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Vajpayee warns Centre against dislodging Modi Government

Saturday 28 May 2005

Special Correspondent

"Having failed to defeat him in Gujarat elections, they were trying other tactics"

NEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday warned the Centre against dislodging the Narendra Modi Government by trying to prove that it had played a partisan role in the post-Godhra riots.

Some people were making efforts "to dislodge" the Gujarat Chief Minister "through undemocratic means." But public opinion was with Mr. Modi. Having failed to defeat him in the elections, they were trying "other tactics" such as appointing a committee to look into the State Government’s `role’ in the riots, Mr. Vajpayee told newspersons at the Bhuntar airport in Kullu on his way to Manali

He was referring to the three-man committee of Ministers looking into the allegations of Mr. Modi’s `anti-Muslim’ role in the riots made by senior Gujarat police officer R. Sreekumar. The Left demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation look into them.

Last year at Manali, Mr. Vajpayee blamed Mr. Modi and his handling of the Gujarat riots for the defeat of the National Democratic Alliance in the Lok Sabha elections. The then BJP president, M. Venkaiah Naidu, publicly contradicted Mr. Vajpayee, forcing him to retract his statement.

"Excuse in Bihar"

Mr. Vajpayee also criticised the United Progressive Alliance for preventing the formation of a popular Government in Bihar. He rejected the charge of horse-trading and said it was being used as an excuse for dissolution of the Assembly. In Delhi, Bihar BJP leader and MLA, Rameshwar Prasad Chaurasia, said the Governor earlier talked about filing first information reports with the police on "horse-trading" but "now he has been reported as saying that it was not the Governor’s business to file FIRs."

Lok Jan Shakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan, whose MLAs were reported to have been involved in this, did not say anything on the subject, Mr. Chaurasia said, dismissing the allegations as false.

"Waste of public money"

He said there was every possibility of MLAs, cutting across party lines, approaching court for restoration of the Assembly. They were duly elected for five years, and now the Assembly stands dissolved within three months. The party leaders also said that fresh elections within months were a waste of public money.

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