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INDIA-L  May 1998, Week 1

INDIA-L May 1998, Week 1

Subject:

India News Network Digest Tue, 5 May 98

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Tue, 5 May 1998 12:51:49 -0400

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India News Network Digest Tue, 5 May 98 Volume 2 : Issue DC&DH


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----------------------------

Today's News Topics:
--------------------

#1. G-15 summit at Cairo from May 11 India to initiate strategy to tackle terrorism
#2. Brisk bidding for booze shops in Tamil Nadu
#3. Paij Lagnachi bags 14 awards at 35th Marathi film fete
#4. Haj panel reacts to criticism
#5. Move to privatise contraceptive units opposed
#6. Ethnic clash continues in lower Assam
#7. AROUND THE STATES
#8. DOWN SOUTH
#9. Vajpayee tells BJP hardliners to toe softer line on WTO
#10. India to raise issue of cross-border terrorism
#11. UF will back Cong if it forms govt: Mulayam
#12. Parliamentary democracy not basic feature of statute: Advani
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#1. G-15 summit at Cairo from May 11 India to initiate strategy to tackle terrorism

New Delhi: India is expected to initiate a common strategy to tackle the menace of cross
border terrorism and check the increasing protectionist tendencies of developed nations on
trade related matters at the eighth G-15 summit at Cairo beginning on May 11.

India and countries such as Egypt, Peru, Mexico face similar problems from across the
border and a commonality of approach will help strengthen measures to fight the evil, S T
Devare, secretary (economic relations) External Affairs Ministry told newsmen here on
Monday.

Vice-President Krishan Kant will lead the Indian delegation to the summit which also
includes Minister of State for External Affairs Vasundara Raje. Commerce Minister
Ramakrishna Hegde will, however, arrive ahead of the delegation on May 8 to participate
in the Economic and Trade Ministers meet on May 8.

The G-15 summit is very crucial as it comes on the eve of the second ministerial meeting of
the World Trade Organisation in Geneva on May 18 as also the G-7 summit at
Birmingham.

"The Cairo summit will afford an opportunity for leaders of developing countries to
crystalise their stands on important trade, financial and economic issues in the context of
the Uruguay round of negotiations," Devare said.

The East Asian currency crisis, which dominated the seventh summit at Kuala Lumpur last
year, is expected to spill over for further discussions at Cairo on how the after effects can
be handled.

#2. Brisk bidding for booze shops in Tamil Nadu

Chennai: Heavy police bandobust was provided for the government auctioning of IMFL
shops which commenced throughout Tamil Nadu on Monday. The auctioning of 4,700
shops would be completed on May 11 through the next five working days.

Intense bidding was witnessed in many shops when the auctioning commenced by the
respective zonal taluk offices in the morning, but the participation was mostly limited to
two or three rival groups who came with their money bags to outbid each other.

Some bidders came from neighbouring States too, according to informed sources. The
highest bid was recorded for a shop in suburban Trivellore which fetched Rs 20.43 lakh as
against the mere Rs.5 lakh it had got the last auction three years ago.

A shop in Alandur on the city outskirts fetched Rs.17.33 lakh.Tension prevailed for
sometime at the Tiruchi auction centre when the sub collector presiding declared that there
would be re-auctioning for a shop which did not fetch more than Rs.7.11 lakh as against
the earlier fixed price of Rs 8 lakh.

The sub collector was gheroed by angry bidders and someone threw a chair at the official
which fortunately missed him. Police rushed in and restored order, according to reports
reaching here.

The government has hiked the upset prices for the bidders for the liquor shops making it
impossible for the small traders to be in the fray. The stipulation that a bidder in Chennai
should remit a security deposit of Rs 4 lakh before he could enter the auction hall,kept
away small and marginal players.

The security deposit for other metros has been fixed at Rs 3 lakh and for municipalities it is
Rs 2 lakh,while the amount is Rs 1lakh for town panchayats. Opposition AIADMK has
alleged that the ruling DMK partymen have formed syndicates to outbid the others in the
auction centres.

However, trade sources said political affiliations hardly mattered in the lucratic booze
business where it was quite common to find political rivals becoming long-term partners.

#3. Paij Lagnachi bags 14 awards at 35th Marathi film fete

Mumbai: The sweeping success of Paij Lagnachi marked the 35th Marathi film awards
function night held at Ranghbhavan, near Dhobitalav at South Mumbai here on Sunday.

The film won 14 awards including the best actor and actress award which was bagged by
Avinash Narkar and Varsha Usgaonkar respectively. The coveted best director award was
won by its director Yeshwant Bhalkar along with the first rank in best film category.

The function was adorned by the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Manohar Joshi,
Cultural Affairs Minister Pramod Navalkar, Minister for State Cultural Affairs Anil
Deshmukh and Bollywood actress Sridevi along with her husband producer Boney
Kapoor.

The V Santaram award for lifetime achievement was given to Dinkar D Patil while the
Rajkapoor award was introduced and presented to noted non-Marathi producer director
Ramanand Sagar.

Proving the dexterity of his oration Joshi had the audience in splits with his satirical
remarks and lavish compliments, he promised to renovate Ranghbhavan into an auditorium
which will be equivalent to Shanmukhanand auditorium in the coming two years.

He also expected that better film be produced in future by the Marathi film industry. Paij
Lagnachi was most popular in every category and won over its rival, the critical acclaimed
Sarkarnama.

Sarkarnama came a close second in the best film category and its director Shravani Deodhar
won the second best director award. The technical award like best advertising, best make
up, best cinematography, best story, best script and best dialogue were also won by Paij
Lagnachi.

The award for best art was won by Navsachi Por and the best costume Sun Ladki
Sasrachi.Since the State had declared the year as a Women's Year, the function was
adorned by a host of women celebrities from various fields who presented the awards and
was hosted by famous film and television personality Archana Joglekar.

#4. Haj panel reacts to criticism

New Delhi: The Central Haj Committee on Monday sharply reacted to criticism levelled
against it by several quarters including media for various shortcomings during the Haj
pilgrimage.

"Our role is merely confined to formulating policies, finalising norms of accommodation,
co-ordinating with concerned agencies like Air India, State Haj Committees and the
Consulate General in Jeddah and Ministry of External Affairs," CHC chairman
Salamatullah told reporters here.

"To our dismay, the Haj committee becomes a target of criticism from all quarters even for
the shortcomings we are hardly related to," he said, adding "even for the Mina fire during
Haj-1997 and stampede this year, the Haj Committee was unnecessarily blamed."

On complaints about transportation and delay in flights, he said the delays were due to
limited check-in facilities compounded by the shortage of parking-bays and other
infrastructural problems at Jeddah.

Accepting that baggage problem was one of the major complaints, he said "despite our
cautioning the pilgrims in advance not to carry baggage beyond 45 kg, a majority of them
did not bother and there was no way out except to leave some of their belongings at Haj
terminal to ensure their safety."

However, Salamatullah said, the left-over 'Zam Zam' (holy water) cans and baggage were
being brought by Air India special Haj flights.

#5. Move to privatise contraceptive units opposed

Thiruvananthapuram: Employees of the public sector Hindustan Latex Limited on
Monday strongly opposed the move to privatise the unit producing Nirodh and other
contraceptives saying it will reduce the government's control over the price determination
of contraceptives in the country.

Hindustan Latex joint action committee convener Sekharan Nair told a news conference that
the proposal to transform 74 percent shares of the company to the private sector would give
an upper hand to the private companies in determining the prices.

The company offers quality condoms at Rs 20,000 less (per one million pieces) compared
to its nearest rival from the private sector, Nair said.

#6. Ethnic clash continues in lower Assam

Guwahati: Continuing ethnic clash in Bodo-dominated lower Assam claimed two lives
and injured four others on Monday, barely a day after 13 Santhals were killed by Bodo
Liberation Tigers, official sources said.

The sources said two Bodo youths were killed by adivasis and their bodies bearing weapon
marks were later recovered from Harapathar Bazaar in Kokrajhar district. The adivasis also
abducted a Bodo youth, a Railway employee from Srirampur railway station in the same
district on Monday, the sources said.

In Darrang district the Bodo militants set off a remote-controlled bomb during a function in
the village and injured four villagers, the sources said. Meanwhile, the death toll in
Sunday's attack by BLT on Santhal bus passengers rose to 14 with the death of one
woman on Monday.

Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahnata told the Assembly that more troops have been
rushed to the area of the bus tragedy in Kokrajhar and an Army column stationed at
Ultapani.He said flag marches were being conducted in various parts of Kokrajhar and 30
Bodo youths had been rounded up.

About 30 BLT militants, retaliating the death of four Bodos in Bongaigaon district last
week, had attacked the bus travelling between Ultapani and Bismuri, identified Santhal
passengers and killed 14 of them besides injuring four others.



#7. AROUND THE STATES

200 suffering from fever epidemic

Kolhapur: An unidentified fever epidemic continued to play havoc as some 200 patients
have reportedly been suffering from it at village Karambalee in Gadinglat tehsil of this
district.
Suspected to be Dengue, the fever claimed one death on Friday, which was denied by
district health officials.District Health Officer Dileep Patil who visited the village on Sunday
told this correspondent that the unidentified disease, which broke out on April 26 was now
under control. Since then as many as 181 patients have been treated.

Man-eating panther caught in Bhagur

Nasik: A man-eating panther, which had wreaked havoc in Bhagur, Rahuri, Shivar area
of the district was finally caught at Bhagur locality here on Sunday night.
The panther, which had earlier killed a four-year old boy, was trapped by the Forest
Department employees after five weeks of long struggle.

26 hospitalised for food poisoning

Kolhapur: Twentysix persons, including the bridegroom, were hospitalised for suspected
food poisoning after they partook in a marriage feast in the district on Sunday, according to
a delayed report here on Monday.

The victims complained of uneasiness, vomiting and dysentery after the feast at village
Shirdon in Shirol taluka of the district, police said.

Dharna against rise in dacoities

Patna: Over 10,000 villagers of Barsoi subdivision in Katihar district staged a massive
demonstration in front of Barsoi sub-divisional headquarters on Saturday in protest against
the growing incidents of dacoities and criminal assault on young girls in the bordering
villages during the past one month. The demonstration, in which a sizeable number of
women participated carrying broom sticks virtually laid a seize on th sub-divisional office.

50 taken ill after consuming sharbet

Rajkot: Fifty persons including 30 women and eight children were admitted to the Jasdan
hospital about 60 km from here on Saturday night with symptoms of suspected food
poisoning. According to the police sources, the affected persons had fallen sick after they
had consumed drinks prepared on the occasion of Moharram for the community at Juma
mosque in Jasdan town of Rajkot district.

11 burnt alive as tanker catches fire

Mumbai: At least 11 persons including two women and a two-and-half-year-old girl were
burnt to death and six others seriously injured in a fire which broke out after a tanker
loaded with naftha in which they were travelling overturned and met with an accident with
another tanker coming from opposite direction near C B D circle, at Navi Mumbai late
Sunday night.

Gobar Times supplement released

New Delhi: If water bodies around dwellings are dirty, it indicates that people living there
are 'dirty', according to Centre for Science and Environment director Anil Agarwal.
People are dirty in the sense that they produce effluent through their activities and dump the
wastes in the river without a second thought, Agarwal speaking at the release of the
children's supplement 'Gobar Times' of the magazine Down to Earth here on Sunday
evening.

Hitopadesa translated into English

New Delhi: Former ambassador A N D Haksar has translated into English the
1,000-year-old Sanskrit classic "Hitopadesa'' by Narayana which talks of what is relevant
in the turbulent coalition politics of today's India - how to make or break friendly
alliances.
The first two of the classic's four sections are "winning friends" and "splitting partners".
The last two are called "war'' and "peace''. The title "Hitopadesa'' itself means "beneficial
advice".

#8. DOWN SOUTH

Security beefed up for Chitra fete

Madurai: Security has been beefed up in the city and several anti-social elements
including seven Islamic fundamentalists were detained under the National Security Act in
view of the Chitra festival here. City Police Commissioner P L Viswanathan told newsmen
here on Monday that steps were being taken to prevent any untoward incident and to keep
anti-social elements at bay during the festival relating to the celestial wedding of goddess
Meenakshi with Lord Sundareshwarar.

Thrissur Pooram to begin on May 5

Thrissur: The countdown for the Thrissur Pooram, the famous cultural extravaganza of
north Kerala, has begun with the hoisting of Pooram flags by the Thiruvambady and
Paramekkavu Devaswoms on April 28.

The Pooram falls on May 5 this year and elaborate arrangements are being made to make
the festival of colour, music and mirth, a remarkable event. More than 100 caparisoned
elephants would be paraded during the 30-hour-long festival in about a million people,
irrespective of caste and creed, from all over the State and outside were expected take part.
---------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 1996 [Deccan Chronicle]. All rights reserved.
---------------------------------------------------------

DECCAN HERALD

                                                                                   Tuesday, May 5, 1998



                             'State governments will not be dismissed'

#9. Vajpayee tells BJP hardliners to toe softer line on WTO

                                          From K Subrahmanya
                                             DH News Service
                                          GANDHINAGAR, May 4

PRIME MINISTER Atal Behari Vajpayee today advised the BJP`s swadeshi hardliners to be realistic in their views on the country`s
economic reform programme and refrain from criticising his Government`s Exim Policy and commitments to the World Trade
Organisation.

''Our Exim Policy is being criticised. But the whole world knows that the decision to join WTO was taken by the previous
government. But I assure you steps will be taken to redress some of the difficulties we are facing in the WTO,`` the prime minister
said here today delivering the concluding address at the party`s two- day National Council session.

Mr Vajpayee was primarily addressing the party`s swadeshi hardline critics of the Exim Policy though it has also come in for
criticism from the Opposition.

Sinha attacked

According to party insiders, at the national executive meeting here on Saturday at least two hardliners - Human Resource
Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and party vice president K R Malkani - took Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha to task in
Mr Vajpayee`s presence for virtually continuing with the external economic policies of his predecessors.

Mr L K Advani, who was chairing the meeting had to intervene in defence of a battered Mr Sinha. The prime minister also cautioned
his colleagues in the party against going to the press expressing their views on various issues. ''The temptation of issuing statements
should be resisted,`` he said.

The party has moved from the opposition benches to the treasury bench as the leading partner in the Government and change
required a change in the attitude of partymen who should act more responsibly, the prime minister emphasised.

The party should be a bridge between the people and the Government without which it would be difficult to live up to the
expectations of people from this Government, he said.

Mr Vajpayee said a mechanism was being worked out by new party President Kushabhau Thakre to ensure continuous interaction
between the party and the Government, particularly with the BJP ministers.

The BJP-led Government was on test as the party had sought a popular mandate to give it an opportunity to serve the people, the
prime minister said, expressing confidence that the coalition would live up the expectations.

'Coalition a challenge'

Running a coalition government was a challenge but he hoped the National Agenda on which all coalition partners had agreed upon
would ensure smooth functioning of the Government.

Seeking to put at rest all speculation, the prime minister declared that he stood by his statement in Parliament that his Government
would not take recourse to Article 356 to dismiss state governments. He did not name any particular state. But the reference was
obviously to the state governments in Tamil Nadu and Bihar since the BJP`s coalition partners have been demanding the dismissal of
the DMK and RJD governments, respectively.

''I have reiterated the position I took in Parliament that I no longer deem it necessary to respond to queries on the subject,`` the prime
minister said.

Mr Vajpayee said the review of the VIP security presently being undertaken by the home ministry will include a fresh look at the
prime minister`s security as well. ''It will not take much time for a PM to become an MP if he insulates himself from the people by
way of the security paraphernalia,`` Mr Vajpayee quipped.

No remote control

He rejected criticism that the BJP is remote-controlled. ''Our party is self-controlled,`` he asserted, noting that the unanimous
election of Mr Thakre as party chief was a reflection of how the party functioned. This was in sharp contrast to parties which throw
out presidents and instal new persons forcibly, he remarked without naming any particular party.

He also dismissed the charge that the BJP had a ''hidden agenda`` for governance. ''We were criticised for taking up some issues.
But when we keep those issues out also we are criticised for not including them. And now we are accused of having a hidden
agenda,`` he said.

Mr Vajpayee gave full credit to Mr Advani for bringing the party to power. ''If there is any one person responsible for the party`s
tremendous growth and transformation from the leading Opposition party to the leading ruling party, it is Advaniji,`` Mr Vajpayee
said.

All-party meet

Union Parliamentary Affairs and Tourism Minister Madal Lal Khurana said Mr Vajpayee will convene an all party meeting around
May 15 for bringing about a consensus on certain important issues, including passing of some bills, to be taken up in the coming
budget session of Parliament, today.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Khurana said the government wanted to introduce and pass at least six bills - the Lok Pal Bill, the bills
on electoral reforms, women`s reservation, delimitation of constitutencies, Delhi statehood and formation of new states of
Uttranchal, Vanachal and Chhatisgarh.

Besides it would also like to introduce a bill on creation of upper houses of legislature in Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Assam.

The parliamentary affairs minister said he had called a meeting of secretaries of the six ministries concerned to discuss the bills on
May 12. He would meet the secretaries of all the ministries again on May 14 to discuss the bills which had lapsed because of the
constitution of the new Lok Sabha.

The budget session of Parliament is cheduled to commence on May 27 with the presentation of the status paper on the railways. The
Economic Survey would be released on May 28, followed by the Railway Budget on May 29 and general budget on June one, he
informed.

The session will last till July 27, he added.

                      BJP sets in motion damage control exercise

                                         NEW DELHI, May 4 (DHNS)

The BJP has set in motion a damage control exercise in view of the Trinamool Congress` threat to walk out of the BJP-led
government at the Centre. But sources close to Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, expressed concern here tonight that
bickering between the two parties might have already affected their prospects in the coming Panchayat poll.

Earlier in the day, the Trinamool Congress had threatened to review its support to the Vajpayee government if it was true that Pramod
Mahajan, political advisor to Mr Vajpayee had met Mr Chandan Basu, son of West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu, and struck a
deal with him.

Within hours, Mr Mahajan in a statement issued here this evening stated: ''I do not discuss politics with any of the Communist
leaders, leave aside their sons and daughters and least of all with Jyoti Basu, who is the only Chief Minister who does not have the
courtesy to call on the new Prime Minister.``

However, Trinamool Congress sources here said late tonight that they were not aware of any such statement having been issued by
Mr Mahajan.

The sources said that it was a serious matter for the Trinamool Congress, and even a CBI inquiry to ascertain the facts could be in
order because, ''we have to tell our electorate that neither we nor our allies have any truck with our main rival.`` Asked about the
state of seat sharing in West Bengal for the coming Panchayat elections, the sources said that at the grass roots level there was no
problem. But it was the BJP leadership, which, in defiance of its Central leadership, was creating hurdles in the way of seat-sharing
on some seats.

Irrespective of what shape these developments eventually take, the sources said that the bickering between the two parties in the state
was bound to affect their poll prospects in the forthcoming polls. ''At this rate, the voter will think why should I vote for the BJP or
the Trinamool Congress who are fighting among themselves. Better I should vote for the CPM,`` the sources added. If such an
impression gains ground, both the parties will stand to lose, the sources added.
-----------------------------------

#10. G-15 summit at Cairo

                      India to raise issue of cross-border terrorism

                                         NEW DELHI, May 4 (UNI)

India will raise the issue of cross- border terrorism in unequivocal terms at the eighth G-15 summit to be held in Cairo from May 11
to 13.

Vice-President Krishan Kant will lead the high-level Indian delegation at the summit, set to launch the G-15 Federation of Chambers
of Commerce and Industry.

Briefing reporters here today, Mr S T Devare, secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs ministry, said cross-border
terrorism is of great concern to India as well as to countries like Egypt, Peru and Algeria in the G- 15 grouping.

He said: ''We hope our concerns on cross-border terrorism will be highlighted in the joint communique to be adopted by the
summit.``

Mr Devare said issues like trade, investment, multilateral trading system and the recent currency crisis in South East Asia would be
high on the agenda of the summit.

