Congress walks out of LS over Advani's 'reversal of stand'
The Congress today walked out of the Lok
Sabha in protest against what it called a reversal of the stand
taken by Prime Minister A B Vajpayee on controversial issues.
Congress members led by Motilal Vora and Rajesh
Pilot were up on their feet as soon as Home Minister L K Advani
finished speaking on the motion of thanks on the President's
address, and said Advani, who was also the Bharatiya Janata Party president, had
cleverly reversed the position taken by the prime minister by saying
that the party was not apologetic about inclusion of issues like
Ayodhya and Article 370 in its manifesto.
They wanted Advani or Vajpayee, who was also present in
the House, to clarify the position but the former had already left
the House while Vajpayee did not react.
The Congress members then walked out of the House in spite of the
chair pleading with them not to do so and co-operate. The motion was passed later by voice vote.
Pilot said everybody was satisfied when the prime minister
said yesterday that his government would be governed by the national
agenda of the BJP and its allies, but today Advani had clearly
taken a divergent stand.
He was supported vociferously by his party colleagues.
Earlier, Advani asserted in the Lok Sabha that the
government would not be remote-controlled by anybody from
anywhere, and it would function with a consensus approach.
Intervening in the debate on the motion of thanks to the
President for his address to the joint sitting of Parliament,
Advani at the same time sought to explain that in the past Nehru
and Sardar Patel consulted Gandhi. Later Morarji Desai and "some of
us" approached Jayaprakash Narayan on matters of national interest.
This provoked Pilot to remind
Advani that Vajaypee made it clear two days ago
that there is no remote control. This runs counter to
Vajpayee's clarification since Advani is attempting to justify
it, Pilot said.
On contentious issues like Article 370 and Ayodhya, Pilot said
the BJP is still firm although the national agenda does not speak of
these, and he asked Advani to clarify his party's stand.
Advani said the people decided to vote for the BJP and its
allies as they wanted a stable government which could provide a
The national agenda contained programmes acceptable to the allies
of the BJP and those which were not acceptable, have not been
included, he clarified.
Advani said there was nothing as a hidden agenda and his
party would be honest in implementing the programmes mentioned in
the national agenda. At the same time, he explained that the BJP
was not apologetic about its stand on Article 370 and issues like
He said secularism is a part of India's culture, and a theocracy was
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