli, who is the All-India Returning Officer.

The nominations would be accepted till January 26. The scrutiny would be done on January 27 and the withdrawal on January 28. The election is scheduled to take place on February 6, the day when the party’s National Council meets here.

Meanwhile, the Central leadership chose to react today on the Uttar Pradesh Government’s decision to dismantle four administrative zones and nine districts.

Sources said the decision to react on the issue was taken after the meeting between Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, and the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister on Saturday; and between Law Minister Arun Jaitley and the UP Chief Minister on Sunday.

Sources said Mr Yadav promised the BJP leaders that the decision would be reconsidered favourably.

Mr Naqvi termed the decision as “indiscreet and “taken in haste” and urged the Chief Minister to reconsider it to respect public sentiments.

“The Uttar Pradesh Government took the decision without consulting other political parties and without taking people into confidence. It should be revoked,”, the BJP spokesperson said. Mr Naqvi said the revocation of the order was the only remedy left.


PM defers tour to Thailand, Australia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 19
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today postponed his six-day visit to Thailand and Australia scheduled to begin from February 8, obviously in view of the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Significantly, the Thai Government, which was to host the first-ever BIMSTEC (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand Economic Cooperation) summit in Phuket from February 8 to 10, and other member countries of BIMSTEC have agreed to postpone the summit and fresh dates would be announced later.

A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said Mr Vajpayee informed his Thai counterpart, Thaksin Shinawatra, over telephone on Saturday and today that he would be unable to attend coming BIMSTEC summit “because of a number of domestic preoccupations”.

After speaking to the leaders of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, Mr Thaksin informed Mr Vajpayee today that all summit leaders had agreed to postpone the meeting.

Mr Vajpayee has also postponed his bilateral visit to Australia which was scheduled to take place immediately after the Thailand visit.

The government feels that the Prime Minister’s presence here was required in view of the likely dissolution of the Lok Sabha and the hectic preparations that may follow in the run up to the Parliamentary elections.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |