Debating India

Curtain falls on 13th Lok Sabha

Nilanjana Bhaduri JHA

Thursday 5 February 2004, by JHA*Nilanjana Bhaduri

Article paru dans le Times of India, ?dition du jeudi 5 f?vrier 2004.

NEW DELHI: Now for the elections . The last of collegial bonhomie in Parliament House was on display Thursday, before knives were sharpened for the kill. It was the last day of the 13th Lok Sabha.

Goodbye comes laced with nostalgia and apprehension as the 540 members wonder if they’ll be back in a few months. On Wednesday, they were all smiles as they posed for posterity - a huge group photograph. On Thursday morning, Congress President Sonia Gandhi exhorted partymen to return in greater numbers. And Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee felt his government’s achievements would take them winningly through elections 2004.

Sonia sounded the bugle for battle: "The next two-three months are going to see an intense election campaign... We will conduct a firm but dignified campaign, unlike BJP whose campaign is always full of abuse, hate and discord," she told the Congress Parliamentary Party.

And BJP spokesman VK Malhotra quoted Vajpayee as telling MPs: "We can take pride in our achievements in the last five years, even the people are satisfied. Now this should translate into votes."

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