The summit has assumed significance since it is taking place just before the WTO ministerial meeting in Geneva and the G-8 summit
in Birmingham.

Mr Devare said the summit would take stock of past activities and chalk out its future progress into the 21st century. It would also
look at both institutional mechanisms as well as a substantive agenda for cooperation.

In this context, it would focus on financial turbulence affecting some South East Asian countries. An effort would be made to further
finetune the mechanisms of G-15 interaction, to make them more effective and to raise the grouping`s international profile.

The summit would also look for greater activism and use of consultation possibilities in international fora and presentation of G- 15
positions where ever possible.

The summit would review south-south cooperation projects and give impetus to their implementation and further dissemination. On
Prime Minister Vajpayee`s absence sending wrong signals to the international community, Mr Devare said: ''India attaches highest
importance to the meeting and therefore the delegation is being led by the vice-president.``
------------------------------

#11. UF trains its guns at Naidu

                     UF will back Cong if it forms govt: Mulayam

                                         HYDERABAD, May 4 (PTI)

The United Front (UF) would extend support to the Congress if the latter forms government at the Centre, former defence minister
and Samajwadi Party chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav said here today.

Mr Yadav, who is here to attend the United Front rally, told newsmen, ''I am speaking on behalf of all the constituents of the UF
and we will extend support to the Congress.``

When asked how it would benefit the UF, he said it would be done in the national interest as the ''nation has to be saved from the
BJP Government``.

He said the BJP`s ''hidden agenda of Hindutva`` and ''creating Hindu rashtra`` has to be stopped.

Earlier, top United Front leaders, including its chairman and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, arrived for the rally to be held
this afternoon.

The rally, to be held for the first time after the formation of BJP- led coalition government at the Centre, would focus on ''exposing
the opportunistic politics`` of the Telugu Desam supremo N Chandrababu Naidu who had ''backstabbed the UF to sail with the
BJP``, according to the Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh.

Other Front leaders to attend the rally included general secretary of the CPI A B Bardhan and that of the CPI (M) Harkishan Singh
Surjeet.

The meeting assumes significance against the backdrop of the Left parties snapping their 15- year-old alliance with ruling the TDP
following the latter siding with the BJP at the Centre.

Answering a query Mr Yadav said the UF would extend support to Congress even if the Congress president Sonia Gandhi opted for
the prime ministership.

With regard to her foreign nationality issue, Mr Yadav shot back, ''It was a mere campaign by the RSS``.

He alleged that by extending support to the BJP Government at the Centre, Mr Naidu had ''betrayed`` not only the United Front but
also the nation.

However, in reply to a query he said the rally was not aimed against Mr Naidu but to fight the communal forces and strengthen the
secular front.

Referring to Mr Naidu`s explanation that the Congress was the main enemy of the TDP in Andhra Pradesh which forced him to
support the BJP, Mr Yadav said,''We want to tell the nation how Mr Naidu after fighting the election on secular plank, later changed
his stand and helped communal forces by joining hands with the BJP.``

Mr Yadav, however, did not rule out the possibility of admitting Mr Naidu into the UF fold and said ''let him first witdraw support
to the BJP Government.``

Answering another query, he said the question of admitting Laloo Prasad Yadav into the UF did not arise at this juncture since his
party (RJD) already had an alliance with the Congress.

In Maharashtra, the SP`s strategic electoral alliance with the Congress helped it to defeat BJP in that state, he said and ruled out any
possible alliance with the Congress in Andhra Pradesh in the near future.

               GOWDA, MULAYAM`S DOUBLESPEAK ON SUPPORT TO CONG

The United Front (UF) leadership today presented conflicting perceptions on its strategy in the event of Congress bidding for power
at the Centre.

While Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav asserted that the UF would support Congress, UF chairman H D Deve Gowda
said no decision had been taken on the issue.

''We will support the Congress since the nation has to be saved from the communal agenda of the BJP. I am speaking on behalf of
all UF constituents,`` the SP chief told reporters.

