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The Election Day Results Chat
Rediff team @Congress HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:31)
As of now, now that we know how the Congress is placed, the party leaders are expected to have many informal and formal meetings now that most of its leaders will be back in Delhi from their constituencies. People however, cannot swallow the double speak of the party on the DMK. "The pages of history should not be turned, but wiped," is what Kesri had said yesterday.
INDER MALHOTRA, FORMER EDITOR, TIMES OF INDIA. (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:35)
Dear V1: What you sight from the NYT is certainly very biased and unfair. However, you should please realise that there are large sections of people in India who are concern that a BJP government might try to impose on the country's extremely diverse and pluralistic society. A uniformity based on 'Hindutva'. There are also people here who say, 'NYT' seems to have spoken to them that the BJP is really the mask for the RSS which for many years has indeed been compared to the Nazis. ARticles have appeared in the Indian press expressing grave fear that the RSS might put its own agenda into affect after Vajpayee succeeds in forming a government and stabilising it. In any case to compare Atal to 'Adolf HItler' is absurd.
Amberish K Diwanji (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:36)
There is the key question of stability. How long will a Cong government dependent on fractious UF parties survive? Also, how long can the BJP hope to keep all its supporters satisfied? Are we not looking at Elections '99 regardless of who forms the next government?
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:37)
Mr Malhotra: Your former chief, Mr Sham Lal, told Outlook in May 1996 that Mr Vajpayee was unfit to be prime minister because he did not have it in him to work 16 to 18 hours what a prime minister's job needs. You know Mr Vajpayee well, do you agree?
INDER MALHOTRA, FORMER EDITOR, TIMES OF INDIA. (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:39)
Saisuresh Sivswamy: Thanks Mr Swamy. If the rival combination produces credible proof of mustering greater numbers, the President will have to go by that criterion. Not by the doctoring of the largest party. Please remember that the other day, the governor of Meghalaya called upon the largest party, the Congress to form a government. While another party produced a larger number of MLAs at Raj Bhavan. Among the parties which strongly attack the governor was the BJP.
T V R Shenoy, Former editor of the Week and Rediff columnist (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:40)
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:41)
How do you account for Laloo Yadav's quite amazing peformance?
Amberish K Diwanji (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:41)
It is being said that whoever the President calls first will have an advantage. Will that not be a short-term gain? If, as seems the case, no government is likely to hold out for long, maybe the one in the Opposition will gain from the anti-incumbency factor. And the last mentioned is important seeing how many ruling parties have been humbled. Perhaps Saisuresh is right is suggesting that the BJP should not try too hard for its long term benefit.
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:42)
Good morning, Mr Shenoy, sir. As someone who knows the BJP very well, how do you account for the party's confidence that it will have the numbers to form a govt? Will the TDP play ball?
INDER MALHOTRA, FORMER EDITOR, TIMES OF INDIA. (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:42)
Nikhil: You know the high respect in which I hold Sham Lal. But he is not always right. I disagree with him about 'Atalji'. He had a gruelling schedule during the election campaign, as also during those 13 fateful days when he was the PM. Incidentally, what Sham Lalji says about Atal was also said about Rajiv before he succeeded his mother. I saw Rajiv work 20 hours a day later.
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:43)
Is the BJP leadership concerned that it has been able to win only 17 more seats than 1996?
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:44)
Mr Shenoy, that last question was for you... is the BJP leadership also concerned that it has to do business with loose cannons like J Jayalalitha, George Fernandes and Dr Swamy?
INDER MALHOTRA, FORMER EDITOR, TIMES OF INDIA. (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:45)
Dear Amberish: Instability is writ large on the present fractured mandate. Stability was said to be the main issue before the election. Evidently, the voting pattern has not conformed to the country's perceived wish. Whichever government is formed will not last very long. Fresh elections may well be held in 1999. And the Indian voter will have to make up his mind to give a clear cut verdict.
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:46)
Thank you, Mr Malhotra. What will be the strengths Mr Vajpayee will bring to the job? After all, apart from the two years as M for EA, he has no ministerial experience. What about the other BJP leaders, none of whom has served in government? Is that not unusual?
Saisuresh Sivaswamy (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:46)
Mr Shenoy: What a pleasure to have someone from the inner circle... Tell us, with Jaswant Singh's defeat, who will be Vajpayee's finance minister? I have asked this question of many BJP brass, but everyone has fobbed it off with 'there is plenty of talent blahblah'. Can you be little more revealing than that? Do you have any names?
T V R Shenoy, Former editor of The Week and Rediff columnist (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:47)
Almost all the results are in. The battle for the prime ministership has begun. But there are already two clear winners. Man of the Match is Sharad Pawar and Woman of the Match is Jayalalitha. Mr Vajpayee and Sonia Gandhi are still trying to be the man or woman of the series. Sharad Pawar has shifted the centre of gravity of Congress politics from Amethi to Baramati. The man who was in the doghouse in the Congress mansion is today sitting on the throne of the Congress. His claim to be the CPP leader, and even to be the prime minister, cannot be brushed aside by the party. Jayalalitha similarly has emerged as the largest partner of the BJP. She has 18 MPs with her compared to 12 of Samata, 8 of Patnaik. These two winners will have a great say in the next two weeks which will see a new government and his first test in the new Lok Sabha.
INDER MALHOTRA, FORMER EDITOR, TIMES OF INDIA. (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:48)
V1: You are quiet right. There cannot be Hindu fundamentalism because there are no Hindu fundamentals. There is no pope, there is no book and so on. But Hindu extremism there can be and has been. What is more Hindu and Muslim extremisms feed upon each other. Yesterday, I was horrified when a crowd assembled in New Delhi's Connaught Place told the BBC on tape that they wanted a BJP government which would discipline both the Muslims and the Sikhs. The tone of these remarks was shocking beyond belief. EVERYONE: THANKS FOR YOUR INTERESTS AND RESPONSES. SEE YOU SOME OTHER TIME.
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:50)
Mr Shenoy: Could you please clarify your thoughts on Mr Pawar and Ms J Jayalalitha?
Rediff team @Congress HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:50)
An informal, but crucial meeting meeting of the Congress Working Committee is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. at Mr Sitaram Kesri's residence. It will be attended by top leaders like Madhavrao Scindia, Dr Manmohan Singh, Sharad Pawar, Pranab Mukherjee, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tariq Anwar, Ahmed Patel and defeated leaders like Arjun Singh, R K Dhawan and Oscar Fernandes.
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:50)
Thank you, Mr Malhotra. I wish you could spend some more time with us.
T V R Shenoy, Former editor of the Week and Rediff columnist (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:52)
Saisuresh: Thank you for the compliment for recognising me as a man in the inner circle. I do not know whether Jaswant Singh would have been "finance minister" this time in the Vajpayee ministry even if he were to win. Of course, he would have been a minister but not necessarily "the" finance minister. In fact as far as I know even if the BJP and allies were to get a comfortable majority in finance, his name would have been blackballed. Now to the second and more important question, who will be the finance minister? Believe me, I do not have a clue. And I wonder just now - when they are worried more about getting 20% to help in the Lok Sabha - even the BJP leaders have zeroed on any individual. All that I can say is it could be a political heavyweight rather than a technocrat.
Saisuresh Sivaswamy (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:53)
Mr Shenoy: What is the extent of your involvement with the BJP? Are you a party member, or just a sympathiser? Or none of the above?
Rediff team @Congress HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:55)
Yes, Prem, Chandrababu Naidu has become the centre of attraction. Though the Congress is quite confident of the UF, Chandrababu will be a tough nut to crack. The TDP president is upset with the enthusiasm shown by HKS Surjeet.
Prem (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:56)
Rediff-Congress>> If Naidu goes the BJP way, what options does the Congress then have? I mean, what is the thinking where you are?
Saisuresh Sivaswamy (Tue Mar 3 1998 22:58)
Rediff@Cong: Actually, my sympathies are with Chandrababu, he is caught between teh Devil and Deep Sea. Here is, heading a front that came into being last time to keep the BJP out, so he cannot walk into their arms without compromising on the halo part. And here is the Congress which caused his front's government to fall and which fought against his own party in AP, rather acrimoniously. What can Babu do? My sympathies are with him...
