|HOME | ELECTION | REPORT|
|October 8, 1999||
No hiccups expected this time in govt formation
George Iype in New Delhi
Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party celebrated its return to power, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee set in motion the arduous task of forming his council of ministers and a stable coalition government by holding the first coordination committee meeting of the National Democratic Alliance partners on Friday.
The hustle and dust of this long drawn out general election is expected to settle on Sunday afternoon when the newly-elected NDA members of Parliament will meet at the Central Hall of the Parliament to elect Vajpayee as their leader.
The Election Commission, that is collating the final results from constituencies across the country, will submit to President K R Narayanan the list of the newly elected MPs either on Sunday or Monday. Prime Minister Vajpayee will then call on the President and stake claim to form the next government after the President constitutes the 13th Lok Sabha.
The NDA convenor and Defence Minister George Fernandes said that the ministry formation will be "the prerogative of the prime minister" adding that it will be free from the problems that afflicted the similar exercise after the 1998 Lok Sabha elections.
But signs that a smooth coalition government will be in place at the earliest came on Friday when the Telugu Desam Party -- which had seat adjustments with the BJP and has the second highest number of seats among its allies -- submitted to the President an unconditional letter of support to a government headed by Vajpayee.
To ensure that his coalition partners do not take him for a ride in the days to come, the prime minister -- during the NDA meeting -- asked the leaders to submit to him authorisation letters offering support to the new government. Vajpayee's government formation exercise after the 1998 Lok Sabha election was a Herculean task when the then alliance partner, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's general secretary J Jayalalitha delayed the letter of support to the BJP for a few days.
"Letters of support will enable the prime minister to form an able government and give him a free hand to choose his council of ministers according to his wish and not according to the whims and fancies of the alliance partners," BJP general secretary Narendra Modi told rediff.com.
"We do not expect that the alliance partners will demand particular portfolios and departments this time. The BJP and the allies have performed better in the elections. We now hope that the next government will also perform much better," Modi added.
However, the BJP leaders anticipate rumblings to arise at any time from four crucial coalition partners -- the TDP, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham, the Trinamul Congress and the Janata Dal United -- that have performed well during the elections.
The BJP leaders said that Vajpayee and Home Minister L K Advani have already spoken personally to all the alliance partners over telephone who have assured unconditional support to the next government.
But the crucial issue that the BJP leaders and Vajpayee still confront is to convince the the TDP to participate in the government. So far TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has been non-committal about joining the government.
But Vajpayee set in motion the process of compelling his allies to join his ministry on Friday itself by meeting Karunanidhi in New Delhi. Naidu is expected to meet the prime minister in the capital on Saturday. The DMK leader Murasoli Maran, who has an excellent rapport with the prime minister, is also actively negotiating with the BJP and other alliance partners for setting up a trouble-free government.
The BJP leaders said that the problem with the JD-U is that there are many aspirants for crucial ministerial berths among them. They include George Fernandes, Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan, Digvijay Singh and Ramakrishna Hegde.
"Moreover, JD-U leader and Commerce Minister Ramakrishna Hegde has been making uncharacteristic remarks about the BJP leaders," one BJP source pointed out.
The BJP leaders said the NDA tally would cross the 300 mark as the National Conference has also informed the prime minister that it is indeed willing to be part of the new government. Similarly Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala who met Vajpayee, has promised him that his party would lend ''unconditional'' support to the government. Vajpayee does not anticipate any problems with the Shiv Sena and smaller parties with two or three members.
The BJP sources pointed out that Vajpayee has been assured the fullest cooperation by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders also.
To ensure that the ministry formation exercise is free from any troubles from within the party top BJP leaders Advani, Kushabhau Thakre, Jaswant Singh, Pramod Mahajan, Venkaiah Naidu, K N Govindacharya and Narendra Modi met to chalk out the post-poll strategy.
Vajpayee will have the tough task to ensure that his own party's MPs are given adequate representation in the new government. For instance, in Delhi where the BJP won all the seven seats, there are at least four contenders -- Jagmohan, Madanlal Khurana, Sahib Singh Verma, Vijay Goel -- for ministerial berths.
"But wait and see. There will be no bargaining from alliance partners and from within the BJP. We will not allow any coalition partner to blackmail Vajpayee this time," a BJP leader commented.
ELECTION 99 |
SINGLES | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | WORLD CUP 99
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK