I advised Vajpayee not to retain finance, says Advani
Bharatiya Janata Party president and Union Home Minister L K Advani
says he advised Prime Minister A B Vajpayee not to keep the
finance portfolio with him.
In an interview to a television channel, Advani disclosed that the BJP has also offered
a ministership to the Telugu Desam Party.
Advani revealed that he was responsible for changing
Vajpayee's initial decision to retain the finance portfolio. "When
I discussed the matter with him, he seemed to agree that entrusting
this responsibility to someone else would be better, someone who
already has had experience in this field, who has been finance
minister earlier and for a long time has been a kind of economic
policy spokesman of the party," he said.
Advani also said Jaswant Singh had declined to become a
minister. However, when asked whether Jaswant Singh had declined
after his name had been sent by Vajpayee to Rashtrapati Bhavan,
Advani replied: "That perhaps only the prime minister can say."
Asked if he was worried that Dr Subramanian Swamy's support
might prove unreliable after the decision to exclude him from the
Union Cabinet and his recent call for a conscience vote on the
Speakership, Advani said: "We will be able to deal with problems
of this nature, we are conscious of them."
On the TDP's support to the government,
Advani said: "They have had some hesitation because, after all,
for a long time they have been part of the United Front and therefore
the first step they decided upon was to promise us neutrality.. We
can offer participation in government and I am sure they will
appreciate that it would be better if they join."
Replying to a question on replacing governors, Advani said
some governors were on extension and in those cases there has to be
replacements, there have to be changes made. However, the
government would take major decisions only after the confidence
vote was over .
He also revealed that in discussions with home ministry officials,
he has agreed to examine a paper they are preparing, advising the
government to restore the Central Bureau of Investigation and
the department of personnel to home ministry.
He affirmed that his government would consider amending the
Official Secrets Act and introducing a Freedom of Information Act
to ensure transparency in governance.
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