T V R Shenoy, Former editor of the Week and Rediff columnist (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:1)
Nikhil: Surprisingly, Sharad Pawar in Maharashtra and Jayalalitha in Tamil Nadu have parallel but similar career lines. Both had godfathers, Chavan for Pawar and MGR for Jayalalitha. Both reached dizzy heights and became provincial regional setraps. Then came the fall. Jayalalitha was hounded out and even jailed. Pawar was shunned by his own men and humiliated by Kesri. Come elections, both carefully weaved their own alliances. Pawar with the Samajwadi Party and the RPI. Jayalalitha with BJP, PMC, LMDMK. Both take off. Pawar wins 37 out of 48. Jaya wins 30 out of 39. The largest single contingent from any state for the Congress is from Pawar. Except for UP, the largest contigent in the BJP army is that of Jaya. Bihar and MP are also 30 seats each. But being from south and all the more so because it was so unexpected, Jaya's position is stronger. If the Congress has cobbled up an majority, Pawar is today a strong candidate for a prime ministership. Something no one could imagine on Monday when the counting started. If Vajpayee forms the ministry, Jaya will have two cabinet minsiters. Again something no one would have betted on last Monday when two different exit polls had given her combination fewer than five-six.
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:2)
Mr Shenoy: Is the BJP leadership also concerned that it has to do business with loose cannons like J Jayalalitha, George Fernandes and Dr Swamy?
Rediff team @Congress HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:2)
The Congress camp has been soaring with confidence. Whether it is a Ghulam Nabi Azad, Najma Heptulla, Rajesh Pilot or the AICC secretaries here. Though they do not divulge the names of the people they have spoken to, except Surjeet -- party leaders are trying hard. "In politics the field is open," has been their oft repeated phrase here.
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:3)
Mr Shenoy: Do you think Mr Naidu will break ranks with the United Front?
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:4)
Do you think, Mr Shenoy, that Mr Pawar will be a good prime minister? Do you think Sonia will allow him to be prime minister?
Saisuresh Sivaswamy (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:5)
Mr Shenoy: Talking of Jaya, did you anticipate her revival to such an extent? Pawar, yes, his revival was on the cards ever since he sewed up that front, but Jaya, did you honestly expect her to get more than 5-6 seats? So, hasn't she proved how fallible we journos are, who pass off preconceptions as the gospel truth?
Amberish K Diwanji (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:7)
Shalini: One can hardly say that Rajesh Pilot has crashlanded. He won by about 61,000 votes; not a fabulous margin, but still okay. Given his young age, he does appear to be among the brighter stars on the Congress horizon, especially now that in Rajasthan, the Congress has done well.
Rediff team @Congress HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:7)
Orissa Chief Minister J B Patnaik rushed into the AICC office on his way to Mr Kesri's residence to attend the CWC meeting. He told Rediff that the Congress is trying to form the government because the BJP has failed to get the required majority.
T V R Shenoy, Former editor of the Week and Rediff columnist (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:8)
Saisuresh: I am not a party member. But I am a little more than a sympathiser. I assist in certain areas where the party leaders think I have expertise. I have not joined the party because I do not think I can submit to the discipline that the political parties insist. Yet I actively help the BJP because I feel that today they are the best available in the country. I do not have an RSS or Bhartiya Jan Sangh background. I had my first brush with these people during the days of the Emergency 75-77. I intensified my association after the Bofors controversy in 1987. But as long as I was working within the organisation, my association with the BJP was under control. Once I became a freelancer, I became closer to them. The one thought which forced me to go deeper in this mission is little sentimental now. I am a posthumous child. I have not seen my father. In fact, my father has not seen me. Yet, I inherited an India from my father which was far better than an India I would be bequeathing to my children. I personally believe my generation has been unfair to my mother country, and even worse irresponsible to the next generation, our children. This thought has prompted me to be with the BJP.
Saisuresh Sivaswamy (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:8)
Amberish: Three politicians, Mulayam, Laloo and Jaya, have exposed the hollowness of the media claims. Why do you think it happened?
Amberish K Diwanji (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:9)
Mr Shenoy, if the Congress does form a government, how long will it survive? Will not the UF consituents pay them back in the same coin? After all, revenge is a dish best eaten cold!
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:10)
What qualities in Mr Advani and Mr Vajpayee give you cause for hope?
Prem Panicker (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:11)
P Chidambaram, being asked what role he foresees for his party: "We have a modest presence in the 12th Lok Sabha, therefore we expect to play a very modest role".
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:12)
Sai: Mulayam, I always expected to do well. It is Jaya and Laloo who have taken my breath away. Frankly, I expected both to win only single digit seats.
Rediff team @Congress HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:13)
Mr Patnaik said there is not going to be any infighting within the Congress on the selection of the Congress Parliamentary Party leader.
Rediff team @Congress HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:16)
Mr Patnaik said the Congress is yet to talk to Chandrababu Naidu. "We are considering all options to form a secular government. Wait for two days," the Orissa chief minister added.
Saisuresh Sivaswamy (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:17)
Nikhil: Why do you think we journalists, who believe we have an ear to the ground, have fallen flat in Bihar and TN? I am really concerned that we in the media are not doing our jobs to the best of our abilities, trusting more our own preconceptions and prejudices. When Ganesh Nadar forecast what has now proven to be accurate figures on Tamil Nadu, he was laughed out. Why are we like this? How do we rectify ourselves?
Rediff team @Congress HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:19)
Nikhil: The only leader to have come in the AICC HQ so far was J B Patnaik who rushed in and out for the CWC meeting at Kesri's residence.
Saisuresh Sivaswamy (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:19)
Nikhil/Amberish: And the Sonia non-phenomenon only 'adds to my concern. An editor of a prestigious weekly wrote a signed piece on misjudging her appeal, and the media attention was of the sort reserved for the Pope. Now that the votes have been counted, it is clear she has joined the ranks of Imran Khan and Lakshmi Parvathy.
Amberish K Diwanji (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:20)
I guess for the BJP to reach the 250 mark must be a psychological relief. But unless the party can make the 275-300 mark, it will always be dependent on others, and this can be dangerous.
Saisuresh Sivaswamy (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:20)
Amberish: Three politicians, Mulayam, Laloo and Jaya, have exposed the hollowness of the media claims. Why do you think it happened?
Saisuresh Sivaswamy (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:22)
Mr Shenoy: There are a couple of questions on the media's perceptions I have posted to Nikhil and Amberish. As a media veteran, will you please bat them too?
T V R Shenoy, Former editor of The Week and Rediff columnist (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:23)
Nikhil: Why only Naidu, there are at least two other groups who will feel very uncomfortable to support the Congress at the Centre? The DMK and the JD and if I may add the third group Mr Nayanar and co of the CPI-M's Kerala wing. Naidu today is interested in keeping his chair in Hyderabad. He knows to have four ministers in Delhi is not possible. Even if he supports the Congress. Naidu has never won an election. The MLAs that he has with him today were elected on the charisma of his father-in-law. In 1996, as the chief minister when his party contested the Lok Sabha election he won 17 seats against the 22 by the Congress. Yet he became convener of the UF and inducted four ministers at the Centre. This time he got only 12. He is intelligent enough to understand he cannot face an election to the assembly just now. Nor can he compromise his identity by becoming a junior partner in a ministry headed by the Congress. For him the big test is only 18 months away. So he cannot support the Congress. Nor can he support the BJP because the Muslims might then go to the Congress. For the JD, which has 6 members in the Lok Sabha against the 46 in 1996, the choice is not very different. Deve Gowda hates the Congress more than he hates the BJP. The DMK has a more difficult problem. He had 17 MPs in 1996, now he has only seven. He has an ally in the TMC whose erosion in sincerity is only matched by its erosion in popularity. If the BJP comes to power, with 27 non BJP MPs(belonging to the AIADMK, MDMK, PMC, Dr Subramanian Swamy and V Ramamurthy) will constitute 10 per cent of the strength of the treasury benches. If they force an early election it is curtains for Karunanidhi. He would like to have an non agression pact with Vajpayee. That is, if along with him a UF government cannot be propped up. The newly found peace move from the Congress is not at all acceptable for him. Because he knows the Congress has no strength in the state. Incidentally, the Congress lost its deposit in every single seat that it contested in Tamil Nadu. It scored over one lakh votes only in one seat in the state. Friendship with such a party helps him little. It will be interesting to note how these three groups react in the next three or four days. Together, by an accident they form 23 seats and exact figure that would help BJP to reach the magic 272.
Amberish K Diwanji (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:24)
Correct me if I am wrong. The Congress and the CPI-M (who can really talk and talk) insist that India has not given a mandate to the BJP to rule. Then everyone says voting is on local issues, which explains the high anti-incumbent votes. If the people have voted on local issues rather than national, how can anyone say the BJP has not been given a mandate? Or for that matter, who then has?