However, Mr Gowda, addressing a separate press conference, said the UF had not discussed the issue.

''I am the chairman of the Front and I am telling you they (Congress) have not approached me. The question of support to the
Congress will arise only when the present government collapses. Who is predicting its fall now?`` Mr Gowda said.

Both leaders are here to attend the UF rally, being organised by the Left parties and the Janata Dal.

While Mr Yadav was strident in his pro-Congress overtures, Mr Gowda was critical of the Congress and held it responsible for
allowing the BJP to form government at the Centre.

Describing Mr Yadav`s views on the Congress as ''personal``, the Front chairman said UF partners had fought against both the BJP
and Congress in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

Asked whether the UF would forgive the Congress for pulling down its government, Mr Gowda said: ''Whether to forgive or not is
not important. What is important now is how to bail out the country from several crises.``

The SP supremo, however, said the nation would be benefitted if the Front supported the Congress.
--------------------------

#12.
                       Parliamentary democracy not basic feature
                                        of statute: Advani

                                        GANDHINAGAR, May 4 (PTI)

Home Minister L K Advani today asserted that parliamentary democracy is not among the basic features of the Constitution that
cannot be changed and came down heavily on the Communists for their vicious propaganda that the BJP would destroy democracy
and secularism.

''The Supreme Court in Keshavanand Bharti case has ruled that democracy does not mean only parliamentary system of
government. It could be presidential form also, though both have plus and minus points,`` Mr Advani said in his intervention during
the resumed debate on the political resolution at BJP`s two- day national council session here.

''The proposed Constitution commission, comprising eminent jurits, parliamentarians and men of integrity will go into all these
aspects, merits and demerits of both the systems and give its recommendations on which there will be a public debate before it is
placed before parliament,`` he said.

Mr Advani expressed surprise that it was the Left parties which were talking about democracy and voicing fears that the proposed
review of the Constitution would lead to a one-man rule.

He said it was not proper for the Communists to talk of democracy when they had supported emergency which was an aberration in
the 50 years of post-Independence democratic India.

CONSENSUS: Mr Advani made it clear that BJP was talking of consensus not due to its failure to get majority on its own in the
elections but beacuse it sincerely felt that no single party in the country, even with two-thirds majority, could solve the complex
problems on its own.

Refering to criticism within the party that it was diluting its ideology on issues like Ayodhya, he said the party workers should keep
in mind that it had to devise strategies keeping in view the changing context in the political situation.

Mr Advani, who handed over the reins of BJP to Mr Kushabhau Thakre yesterday, said when the party talked of ideology it did not
refer only to Ayodhya, Uniform Civil Code or Article 370 of the Constitution, but also to basic issues like faith in secularism,
democracy, equality and social harmony.

He regretted that this was not being projected in the right perspective by the media.

Justifying the strategy in striking new alliances, the home minister said the leadership had to act in the best interest of the party at a
particular time without losing sight of its ultimate objective.

However, Mr Advani said, forging ties with some political parties did not mean that BJP would compromise on shuchita (probity in
public life) and corruption.

Mr Advani said that BJP would fully respect the dharm (duty) of a coalition by not going out of the accepted parameters of a
coalition government.

GOVERNORS: On the controversy over the gubernatorial appointments by the Vajpayee government, the home minister said he
and his party did not endorse the Sarkaria Commission recommendation that political personalities should not be appointed
governors.

The standing committee of the Inter-State Council, which comprised representatives of all political parties, had rejected such a
recommendation, he said.

The BJP leader said the Centre followed a ''rational approach`` in the recent appointment of governors and had consulted the chief
ministers of all the states concerned.

The government had changed only governors of one or two states who had ''misused`` their office, he said.

Two others, who had no blemish attached to them, had to be changed because they were appointed by the care-taker Gujral
government, Mr Advani said, adding he had told them that the previous government had done injustice to them by appointing them
after elections were announced.

He said the ''grand design`` of some political parties to isolate BJP as they did in 1996 failed this time because of the party`s
counter-strategy of entering into new alliances.

''This has left these parties in a state of shock and trauma,`` he added.


---------------End Of News Digest------------------------

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