M A I N   N E W S

Naidu hints at immediate breakup with INLD
Yoginder Gupta and Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

BJP chief Venkaiah Naidu and Union Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma share a garland as party MPs from Haryana wave to the crowd during the shankhnaad rally at Gohana
BJP chief Venkaiah Naidu and Union Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma share a garland as party MPs from Haryana wave to the crowd during the “shankhnaad rally” at Gohana on Sunday. —  Photo by Neeraj Chopra

Gohana (Sonepat), February 8
Short of making a formal announcement, the national BJP President, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu, today left no room for doubt about an imminent breakup between his party and the Indian National Lok Dal(INLD) at the “shankhnaad rally” organised by his party here today.

Addressing one of the biggest rallies ever organised by the Haryana BJP in the state, Mr Naidu said he had read in newspapers today that the INLD wanted to contest the Lok Sabha elections on its own. “Our state unit also wants to face the elections on its own ‘balboota’ (strength). The party will respect the sentiments of its workers and announce its decision at an appropriate time,” he added.

Mr Naidu started his speech by declaring that the sitting BJP MP from Sonepat, Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, would be renominated from here. “I am saying this in my capacity as the national President of the BJP,” Mr Naidu announced, inviting a loud applause from the crowd. He subtly refuted reports that the BJP might yield to the INLD’s demand to contest the Sonepat seat.

While enlisting the BJP’s allies in various states, including Akalis in Punjab, Mr Naidu did not name the INLD, which was interpreted by the state BJP leaders as a clear signal that the INLD was no longer in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The stage was set for Mr Naidu’s declaration by the Union Labour Minister, Mr Sahib Singh Verma, who minced no words in demanding an end to the party’s alliance with the INLD. He told Mr Naidu that when he was coming to the rally venue, a large number of people told him that “hamari baat ka dhyaan raakhiyo. Samjhota tod diyo (keep in mind our sentiments and break the alliance). He cautioned Mr Naidu that the people of Haryana loved as well as hated to the extreme.

Mr Verma, who turned out to be the staunchest advocate of the state leaders’ demand for a divorce with the INLD, reminded Mr Naidu about Mr Ajay Singh Chautala’s statement published in a section of the media that the INLD would contest the elections in Rajasthan and Haryana on its own.

A son-in-law of Sonepat district, Mr Verma was unsparing of the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, on another point, which so far had been a pet theme of the Haryana Vikas Party President, Mr Bansi Lal. Mr Verma said Haryana had several leaders like Sir Chhotu Ram, Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma and Pandit Sri Ram Sharma. “Statues do not make one the sole leader of the state,” he added, with an obvious reference to the statues of Devi Lal installed in the state by the INLD.

Describing Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee as the most successful Prime Minister of the country, Mr Naidu said while his first term lasted 13 days and the second 13 months, Mr Vajpayee would remain the Prime Minister for 13 years. While Jawaharlal Nehru, no doubt a big leader, boosted his personal image, Mr Vajpayee promoted the country, unmindful of his personal ambition and image.

Mr Naidu was unsparing in his criticism of the Congress, the Communists and various incarnations of the Janata Dal. Blaming the Congress for all the ills plaguing the country, Mr Naidu said “no line, no queues, no shortages and no selling of essential commodities on the black market is the feel good factor, which Mrs Sonia Gandhi does not understand.”

As Mr Naidu was eulogising the BJP’ achievements, a section of the crowd showed its restlessness over the delay in the much expected announcement about the breaking of the alliance. It was at this point of time that Mr Naidu said that the party would respect their sentiments and take an appropriate decision soon. He concluded his speech by urging the people to return the “BJP candidates to the Lok Sabha”. He did not mention the “NDA candidates”.

Keeping an eye on the pre-dominant rural audience, the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh, promised that the interest rate on agriculture loans would be further reduced to 7 per cent.

Provision would be made so that bank loans were available to this sector merely on the basis of two guarantors, instead of mortgaging the agriculture land, after the Lok Sabha elections. Denying that the BJP was a communal party, he said its aim was not to grab power but to build the nation. “If we wanted to grab power, we could have attacked Pakistan. There could be no two opinions that India would have been a winner in that case. But we did not do so.”

Indirectly refuting the INLD’s claim of having ushered in unprecedented development in the state, Mr Rajnath Singh said it was with Central funds that states were constructing roads.

The Gohana rally gave support to the state BJP leaders’ claim that their party was no longer urban based and it had made inroads into the countryside. The mammoth crowd was mainly from rural areas. The turnout may also give strength to their claim before their high command that the party is in a position to contest the elections on its own. Tractor-trailers at a BJP rally is definitely a rare sight in Haryana. After the rally, the town saw one of the worst traffic jams in its history. Keeping in line with the name of the rally, counches(shankh) were sounded repeatedly by sadhus. Some of them also joined the BJP.

Among leaders of the state who addressed the rally were the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr I.D. Swami, Prof Ganesh Lal, state party President, Mr Ram Bilas Sharma, senior party leader, and Mr Rattan Lal Kataria, Mr Ram Chander Bainda, Dr Sudha Yadav and Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, all MPs.

Poll Quotes

Mayawati is not a coward as described by Sonia. She has got an independent mind.

— M. Venkaiah Naidu

They are deluding themselves if they believe that they can come back to power. The Indian voters is very wise.

— H.D. Deva Gowda

Chauthi baari Atal Bihari is the slogan of the nation

— Lal Krishna Advani

We cannot any more tolerate the language used by the BJP leaders in the state. We are left with no other option.

— Ajay Chautala Back

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 |