T V R Shenoy, Former editor of The Week and Rediff columnist (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:24)
Nikhil: I should hasten to add that I am not at all suggesting that all of them will support the Vajpayee government. I was only pointing out the political and mathematical pecularities of the situation today.
Rediff@BJP HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:25)
A high level meeting is now going on here with Advani and the top leaders at Advani's room. The security is so tight that nobody is allowed in and those in cannot come back if they choose to have a look at what is happening outside...
Rediff@BJP HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:27)
It seems that the BJP favours a minority government with the "right number of MPs abstaninig." If Rao can go ahead with a minority government with just 230 members why can't we with 250 is the question leaders ask.
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:27)
I don't agree Sai that Sonia quite belongs to the Imran Khan category. I believe that she stopped the bleeding that threatened to kill the Congress. She stopped the exodus and also boosted morale. I believe that if she had not been there, the Congress would have won less than 110 seats.
Rediff@BJP HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:28)
And here it is said that Buta Singh, who won contesting as an Independent, ' and Sheeshram Ola, the left over of the Tiwari Congress, have pledged their support for the BJP.
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:28)
BJP HQ: I agree absolutely. It would not be correct to keep the BJP out of power.
Rediff@BJP HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:30)
Mr Shenoy: Perhaps you can now tell us whether the BJP would prefer a minority government, as it is being said here, or would choose to open the purses...
Nikhil Lakshman (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:30)
Cong HQ: What is the buzz you hear about Mr Kesri there?
Amberish K Diwanji (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:30)
Saisuresh: The three names you mentioned are of Jaya, Laloo, and Mulayam, whom the media got wrong. In my opinion, I think the media got them wrong was perhaps because of its own prejudices. Take Jaya, who is seen as being corrupt. The rather elitist media condemned her, and after 1996, was sure she was out. But maybe for the man on the streets, corruption is not the be all and end all, his concerns are far more different. Re Laloo and Mulayam...
Rediff@BJP HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:32)
Opening up of the purses need not necessarily mean monetary inducements but can also be offer of ministerial berths.
Amberish K Diwanji (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:34)
Saisuresh: Laloo and Mulayam are even more interesting. The urban-oriented media has really condemned these two, playing on typical stereotypes. Everyone harped on how unfit Mulayam was as defence minister, and the media was more concerned with Laloo's buffaloes (again the stereotype of a village bumpkin). But for the villagers of Bihar and Mulayam, these are the people they look up to, and I guess journalists more often write what they believe in rather than what is! As a journalist, I too share your concern at our own ineptitude.
T V R Shenoy, Former editor of The Week and Rediff columnist (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:34)
Amberish: The Communists in India, especially Surjeet, should write a book titled How to win power and rule India without really getting votes'. For the last two years they have been doing it keeping the UF in the front and the Congress in the back. Their scenario for the next drama is a mirror image. They would like to keep the Congress in the front and the old not-so-UF in the back. The basic philosophical justification for such a play are two. First, unless and until the BJP and allies get 51 per cent seats, there is no mandate for the BJP. Second, all those who did not vote for the BJP are in support of a mandate for an non BJP government. The Communists will not answer any inconvenient questions. For instance, every single constituent of the UF, with the sole exception of the Samajwadi Party, has lost in votes as well as seats in this election. The Congress party which has made a marginal gain of four seats has also suffered at least two per cent in votes. Neither the Congress nor the Communists have won a single seat in the entire UP, the largest state. The Communists have not improved their state including in West Bengal. They have lost at least one seat in Kerala, one seat in Tamil Nadu, two seats in AP and four seats in Bihar. Even though the CPI had an understanding with the congress and the BSP in Punjab, they could not win. The Congress has today fewer seats and votes in UP, in West Bengal, in Orissa and in Gujarat. It has definitely improved in Maharashtra and Rajasthan, the two states where neither the Left nor the UF has any presence.
Rediff@BJP HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:34)
Nikhil: You had early asked us whether the party is now really worried about the kind of characters they have got on the bandwagon. People out here are not really worried about Mamata as much as they are about Subramanian Swamy: "With just one MP, he would now ask for the post of finance minster."
Prem Panicker (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:34)
Amberish>> ON Jaya and corruption -- it could also be do you think, that the toe you stubbed just now makes you forget the rap you got on your head yesterday? Jaya's corruption was history, compared to the clashes, riots and blasts of the Karunanidhi regime.
T V R Shenoy, former editor of The Week and Rediff columnist (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:35)
Amberish: But the Communists would not accept these facts as the negation of their politics. They see a message in this pattern that gives them legitimacy to have a non BJP government.
Rediff@BJP HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:36)
Senior leaders of the BJP are meeting right now to assess the situation and discuss future plans...
Rediff@BJP HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:38)
This has caused a veritable melee in the BJP office, which is now literally crawling with all kinds of security personnel. All entrances to the building have been sealed off...
Amberish K Diwanji (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:41)
Prem: You are right on. Certainly, one issue cannot be harped on over and over again. And surely if Jaya was all that guilty, why was she not sent to jail? Today is more important than yesterday, and when it is something like blasts, etc... Strange that only a few journalists were perceptive enough to realise that.
Rediff@BJP HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:41)
The last half hour has witnessed hectic activity as one senior leader after the other arrived at the BJP HQ -- L K Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sushma Swaraj, Sikander Bhakt, Sahib Singh Verma, Pramod Mahajan and other a few other senior leaders are right now next door in a closed door meeting...
T V R Shenoy, former editor of The Week and Rediff columnist (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:42)
REdiff@BJP HQ: I cannot answer what the BJP would prefer. I am not the spokesperson. You should adress that question to someone who is sitting closer to you. But knowing the BJP leadership I can tell you what they would do and also what i think they should do. I do not think the BJP would try to form a government by opening the purse. Not because it is just immoral, it is impractical. But the BJP government -- even if it is in a minority -- will have greater credibility and longevity for yet another reason. No member of Parliament would topple a government unless another viable government is possible. Have you ever thought why the Vajpayee government in 1996 lasted just 13 days? The real reason is even before Vajpayee was sworn in an alternate government was ready. Vajpayee took the oath on 15 May. On 14 Narasimha Rao, the then CPP leader, pledged support uncondionally and assured co-operation to the President. That means an alternate government was ready and viable. After that there was no chance for the then Vajpayee government to survive. But the circumstances and the numbers are today different.
Rediff@BJP HQ (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:43)
None of the leaders have spoken to the press, only photojournalists and camera crews were allowed an opportunity to get their pictures...
T V R Shenoy, former editor of The Week and Rediff columnist (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:44)
Thanks a lot..I enjoyed this chat
Amberish K Diwanji (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:45)
Mr Shenoy, the BJP is still seen as relatively less corrupt of the lot. How far should it go to garner support, why not just watch the others make a fool of themselves (as they did this time round).
Anand Sharma, former Youth Congress President (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:50)
Good morning. It is nice to talk to you from the AICC office.
Saisuresh Sivaswamy (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:52)
Mr Sharma: Welcome to this chat. When is Sharad Pawar approaching the President with your party's claim?
Saisuresh Sivaswamy (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:52)
Mr Shettigar: Hello, is it true that your party has decided to sit in the Opposition and watch the Congress-UF comedy show unfold?
Anand Sharma, former Youth Congress president (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:54)
As expected the voters have not given a clear verdict in favour of any political party or coalition. The fractured mandate has its accompanying complications. In my personal view, while the exercises of the government formations are on, everything appears to be in a melting pot. There are certainly no winners or losers in this election. While admittedly the BJP and allies have substantially improved their tally, an air of instability prevails. But hopefully a tangible solution will soon be found.
Amar Singh, General Secretary, Samajwadi Party (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:55)
Hello..I am here to talk to you.
Prem (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:55)
Saisuresh>> I would think yes. Plus -- this thanks to my recent experiences -- I think we tend to rely on "clippings" for a lot of our insight. Follow that thought to its logical end -- I take a file of clippings, read, absorb, then look for quotes to buttress whatever conclusion I have drawn, without actually doing my legwork on the ground. The guy whose clippings I read probably did the same thing, in his turn... and I kinda shudder to think how far back that line of regurgitated pap stretches...
Saisuresh Sivaswamy (Tue Mar 3 1998 23:56)
Prem: Vis a vis Sonia, Jaya, Laloo, Mulayam, can I proffer the same combination of lazy journalism, designer blinkers and good old ignorance, as reasons why the Indian media got them b**ls over bollocks? *pardon the language please, dont kick me out, suparn, it was the heat of the moment*
|Election Day Results Chat, continued|
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